Michele Taylor Photography

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Background Story: Trinità dei Monti Church, Rome

We had a day in Rome. I know, it wasn't nearly enough, but it's all we had.

Arriving at the Spanish Steps late on a winter's afternoon made me quickly aware of 2 things: 1. the light was all wrong. 2. there were people everywhere - even in winter. Damnit.

Spanish Steps, RomeNot very pretty, is it?!

I got grumpy fairly quickly! However, we still made the climb to the top to look back down. Once up there, we noticed that the church at the top of the steps was open, so ventured inside.

Santissima Trinità dei Monti was consecrated in 1585 and, for some reason that I can't uncover, is under the responsibility of France. So here we were in Italy, at the top of the Spanish Steps, in a church under French jurisdiction. Confusing!

The exterior doesn't warn of the extravagance inside. Finding the warden, I asked if it was ok for me to take photos, and having gained consent, I quickly moved forward with an image already in mind.

In a lot of Italian churches, there will often be a nun or novice sitting or kneeling in prayer. Although I couldn't see her face, the folds of her plain habit were soft and glowing in complement to the richness of the altar and church adornments.

It was pretty dark, so I bumped up my ISO to 1,000. Even then, my shutter speed was over 1 second, so I used a pillar on my right as a brace and stayed as still as I could while taking the images.

All was suddenly right with my world again! Although I didn't have the anticipated images of the Spanish Steps, I did have a more intimate and different image. Life IS a box of chocolates, Forrest!

As a final touch to the processing, I added a Gaussian Blur to the Red Channel - a method that adds a soft glow without affecting the image sharpness.

Santissima Trinità dei Monti Church, RomeSilence and Servitude

Background Story: Storm Clouds

I love taking images of clouds and contrails, and I'm lucky to live in a place that has a variety of both.

On this particular day, I was out at the Catalunya Racing Circuit, helping my brother who was in town to run his race team from New Zealand in the Catalunya 24 hour race. His cars did really well too - the Porsche came 2nd in class and the SEAT Supa Copa won its class. Everyone was very impressed with the team that had come all the way from the other side of the world!

On the Friday before the race, just as Qualifying was due to start, an amazing storm settled over the track. The clouds were astounding and the lightning streaked in huge forks across the sky, touching Earth on some occasions.

Before it got too dangerous, I slipped into the Pit Paddock to take some images of the clouds swirling overhead. Here are some of the best of them.

You can see more of my Clouds & Contrails images by clicking on the Clouds & Contrails link below.