Friday, September 19, 2014


Last month I returned to the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist to do some photography.  However, unlike the first time, I did not bring my tripod.  As a result, I had to ramp up the ISO to very high levels to minimize camera shake, and the shots included quite a bit of noise.  I was able to tamp down that noise in post processing, but the overall result was some loss of crispness.  Earlier this week I decided for return, this time with my tripod, to see if I could improve the quality a bit.  I think I did.

Here, first, is a standard wide-angle shot toward the sanctuary from the earlier session.

And here is a similar shot from the more recent visit.

There are some evident differences between these two shots.  First, the earlier shot is a bit more color-saturated and shows greater contrast.  It is also cropped a bit tighter and shows more of the floor and less of the ceiling.  But what I could see this time around on close inspection was a lot less noise and greater crispness as a result.

Here are two similar shots focusing on the back of the crucifix from just in front of the sanctuary, the first from August, the second from September.

Again, the earlier shot is cropped a little tighter, and again the second shot is less noisy, more crisp, and a bit brighter, at least in my view.  And I think the wider angle gives a bit more context.

For anyone curious, following is a shot of the front of this most unusual of crucifixes.

Yes, the crucifix is not located on the building's midline.

Among the better features of the cathedral are the rows of twin pillars on either side of the nave, and once more I took nearly identical shots in both sessions, again, first August and second September.

In looking over the two sets of photos, I am beginning to wonder if I need to think more about possible shots to get a bit more variety in what I shoot.  And I will admit that part of my problem is my semi-compulsion to look for symmetries.

Another feature of the cathedral that I am attracted to are the archways on the second floor to either side of the choir loft at the back of the nave.  This time I do think I did a better job of capturing that feature.  Here is what I thought was the best of those attempts.

I thought this shot also worked well as a black & white.

Finally, one of the best statues in the cathedral is one halfway up the nave on the left side.  Part of the reason for its attraction is because of the neutral background and lighting.  Here is the shot I got from my August visit.

OK, I thought.  However, on the more recent visit, I happened to spy the statue between two of the pillars and caught the following shot.

This, I feel, is a much more interesting shot, as it brings the pillars into play and also presents a bit of intrigue.  There's a lesson here, I think.



  1. John: I love your photographs especially the black and white ones.
    I belong to a non-profit organization and would love to use one of your pictures of the art museum (from: on an e-brochure advertising a future conference in Milwaukee. Would you be willing to give us permission?

    1. Praveen, Thank you for your kind words. It's been a great hobby for me. And, as you most likely are aware, the art museum is a natural for photography.

      I think it would be OK to use one of the photos. In the past I have asked a modest fee for the use of my photos, but because yours is a nonprofit organization, I would be willing to waive that. I would ask, though, that I be recognized as the photographer by retaining my copyright watermark on the photo. Also, I would be interested in knowing the nature of the organization, how the photo would be positioned, etc., and which photo you would like to use.

      One more thing, I have posted shots of the MAM a number of times, and you might want to check out the following two posts also: and

      For a variety of reasons, I do not post photos to the blog as high quality files. I could provide you a better quality file for your brochure that you would probably be happier with.

      My suggestion is that you contact me directly by email to complete this. You can reach me at: