Bubbles loves Bourges (Dennis Aubrey)


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.
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Canon EF TS-E 17mm f/4L

Canon EF TS-E 17mm f/4L

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.

Nave, Cathédrale Saint-Etienne, Bourges (Indre)  Photo by Dennis Aubrey

Nave, Cathédrale Saint-Etienne, Bourges (Indre) Photo by Dennis Aubrey

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.

Nave vault, Cathédrale Saint-Etienne, Bourges (Indre) Photo by Dennis Aubrey

Nave vault, Cathédrale Saint-Etienne, Bourges (Indre) Photo by Dennis Aubrey

This shot of the choir gives a great sense of the scale of the church with its immense choir and large double-aisled ambulatory.

Choir, Cathédrale Saint-Etienne, Bourges (Indre)  Photo by Dennis Aubrey

Choir, Cathédrale Saint-Etienne, Bourges (Indre) Photo by Dennis Aubrey

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.

Ambulatory, Cathédrale Saint-Etienne, Bourges (Indre)  Photo by Dennis Aubrey

Ambulatory, Cathédrale Saint-Etienne, Bourges (Indre) Photo by Dennis Aubrey

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°

10 responses to “Bubbles loves Bourges (Dennis Aubrey)

  1. Spectacular photos of a spectacular church. Makes me want to discard mine (!), but I have one taken from the southeast corner of the grounds surrounding the cathedral, looking to the northwest, on a summer evening, with a beautiful garden in the foreground that is among my favorites. The post also brings to mind the night we spent in Bourges when we slept in the oldest room I’ve ever slept in (on the second floor of a small inn a couple of blocks from the cathedral on a little street leading to the west facade). Memories!

    • Jay, thanks so much. No reason to discard your shots, of course because they are they keys to your own memory. We miss so much when we photograph, even on days like the one in Bourges where we shot for eight hours without stop.

  2. I love the names of your lenses. Thanks PJ. Almost like family, I would imagine.
    And beautiful photos of the cathedral, Dennis.

  3. Bubbles for President.

    What, you like Donald Trump? Buy your supporters here.
    Not on here, oh you get the point.

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