St. Dunstan in the East | England Photo Spot

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St. Dunstan in the East by Ungry Young Man
St. Dunstan in the East by Ungry Young Man

St Dunstan-in-the-East is a hidden gem in the City of London, England. A former Church of England Parish, St Dunstan-in-the-East, is now a beautiful public garden. First erected in 1100, the parish enjoys a rich 900-year history. However, throughout this time, the church bears the scars of many critical events of London’s history. First, the Great Fire of London in 1666 left echoes within its wall. Then in 1941, it fell victim to the London Blitz of World War II.

The London Blitz all but decimated the City of London. On September 7th, 1940, the city was rocked by consecutive shelling continuing over 60 days. The raids became such a way of life for Londoners that they often referred to them as the weather, remarking that the day was “very Blitzy.” In the end, the bombings left the city in ruin, destroying over 1,000,000 homes, and Saint Dunstan-in-the-East was one of its many casualties. The terrible destruction of the Blitz left this historic church a scarred and empty shell, rotting and largely abandoned.

In 1967, the City of London Corporation converted Dunstan-in the-East to a public garden. The city opened the church’s gates again in 1971, and it became a popular green space in the city. Nevertheless, the grounds are a quiet and peaceful place where visitors can unwind and escape the bustle of the city. Overgrown with lush green trees, vines and wall climbing flowers, the once horrific remains of a terrible period in Britain’s history now serve as a metaphor for a nation’s resilience. Perhaps no other spot in London is as peaceful and subtly beautiful as St Dunstan in the East’s storied walls.

The location can be pretty busy at certain times of the day. Wedding photographers will find this place perfect for engagement and wedding photos. Also, macro photographers will have a grand time photographing the flowers and insects in the springtime. If you are into infrared photography, you will find this location perfect for capturing the bright reds of the plants against the muted white stone of the church.

Because office buildings surround it, St Dunstan in the East has no natural angles for sunset or sunrise photographs. Despite this, photographers will find soft and warm light by visiting early in the morning or in the waning hours of the day. Happily, the reflected shade of the surrounding buildings often creates an excellent combination of warm and diffuse light. Also, during this time of day foot traffic will be at its lowest and you may find the place all to yourself. Specifically, we recommend adding macro, wide-angle, and normal lenses to your kit.

(London, England)

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