Long-time followers of Via Lucis might know that PJ names everything. We don’t have lenses with conventional references like “24mm tilt-shift” or “17mm tilt-shift”. We have “Shifty” and “Bubbles”. Bubbles is so named because of the convex lens for extreme wide angles.
The 17mm lens is a superb piece of equipment but can sometimes be overkill in the smaller churches that we shoot. The 24mm tilt-shift is better for those structures, but in a cathedral, Bubbles is king.
This is my lens of choice and the default whenever we arrive at a church. One of the shots that works the best is to photograph the vaults, in this case the nave vaults. Saint Etienne features fine examples of early Gothic sexpartite vaulting. Each segment of the vault covers two bays to create a square volume. Ribs extend diagonally across from the arcade pillars and are intersected by a transverse vault from the center pillars. These ribs divide the area of the vault into six parts, which is why it is called “sexpartite.” This form of vaulting originated in the Abbaye aux Dames in Caen and was the first form of Gothic vaulting.
This shot of the choir gives a great sense of the scale of the church with its immense choir and large double-aisled ambulatory.
Finally, from the ambulatory behind the choir we can see the twin side aisles extending all the way to the western end of the nave. This is a stunning view of the forest of columns lit by the superb stained glass windows that fill the entire space.
PJ and I shot a thousand exposures in our single day at the Cathédrale Saint-Etienne de Bourges. This is just the smallest sample of the interior, all photographed with the 17mm tilt-shift lens. We’ll follow up with a full post (or more) at a later date.
Location: 47.082032° 2.399566°