Saturday, February 06, 2010

Photographing Aswarby church

click photo to enlarge
The church of St Denis (also known as St Denys) at Aswarby in Lincolnshire is a favourite of mine. There are many churches that are more beautifully arranged and proportioned, and it doesn't have the wealth of small architectural details and fine tombs that some churches can boast, but it is certainly both handsome and interesting. However, what makes it stand out for me is the way it sits in its setting.

It's a building that looks like an estate church because the village of Aswarby is nothing more than a collection of a few houses and farms strung along a bend in the road: and most of those houses are in a Tudor style and were erected around 1850 by the lord of the manor at the time, one Sir Thomas Whichcote. However, parts of the church date from around 1200 A.D., and much else is of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, so it pre-dates by a long time, the remains of the hall's estate. And it is this that, for me, that marks it out from other churches in this part of Lincolnshire; the sheep-filled pastures dotted with trees, the arching avenues with branches that reach over the road, and the remains of walls, ponds and sculptures that dot the fields. They make a pleasing backdrop to this fine church, and one that changes delightfully with the seasons. Other blog photographs of Aswarby church can be seen here, here, here and here.

My most recent visit to the church was on a cold day at the end of January when the sky was the clearest, deepest blue and the sun was throwing long, dark shadows. In theory the light was perfect for photographing the church, except that from my favoured position, using the road as a leading line, the sun was directly behind me and hence flood-lighting rather than modelling the architecture. So, I circled the building like a sculptor eyeing up his block of marble, and was pleased to find an image at this position towards the east end. At this point not only did the branches of the trees add interest to the boring blue of the sky, but I got a shot of the church that is very three dimensional, especially when contrasted with the relatively flat gravestones. It was a photograph that in colour was mainly green, blue and buff and I knew it would be better in black and white. And so it proved.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 11mm (22mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On