Dennis’ Chartres (Dennis Aubrey)


Now please don’t think that I’m jealous of PJ or anything, but I’ve just realized that we’ve done two posts on her photos of the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Chartres and none on mine! It’s not like I wasn’t there – who was it locked in the underground crypt with her? Who was it who struggled up the hundreds of steps of the circular staircase while carrying the equipment? Well, okay, PJ carried the case, but I carried my camera and tripod! And just who was it that risked life and limb on the great roof of Chartres in the thunderstorm while PJ was safe and sound on her tiny little ledge 80 feet above the stone floor of the cathedral, leaning out to get her shots?

Well, I was there, and here’s proof – me chimping on the roof! PJ used her iPhone to take this shot (Drat, she got her shot in my post).

Dennis on the roof of the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Chartres (Eure) Photo by PJ McKey

Okay, maybe I’m a little jealous, but here are some of my shots. Shots that I took.

Ambulatory, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Chartres (Eure) Photo by Dennis Aubrey

This shot was taken of the dangerous, dizzying heights of the nave vault while I balanced precariously on my chair on the floor below.

Quadripartite nave vault, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Chartres (Eure) Photo by Dennis Aubrey

It was a miracle that I got this next shot – risking life and limb yet again while dodging the herds of predatory tourists intent on getting to the labyrinth on a Friday morning.

South side aisle, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Chartres (Eure) Photo by Dennis Aubrey

So now you know, I was there, too. Whew, glad I got that out of my system. (Did I mention risking life and limb?)

By the way, one of these shots was selected for the Photo Lord contest on March 4.

Location: 48.447778° 1.487887°

16 responses to “Dennis’ Chartres (Dennis Aubrey)

    • This is the actual Gothic cathedral in Chartres. Someday you should go there and some of the other great churches in Europe. This site is about photographing these structures, which we love passionately. And they were built with human muscle and more importantly, human imagination. Thanks for writing!

      • The churches in France are owned by the State, having been nationalized during the French Revolution, but they are still used for religious services. In the case of Notre Dame de Chartres, there is a museum next door and there are wonderful resources in the Cathedral itself. Malcolm Miller has been giving tours “reading” the stained glass windows for decades. Well worth taking his tour when you go.

  1. Dennis, now that you got it “out of your system,” we all benefit from seeing your wonderful photographs of Chartres. The view of the ambulatory seems to show the portion of the cathedral which has already been cleaned, while the view down the south aisle still seems to show the yet to be cleaned area. Is it actually the case?
    Your shot of the nave vaulting is so exquisite! Amiens might be the only cathedral that may give you even more exquisite vaulting. Incidentally, both cathedrals have quadripartite vaults, don’t they?
    Jong-Soung

    • Jong-Soung, actually the only part of the cathedral interior that has been completely cleaned is the choir on the inside of the ambulatory. It is almost gleaming white. This ambulatory shot is, in reality, extremely dark. As for the vaulting shots, I love shooting those. This vault is quadripartite, not sexpartite, as I mislabeled the caption on the photo. Thanks for your comments; it is a pleasure talking with someone who understands the churches and realizes how remarkable they truly are.

  2. In looking at the photos on your site, I marvel at the technical challenges you have to overcome. You manage to get great depth of field in low-light situations, which isn’t easy. But then I remind myself not to get hung up on f-stops and glass, and just admire the beauty of the images.

    You undoubtedly have a long list of churches you hope to photograph someday; one that might be of interest to you is St. Stephen’s in Vienna, which was built in the 12th century, and then rebuilt following World War II.

    I’ll be looking in from time to time on your impressive photographs. Thanks!

    • Tom, thanks for your kind words on our photographs. There are many technical challenges to the images, but we have developed a number of ways to address them. The key is long exposures, which means good glass and good tripods, using remotes instead of hand-clicking, and above all, patience. I spend an inordinate amount of time waiting for the light to change, waiting for people to leave the shot, waiting for yet another 30 second exposure.

      Thanks for the heads-up on Saint Stephen’s in Vienna. We’ll put that on the list. We keep a database of churches on Google Earth, and it keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s a wonderful thing to know what you will be doing for the rest of your life 🙂

  3. I will be at Chartres this fall. Planning on using Sony a900, Zeiss 24-70 zoom and Minolta 20mm, as well as good tripod, remote release. Any other tips? I love your photos.

    • The Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom will perform very well for you, great lens. Don’t know the Minolta 20mm, although a lens that wide is always welcome in a cathedral like Chartres. Have never used the Sony a900, but know it is a great camera. You’ve identified the remote release, which can be important, so I can’t see anything that you’ve missed. The only thing that you are missing is a tilt-shift lens, but not sure that the Sony line offers one.

      Have a great time shooting there, Chartres is truly magnificent. BTW, if you take a look at PJ’s shots at Chartres, they were all taken with the Canon 24mm f3.5 TSE LII tilt-shift.

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