The photographic explorations of a former film student.

architecture

Super Moon

I had a busy weekend. It was bad for my original blogging plans, but good in many other ways. Because of my weekend, here are a couple of pictures of the super moon through tree branches and amidst the towers of the old mental hospital (now restored into offices, shops, and senior living) in Traverse City Michigan.

supermoon1supermoon2

 

Next Time: Ornamental Gourds

It’s Fall. I bought gourds because they are pretty. If I don’t photograph them before they rot, it’s a waste.


Architecture from Train Day

Back when I went to go see the steam engine, I found some of buildings in the area interesting. After the train left, I took a couple of photos. Since they didn’t fit with the train post, I saved them for a week when I was in the middle of a non-photo project and didn’t get around to shooting anything. Well, that’s been the last three weeks. I really did want to post them though. I love the stained glass awning.

stainedglassawningwhitebrickcolorfuldetail


Movie Palace: Part II

These photos are all from the actual theater auditorium. The side walls are decorated with sets of green lamps in alcoves and hanging red lamps.

Both sides of the stage are flanked with large metal dragons and enormous hanging lamps amidst elaborate columns.

DragonAndLamp

Although the dragons are an Asian motif, the city skyline above and to either side of them seems more Mideastern in theme, but not without European influence. This is where the audience enters and exits the balcony seating. The designers endeavored to transport the audience’s minds to exotic places before the show they came to see even began.

DomeAndTowerSkyLine

The theater is a great old building, and I wish it many more wonderful years.

Next Time: Jewelry or Nature Close-up


Movie Palace: Part I

When I was in my early teens, an organization in a city near me finished an ambitious project: they restored an old theater. To celebrate, they held an open house and many people from the surrounding area came to tour the newly restored theater. My parents took my sister and I to go see it. I remember my fascination at the ornate detail of the theater.

After college, I became interested in abandon places. Not that I would visit one alone, but I loved looking at photos of once-grand buildings as nature and the environment reclaimed them. However, the photos of abandoned libraries and theaters always made me a little sad. Maybe it’s the decline of civilization, or maybe it’s because I’ve seen an old library and an old theater in preserved or restored condition. I often thought it was a shame more couldn’t be saved.

Several months ago, my father informed me that the local photo club had arranged to visit the theater we had toured all those years ago and visited a few times since. The club had purchased a tour and several hours of time to wander the building with cameras. I had the opportunity to photograph the very same ornate building that had fascinated me years before – and it is still in restored condition.

Since I ran out of retouch time (dynamic range is a big concern in this building!), here are the photos from the entryway and upper mezzanine:

Entryway

Grand Lobby

LightCluster

Mezzanine Light Detail

LightsUnderBalcony

Lobby Detail

MultiColorCeiling

Colorful Mezzanine Ceiling

StarLights

Mezzanine Star Lights

Next time, I will continue with the inside of the theater. In a world with so much entropy and decay, it’s always a ray of hope that some things can be saved.


The Aged and Beautiful Yerkes Observatory

Last month, the local photo club decided to visit Yerkes Observatory. It is connected with the University of Chicago, but located in a small town in Wisconsin. Built in 1895, it houses what was the largest telescope of the time. Many astrophysicists studied there over the years. Albert Einstein even visited in the early 1920s. You can read more about the observatory here: http://astro.uchicago.edu/yerkes/

We began with an educational tour and a look at the telescope itself. Not the best conditions for photography, but I had to get a few shots.

The floor in the telescope area moves up and down. During the tour, we were sitting on the edges of the building, which remain stationary. Our guide announced that he would go over to the desk and raise the center floor while whistling the theme from Star Trek. He was rather good at it. Here is the somewhat Original Series looking control desk.

ControlDesk

After lunch, Dad and I stuck around for exterior photographs. This is the largest dome anong with the entryway to the building.

EntryAndLgDome

On the other end, there are two smaller domes and more ornate carvings.

CornerDetail

Dad wanted to stick around and see if the sun would come out. While waiting, I photographed some of the carving on the entryway pillars. The Satyr is a caricature of Mr. Yerkes. According to the tour guide, he was one of the not so well-loved wealthy industrialists of his time. He built the observatory to improve his image with the public, which is why it is such a grand building.

YerkesSatyr

The architect was a bit eccentric. No one knows what all the caricatures and symbols on the building mean because he had his son burn his papers upon his death. He also made fun of Rockefeller. Originally, there was a bee stinging Rockefeller’s nose, but he visited the observatory, and the powers that be thought they should have all the bees chiseled off the columns before he arrived.

Rockefeller

Moons, stars, and the man in the moon also grace the pillars.

ManInMoon

Wandering around the building, I noticed that the side doors were not as well-kept as the fronts – not at all. This did not surprise me, as I imaging keeping up a grand old building of that size is a challenge. The peeling paint and old door knob had a nice rustic quality about them, so I thought they’d make an interesting shot.

SideDoorknob

Finally, Dad got what he was waiting for. The sun came out.

EntrySunnyDomeLS

Next Time: Flowers or Old Camera

Spring is coming slowly. If it doesn’t come fast enough, I’ve purchased an old Kodak folding Autograph and an Argus I’d like to do posts on sometime.