• Olly

Preston England Temple, Chorley, Lancashire, UK

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

Every day I drive along the B6228 on my way to and from work, and as you drive over the brow, leaving Botany Bay, and look left your gaze will pass over the commuter mayhem of the M61 and will land inevitably on the local landmark that is the Preston England Temple.

I've had my eye on photographing it for a long while now, but for one reason or another I've never managed it. Winter can provide some amazing sunrises, as well as sunsets, and we've seen a couple of spectacular ones over the past week or so. About a week ago, I loaded up the Photographer's Ephemeris app, to see when the sun would next set behind the temple from the brow, to discover it's not due until Monday 22nd March when it'll be at 6.28pm - a bit late in the day really. I therefore planned to head up on Sunday evening if lockdowns are over! However, tonight would be one of those "oh wow!" moments...

A photograph showing the sun setting with Preston England Temple silhouetted against the vibrant sky.
The sun was already low when I arrived!

After finishing a bout of training after work today, I was later setting off back home than usual. Currently there are some temporary works on the road, plonking me in a queue at the lights, when I glanced over to the right to see the sun was almost perfectly in line with the Temple. The later time setting off meant it coincided beautifully with the 5:09 pm sunset! Result!

I know from driving the road many times with a view to getting this photograph that there is a blocked off turning on the road, 200m further on from where I was sitting in traffic. Bonus! My mind set, I parked up, grabbed my hat, coat, tripod and camera bag and swiftly went back up the road to the vantage point.

I opened the tripod legs as I approached the spot I knew I'd be shooting from, as there was only a few minutes until the sun would drop behind the low clouds and framed my shot. the Temple might be 159ft tall, but it was give or take a kilometre away. My 70-200mm lens was still a little wider than I'd hoped, so a bit of post processing cropping would be needed.

I metered the scene using the camera's spot meter and released the shutter. I had a ball park as to where to go, but with time running out I decided to bracket my shots, with the possible intention of merging them in Lightroom when I got home (which I ended up doing)

A screenshot showing Lightroom merging 5 photographs to make an HDR photograph
The five bracketed shots being merged to an HDR image

With a base exposure of 1/40, at f14 and ISO 100 I bracketed 5 shots and merged them in Lightroom. Due to the intense light and the shadow of the Temple's steeple, I didn't use any de-ghost adjustments.

A screenshot showing the HDR window in Lightroom
HDR window

As you can see from the second screenshot above, the image is now quite flat but it does have more detail in the steeple. A few more quick adjustments will fix that.

A screenshot showing a digital sensor spot about to be cloned out in Photoshop
The sensor spot on the right

Next, I adjusted the contrast, to give the image a bit more punch, and cloned out a sensor spot that had appeared. Finally, I decided to clone out the small black cloud on the right hand side of the frame, along with the lights shining through the trees in the bottom of the image. A couple of final adjustments, such as sharpening and we have the final image!

Plug: Help me and my growing family: You can purchase a beautiful high quality print of the Preston England Temple by clicking on the photograph above.

Thanks for reading, and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


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