Overcast skies would have produced rather flat photographs so I waited for a bright sunny day. Finally the weather allowed me to schedule the photoshoot. I called ahead to ensure that there weren’t any conflicting events. I was told that weren’t any events until after 3:00 PM. That wasn’t quite accurate.
When I pulled into the parking lot at 11:00 AM, it looked full so I expected quite a few people to be roaming around the monastery. Unfortunately, I had to share the monastery with a band that was taping a video. They had staked out the back half of the monastery. They basically stayed in their area but did come into my field of view several times. I was able to take quite a few photographs but I had to use a vertical composition to keep the band members, videographers, and their equipment out of my shots. Next time I visit the monastery, I hope to be able to take some horizontal shots.
I was glad that I had thought about the photoshoot and was prepared but I still felt rather rusty when I started to take photographs. Photography is like playing a musical instrument. You must practice to be proficient and I hadn’t been on a photoshoot in about a month! It took a few shots for me to feel comfortable with my camera’s settings. My subject wasn’t going anywhere so I didn’t miss any shots but I did feel awkward at first.
As usual, my Rokinon fisheye lens introduced a lot of distortion into the image and I was able to find quite a few interesting compositions. The arc of the ribbed vaults were especially appealing and helped create leading lines. Since it isn’t easy to look through the viewfinder while the camera is mounted on a 360×180-degree tripod head, I turned on Live View. While composing a shot, I changed the ISO to 12800 so that I could see the image on the LCD then changed it back to 100, 200, or 400 to take the photograph itself. Since the Rokinon lens doesn’t communicate with the camera, I was in Manual mode for the entire photoshoot.
The main variable that I used was ISO. The bracketed shots were three stops apart. While shooting in the halls that surround the courtyard, I was able to keep the aperture at f/11. The only time I changed the aperture was when I was completely outdoors where I tried F/16 and f/22.
Around 2:00 PM, I decided it was a wrap and headed home.
The bracketed images were merged together using Photomatix Pro.