I used the period between Christmas and New Year (and the thaw from the recent ice and snow!) to go with Karen (my wife) to the English midlands and photograph a further 5 cathedrals. There are 43 Anglican cathedrals in England and with the recent 5, (Manchester, Liverpool, Wakefield, Blackburn and Sheffield) I have now reached 35.
We traveled to Manchester first – construction of the church which was the predecessor of the cathedral began in 1215. The church became a cathedral in 1847. It has been through a long history of restoration and reconstruction, it was bombed in World War II and by the IRA in 1996. It is a somewhat brooding building. See the Manchester Cathedral Images here.
Liverpool is the largest cathedral in England and the largest Anglican cathedral in the world – it is truly amazing. It is a 20th century cathedral – designed by architect Giles Gilbert Scott, who was 22 years old when he won the commission. Begun in 1904, it was completed in 1978, 18 years after Scott died. The bells of Liverpool Cathedral are the highest and heaviest ringing peal in the world and the organ is the largest in England with 10,268 pipes. The whole experience is one of audacious magnificence at scale! See the Liverpool Cathedral Images here.
On New Years Eve we aimed to visit three Cathedrals in Wakefield, Bradford and Wakefield, after checking their opening hours for this time of year on the internet. Wakefield Cathedral was a pleasure to visit. It dates from the 9th century as All Saints Church and became a cathedral in 1888 – but it has continued to be a parish church over the years which gives the Cathedral a very homely feel. See the Wakefield Cathedral Images here.
Bradford Cathedral was closed (only open at service time on a couple of occasions over the New Year period). Instead we went to Blackburn Cathedral which is unique in its way. Blackburn Diocese was separated from Manchester Diocese in 1926 and the impressive church of St Mary the Virgin was raised to cathedral status. A building program from the 1930s to 1977 was undertaken to make the building suitable for its status as a cathedral. The two striking features are the large crucifix “Christ the Worker” and the lantern tower. See the Blackburn Cathedral images here.
Finally, on New Years day and on the road back home to Surrey, we visited Sheffield Cathedral. It is also an elevated parish church on a site which has been a church since the 9th century. The main body of the cathedral was constructed in the 13th century with modern extensions added in the 20th century. The current lantern tower design was undertaken in 1998-99 to add to the lighting. See the Sheffield Cathedral images here.
Have a look at all the Cathedrals in the Image Gallery of my Season Images site.
All the images are taken in available light – I do not use flash. This is both because flash has little impact in the cavernous spaces of most cathedrals and because it is too intrusive. I use 100 ISO for highest quality images which requires a tripod and remote shutter release throughout as most exposures are 20 – 30 seconds. Cameras are Canon 1D Mk III and 5D. Lenses are Canon EF16-35mm f/2.8L and Canon EF24-105mm f/4.0L. I use the very sturdy (but heavy) Benbo 1 Tripod. In Sheffield Cathedral they initially said that I could not use the tripod because of the danger of damaging the floors with pointed tripod feet which is a valid concern but they were happy with the feet on my Benbo. (The only cathedral so far which has not allowed the use of a tripod is Oxford – for health and safety reason !)