Lausanne Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame) is a classic example of Gothic architecture—and it’s the last remaining cathedral with a night watch. Each night, the watchman walks to the top of the tower every hour on the hour to announce the time (during medieval times, this was necessary to prevent the threat of devastating fires in the city). The cathedral has beautiful barrel-vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows, and fabulous stone carvings on the exterior entrances. Although those are important to note, each one of these unique features is not a terribly interesting photograph.
After spending some time inside the building, I had gone outside to try to photograph the tower when I noticed how beautiful the entry hall was, particularly when someone would enter or exit the building. The light that came streaming through the heavy wooden doors created a space for your eye to rest, and having a person in the frame, although slightly blurry from the shutter speed, was a wonderful way to show scale. The added bonus is the colorful window above the doors, which makes up for the monochromatic lines of the columns along the hall.
Photo Tips: Keep in mind that the best picture may be behind you! Mixing light sources can be a way to add interest to an image, and including people in the shot is always a great way to show scale. When shooting in a place of worship, be aware of people’s privacy and be as quiet as possible. Some newer DSLR cameras have a silent-shutter mode, which is very useful in these situations. Regardless, be sure to turn off your flash and any sound that your camera might make, such as the focus beep.
Photographed with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-105mm, f/4L IS USM lens. Camera settings: 1.6 sec.; f/5.6; ISO100.
See more photos by Susan Seubert on Instagram at @susanseubert.