The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Santa Fe

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Agua Fria Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Agua Fria Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico

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The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Santa Fe

Colonists from Mexico and Franciscan missionaries in the 17th and 18th centuries brought the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe with them to New Mexico. The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the oldest, still-standing shrine built in honor of Our Lady in the United States. It is an enduring landmark commemorating the strong presence of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. The first church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a tiny adobe structure on the banks of the Santa Fe River, was built in 1777.

In the early 19th century, the church was not in good repair and not considered fit for use as a House of God. In 1922 a fire destroyed the roof and burned the painted frescoes. The restoration was made in a California-mission style, a bell tower was erected and the building received new wooden flooring. After this the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe served as an active parish until 1961, at which time it was closed for all religious services.

The old church was eventually restored for the second time, and the adobe walls, almost 3-feet thick, were repaired. On August 5, 2006, the archbishop of Santa Fe re-dedicated the shrine. Once again the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine was officially declared and dedicated as a place of worship.

We were eating in a local restaurant when a fast moving storm passed through the area.  We hurriedly finished our meal and drove over to the church, managing to catch the last of the passing clouds just as the sun was setting which produced wonderful patterns and colors in the sky.

This image is an HDR image from a seven bracket set taken a 1-stop intervals.  This is the first image I had produced by Merging to HDR Pro in Photoshop and then saving the 32 bit image back to Lightroom, a technique I read about in Photoshop User magazine in October, just after we had returned from our trip to Santa Fe.  All the subsequent processing of the merged file has been done in Lightroom.  This including darkening the wall in the foreground and adjusting the overall exposure of the sky as well as the luminance of the red and magenta in the clouds.

Click here for more images of some of the historic missions and churches of New Mexico.


  1. I remember this church Mark. Very nice capture and excellent writeup.

  2. Yet again Mark some great history in relation to your subject matter! The image itself is beautifully natural which I find editing a 32bit image in Lightroom quite easy to achieve.

    I have tried the same method and really like the results which can be obtained. Well done!

    • Thanks, Tim. I have been playing with the Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop for a couple on months now and really like how the resultant files look. I decided to write up this technique in my newsletter because I believe a lot more people need to see what you and I already know.

  3. nice one Mark, love that sky!!

    • Thanks, Jim. I saw how the sky was forming so just needed a suitable subject matter for the shot. Thank goodness this church was not too far away.

  4. Love the sky in this one, nice work

  5. Wonderful write-up, Mark. This is a very impressive photograph. The contrast between that awesome sky and building is very nice cool. I also like that golden light in the window.

    • Thanks, Jimi. I had to play with the light in the window make it noticeable without making it too bright. Glad you think the work was worthwhile.

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