Photographic Issues

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Colour Reproduction

Taking good, clear photographs inside a medieval building is hard! There are areas of deep shadow and limited artificial lighting combined with ever-changing natural daylight shining through coloured windows! This makes accurate and consistent colour reproduction extremely difficult (especially for an amateur like me).

Fortunately, the art of heraldry is restricted, in description at least, to a very limited palette. Anything that can be roughly described as "red" ("reddish", "scarlet", "light red", "deep red"....) in blazonry is just gules. Acknowledging this fact, I have, in processing my photos, not aimed for strict, consistent (or even accurate) reproduction of colour - instead, I have used whatever photographic techniques I can to show the detail in heraldic items.

In particular, I have frequently used "High Dynamic Range" (HDR) techniques to combine a properly exposed image with under and over exposed versions. This allows both shadow and highlight detail to be clearly seen in the same image but is in no way a true colour representation. For simple images I have used the HDR Plug-in for the Gimp (often followed by the distortion tool, see below). Where more control has been needed (such as ghosting removal) I have used Photomatix.

Perspective Distortion

In addition to the lighting difficulties many of the items are fairly inaccessible, either due to their height off the ground or their position in relation to areas open to the public. In these cases photos have been taken with a tele-photo lens and digitally manipulated. Simple changes, such as cropping, rotation and scaling have been done using the Faststone Image Viewer. For images that are high up, and thus subject to significant perspective distortion these have been "corrected" using the distortion tool in the GIMP. I have tried to reproduce the shields in typically "heater" shape and aspect ratio. In general the original image resolution has been sufficiently high that interpolation has not been required and thus detail has been retained.

Because of the changes above I cannot guarantee that the items are shown in their true proportions. Again however, I rest my defence upon the fact that a heraldic shield can be constructed in a wide variety of shapes, yet still be described by the same blazon.

Image Formats

For use on the web pages I have scaled most images to a size of around 600 x 600 pixels, and created them in JPEG format at a quality of around 95%. Typical image file sizes are thus around 300-400k bytes. I have a limited amount of disk space from my web host and a large number of images so I cannot at the moment provide larger versions on-line.

I do however have all of the original images in both JPEG and Samsung RAW formats available if required. Please e-mail me to discuss your requirements.