The Candlelight Tour of Historic Houses of Worship was December 26, and for the third time, I toted my camera and tripod to ten of the 12 locations highlighted on the tour. And, for the third time in a row, I was disappointed with my photos.
The first year, I discovered that my lens just was not capable of taking low light photos without the aid of a tripod. Everything was blurry. The second year, I took my lowest light lens, but it was of a fixed length, and so I was not able to zoom or get in close to any of the shots I wanted. Last year the event was snowed out. But this year, I was prepared. I had a new zoom, low light lens, and I brought my tripod.
However, this year was also the most crowded I have ever seen for the event. People were lined up to get into the churches, and once inside, nearly every pew was filled. Almost every location had special music: harpists, bell ringers, guitarists, or soloists. People were settled in, enjoying the performances. Therefore, I did not feel that I could really get close to the altar or stand right in the middle of the center aisle to get a wide shot.
So, even though I was greeted as a “serious photographer” at each church, and encouraged to share my photos with the church as I have in the past, I came away with some tips for those who might try to get photos at this event next year.
First, definitely take a camera with a lens that is capable of low light (1.8 or 2.4) and a tripod. Second, look for detail shots: the candle in the window, the hand bell next to the sheet music, or a figure in the nativity scene. Third, there are some good shots to be taken outside the church, so be sure to look for those
My best and final tip is to realize that if you are getting frustrated with getting good shots, just give it up. Sit down, enjoy the music at a few of the locations, and end the evening with a nice dinner downtown. After all, it’s the holiday season, and you’ll have good memories of a pleasant evening downtown, even without the photos to prove it.
“Life Through My Lens” is a travel/photography blog written by Cam Miller, copyright 2013
Email: cam.miller@comcast. net