in rural Paris, Iowa, and Wordpress

A Mighty Fortress

Iglesia de San Francisco

This innocuous looking little picture is the color version of that. This color version has been . . . ahem . . . a rather long project. There remain some little problems with it, but I am declaring it done nonetheless.

As I mentioned to agujas in comment not too long ago, I have difficulty simply putting up a picture and allowing it to speak for itself, which is the modus of real photographers. But I have never claimed to be a real photographer. Nor have I ever claimed to be the strong, silent type. Moreover, I am in a particularly chatty mood this morning with nobody here in the flesh with whom to chat. Therefore, I shall plague you. You are of course free to wander off in the middle of any of my sentences just as you would be free to wander off were you here.

That sky came out of the back of the camera just exactly the way it went in the front of the camera at 7:25 a.m. on 25 June with all of its little variations in color. When I first saw it on the screen, I said to myself, “Oh, be still my heart!” I was overly enthusiastic about clouds at that time because I was still unaccustomed to them at the beginning of the rainy season. On top of that, I had not noticed the vulture fly into the frame on cue when I took the shot. My point is, simply put, that I have not touched that sky.

I devoted all my attention to San Francisco Church, which is a monster edifice. I wanted the picture to convey to others something of what it is like to be up there on the side of the mountain in the morning and see the early light hitting San Francisco Church as the sun emerges from behind that same mountain. My black and white renderings of the church do a decent job, I think, of portraying its brooding enormity. However, I do not have the skills in black and white to deal at all well with light. As we all know, light is the essence of a good photograph. Light is everything.

It goes without saying that this is a very Catholic church. However, when I see the morning sun first hit it, I swear that I can hear Mrs. Roseberry whaling out an introduction on the piano in a little country church up north long ago. Then I can hear that very Protestant congregation, most of whom are dead now, take up song and really lean into “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” I’ll tell you, it is enough to shake a man’s utter lack of faith right down to its solid foundations. It’ll bring tears to your eyes.

4 Responses to “A Mighty Fortress”

  1. StephenBrassawe

    Oh, and yes, that is the same vulture in the black and white photo. I cut and paste him into all of my pictures of churches now.

  2. Emily January

    I love Martin Luther’s beautiful hymn. I play the organ at my church, and a few months ago we sang that one. However, I remember being so disappointed that not many people sang. I guess they did not know it well, but they are missing out. Such beautiful words and music. Thanks for sharing your stunning photography.

    • StephenBrassawe

      Sorry to be slow in acknowledging your comment, Emily. I have had a few technical problems here over the last couple of days. To your point . . . the congregation obviously needed Sly of Sly and the Family Stone there to reassure them that it would do them no harm to sing out.


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