Saturday, 26 August 2017

Rare photos from inside St Paul's Cathedral

This chandelier put me in mind of Beauty and the Beast for some reason...
St Paul's Cathedral is offering photographers a rare treat this summer - a chance to get inside and photograph the world-famous building.

Filming and photography are not allowed inside the building normally, but the cathedral is staying open late for a few evenings. Photography is not only allowed, but is actively encouraged at these events.

I'd been to St Paul's once before, when I was about 8 or 9 years old, but my sole memory of it is the bookmark I got in the shop on the way out. This time round, the whole thing was a lot more opulent than I expected.

A combination of the opulence, the scale, and that old photographers' friend, symmetry, make St Paul's a photographers' paradise. Some people may argue that allowing photography detracts from the experience, but I actually found myself paying more attention to the smaller details than I would have done without my camera. The nave and the crypt are open during these events, but the upper levels including the Whispering Gallery are not.

To be honest, I'm disappointed with how a lot of my photos came out. My camera had been working hard all morning at the London Zoo animal weigh-in (have I ever mentioned how much I love my job?), and I was struggling a bit with the focus.

The inside of that world-famous dome
Want to go to a St Paul's Summer Late yourself? At time of writing , there are only two dates left, and they're very soon (28 and 31 August). Tickets are £10 and advance booking is recommended, although there were people buying tickets on the door when I went. I also overheard a couple of members of cathedral staff saying that they may be doing similar events in the autumn, so keep an eye on the website...

Close-up detail of the organ cabinet.

Peering through the grates in the floor of the nave to the crypt beneath. Once people saw me on the floor, pointing my camera through the gaps, a whole crowd gathered to see what I was looking at. Most were disappointed.

The ceilings are spectacular - thousands of tiny mosaic tiles.

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