Gallery: ceilings and floors (and pavements and more)
Look up and down and round about you!John Muir
I wonder which way you usually point your camera? I’m guessing that most of the time, like me, you point it forwards. Maybe you tilt up for a tall building or tree, or downwards to capture a plant or small animal.
But what if we were to point it directly upwards or downwards? What would we see?
I have found that for me the best/easiest way to capture a reasonable photo of a ceiling is as follows. I set the delayed release on my camera, usually to ten seconds. Next I choose my exposure and aperture settings, or rely on the automatic function, depending on lighting conditions. I set the widest angle possible and focus on the ceiling. I then lie the camera flat on its back on the floor, as parallel to the walls as I can manage (to avoid a wonky image). Lastly I press the shutter release and retreat a short distance; far enough that I am out of shot, but not so far that someone could easily snatch and run off with my camera! I usually repeat the exercise a couple of times, moving the camera slightly, to give me a selection of shots.
A number of the photos below were taken with this technique, while others simply necessitated getting a crick in my neck!
The ceiling of the Nicholaikirche in Leipzig
The ceiling of the Cattedrale di San Martino in Lucca
My featured photo was also taken in Lucca; it’s is the ceiling of the Palazzo Santini, one of the city’s grand old houses.
A chandelier and dome in the Grand Mosque in Muscat
Two from Greenwich in London: the ceiling of the Painted Hall on the left and that of the Royal Chapel on the right
The dome of the Tillya Kari Mosque in Samarkand’s Registan complex
In the Royal Palace in Sintra
The dome above the lobby of the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi (no, I didn’t stay there!)
Of course looking straight down is much easier, so I was surprised to find when searching my archives that I had fewer interesting downward shots to choose from. I must try to seek them out in future, although of course my recent post about the Chewing Gum artist Ben Wilson is proof that I do notice what is under my feet some of the time at least.
Seaweed on a Kent beach
Footstep in the White Sands, NM
A feather on the ground in Leipzig
Feather among fallen leaves, Paris
Autumn leaves in the rain in Lucca
Fall leaf, Washington Crossing, PA
Roman mosaic floor beneath the church of Saint Sofia in Sofia
Looking down from the Monument to the Discoveries in Belem, near Lisbon
On a road in the Beaubourg district of Paris
Looking straight down to the ground through a glass panel in the floor of the TV tower in Tallinn
A London pavement: on Great Marlborough Street
‘I don’t think that it is Covid that separates us’: in the Belleville district of Paris
I’m just back from a short trip to Paris (finally getting to travel abroad for the first time since early 2020, hurrah!) So this is a somewhat belated offering for Sofia’s stimulating choice of Lens Artist Challenge theme, Looking Up / Down. You’ll see that a few photos from that trip have found their way into this gallery and no doubt many more will feature in future blog entries. It’s wonderful to have a new set of travel images to sort, edit and share!
The dome of the Tillya Kari Mosque is definitely my favourite, such beauty. Yes looking up and down is definitely worth it.
Thank you for unearthing and commenting on this older post – it’s fun to see they still have relevance for people! Uzbekistan is full of stunning buildings and really worth visiting if you get the chance 🙂
Uzbekistan would definitely be on my list Sarah. Last year I read a book about travel in those regions, it was so interesting.
Hope you get to go one day!
Thank you Sarah, yes I would be up for it 🙂
What a fun gallery of ups and downs! I like those looking down best, they are your compositions and reflect your eye. Had to laugh at your system for photographing ceilings!
Thank you Ruth – as always, I appreciate the feedback 🙂 I think I prefer the looking down set too, although more people have picked up on the ceilings. The looking down ones are more varied and some of them at least are less obvious photo subjects perhaps?
The ceilings are lovely, but of course they are someone else’s artwork, architecture. The looking down ones are your views. 😉
Yes exactly – I take little credit for the ceiling shots other than having developed a way of taking them without damaging my neck muscles!!
… and that’s creative in it’s own way!
Wow, I love these Sarah, and that tip about taking photos of above is great. I’ll have to try that. The colours are just wonderful along with the clear detail.
Thanks so much Alison 🙂 Do try that tip – I picked it up by watching someone else and it really helps!
Thanks for risking a crick in the neck or worse to bring us these gorgeous ceiling shots. I’m still trying to figure out how your post seems to appear between two posts in the Reader that I already saw and visited but I don’t see yours until I work my way down the list again. Very odd.
The Reader drives me nuts Janet – I tend to rely more on email notifications about new posts from friends 🙂 Glad you liked the ceilings, but as I explained above, I have perfected a neck-crick free methodology for getting these shots 😆
This a remarkable set of looking up and down. These ceilings and floors, wow!! Looking down from the TV tower in Tallinn is amazing.
Thanks so much Amy 😊 There were several of those glass panels in the TV tower floor and the views down were quite disconcerting in places!!
I am so trying your technique for taking photos of ceilings. Firstly because it obviously works, they are all stunning! Secondly, it will save my poor neck in the long run. And I recognized some much loved and missed places. Brilliant post, Sarah. Thank you!
Thank you so much Sofia for that lovely comment, and for hosting such a good challenge theme 😀 Let me know how you get on with that technique. I find it actually works best with my compact camera as that lies flat on the ground, whereas my bridge camera has a moulding around the viewing screen that causes it to tilt a little.
Again, good advice! Thank you so much and I can’t wait to have a go 🙂
You definitely show the virtues of looking both up and down. Though I’m finding that throwing myself to the ground in quest of an interesting shot is getting a bit beyond me, unfortunately.
Beyond me too Margaret! That’s one reason I love my Lumix bridge camera, as it has a tilt screen and I can hold it low to the ground while still seeing and composing my shot 😀
Amazing photos! I especially like the beginning ceiling pictures, so beautiful.
Thank you Nancy, I’m so glad you liked these 🙂
Enjoyed viewing your photos Sarah. Those ceilings are incredible and the hours and talent to create these are awe inspiring. Your blog page is looking very professional!
Wow, thanks for that lovely comment Suzanne 😊 I do try to get the pages looking good, but I’m a long way from being professional!!
Wow Sarah, quite a collection! I must say I’ve never thought of your approach to ceiling photography and find it an excellent idea! Did you come up with it yourself? So clever! Loved all of your amazing ceilings especially this week.
Thanks so much Tina 🙂 I’d love to take the credit for that idea but if I remember rightly I saw someone do it in a cathedral years ago and copied her, with pretty good results. I’ve been using the technique ever since!
I liked the ceiling picture taken at Leipzig. The three dimensional leaves give the ceiling a touch of life. I also liked the splash of red seaweed in your beach shot. Great pictures, Sarah!
Thank you Siobhan, I really appreciate the feedback 🙂 As I said to Teresa below, that Nicholaikirche ceiling is a favourite of mine – such unusual colours for a church!
The first two are my favourites. But all of the images are just WOW!
Thank you Teresa 😊 The Nicholaikirche ceiling is a favourite of mine, along with that chandelier in Muscat!
They are all beautiful to choose only one.
Excellent! So many great photos of great ceilings! And different looking downs too.
Thank you Ann Christine 🙂 I hadn’t realised how many ceiling photos I had taken over the years until I started to look for them!
Wonderful ceilings, Sarah! How was Paris?
Thanks Jo 🙂 Paris was fabulous – as beautiful as ever, wonderful weather and Covid measures only a mild inconvenience. The French Passe Sanitaire scheme works well and people on the Metro are far more compliant with mask-wearing than on the Tube, so it actually felt safer than being in London. We were so glad we’d jumped through the necessary hoops to be able to go 😀
I think the first time is a worry, Sarah, but hopefully it will get easier. 🤗💕
I didn’t mind the hassle of the extra paperwork and need for testing. My only real worry was that one of us would test positive on our pre-return test and we would have to stay in France and quarantine there – expensive, inconvenient and almost certainly very boring! Luckily we both got the all-clear 🙂 We had self-tested before leaving even though it wasn’t required, to minimise the chances of being caught out over there!
Wahoo, I’m so happy you were able to fulfill your travel plans to Paris. Every one of your ceiling photos is gorgeous! The tiles in the ground “On a road in the Beaubourg district of Paris” are intriguing. Are there more tiles underneath the bricks? What is the backstory to such a pretty design in the road?
Thanks so much Rose 🙂 Paris was fabulous and I’ll share more in due course (still sorting the photos!) There were no more tiles than these and they’re definitely laid on top of the bricks, not exposed beneath them. I took it to be an unusual form of street art as there seems to be a fashion in Paris at the moment for using ceramic and mosaic tiles for that – but all the other examples I saw were on walls and weren’t nearly as pretty as these tiles!
interesting Sarah. I tend to look up at ceilings to take a photo but rarely look down (apart from mosaic floor) Perhaps I should start looking down for a photo and see what happens . Michaela
I would have said the same Michaela, but when I started looking for photos for this challenge I found more downward ones than I had expected 🙂