Friday, February 12, 2010

Looking down, or is it up?

click photo to enlarge
Parishes with medieval churches have to make considerable efforts to maintain their old buildings. The religious fervour and wealth that produced these marvellous old buildings is not there to the same extent today. As congregations dwindle, so too does the size of the steady income that they donate to the church. Individual benfactors, often through wills and bequests, do leave money to churches, and a small number of parishes still have land and property that provide regular funds. But, on the whole, the situation is a difficult one.

Very large parish churches such as St Botolph in Boston - a member of the Greater Churches Group - have particular problems because they do not have the prestige and drawing power of cathedrals, yet in some cases are bigger and more costly to maintain than those more celebrated structures.

As I do the rounds of churches and cathedrals, gathering my photographs, enjoying the art, craft, history and culture that they offer the visitor, I often make a contribution. Sometimes it's a small donation in a wall-box, frequently I buy the brochure that details the history of the church, and now and again we buy a tea-towel, a book, or - where it's available - have a cup of tea and a snack to go with it. Such offerings and purchases are never going to be the mainstay of a fund-raising drive, but they're given in the hope that, added to the small amounts from other sources, they combine to make a more significant and useful total.

Today's photograph was taken as we warmed up with a cuppa in Boston's famous church. I say warmed up, but in truth the hot tea didn't have much impact on how we felt. As is sometimes the case with old churches, the temperature in the building felt as low - and maybe lower - than that outside. I usually call this the "cave effect" of churches because, like caves, these cavernous buildings seem to maintain a temperature that varies much less than one experiences outside. Which is fine in summer: churches are a welcome relief from the heat of the day. But in winter? Well, let's just say that if steaming hot soup was offered with the cup of tea they could make a killing!

Today's photograph is taken with the camera pointing into the slightly inclined mirror that enables visitors to admire the tower vaulting without getting a cricked neck.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 5.1mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f2
Shutter Speed: 1/100
ISO: 80
Exposure Compensation: -1.00 EV
Image Stabilisation: On