Laura Macky Photography

Journey of a body on this earth

Architecture Heaven


Yesterday we went to The Cathedral of Christ the Light in my hometown of Oakland during our Saturday afternoon drive.  I was so excited to go inside this church and take a picture because the last time I visited this place was when I first started taking pictures in 2011.

Unfortunately when we got there, someone informed me that a wedding would be starting soon, so I couldn’t spend the time I would’ve liked.  This church has won several architectural awards…it’s quite stunning.  I’d love to go back sometime and spend a little more time as I felt a bit rushed when the guests were arriving and I was a bit in the way.  I’ve put the photos in a gallery here for your viewing pleasure.

Additional Exciting Information!  haha  –  For those who are curious…I’ve pasted the link to my old church photo I took in 2011.  It was actually my first HDR I ever processed but from one photo since the camera I owned then didn’t have a bracketing function.  I also didn’t have a wide angle lens at the time so the shot looks too small to me now.

Click on this link to see old photo

Author: lauramacky

Journey of a Body on this Earth

82 thoughts on “Architecture Heaven

  1. Amazing. I like both photos myself – your old one and the new ones. 🙂

  2. Very pretty. It seems like an intimidating building to photograph, I like these.

    • Thank you so much. It really is stunning. My photos can’t really do it justice. There’s something about being right there. I thought symmetry worked best here. Wished I hadn’t been kicked out lol.

  3. Well done. I think I like the early version best. It gives the feeling of being “within,” almost an acceptance. The wider version, while a more complete view, gives the perspective of one who is “without”, just looking in but not entering. But, of course, that makes perfect sense because they were urging you to leave.

    • I understand what you’re saying and chuckled at the way you wound up your thought. I really wanted to give a larger perspective of the church for people to get a sense of the size. But you’re right…they were kicking me out so…. lol

  4. These photos are amazing, Laura. The lines are incredible! The feeling of such reverence is tangible in each image. What truly wonderful art you have created. Love, Amy

    • Thank you Amy. It’s a stunning place! I just wish I had more time. I’d love to try it at night too. We are going to a boys choir concert there in a month. It’s at night so I’ll bring my camera. Maybe I can take some pics after the performance. 🙂

  5. That is amazing Laura, what a great church. We don’t really get them like that hear, well, not that I am aware of, I might have to do some google searches and see what I can find in and around Melbourne. With so much new building going on in the suburbs I wonder if new churches are being built. We aren’t really a religious country. Well if you are religious you tend to keep it to yourself.

    • Thank you, Leanne. There are lot of churches here although people don’t walk around talking about religion. I do love churches…they can be so beautiful! I was thinking of going around the area here and finding some small, quaint ones. Few are as magnificent as this.

  6. Holy Mother!!


    First, this church is amazing and I would probably pass out with excitement if I had the chance to shoot in and around it.

    Second, your images are super top notch. The perspectives and detail you have in each image are jaw dropping. I love the wooden ceiling, but I also can’t seem to get over the low light shot in the hallway. I just love the light reflecting off the tiled floor. You used a tripod for these I assume?

    Which lens did you use for these? I also have a crop body Nikon and would love to get a wide angle at some point.

    I don’t have a lot of experience with these indoor shots yet, but this is definitely something to look up to 🙂

    • Thank you so much Shane. The church is indeed a wonder. I used my 10-12mm wide angle for all the shots and hand held them all. Even the three exposures I took for the large interior shot of the church were hand-held and I merged them via Nik HDR with the alignment feature on. It seemed to work!

      The Mausoleum is incredible! That’s the low light shot you are referring to. Believe it or not, I didn’t use a tripod here either. On this one I had to pump up my ISO to 1250 even with f/4.0. The Nikon D7100 does a great job with noise even at high ISO.

      I think my wide angle lens is my favorite lens. I’d love a 2.8 wide angle though but the one I have, the 10-12mm is super sharp.

      Thanks for your comments!

  7. Amazing!!!

  8. Wow, the second shot of yours is just brilliant…so peaceful, beautiful but also powerful.

  9. I love them all, but particularly like the ‘no access’.

  10. I have to agree with Ms. Kent I also like the earlier photograph, to me it just has a much richer texture to everything.

    • Well I suppose it does but I think the newer one represents the church a lot more closely. I tried to make it as “real” as possible. Thanks for your comment Pete!

  11. What a place to get married! Amazing! Beautiful symmetry…..

  12. Great shots Laura, especially the HDR…..and what an amazing space

  13. I think the image is a hologram of sorts.

  14. wow, hat a building! I love the second on most. Amazing! Shanks for sharing!

  15. Such powerful shots – love the graphic effect

  16. Brilliant photos, yet again! The wide angle lens really lets you get a better feel for just how grand the architecture is! I’m a sucker for geometric patterns in photos, so these are right up my alley.

    • Yay! Glad they’re right up your alley. I love symmetry too and fight against it in landscapes, etc. I could finally let loose here haha. (And thanks for the “yet again” part, lol.)

  17. Very interesting bit of architecture – you captured it well – although all those non-parallel lines would have driven me bonkers trying to square up the shot 🙂
    I do like your old shot because while it may not be good to show the size of the space – it really gives (to me) a sense of how religion dominates the lives of the church goers. God lording over the sinners 🙂

  18. What a building. Would love to see. Great photos as always

  19. I remember the older photo which was great!! Beautiful angles Laura and very interesting church architecture!!

  20. Just glorious, Laura! I love Shane’s comments and really appreciate that you shared the information about the lens and how you photographed the scenes. Helpful tidbits for someone further back (way back) on the learning curve, like me 😉 I, too, like the intimacy of the earlier shot, but enjoy getting the feel of the grander space with the wide angle lens. So glad you included both! Hoping you can take some more shots of this beautiful church.

    • Thank you so much. It’s nice to have a variety of pics of the same space….anywhere for that matter. I have some other church photos…maybe I’ll create a church blog one day and put all the photos there with some new ones….if I can get out to take more churches soon!

  21. Stunning work. And 2011???? Holy cow that gives me hope for my work. You’re an amazing artist.

    • Thank you so much! I got my first camera in 2009 but didn’t do much with it at all. Mostly auto. In the last year I’ve been concentrating on it. There is always hope!

  22. And did I read right you’re shooting with a D7100?

    • Yes a D7100. If you ever have questions you can always email me via the contact link at the top. I’d be happy to try and help. I will answer as soon as I can.

  23. This church looks very interesting, quite futuristic I think. I comparison between 2011 and now is great, I kind of like the 2011 shot for the strange colouring in the glass but these newer shots have a more balanced feel to them.

  24. As you may know…or maybe not…I used to live in Fremont and my stepfather worked as a carpenter in Oakland. I have fond memories…
    Thanks for resurrecting them.

  25. I need to see this place when I visit my son.

  26. Great shots of a spectacular place!

    I must say, while the architecture is kind of mind-blowing and certainly beautiful, the photo that got my gears turning the most is that one looking upward past the keep-out sign; it’s the perfect illustration of what I have seen in many a church, the sense that there’s no ‘going upward’ (getting into heaven) unless you are signed, sealed, stamped, vetted and fully approved by the church in question. Something utterly antithetical to the supposed beliefs and teachings of most religions and churches as I understand them, mind you, but in practice, a church is only as righteous as the mere humans inhabiting and representing it. I sincerely doubt that is what either the sign’s intent or the shot’s actual ‘storyline’ is, but it just popped into my tiny head as I was looking at it, and it amused/bemused me. Undoubtedly says more about me than about churches! 😉

    Happy almost-Friday!

    • …but in practice, a church is only as righteous as the mere humans inhabiting and representing it….

      Oh so true. This is a catholic church and not only is it a catholic church but it’s the head of the diocese in Oakland. I found that sign ironic too. I also thought of it with a different twist, hence the name “Separation of Church and State”. Did I type that here or only on my website. i can’t remember lol. I do love churches though. I keep wanting to take more pictures of them because i find them so beautiful. Happy Almost-Friday Back!

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