While serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in southern France, I recall one Sunday at church when chatting with some of the members in the St Juste Paroisse. The topic was temples. The explained how a temple trip for them involved a multi-day trip to England, Switzerland or Spain. I explained that before my mission, I had access to seven temples within a two-hour drive. Each General Conference since then, I have eagerly hoped for the prophet to announce a House of the Lord to be built in France. In October 2011, that hope became a reality with the announcement of a temple being built just outside of Paris, France. That temple is in its early stages, so ground has yet to be broken, but things are moving forward.
Last night, after getting my kids to bed, I headed out to photograph some of the temples that I can see from my house using a telephoto lens (Canon 70-300mm IS USM) I received for Christmas. The idea was to spot each temple in the distance and capture some photos of them while zooming in somewhere between 250-300mm. I had checked the weather before heading out, and there was no snow in the forecast. But I hadn’t anticipated the wind. I stopped at my first location for the Draper Temple, but the wind was so strong that every photo was blurry. Since it was night, I had my shutter speed set anywhere from one second to 30 seconds. I drove around a little and found another viewpoint. Again, it was too windy. It almost blew me over!
I continued heading up toward the Draper Utah Temple, and as I ascended the mountain, I saw a nice view of the Salt Lake Valley with the Jordan River Utah Temple standing out. I pointed the camera that direction, but again, the wind was too strong. I even tried standing between the camera and the wind and lowering my tripod to its lowest settings… still not working. I arrived at the Draper Utah Temple and was able to find a vantage point roughly 250 yards away and where the wind wasn’t too blustery. I was able to snap a few good ones, but I’ll share those photos next Sunday. I continued up the mountain, deciding to head up over Traverse Mountain to see what I might be able to capture on the other side. I kept wanting to stop and capture some additional photos of the Salt Lake Valley, but everywhere I stopped, the wind was too strong. When the lights of Utah County finally came into view, I pulled over and was glad that there was nothing more than a periodic slight breeze. And this was my view.
Canon 60D | 300mm | 15 seconds | f/16 | ISO 100 | RAW
It was a little more challenging than I thought it would be to get a sharp focus on the temple using the tricks I learned at the Utah Photo Workshop with Drake Busath and Randy Collier. But I think I was able to manage. I was startled at one point when I heard tromping in the snow, but it was only a herd of deer prancing through the snow in the hills below me.
My time was running out, since I had told my wife I would be back by 10:30, so I finally had to pack up shop and make my way north. I do have some photos of this setup at longer exposures, like two minutes, but I was using the smallest aperture possible and there were too many large starbursts on some of the larger light sources, and I didn’t like that look. The f/16 worked well, and I probably could have gone larger if I was more confident about my focusing job and the depth of field I was going for.
Back to my introductory paragraph – I am very blessed to have 10 temples within a roughly two hour drive (Provo, Mt Timpanogos, Oquirrh Mountain, Draper, Jordan River, Salt Lake, Bountiful, Ogden, Brigham City and Logan), and two additional temples under construction in that distance as well (a second one in Provo and one in Payson). I should note the Ogden Temple is closed for extensive renovations, so it’s not really open to attend right now. I look forward to the day when the Paris France Temple will be dedicated and the saints living in that part of the world can make the temple a more routine part of their lives – which is something I hope to do more of in 2014.