Saturday, October 6, 2012

UTAH: MORMON AREA

Geri and I visited our son, Jeff, and his wife, Bei, over the end of September and beginning of October, and the next several posts will cover our trip.  So in some ways these posts will serve both to document the trip as well as to attempt to show more "intentional" photography.

As most people know, the LDS (Mormon) church dominates Utah culture.  In fact, while a majority of Utah residents are members of the Mormon church, they represent only a minority of residents in the Salt Lake City area.  Nevertheless, their influence is dominant there as well.

On our first full day in Utah, I found myself with my camera in the Mormon temple area.  There are a number of buildings in the area, including an attractive church, the Tabernacle, and the imposing Temple.  There were also exposition and reception buildings intended to educate the general public about the church that I did not enter or photograph.  All of the buildings are in excellent condition.  Here is a shot of the church, which appears attractive and traditional in appearance.


The one thing that seems to be missing from this as well as all of the other Mormon structures are crosses and crucifixes.  This church included a number of nice details, such as the following window over a side door.


The Temple, which is generally not open to the public or even many members of the church, is an imposing white stone edifice with soaring spires.



The feeling evoked is somewhat forbidding.

What is a lot more familiar--and comfortable--and fully accessible is the Tabernacle, home of the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  It perhaps is best described as a large, oval, flattened domed building.  It is difficult to get a shot of the entire building because of the treed courtyard and surrounding buildings, but I think the following shot give some of the flavor of the exterior.


The interior is very open and, because of the shape of the building, has excellent acoustics.  I recall from a visit many years ago a demonstration of those acoustics by a speaker at the podium who speaking normally and could be heard throughout the auditorium without any amplification.  He demonstrated this by tearing a piece of paper, the sound of which could also be heard clearly without amplification.  There was no demonstrations at the time I visited, but the auditorium was available for photography, and I took a some shots.

Here is one from the back of the auditorium, highlighting the enormous pipe organ and choir area.


As is apparent, the space is quite devoid of any particular art work.  Here are a couple of shots of the pipe organ.



As with nearly all interior spaces, light was something of an issue.  These shots were taken at ISO settings of 400 and 640, to keep shutter speed at a reasonable level.

I liked how the light from the ring of windows circling the building was reflecting off the rows of pews and took the following shot, which I liked quite a bit.


It's a little dark, but I think conveys well the feeling in the room--stark and without ornamentation.

Once back outside, I took this photo of a reflection of the Tabernacle in the windows of another building on the grounds.


I am a fan of such reflection shots because of the abstraction that they introduce into the subject.

There were a number of sculptures on the grounds that depicted events important to the Mormon faith.  One that I liked was the following of Joseph Smith receiving inspiration.


I worked to position the bright profile of his face and hands against a dark background.

The most striking sculpture was one entitled "Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood."  This portrayed the laying on of hands of Joseph Smith by the apostles Peter, James, and John in 1829.  I found this sculpture to be eerie, to say the least.  And the stark shadows created by the bright sunshine added to the feeling.  Here are a couple of the shots that I took.



I considered converting these to B&Ws, but there was so little color to begin with that I just left them as they were.

Taken with my Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 24-120 f/4 lens.

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