Milwaukee Art Museum – Part 2

Some exterior photos from my visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum to check out the Quadracci Pavilion, an architectural structure built in 2001 and designed by Santiago Calatrava.  Highlights of the building are the magnificent cathedral-like space of Windhover Hall, with a vaulted a 90-foot-high glass ceiling; the Burke Brise Soleil, a moveable sunscreen with a 217-foot wingspan that unfolds and folds twice daily; and the Reiman Bridge, a pedestrian suspension bridge that connects the Museum to the city.

Milwaukee Art Museum's Burke Brise Soleil

I think the HDR might be a little over the top when it comes to the sky, but what can I say — I’m a sucker for puffy clouds against a popping blue sky.  🙂

Milwaukee Art Museum's Quadracci Pavilion

Next to the Milwaukee Art Museum they’ve integrated the existing Milwaukee County War Memorial Center.  This architectural achievement of renowned Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen stands as a fitting memorial to those who have served in the U.S. Armed Services.  Saarinen’s unique design, a floating cruciform with cantilevered portions, is now considered a classic in the development of modern architecture.  The War Memorial Center was dedicated on Veterans Day 1957.

Milwaukee County War Memorial Center

Of course, I couldn’t resist turning my camera around to get a shot of “The Calling”, a sculpture that represents the sunrise, and kicks off the start of Wisconsin Avenue.  It was a bit challenging, as the sun was still a bit high in the sky, but I stood so the sun was behind the US Bank building, and just embraced the light.

Wisconsin Avenue and "The Calling"

Please check out my Milwaukee Art Museum set on Flickr for more photos.

Thanks!

Milwaukee Art Museum – Part 1

While visiting my sister in Milwaukee, I decided to check out the Quadracci Pavilion, a wonderful, sculptural building incorporated into the existing Milwaukee Art Museum in 2001.  I’d seen pictures, but nothing compared to seeing in person.

Milwaukee Art Museum - Windhover Hall

The Pavilion was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who was inspired by the original building by Eero Saarinen, the topography of the city, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie-style architecture.

Milwaukee Art Museum - Windhover Hall

Windhover Hall is the grand entrance hall for the Quadracci Pavilion.  It’s Santiago Calatrava’s postmodern interpretation of a Gothic cathedral, complete with flying buttresses, pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and a central nave topped by a 90-foot-high glass roof.

Milwaukee Art Museum - Windhover Hall

The hall’s chancel is shaped like the prow of a ship, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking over Lake Michigan.  Adjoining the central hall are two tow-arched promenades with expansive views of the lake and downtown.

Milwaukee Art Museum - Quadracci Pavilion

The Museum’s signature wings, the Burke Brise Soleil, form a moveable sunscreen with a 217-foot wingspan. The brise soleil is made up of 72 steel fins, ranging in length from 26 to 105 feet. The entire structure weighs 90 tons. It takes 3.5 minutes for the wings to open or close. Sensors on the fins continually monitor wind speed and direction; whenever winds exceed 23 mph for more than 3 seconds, the wings close automatically.  Unfortunately, the wings were closed on my visit.

Please check out my Milwaukee Art Museum set on Flickr for more photos.

Thanks!

Abandoned Factory – Part 2

So, I’m finally posting more photos from the abandoned battery factory.  I would have posted some sooner, but I’ve been sick with a cold and cough, which I’ve convinced myself has nothing to do with the fact that I was trudging through this contaminated factory a couple of days earlier.  🙂

This time around, I’m not including EXIF data for the photos that went into these HDR shots.  I’m not sure if anyone was really looking at that.  If you liked that information, though, just let me know and I’ll go back and add it.

The photo above is one of my favorites from this second batch.  I absolutely love the lighting!  I think it was just a lucky combination of HDR and shooting at the right time of day.

In this shot, I was hoping to capture a little of the old and the new — invoices from when this was still a business, and caps from cans of spray paint used now to cover the walls with graffiti.  What do you think?  Do you think this shot works?

A larger room shot in the same location as the papers shot above.  I think what drew me to this shot was the contrast of the vibrant graffiti with the drab, dingy papers on the floor.

Believe it or not, this was in the same room as the b&w shoe shot from my last post!  Quite the contrast, I’d say.  The colors on this graffiti were just exquisite.  To the left, out of the shot, was written “THE DEVIL CAME DOWN TO GEORGIA”.  Unfortunately, there just was no way to get it all in due to a post that was in the middle of the room, at least not with the 17-35mm lens I had on me.

So, now for something completely different.  I saw this walking from the large, open space into the room with the devil and the shoes.  The shaft of light completely caught my attention.  I loved how it was illuminating the pipe on the opposite wall.  What do you think of this one?  The shot above was the feeling I had in mind when I took the photo — simple, graphic, monochromatic.  Was it worth it?

If you’d like to see more images from this shoot, please check out the set on my Flickr site.

Thanks!

Abandoned Factory – Part 1

After a short-notice invitation from a friend, I went on my second urban exploring adventure yesterday.  I’m intentionally not going to share many details about the type of place or the location, except to say that it’s an abandoned factory on the Southwest side of Atlanta.  I will say, though, that I learned after the fact that it’s a contaminated site that’s on the EPA’s Superfund list.  Yikes!

ISO 400, 19mm with 4 exposures of 1/6, 0.6, 2.5, and 10.0 sec at f/11

Unlike the abandoned school that we visited in February, we didn’t have to climb through any windows or search for an entrance — we just walked in.  Also unlike the school, this location was pretty much a big, wide open space, with a few rooms here and there.  There was an upstairs, with a cafeteria, etc., but I pretty much kept to the main floor.  I guess I’ll have to go back again so I can explore the upstairs.  🙂

ISO 400, 25mm with 3 exposures of 2.5, 10.0, and 30.0 sec at f/11

I still have plenty of photos to process from this excursion, but so far, the photo above is my favorite.  The moment I converted it to b&w, I felt like I had something special.  This was taken in a shower/locker room area where the workers must have changed from their normal shoes into shoes that they wore just for work, because there were several shoes (not sure about pairs) in this room.  It was one of the few places in the building where there was any remaining connection to the people who actually worked at the factory.

Another one of my favorites so far is the one below.  I just love how the colors play off each other, as well as the position of the desk compared to the main graffiti on the left wall.  There’s just a lot of visually interesting stuff in this one.

ISO 400, 30mm with 3 exposures of 0.4, 1.6, and 6.0 sec at f/18

If you’d like to see the rest of the images from this shoot, please check out the set on my Flickr site.

Thanks!

Abandoned School – Part 3

Today I purchased and installed Lightroom 4, and took it out for a spin by working on some more photos from my excursion a couple of weekends ago to an abandoned elementary school in Atlanta, Georgia.  So far, I’m not seeing any tremendous differences between Lightroom 3 and 4.  There’s the addition of the Highlights and Shadows in the Basic section of the Develop module, but I’m doing HDR with these photos, so I’ve used it very little.  There are also new Map and Book modules, which I haven’t explored yet.  I’ll probably post a more extensive review once I’ve had time to play with it.

Below are a few of my favorites from this latest batch of photos of an abandoned elementary school.

ISO 400 with 5 exposures of 1/8000, 1/6400, 1/1600, 1/400, and 1/100 at f/2.8

The photo above is a great example of what HDR can do.  Even though it was overcast, there was still a tremendous amount of light coming through those windows.  Without HDR, I’d never have been able to get this shot.  Since I have a Nikon, I can only bracket 1 stop apart, so I bracketed the maximum of 9 shots, and used every other shot for the HDR.

1/400 sec at f/2.8

This is the fourth of the five exposures I used for the HDR — the one that’s [mostly] properly exposed for the interior.  Even with a raw file, it would have been difficult to get all of the detail I got with HDR.

ISO 400 with 3 exposures of 1/200, 1/100, and 1/50 sec at f/2.8

This one is not very typical of my style.  My approach is usually a little more straightforward (read: few crazy angles), but I really wanted to emphasize the spray can, as well as the fact that the color spread all across this really long chalk board.  Then, of course, there’s the naked woman on the far wall.  Again, not a normal subject for me, but it was really colorful and different from the rest of the graffiti in the place, so I just had to capture it.  All in all, I’m really pleased with how this one turned out.

ISO 200 with 3 exposures of 1/4, 1.0, and 4.0 sec at f/16

Even though the place was teeming with color from all the graffiti, I think there’s always a chance to slip in a b&w shot here and there.  In this case, the tiles walls were a pinkish flesh color and not terribly appealing, so turning this into a black & white was really the best way to showcase the drama of the scene.  It also allowed me to highlight the reflection of the light on the shiny tile walls.  I created the HDR, then used one of the new b&w presets (“B&W Look 2”) provided by Adobe with Lightroom 4.

ISO 200 with 5 exposures of 1/4000, 1/1000, 1/250, 1/60, 1/15 at f/3.2

Another 5 exposure HDR shot due to the extreme lighting.  There was something about this room and this green chair; I think it was my favorite location in the entire place.  The chair was one of the few things left in the building that gave any indication of the building’s former life.  You could imagine someone using this at their desk while grading papers.  It humanized the building, particularly in contrast with all of the graffiti.

Believe it or not, I’m still not done processing photos from this excursion, which means that there will at least be an “Abandoned School – Part 4” in the near future.  In the meantime, feel free to check out the other photos from this batch on my Flickr site.

The Fabulous Fox Theatre – Part 2

It’s been a busy week, so I haven’t had much time to continue working on my photos from the Fox Theatre.  On top of that, I went on a fantastic shoot today in an abandoned elementary school, and now I’m totally into working on those photos, so it’ll be a little while before I get back to the Fox photos.  In the meantime, though, I thought I’d share a couple of the less serious photos — at least from a subject-matter perspective — from the Fox Theatre.

One of the many things the Fox is known for is it’s interesting restroom architecture, which is why I was shooting in the restroom.  (Just felt I needed to explain that.  :-))  These photos were taken in the women’s restroom.  There’s a very elaborate lounge attached to the women’s bathroom but, clearly, these are not from there.  (I believe I do have some of the lounge, though they’re still in the unprocessed pile.)

Lastly, when you think of the Fox Theatre, you think two things:  architecture and color.  Just to be a little contrary I suppose, I went with two photos that pretty much don’t fall into either of those categories, though you certainly might be able to argue that the shot of the sinks is an architecture photo.  Yes, but not “architecture” in the same sense as the rest of the Fox Theatre.

Let me know what you think!  And if you’d like to check out what I’ve posted so far, please check out my Fox Theatre set on Flickr.  Thanks!

Piazza d’Italia #2

Piazza d'Italia #2 by gail des jardin

I’m very excited that my photo of the Piazza d’Italia in New Orleans is going to be used in an exhibition at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (German Architecture Museum) in Frankfurt, Germany. The exhibition is on architectural models, and this image will be used in their catalogue, as well as blown up for display next to the model. If I could only convince them to fly me out to see it, I’d be all set.