Simply Religious

Simply Religious

Brian Auer | 02/09/2008 | La Jolla, CA | 75mm * f/2.0 * 1/8000s * ISO100
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This church in La Jolla, California caught my eye for its stunning white simplicity. The clear blue sky also helped to compliment the building and its elegance. I was on a photowalk, and we had just started down the road toward the beach and everybody was excited to get shooting. And so, I framed the building to include mostly sky while leaving a good portion of the church (and its surroundings) left to the imagination. I took two shots with different compositions of this church top, and this one turned out best.

Simply Religious Post-Processing

  1. Unprocessed RAW
    This one turned out a little overexposed. I shot it at f/2 with my 50mm lens and it pushed my shutter speed up to 1/8000, maxing it out. I probably should have set the f-number to at least f/2.8.
  2. Processed RAW
    Mainly I just recovered the highlights and darkened the overall image, getting it ready for Photoshop.
  3. LAB Saturation
    I saw that the blues were a little muddy, so I ran it through my LAB Saturation Photoshop Action and brought out the color while adding a bit of contrast.
  4. Clone & Sharpen
    Somehow I sort of forgot to deal with the little bit of brickwork on the bottom edge, so I took that out with the patch tool. Then I sharpened it up a bit.
  5. Curves Adjustment
    I wasn’t totally happy with the tones and colors, so I added a curves adjustment to bring up the highlights and push the shadows down. I left the blending mode to “Normal” so the blues would get a little punch too.


9 thoughts on “Simply Religious

  1. matt

    Love the simplicity and vibrant brilliance of this shot. Thanks for the step-by-step.

  2. Bob Redding

    Hi Brian. I couldn’t help but comment. I grew up in San Diego. My dad was a photographer for the Union-Tribune. I live in New Jersey now but I’m headed out to L.A. and S. D. on vacation Saturday. Seeing your great shot has me excited about the trip. I’m hoping to get some serious “photowalking” time when I’m there.

    I’m an avid follower of your RSS. Keep up the good work!


  3. Brian Auer Post author

    Hey Bob, that’s really funny. I just moved out here to SD from Jersey (we lived in Flemington). I definitely like it out here better from a photography standpoint — I love the beach towns. Although I do miss the historic buildings and the amazing city back east.

  4. ramin

    I really like this shot. The simplicity of the shot is what I really like. Showing more of the church or surrounding area just wouldn’t be as powerful.

  5. Marc

    Hi Brian

    Given that it’s got almost no depth of field, I wonder whether it would have looked any different if you’d amped your aperture up to f22 even? Why open it up so much? Regardless, lovely result!

    =) Marc

  6. Brian Auer Post author

    I suppose the lens was set a tiny bit too wide open. When I do street photography, I usually leave my 50mm lens set between f/2 and f/3.5. Any wider and I end up maxing out my shutter speed in daylight settings. Any smaller and I run the shutter speed so low that I get too much motion blur. So having the lens at f/2 for this shot was probably just out of laziness. If I wanted to get things slightly sharper, I probably could have stopped down to f/3.5 or f/4. But given that I was some distance away from the building and I wasn’t shooting “wide open” I figured it would be fine for overall sharpness and dof. Even stopping down to f/22 probably wouldn’t have yielded any different results.

  7. Dale Rose

    What a beautiful picture. One of the things I loved about California back when I lived there was the sky. Nowehere in the country does the sky look like that. Just wonderful.

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