St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City, December 2010

St. Partrick's Cathedral, NYC

28mm, f/3.2, 1/400sec at ISO 400

During the Christmas season, the wife and I ventured into New York City to see “The Tree.” As it turns out, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is right around the corner from The Tree and is quite the tourist spot. I didn’t realize it. It was a church. I always respected that as a solemn place, to be entered by those seeking, well, something religious.

Ah, no. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a tourist attraction that throngs of people can walk through. Sure, some are actually praying at a pew or lighting a candle over to the side, but the rest are walking around with their point-and-shoot cameras pointed at all the photographic bits of interest in the place. Make no mistake about it, there are a million great pictures to be taken there. I just didn’t think it was necessarily “right” to take them.

Inside St. Patrick's Cathedral

28mm, f/2.8, 1/80sec at ISO 2500

I didn’t plan on taking pics, but seeing that nobody else would notice amidst the sea of flashes going off, I felt more comfortable. I didn’t use my flash, though. And those pop up flashes on the point-and-shoots weren’t lighting up the stained glass windows a hundred feet away, but good luck explaining that to Joe Tourist.

This was the very definition of “run and gun.” I wish I had more time. I wish I had a tripod. I wish there wasn’t a current of people pushing through in tight quarters down the middle of the church. There’d be some amazing shots to take. Instead, I tried to frame up a few shots as quickly as possible and keep moving, stopping only so very briefly along the way to let the shutter snap. Stand still for longer than 1/60th of a second and you’d be run over. Yes, even in a church. Gotta love New York City, eh?

Stained Glass Window

28mm, f/2.8, 1/50sec at ISO 2500


I was travelling light that day. I chose to take my Canon 60D with only the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens on it. I didn’t want to tote around a heavy and expensive bag of gear in the packed city streets during the holiday season. It was one camera, one lens, and a strap to hold it over my shoulder. There were definitely times I wished I had my 70-300mm or my 17-35mm lens, but photography is all about the compromises, right?

It was darker in the Cathedral than these pics might show. I was shooting at a high ISO and letting the natural low-light abilities of the 60D do its work, combined later with NoiseNinja or Lightroom3.

At the end of the day, I like my pictures of the Cathedral far more than the pics I got of the tree in nearby Rockefeller Center.

Click on any picture to see it larger.

Inside St. Patrick's

28mm, f/2.9, 1/60sec at ISO 2500

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