Tuesday, November 17, 2015


The Basilica of St. Mary, in downtown Minneapolis, has the distinction of being the first Catholic church in the United States designated as a basilica.  Construction on the basilica began in 1908 and was completed, including the interior, in 1925.  It was dedicated as a basilica in 1926.  I visited the basilica during my most recent visit to the Twin Cities.  It is gorgeous, both inside and out.

I wish I had had a tripod.  The interior was very dark, despite the bright sunlight flooding through the building's stained glass windows.  As a result of the lack of ambient light, to take handheld shots without obvious motion blur, I had to open up my camera lens's aperture and also ramp up the ISO to achieve adequate shutter speeds.  Consequently, the images simply aren't as crisp as I would have liked.  Next time, perhaps.

Anyway, here is a "standard" shot looking toward the sanctuary from the back of the nave.

And a couple more shots zooming in on the sanctuary and the sculpture of St. Mary (I presume).

I thought the apse ceiling was particularly lovely.  Here are a couple of shots of that feature.

I wanted to get a shot of the rear of the church featuring its classic rose window.

The sun was shining directly through the window.  As a result, the window was essentially blown out, despite the software I was using.  My only option would have been to use HDR, the blending of a series of images identical except for the duration of the exposure.  That wasn't going to work without a tripod.  It might not have solved the problem in any case.  Not a terrible shot, though.

The transept behind the nave had an attractive ceiling.  Here is a photo of that hallway, followed by a shot of a ceiling detail.

A few more details: An unusual circular painting of Madonna and child.  The painting was perhaps 2-1/2 feet across.

There was some glare on the painting that I was not able to eliminate (no polarizing filter).  Here is a closeup of the figures, that highlights the artist's unusual style.

Almost Picasso-esque.

Here is one of the statues atop a wall surrounding the sanctuary.

I decided to convert this simple shot to a black & white.  I wasn't sure what this figure was holding, perhaps a quill pen.  But from a distance it looked like either a dart of a paper airplane.

The brilliant sunshine outside the basilica was in stark contrast to the dark interior.  The brass portal doors were distinctive, with each featuring biblical figures, mostly apostles.  This was of St. Andrew, apparently, a fisherman.

Finally, a full frontal shot of the basilica's facade.  No problem with adequacy of light here.  This was shot at f/11 with an ISO of 160, at an exposure of only 1/400 second.


1 comment:

  1. Such Beauty that you are able to capture of the gorgeous churches