Thursday, August 28, 2014


This last week I returned to the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Milwaukee.  I had visited the cathedral last summer.  At that time I thought it was pleasant but not spectacular.  I have a bit higher opinion after this second visit.

Unlike the first time, on this visit I did not bring my tripod, so all shots were handheld.  This was probably a mistake, as the interior, as is common with virtually all building interiors, was quite dark, forcing me to increase the camera's light sensitivity dramatically, in this case to an ISO of 2500.  That, of course, led to more "noise" in the shots.  To some extent I could reduce the noise in post processing but at the expense of some crispness in the shots.  The other thing I realized is that I took different shots this time, but I have to admit that they were not any more interesting than the ones I took a year ago.  Hmmf . . .

In any event, here they are, beginning with a standard wide angled shot toward the front.  Note the absence of pews.

The cathedral is not especially large.  It is classified as a cathedral simply because it is the resident church for the Milwaukee archbishop.  But, though it is not large, it is quite distinctive.  And the primary features of distinction include the support columns, the side aisles, and, most of all, the crucifix suspended above the altar.

First the columns.

As I did on my prior visit, I tried to get creative with some up-shots.

I was a little sloppy with the first shot, but in the second I took care to have the decorative ceiling groining above the main part of the church centered between the twin columns to ensure symmetry.

I also focused on the side aisles.  Below is a shot looking up the aisle on the left.

And here is a close-up of the sculpture at the front of the aisle.

Here I was looking to capture the reflection of the sculpture and its setting in the polished floor.

I also liked the complexity in the two-story aisle facade at the rear of the church.  Here is a shot of the second floor portion that I intentionally left asymmetrical.

And another, wider-angle shot that I liked for the variety of archwork, as well as for the colors being created by the sunlight streaming through the stained glass window.

Here is another image that I converted to black & white to emphasize complexity of the various arch lines.  This is a bit overexposed, but I thought that brought out the lines a bit better.

The cathedral's most distinctive feature, evident to any visitor, is the extremely stylized crucifix suspended above the altar.

The circular feature above the cross is, I presume, intended to represent the crown of thorns.

Finally, here is one of the cathedral's several sculptures.  I thought this showed well because of the lighting.


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