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Image 1 - This church is situated on the edge of the famous caldera on the island of Santorini, Greece, in a spot well-known to photographers. The church itself is beautiful mainly for its simplicity, its colourful dome and its location. However there is only one place from which a view of the bell-tower and the dome can be obtained without background clutter. I spent some time searching the narrow alleyways of the town before finally emerging onto the correct roof-top.

I used a polarising filter to intensify the blue of the dome and darken the water almost to black. In such situations it is easy to overdo the polarisation, so I rotated the filter slightly away from the maximum polarisation position. The exposure was taken largely from the a spot reading on the blue dome, because a matrix measurement would have been heavily influenced by the glaring white walls. I bracketed either side of the chosen exposure to ensure that no detail was not lost in the white walls, and that there were recorded as white rather than grey.

Image 2 - This avenue of torii gates leads to the Fushimi Shrine in southern Kyoto, Japan, which is dedicated to Inari, the popular deity of sake and rice. The Fushimi area of the city is known for its making of sake, and the torii themselves have all been donated by businessmen involved in the production of the spirit. The pathway through the torii extends of about four kilometres up a wooded mountainside and is lined hundreds of red gates and countless stone foxes.

Since the shrine is popular and visited by hundreds of people, it was a challenge to find a moment when the path was clear. It was also important to visit on a bright day when direct sunlight filtered through the small gaps between the torii to gives the interesting highlights and shadows and emphasise the stunning red colour. I found a spot where the path was curved to make the corridor appear intriguing, and also where the single black lantern could be ideally positioned in the frame. I then set the camera up on a tripod with a remote release, and measured the distances to the nearest and furthest parts of the scene. I then set the aperture to f/16 and adjusted the focus for optimum depth of field. Having waited a few minutes for a moment when the corridor was clear of people, I released the shutter two or three times.

 

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