Wednesday, August 5, 2015
MILWAUKEE RIVER WALK
Milwaukee has a River Walk. It's modest in scope, but it's a huge improvement over the condition of the Milwaukee River from years ago. Basically it consists of pedestrian walkways on each side of the Milwaukee River over the eight blocks or so as it passes north to south through downtown Milwaukee. Last weekend I decided to cover most of the Walk along with my camera.
This is not intended to document the Walk. Rather, it is simply a collection of some of the images I caught more or less in order along the route.
Essentially, I started on the east side of the river at the south end of the Walk. Early on I crossed over to the west side and continued to the north. Close to the north end of the Walk, I crossed back over to the east side of the river and returned to the south end.
This first shot is pretty basic. I focused on a padlock (or whatever) at the corner of the railing, and, even though I shot this at f/8, I was quite close to the padlock, effectively reducing the depth of field. Just OK, but it does provide some feel for the walkway.
Here is another one of the circular grates that provide interesting abstracts.
I came across this fellow early in my trek. I'm not sure if he was just resting or was depressed about something. I'm hoping it was the former.
My goal here was to capture the candid situation and overall scene. I did not bother to ask his permission.
The lower end of the Walk runs through Milwaukee's Third Ward, which I have shot a number of times previously. The neighborhood has undergone a transformation over the past 15-20 years, much of which has been to replace often abandoned factories and warehouses with condo developments, particularly along the river. Here is an example of that gentrification, if you will.
I did this trek in the morning and most of the pedestrian traffic was out for morning runs or walks.
I like this shot and thought it worked well as a black and white. The upper portion of the shot is a little cluttered, but I liked that I caught the runner in silhouette. I wanted the focus to be on the runner, who, of course, was moving away from me. My solution was to focus on the bench and then release the shutter about the time that the runner passed it.
There are actually a number of sculptures along the Walk, perhaps the least of which is this brass duck.
It was a sunny morning and I tried to take advantage of the shadowing that the benches were creating, as in the following shots, which I turned into black and whites.
The second shot is a bit too simple, but I liked it OK.
Here is another black and white shadow shot, this time of the railing along a ramp up to street level.
There are any number of docks along the river. Even thought it was hard to get interested in most of them, I kind of liked the following shot that featured black and white ropes. Again, a bit simple, perhaps.
As I said, this is a collection of personal observations, not a documentary.
After I crossed back to the east side of the river, I passed the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, affectionately known as the PAC. I caught this shot on the south side of the structure.
I like this shot quite a bit, even though nearly 40 percent of it is taken up with what is essentially a blank wall. There is something about the clean lines that seems to work. The only problem is the one pillar about halfway down that has a lighter portion.
Right next to the PAC is the Peck Pavilion, an outdoor performing arts venue that is used during the summer months. It includes a stage, a sheltered seating area, and a more extensive open-air area planted with rows of trees. Since nothing was happening, at least that early in the morning, I stood in the center of the stage and took this shot of the seating area.
I wanted to get a shot of the lines of trees in the rear, but there seemed to be too much clutter, so I tried a few shots using my recent tactic of panning during the shutter release process. This is what I got.
Somehow reminds me of Munch's "The Scream." For the record, this was shot at f/6.3 for 1/25 second.
Here is another sculpture along the Walk.
Interesting, though it was a bit difficult to capture these figures. Bronze is a difficult medium to begin with, and here there was a lack of a suitable background to pose the figures against.
Speaking of the problems with bronze sculptures, the "Bronze Fonz," a statue of Henry Winkler as the character in the 1970s TV show, "Happy Days," that was set in Milwaukee, is also along the Walk.
Just a little creepy, I'm afraid. Here I chose to focus on the hand, allowing Mr. Winkler's face mercifully to fade out of focus.
Floral arrangements were plentiful along the Walk.
I shot this at f/4 to blur out the buildings in the background. I also (inadvertently) overexposed this shot, but, even though the focus is a bit soft, I liked the overall effect.
Here's another dock shot, this time featuring three empty beer bottles, presumably from the night before.
I will confess that the dock was generously dotted with bird droppings. Initially, I thought I would leave them in for "atmosphere" but in the end decided to excise them in post processing. Looks deceptively clean.
There is a popcorn cart in the small plaza outside of the Chase Tower, where I spent a 30-plus year career before retiring. I caught this as representative of the cart's features.
After that, I was retracing some of the same steps I took earlier in my trek, and I got a couple more shots of morning activity along the river.
This was another running shot that I thought worked a bit better than my earlier one. Even though the upper portion of the image is complex, in this case it actually helps to provide context without appearing cluttered.
There were also some kayakers on the river.
Here I was interested in showing their paddles as extended and silhouetted against the brighter water. I just missed with the paddle on the far right that is posed against a shadowed portion of the river.