Chapel of the Holy Dove – Interior Details in HDR

Tonight I’m wrapping up the series of HDR images from the Chapel of the Holy Dove near Flagstaff, Arizona.

This first image is a shot taken from the front of the Chapel looking back toward the door.  The big glass window was to my back, so there was a lot of natural light inside the building (be sure to click on the images to view them larger on black):

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The image shows how the interior of the building feels so much larger from the inside than it looks on the outside. The high peak of the A-frame building lends a feeling of openness to the space that mirrors the openness of the landscape outside the window.

These next images show some of the finer details of things found inside the Chapel:

Open Bible left on the pulpit
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Prayer box
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Prayers written on the walls
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As with the earlier images in the series, these are all HDR’s created in Photomatix V4.0 from three bracketed images (-2.0/0.0/+2.0). HDR’s were post-processed in Topaz Adjust and Paintshop Pro X3 to adjust contrast, curves, saturation, and anything else that caught my eye.

If you’re just now joining me for this series, I hope you’ll visit my Flickr site to see the entire set of ten images, and that you’ll check out the previous postings of the past few days for more information about the Chapel and the images that I’ve posted.

Chapel of the Holy Dove – Interior Lighting Challenges

Today I’m continuing my series of images from the Chapel of the Holy Dove located near Flagstaff, Arizona.  My two previous posts have shown the exterior of the chapel, but today’s post deals with the interior.

The entire front wall of the A-frame structure is a huge window that faces the San Francisco Peaks, so there is plenty of natural light inside the building.  But since there is no light source at all coming from the rear (if the door is closed), it creates a very challenging scenario for photography.  Even when using a bracketed series of images in HDR processing, I found that the lighting extremes were very hard to deal with, especially for a beginner like myself.  And it didn’t help matters that I seem to have had dust on my lens, because it showed up  in the more brightly lit shots, whereas I didn’t notice it at all in the normal exposures.

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Anyway, today I’m posting these shots of the front window of the chapel to give you an idea of the view from the parishioner’s perspective.  Once again, it was mostly overcast that day, so you can’t see the mountain top in the distance….too bad, because it’s such a beautiful background on a clear sunny day.

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Future posts will show more of the interior from different vantage points.  It’s such a rich environment for photography, especially HDR photography….but it definitely presents some challenges!

You can find the entire series of images from the Chapel of the Holy Dove on my Flickr site.

Chapel of the Holy Dove – Exterior in HDR

Last night I threw out a teaser titled The Red Door.  I hope that the photo in the posting made you want to know more about what was behind that door.  Today, I’ll start to fill you in on the details.

Many years ago, when driving on Highway 180 between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon, Andy and I came across this quaint little chapel on the side of the highway.  It was such an unusual structure that we just had to stop and check it out.  We found that it is a small church called “The Chapel of the Holy Dove”, and it’s open to anyone who stops by–the door is never locked.

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Since we first found the chapel, we’ve always stopped in to visit when we were traveling by, and I always enjoyed taking photos of it. However, once I discovered HDR photography this year, I knew I’d have to go back there and see what it looked like in HDR. We got the chance to do just that when were were in Flagstaff two weeks ago.

I found a website ( that had some history of the Chapel, which goes something like this:

The Chapel of the Holy Dove sits on a parcel of land originally part of a small ranch purchased by Watson M. Lacy, MD in 1960. He was the only physician at the Grand Canyon Hospital which he operated with his wife, Ruth. They came to this area for respite from the demands of the medical practice at the Canyon. The beauty of the Peaks affirmed the goodness and majesty of God. They wanted to give travelers the opportunity to share it. In the summer of 1961, with the help of his sons and some hired hands, the 41 year-0ld Lacy, with no experience as a builder, used explosives to create holes in the rock beneath the Chapel to secure and position the large Ponderosa Pine logs which comprised the original A-shaped structure framing the San Francisco Peaks. Local volcanic rock and petrified wood was used to build the supporting stone walls. This was a project for intermittent days off from his practice at the canyon. The Chapel was completed in 1962. Dr. Lacy died October 1991. The ranch property was sold but the parcel on which the chapel stands remains in the trust of his widow.

On March 8, 1999, the Chapel was destroyed by a transient’s campfire but the stone walls remained. Shortly thereafter, 18 year-old NAU student, Christen McCracken obtained permission from Mrs. Lacy to raise funds to rebuild the structure. Since the Chapel had become a popular landmark, the local public supported the project. Many materials were donated by Flagstaff merchants. Volunteers supervised by Flagstaff resident Ricky Roberts, completed the current Chapel, similar to the original, in April 2000.

The Chapel is open to All. Four of Dr. Lacy’s six children, the daughter of an Arizona governor and Christen McCracken were married here, besides many others. The chapel of the Holy Dove was named to acknowledge the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, described in Matthew 3:16 as descending “like a dove” above Jesus in commissioning His earthly ministry as God, Incarnate.

The building was dedicated in memory of Dr. Lacy’s brother, George, and nephew, Randy Lacy, who drowned in a boating accident in California in 1957. The original memorial plaque read: “In Memory of George and Randy Lacy whose great love in life and great courage in death made known the Glory of God.” Lacy’s profound grief resulting from the loss propelled great soul searching which led to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. Once an agnostic, he discovered “…the Way, the Truth and the Life” was to be found only in Jesus, who said of sacrificial love in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

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The front of the chapel faces directly toward the San Francisco Peaks, giving parishoners a view that will either inspire them to greater things or totally distract them from the minister’s words.  My upcoming posts will give you a view of the interior of this beautiful little gem in the meadows of Northern Arizona.

Both of these photos are HDR’s created from a bracketed set (-2.0/0.0/+2.0) in Photomatix V4.0.  I used Topaz Adjust and Paintshop Pro X3 to do the post-processing.  The photos were shot with my Nikon D5000 and the kit lens (18-55mm, 1:3.5-5.6 zoom), tripod mounted.  The entire series is being posted to my Flickr account in the set entitled “Chapel of the Holy Dove“.  Please drop by and take a look!