Monday, December 07, 2009

The moon-rocket of Helpringham

click photo to enlarge
The medieval churches of the area of the Lincolnshire Fens known as Holland are one of its principal beauties. Just about every village and town has one, and so do many hamlets. It's not just the number of churches that makes this district unique, but their size and quality. It would be hard to find a place in England that can compare.

The richness of the buildings is a testament to the riches of the region in those years, a period when sheep, and more particularly the wool they produced, brought in so much money that each settlement could afford to build big and beautiful. Quite a few of Holland's churches have square topped, embattled towers, but a lot of the outstanding buildings have elegant spires. Within this group there is a sub-group that feature pinnacles and extremely slender flying buttresses that give support (but just how much?) to the spires. One such is the church shown in today's photograph, St Andrew, in the village of Helpringham. Among this sub-group of churches St Andrew stands out for the optical illusion that makes it look like the pinnacles are leaning away from the tower that supports them. When you get close the church that impression disappears, but look at it from half a mile or a mile away, and the illusion re-appears and looks most odd. In fact, to my eye (and quirky mind) this effect makes it look like a moon-rocket of "Flash Gordon" or "Dan Dare" vintage is poised on the top of the church tower, ready to blast off. Click to get the full-size image: I'll be surprised if you don't see it too!

This photograph was taken from the seat of my car. Driving towards the village I stopped at the best position for a photograph, but decided that getting out to take my shot presented something of a traffic hazard. So, I put on my hazard-warning lights, wound down the window, and quickly got my image. Not something I make a habit of, but it seemed the best option on this occasion.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 70mm (140mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On