Monday, March 26, 2012


Scottsdale has done a superb job of creating a "civic center," consisting of a center for the performing arts, an art museum, and government buildings, as well as large expanses of lawn areas, including lawns, fountains, and a host of sculptures.  I have visited the area a number of times since we have been here, primarily to photograph the southwestern architecture and sculptures.

I had a hard time trying to take interesting shots of the sculptures, but I did like the following photos of a metal sculpture situated in one of the fountain areas.  I felt that the best way to take this shot was to position the sculpture in front of one of the fountains that was backlit by sunlight, throwing the statue into silhouette.

I finally figured out that this was a representation of Cervantes' Don Quixote, complete with horse, lance, and--if you look close--windmills.  This was taken at a wide open aperture of f/4, with a shutter speed of 1/2000 second, freezing the water droplets.  I decided it might be more effective to capture the scene with a much slower shutter speed, something of a problem, as the smallest aperture on my lens is f/22.  Here is the result, at 1/60 second.  This is still much faster than I would have liked, but I would have needed a filter to slow things down further.

Scottsdale also boasts one of a number of LOVE sculptures, which apparently are cast from a single piece of aluminum.  This sculpture is at least 10 ft. by 10 ft.  Here are a couple of unorthodox takes on the piece.

The rest of the shots are of architecture, attempting to take advantage of the play of light and shadow provided by Arizona's bright sun.  Here is the side of a building that I attempted to make more interesting by focusing on the shadow of a tree cast against it and turning it into a B&W.

Here is a shot of, of all things, a parking ramp that I thought provided some interesting lines.

What caught my attention was that I could follow the line of supporting pillars through the opening, which also incorporated the trunk of a palm tree.  In post processing I worked very hard to maximize the amount of contrast in the lighter elements of the image, the parts wrapping around the central opening on the upper, right, and lower sides.  This is the best I could do--not great, but I still like the shot a lot.

Finally, the Scottsdale library has a terrific curved courtyard/entryway that is covered by a pergola that provides a very interesting array of light and shadow.

Note that the shadows are also striping the bench.  Also a close inspection reveals a woman dressed in green at the end of the walkway who is also striped by the shadows.

This worked very well in portrait format also.

This shot was taken on a different day when the sun was at a different point in the sky, creating a much denser system of shadows.

Here is another shot taken from the other direction (and again at a different time of day).

I like this shot because it is "clean," without any extraneous vegetation and with perhaps a better balance between shadowed and open areas.  This shot also worked well as a B&W.

When I was setting up my camera and tripod for these shots, I actually had people approach me and say how they thought I had chosen a very interesting scene to shoot.

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