Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Last week my wife were in the Twin Cities to visit her dad.  During our time there we paid a visit to the Mall of America, the second largest retail mall in the US in terms of retail space and first in terms visitors annually.  We have visited the mall many times over the years and I had never paid much attention to the structure itself.  I had thought of it simply in terms of its function without considering any of its architectural detail.  That changed when I brought my camera and began thinking in terms of possible shots.  Suddenly my point of view changed and I began to notice aspects that I had pretty much been oblivious to previously.

The mall is truly huge.  It is roughly rectangular with three full floors of retail space around the perimeter (and with a fourth level on one side), leaving a very large central atrium that houses, among other things, an amusement park, complete with various carnival-type rides.  There is an anchor department store at each of the four corners.  To get things started, here is a shot down one of the mall's main corridors.

Pleasant, but this could have been shot anywhere, I suppose.

Attached to the mall but exterior to it is a new Radisson hotel and we looked around the hotel a bit as long as we were there.  The corridor walls connecting the hotel to the mall had some interesting features, including a series of rectangular windows that were seemingly placed randomly along the wall.

The wall behind the hotel's reception area had an interesting three-dimensional geometric quality that caught my attention.  In post processing I ramped up the contrast and color saturation to produce the following shot.

Unfortunately, I took this photo through a glass panel, and there are some unwanted reflections visible, particularly in the lower right of the image.  Even so, it makes an interesting abstract.

Although many of the hundreds of shops could have presented their own interesting photo opportunities (and I took quite a few shots along this line), the following, from the mall's amazing Lego store, is the only shot that I decided to include here.

I liked the combination of blue supporting structures set against the earth tones of the ceiling behind.  I do regret, though, that I did not include the full Lego sign that is only partially visible at the top of the image.

I found myself focusing attention on the ceilings.  Here are a few of those shots, beginning with one taken on the second floor.

Just OK.  Most of the "action" was on the top floor, including the following skylight shots.

I liked the symmetry of the first shot, but the second, oblique shot conveys more depth.

I turned the following skylight shot into a black & white abstract.

The corner ceilings were perhaps the most interesting.  In that regard, here is another skylight shot that came out well, I thought.

It shows a lot of depth, and I liked how the glass and glass dividers of the ceiling have been reflected in the circular features on the right side of the image.

And here is a black & white shot of a portion of that same skylight.

Just OK, I think, though it helps that the center of the skylight is placed off-center in the image.

Finally, here are a couple of shots from a corner ceiling on one of the lower floors.  I turned these into black & whites also and increased the contrast some to bring out the images' abstract quality.

For some reason I like this second shot a bit more, perhaps because of its added complexity.  Here is the same shot in color.

Perhaps the lesson I learned from this is that mindset can have a significant impact on one's perception.  Just by bringing my camera, I began to see things that had simply not registered in the past.


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