Started in 1889, and opened to the public in 1900, the John Rylands Library was founded by Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her husband. Housed in a striking gothic building in the middle of Manchester, it is currently part of the University Library.
Recently they have been opening their doors again for dedicated photographic visits, these are for small groups, and allow access to the Reading Room and the Gallery (the latter is not normally open to the public). Better still these are free and tripods are allowed. They can be booked through their events page at http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/rylands/whats-on/ - look for 'Aperture'. Although short lasting only an hour, they are well worth it.
Very challenging to photograph, the extremes of light levels from the internal lighting and light shining through the glass windows to very dark alcoves and passageways, mean that creative techniques have to be used.
Using an Fuji X-T2, XF23 F1.4 and XF90, I often resorted to taking a number of bracketed shots, and then processing with some gentle HDR techniques to maintain the dynamic range in the image. Even then I blew the highlights on many of my shots through the clear glass areas on the large windows.
And the window details were incredible, normal public access just doesn't get you up close to these truly amazing works of art.
We visit the library as part of the Manchester Urbanscapes workshop, but when we do, its often quite busy and tripods are not allowed. So if you want a unique photography experience, book yourself on one of their events.
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