Lichfield Cathedral photography

I’ve written before about how cathedral interiors are great places to photograph when the weather’s bad. It’s something I normally only think of doing when I’m away, so I don’t have a wasted day, but with some spare time and the discovery of cobwebs on my camera, I thought I’d head over to Lichfield to photograph their cathedral.

History

Lichfield Cathedral is the only three spired cathedral in England. The first cathedral in Lichfield dates back to 700AD, the Norman invasion of 1066 saw a new cathedral built, which was again rebuilt around 100 years later in the Gothic style. The English civil war took its toll on the cathedral as it made, with it’s surrounding wall, an ideal garrison site for the Royalists and then the Roundheads. The 19th century saw the the cathedral ‘restored’ it to what you see today. Over 160 statues adorn the outside. They’re a mix of various kings, queens and saints. The amount of work that must have gone into creating them is hard to comprehend.

The plan

As usual I didn’t really have one. I don’t like to be too swayed by what others have photographed, I prefer to just wander around and photograph what takes my eye. I knew they didn’t mind you using a tripod so that was good, St David’s cathedral in Pembrokeshire ask you to buy a photographer’s pass in order to use one, Lichfield, like Norwich just ask if you’d like to make a donation. I didn’t realise how popular the cathedral is, even on a wet and drab day there were plenty of visitors, but given time the numbers dropped enough to take some shots with no one in them.

The cathedral interior

All the interior shots were taken using a Nikon 24mm tilt-shift lens. It’s quite a specialist lens, so I don’t use it all that often, but it’s good for when you want to control the perspective in your shots. You can also stitch panoramic shots together by shifting the lens and not the camera, great for those floor to ceiling shots, as shown in the above image. I’ve also uploaded a high resolution version so you can explore it in greater detail – click here. All the images were taken using aperture priority at f/11, ISO 100. I also used a remote shutter release and mirror lock-up to reduce camera shake.

The cathedral exterior

Once a heavy shower had passed, and I’d finished shooting the interior, I headed outside to photograph some detail images of statues. I was looking for shapes, patterns and symmetry in the building. I particularly liked the weathered stone with its tinges of green lichen. All these detailed shots were taken using a Nikon 24-70mm lens and handheld.

The final shot of the entire cathedral was taken using a Nikon 16-35mm lens, it was really just a snap, but by the time I’d processed it and corrected the converging verticals using the adaptive wide angle filter in Photoshop I actually quite like it.

I’ve now visited Lichfield, Norwich and St David’s cathedrals, I’m not sure where I’ll end up next but York Minster looks pretty impressive!

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