Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Views with spires

click photo to enlarge
If churches had never required tall bell towers that could ring the call to service across a wide area then the builders of our cities, towns and villages would have had to come up with a tall structure to give settlements the vertical accent that we find so visually satisfying. Later centuries did, of course, have such structures. In the UK the nineteenth century brought slender mill chimneys, gas holders, the clock towers of town halls, etc. But, to my mind, none of these match the aesthetic satisfaction that a well-proportioned spire or tower offers when seen projecting above a ragged roof-line.

The stone-built Lincolnshire town of Stamford has several churches that break its skyline, some of them medieval. Despite the fact that many of the secular buildings are Georgian and Victorian, from several points around the town, especially the fields by the river and St Martin's hill, it is still possible to see the kind of view that A.W.N. Pugin praised and extolled in Contrasts (1836), and which must at one time have characterised many English towns.

Today's photograph was taken looking down St Martin's hill from a point quite near the old church of the same name. The honey-coloured stone of the buildings that date mainly from the C17 to C19 frame a view of the C13 church of St Mary, its broach spire piercing a blue sky flecked with clouds. This image is another plucked from my "rejects and overlooked" collection. It was taken a year ago this month.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 12.8mm (60mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/1000
Exposure Compensation: -0.66 EV
Image Stabilisation: On