As a non-religious person my interest in churches has always been... hmm... how shall I put it? ... rather limited. But since my photography hobby got the best of me in the last few years, I have come to appreciate them more... if only as photo subjects.
So the other day when my wife and I went on a weekend excursion to Roskilde, one of the things I was looking forward to the most was to explore Roskilde Cathedral with my camera. Now, Roskilde Cathedral is one of the largest and oldest churches in Denmark where many important people from Danish history are buried, including kings and queens.
Roskilde Cathedral was built during the 12th and 13th century (according to Wikipedia), and while it may not compare with famous cathedrals of Rome or London, it's plenty impressive and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We were a little late in getting there so we only had about 30 minutes inside the church before they closed for the day. As we entered, one of the elderly ladies at the ticket desk told me to take my hat off. I obliged, of course, but immediately felt unwelcome and out of place. At first, I was afraid to even get my camera out and get on with the shooting, but when I did, no verger tackled me or grabbed my collar, so I started to relax a bit.
And relaxing was necessary, because I did not bring either my tripod or monopod, and like most churches this one was not well lit, requiring fairly long exposures for hand-held shots of about 1/5 second.
So first we have some indoor shots. The first one is actually not hand-held. I put the camera on the stairs leading up to the chapel and set it to a 2-second time delay.
The second shot is purely hand-held and shows the beautiful chapel.
The next one is a panorama made with my beloved cell phone camera. Normally you wouldn't want people in a church shot, but I think this father and his child grace the image and add just the right amount of disturbance in an otherwise very clean shot.
Another cell phone panorama. I can't get tired of those. Google+ made an automatic version of it that I kind of like, but of course it's a bit too outrageous to put on a serious photo site like this!
The below picture is an HDR shot using three exposures and denoised with Topaz Denoise, which I'm still learning to use. This part of the church is where the famous King Christian IV is buried.
Moving outside the church presented the opposite lighting problem: too much light. The sun was still high in a blue sky and created some harsh shadows that had to be fixed in post-processing.
Even my wide-angle lens wasn't quite wide enough to get the whole church in one shot, so the two first images were stitched together from two images that were shot top-down.
The below image was perhaps my favorite of the day, shot just as the sun disappeared behind that little dome.
Altogether, I was very happy with my output from that day. Still, we returned the next day because of some clouds that were hovering over Roskilde that I thought would add a little extra drama. The last one is another cell phone panorama.