This new schedule, Wednesday to Tuesday, for the weekly photo challenge, is playing havoc with my diary. With the old one we’d be told on the Friday, I use the weekend to plan and usually go out on a Wednesday. Write the new blog post on a Thursday. But that’s not to be, anymore. Nevertheless I need to get a blog post out so here goes. Wednesday saw me in Chester Cathedral. I’ve visited before but never with the camera so I felt it was time to rectify the situation. The cathedral has some great places to photograph. the Cloisters, Gardens, Lady Chapel and Quire Stalls to name but a few. So let’s start with the cloisters. I was hoping for some better shadows, but the light outside was just dull grey, so very little light was cast through the stained glass windows. It didn’t help that the cloisters were also lit by spotlights and those wall lights you can see, throwing a very orange cast over everything. Sure I can compensate for this, either in the camera or in post, but it’s one of those extra annoying things to deal with.
I have to say that in most of the photographs you will see today I resorted to using HDR and my trusty old friend PhotoMatix. Now there’s a piece of software I haven’t used for some time.
I’ve swung far from the straight and narrow path of straight photography… I’ve done some hokus pokus that would make the shadow of Daguerre haunt me for a heretic. – Anne Brigman
Wandering around the cathedral I found this room with very high arches, Same thing again, a lot of lighting, it was giving me the shadows and some nice highlights, but once again, maybe a bit too severe.
Still you work with what you’ve got
If the lighting in a scene is non-uniform or if there are shadows, the lighting will, in general, appear more non-uniform and the shadows darker in the picture than in the original scene. This is purely a visual effect having nothing to do with the photographic process as such. – Ralph Evans
Anyway, moving on. Chester, like many cathedrals, attracts lot od visitors, some come to pray, some to look at the architecture and stained glass, some to photograph it, like me. What I like is that during services, they ban photography and ask for silence, as a mark of respect, so I left my visit to the Lady Chapel until later in the day.
At the rear of the Lady Chapel is a stone monument, the Shrine to Saint Werburgh, patron saint of Chester. Originally the shrine was located at Hanbury in Staffordshire, but continuing Viking raids in the late 9th century prompted it to be moved to the church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. (Now the site of Chester Cathedral). During this period and before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 a monastery was established. Later, under the Normans a Benedictine Abbey was founded. Under the Normans the shrine continued to be a site of pilgrimage.
Then in 1540 came the dissolution of the Abbey, which later led to the creation of Chester Cathedral. Want to know more about the Dissolution Of The Monasteries, one of the most revolutionary events in English history, follow this link. Note this will take you to Wikipedia and open a separate page.
The Shrine was broken up during the dissolution and Werburgh’s relics were lost. In 1876 what was left of the stonework that survived was reassembled and put on display at the back of the main nave in the Lady Chapel.
You know I took so many photographs whilst I was here, this blog post could have been 5 times as long, maybe I’ll do a second one with another batch of photographs. Meanwhile,
Now this was really hard to photographs. There was a constant procession of people and it wasn’t so well-lit, so I was having to take a lot more bracket sets than I intended..and in everyone, someone would walk through the scene. So In desperation I dug out my trusty 10 stop ND filter and went for an extremely long exposure instead of an HDR. Don’t ask me the science behind it, but a long exposure will remove all moving objects, i.e. people from your photograph. Better still if you can get a really long exposure, in the region of several minutes you should be able to “make disappear” those who tend to walk slowly or stand still in your photograph.
That’s some nice stained glass so I went in for a closer look.
Well that’s it for this week. Just a few photographs from my wander around Chester Cathedral. I hope you enjoyed them.
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Last week I mentioned that I was changing the software I would be using for processing my photographs. This week I’ve changed the theme I use for Say It With A Camera. This will probably be the last post where I embed the photographs from Flickr. For some time now I have been worrying about the forthcoming deal between Verizon and Yahoo, who own Flickr. Verizon are a telecoms company. Are they likely to want a photo sharing site? I’m not so sure but I’ve got to start hedging my bets because if they were to drop Flickr I would have an awful lot of broken links on my blog. Just about every previous post would be without photographs.
So I’ve got to start forward planning just in case.Right then, Ambience. It’s been a while since I’ve featured any of the historic churches that we have here in North Wales. I like photographing them, especially using HDR and then in final processing softening the focus just a little. So here’s a few just for fun.
Many of these old churches are quite ornate, look at that organ in the photograph below. The design of the pipes, Victorian workmanship at it’s best.
A simple church in some ways, but the wooden rail is exquisitely carved. Look at the floor tiles as well.
This is a side area of another church. It’s a dedicated family area, not for families, I mean paid for by a single family, the local landowner and this is where they would worship.
Yet compare those churches above with the simplicity of this one. I know what I prefer.
That’s it for this week, here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge
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Regular readers will know that I’m very fond of using HDR with my photographs and I’m always happy to be experimenting. Trying new looks or styles.
This week I have been testing a new software with some very good results. Whilst I say “new” it’s been around some time but just not in the mainstream of HDR software.
Any way as usual I’m digressing. So where is my Happy Place? It’s got to be the Snowdonia National Park and if I have to be specific I’d say the Ogwen Valley and Nant Ffrancon.
In the panorama above you can see the Ogwen Valley with Llyn Ogwen to your right and Nant Ffrancon, also a valley, to the left. I’m standing very close to Cwm Idwal at this point. It’s right behind me.
Llyn Ogwen is surrounded by mountains but luckily the A5 road runs right through the valley giving easy access to the lake and the mountains. Visit here during the summer, especially at weekends and there will be lots of cars parked in the various parking areas set aside for walkers and climbers.
At the far end of Llyn Ogwen lies the drop down to Nant Ffrancon, which is almost at right angles to this photograph. Go left at the far end and you will be at Cwm Idwal.
In this photograph we are looking the other way. Llyn Ogwen and the Ogwen Valley lie up there nestled between the mountains to the left of this photograph. Cwm Idwal is to the right of the photograph, also hidden behind the mountains.
Can you see why I have this area as my Happy Place?
Of course visit in the winter and you will see things differently. This is the same road that you can see in the photograph above. Fortunately it’s not the main road. That’s the black line you can see to the left of the photograph about 2/3 rds of the way up. Where it meets the black clump of trees, that’s where the road bends to the Ogwen Valley.
Incidentally that’s where I got stuck on the ice. Even with 4 wheel drive I was just slipping and getting closer to the edge. Thankfully my fellow photographers where able to guide me back to safety. A hairy moment at the time.
Snow brings the wild ponies down from the higher slopes almost to the edge of the road. Although they live wild, I’ve always found them pretty friendly. Too friendly sometimes.
Water tumbles over rocks, I love to hear that sound, during the summer it can be just a trickle, but once the rains come or when the snow melts, it’s a different story.
Then there’s that bridge, I’m never quite sure if it lies in the Ogwen Valley or not as it’s at the start of the path to Cwm Idwal. One thing I’m pretty certain of. It must be the most photographed bridge and waterfall in Snowdonia. I’ve seen coach loads of tourists dropped off just to see this bridge……and they think they have seen the real Snowdonia
So there you have it. My Happy Place and I hope you have enjoyed it with me?
Here’s what others bloggers are saying about their Happy Place
This is a really quick post this week as I’ve been busy all week and suddenly realised it’s Thursday and I haven’t submitted anything.
This is Ogwen Bank on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. The river is in constant flow and the rapids can vary in size depending on the rainfall in the mountains.
Sunlight streaming through the trees create ever-changing patterns on the rocks and the river.
That’s it this week. Sorry it’s short but I’ve got a wedding to go to.
Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge
One of the reasons I like photographing old churches is that you see many intricate patterns in the floors, stained glass windows, the stone and wood carvings.
They often prove a challenge to photograph and sometimes I much prefer the simplicity of the simple old stone churches that can be found here in North Wales.
Photography has an amazing ability to capture the fine detail of surface textures. But far too often these intricate patterns are loved by the photographer for their own sake. The richness of texture fascinates the eye and the photographer falls easy prey to such quickly-caught complexities. The designs mean nothing in themselves and are merely pictorially attractive abstractions. A central problem in contemporary photography is to bring about a wider significance in purely textural imagery. – Arthur Tress
On my travels in Gloucestershire I found this amazing little 12th century. Quite simple inside with paintings of saints, coats of arms and hunting scenes from the 13th century.
Although they are simple paintings there are many intricate patterns to be seen but compared to the photograph from Gloucester Cathedral above or Tewkesbury Abbey below, they really are very simple.
I love the tiled floor at Tewkesbury but as Arthur Tress says it’s all too easy to get caught up by the intricate patterns and ruin a good photograph.
So I’m going to ask you a question…”what captures your eye the most in this photograph?”
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