Report on Winchester Cathedral Visit

01 May 2014

SIG: Archaeology and Heritage

On 20 March the Society's Archaeology and Heritage group visited Winchester Cathedral. The group had been there in 2013, and just like on that occasion, the outing was very popular and we were very warmly received (see link here).  

A warm welcome - Reverend Gregory Clifton-Smith

The Cathedral is the longest Gothic church in Europe, and its oldest parts belong to the Norman structure built from 1079. The transepts are Norman, and the original nave was skilfully remodelled in the Perpendicular Gothic style in the 14th C by William of Wykeham, whose tomb stands in the nave. The elegant work at the eastern end includes the Early English Gothic retro-choir, with mediaeval tiled floor and many fine tombs and chantry chapels, and the Lady Chapel, added in the late 15th C. Apart from the tombs, the stalls (ca. 1320) are of particular interest, with fine misericords, and from later periods there are many excellent post-reformation monuments in various styles. The crypt, which is often flooded, contains a statue by the modern sculptor Anthony Gormley.

The field trip gave all participants a great opportunity to photograph this magnificent building and to see other photographers in action, who were using different types of camera in medium and large format, as well as the best methods of lighting.

We had a chance to see Ken Keen in action. Ken, who is visually impaired, explained how he sets up his large format camera and what he is looking for in terms on composition and lighting, and most interestingly, how he manages to frame the image despite being blind. On a later article we will explore Ken’s printing method.

Other photographers were using different film and digital cameras; Rodney brought along his Bronica SQ ai, Mario had a 35mm film Nikon, and Garry was using his Nikon D700. There were other members with DSLRs, Tilt-and-shift lenses and tripods of all sizes and colours.

I was finding it very difficult to get inspired, there was a lot going on and being new at this genre I felt I needed to take my time. So I decided to walk around and take photos with my IPhone! I know it sounds sacrilegious, but I believe that it is better to do what you are comfortable with – the quality of these images is naturally not the same, but it gave me a good idea of what to look for when I come back to do it properly.

Despite being surrounded by so many photographers expert in this field, I did not feel discourage or intimidated because I didn’t know how to do it: on the contrary, I watched them and tried to learn where they get their inspiration from and the technical sides of this particular genre of photography. This goes to show that it is a very friendly and open group.

Some participants stayed for lunch and it was a great opportunity to exchange ideas, experiences and meet new people. It was a fantastic day out!


Photos by Chelin Miller