Friday, October 11, 2013


The government shutdown during our recent trip to Washington DC required us to reevaluate our itinerary, and one of our alternative choices was the Washington National Cathedral, located in the city's northwest quadrant.  The cathedral, impressive both as to size and construction, is actually an Episcopal church.

Here are a couple of shots of the exterior.

And following is a closer shot of the dormered buttresses shown in the above photo.

The church features a large number of impressive stained glass windows, but I was particularly drawn to the following "stellar" scene.

And here is a detail from another of the windows.

The cathedral's skeletal structure was also impressive,

including pillars lit by the sunlight streaming through the stained glass.

The church was ornate but did not have the abundance of statuary typical of Roman Catholic churches. However, it did include a nice statue of Washington.

Over and above the complications stemming from the colored light coming through the stained glass, the lighting in the church created significant challenges for photography.  And the lighting for the Washington statue was especially difficult, so I finally decided to convert it to a black & white to avoid the problem.

I thought the gothic arches were particularly attractive.  Here are a couple of those.

In the first of these shots, the camera wanted the walls surrounding the window to be orange and the arch closer to the camera to be violet.  I had to work hard in post processing to calm the colors down.  The camera also wanted to "blow out" the light coming through the window, but again I was able to pull out some detail in post processing.

In this second shot I especially liked the lighting on the arching and how it framed the stained glass window behind it.  My regret is that I clipped the top of the arch.  There's no way to recover what wasn't included in the shot in the first place.

Finally, the church's exterior includes a number of gargoyles.  Here is one of those.

Note the face peeking out from the gargoyle's chest.  The architect was just having fun, I think.


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