Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Sshhhh. . . . Today I visited a sculpture garden in the Milwaukee area that was created by one of Milwaukee's prominent philanthropists.  Visitors are allowed to take photographs, but the rules state that those photos are not to be published, including on the internet.  The representative from the garden who confirmed this to me went on to say that, while that is the rule, everyone knows that people do post such photos on the internet.  I think the concern is that photographs not be used for commercial gain.  So, while I do not feel I am violating the spirit of the rule by posting photos to my blog, I am not mentioning the name of the garden.

The facility consists of 40 acres of lawns, trees, ponds, and gardens.  Scattered throughout the grounds are approximately 60 sculptures.  Geri and I had visited the gardens a week or so ago without cameras, and then I returned today with my camera in tow.  Both times there were very few other patrons: essentially, I had the gardens to myself.

During my two-hour visit I took quite a few photos of the sculptures.  But I took some "non-sculpture" shots as well, and I decided that in this first post I would show some of those.  There are benches scattered throughout the grounds, to encourage a relaxed contemplation of the beauty of the setting.

I liked this shot because the bench was light in color and was set against a dark stand of trees.  I wanted to position the bench in the lower left of the image and to include the tree to the left to provide some perspective.  The bench in the above shot was pretty conventional in construction, but some of the others were more unusual in design.  Here are a couple of shots of details of another bench with a more interesting style of construction.

The grounds include a number of outbuildings also that appear to have been around a very long time.  Here are a couple of shots of detail on one of those.

I really liked and tried to capture the rustic quality of the weathered wood.

I also took a couple of shots of an old piece of farm machinery located in an area that is neither lawn nor woods and I am certain is not part of the sculpture collection.  Here is one of those shots.

It was an overcast afternoon, and that was a distinct disadvantage for photographing certain of the sculptures.  But I think the absence of shadows worked to my advantage in the above shot, because it made it easy to bring out details in the gears and to show off the patina of the rusted metal.

There were also a number of ponds scattered around the grounds.  Generally, the ponds were not overly groomed, and there were a lot of frogs and turtles that dove into the water whenever I approached.  So I contented myself with taking a few shots of the lilies and lily pads.

In this shot, I was trying to capture both the group of lily pads as well as the reflection of trees and sky in the water of the pond.  So I took this shot at an aperture of f/22 to try to keep everything in good focus.

I liked the pink water lilies in the following shot and decided to position them in the lower left of the image.  Although some of the lily pads, particularly in the upper portion of the shot, are not in good focus in this shot, taken at f/6.3, the flowers are in good focus, and I think that the lack of focus in some of the pads actually enhances the shot's depth.

Not great--just pleasant.

Finally, I took some other shots of the various flowers in some of the gardens and ran across a large butterfly.  Usually, I feel that capturing good shots of butterflies is nearly impossible, as they never seem to stay in one spot and take off before I can set up for a shot.  However, this butterfly was taking his/her time and I took a number of shots, although I had my 90 mm macro lens rather than my telephoto.  I wound up with one sort of OK shot.

Not in great focus, but a lot better than I might have expected, based on my past experience.

Taken with my Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 24-120 mm f/4 lens and Tamron 90 mm macro lens.

1 comment:

  1. Very Nice John,
    I particularly liked the weathered wood photographs. I have an interest in wood and how things go together.
    I scrolled back to those pictures the most.
    A butterfly will always attract my attention too.