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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

National Cathedral

On my last trip to DC I was able to get a shot of St. Matthews Cathedral in downtown Washington DC, which I had considered the best photo I have taken thus far in my short HDR photography career. Well, I think that has been bested by this shot. I think it is a combination of the lighting, colors, and of course, the 17-40 L lens (which helped capture all of the details). Another feature that I think makes this shot is the vantage point.

I arrived and took some shots from the floor when I noticed a balcony one level up. I asked one of the volunteers if it was possible to take some shots from there and she said it is not open except for special occasions, but there was a tour that was in the process of leaving that went up there if I hurried and join that. I jumped at the chance and went on the tour, which lasted about an hour and a half. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and I learned quite a bit about the cathedral, but to be 100% honest I joined the tour just so I could get a shot from a higher vantage point. The cathedral itself is built off center, so although this shot is lined up to the center of the back of the cathedral, you can clearly tell that the "center" moves as you get closer to the camera. The tour guide said that this was because the architects wanted to make the view "interesting".

The tour also went up one more level to a very narrow balcony, unfortunately there was not enough room to get up my tripod and get a shot from there. If the tour had been the tour guide and myself there may have been enough room, but with a group of about seven people or so our group took up almost the entire length of the balcony.

I hope you enjoy this shot, I surely do (in fact, it is the first photo to replace St. Matthews as my desktop wallpaper!). Which shot do you like more, this one or the one from St. Matthews, and why? Feel free to leave comments in the comments section below or my smugmug online gallery, which you can reach by clicking on the tab near the top of the page.

As always, click on the photo to see it from sizes ranging from small to X3!

National Cathedral


  1. Love this shot of the National Cathedral and the detail in the arches and ceiling are amazing!!! Both photo's are great but if I had to choose a favorite I'd have to go with St. Mathhews and only because I love the architecture of that Cathedral over National. Love the colors and the stained glass window and dome in the ceiling of St. Matthews. Both shots are fantastic though!!!

  2. Yeah, the more I look at this one I think I agree with you. The detail (and there is so much of it) is incredible, it almost feels like you could see something new every time you look at the photo. But St. Matthews did come out really good, even with the Tamron 10-22 lens. I think Friday I am going to go back and retake the shots with the L lens.