Detail of the Sultanahmet Mosque, or Blue Mosque, in Istanbul.
Architectural features in the courtyard of the Sultanahmet Mosque (or Blue Mosque) in Istanbul, completed in 1616 and designed by a disciple of the great architect Mimar Sinan.
Muslim visitors contemplate a picture of Mecca in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Mosque.
Hidden for years under the streets of Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet district, the waters of the Basilica Cistern lapped undisturbed against the base of Corinthian marble columns. This Byzantine-era engineering feat was lost to public knowledge when the city was taken over by the Ottoman Turks, and remained unknown until citizens of the modern Turkish republic reported catching fish through holes in their basements. That was just a few decades ago; today carp still swim through the water at the base of the pillars.
This scene was pretty difficult to photograph because there is very low light underground in the cistern, and tripods are not allowed. Still, I wanted a DOF that would bring all the columns into focus. In the end, I balanced the camera on top of a railing, underexposed by maybe half a stop to match the actual lighting, and set the self-timer for a 20 second exposure. Fortunately, there weren’t too many people around to shake the railing. I got really ambitious after that and tried to bracket three exposures for an HDR image, but that didn’t work out so well.
Canon EOS Rebel XTi, ISO-400, Tv=20 sec., f/13.0