Cathedral Light

_DS83610I went to church almost every Sunday as a child – I didn’t have any choice. My father was the church organist and my mother sang in the choir. I was taken!

During the sermon, boredom often set in, particularly if the vicar droned on, and my eyes would roam. And if it was a sunny morning, they would latch onto a beam of light thrown by a window and I would watch it inch imperceptibly across the floor or wall. It was a game. I would try to remember where the light was, close my eyes for a while and open them again, and see how far the light had moved. Sometimes I would follow a blur of coloured light from a stained glass window, on other occasions the cross-hatched light from a clear window. I’ve always loved the play of light and shade and I still love churches.

Sadly in rural areas these days, most churches are locked –  for fear of vandalism or theft. A sad reflection on the times we live through. In towns and cities, thankfully, most churches remain open and if I pass one I will venture in if time allows. They are places of quietness and peace. Each one is unique. I still love the sight of stained glass, the architecture, the ambience of churches. And often I am surprised by something. The greatest surprise was when I opened the door of St Pancras church in London and ‘I saw a great light‘. click the link to see what I saw._DS83626The two images today are from Chichester Cathedral (about an hour’s drive from where we live now). It was a sunny afternoon when we visited and light streamed through the windows.

Diffused coloured light spangled the columns, while up high in the nave, light through clear windows etched a pattern on a nearby wall. I was back in childhood watching light portray time.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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26 Responses to Cathedral Light

  1. oneowner says:

    This is a beautiful shot, Andy. I also wish churches would open their doors more but I understand why they don’t these days.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Ken – and these images were really the result of a chance encounter. We were in the area and decided to pop in and take a quick look at the Cathedral’s interior. The light was perfect.

  2. I particularly like the first photo. It’s such a different take than most of what I have seen of churches. Beautiful.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Otto. I don’t recall seeing light on a column quite like this for many years. We could have visited this Cathedral on so many other days and never seen this effect.

  3. alan frost says:

    Excellent images Andy. I am so fortunate to be able to call Chichester and its beautiful Cathedral my home. Its always a treat to see the sunlight coming through the windows and casting their little bit of magic inside the building.

  4. I love looking at light coming through stained glass windows, so I enjoyed these photos very much. And your words took me right back to all those Sundays at Forrest Heights Methodist Church, where I’d look at the stained glass, try to count the holes in the acoustic tile ceiling, think about how hard it must be to change burnt-out lightbulbs way up there in the chandeliers. And, maybe, occasionally, listen to the sermon! Thanks for giving me a reason to take myself on a little nostalgic daydream!

    • LensScaper says:

      Delighted to have awoken some nostalgic memories, Melinda. Despite the boredom of the sermons (the vicar droned on a bit) days in that church community were the source of many happy memories for me. Life was so much simpler, safer and carefree.

      • I recently went to a funeral at the church I went to as a child (and where I was married); the place looked just as I remembered. I’m pretty sure I sensed ghosts of people from their regular pews…

        • LensScaper says:

          My mother’s memorial service was held in my childhood church and I remember thinking of all the poople I recalled and where they sat and missing their presence and yet somehow aware of it – just like you.

  5. ShimonZ says:

    I do enjoy the light of the stained glass… and yes, it is a terrible shame that we have to fence everything in, and nail everything down these days…

  6. John says:

    Two very nice photos. Love the color in the first and the controlled dynamic range of the second.

  7. shoreacres says:

    The photo you linked is one of the most remarkable I’ve seen. So much beauty, and a bit of mystery thrown in. These are lovely, too. I especially like the second. The patterning is so elegant — almost austere.

    It’s interesting that here, things are reversed. Nearly every country church will be open if you try the door. It’s in the city that things are locked up tight. Such a shame, really.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Linda. Yes, that old image was quite startling at first sight – I remember standing rooted to the spot as I tried to figure out exactly what I was looking at.

  8. Sue says:

    Lovely images, Andy! And I think your Sundays as a child did a lot to aid your way of seeing light for photography

  9. Lisa Gordon says:

    The colored light on these columns is just beautiful!

  10. Chillbrook says:

    Thinkin about your childhood memories. I can remember being bored, in church, visiting grandparents on a Sunday, adults dosing after a heavy lunch and the only sounds being their heavy breathing and the sonorous click of the grandfather clock. I think being bored is so important. It forces us to be imaginative and creative. I don’t think kids are allowed to be bored these days which is a shame. It’s an important part of our development I’m sure.

    • LensScaper says:

      That’s a really fascinating comment, Adrian. And I believe you are right – if someone is always keeping us occupied w have no time to day dream. I was an only child and I think that helped me to use my imagination and create ‘pretend’ scenarios.

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