Wednesday, September 24, 2014


One of my stops on this year's Doors Open Milwaukee event was the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  Informally known as the PAC, it has remained the premier venue for the performing arts for the nearly 40 years that we have lived in Milwaukee.

This year I had borrowed a 10-24 mm wide-angle lens from a Tamron lens representative, one of the perks available to me by reason of signing up for an architectural photography course in advance of the Doors Open event.  I used the lens for the first time for a portion of my visit to the PAC, so there was a bit of a learning curve.  I did like the lens, though, and would considering getting a wide-angle lens at some point in the future.

When I visited the PAC I was informed that I was not supposed to wander around the facility by myself.  Instead, I had to join a tour, which took more time than I had intended to spend at this venue.  In any event, I did get a few good shots with both the wide-angle lens and with my own Nikon 24-120 mm lens.

One of the first stops on the tour was Uilein Hall, the largest concert hall in the facility at 2301 seats, and this actually gave me a good chance to try out the wide-angle lens.  Here a couple of shots of the audience seating area . . .

including one taken from behind the stage set up for the orchestra.

And another shot that featured the hall ceiling.

I have not been able to figure out why a few of the lights in the chandelier are extra bright, but overall I am happy with the wide scope that the lens was able to provide.  I never could have come close to these shots with my more standard lens.

The PAC includes two other venues, Vogel Hall and the Todd Wehr Theater, named after major benefactors for the overall facility.  Here are views of the seating areas for each of those theaters.

It has to be kept in mind that there were very modest levels of lighting in these areas.  As a result, I needed to ramp up my ISO considerably to bring exposure times down to a manageable level.  Even so, the first of these shots, of Vogel Hall had an exposure of 1/5 second, extremely long for handheld.

The following shots were taken in the PAC's reception areas.

The first of these is of the ceiling in the primary reception area.  I liked the modern look of the first shot, as well as how the lines converge toward the lower right corner.  I was drawn to the second shot because of the contemporary look of the curved skylight in the upper left of the image.

Toward the end of the tour I spotted a couple of interesting sculptures in the lobby area outside of Uilein Hall.  The tour guide was directing the group to exit the area via an elevator, and at that point I decided to ditch the tour and get a few shots of the sculptures.  They were evidently a pair and were apparently inspired by performers in Cirque du Soleil, or so stated a plaque located next to one of the sculptures.

One of the unusual aspects of these sculptures was the ball-like appendages under the toes of each of the figures.  Note also that the second of the figures appears to be blindfolded.  

There is a photo contest associated with the Doors Open event, and I noted that Milwaukee City Hall forms the background for the first of the figures above.  My thought is that the judges will be attracted to entries that are able to combine more than one venue in the shot, so I took a number of photos of the first figure (and City Hall).  Here is another one of those.

My only regret here is that the figure is leaning away from the camera rather than toward it.  But if I had moved to the right so that the figure was "looking" more directly into the lens, I would have lost City Hall as a background element.  Maybe I should have tried to play with this more, but at that point the tour guide had returned after having dropped off the other participants to escort me out of the building.


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