Friday, September 6, 2013


I have been exploring downtown Milwaukee lately looking for subjects to shoot, mostly architecture.  Here are some images from my last couple of forays.

Here is a shot of the Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee's primary convention center, which is just west of the Reuss Federal Plaza building.  Here I wanted to include the reflection of the Wisconsin Center in the glass panels of the Reuss Plaza.

In the courtyard of the Wisconsin Center there is a collection of now obsolete urban symbols, including fire and police alarm boxes, outdated traffic signals, and old fire hydrants.  In the midst of all this is a four-sided structure faced with lions' head sculptures.  Here are a couple of shots of those that I converted to black & whites.

I particularly liked this second shot because of the clarity and contrast that the black & white rendering helped to create.

Pere Marquette Park is a small urban space that features open grounds along the Milwaukee River for relaxation and contemplation and, of course, a statue of Pere Marquette, a French explorer important to Wisconsin's early history.

Here I wanted to focus on the cross as the key element to the sculpture, so I opened up the aperture to f/4 to soften the focus on the balance of the sculpture.  One thing I remembered to do was to clean the sculpture up a bit, as it was covered with old spider webs and the detritus that they had collected.

The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts has been around for over 40 years, but I think it has held up well architecturally, considering its relatively contemporary styling.  Portions of the exterior consist basically of a variety of plain surfaces faced in marble that I thought made an interesting abstract.

The only thing I did to this shot was to ramp up the contrast a bit to enhance the distinctions among the surfaces, since the sun was on the other side of the building and there was an absence of shadows on these surfaces.  And here is another shot that contrasts a portion of the Center with a neighboring office/hotel/theater complex.

I'm fond of both of these shots.

There is a semi-interesting abstract sculpture on one of the bridges over the Milwaukee River.

Someone has added a graffito to the sculpture and generally I object to defacements of artwork, but I couldn't resist adding the graffito as a point of focus.

Wandering over to the Journal Sentinel complex, I noticed a set of sculptures set in a wall surrounding their parking lot.  Here is one of those.

A little creepy and sinister, I thought.

A new apartment complex has gone up just north of the downtown area, the Moderne, and I wanted to get a few shots of it also.  I took these shots on very sunny morning, and it became obvious that the the light made a dramatic difference in the building's appearance.  Here, first is a shot taken from the west side of the building, with the sun on the direct other side of the building.

I liked that I caught some of the overhang from a neighboring building, just to provide some framing.

Here is the view from the other (east) side of the building.

Because the building is light cream and very bright in direct sunlight, the camera underexposed both the windows and the sky, turning the latter a dark navy.   I tried these as black & whites, but I thought the cream color added something and actually accentuated the contrast.

Finally, as an older Midwest city with a history of industry, Milwaukee is behind other cities of its size in updating its commercial architectural appearance.  Although there is some more contemporary architecture, such as the Moderne, the city is dominated by older, or at least diverse, styles, as reflected in the following shots.

I particularly like this last shot taken of buildings packed in along the east side of the Milwaukee River.


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