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Luca N Vascon


Andrew Varlamov

Bronze Angels of Saint Isaac's Cathedral

Saint Petersburg, Russia

June 18, 19 & 22, 2009, 04:30-5:30 & 14:00-16:00 UTC (08:30-9:30, 18:00-20:00 local time)

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© 2009 Andrew Varlamov, All Rights Reserved.


For over 150 years they've stood on the top ballustrade of Saint Isaac's Cathedral and over time they acquired a green patina.

Usually the top balustrade is closed for visitors, but in 2003 Russian panographer Vladimir Shirokov (died January 2007) visited this place to shot this panorama.

"We are greatly troubled about state of 24 angels at the top ballustrade which mounted on cast iron basement. As basement spokes as statues itself need restoration. There are microcracks, there are troubles with attachments. It is seriuos work which will last over decade. But then it will be possible to forget about troubles for 5 decades," Nickolay Burov, Director of the State Museum "St. Isaac's Cathedral" said, local news agency Fontanka.ru reported.

Additional Captions: Caption in Russian - Бронзовые ангелы Исаакиевского собора ▼ Behind the scene : how this panorama was made ▼


Europe / Russia-Urals West

Lat: 59° 56' 2.76" N
Long: 30° 18' 22.14" E

→ maps.google.com [EXT]

Precision is: High. Pinpoints the exact spot.

OpenStreetMap: © OpenStreetMap contributors


Camera: Pentax K20D
Lens: smc PENTAX-DA* 1:2.8 200mm ED (IF) SDM
Teleconverters: Pentax Rear Converter-A 1.4x-S, Pentax Rear Converter-A 2x-S
Tripod: Manfrotto 190XB
Tripod Head: Falcon Eyes PH-1
Software: PTGui 8.1.2 by New House Internet Services B.V. (dated by February 26, 2009), Pano2QTVR Pro Flash version 1.6.6 by Thomas Rauscher, Microsoft Excel

Caption in Russian - Бронзовые ангелы Исаакиевского собора

Более 150 лет они стоят на балюстраде главного купола Исаакиевского собора и со временем покрылись зеленой патиной.

Баллюстрада верхнего купола закрыта для посетителей, но в 2003 году русский панорамный фотограф Владимир Широков (умерший в январе 2007 года) побывал там, чтобы снять панораму.

«Нас тревожит состояние 24-х ангелов на верхней балюстраде, которые покоятся на чугунном основании. Нужно реставрировать и спицы основания, и сами скульптуры. Есть микротрещины, есть проблемы с креплениями. Это серьезная работа, которая может растянуться лет на 12. Зато потом о проблемах можно будет забыть на полстолетия» - сказал Николай Буров, генеральный директор комплекса Исаакиевского собора в интервью агенству Фонтанка.ру.

Behind the scene : how this panorama was made

As You can see my contribution is QuickTime object which consists of 3 vertical rows. Planning photography it was hard to define exact number of points for shooting, because Saint Isaac's Cathedral encircled by other buildings and old trees.

I would like to fill 1st row by genre pictures with Cathderal in background, 2nd row - by general views of top ballustrade and 3rd row - by single angels magnifiyng as maximal as possible. Of course, shot orientation was chosen landscape.

Lens was chosen so to decrease weight of photo bag (and chromatic abberations too), converters in Pentax S70-70 Soft Lens Cases were attached to the waist belt.

I had got only morning and evening time to shot. Schedule of shooting was the next:
  • to use the first days to shot single angels using focal length 560 mm (200mm*1.4*2) and top ballustrade using focal length 200 mm from the same points;
  • to use the last days to shot "features" from different places of Petersburg.
Weather was suitable for photography except windy morning of June 18 and rainy evening of June 19. Strong (10-15 m/sec) morning wind has caused lens vibration, perhaps in future I will find or produce something like Manfrotto 293 Telephoto Lens Support.

Photo processing started from 3rd row shots. After justifying and centering shot size 4672*3104 was decreased to 2892*1928.

2nd row shots were stitched from pairs and resulting size 4744*2128 was obtained. After adding black backround and scaling shot size also became 2892*1928.

QT object from 24 frames 2892*1928 and 100% quality had size 103 Megabytes. To match WWP file size requirements (full-size version) frames were scaled to 1446*964 (50%) and quality was decreased to 60%, after these manipulations MOV file size reached 2,96 Megabytes. For standard version frame size was 723*482 pixels (25% of maximum) and quality was 35%.
Do You know names of these 24 angels ? There are some hints :

Michael tramples the devil underfoot, and in his left hand holds a green date-tree branch, and in his right hand a spear with a white banner, on which is outlined a scarlet cross

Gabriel holds branch from paradise in his right hand.

Uriel in raised right hand holds a bare sword at the level of his chest, and in his lowered left hand "a fiery flame."

Selaphiel stands in a prayerful posture, gazing downwards, hands folded to the chest.

Jegudiel in his right hand holds crown.

Barachiel holds rose petals scattered on the clothing.

Jeremiel holds in his hand balance-scales.

Cassiel holds Jacob's ladder.
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