Vatican Art

School of Athens
School of Athens

 

Here’s a smattering of paintings that I got (semi) decent shots of while I was at the Vatican.  Starting with one of my personal favorites, the School of Athens.  If you’re got the time, go on Google and look up which Athenians were modeled on which famous Italians of the time … a hint, the big fish, center left, was based on Leonardo da Vinci.

 

 

This is a MUCH older piece, from centuries before the Italian Renaissance.  You can see it in the two-dimensional character of the work; clearly perspective hadn’t been developed to the same level at that point.

 

Old-Old School Art

And here’s a piece that I liked as well.  Not all that interesting in its own right, but I like the use of color and perspective in it.

Pope Somebody-or-Other

Pope Somebody-or-Other

 

Chow Time
Chow Time

Another classic, the Last Supper – except that this one is by Raphael, not da Vinci (his is in Milan).  This, and a lot of these, were real SOBs to get a good photo of, and it took a lot of sharpening and noise reduction in PhotoShop to get some results – and I still wasn’t happy with a lot of it.  The lighting in many of these galleries is dim, to better preserve the art, and flash photography is a big no-no.  And breaking rules is, well, a bad idea to put it mildly.  After all they have those nice Swiss guards with sharp objects, and their own jail.  Plus, y’know, the threat of damnation and all that.

 

Conquest of Paganism
Conquest of Paganism

 

I love the minimalist nature of this.  An old broken sculpture in front of a crucifix; it tells a story, but does it without distractions.

 

Throwdown
Throwdown

 

And now an action piece – Emperor Constantine triumphing over his foes!

 

Mother
Mother

 

And finally, another piece I adore the use of color in.

 

Happy shooting!

 

See more of my work at

Website: http://www.patricklcahalan.co.nf

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/patricklcahalan

Instagram: patrickcahalanphotography

Facebook: Patrick Cahalan

Pinterest: @cahalan007

Low Light

Octopus
Octopus

Low light is a subject that really aggravates me.  I’ve always had a hard time with it, and while I’m getting better, it’s still not something I’m really comfortable with, especially in situations where my subject(s) are moving, like in the above photo.

This charming octopus looked great, but the bugger wouldn’t hold still long enough for a nice shot.  The area around his tank was very dark (mimicking the native environment), so I had to shoot at very high ISO (often 2400-3200), and still had trouble getting clear shots.  Add to that, no useful auto-focus since I had to have the AF assist light off as well.

Octopus v2
Octopus v2

What I’ve found so far that helps in low light is below – and really, you’re better off doing as many of these at once as you can!

  • Get your subject to hold still so you can use a longer shutter speed
  • Have a fast lens, i.e. one that can do a wide aperture
  • Shoot at as high an ISO as you can stomach – some cameras are better than others.
  • Use noise reduction and sharpening in photoshop. This can be either the tools in RAW, or filters (sharpening and blur), or other tricks.  When I get stuck I tend to grab a book or go on Google.
Fish-01
Fish in a School
Peacock-Shrimp
Mantis Shrimp

And lastly this nasty little fellow, the Peacock Mantis Shrimp.  I wasn’t able to really get a good shot of him  – again with the low light autofocus issue, plus little kids running around all over.  And nothing I did in PS could really get him to where I wanted.  The moral is, sometimes the shot just isn’t there with the constraints you have to deal with.  It stinks, but it’s no less true for that fact.

Happy shooting!

See more of my work at http://www.patricklcahalan.co.nf  and http://www.flickr.com/photos/patricklcahalan