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vvcarpio Oct 27, 2010 11:22 AM

Church of the Holy Name -- Cragsmoor, NY
Along the road to Sam’s Point -- a popular hiking destination in the Shawangunk Mountains in New York State -- in the hamlet of Cragsmoor is a turn with a sign that only says “Stone Church”. Most visitors will probably ignore that sign (I did once) what with Sam’s Point almost within sight after a two-hour drive from New York City, but following the sign leads to a small stone church built in 1895 on a piece of land 2,000 feet above sea level that has a commanding view of the Shawangunk Ridge. You might find the Gothic architecture beautiful and rustic that you’d want to get married -- all over again if need be -- just so you can hold your ceremony there.

At least those were my thoughts when I reached the site. And it turns out my thoughts weren’t far off. After reading about it later online, I found that the church bills itself as a wedding venue.

The Stone Church, or “The Church of the Holy Name”, is Episcopalian. But one could be of any denomination -- Methodist, Presbyterian, Jewish, Reformist, and Interfaith to name a few -- to hold a wedding there or attend its services. Its website says, “The Stone Church welcomes all seekers”, and upon entering “you will face a stained-glass window” where “symbols from eight of the world’s major religions, from Christianity and Islam to Buddhism and Native American faiths” can be found. It would seem that no effort is spared in finding commonality among faiths and in so doing welcoming all.

If you visit Sam’s Point, I recommend that you stop by the Stone Church. It may not be what you came there for -- hiking on a ridge -- but a small stone church by the edge of a cliff might earn your affection and complement the peace and serenity you were looking for when you thought about going up in the mountains in the first place.

#1) The Church of the Holy Name.

#2) Front facing east.

#3) Front facing north.

#4) Back facing south.

#5) Stone arch.

#6) Shawangunk Mountains seen from the stone arch.

Thank you for looking. C&C welcome.

Mark1616 Oct 27, 2010 12:37 PM

Great stuff, really like the atmosphere, the sky is great. The only thing I would really consider is lightening the stonework a bit, seems too dark to me looking under exposed. Apart from that some lovely captures.

Walter C Oct 27, 2010 1:45 PM

I actually like the "mood" of the lighting/exposure especially on #1, #3 and #5. Nicely done as usual.

Hards80 Oct 27, 2010 1:48 PM

I think you could selectively lighten the stonework only not touching the exposure of the rest of the image without ruining the mood of these shots. Some nice images here. I also really liked the last image, with the fog and colors of fall in the mountains and a nicely textured sky, a remarkable view!

lisalonewolf Oct 27, 2010 1:50 PM

Those are Fantastic...they jump out at me...I can really look deep into them and get a feel of the place...the only thing I would have changed...pardon, is to have removed, momentarily, the orange cone and then replaced it after shooting...or cloned it out...
I learned a while back, from a mentor, that just because something is there it doesn't mean I cannot move it, or, in case of a weed or grass cut it back, etc. Or annoying pedestrian ask them to move after too long waiting...

vvcarpio Oct 27, 2010 3:48 PM

Thanks, all, for the compliments and feedback.

Mark, yes I was having difficulty trying to decide between several treatments of the stone work. I remember trying (unsuccessfully) to lighten the stone surfaces yet keeping the crevices between the stones dark. In one pic (#3), I actually decided to go with a single-RAW HDR than with my multiple-shot version. I'll keep in mind your suggestion for future processing.

Walter, I went there early in the weekend morning (the only days I could) hoping to make it by sunrise. I guess I got lucky with the mood and lighting.

Hards80, I think I tried everything but that. I processed sky and foreground separately but didn't take it a step further to process the church separately as well. I'll remember to do so for next time around.

Lisa, I noticed the cone while shooting, too, but didn't occur to me to remove it first. Especially that I plan to e-mail the church to give them permission to use the photos if they wanted -- they might come back and say, for-heavenssakes-why-did-you-include-the-cone? :) I think your mentor's advice about an annoying pedestrian is useful. I often find myself in such situation but didn't know if it was "right" for me to shoo him/her away.

#7) The church's website says, "the doors of the church are always open, and you are welcome to enter respectfully and experience the chapel's extraordinary peacefulness." One thing I failed to do is walk up the steps to see if the door was unlocked. I processed this photo before reading Mark's and Hards80's comments.

#8) I zoomed in on the house on the mountain.

Bynx Oct 27, 2010 5:01 PM

Wow Billy, some nice shots there. Great ones of the church. Your last fall colors shot would make a great front of a card which would say From My House to Yours.

rlewis0083 Oct 27, 2010 7:13 PM

Very nice shots. I like them all.

vvcarpio Oct 28, 2010 9:06 AM

Thanks, Paul and rlewis0083.

Paul, I couldn't really make out the house until I got home and looked at it on my computer. I was thinking it could be a utility building of some sort. It was so isolated. I just hoped for the best. I'm glad it turned out to be a house.

#9) Back facing west.

#10) Church tower.

hkmp50 Oct 28, 2010 10:52 PM

I really love stone buildings, These are fine photos of a really nice one. Great job!

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