Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Photographing St Botolph

click photo to enlarge
A shopping expedition to Boston, Lincolnshire, when the day's appearance said spring, but the air temperature and wind said the end of winter, found me, not for the first time, pointing my compact camera at the tower of the medieval parish church of St Botolph. And what a tower it is. Many towns and cities are defined and remembered by a noteworthy building and as far as Boston goes this is the one. As I've mentioned elsewhere it is also known by the nickname, "The Stump". Its tower is an oddity of Gothic architecture. The medieval masons started building upwards and just kept on going. When you look at the layers that are piled one on the other it appears that a spire may have been contemplated at one point but then they rejected that conventional topping to the tower. Up and up it went until finally they decided to top it with a pierced, octagonal lantern.

Since that time "The Stump"
has been synonymous with the town, a beacon for ships approaching the port and a marker for weary travellers crossing the flat Fenland hinterland. When you walk around the town the tower rises above the roof tops allowing you to orientate yourself. Only when you go into the market place or nearby across the River Witham do the nave and chancel, themselves almost of cathedral scale but small relative to the tower, make an appearance. The classic photograph of St Botolph is from the town bridge. The appearance of a new "bow-string" design footbridge has changed that view somewhat and on my recent visit to the town I took a shot of the bridge and the tower, though not from the town bridge. Another photograph that suggested itself to me was the tower rising from the blossom of a cherry tree that grows in the lawned precinct immediately adjoining the church. However, the shot I took on Church Street, a location where I've photographed before, is the one I like best. It has the name of a pub - The Britannia - and a couple of promotional union flags, in the foreground, with the tower beyond. I liked the contrast of the bright red with the distant stonework.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 28.5mm (77mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5
Shutter Speed: 1/1250 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On