It's a long way to the top, but we've finally made it there in the Minnesota State Capitol. The top floor is the third and final interior level the public can travel on. It is also possible to travel to the roof if one takes the tour to the Quadriga. Let's take a look around this space of the building.
Unlike level two, the third level would house the upstairs, if you will, of the important 2nd level spaces occupied by the Minnesota Supreme Court, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. The Supreme Court does not have an upper level and instead one can find offices of state officials in these areas. The Senate has a gallery but it is only open during tours. There are nice bird's-eye views of the second to third level staircases and murals near the ceiling in the center of every corridor.
As previously mentioned, the House of Representatives has a gallery on the 3rd floor. It is reserved for the public and media to oversee proceedings and hearings. As a reference point, here is what a peek through the 2nd level gate looks like.
The perspective from the 3rd floor gallery provides a much more intimate view of the detailed artwork on the upper walls located behind the Speaker of the House's chair.
The sides and opposite ceiling are adorned with an intricate pattern of paintings. Repeated throughout is a series of "M" with faces. I became interested to see whether the faces were the same person or different.
Let's take a closer look at their faces.
Who are these ladies? I am curious and wonder how they got to be so lucky to have a likeness of their face overlooking the state's representatives for all eternity. Perhaps they are divine figures. I wonder if the people at the information desk know? I am sure that someone before me has asked the same question.
Here are a few other close-ups of the ceiling murals. The last two feature corn and can be found outside in the hallways. There's quite a bit of corn throughout the building. Do you know many ears of corn in total can be found in the Capitol?
I hope you have enjoyed continuing to explore the Capitol. There are only two more areas to cover: the Quadriga and the tunnels. Thank you for visiting.
I have a lot more images to show from the State Fair. It was so fun and I was sad to see it go. But to keep things interesting I'm going to switch back to my report from the State Capitol and as promised, we are back to the main or first floor.
When arriving at the Capitol for a visit, people climb up a series of steps and then enter through the main doors. Upon entering they will usually take several steps forward and enter the rotunda. It is an open space that shows the interior circle of that floor as well as the second and third floors above it. It also includes the fabulous chandelier which I wrote about several years ago. The rotunda features many arched openings and to best capture it in its entirety, I traveled around the room photographing at each arch. Here are a couple:
With the rotunda being the center of the building, the Capitol floor plan consists of 3 wings which are referred to as the West, East, and North Corridors. Each floor houses different offices and the first floor's main public attraction aside from the rotunda is the Governor's Reception Room located in the West Corridor. During the weekend, it is closed to the public except for a 5 or 10 minute stop on the organized tour led by the Minnesota Historical Society. If a person wants to spend any extended time in there, they have to go during the week. Even then it is subject to the Governor's schedule and press conferences and whatnot. So the day I was there, it appears there had just been some sort of speaking engagement as the remnants of wiring and sound equipment were still running about the room. In order to get a really good shot in here, some work would have to be done, furniture needs to be rearranged, cords removed, burned out light bulbs replaced, etc. So I was only able to work with things as they presented themselves that day.
It is a fabulously ornate space and who wouldn't love to call this their own reception room. It's enough to make a person want to run for Governor. The rest of the West corridor as well as the North and East Corridors are mainly used for offices and those doors were all closed. So I focused on the hallways and, guess what, more portraits of governors. I still have not found Mark Dayton's portrait. I wonder if I'll ever find it.
As you may have noticed, there are some gaps in the Governors' portraits. Maybe they will appear on the 2nd floor. The other question would be why are they on the 2nd floor, out of order? I might ask around and see if I can find an answer. Here are a few of the breathtaking hallways, arches, and stairways beckoning visitors up to the next floor.
Then when I was about to leave, I saw what turned out to be one of my favorite shots.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you can come back next week for some more images of the fair, either food or animals this time.
The Minnesota State Capitol houses the legislative and judicial branches of government, both of whom meet there to do the business they are elected or appointed to do. In Minnesota's case, they have the pleasure of meeting in one of the most prestigious buildings in our state. It is an architectural marvel featuring gold, marble, granite, statues, an unsupported marble dome, cantilevered stairways, and elaborate paintings dating back to the early 1900s. There is something fascinating to photograph in every direction and at times a person can feel like they are spinning round and round shooting everywhere, including up and down. It is very easy to lose focus.
I've been there several times over the years and during my last visit I found that the more I thought about things, the more questions I had and the deeper I wanted to explore. I am going to attempt to cover each floor of the building, one floor at a time, so that I can give every area as much attention as possible and hopefully, remain focused. To keep things interesting, I may have a few weeks in between to talk about other things, including the State Fair (woo-hoo!) which is just around the corner.
So now that I've committed to this, I will be reporting back with, well, I might as well start at ground level. This will be tough since the entrance is on the main level. Yes, it's that good. I will have to put on blinders to make it down to the ground level. In the meantime, fresh from a trip yesterday, here is a preview of what you can expect to see in future posts.
I'm quite certain every detail has meaning behind it and so I'll be exploring that as well. Not that I can cover every detail, but I'll try to hit on some of the big ones. This piece of architecture taken collectively as one piece of art, is quite an amazing feat for someone to have constructed in their imagination. Hats off to Cass Gilbert, the guy who pulled it all together way back in 1895!
As always, I appreciate you stopping by and wish you a wonderful summer.
P.S. You may notice a little crumbling/peeling paint or other repair needs in some of these images. Our capitol will begin extensive renovations this Fall. So I may be repeating this whole project again when it is completed as it will change somewhat by the time it is done in 2015. They will be not only repairing but also restoring some things to their original design. This is a great time to document it before its regeneration.
A tilt-shift lens is essential to getting lines and perspectives straight in architectural photography. Its main feature is the ability to shift up or down without changing the plane of the camera to the subject. If a photographer tilts their camera back to include more of the sky or building the image will end up with converging verticals, sometimes referred to as keystoning.
Here are some images that demonstrate the lens' capabilities for shifting up or down. Additionally, since this lens is a TS-E II, the lens can be rotated in the mount to allow for left/right shift without rotating the entire camera body. In most of these, the subject is much higher or lower than my camera and a normal lens would not be able to produce this type of shot.
©2013 Lisa Bond Photography, this particular image is a great example of what this lens can do. The only way to get this shot of the lock would be to dangle off the bridge with some kind of rappelling equipment or super trusty rope and assistant. Fortunately I was able to get it with the TS lens and my feet planted firmly on the ground.
Some photographers resort to using perspective correction software with a regular lens which is an option and I have used it in the past. However, it is always advantageous to get the image correctly in the field whenever possible to minimize post production work and any unforeseen issues that may arise after you've left the location.
I am using a Canon 24mm TS-E II. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are enjoying the warmth of summer!
The Twin Cities are home to several remarkable architectural gems. One of them is the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum located at the University of Minnesota campus on the banks of the Mississippi River. If you haven't seen it before, please take a moment to view the images in this post. If you have, here are some quick facts about the museum that you might find interesting followed by several images I captured this summer.
Q: Why is it named after Frederick Weisman?
A: Originally from Minnesota, Mr. Weisman donated $3 million dollars as well as "additional support" to see it come to fruition. He was a successful entrepreneur who loved the arts and was a known philanthropist.
Q: Who designed it?
A: It was designed by architect Frank Gehry. He subsequently won the Progressive Architecture Design Award in 1991 for its design.
Q: When was it built?
A: The building officially opened on November 21, 1993.
Q: What is the building's exterior surface made of?
A: Stainless Steel.
Q: What was Gehry thinking when he built it?
A: He is known to come from the style of Deconstructivism and his works seems to have a common theme reflecting this. Many of them feature large sheets of metal (presumably stainless steel) in various degrees of curvature.
Q: What else has Gehry built?
A: Experience Music Project in Seattle, The Guggenheim Museum in Spain, Standing Glass Fish in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and The Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, to mention a few.
Q: Was Gehry inspired by any other artists?
A: When I look at the Weisman, I immediately think of a Picasso painting, but couldn't find any evidence to back that up.
Q: Is there a face in there?
A: According to Wikipedia there are 2 faces. Also a waterfall and a fish. Can you see them?
Of course there is more great design and art to see inside. The Weisman is home to my all-time favorite art exhibit - a re-assembled apartment building hallway from Seattle, I believe. The neat part about it is as you approach an apartment door, you can put your ear up to it and hear what is going on inside. Each apartment has different sounds coming from it. I'm not going to tell you what they are in case you can get there and hear it for yourself. It's an interesting experiment in human psychology. If you've ever lived in an apartment or stayed in a hotel, you can relate to the thin walls that allow sounds to permeate both ways. It's much harder to maintain any privacy in this kind of environment, despite the physical barriers of walls and doors. How does this affect our relationships as people? Do you treat someone differently if you know something about them that you found out indirectly? How does it change depending on whether you heard it via gossip or through the walls? Could conclusions have been jumped to? There is a lot to consider.
As always, thank you for stopping by! Here is a link to the Weisman if you would like to learn more:
Several years ago, some one published a shot of the Minneapolis skyline from under the Stone Arch Bridge. Since then, It has become somewhat of a popular photographic destination. It is only a matter of time until the city puts a "Scenic Overlook", or in this case a "Scenic Underlook" sign.
Because it has been so widely captured, it is a bit of a challenge to get a unique image that is different from all the others. Adding an element can help.
The classic shot of the city is actually from the other side of the bridge, but we crossed under to get this one. There is a staircase to help you get down there although it is a bit of a workout.
We have a lot of bridges between Minneapolis and St. Paul. They are all different and really great to photograph.
Originally published Jan. 7, 2012
While recently perusing a copy of "Midwest Home" magazine, I came across an article about Jennifer Hedberg's winter ice lanterns.
Fire & Ice - Midwest Home - November-December 2011 - Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minnesota.
What a perfect idea to cure the wintertime blues. I wanted to see what kind of images I could make of these. Who would have known it was going to be 40 some degrees during the day in January in Minnesota? I made two ice lanterns - but they are in my freezer. You will have to come back to hear how that project develops. Maybe February or later this month? So far, I got a few images but I am expecting to do something more impressive than this including some exterior architectural shots at night.
Want to try it yourself? You can order these at Wintercraft. Here is a link:
They are also available for purchase at Kowalski's, Patina, Goodthings, or select Bachman's to mention a few.
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.