St. Peter’s Basilica

First off, thanks for all the awesome comments on my Night Colosseum post.  It was an awesome experience and I was so happy I could share it with all of you!  Also, if you missed the shot from the exit of the Vatican Museum, you should check it out!  It is one of my favorite spiral staircases I have ever seen.

Today my mom is arriving from the states and in a couple hours we will be taking off for Sicily.  We are driving south along the boot, staying in the small town of Scilla tonight, and taking the ferry across in the morning.  There are so many wonderful things to see in Sicily, including Mt. Etna, Italy’s biggest Volcano, Greek Ruins, rolling hillside, and beautiful seascapes.  I am extremely excited and expect to return to Naples with tons of new photos.  Posting will resume next week on Wednesday.  Stay tuned!

Today I have a treat for you.  Here is an intimate look inside St. Peter’s Basilica, minus the tourists, noise, and confusion, all presented in detailed monochrome.  As you know, I can’t show you a bunch of black and white images without mentioning how awesome Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro is.  Now you can save 15% on every product they offer by accessing the Nik site here!  You can even download and try it for free for a while.  You owe it to yourself to at least do that! :)

So, when you walk in to Vatican City, beneath the beautiful, ancient columns, your jaw will drop.  It is pretty overwhelming, in the best way, to gaze upon St. Peter’s Basilica from the outside.  Everywhere you look, nuns and priests from different parts of the world are scurrying about.  Tourists surround you, all taking badly composed snapshots and yapping loudly.  But when you gaze upon the beauty before you, all that confusion and noise seems to disappear.

Getting inside St. Peter’s Basilica is completely free, and only requires a short wait in the security line.  Tripods are not permitted, and everyone must pass through metal detectors.  It is not really that bad at all.  When you actually get inside the cathedral you will be blown away once again.  The size, detail, lighting, and overall beauty is out of this world.  When you see the photos below, try to picture thousands of tourists scurrying around just under each frame.  I tried to shoot these in a way that gives the viewer a sense of peacefulness, observing this Mecca of Christianity as one, not bothered by crowds, noise, or other pushy photographers (I try to keep my aggressiveness to a minimum whenever I shoot :)

I chose to process these in black and white because I really wanted you to focus on the lighting and amazing details that fill the frames.  I was so lucky with the beams of light streaming in from the outside.  Weather was just perfect last week, and the mighty sun that was shining in to the cathedral appeared heavenly and divine.  You can see it in a number of the photos below.  Anyways, I will quit yapping now.  Please enjoy the photos, and click on them to view even larger – the way they were meant to be seen.  Even at extremely high ISO’s and shooting handheld, the Nikon D800 and 14-24mm wide-angle lens came through brilliantly :)  Enjoy (and feel free to share!).

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  1. Maura says:

    Adam, once again, you have bent the sunlight to your will. The streams of light give your photos an ethereal elegance. Well done!

  2. You’re so right about the black and white. They are amazing shots!

  3. Chantal says:

    The B&W makes it very strong

  4. Mark says:

    WOW what can I say, absolutely stunning work Adam, a joy to view full size.

  5. ken bello says:

    These images look so exciting in black and white. A bold move on your part. Very nice.

  6. Superb series Adam, what a place, you are very lucky!

  7. Rick Louie says:

    That’s some amazing detail! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Karen Johnson says:

    Fantastic detail!

  9. Joyce says:

    Adam,
    Obviously being 6’5″ gives you an advantage to shoot over all the other tourists. Where are they? When we were there 2 years ago, we could hardly move.
    It’s very interesting to see St Peter’s in black and white. The detail is stunning.
    Have a great trip with your mom.

  10. These pictures are so rich…even in b/w I can see the opulence! Love them :)

  11. Jan Winther says:

    Oh man Adam… These are really nice. I would love to have seen a couple of them in color as well – just because..lol

  12. Bradley Leon says:

    Thanks for excellent photography and wish your success in interesting journey.

  13. Henry Sean says:

    I think, you are very happy to journey at your favorite spots. Thanks for your nice photos which you have posted.

  14. Laurie says:

    This is why I love to travel. Absolutely beautiful!! Thank you!

  15. What an incredible, incredible architectural study my friend!! I can’t get over how dramatic these scenes are when cast in black and white like this. This is a truly jaw-dropping series, Adam, absolutely astonishing.

  16. Edith Levy says:

    You’re right Adam the B&W really brings out the detail in the architecture and the beams of light coming in. Amazing series of images.

  17. LensScaper says:

    Stunning images and some amazing sunbeams – ‘divine light’. This really is a tremendous series and I’m sure that the B&W conversions helps to concentrate the eye on the contrast and the architecture – sometimes colour can get in the way. Fantastic set, Adam.

  18. Wow Adam this is wonderful in B/W. Great light!

  19. Marcie says:

    Absolutely gorgeous in simple b&w. And – I have to marvel at how you managed to capture this without all of the people. Nice!!!

  20. Jimi Jones says:

    Amazing series, Adam!
    These are just stunning, man. Nice work.

  21. Joan Lopez says:

    just wow! these photos are perfect.. So breath taking, it stops my heart from beating too… I just love it! Your photos were taken perfectly, your the best! more power! 😉

  22. Rich McPeek says:

    Wow Adam! This whole series just blows me away! Awesome work!

  23. What an outstanding set of black and white images Adam! I always like to see such successful shots when they are handheld when we would usually be disappointed with not being allowed to use a tripod. I love the compositions you created.

  24. Andrew Smith says:

    Hi Adam, simpoy fantastic photos of a spectacular location. I’m very fortunate because my partner is a tour guide in Rome and I get to go there every year (the down side is that we’re apart for about 5 months a year).
    A couple of technical questions for you. Firstly, are the b/w conversions done through SilverEfex Pro? I’m assuming so as I was drawn to your website by the latest Nik newsletter – and congratulations on being selected! Secondly, how do you achieve the rays of light in post production? Can you point me to a tutorial for achieving this effect?

    Thanks in advance and keep sharing your wonderful photos. You’ve got a new regular visitor.

    • Adam Allegro says:

      Thank you very much Andrew! Yes, all of the photos were processed in Silver Efex Pro 2 and then tweaked in Lightroom after. The light rays were complete natural! I do not even know how to add them in when doing post production! :) I guess I got very lucky with lighting that day. I would love for you to subscribe to the blog – I post almost every day. You can enter your email address in the upper right column, and then confirm when you receive the email from the site. Thanks agauin for visiting! Feel free to share the blog with your friends and family!

  25. very sharp and clear in details, great work, adam. i only can dream to be there :)
    have you ever stitch some photos (verticals and horizontals) of the interior of st peter’s basilica to get whole part of the interior in a frame? i wish i can see it with shift-tilt look.

    • Adam Allegro says:

      Thanks!! I have stitched stuff before, but the 14-24mm Nikon Lens on a full frame camera is pretty amazing. The amount you can see is awesome. If the tourists were gone, I would have gotten some more of those types of shots! Do you have a blog? G+ profile?

  26. […] St. Peter’s Basilica – this is a magnificent study of this iconic world wonder.  Adam Allegro takes us deep inside the Basilica and delivers a most incredible black and white study of the breathtaking facility. […]

  27. Carol says:

    Absolutely breathtaking! I am a huge fan of B&W photography. I’m just beginning my photographic journey and can only hope to capture the beauty you have displayed! I will be following you.

    • Adam Allegro says:

      Thank you so much Carol! That is very nice of you to say. Please don’t hesitate to ask if any questions arise during your journey!! Feel free to subscribe to the blog! Ciao :)

  28. Annie Shoots says:

    Just finding these images now and all I can say is WOW. Thanks for taking me there Adam as somehow when I was in Rome I didn’t make it to Vatican City, which may be the first time any photographer has come to Rome and missed VC. This helps motivate me for next time.

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