2022 Retrospective: Infrared Art and Architecture #5

February 9, 2023  |  La Crosse, Wisconsin

Saint Joseph the Workman Cathedral: Scaffolding During Renovations. La Crosse, Wisconsin. March 2022

Category: Infrared Art and Architecture

A view from Fifth and Main Streets of the scaffolding in place during a major facelift for St Joseph the Workman Cathedral in...

A view from Fifth and Main Streets of the scaffolding in place during a major facelift for St Joseph the Workman Cathedral in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

The Subject

This view of Saint Joseph the Workman Cathedral is from a point just slightly above street level, looking east from the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Main Streets in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Dedicated in 1962, the structure was nearing the end of an extensive renovation when this image was taken in early 2022.

The Composition

I find this structure to be quite photogenic. I have spent a good bit of time shooting aerial and ground-based images from a wide variety of vantage points. On this particular day I came home with several series infrared captures that became the foundation for some nice dramatic multi-shot panoramic images. This particular image however is at the other end of the complexity spectrum. A single image. Great background with the cloud.

The process I went through for getting this particular low angle capture at that location in the middle of the afternoon reminded me of playing the old computer game Frogger. I wanted to capture an image that was free from moving cars. I wanted to shoot from a low angle so the cathedral would be the focus of the converging lines from the street and the buildings on Main Street. I did not want to get run over. My process can best be described as wait, run, squat, shoot, run, wait, run, squat, shoot, run...repeat. I made it through the process OK. :-)

Creating the Image

As shown above, the source for this image was one infrared image. I did not create a multi-image HDR from the bracketed exposures I came home with as I wanted to see what I could achieve with the single raw image. I applied some targeted noise reduction and selective sharpening using Topaz AI tools. After conversion to black and white, I did some basic light and shadow adjustments and cropping in Lightroom.

You cannot see it very well, but even with an infrared filter, the sensor registered some faint blue and yellow values in the buildings to the right. After converting to black and white in Lightroom, I did a little tweaking of these color levels in order to adjust the light and dark values in that part of the scene.

Infrared Image Capture and Processing: Shooting in RAW

I always shoot RAW images because of the sheer amount of information that is available for processing tools compared to JPG. For me, this difference is evident even more so when shooting infrared images. The images in this article (above and below) would not have been possible if I had used a JPG. How do I know? :-) I shoot RAW+JPG and the difference in what I could do with the image in Lightroom was dramatic.

Bonus Image - Alley Intrigue

Shortly after shooting the cathedral image above I walked over to the Artist Alley just off Fifth Avenue and interrupted these two having a confab. After an awkward silence I moved on.