Don't stop now. Show us some more.
The smoke from the chimney is the only thing that I'd change. Now hearing what your goal is, I think you are doing Excellently with your work. I think there can always exist a very fine line between capture photography and artistic photography. The second is where you are residing, and I'd enjoy seeing more.
The stone texture of the building looks awesome. The only area that bothers me is the significant brightness of blue in the fence. I can see where it comes from, for there is plenty of blue in the original capture. I agree with OwlHarber about using a new layer, in this case, to isolate the fence wood. About the cloud and the chimney, it looked a little that way from the original capture. Perhaps some PS erasing some of the cloud pixels at the very beginning.
Overall, I think you did very well. As a science teacher and photographer, I'd encourage you to continue doing HDR. I teach my students that the eye has a dynamic rage of 10^12 power, yet the best camera can capture a small fraction of that. Via a three image capture in HDR, you can seriously expand the dynamic rage of a single capture.
I have used a TZ80 on a Baltic cruise. All shots were done in RAW, which the camera can do, and the results are very pleasing. Aside from my regular Canon, I think the TZ80 is an excellent 'pocket camera'.
Your 24-70 mm lens will be perfect for the cathedrals. You'll have plenty of wide-angle view inside the church, plus the ability to go up close to particular items, and the same for outside the cathedral. And as sited, between now and your departure, get plenty of practice. You'll be in great shape.
BTW, don't forget, when you go to the airport, you'll need to show your camera/lens to TSA, so don't bury it inside your carry on case. And definitely do NOT put it in your checked luggage.
Before we push the 'film' folks out into the pasture, I should tell you something. Where I teach, at Webster University here in St. Louis, we actually have a Photography school that includes study of film, as well as digital. That department also has chemical darkrooms. Like black-and-white photography, film photography is not dead.
Aflundi, I like your analogy. If anyone should ask my age, my response it to give them the age of my birth certificate, sitting in the file cabinet. I often add on "my brain, however, is not paying attention". By the way, I actually feel that way.
Because we travel ever summer, about 2/3 of the time we travel outside the USA, we thought the Global Entry to be a smart move. So tell me David, once we get our GOES card, are you saying that we should (somehow) have our GOES number included on our ticket/boarding pass, when we order the ticket online?
I teach college students, nearly all are older than 18 years of age. In my fall class, I will also have Photo Majors (I teach physics). For that reason, I always inform the class, and encourage the Photo Majors to join UHH. I've learned that several have joined, and compliment UHH for what they have read and learned. So yes, we have members who are younger than the Medicare generation.
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but as of this weekend, the TSA has reported a significant change in security, just now put into place. Our cameras and lenses must be taken out of their cases and placed in a plastic bin, just like a notebook computer. I'm reading my reply from the TSA that I sent yesterday:
"Electronics larger than a cell phone (more than 4 inches by 6 inches) are allowed in your carry-on bag, but must be removed from their cases and placed in a bin for x-ray screening. These items include, but not limited to, the following: *Cameras and battery power accessories, *DVD players, *eBook readers, *Laptops, *Portable gaming systems, *Tablets*, *Video game consoles, *Video projectors." Continuing to quote: "Placing larger electronics in a bin with nothing above or below provides a clearer image for the TSA Officers to review. You may place your electronics in a clear plastic bag if you do not wish to place them directly in the bin."
Now here's an interesting twist, and I'm still quoting the reply sent to me from TSA yesterday: "The new carry-on bag screening procedures, which require passengers to remove electronic devices larger than a cell phone, do not apply to passengers in the TSA Pre-check lane. If you have the TSA Pre-check indicator on your boarding pass and are in the TSA Pre-check screen lane, you do not need to remove our electronics."
Now I/we have an interesting situation. In April, I and my partner have interviews scheduled for Global Entry, which automatically includes TSA Pre-check. We plan to fly to Europe within the next five years. So, as of late April, we should have TSA Pre-check approval. However, when my boarding pass (somehow) was checked for TSA Pre-check, I enjoyed the 'fast lane', and keeping my shoes and belt on. I asked the TSA agent if this feature is available at all airports, and I was told ... no. Further, she told me that even if you have TSA-Pre-check approval, some airlines may not print that on your board pass. Disappointing. Why for me? We will travel to Canada this summer. I was planning to taking my Canon 5DII/24-105 lens in a small camera bag, AND planning to put my 100-400 lens inside my carry one bag. However, I really don't want to unzip that carry on, pull out the 100-400, re-zip the carry on prior to X-ray, and then repack on the other side. Since having a pre-approved TSA-Pre-check does not guarantee it will actually show up on my boarding pass, I will not take my 100-400 lens in my carry on.
So, my UHH friends, there is the latest, as of this weekend, from TSA. None of my comments are intended to criticize TSA, just the opposite. I'm glad they are doing what they must do. And we must accommodate those requirements. They are in our best interest. And as a pleased member of UHH, I wanted to share this new update.
The university where I teach is offering the latest Microsoft Office 365, complimentary to staff and students. Then I wonder ... if my 2011 Microsoft Office for Mac is doing all I want it to do, why replace it? So I haven't. Glad to see I have good company here.
Actually, the Queen Mary was retired years ago, and on the West Coast as a hotel. She was replaced by the Queen Mary II.
I have shot exactly what you are going to see, and exactly at the same time with total darkness. I went totally manual, lens wide open, and shutter speed of 1/60 of a second, and hand held. I shot both sides of the bridge (approaching, under, and moving away). I also shot the Statue of Liberty, or should I say I shot 'at' the statue, for I could not really see it. It was too dark out. At home, I was pleased that I captured it all. In fact, with Photoshop, I was able to recover the reflection of the bridge on the water. Queen Mary II?
James!! Hello neighbor! St. Louis here, live downtown.
I've used CS5 (along with BRIDGE) ever since I bought it. I skipped CS6, planned to buy CS7 until I learned that it didn't exist, but CC was the next Adobe offering. Like you, I'm very happy with CS5.
Here's another secret (?) for you. When our Secretary of Home Land Security threatened to ban all electronics (bigger than a cell phone) in the cabin of flights coming into the US, and would probably make the same ban on all flights out of the US, that would suggest I could not take my Canon 5DII and lenses with me. So, learning here about the Lumix small $500 camera that also took RAW, I purchased it. When we traveled in the Baltic last summer, I took many captures on that small camera. Upon return, I learned that my CS5/Bridge would -not- open the RAW files from the Lumix. What do I do? I had not purchased Affinity yet, but at my recommendation, a friend of mine did. Off to his house, pop the memory card into his computer, and 'Victory', for Affinity did open the RAW files from my Lumix camera. Hence, I bought Affinity. BTW, it looks just like Photoshop, and many many tools. And, once I do my post production (on my Raw file) in Affinity, I simply export it as a Photoshop files and...there it is, in my Photoshop CS5. My Lumix/RAW/not-to-open-in-CS5 problem was solved. Now, I'm intrigued by Affinity. From my favorite store, Amazon, during Christmas time, they offered the Affinity hard back book, called Work Book, and it looks impressive. Last fall, I bought an Affinity book via Amazon for my Kindle. Ready to laugh? It was all in German. Hey, I paid less than $10, so I'm okay with that.
And you are most welcome James for my posting about Affinity. I've enjoyed what I have read and learned from fellow members here, and feel I should make like contributions when the opportunity arrises.
I have another thought for you. Affinity. I've been using Photoshop since 2005, plus or minus...I don't recall when I bought my first version. I'm extremely comfortable with Photoshop. However my students mentioned Affinity, so of course I had to check it out. It actually sounds like Photoshop in its early days. I think I paid $49, at a time when they were selling it for 49 British pounds, and 49 Euros, get the picture? They were wanting to 'get it out there' at an initial low price. So I bought it. I have to tell you, I am more than impressed, and it accommodates RAW. I think this program is going to give Photoshop a run-for-its-money. So I recommend that you, any other member of UHH, to check out Affinity.