Techniques and Processes 2B – Final Selection – The Landscape Photography of the Medieval Church from an archaeological and architectural perspective with case studies from Yorkshire – Capturing the Light


Aims and Objectives for Final Section with Analysis:

Any landscape photographer will tell you that in order to be able to make the most of your landscape photography, the light has to be just right. Freeman has written several books on the subject alone, Cornish is obsessed with it, Adams conquered the photographers equivalent of Everest to enable it so I am following humbly in their mighty footsteps. To quote Cornish ”as a poet uses words, so a photographer uses light.’ (1:2002).

My focus for the rest of my working professional career as a photographer and researcher must divide into two strands. To study indepth a range of churches and reliigous places in the Yorkshire Region through extensive research so that my photography can be informed and reveal both my own interpretation of a visual narrative and reveal nuances about the history, archaeology and architecture to reveal character. Overall, the objective is to encourage presevation, conservation and knowledge so that these beautiful buildings remain a landmark on our ‘green and pleasant land’.

Using a variety of techniques to control the amount of light that hits the lens is a difficult task when you have other considerations to take into account, such as the environment, weather conditions, the fact that other people may involve themselves in your frame just at that inopportune moment and patience to wait for the conditions to be just right. The ability to read the landscape and translate what you want to say within each composition you take, reveals something about your own personality. You have to be willing to ‘put yourself out there’, which means opening yourself up to criticism. The subject of religious symbolism and philosophy even from a historic, archaeological and architectural perspective is not always popular. Sometimes the mere mention of ‘religion’ has people confounded often with the results being negative or non-commital. The truth is that our ”religion'(s)” as a collective whole have a focus on our future simply because they are part of our culture and our history. Evidence is present on our landscape in the form of ruins (which have a romantic attachment) and parish churches have become a part of our landscape that firmly identifies just that. Without churches our landscape would cease to be recognised as the English countryside (and in a lot of cases our urban environment too).

My intention is to keep on documenting these historic and archaeological and architectural landmarks to preserve history and to show that they play a vital role in our cultural heritage. My aim is to use the skills as a photographer and researcher to create a series of images that tell a story overall so that we may answer the question: ‘Do we protect our heritage and preserve it for their archaeological significance alone?” Bradford and the surrounding district according to Ryder (WYAAS:1997) has been ”overlooked”. Here my focus begins. My lifelong project will produce editorial work based around my research and my photographic findings. The technical process as to how these images have been captured is given below. During the next few months I will be designing a website and reporting to the Tourist Board regarding my findings and presenting my findings to the churches I have documented so far. Only another hundred or so to go…


Technical Approach:

As previously stated, photography for me is about light. Nothing else exists but to capture it. That and my chosen subject. The way that light plays on trees, the way that light catches a ruin, or focuses on a particular symbol or stone has held my fascination for years, first as an artist and now as a photographer/researcher. My research informs my practice and I try to live in the moment so that when I take my photographs I am already thinking and feeling the research when considering how the light hits the subject. A more detailed analysis on capturing light can be found in my research folder.

My final objective for this and my future photography from a technical perspective is to get it right in camera so that I can do the least amount of editing possible. All of these compositions were created in camera without being altered in photoshop or capture one. A professional photographer should I feel use the absolute minimum of intervention in post processing. I feel that I have been extremely successful in this using this technical approach as it saves time and allows me to focus on my research and ultimately create a better photograph because a landscape photographer has to learn to choose the moment.

Chasing the Light:

Using the suggested methodoligcal approach by Freeman in ”Capturing Light: The Heart of Photography”  (2013) and Cornish’s ‘First Light: A Landscape Photographer’s Art (2002) I have used several techniques to capture light in my compositions:

Hard Light Graphic Geometry, Hard Light Angular Subjects (example: pack shots), Raking Light Facades, Raking Light sharpening the landscape, Reflections and refractions, Into the Light Blocking the Sun, Shade to Light: Looking out and beyond, Reflection Light: Mirror Smooth, Reflection Light – projected ripples, Backlight, Axial Light, Window Light – Classic Fall Off, Window Light – Streaming Sunlight, Window Light: Dark Space, Window Light: Managing several windows, Golden Hour: Basking in warmth, Edge Light, The Play of Light and Shadow, Chiaroscuro: Dividing and Abstracting, Light Shafts: Caverns and Cathedrals, Patterned Light: Foliage, Patterned Light: Windows and blinds, Sunstars: Sun in view and under control, Flared Light: Expressive Faults, Suffused Light: Coloured Windows and Awnings, (10-198:2013 et al).


daffodils in abbey

f6.3 1/640 ISO 100

Raking Light sharpening the landscape

view across abbey grounds

f6.3 1/640 ISO 100

bolton abbey

f6.3 1/640 ISO 100

in conversation

f6.3 1/800 ISO 100

Into the Light Blocking the Sun, Shade to Light: Looking out and beyond

at the lake

f5.6 1/500 ISO 100

in the distance

f5.6 1/250 ISO 100

Chiaroscuro: Dividing and Abstracting,and Sunstars: Sun in view and under control, Flared Light: Expressive Faults

Abbey View

f5.6 1/640 ISO 100

abbey view

f6.3 1/640 ISO 100

Raking Light sharpening the landscape, Axial Light

lake view of abbey

f5.6 1/500 ISO 100

Reflection Light: Mirror Smooth, Reflection Light – projected ripples

tge rustic bridge, fountains abbey

f5.6 1/640 ISO 100

The Ruskin Bridge (Raking Light, water fall, ripples)


f7.1 1/320 ISO 100

Wakefield Cathedral: Basking in warmth, Edge Light, The Play of Light and Shadow, Chiaroscuro: Dividing and Abstracting

looking north

f5.6 1/200 ISO 100

The Play of Light and Shadow, Chiaroscuro: Dividing and Abstracting (see below for arch image also) shade to light looking out and beyond

the warming room

f5.6 1/160 ISO 100

Fountains Abbey: Shade to Light: Looking out and beyond

river and abbey

f5.6 1/250 ISO 100

whats left of the all important gatehouse

f5.6 1/500 ISO 100

Reflections and refractions

the tower at wakefield

f7.1 1/500 ISO 100

Wakefield Cathedral: The Golden Hour: Basking in the Warmth

Turners Viewpoint the chantry chapel wakefield

f/8 1/320 ISO 100

Chantry Chapel: Wakefield – Basking in the Warmth: The Turner Viewpoint

stone celtic crosses dewsbury

f7.1 1/200 ISO 100 85mm

Desbury Minster: Raking Light/Controlling the light and the shadow

Dewsbury with daffs

f7.1 1/320 ISO 100 85mm

Bolton on the bridge

f7.1 1/250 ISO 100 85mm

The pulpit at Ilkley

f/11 1/15 ISO 100

Ilkley Parish Church: Window Light – Classic Fall Off, Window Light – Streaming Sunlight, Window Light: Dark Space,

view from the church, addingham

f5.6 1/640 ISO 100 85mm

Addingham in the frame

f5.6 1/500 ISO 100 85mm

Addingham clock

f5.6 1/500 ISO 100 85mm

Addingham: Controlling the light/fall off

Bolton in the distance

f5.6 1/1000 ISO 100 85mm

Bolton Abbey: Controlling the Light

The Mill

f5.6 1/200 ISO 100

Fountains Abbey: Raking Light/Facing into the sun – directional

Arches in sunlight

f5.6 1/250 ISO 100

The west range

f5.6 1/15 ISO 100

The Warming House: Controlling into the light

Angel Corbels on the choir stalls - Bradford

f/11 1/10 ISO 100 28mm

the first footsteps of saint aidans chapel into the cathedral - Bradford

f7.1 1/13 ISO 100

Bradford Cathedral: Managing several windows, and the play of light and shadow at Fountains Abbey (see above and below as examples)

Shadow and light through the arches - Fountains Abbey

f5.6 1/160 ISO 100

view down the south aisle - Fountains abbey

f5.6 1/250 ISO 100

the oldest remaining part - Fountains Abbey

f5.6 1/320 ISO 100

Using light and shadow

sunflare through the arches

f5.6 1/320 ISO 100


Huby's Tower

f5.6 1/320 ISO 100

Raking Light

View of Dewsbury Minster through the trees

f7.1 1/50th ISO 100 85mm

Through the trees towards Dewsbury Minster

f7.1 1/640 ISO 100

Grounds of Dewsbury

f/8 1/400th ISO 100

Side view light and shadow play - Wakefield

f7.1 1/500 ISO 100

edge – controlling the light and shadow at Wakefield Cathedral

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