I recently stopped off at York Minster, on my way to the Farne Islands, for a spot of photography. I gave myself a whole 3 hours in York before I had to hit the road, not sure why I thought three hours would be enough.

The last time I visited York was on a school trip, and back then the Minster was counted as a new build. Driving into York it’s clear it’s a city steeped in history, although the multi-storey carpark I accidentally drove into didn’t date back that far. After I found my intended car park (Monk Bar car park) it was just a short walk to the Minster. Even the small part of the city I walked through overwhelmed me with photographic opportunities and I knew instantly I’d have to go back and give it the time it deserved.

Entry charges and photography permission

I bought the combined Minster and Tower ticket, which was £15. I think the ticket also gives you unlimited entry to the Minster for up to a year after purchase – maybe I should have filed it properly.

I’d checked to see if it was OK to take pictures with a tripod before I went, but doubled checked out of politeness when I bought my ticket, seeing as the security guard seemed to pay me extra attention what with my large rucksack and tripod. I was told it was OK as long as they weren’t for commercial use. I imagine you can take them for commercial use, but additional payment would be required. I was asked by another guard after an hour or so if they were for commercial use, must be because I look like such a pro! I joke of course.

The Tower

By chance I arrived 10 minutes before the next tower tour was about to start, so I started there. The shot below of the stairs doesn’t really reflect how tight they were, some of the doors on the way up were even tighter and I had to force myself through some of them – not due to my weight I hasten to add! but because of my rucksack and tripod. Nice to see countless people had took time out to write on the walls. Probably the same people that climb mountains only to drop litter on them. Anyway, it was worth the raised heart rate to climb to the top. There are two sets of stairs divided by an exposed walkway, which is where the below shot was taken, about half way up the tower.

I was a bit disappointed the top was completely caged in, it felt like a hamster’s penthouse apartment. I don’t remember the Empire State building be completely covered, although I’m sure they have their reasons. There were a number of holes for you to poke a camera through and even though the sun was a bit high, it was a glorious day and I like the shots of the town.

It was also nice to hear the peregrins that were nesting in one of the far towers, unfortunately I didn’t see them. Talking to the chap manning the tower, he told me he’d had to clean up after them a few times – seems there were a number of ex-pigeons at the base of the tower.

Stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings

As usual I received a few funny looks lying on my back taking shots of the ceiling. It looked even funnier when a foreign tourist came and stood inches behind me whilst I was sat on the floor, preventing me from lying back down. It was like the time I sat in an empty cinema (sad I know) only for one other person to come in and sit directly in front of me. Must be me.

York Minster is well known for it’s stained glass windows and they are some of the biggest and best I’ve photographed.

I hadn’t realised before I went just how much renovation work was being done. It didn’t really impact my pictures, as most were taken inside, although there was some scaffolding inside too. But when it comes to photographing the outside I really want to go when the light is nice, maybe even some night shots or even with snow on the ground … I’ll keep my eye on the forecast this winter.

This brings my cathedral visits to four. Not sure where I’ll end up next, but I’m sure I’ll pass by another on my travels, although maybe I should also be looking at local churches, probably a lot of potential in those too.

You can view my other cathedral photography posts here: Norwich Cathedral, Lichfield Cathedral and also there are some shots of St David’s Cathedral in the gallery.

All shots were taken using a Nikon D800 and a mixture of 24-70mm, 70-200mm and 24mm tilt-shift lenses.