Wednesday, August 21, 2019

SANTA FE SCENES

Santa Fe, if nothing else, has great Southwestern charm, and I thought I would end my posts for our fourth visit to this town with a few shots I took during our strolls around the town.

First, a puzzling doorway on the side of a typical adobe structure.  I assume the painting, both of the door and the surround, has a private meaning.  (Needs work, though.)


There is a colonnade outside a museum of contemporary native American art on the main plaza that presented an interesting opportunity.  The museum was a disappointment, but I did like this walkway.


And here are a couple of signs outside establishments in the town's historical area.



I stumbled on the following cabinet door in a shop filled with such apparently dilapidated wooden furniture.  I couldn't figure out whether the piece was specifically painted to look old and shabby or had simply wound up looking like it does through wear and tear, but I did like the overall effect.


Finally, here is the front facade of a local hotel fashioned in adobe.  I converted the shot to a black & white and darkened sky to accentuate the lines and create a little drama.


John

NEW MEXICO MUSEUM OF ART


During our recent visit to Santa Fe, we didn't get back to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, but we did pay a quick visit to the New Mexico Museum of Art.  The museum building is typical Santa Fe adobe and quite handsome.


To be honest, the museum does not have a great art collection, but I did take a few shots, particularly of the sculpture pieces, which are more fun to photograph anyway.  Here are a few of those.




I particularly liked the hands in the above sculpture of a native American woman.


John

Saturday, August 17, 2019

LORETTO CHAPEL

The Loretto Chapel is located only a couple of blocks south of Santa Fe's central square, close to the end of the Old Santa Fe Trail.  The small chapel was completed in 1878.  Once again, the morning light for a shot of chapel's front facade was wrong.


Once the chapel was built it was realized that there was no stairway for access to the balcony.  A traditional staircase would have taken up too much space in the small venue.  Apparently, this was not unusual for small chapels, where the balcony was considered decorative only.  The story goes that a mysterious carpenter appeared who built a space-efficient spiral staircase, using only hand tools.  The construction is remarkable, although the carpenter did not include railings, which were added later.  The staircase has some instability issues and guests are not allowed to use it.  In fact, it is roped off so that I could not get a good shot from underneath the spiral.  This was about the best I could do.  Not great.


The chapel's ceiling is overshadowed by the staircase, but is really lovely in its own right.



The sanctuary features a small but lovely crucifix.


There is a small admission charge to see the chapel, and exit is through a gift shop (of course) which features a genuine plethora of religious gifts, including an entire wall of crosses and crucifixes.


John

CATHEDRAL BASILICA OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI

Santa Fe, New Mexico features a beautiful cathedral, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, which was completed in 1887 and is situated at the eastern end of the city's central square.  I couldn't resist photographing the basilica, even though I have shot it on each of the other occasions on which we have visited Santa Fe.  With one possible exception, I don't think I improved on my prior attempts.

First, a ho-hum shot of the basilica's front facade.


The morning light was all wrong for this shot.

Another repeat was of the statue of St. Francis that stands in basilica's front courtyard.  And, yes,, I positioned St. Francis so that his head was centered on the rose window.


There was also a statue of a Native American which was well done but seemed too modern given the architecture of the church.


The brass front doors to the church were quite well done.


Here is a closeup.  I assume each of the panels tells a story.


I didn't keep any shots looking toward the sanctuary from the back of the nave, but I did keep a photo looking back from the sanctuary.


There was an interesting crucifix hanging over the sanctuary.  However, even though I reduced the depth of field as far as I could, the background created a distraction.


I thought the following shot of the side of the nave worked well.


But my best shot, I think, was of the rose window.


John

GYPSY PLAZA, MADRID NM

On our recent drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, we took the scenic route along the Turquoise Trail.  The biggest town on the route is Madrid, NM.  It is little more than a spot in the road, mostly populated with boutique shops.  One set of shops is located in "Gypsy Plaza."  I put the name in quotes to signify that it is more just a name than an actual destination.


We didn't buy anything, but I did like the colors and decrepitude.



Although I liked the colors in the above shot, the overall composition left something to be desired.

The add-on piece of wood on the door in the shot below was unfortunate, but I did like the colors.


John

Sunday, August 4, 2019

CONTRABAND ARCHITECTURE IN BLACK AND WHITE

Milwaukee's Marcus Center for the Performing Arts (familiarly known as the PAC) was completed in 1969.  It is a primary venue for a variety of performing arts presentations, including orchestral performances, opera, theater productions, etc.  The design of the building is what I would refer to as minimalist contemporary.  The exterior features many windowless, complex, marble-clad walls. Personally, I think the architecture, which has undergone only modest updating, has held up well in the 50 years since it's construction.

On a cloudless evening recently I was downtown to take a few photos of the building, taking advantage of the so-called golden hour.  One section of the building in particular caught my eye because of the way in which the evening light was creating what I thought was an interesting abstract of light and shadow.  Following are a few of the shots that I got.

I did make a couple of significant changes to the images as originally taken.  First, I converted them to black and whites.  Second, I darkened the blue of the sky, essentially turning it to black.



The light and shadow for these shots only works well in the evening when shadows are more pronounced and when the evening sun brightens the walls directly bathed in the light.  In short, these shots would not work at mid-day or on a cloudy day.  Everything just gets too "flat."

One thing I discovered was that the geometry of this particular perspective changed if I changed my position just slightly or changed the focal length of the lens, as the following two similar shots demonstrate.



Now here's the thing: As I was finishing up these shots, a security person (I presume) for the building rode up to me on a motorized cart.  He told me that I could not photograph the PAC(!)  "What?" I said.  He repeated that taking photos of the building was prohibited.  "Why?" I asked.  "The building is copyrighted," he announced.  So I turned off my camera and left.  Fortunately, I had pretty much finished up my session.  I am sure that if I had been taking pictures with, say, an iPhone, I would not have been stopped.  It was only because it was using more sophisticated equipment that security decided to ask me to leave.  Good thing I wasn't using my tripod.

Before I had been approached by the security person, I had also taken another shot from the rear of the building, using the same two modifications of black and white and of darkening the sky.


Not as interesting.

Finally, is a sculpture, also at the backside of the building, which borders the Milwaukee River.


Here I was not able to fully darken the sky.  Not a great shot; not a big deal.

John

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

BASTILLE DAYS 2019


Milwaukee has a great tradition of ethnic festivals, primarily occurring in the summer.  One of those festivals is Bastille Days, celebrating French culture.  It always takes place on the July weekend closest to Bastille Day, July 14th.  This was the festival's 38th year.

Unlike most of the other festivals, Bastille Days does not occur at Maier Festival Park on the Lake Michigan lakefront.  Instead, it takes place at Cathedral Square, along with the adjoining streets, in the downtown area.  Frankly, it isn't much of a festival in the tradition of ethnic music, entertainment, and food.  Rather, it is basically an opportunity for vendors of any sort to hawk their wares and sell their food along with a smattering of entertainment--essentially a fair.  Still, on the Sunday afternoon that we went it provided us with a chance to enjoy a beautiful summer day and for me to take a few photos.

As indicated, much of the space is given over to vendors of whatever, not necessarily in the French "style."





The festival takes place at Cathedral Square, named for the Cathedral of St. John, the Evangelist, which sits adjacent to the square, giving me an opportunity to get a couple of shots of this modest-sized, but beautiful Catholic church, an exterior detail and a standard shot of the interior.



We did catch one act, a juggler who called himself the Fire Guy.  He was quite good as a juggler and kept up a humorous and family-appropriate banter.





My favorite shot of this post was a photo of a manikin sporting a straw hat. 


I converted the image to a black and white to emphasize the shadow pattern that the sun was creating on the manikin's face.

John M. Phillips

Thursday, July 11, 2019

SCULPTURE MILWAUKEE 2019


This is the third summer that Milwaukee has featured a public sculpture display.  This year there are 22 sculptures positioned along Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee's main east-west downtown avenue.  On a couple of occasions during the past few weeks, I have wandered up and down Wisconsin Avenue taking photos of the sculptures.  I thought I would post what I took, which includes all but a couple of the pieces.  Here, in no particular order, is what I got.

A Greater Perspective, by Elmsgreen & Dragset


The sculpture is the stylized telescope, not the Milwaukee Art Museum brise soleil.

Holiday Home, by Woods



Kitchen Trees, by Wurtz


Silly, actually.

Cleft, by Paine


Penguin, by Baldessari


Hot Dog Vendor, by Grooms






This was my favorite sculpture, probably because of its outstanding whimsy factor.

Hera, by Matelli



This was probably my second favorite, because of the authenticity of the melons.

Large Boxing Hare, by Flanagan



Handy Darling, Handy Warhol, by Haas Brothers





I got a little carried away on this sculpture, looking for creative ways to present the piece.

Seraphine-Cherubin, by Ernst



Pensive, by Bailey


Magical Thinking, by Simpson & Georigiadis


Heavy Metal Stack of Six: Trichrome Blue, by Bulloch


Boring, frankly.

Tilted Channel, by Shechet


This did nothing for me.  Besides, it's ugly.

Gild the Lily, by Rolon


Interior of the atrium of the Chase Tower.

Sun & Moon Protector, by O'Brien



Tango Dancers, by Grooms


Nice, I thought.

Curvae in Curvae, by Pepper



I thought the pieces this year were generally better than those in the first two years.

The "show" is free to anyone willing to hike the the mile or so along the avenue.

John