Faith and Photography

There is something about a religious building that I just feel a kinship with. Old churches, ruins etc just seem to have an air of peace about them. I guess that is why I like Fountains Abbey so much. The Cellarium is just so peaceful, I can almost breathe it in.

For most Mormons, the temple is the most significant building of our faith and it is a place I love to visit when passing, simply to soak up the atmosphere. The Preston Temple is actually located in Chorley, roughly 10 miles south of Preston in Lancashire. It’s a simple, bold and somewhat plain building when compared to some of the other temples the church has built, but the design suits the grim and beautiful countryside that is Lancashire.

Photographing the temple has always been problematic. To get the whole building into shot, you need an ultra wide angle lens, and with the landscaping of the grounds, there are only a few angles you can capture. certainly none that are unique. It may have been done before, and it may have been done better, but I hadn’t taken a good shot of it before, so it was my turn.

The Preston Temple

The light wasn’t great and although the sky was clear, there was a dull edge to it. (Ironically, as I was passing earlier that morning, there was fantastic, bright and crisp light, but I was on my way to a meeting and running late, so had to wait until my way home. Typical!) I bracketed my exposures and combined them in Picturenaut, thus creating my very first HDR pic. Probably should have added a couple more to extend the range, but it worked out. Certainly something I want to try again.

Courtyard Lights

Having shot the typical, I walked around and started looking for the detail that might offer something unique. The lights of the courtyard in front of the temple offer a nice composition, but as I walked around, suddenly the sun started to let loose and the side of the building reflected the surrounding trees. I love this shot and black & white suits it perfectly.


My favourite image of the day was one of the first ones I took, which is of the gate. I love the colours on this; the soft sand colours of the plants behind the metallic effects of the gate. The plants are just blurred enough that it’s almost like looking through a window.


I managed about 45 minutes before the freezing cold started to bite, but it was well worth it. I came away feeling refreshed from a little time where my faith and photography came together. I like it when that happens.


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