Friday, September 9, 2011


On Friday, September 9, I decided to visit the Milwaukee Art Museum and took my camera along.  The current special exhibit is one of 18th Century Chinese art, which was interesting but which did not allow photography.  Fortunately, photography of the permanent exhibits, as well as of the museum itself, are permitted.

I am going to break this up into a number of different posts, with the first being of the museum itself.

Perhaps the most dramatic aspect of the museum's interior is the atrium of the Calatrava addition, which is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary.  I previously devoted a post to the exterior of the Calatrava addition (July 28).  This time I focused on the interior.  The exterior bris soleil, which ordinarily opens up during the day, has been under repair and was closed during the time I was at the museum.  As a result, the brise soleil draped the sides of the glass atrium, darkening somewhat the atrium's interior.  I left the first few shots in color, although the outstanding features of the Calatrava addition are the lines, not the color palette.  White balance was somewhat tricky, as the ambient light came both from interior lighting, mostly tungsten, and from exterior daylight.

Not really an interesting shot, particularly considering the feeling that the atrium conveys if you are actually there.  It also fails to provide a sense of the dimensions of the atrium.  It would have been better if I had had more of a wide-angle lens.  The next shot is a bit more interesting.  Unfortunately, I was not fully centered in the atrium, leading to a subtle off-center shot.  

Throughout the museum are examples of what must have been preliminary sketches and models of the Calatrava addition.  Here is one of the sketches:

I returned to the atrium before leaving the museum and took a few more shots featuring the museum's architecture.  This time I rendered them as black & whites to accentuate the lines:

These first two are basically abstractions.  The first is a shot of the atrium from the lower level below the atrium. The only portions fully in focus are the lines around the glass paneling surrounding a circular opening in the first floor.  The lens's aperture was pretty wide open at f/5, which left the backdrop out of focus.  It might have been better to stop down the aperture, increasing the ISO to compensate.  The second shot features a series of triangular braces that extend at least 100 feet along the west side of the structure.

I like this last shot quite a bit, partly because the two figures approaching the camera provide context as to the dimensions of the atrium.