My wife and I had a little mini-break down in the midlands recently. We took a trip to Worcester, since neither of us had been there before, and ended up in the cathedral✻. It’s rare that I’m to be found on the inside of a religious building, but I do enjoy old cathedrals and churches.
Worcester cathedral appears to be in pretty good nick, compared to others that I’ve seen, with some lovely stone and marble on view.
It’s a measure of how far digital camera technology has come that, on entering, I simply whacked the ISO up to 3200 without any thought. A few years ago, on a visit to Canterbury cathedral with a D70 (or D200 – can’t remember), it was a matter of great concern to keep the ISO low and find ways of bracing the camera for the inevitable long shutter.
Then, noise was a problem at ISO 800; now, it’s pretty clean even at 3200 and above.
Whilst the light levels will almost certainly be quite low, the quality of the light is very amenable to photography. The thing to watch for is light bleed from the (high) windows on bright days (see the picture of the ornate organ below). Otherwise, you frequently get soft, shadowless light in some areas (behind the choir, for example), and strong, directional light in others (in the aisles and transepts).
When photographing stained glass, you pretty much have to resign yourself to losing detail in the surrounding walls. Underexpose for preference. If shooting RAW†, underexpose a little, but not too much. In post processing, you can bring the exposure down to get the window detail, but there should be enough information in the file to bring up the levels of the surrounding walls to get some detail‡.
✻ Entry was free, unusually for most ‘touristy’ places in the UK these days.
† You do shoot RAW, don’t you?
‡ The first person who even thinks ‘HDR’ can go to the back of the class.