This is the Minnesota state senate chamber. Though it isn’t legible in this photo, there is text in the semi-circle above the Speaker’s podium. In Latin it says, “Vox Populorum Est Vox Dei.” Translated it means “The voice of the people is the voice of God.” That’s got to be encouraging for the senators who may think that when they pass legislation, they are speaking for God.
As my loyal readers may remember, this isn’t the first photo I’ve posted of the capitol building in St. Paul. But, unlike the others, it isn’t HDR. The reason is that visitors only have access to this balcony when on a guided tour. And our tour only had a few minutes in this room.
Also, unlike my other capitol building photos, which reveal an obsession with symmetry, there is little linear symmetry in this photo. But there is unity. When I stepped into this room, I was immediately struck by all of the circles that are present. To me, the circular shapes make this room much more friendly and inviting. Was that the architect’s intent?
Though I don’t know the architect’s intent, I do know that the circle has long been a symbol of unity, wholeness and even of femininity. (Back off, Freud!). And, in some circles (pardon the pun) the circle is a symbol of God. And in writing this sentence, today’s post has made a complete circle (pun again?). God is mentioned in the first paragraph. And the last sentence ends with the word “God.” Or should I say “Deus?”
In his song “You Can Call me Al” Paul Simon sings
He is a foreign man
He is surrounded by the sound
Cattle in the marketplace
Scatterlings and orphanages
He looks around, around
He sees angels in the architecture
Spinning in infinity
He says Amen! and Hallelujah!
I’ve never understood the lyrics of this song, but I do like the line that refers to “angels in the architecture.” And if you look closely at any building like the Minnesota state capitol building, there are angels everywhere. But in this photo, it seems that there actually is an angel. And I hadn’t seen it until after I picked the title for the post.
If you look at all three of my HDR capitol photos over the last few days, you will see an attempt at achieving perfect symmetry in my composition. Frankly, I’m a bit obsessive about it and I spend considerable time in framing the photo trying to get the lines perfect and if they aren’t perfect, I fix them in the crop. Good or bad? I don’t know. But in capitol building architecture there seems to be plenty of balance and symmetry and my photos strive to capture that.
I had mentioned yesterday that I didn’t get enough time in the Minnesota state capitol building the other day. I made up for that by going back late yesterday morning. I knew when I went that I was going to take several series of photos with my camera on a tripod so that I could later process them into high dynamic range photos (HDR).
This photo was taken on the second floor looking west. One of the things I like about the way the camera interprets this space is the way it sees color. The columns and the stairs are lit by a skylight but the space behind the columns is lit by incandescent lighting. The space behind the columns is warm and the columns are a cooler gray due to this lighting.
The other thing I like in this photo is the amount of texture that is present. I think that texture can be both something you feel (such as the tops of the Corinthian columns) and can be something you see (such as the variegated stone in the columns.) And there is plenty of both in this scene.
I will be posting at least two more from my “Minnesota State Capitol” series. I hope you like HDR architecture.
Canon 5DIII 1/5s f/6.3 ISO400 16mm
Some of my photo/media students and I made a short stop at the Minnesota state capitol building recently. This is the kind of place I’d spend a few hour photographing, not 15 minutes. But we were on a tight schedule.
But during my time I did capture a few photos of this beautiful structure, including this HDR photo of the dome from floor level.
Here’s a photo that was taken with my Canon film camera 12 years ago. Yes, film! If you look closely, you will see white specks. Those are dust specks on the negative. And if you look closely again, you will see film grain. Holy cow!
My workflow for this photo was as follows
Visit the Como Park Conservatory in Minnesota
Take the photo
Develop the film in my makeshift darkroom
Scan the negative with my very slow high resolution film and slide scanner
Put the scanned file in a folder on my Mac
Burn the folder to a CD (yes, a CD)
Put the CD into a CD case
Put the CD case in my very crowded closet
Forget about the CD case for 12 years
Look for a shirt that fell off the hanger in my closet
Find the CD case
Forget about the shirt and everything else
Post the photo after minor retouching in Aperture
There you go. And, if you ask me, I like the photo but it’s not all that special. As if no one else ever stood here and took the exact picture. . . .
I used the HDR mode on my Canon 5DIII for a series of shots in the CNN Center because there was a sizable difference between the very bright part of this interior (above and to the left of the CNN sign) and the relatively dark part (underneath the canopies a little to my right.)
I could have gone with a photo-realistic treatment of this scene when I processed the shots in Aperture/NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 but I picked one that gives this a bit of a cartoonish look. Do I like it? I’m not sure. What do you think? Be honest. . . .
(The people at the table in front of me are photographers who are/were attending the ImagingUSA conference. I didn’t get a model release because this is a public space and they had no expectation of privacy. I do believe I’m on the right side of the law.)
I am in Atlanta, Georgia, for a few days to attend the annual Imaging USA conference. And four of my Lake Area Technical Institute photo/media students are with me. It should be a good experience for all of us.
This photo was taken on the run. I was more interested in getting to our hotel than taking photos but I couldn’t resist when I saw this scene. But instead of taking my big camera out of the bag, I snapped a single iPhone photo.
When I photograph architecture, I look for symmetry, which is kind of the opposite of what I look for in landscapes. But in both, I look for lines and texture. And there are lines and texture galore in this photo. . . .
The Pantheon, my favorite building in all of Rome, is 1,886 years old. Today, I turn 59. In Europe, the Pantheon is considered an antique. In America, I am. Ponder that on this 18th day of December, 2012 (AD).
My original post was to be a black and white photo, but I just found a new HDR processing tool and I am thrilled with the results. As far as HDR goes, I would say that this photo is a very pure example of what can happen when you take three exposures for varying degrees of light and shadow and put them together to show a photo of a room the way our eyes would see them.
Heres a version that stretches reality a little bit.
Canon 5DIII 1s f/8.0 ISO400 16mm
This photo is from close to the same place yesterday’s photo was captured.