I’ve just had a visit from Eileen, and I’ve decided I’d like to keep her in a cupboard and bring her out every time I need inspiration or a dose of the Muse. I’m never sure how it happens, but every time I meet up with her I get better photographs than I get most of the rest of the time. I wasn’t even going to take my camera out with me this time – at that point I didn’t have my newly fixed computer back, and the lack of ability to process in RAW was leaving me feeling a bit apathetic about photography in general. ‘Take it!’, Geoff said, ‘it’s Eileen – you know you’ll want to take pictures if you’re with her’. And he was right.
We went on a visit to Lincoln, which has to have one of the most gorgeous old town areas of any mediaeval city in the UK. We had plans – we intended to see an exhibition called Colour Love, on at the Usher Gallery. But before that, we thought a visit to the Cathedral wouldn’t go wrong, and it certainly didn’t, but we were a lot longer than we thought we’d be and by the time we’d thoroughly photographed the Cathedral and had some lunch, it was 4.00pm – which turned out to be the time that the gallery closed. (On a Saturday! – that’s the Midlands for you. If you live in London or the South-East, you get used to things being open most of the time.) So we missed the exhibition, but we did have a very good time anyway.
It was a very bright, sunny day and the light in the Cathedral was wonderful, with vividly coloured splashes of it filtering through the stained glass windows. I’ve got loads of shots I’m very happy with, and haven’t finished processing all of them yet. I wanted to share these with you for the moment, and I’ll follow up with the rest in due course.
Something interesting happened while I was processing – the first image below seemed to call out for the pillars to be left in bright coloured light, with a very dark/black background that would eliminate most of the background detail and throw the attention onto the columns themselves. I tried various ways to do this in Elements, but in the end I added a solid colour Layer of black and then used the Soft Light blending mode to blend it with the original. That gave me the effect I wanted, and then I wondered how that would look if I did the same thing to the rest. Surprisingly, it worked very well on almost everything, and it gave me the feeling I wanted, which is of vivid light and colour in a very dark space. I wanted to recreate the dim, soothing, womb-like feeling of old churches and cathedrals with the contrast of the astonishingly bright light streaming through the coloured windows. I’m sure there are other, possibly better, ways of doing this, but I’m pretty pleased with the results.