Monday, August 11, 2008

Photo of Saint Louis University Hospital Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri

Chapel at Saint Louis University Hospital, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - nave small

Chapel, at Saint Louis University Hospital (formerly known as Firmin Desloge). Designed by Ralph Adams Cram.

Chapel at Saint Louis University Hospital, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - nave side


  1. Beautiful photo...thanks. Did you take more?

  2. Mark do you ever get turned down when you ask for permission to photograph the interior of churches? In Europe some churches do not allow flash photography to protect paintings and textiles...our churches are not as old but I wonder if you have ever had any issues?

  3. Anon,

    I did take more! When I find the time, I'll post more.


    Some churches do not allow flash photography, but I don't use one, even though some fill-in lighting may be useful. But I use a tripod and very long exposure times, and have a technique which effectively adds in luminance to shadows.

    I've been turned down from photographing some chapels, mainly due to privacy, but once a chapel's rector asked me not to take photos because he was embarrassed by its unattractiveness. One church asked me not to post high-resolution images of its icons because they were selling photos of them for fund raising. I had to get permission for this particular chapel, since it is in a hospital and new medical privacy laws prohibit photography.

    In the old days, I used to sneak into churches during Adoration or between Masses to take a few photos. Nearly always, there are people in the churches, but due to clever camera angles they don't show. Nowadays I call ahead and ask permission, and I get lots of good advice as to the best times of day to take photos, or about upcoming renovations or special Masses that are photo worthy.

    These photos are now featured on a number of parish websites, bulletin covers, magazines, and on an upcoming calendar.

  4. Mark, again that (attractive) blueish cast -- is that the lighting, the paint scheme, your manipulation of the image? Which?

  5. Irene,

    I white-balanced my camera in the center of the chapel. Basically, I take a photo of an object that is known to be white, and adjust the camera so that the object appears white in the final photo. I didn't do any other color adjustments to the photo. The lighting fixtures have incandescent bulbs above (which have a yellow color) and halogen lights directed downward, which have a whiter color; this yellowness was subtracted by the white-balance process.

    I added another photo, showing the side of the chapel. Note the windows, which provided the blue light you saw. The lighting on the sculpture above the altar is dim incandescent, so has a very yellow color as seen in the photo. As far as I could guess, the ceiling is white and the stone is a neutral gray, and as photographed, these range from yellowish to bluish depending on the light source.

    If there were mixed incandescent and fluorescent lighting, the color casts would be green and magenta, which most folks would object to, and so I'd attempt to do a double color correction to neutralize both. Otherwise, I think blue and yellow color casts look fine and are rather natural.

  6. Your current color balance may or may not be "natural", but it is attractive, gorgeous.

  7. Thanks again for the photos and for dealing with the red tape involved with permissions. I work at SLU Hospital. It's nutty what the "powers that be" can forbid in the name of HIPAA (medical privacy) allowing a choral group from a local Catholic girls' school to sing at a Christmas party. :-)

  8. What is extremely troubling about the HIPAA laws is that so many faithful Catholics die without the Sacraments. Churches are denied knowledge that their members are hospitalized. If patients don't come into the hospital while conscious, they can't sign the privacy waver. If this was an unforeseen consequence of the law, it ought to have been amended a long time ago. I suspect there are some folks who like it the way it is currently.

  9. Mark, there is a difference between bureaucratic ineptitude and malice. Rarely can the bureaucracy get it together enough to actually act with malice, though the effect may be the same.

    If you confuse the two, you are in danger of appearing paranoid.

  10. I agree, the bureaucrats are just doing their job. Far more responsibility rests on those who make the rules.

  11. True. Trouble is, the ones who make the rules also are simply bureaucrats (perhaps paid a mite more).

  12. I was disheartened to learn a few years ago that the priests in my parish don't make many hospital visits. They cede the anointing of the sick to the in-house chaplains.