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Posts from the ‘Architecture’ Category

Metropolis gone by…

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When I was a child, I often played pretend. An only child until the age of 11, I spent a fair amount of time simply wandering in my own imagination. Perhaps this forged the basis of a life of creativity, who knows? But one thing is certain–I still tap into this side of my brain with regular frequency. The image above was born out of this type of exercise, when I was in New York several months ago. I’d certainly seen the iconic Chrysler Building for many years, and marveled at its unique brand of metropolitan architecture, its needle tip piercing the sky. But until recently, I’d never actually stepped inside. When I did, I was instantly transported back to an earlier era. It was almost magical, really. I literally could hear the click of heels, elevator bells, and the bustle of what must have felt like the center of urbane modernity, back in its heyday. While the exterior of this building has captured much acclaim, the attention to detail on the interior is astounding by today’s standards. The beautiful marble, glass, and iron work that were the hallmark of the Art Deco period are still gracefully intact some 80-plus years later.

Given the maelstrom of sound and movement just a few feet outside on Lexington Avenue, a block away from New York’s Grand Central Station, it was amazingly quiet during the few moments I spent standing in the Chrysler’s cavernous lobby, framing different distinct images with my camera. I enjoyed just experiencing “the moment”–watching business people come and go, the elevators dinging and opening as they have for so many decades, and the quiet work of the window washer, maintaining the dignity of an architectural monument clearly deserving as much. These images tell a story for me; I hope they do for you as well…

 

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Architectural perspectives…

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Has this ever happened to you? You are walking around with a camera, playing the role of tourist in a major city such as Philadelphia like thousands that have before you and will surely come after you, and you think to yourself: What can I do, to capture this place that is in any way unique and creative? Sure, you can take the “memory shot” that says “I was here!” Yippee! And of course, we all do that. But beyond that, as a photographer, you have to challenge yourself, or you don’t grown and experience all that your visual eye has to offer. This is a view of the magnificent Greek Revival columns that uphold the Second Bank of the United States/Portrait Gallery in Philly. Their grace, size, and majesty are truly astounding, and the building, built by none other than William Strickland, is modeled after the Greek Parthenon. This is view I will remember of those columns–so cool, looking up at their aged and marbled towers–holding court next to Independence Hall since 1818. Hope you enjoy…

Life among the ruins…

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I’ve been overwhelmed in recent months with a variety of photographic pursuits–all of them interesting, exciting, and some involving new skills and adventures–so my blog has been a tad quiet, comparatively speaking. But with the new year upon us now, I am refreshed and ready to get back on track. To inaugurate 2014, I have been dipped back into a wealth of images that I created earlier this year during a visit to Philadelphia.

For many people, both in the U.S. and worldwide, Philly conjures up such things as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and other iconic Americana. And yes, that’s all there. But artistically speaking, there is so much more. This image is one of my favorites from a series shot at Eastern State Penitentiary. Yes, an abandoned federal prison, with a history as rich with stories and flavor as any you’ll find in the U.S. criminal justice system. Al Capone made his residence here, along with a thousands of others from its inception as a model prison in 1829 to the day it’s doors were finally closed in 1971. It’s an eerie place, to be sure–all cells have sat untouched for the last four decades, the ghosts of those inhabitants somehow still inside. This photo is taken inside the front central wall of the prison yard and to me, is a testament of the idea that life goes on; this small tree, somehow rooting and taking a foothold at the very top of the wall, where it can breathe in life on the other side.

The photograph below, shows the same wall from a slightly different perspective. In color, one can truly see the vestiges of life, moss, weeds, and the little tree, ekeing out existence among the ruins. One can only hope a few of the previous residents at Eastern State, were as lucky. Hope you enjoy…

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Urban geometry…

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Followers of this blog know I have a soft spot for natural beauty–wildlife, landscapes, the cosmos… but as a photographer, beauty often materializes in unexpected ways. Urban landscapes and architecture, for example, are often quite striking, as this composition demonstrates. Look at it for several moments and it becomes almost Escher-esque, with jutting and retreating facades simultaneously juxtaposed one upon another. Geometry of this sort resonates with us because while we are drawn to the logic and flow of lines and forms, we are also aware of the infinite possibilities within such patterns. Where does one line end and another begin? How are they connected? Where do they lead? Just a little Euclidean food for thought, a bit of musing, on a cold winter’s night… Hope you enjoy….

PS: To my current subscribers: Very soon, I will plan to change the site name of this WordPress blog to match my newly launched business name Deb Scally Photography. When that takes place, subscribers to 1107photography will be automatically redirected to the new URL name, which is already apparent in the blog header above. When that happens, don’t worry… it’s still me, and nothing else about the blog’s content or direction will change. This is, and always will be, a creative outlet for my personal thoughts and philosophy regarding photography. As always, thanks for your support, comments, and interest in the blog!

The Grand view….

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Followers of this blog know I am often drawn to nature and its environs–often inspired by the singular unique beauty of a leaf, a sky, a horizon. But for me, photography offers a canvas as vast as I can experience it. On a recent trip to New York City, I was fortunate enough to carve away an hour of time from my busy work demands and just lose myself in the miasma that is the central district, near Grand Central station. What a visual treat. Since my free time was relatively short, I made my choices simple: One camera, one lens, one 50mm focal length, which freed me to think of nothing outside of framing and composition. The result was anything but constrained… I felt like a true artist, no mission except to dive in and sample the urban, human landscape that is New York City. These two images capture the essence of Grand Central Station–one of the truly great architectural spaces in the city. It’s mesmerizing in there… considering the thousands–probably millions–of human stories that have passed through its great halls, each person in a harried rush to get from place to place. I could have sat there for hours, but I enjoyed the brief time I had there, and now have this moment in time to revisit it. I hope you enjoy it, as well…

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Rocks of ages…

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Traveling the world offers unlimited sources for wonderment and revelation, and, with camera in hand, an infinite source of inspiration. Several months ago, my family and I traveled to Costa Maya and explored the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben. It’s mind-blowing to imagine how early natives built these gargantuan structures stone by stone as early as 300 AD, and the fact that they have remained largely intact is nothing short of miraculous. The beauty of the stones is evident when you examine them from an angle such as this one, which shows that no compromise was taken in the art or engineering of their graceful form. If these walls could talk, one can only imagine the secrets of the ages they could tell. Hope you enjoy…

As the world turns…

A change of pace is always good, so today’s post is a departure from that last few landscapes I have been focusing on of late. This image of a Foucault Pendulum was shot at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles earlier this year. These pendulums, named after the French physicist Leon Foucault, first appeared in the mid 1800s and are designed to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth on its axis. They are, to say the least, mesmerizing. Photographically, I was inspired by the beautiful lines and curves in this particular Foucault, which resembled a huge clock face, conjuring ideas about the relation of time and space. In addition, this was shot at night, so the perimeter was lit from underneath and provided additional  graphic drama to the scene. Hope you enjoy…

Ethereal arches…

 

Ethereal. That the the feeling when you walk through a structure as old and majestic as Salisbury Cathedral. The architecture is nothing short of breathtaking. It’s a technological wonder of the mid 11th century, and one of the finest examples of medieval cathedrals in the world. I just know I was blown away. Speechless. It was difficult to pull my photographic eye back to my camera and shoot, shoot, shoot, instead of just standing there and gawking. But what a treat. A wonderment in stone and glass that is still a living place of worship today. Travel photography has got to be one of the most rewarding aspects of photography. I never tire of going back, reliving those moments–knowing I will probably never visit there again, but so thankful I got to feast my eyes, at least once. Carrying a little piece of it home, in my images, is the dessert that lasts a lifetime. Hope you enjoy…

Leading lines …

No matter how many times I visit the city, especially midtown Manhattan, I never tire of the visual wonderment offered by those sweeping big buildings. Yes, I know I risk looking like a hack tourist, but … who cares? They are truly awe inspiring and I am not afraid to just stand there and take it in. The experience doesn’t quite match to the near spiritual state of drinking in a natural wonder (think Niagara, Grand Canyon, or even a beautiful tree at sunset) but staring up at skyscrapers is facinating, all the same. In this image, I was struck by the convergence of leading lines… which were apparent in the original color version, but which I pulled out to an extreme degree in post processing. I like the effect, as it seems to draw the eye straight up to the clouds above. I am pretty sure, it’s exactly what the building architects had in mind all along. Hope you enjoy…

Diffusion confusion…

 

Light’s a tricky thing. I don’t pretend to have mastered the art of understanding and previsualizing light correctly all the time, but then again, I am pretty sure that most photographers (even really talented ones) would actually admit to the same. And yet, some day I hope to understand light well enough so that I can consistently make smart decisions behind my camera, rather than blindly shoot and “hope for the best.” Sometimes, though, it still works out. This shot, an interior of the Chapel Royal inside the notorious Tower of London was admittedly one of those that I had little time to think about, so I simply metered and gave it my “best shot.”  The beautiful diffused light was pouring in the room, creating on the one hand, a gorgeous soft glow, and on the other hand, a challenging high-contrast atmosphere. Tough!  In the end, I metered for the beautiful ancient stonework, and hoped the window light wouldn’t totally blow out in the process. So, voila! Hope you enjoy…

f 4.5, 1/50th sec, ISO 800, 17mm