Laura Cogan grants us an exclusive glimpse into her creative process and the techniques that brought forth this beautiful masterpiece.

Image Title

Isolated Church

How I Got This Picture - Laura Cogen

Technical Info

Film Used





Hasselblad 500cm


Hasselblad 180mm

Exposure time

f4 at 1/500

Other equipment

Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 tripod and Sekonic flashmate L-308S lightmeter


Snæfellsnes, West Iceland - the church is called Breiðabólsstaðarkirkja

Firstly, tell us the story behind this image. What inspired you to shoot it?

The shot was taken in November 2022 on an impromptu overnight stay at Stykkishólmur in the Snæfellsnes peninsula of west Iceland.  I love the rugged and almost hostile landscape of this area and have spent many a road trip roaming the lands there. The route that led to this little gem of a church was one I had not recalled taking before and so that is entirely how I found myself there at this time, precisely 12 noon on a Sunday in November.

I´d been following the road for a while looking for anything that might tickle my pickle to photograph and thinking about how I was never going to see anything but brown grass when I rounded a corner and spotted this beauty gleaming in the sun.  The sun hangs low in winter here and which means all the textures of the landscape are punctuated by shadows.  Perfect for the tonality of black and white film, the two sit hand in hand. On approach the gravel road wore wooden posts at its edges before gently curving towards the church.  This was the shot I wanted and the detour into a road unknown was proven to be the right choice for this day.

Did you come across any challenges?

The light being low also has its disadvantages.  In this case dipping just behind the mountain and so while the front of the church is bathed in light, the mountain is much darker.  I was afraid it would appear too dark and flat but I´m happy with the final results as you can see some texture in there and I feel it lets the foreground pop.

What process did you use?

I use a Manfrotto 190CXPRO4 tripod and Sekonic flashmate L-308S lightmeter.  I find the tripod slows me down and ensures I'm truly happy with the composition. The wide aperture accentuated the shadows and added a little depth.

How did you process it?

I developed in Adox Rodinal at 1.25.  I love contrast, the more the better.

What about printing?

I haven't printed it yet but I'm sure I will at some point.

Which paper did you use and what was your printing process?

Not yet but I'm a big fan of the ILFORD multigrade papers and find the glossy finish tends to accentuate the contrast I like to inject into images.