Old School Film Hack

Faith and Hellfire


Church windows — Old St. Mary’s City, Maryland (March 2013)
Sony a7 + 10-18mm

That’s what immediately sprang to mind when I was post-processing this image — Faith and Hellfire.

  • Faith… because the structure is a church.
  • Hellfire… because of the sky.

So, by that reasoning, is Faith on fire?  Or is Faith holding back the fire?  Or do they simply coexist… like yin and yang?

How do you interpret this image?  Something else entirely?

And before anyone gets offended and starts breaking out the pitchforks and torches, the lower image is what it looked like prior to post-processing. This was just a self-assigned photography exercise for me. I’ve liked this slab of a church wall ever since I first captured it last March (churches are a favorite photo subject of mine) and I’ve wanted to feature it in a post ever since then, but have hesitated because I found the overcast sky to be completely lifeless and uninteresting — and I’m not one to waste your time with boring images.

Longtime readers will note that the theme of faith and inspiration is new for me.  Indeed, my health issues of this past year have pushed me in all sorts of directions — both mentally and physically — and have prompted me to do a lot of deep thinking and soul-searching, some of which I’m exploring here.

8 thoughts on “Faith and Hellfire

    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      Thanks, Buck.

      I just checked and this image is the result of 104 individual actions within Lightroom, as well as 3 custom actions that combine several actions into one. All total — about 120 actions or so.

      I first got the wall looking good in color, then switched over to monochrome, tweaked the wall a bit more, then really dug into the sky — which accounts for 86 actions alone.

      This single image took about 1 hour and 40 minutes to post-process this morning.


  1. Natasha

    I love this image. The perspective/angle is very compelling…it almost looks like a brick cliff from which you can jump into the abyss! For me, this doesn’t evoke hellfire so much as the grandeur of a man-made structure meeting the vast, awe-inspiring natural world and the great beyond…


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