Work started on Durham Cathedral in 1093, during the reign of King William II. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Europe and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. It is also the Shrine of St Cuthbert, whose relics are kept here after being moved from nearby Lindisfarne.
Once again, I was commissioned to shoot the location by Visit Britain as part of their “Britain Is Great” global advertising campaign. They had secured me access to the cathedral after hours, so I was able to avoid any human activity and concentrate purely on capturing the atmosphere of the building.
The interior was quite dark, and by shooting late in the day when exterior light levels were already low, I was able to accentuate the mood and atmosphere still further. I lit the two candles on the pulpit to create even more drama and shot the image with high dynamic range (HDR) techniques.
Having created the HDR panorama, I then carefully mapped the tones to produce the aesthetic look I wanted to convey. Old Norman building were never built to be light and airy, rather more dark and foreboding, and I hope the image remains sensitive to the original conception of the Norman architects.
I also took a trip up the central bell tower, to be in a better position to record the audio track. The bells were added in 1683, and being so close to them when they ring is an experience in itself. However, the real location audio is an important part of the overall sensory experience, and it helps to impart the atmosphere of this wonderful example of Norman architecture.
To read a more comprehensive case study of Visit Britain’s “Britain Is Great“campaign, please click the link.