Last week, to commemorate the completed restoration of the western tower at Mission San Xavier del Bac, organizers lit up the church for a one-time photo opportunity.
More than 200 photographers filtered through the parking lots between dusk and 10:30 p.m. to get their own prized shots of the mission, located off Interstate 19 about 6 miles south of the Interstate 19 interchange with Interstate10, south of Tucson.
“We got here around 3:30,” said photographer Ria Ryne. “We wanted to make sure we had a good spot.”
Ryne and her fellow “photo geek,” Mike Henry, stood out at the event as they set up their large-format film cameras, anachronisms in this digital age.
All of their cameras, with film-negative sizes ranging from 4x5 inches to 12x20 inches, take only a single photograph on each negative before having to change the backing.
While digital photographers blazed through taking numerous images, Henry and Ryne took anywhere from three to five images per camera.
The 226-year-old Roman Catholic Church’s west tower had been under restoration for the past five years. The freshly painted and restored tower was uncovered at the end of December and was lit up for the photo opportunity last Friday night.