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Oakland's Cathedral of Christ the Light

I imagine that one of the most pertinent questions to ask as part of the human experience is, "what happens when I die?" I don't know. It is one of those mysteries that have engrossed us since the beginning and, I suspect, will continue to do so until the end. I guess each of us would be inclined to have different expectations based on our beliefs and our comportment. I was reminded of this everlasting question when I was standing in front of Oakland's Cathedral of Christ the Light this weekend. My right brain saw it enshrouded in a white, ethereal glow like a futuristic version of Saint Peter's pearly gates, while my left brain considered it's precise architecture.

This glass, wood and stone beauty is such a contrast to the classical old-world churches I am used to seeing. I was ecstatic when I walked in and found the inside just as geometrically and aesthetically pleasing that I almost forgot it was a house of worship. I paid my respects and then floated from place to place taking pictures of all the interesting spaces, shapes and textures held inside. To my surprise, no one gave me a hard time which just helped make me feel more welcome. I did get a few curious looks as I pointed my camera up to the ceiling but a wink and a nod was enough to quell their suspicions (or add to them, either way it was cool). If you are ever in Oakland and find yourself with some free time, I suggest you visit this beautiful cathedral at the edge of Lake Merit and take some time to ask yourself, "what happens next?"

About This Photo
This started out as an HDR photo with three exposures (-2,0,+2) to capture all the light in the highlights and shadows. I then desaturated all the colors except for the glass structure to draw the viewers attention to it and give the scene a sense of simplicity. I wanted to make it ethereal, like something you would find up in the clouds so I applied a bit of glow with Nik's Color Efex and intentionally made it bright so that it almost hurts to look at to add to the feeling of holiness. The final touch was to remove a couple of buildings on the sides and some trash cans that ruined the ethereal feel of the photo.