The Pantheon is by far my favorite structure in all of Rome. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same which really shows the genius of the ancient engineers. It’s also one of the best-preserved of all Roman buildings and it has been in continuous use throughout its history. Did I mention it was awesome? 😉

I try to make a special visit to The Pantheon every time I’m in Rome and each time I get closer and closer to capturing a symmetrical shot. So this time I made sure to arrive at open and be the first one through the door. With my camera all dialed in, I knew exactly what I wanted and where to stand to get it. Click Click and then, about 10 minutes later, the first tour group arrived—matching hats and everything. That was my cue to call it a morning and go grab another espresso.

Technical Mumbo Jumbo

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: 14-24 f/2.8 (Shot at 14 mm)
ISO: 200
Exposure: 1/5 seconds at f/4

Technique and Details: Digital Blending using 3 (handheld) exposures (-1, 0, +1). I’m half cyborg from my Mother’s side, so keeping still isn’t a problem.

Since I shot this handheld, I used Photoshop to align the 3 exposure brackets on import. The center of the oculus is made from exposure -1 and blends (from the center out) into exposure 0. Exposure +1 is used (sparingly) inside some of the darkest regions of shadow. Obviously it would have been nice to also have an exposure of +2 but I didn’t want to turn up the ISO too high while shooting. Instead, I relied on only 3 exposure brackets and balanced the highlights and shadows using masks and adjustment layers.

Software: Lightroom, Photoshop, NIK

Espresso: Kimbo but I forget which one. It may have been the red one. 😉

The Timeless Pantheon. A true marvel of ancient Roman Engineering.