Wednesday, October 26, 2011

DE CORDOVA SCULPTURE PARK AND MUSEUM

On Saturday afternoon, the 22nd, we drove to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum with Michelle and Tobias.  Tobias's dad, Marty, accompanied us on our visit.

This park, which is located southeast of Concord, Massachusetts, was spectacular.  The gardens are located on a beautiful piece of rolling terrain, and it helped that our visit was very close to the time of peak fall colors for the many trees on the grounds.  The gardens contain dozens of sculptures scattered throughout.  There was also a museum that we visited.  However, although some of the exhibits in the indoor museum were interesting, the real attraction was the sculpture gardens.


Following my brief experience of photographing sculptures in Utah, I was looking forward to trying my hand at some of those in the deCordova collection. As with most of my photographic adventures, I had mixed success.  


The sculptures ranged from the relatively realistic . . .


(I worked to get a dark background for the ball player)

to the surreal . . .



to the purely abstract.


One of the more interesting--but difficult to photograph--pieces was what I called the tree person.  Part of the difficulty was that the sculpture, which appeared to be made out of tree branches, was very tall, perhaps 25 feet in height, requiring that it be shot for the most part against the background sky, which was cloudy during our visit.  That had the effect of turning the sculpture more or less into a silhouette.


I took a tighter shot that was largely silhouetted and with very little color and decided I might as well convert it into a B&W.


I am wondering why I took the following shot from the side rather than from the front. 


Perhaps there was something behind the sculpture that I felt would be a distraction in the shot.

I very much liked the following "head" sculpture, which has a significant surreal quality to it.


I also took a tighter shot that, I think, emphasizes the haunting expression on the face.


The shadowless light nicely brought out the surface texture of this sculpture.  I did brighten up these shots a bit in post-processing.

I liked the following abstract bronze piece, and it was in a beautiful setting, but it is somewhat "lost" in the stand of trees behind it, even though it is taken with the lens aperture wide open.


I tried a close-up, but I am afraid it is just  too abstract to capture the overall effect of the piece.


There was some humor in the following sculpture made from pine cones.  Michelle remarked that some of the figures appeared to be male.


I took this shot at an aperture of f/7.1, but I might have done better to have set the aperture wide open to reduce the distraction of the trees in the background.  I also wished that I could have excluded the electrical conduit running down the large tree on the right.

One of the sculptures consisted of a couple of large heart-shaped pieces set among the trees on the grounds.  When we got closer, however, we found that the surfaces of the hearts were covered by various objects acting as bas reliefs . . .


including faces.


Here is a closer shot that includes Michelle and Tobias.  A face is visible in the heart behind them above and to the right.


I felt that the composition in the following shot worked very well.


I liked how I was able to frame the sculpture by the small tree behind it in full color and to have the sculpture appear to "wrap around" the bench.  I only wish the sculpture itself had been more interesting.

I also liked how I handled the following bronze of a female figure.


I chose to set the aperture at wide open (f/4.0) and to focus on the woman's outstretched hand, which is in very sharp focus.  Even though the woman's face is out of focus, I think the shot is more powerful than if I had tried to get the entire sculpture in focus.  I also liked that the hand covers just a little part of the woman's face.

As I stated, the grounds of the park were spectacular and the museum building was gorgeous, particularly as the ivy was also showing off its fall colors.

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