The story of this photo
This is the story of a genius and a torn man. Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was the superstar of his time. A man who earned more money than most people, unlike other artists at his time who became famous only after their death. Michelangelo was the first western artist whose biography was published while he was still alive. Being a gifted painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer, his talents were only rivaled by fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci.
But all of that did not make him a happy man. He chose to lead a poor live, giving most of his money to his relatives. It is believed that he was homosexual, something that was unspeakable at that time. Michelangelo was often arrogant with others and constantly dissatisfied with himself.
In 1546, Michelangelo was appointed architect of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, and designed its dome starting off from where some of the best architects of that time left. This was his last project.
This place is extraordinary and an absolute must-see when you are in the area. I have been there twice now and I have been fascinated by the size and the beauty. The shot is an HDR vertorama that shows an angle of about 160°.
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How it was shot
- Taken handheld (Read more about the technique!)
- 6×3 autobracketed shots (three exposures each with 0, -2, +2 ev)
- Camera: Nikon D90
- Lens: Sigma 10-20mm F3,5 EX DC HSM
- Details can be found here
How it was stitched and tonemapped
- Preparation: Developed the RAW files in ACR (consistent white balance, CA correction [details])
- Created 6 HDRs (32 bit) using Photoshop CS4
- Stitched the 6 HDRs using Photoshop and saved in OpenEXR format (some distortion correction and cropping before saving)
- Tonemapped resulting panorama HDR using Photomatix version 3.1 (Detail Enhancer)
- Saved as 16bit TIF
- Take a look here for a more detailed description.
How it was post-processed
- Post-processing was done in Photoshop
- Topaz Adjust on the entire image to get back the colors and the details [details]
- Topaz Denoise [details]
- Saturation layer on the marble walls (slight desaturation)
- Levels layer on the windows in the dome (removed grey look from tonemapping and made them plain white)
- Saturation layer on the marble in the dome (reduced the blue cast)
- Saturation layer on the blue elements in the dome (increased blues)
- Saturation layer on the yellows parts of the ceiling (increased yellows and reds)
- Levels layer on the yellow parts of the ceiling (tonal correction and a gamma increase for more brightness)
- Vignette effect using a masked fill layer [details]
- Sharpening using the high-pass filter (extra sharpening selectively on some elements in the foreground) [details]