I’ve had the privilege of photographing some exceptionally beautiful churches during the past year while traveling to Europe and Canada. The exquisite Norte Dame Basilica in Old Montreal, the impressive Old St. Peter cathedral in Munich, and the opulent St. Mang Basilica in Füssen, Bavaria provided wonderful photo ops and venues for spiritual reflection. Yet my hometown Shove Memorial Chapel on grounds of my alma mater, The Colorado College, is one of my all-time-favorite churches.
I got to know Shove well during my undergraduate years: I frequented her services, attended school ceremonies, and sang bass-baritone in the College choir, performing Mozart’s Requiem Mass, Brahm’s Germany Requiem, and Hyden’s The Creation (Die Schöpfung), among others.
Photographically speaking, Shove is as intriguing a subject as it is challenging to capture. Austin photographer, Dave Wilson, points out in his recent contributed blog post, HDR Photography Tips: How Many Exposures Do I Need? that the required number of bracketed exposures is entirely dependent on the subject at hand. Shove Chapel has many dark, shadowy recesses and select areas of intense highlight, such as the sunbathed clerestory windows above the altar.
I shot the standard three exposures, +/- 2 EV apart. I’m fairly pleased with my post-processing results, but there are blown-out areas. You can lighten a dark exposure and rescue detail, but clipped highlights are not recoverable. I may revisit Shove later this spring and try a 5-7 exposure series and also capture Shove’s majestic exterior. Stay tuned for more. Please click on these photos for larger view.