The Notre Dame of Africa (Notre Dame d’Afrique) is an imposing church built in Roman and Byzantine style on shoulder of the Bouzareah hills, overlooking the ocean, about two kilometers north of the city of Algiers. Inside it has a very ornamental altar featuring a statue of the Virgin Mary depicted as a black woman. However, I didn’t know that when I visited the church (I just asked my driver to stop when we were driving by – it looked an interesting building) and it was only after I returned home and I was doing some research on the Internet for my photo captions that I discovered that this was the church’s ‘claim to fame’. I did go inside for a brief look (I have posted in the workshop one photograph that I took inside) but I missed seeing the altar with the black Virgin Mary. I was annoyed with myself for missing that because the photographs that I saw in the Internet were quite interesting. I suppose the lesson to learn from that is to do your research before you visit a place, not afterwards (I went to Algiers on business, and didn’t expect to have any time for sightseeing, so that was why I didn’t buy a guidebook like I usually do when visiting a new country).
I shot this very late in the day, and partly against the sun, so the church was in heavy shadow, and I had to use the shadow/highlights tool in Photoshop to bring out the detail on the walls of the church. This left the photograph fairly noisy, so I tried using Neat Image to remove the noise. It did a great job in removing the noise in the sky, but also removed quite a bit of detail from the walls of the church – which is a problem when using these noise reduction software programs, unless you are a very skilled user capable of using all the advance settings (I just used the standard default settings). So I decided to post the original, not the Neat Image filtered version, but I have put the latter in the workshop too in case anyone is interested in seeing the difference. In the filtered version you will see that most of the texture in the car park has been removed as well, and the bottom of the photograph looks like it has been painted on.
The perspective is of course distorted because I took this with a wide angle lens (focal length was 14 mm) but I like the effect that it gives, and I didn't think it necessary to try and correct the distortion (but I suppose that's a matter of personal taste). There's not enough space around this church to get it all in using an 'ordinary' lens.
Critiques | Translate
ChrisJ (100136) 2006-01-28 4:03
Strange to see a Chritian Curch in Islamic Algeria. Excellent sharpness, colour, & lighting. I like the yellow -vs- blue, color contrast. Good work!
gaby (19819) 2006-01-28 9:56
David bonjour - splendid shot - I like the tones and the compo but I think you must clone the floor standard on the left (he is not straight)
PS : I prefer the original
smash2707 (3320) 2006-01-28 17:38
I like the way the church looks through your wide angle lens. There is some green tone in you picture that I would eliminate and maybe I would have cropped the picture on the lower side, because the extra space before teh church seems to "push" the church too much up in the picture. It's as if there were almost no space above. The problem is that if you do that, you would need to cut the guy who's on the bike. I include a workshop so you can see how it would look.
Kenny10pin (19301) 2006-01-28 19:50
great shot here, I like the angle here and the sky, however t looks a little overexposed, but I like it
pierreb (110) 2006-01-28 23:08
Good pic and great notes. I know you don't like to fix the distortion but sometimes I like yo see the difference.Hope you do not mind.
kensimage (8561) 2006-01-29 15:03
You sure go on business trips to some interesting places! (Not that I can complain, having just returned from a week's business trip to Paris.) Are there still practicing Christians in Algeria, even after the civil war there?
This is a nice well-composed image. Unfortunate that the wide angle distorts some, but it was probably the only way to get in the whole church.
I think your crop is better than Yvonne's workshop, because the foreground people add a nice casual touch to an austere stone building. But I think removing the green tint helps.
rabdelnoor (3421) 2006-02-04 9:51
A great panoramic shot of this church with interesting architectural details. Very nice POV and good contrast. I like the tilt effect on this shot. Thanks for the informative note.
pamastro (7290) 2006-02-17 0:30
The noise isn't that bad. You could always use the magic wand on a sky like this. One or two clicks and you should be able to get pretty much the entire sky isolated where you can run NeatImage without touching the rest of the photo. You brought back the shadowed church nicely. Very good details are visible and the colors look good. There is a bit of a halo around the edge but not much. The perspective distortion and the wide angle distortion gives it a stretched out and towering look. It's a really beautiful building. The interior view in the workshop is a great supplement. And between this and removing the cast... I think I like this one. Even with the cast it seems more natural in this lighting.
fireflyz (2097) 2006-08-17 19:31
This building is beautiful and colors came out great! thanks for the informative note. I also like the distortion.
fserajian (2295) 2006-08-19 12:38
I love old building and architecture. You have chosen an effective POV, Ithink the saturation might be a bit too much as the road has a tint of blue. TFS
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2004-12-20
- Categories: Architecture
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 12-24mm f/4G ED, UV
- Exposure: f/8, 1/250 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2006-01-28 3:46