Harsh Daylight and Interiors

March 09, 2019  •  5 Comments

When one thinks about photographing interior spaces, the lighting conditions outside isn't always top of mind. However, after shooting the interiors of many buildings over the years, I'm almost always hoping for overcast conditions. In the case of churches, bright sunlight typically blows out the stained glass windows--even when taking extreme HDR measures. With state capitols, portions of the domed ceiling will get blown out as well...or deep shadows might be cast in unwanted places within the frame.

During my road trip through Florida, I came across this challenge during my visit to the historic Ponce de Leon Hotel on the campus of Flagler College in St. Augustine. After persuading the security guard to allow me to set up my tripod and photograph the interior of the lobby dome, I captured a series of ceiling pictures. While reviewing the images on the screen on the back of my camera, I determined that it would be impossible to salvage the colors in a large segment of the frame due to the effect of bright daylight streaming in from a low angle through the entrance door. Segments of the ceiling were blown out...and very blue (due to the color of the daylight as compared to the interior lighting). No amount of exposure adjustments or highlight recovery would save the pictures.

So, I returned later that afternoon to inspect the interior again. The lighting was much more favorable in part due to the higher angle of the sun in the sky. I was also able to wait for cloud cover to further improve the image.

I returned again the next day to take another look at this interior. This time, not only did the daylight situation improve, but I also noticed that the interior lights did a better job of illuminating the ceiling. Once again, I repeated the entire photo shoot!

Here are the final images:

Ponce de Leon Hotel rotundaPonce de Leon Hotel rotundaCeiling in the rotunda of the Ponce de Leon Hotel on 74 King Street in St. Augustine, Florida on December 8, 2018. The Ponce de Leon Hotel was an exclusive luxury hotel built by millionaire developer and Standard Oil co-founder Henry M. Flagler and completed in 1888. In 1968, the hotel became the centerpiece of the newly-established Flagler College. Ponce de Leon Hotel rotundaPonce de Leon Hotel rotundaCeiling in the rotunda of the Ponce de Leon Hotel on 74 King Street in St. Augustine, Florida on December 6, 2018. The Ponce de Leon Hotel was an exclusive luxury hotel built by millionaire developer and Standard Oil co-founder Henry M. Flagler and completed in 1888. In 1968, the hotel became the centerpiece of the newly-established Flagler College. Ponce de Leon Hotel rotundaPonce de Leon Hotel rotundaCeiling in the rotunda of the Ponce de Leon Hotel on 74 King Street in St. Augustine, Florida on December 8, 2018. The Ponce de Leon Hotel was an exclusive luxury hotel built by millionaire developer and Standard Oil co-founder Henry M. Flagler and completed in 1888. In 1968, the hotel became the centerpiece of the newly-established Flagler College. Ponce de Leon Hotel rotundaPonce de Leon Hotel rotundaCeiling in the rotunda of the Ponce de Leon Hotel on 74 King Street in St. Augustine, Florida on December 6, 2018. The Ponce de Leon Hotel was an exclusive luxury hotel built by millionaire developer and Standard Oil co-founder Henry M. Flagler and completed in 1888. In 1968, the hotel became the centerpiece of the newly-established Flagler College.


Comments

Glenn Nagel Photography
Thanks Nils...that's a very interesting lens! Glenn
Nils(non-registered)
I just came across this and thought that you might be interested in seeing what the Irix 11mm recticular can do: https://photorumors.com/2019/03/17/architectural-and-cityscape-photography-with-the-irix-11mm-f-4-lens/. It looks like the sort of thing that might appeal to you.
Glenn Nagel Photography
Thanks Nils...photography can sure test one's patience at times! Glenn
Nils(non-registered)
You are a true master of your craft Glenn. The effort that you go to describes the reality of how tedious it can be to get those perfect shots. But that's part of the skill, putting in the effort necessary to get the desired result.
David Millar(non-registered)
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