The Fountain at Pantheon in Rome

This photo of the fountain in front of Pantheon is one of my favorites, from my trip to Rome. At first I didn't see it, but when I got close, this acid green color showed up. I when a bit closer, and I could see there was a shape in the water, and I went even closer to get this. And believe me, that color is as good as straight out of the camera.--Jacob Surlandwww.caughtinpixels.comArt sale as limited prints. Photo by Jacob Surland, Licensed Creative Commons non-commercial v4.0. No Derivative Work. Protected by

The Fontana del Pantheon has an acid green color at night.

I just returned from Rome. We were down there to receive my parents in law. They had walked all the way from Denmark to Rome, not exactly on a pilgrimage. They began in 2003. My father-in-law crossed the Alps at the age of 76 with no problems at all.

We received them at the gate at Piazza del Popolo and had cold Prosecco (Italian version of champagne) ready. They ended up walking approximately 3300 km over a span of 13 years.

But, being in Rome, also offered a lot of photo opportunities; not as many as we had hoped, though. The only major site we visited, that did not have scaffoldings, was St. Peter’s Basilica.

On the very first morning, we went to the closest location the Spanish Stairs, and when we got there, it was completely sealed off, and entrance to the stairs was impossible. It didn’t matter a lot because the church at the top was covered in scaffoldings.

Spanish stairs sealed off

The Spanish Stairs were sealed off both at the top and the bottom.

Instead, we moved on to the Pantheon.

I can see that I have learned a lot. I shoot much more purposeful now than I did earlier. I have researched areas beforehand and have some ideas of what there is to shoot. I go straight for the more or less bullet proof shots, and then I start searching for more unusual angles. Using this method, I find that I always have at least one carry away shot.

The photo of Pantheon in the top of this post is one of my favorites and the first one I processed. I didn’t see it, at first, but when I got close to the fountain, this acid green color showed up. And as I moved closer, and I could see there was a shape – the foundation of the statue – in the water, and I went even closer to get this.

Believe me, that color is as good as straight out of the camera.

Pantheon itself is one of the most amazing buildings I have ever seen. The roof inside is insanely beautiful.


Tip: Pseudo HDR

Pantheon Reflecting the Sun Setting

Pantheon Reflecting the Sun Setting

Pantheon is one of the most beautiful buildings I have seen and I was even rewarded with the most beautiful sunset.

The photo is an old one, shot with my ancient Canon 400D. How to salvage an old photo? I took this photo as a single RAW on my old Canon 400D using a Sigma 10-20mm lens. I didn’t have a tripod, but the light was so gorgeous I just had to shoot the scene. What I did was to stand as still as I could and just fire away 20 shots hoping one would be sharp enough. The ISO I had turned up to 400, which is the highest acceptable ISO on that camera, and I the raised the f-stop to the highest value the lens allowed (lowest number). That gave me a shutter speed of 1/13 seconds, which requires a very steady hand. But I managed.

Tip: Try making Pseudo HDR photos from single exposure RAWs
In the processing had to major issues. I had to get a better balance between light and shadows and to increase the sharpness. To get better balance between the shadows and the light areas, I made a Pseudo HDR photo. To do that I made in Lightroom two artificial exposures by making virtual copies. One I made a -2 and the other I made +2. These to exposures I gave some strong noise reduction, and then I exported all three to Photomatix and tone mapped them. The result was awesome. Not as good as if I had shot three proper bracketed shots, but good enough.

The sharpness I achieved by duplicating the layer in Photoshop and then applying a fairly strong Unsharp Mask (really a bad name for a sharpening rool). That did some really good things to the roof of the Pantheon. I blended in the good parts of the sharpened image – the rest I didn’t use.