Karlskirche in Vienna – The Church of Saint Karl of Borromeo

Karlskirche in Vienna Church of Saint Karl of Borromeo

The Karlskirche is one of the iconic sites of Vienna.

It’s dedicated to Saint Karl of Borromeo¬† the saint associated with the fight against the plague.

The architect was Johann Fisher von Erlach

As a photographer the constant problem with iconic sites is to shoot an image which

  • is clearly and instantly recognizable.


  • is distinctive and different from other images of the same site.

On a personal, creative level there’s not much point in travelling the world only to shoot copy photos of the local postcards.

And another problem is that depending on how long or how frequent your visits are you have to accept the local weather and lighting conditions.

Karlskirche in Vienna – Photo Facts

I was able to visit the Karlskiche twice on my short Vienna visit which was lucky.

Lucky because my first visit established only that the light was dull and that the artificial lake in front of the church was empty.

Empty, that is of water, there were plenty of people ambling around but I didn’t want them.

I noted the time and lighting and came back later on another day.

This time I felt the sidelighting would highlight the details of the dome and columns.

I took a number of shots but this one was my favourite.


I think it’s the sky.

I’ve no idea if this type of cloud formation is commonplace in Vienna but it gave atmosphere to the picture.

As I wanted to make sure i had the best exposure I took a few shots setting the control dial on my Canon EOS 5D Mark 11 to Manual.

I finally settled on a shutter speed of 1/500 to eliminate camera shake


an aperture of f8 which is probably the best aperture on my Tamron 28-75mm lens.

For this combination I had to bump up the ISO to 200 but I felt that the full frame sensor could cope without showing any noise.

Vienna is a fine city and I’ll add it it to my shortlist with Budapest and Prague as the most beautiful cities in the region.

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February 2021
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Stock photography by John Rocha at Alamy

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