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Church at the End of the World

Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 7 July 2021 in Landscape & Rural.


I have not posted a black and white photo for a while and I had this one in my mind for some time now. I had a couple attempts at it previously but the final concept was not quite there yet, however, I was able to finally sit down and work on the processing to produce a result that I am happy with to present. The photo comes from the village of Vidaredi on Vidoy island in the Fare Islands. This is where we previously encountered rough conditions when photographing the image I posted few weeks ago - Disequilibrium. That particular photo was taken on rocky shore just behind and below the church that you can see here.

When we were driving back from the village I slowed down to have a look at the church again and because there was a moment without rain, I had enough time to switch to a longer lens and shoot different compositions with the church and the cliffs in the background. I usually shoot with a wide angle lens but I am open to using longer focal lengths for landscapes and it can open up a lot of other possibilities. I kept the aperture at its widest here (f/2.8) to get a fast shutter speed to minimise the chance for any blur in howling winds. Even at the wide aperture there was enough depth of field present here so it worked for what I had in mind. Wide aperture also allowed me to keep the ISO at the lower end for image quality. I found that in scenes with a lot of textures and detail, noise can have an adverse effect (especially when looking to increase contrast in low contrast scenes), so I wanted to keep the ISO down as much as possible.

As you can see, the conditions were still quite gloomy but that made it possible for the white church to stand out nicely against the dark cliffs and the grey tones around it. I think I mentioned the end of the world feel to this location previously and I felt that ever more so when taking this photo. Church right on the edge of the shore with massive cliffs looming right behind it certainly worked on my imagination. There are some great places with small churches that we have found in Iceland and Faroe Islands and this is just about my favourite of all the ones we have seen.

This was always going to be a black and white photo in my mind. There was a little bit of colour in the grassy areas in the foreground and on top of the cliffs. I felt, however, that I wanted the church to be the main focal point, followed by the cliffs and waterfalls, and that colour could detract too much from that vision. When working on the photo I was looking to keep the church as the brightest object and to retain its separation from the choppy sea and the foreground. There was not much really that needed doing once I got the tonal contrast to where I wanted. A little bit of dodging and burning to accentuate some areas and textures made up the bulk of post processing. I am finding that every photo I process benefits from some dodging and burning.

The mood in this scene was what made the photo and this is what appealed to me when I looked back at this view as we were driving away. This was not a planned photographic moment but one where I was on a look out for this kind of opportunity and I was able to find one. I hope I have been able to reflect the atmosphere of that moment in today's image and that it transcends all the way to you as viewers.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 1/640 second F/2.8 ISO 200 155 mm

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