Friday, October 13, 2017

LOOKING UP IN THE WOODS

Our subdivision includes a multi-acre woods of deciduous trees.  The woods represent a great addition to our subdivision, and I should wander around in them more often than I do.  However, this afternoon I did, hoping to catch some of the fall colors.  The weather was overcast and threatening rain.  That's not necessarily a bad thing if your object is to capture that color, as, paradoxically, fall colors can be more saturated in the absence of shadows.

Here first, is an indifferent shot of the woods.


I found myself fumbling around looking for opportunities and feeling disappointed . . . until I looked up.  Again, it was overcast and shadowless, and I noticed that the leaves were showing their colors nicely against the background of leaves higher up.  So I concentrated my efforts on capturing the leaves against that multi-colored background.  Here depth of field was all-important.  I wanted to keep the closest leaves, along with the accompanying small branches, in focus, while allowing the background to go out of focus.  Here is what I got.


Some backgrounds were more uniform in color, but I liked the effect for the shapes of the leaves.



In others the varied background served to create color without distracting from the foreground leaves.




John

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

MILWAUKEE FIRE DEPARTMENT MUSEUM

Milwaukee's Fire Department Museum was part of the Doors Open Milwaukee event in late September.  It is sincere, if small, located in a former firehouse on Milwaukee's South Side.  I wasn't sure how I would try to capture the venue.  There were a few antique vehicles . . .


. . . including this Ford emblem on a fire truck.


But in the end, I decided that my best bet was to focus on the human side of the museum's exhibits:

Boots.



Helmets.



And an old pay phone.



It had been a while since I had seen a dial phone.

John

ST. JOHN'S EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church is located on the north side of downtown Milwaukee.  The building, a classic example of gothic revival architecture, was completed in 1889.  It was one of the venues open to visitors during the recent Doors Open Milwaukee event and the last that I visited.

Here first is a photo of the exterior, which shows the church's dual steeples of unequal height.  The taller of the two reaches just short of 200 feet above street level.


I was dissatisfied with this shot for a couple of reasons.  First, there were cars parked in front of the church.  Grrr.  I suppose I could have returned at a time when there were no cars parked on the street . . . if I had had the patience.  Second, the top of the higher steeple is cut off.  The reason for this was that I really could not get far enough from the church to eliminate the keystone distortion that my lens was producing.  When in post processing I corrected that distortion the best that I could, it necessitated losing the peak of the steeple.  

Here is another shot taken from directly in front of the church.


More interesting perhaps, but . . . . 

The church's interior is unusual in one respect:  Virtually all of the edges of the support arches are lined with lights, as illustrated in this shot from the rear of the nave, looking toward the sanctuary.


Not to my tastes, as it seemed to give the church a bit of a carnival feel.

On the other hand, I liked the interior's light, pastel tones, as exemplified by the powder blue tones of the sanctuary ceiling.


Following is a shot from the sanctuary toward the rear of the nave, showing the balcony organ.


The organ, a feature of pride for the church, was last rebuilt and enlarged in 1919.


Finally, a shot of one of the church's lovely stained glass windows, my favorite of the series.



John

Monday, October 2, 2017

PUBLIC SERVICE BUILDING

The Public Service Building, in downtown Milwaukee, has had an interesting history.  Completed in 1905, the block-long four-story building initially served as the depot for both Milwaukee's interurban rail line and its street car line.  And it still sports large panels on both its east and west facades where the rails entered and exited the building.  When those services ultimately ended, the building eventually became the corporate headquarters for what is now We Energies, the Southeastern Wisconsin power utility.

The building was open for the late September Doors Open Milwaukee event, and here are some photos that I took during my visit.

First, the building's ornate entrance facade, including the beautiful semicircular window over the entrance.


To give an idea of how well maintained the building's interior is, here is a ceiling detail.


There is a lovely skylight above a staircase landing in the lobby leading to the building's second level.


But the building's best showpiece is its main lobby, including its chandelier.



I was particularly happy with this last shot taken from directly beneath the chandelier.

John

Friday, September 29, 2017

BACK TO ST. JOSEPH CHAPEL

St. Joseph Chapel, part of the School Sisters of St. Francis campus on the South Side of Milwaukee, is a true hidden architectural gem.  I have photographed the chapel twice before and took the opportunity to revisit the venue during the Doors Open Milwaukee event in late September.  Here is some of what I shot.

First, a couple of classic shots from the rear of the nave, one featuring a couple of the supporting pillars and one a bit closer to the sanctuary.



I modified both of these shots in post processing to rectify the vertical lines for perspective distortion.

During my visit, I spoke to a young woman with a camera who also seemed intent on getting some shots of the facility.  It turned out that she was affiliated with the School Sisters and "authorized" me to visit the balcony to get a couple of shots, so long as I stayed out of sight of other visitors.  "Hiding" behind a pillar in the balcony, I took the following oblique shot of the main space.


I also took a shot of the stairway leading up to the balcony that I liked for the pattern of stair railings.


The apse ceiling makes a terrific architectural semiabstract.


And here is a shot of the ornate altar.


The space features a modest glass dome.  Here is a shot of that feature (somewhat flawed because of lighting issues).


Finally, a shot of the rear of the chapel from the sanctuary.


Most of these images were shot with my new lens, with which I am quite happy, even though I am still learning its uses.  Lighting in an interior is virtually always difficult, and I did not have a tripod, so I am particularly pleased with the overall quality of these shots, given that limitation.

Considering that it is well over a hundred years old, the chapel is in terrific shape.  And the facility's light color palette adds to its attractiveness.  If you have not visited the chapel previously, I recommend doing so if you have that opportunity.

John

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

ST. NIKOLA SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

Milwaukee held its annual Doors Open Milwaukee event last weekend, and the first venue that I visited was the St. Nikola Serbian Orthodox Church, located in a quiet residential neighborhood in Cudahy.  The modest sized church was, in my opinion, delightful both inside and out.

Here, first, is an exterior shot.


But it was the many murals that covered the interior ceiling that showed the church's emotion.



Here is a mural, presumably a depiction of Christ, over the sanctuary.


The stained glass windows were also interesting, including the wording written in Serbian.



Finally, a couple of details of the exterior, including the front entrance and the steeple.



The Serbian orthodox congregation purchased the church, then vacant, in 1963 and transformed it over the subsequent years to the church that it has now become.

John

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

WASHINGTON, D,C, ODDS & ENDS

I thought I would wind up the posts for our recent visit to Washington, D.C. with some photos that didn't fit in any of the other posts.

First some so-so shots of a few Washington icons, the White House, Capitol, and Washington Monument.




We had also visited the Smithsonian Institution Building, sometimes called the Castle.   The building, which was completed in 1855 and which houses some of the Smithsonian administrative offices, is notable primarily for its Romanesque and Gothic architectural style.  Here are a couple of shots of the interior.



The Castle's architecture can be contrasted with a newer Smithsonian museum, the National Museum of the American Indian.  Here is a semi-abstract of the eastern facade of that building.


It was not all buildings, museums, and monuments on this trip.  I also tried to capture some of the late summer foliage.



Finally, a shot of Washington's Metro subway.


John