All images are copyright © 2008-2013 Russ Martin,
(unless otherwise indicated). All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Name That Spire

The Land of the Cross Tipped Churches gets its name from the cross tipped spires we all see as we drive the country side. The Ohio Byway features eight churches.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus
St. Augustine
St. John
St. Rose
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
St. Henry
St. Joseph
St. Anthony

Without the spires there simply would not be a "Land of the Cross Tipped Churches" Ohio Scenic Byway.

Here they can be found dotting the skyline along with water towers and silos. There is a point on the byway that you can see three cross tipped spires at once: The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Rose and St. John.

Just like the churches themselves in that they they are similar but yet unique, these eight cross tipped spires are all different. Can you identify what Cross Tipped Spire goes with which church? You'll find the answers at the bottom of this post.









1. The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
2. St. Augustine
3. St. John
4. The Sacred Heart of Jesus
5. St. Joseph
6. St. Rose
7. St. Henry
8. St. Anthony

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

St. Augustine at Night

I've been wanting to post night shots of the churches but hadn't had a chance to get out at night. The opportunity finally presented itself a couple of weeks back. Not all the churches are lit up at night. Fortunately St. Augustine is one of the churches that is very well lit. This shot of the twin spires is from State Route 119.

As I got closer to the church I found this shot from just on the other side of the school. I found my self praising the very same lights I had cursed for being in the way when I was taking my day shots. It is a shame that not all the Cross Tipped Spires are illuminated at night.
Some people have been asking about the photography details so here they are. All these pictures were taken using a tripod. The camera settings were ISO 200, F/16 and 4-6 second exposure.

Before I came to St. Augustine, I stopped and took some pictures at St. John. I will post them in another post, but besides the Shrine of the Holy Relics it was the only church lit up between McCartyville and The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary just out side of Maria Stein. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is partially lit but not very well. My guess is that St. Henry would be the only other church to be lit up at night on the ByWay.Augustine is well lit from all angles and presented a very nice profile. If you look closely you can see the moon starting to peek out from the far spire.

It was a cool night and a fun shoot, but you gotta sleep sometime. So I ended my evening with one last picture.Good Night and God Bless.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saint Anthony

The first time I visited this church the sun was bright and behind it and I was unable to get any decent pictures of the outside. On my second trip, I made sure to leave in the morning and found favorable skies and light. (See Description of the ByWay for pictures) St. Anthony is the last church on the byway and as such a bit of a drive, so I stayed longer and took more pictures than I usually do.

After trying all sorts of ways to take pictures of murals on the ceiling, I finally came up with just setting the camera face up on the tripod and eyeballing the shot. Gee that was EASY.

This mural is the only painting on the ceiling. I am looking forward to returning and getting some history on this and the other paintings I have found on my travels along the byway.

The altar had a relief of the Last Supper on the front that I could not resist shooting. The imagery that I find in these churches is just amazing.

Can you identify the disciples in the picture? The funny thing about this picture is if it was filmed today it would look just like this. All twelve disciples and Jesus on one side of the table. I guess somethings never change.

I rarely go up in the balcony, but it was open and it looked like I might get a good shot of the altar from that vantage point. The shots of the altar were so, so but finding this rosary hanging on the wall is what made the trip up the steps worthwhile. I am afraid my picture doesn't do it justice.

I ended up liking this picture I took from the back of the church instead of the one I took from the balcony better.
Over all it was a 5 hour road trip. One that left me just a little bit tired. The churches do not run the AC during off hours, so it can get a little hot. There were a few side trips and surprises that made it all worth while. Besides any day that I'm taking pictures is a good day.

Monday, July 14, 2008

St. Augustine (A Closer Look)

One of the churches I hadn't even so much as peeked into so far was St. Augustine. After hearing about the wonderful mosaic's from a friend, I decided to check it out. I wasn't disappointed.

While I was setting up to take pictures, I dropped my lens cap. The sound was almost deafening as it hit the floor in the empty church. All sounds were amplified. You could have carried on a normal conversation in a whisper. I always try and be reverent when I am in the churches. Removing my ball cap and trying to be quiet (not easy when your tripping on a prayer bench).

This stained glass window of St. Augustine was one of the first pictures I took.

I always look for the Stations of the Cross when I am in any Catholic church. These were easy to find because the heavy golden mosaics shown bright even in the dim light. It never ceases to amaze me how unique these displays can be from church to church.

I almost overlooked this small Crucifix, it practically gets lost in the background. Black and white marble are used throughout the church. I wonder if the mosaic tile patterns are just artistic or if they have a meaning. I hope to find out on my next visit.

Looking up, almost took my breath away. The murals look like something right off a museum wall. This picture is just one of many that you will find adorning the ceiling of the church.

I am glad no one came in as I was trying to take these pictures. I was laying down and doing all sort of contortions with my body and tripod trying to capture them.

I was almost finished when a couple arrived. Until then I had had the place to myself. I still had some pictures I wanted to take, but I told them I was just finishing up and started packing up my gear. I really didn't want to interfere with anybody who came to mediate/worship.

They said they were just passing through and had just stopped for a look. They were going to stay briefly take a quick tour and move onto the churches in Maria Stein. I had just met my first Land of the Cross Tipped Churches tourist. I took this last picture of Jesus on the cross behind the altar and following their example said a little prayer before I left.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Way of the Cross

I was searching the Internet for more information on the Stations of the Cross when I came across the web site of Tom Zarb's online collection of prayers and meditations "The Way of the Cross".

As I read through the various stations and interpretations I was struck with a flash back to my days in Scouting. While attending leadership training, we were instructed to collect 12 pebbles through out the day and have them in our possession for an evening gathering at dusk. That was the only instruction we received.

At dusk we gathered with our rocks and waited. We were led to a path that we could see was lit along the way with buckets and signs. One by one we were sent down the path with the only instruction to be silent. Approaching the first light and sign it was easy to see we were on the path of the 12 points of the Scout Law. I reflected on the point and instinctively plopped a pebble into the pail and moved onto the next station. Afterwards we were seated in an outdoor area and the director of the camp talked to us about our Journey on the Path of the 12 points of the Scout Law.

He shared that he had made the journey himself many times and pulling a pebble from his pocket said "You know I have always struggled with Thrifty". There was no moan from the crowed but it was clear to us that most of us should of had a rock or two still in our pocket.

As I read through the various prayers and meditations I thought what a wonderful way to deepen your walk with God. As I made may way from station to station I started to get the feeling I was missing something. That's when the flash back came, and that' when I realized that so much more could be accomplished here if I just put my heart into it. It's like reading the bible to be reading or reading the bible to know God. I could go through this and just drop my pebbles along the way or I could take an honest spiritual inventory and ask myself "What do I need to leave at the foot of the cross?"

The Way of the Cross are 14 stations that begin with Christ being condemned, following his path to the Crucifixion and ending with his burial. Sometimes a 15th station is added to include the Resurrection. This has led me to the discovery of the Stations of the Resurrection which I hope to cover in a future post.

(Pictures taken at the Shrine of the Holy Relics)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The 11th Commandment and Other Oddities

On my last trip out I completed the byway, but have not completed taking or posting pictures. On this trip I ran across a couple of things that I just had to share.

The Eleventh Commandment!

I will let you find the location of this sign on your own, but violators beware you will be persecuted. This sign also comes with a very inspiring view.

With gas prices flirting at the $4.00 mark this picture may make more sense than we would like. I just want to know how many miles to the bucket of oats do you get.

I would have missed these gourd bird houses, if I had not stumbled upon them in someone else’s blog on their own adventure. I did not find the ones they had pictured, but once I started looking I found these sprouting out of several residential lawns.

Anyone who knows the story behind these please E-Mail me or post a comment. I’d love to know their story. (See comments for more info)