Following in the footsteps of Harry Potter…

Last week I took advantage of a work trip to Gloucester to check out the cathedral there… I had decided I’d do a bit of HDR photography while I was there so I’d gone prepared with camera gear in tow.

I bought my photography pass from the cathedral shop and discovered I wasn’t the only one  there with my tripod out. (Although I did notice I was the only female photographer!) I exclusively used my wide angle lens while I was there – a decision I made based on the look of converging lines I wanted to achieve in my pictures. For each scene I decided to photograph, I took 5 bracketed exposures (the longest was more than 20 seconds) and then later merged them in a software programme called Photomatrix. I got a bit overwhelmed with the options available in the software but settled on black and white with an emphasis on sharpness and clarity. I though this best brought out the lines and shapes of the cathedral.  In hindsight, I wish I’d taken my automatic shutter release to avoid camera shake when I was pressing the shutter as  I realised that I couldn’t use the timer at the same time as the bracketing function on the camera so that’s a lesson for next time.

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An interesting fact about the cathedral was that the cathedral cloisters were transformed into the corridors of Hogwarts School for the first two Harry Potter films. For this reason and because of the fact that the cloisters were so beautiful and quiet, I spent most of my time there.

I learned that all modern things in the cathedral (such as signs, locks and electrics) had to be disguised under panels painted to look like the stone walls and that anything that would give away the set as a church had to disappear. One window has figures of Adam and Eve, and they were given clothes and even the trademark Harry Potter ‘lightning flash’ on their foreheads! There are nearly 100 tombstones on the cloister floors which were covered with roofing felt, which was then painted, marked, polished, varnished and made to look faded to match the rest of the stone-flagged floor.

I enjoyed the time in the cathedral and I think I achieved what I set out to achieve with my pictures. And ticking the cathedral off the list of Harry Potter attractions I’ve visited will stand me in good stead for our visit from the first of this year’s Canadian’s (the Godin’s) who are coming in July and with whom I’m taking in the Harry Potter Studio tour!