click photo to enlargeMost medieval English cathedrals are found in towns and small cities where they are still likely to be the biggest building for miles around. Even those that are in our big cities are rarely dwarfed by the large modern buildings around them, though the examples in London are heading that way. That this should be so for structures that were built several hundred years ago is remarkable: cathedrals were massive buildings when they were new, and remain so today when tall and big buildings are commonplace.
I was thinking about this when I was walking around the exterior of Lincoln Cathedral the other day. A circuit takes several minutes, and you risk a cricked neck or a tumble as you invariably spend most of this time looking upwards at the marvellous architectural details that cover its surface. The medieval visitor from a far-flung town, being used to buildings that were usually single storey and rarely exceeded two, must have found the building quite overwhelming.
Later, when I visited Lincoln Castle, and walked along its walls and up its tallest tower for a distant view of the Cathedral it occurred to me that the scale of it is even better comprehended from a high vantage point. From that position you get a fuller appreciation of its size relative to houses and other common buildings. I've taken this view of the Cathedral from "Observatory Tower" several times over the past thirty five or so years, and it is a prospect that is much reproduced in publicity material associated with the area. Usually the photographer chooses a sunny day with the west facade illuminated. I had to take what was available, but I'm not displeased by the bright light with a couple of sunlit areas. Sometimes you find that what you are given is more interesting than what you want!
photograph and text (c) T. Boughen
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/320
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On