Corridor, Heiligenkreuz Abbey, Austria

Corridor, Heiligenkreuz Abbey, Austria.

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series lens @ 24mm. ISO 800 1/10 second @ f5.6

I really enjoyed my trip out to Helligenkreuz Abbey from Vienna. I was on a day long group tour, a fairly unusual experience for an independent travel, because I'd heard that this very beautiful place does not allow entry to independent travelers. Fortunately the day was fun and quite successful. And I even managed to catch up on some long overdue sleep on the bus.

Building Relationships

The hardest thing about being on a tour for a photographer is being able to make your pictures in the moments available to you between your group leaving the place you want to photograph and moving onto the next location.

I was sure to ask my guide who, after all was responsible for my safety and that of the abbey and it's possessions, if he would allow me to linger a few short moments after the group had moved out of sight so that I could make my photos, prior to catching up to them again. Thankfully he allowed me to and I made sure I worked quickly, quietly and efficiently. I very much appreciated his trust and understanding and made sure I tipped him, generously, at the end of the day. And that won't do any harm to other photographers, down the track.

Always Consider Composition

The above photo features what, I'm sure, is one of many corridors in the Abbey. But, even though the light was low, I knew I wanted to photograph it. Not being able to bring a tripod into the Abbey meant extreme care had to be taken to steady the camera so that a sharp image could be made. As this image is about texture, in addition to a range of luscious honey colors, repetition and light, a high degree of sharpness was essential. And, despite the 1/10 second exposure time, I'm glad I was able to achieve it.

Always Consider Contrast

Even though the light was relatively low indoors, it was quite a lot brighter outside. Perhaps the hardest element for a photographer to control, historically, has been contrast (i.e., the difference between important highlight and shadow areas within the scene) and this kind of setting would have been difficult to photograph, with a single exposure, if I'd included the actual windows in the composition.

So, to reduce contrast, which would have resulted in burnt out windows and overly dark shadows, I simply moved my body a step to the left and then turned my camera slightly to the right so that none of the actual glass and, as a consequence, the outside light, was visible within the frame. Problem solved and a successful photograph made.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru