This was one of my happiest photographic trips for quite a while but I don’t think that the results are going to win any medals.
I have been meaning to visit the Whalley Range area to photograph for some time now but I have been put off and scared by the fact that it is an Asian area. I visit these places frequently with work but somehow I thought that going there with camera gear might raise objections.
However I could not have been more wrong.
I did a quick Google search and there are 46 mosques in Blackburn. However they are not that easy to find. From a distance you can see them but once you enter the rabbit warren of narrow streets and terraced houses you cannot see out and with the narrow roads and parked cars you cannot really go looking over your shoulder that much. Anyway at length I found the above mosque and as you can probably guess from the photograph it is pretty tightly surrounded by houses.
I had taken the MPP with me and had selected the 135 mm lens thinking that a semi-wide would be right for the job. (you full fram people think 40mm, the rest of you will have to do the sums) However I had not realised quite how congested the sites would be. I just could not get enough distance between myself and the mosque to photograph the front elevation even using full vertical shift. I have processed the negatives tonight and the good news is that I have handled the exposure and corrections well but the bad news is that as I expected my 135 mm lens does not have enough coverage to accommodate maximum vertical shift. I am going to have to shoot these things with a 90 mm lens. That has wider coverage but an even more miserable image circle. I am going to be fighting vignetting.
The image above is from my Canon point-and-shoot. I have corrected the converging verticals in Lightroom but Lightroom is pretty rubbish at the job and crops unnecessary bits so it cut off the tops of the minarets. It did not seem worth using Photoshop just to illustrate this post.
Anyway as you might expect some idiot setting up a tripod outside a mosque created quite a commotion. I became something of a tourist attraction and attracted quite a crowd. They were all really friendly and I had a couple of old men looking in the groundglass to see the mosque upside down.
It was obvious from when I arrived that I was not going to get the shots I wanted with the kit I had taken but it was all I could do to stop them going knocking on doors to get cars moved etc to improve the picture. Even when I explained that I was just an amateur photographer with an interest in architecture. I cannot believe that I was ever worried about this project. Everyone was so friendly, it is obvious that photographing mosques in Blackburn is going to be a very pleasurable experience but one that I need to plan somewhat better.