Minnesota has been abuzz for a year or two now with a lot of hype surrounding the building and funding of the Minnesota Vikings new football stadium. It replaced the old Metrodome, a white oval with a puffy top that I like to refer to as a dirty marshmallow. Replacing it seemed like a good idea on many a level, and especially after that one where the roof collapsed during a winter of particularly heavy snowfall. We can all be thankful it wasn't during a game or concert.
To make a long story short, the new stadium hosted its open house event a couple of weeks ago. I got in line with other locals (a virtual line) to sign up for free tickets because I wanted to see what it looked like inside and I also decided to use it as free entertainment for my kids for something to say they did this summer. I figured we'd be in a group of 20 or so other people during our appointed time slot. I have to admit being a little surprised when the paper reported that around 140,000 people would be going to the open house. The warm fuzzy welcoming committee I was expecting was more like large crowd control with beefy security guards at every entrance after passing through metal detector checkpoints.
The stadium itself is complete, but the grounds were still in progress, shall we say. A few of the items were in place but one of the bigger attractions, the Vikings Legacy Ship, is still under construction as I speak.
A couple times a week I like to speed walk down there on my lunch hour (not really since it is only 30 minutes, hence the speed walking part of it) to check on the progress. My understanding of it, is that it will be a smoke breathing (or snorting) dragon/viking dragon with a video display for the sail (already in place and working), anchored by the many (14,000) legacy bricks purchased by loyal and adoring Vikings fans. Some of you may recall a previous post or two on my site about the bricks.
I've been going for several weeks now. I think they are trying to have it completed by August 28 which is the Vikings first preseason home game. From today, that leaves about 15 more days. Have a look at some of the images I have captured during my visits.
Thanks for stopping by and come back again for another update when it is complete. Hope you are all enjoying the final but fabulous days of summer!
The article I mentioned last week was published today. Here is a link and a snapshot. Thank you again Minnesota Daily for including me as one of Minneapolis' featured photographers!
That's my photo on the front page. I have always loved photographing the Guthrie and spent a lot of time there in the past.
Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, here are quick links to some of my most popular T-day related posts: Pecan Pie and Cranberry Daiquiris.
The turkey that you see in that cranberry daiquiri post might be featured in a video spoof very soon. I will be spending Thanksgiving solo this year, so maybe the turkey and I will create something entertaining. Only after we've had some cranberry daiquiris, of course!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
The forecast said rain for a day. Three days later it was still raining. Days and nights filled with the sound of thunder, rain pelting on windows, dreary skies that make day seem like night.
Simple streetlights transition from authoritative spheres of color into penetrating beams of red, yellow and green pouring color along roadways and sidewalks. Headlights and streetlights drip in shades of yellow and white, tail lights pulsate cherry red bursts throughout the scene.
People bustle along hidden under canopies of octopusing fabrics, intermittently wrestling with them when wind gusts defy the very structure of their essence, inverting their tentacles and turning them from cozy shelters of protection into skewers of litigation, rendering them useless for their intended purpose.
Stop in the skyway with me. Disregard the passersby hurrying to work. Pause for a moment and take a look.
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.
The second floor of the Capitol is described as the "grand floor" by the Historical Society. This is the level that houses the Supreme Court, the House of Representatives and the Senate Chambers. All of these areas are richly appointed with dark woods, golden embellishments, detailed murals and solid hardwares of yesteryear.
I decided to explore the West Corridor first leading me to the Senate room.
This area is gated and locked. Fortunately the bars are wide enough that I can get my camera lens through them enabling some images to be captured but only one view of the room can be made, for the most part.
Turning directly around from this gate provides a spectacular view.
If we were on the first floor, the corridors would be adorned with Governors' portraits. On the second floor, the hallways feature quotes about proper governing principles leaving me wondering where those missing paintings are located. These are very thought-provoking if one takes time to stop and consider them. If you are in a rush, then photographing them is a great idea so you can read and consider them later when you return home. I often do that when I am visiting somewhere and don't want to take the time to read something at that moment but I am interested in what it says. Let's look at some of them now.
But what about those missing portraits? A quick stop by the information desk answered my question and provided me with a single sheet of paper listing every portrait (wish I would have asked earlier), the year each governor held office, who painted it, and the year it was painted. Information people are always amazing! They told me that there should not be any gaps in the portraits so let's see. Well, after comparing their list to mine, I find that I am missing portraits of Winfield S. Hammond who only held office for one year in 1915 and Theodore Christianson who was in office from 1925-1931. It is possible I have unearthed a mystery but it is more likely that I missed them somehow so will have to look on a return trip.
They also said that it is standard procedure to have a governor's portrait commissioned after the term is over. So our current governor, Mark Dayton, will have his portrait done when he is out of office. That explains why I couldn't find it.
Continuing on then through the building brings one to the Minnesota Supreme Court. This room is opened for tours and otherwise the greeting is another locked gate.
The area immediately outside the entrance prominently displays the bust of an important Minnesota native in U.S. judicial history: Warren Burger.
Turning around provides another breath-taking view of this level.
And another corridor filled with quotes on jurisprudence for contemplation.
If you happened to notice that there is one more plaque in this hallway than the previous hallway, you are right. It is because there is a quote directly outside the MN Supreme Court on the wall opposite where Warren Burger's statue is located.
The last area to explore on this floor is the House of Representatives. For anyone from the public, the best way to view this room is from the gallery on the 3rd floor, as the 2nd floor perspective is through another locked gate.
Now that all the corridors have been visited, there are only 2 areas left to mention. The first is what would be the South Corridor if there was one. Instead on this floor it is a balcony which I imagine could host some wonderful events except that it is in need of repair.
And last but not least is the 2nd floor view into the Rotunda. This space provides a different experience on each level of the Capitol and they are all fabulous!
Thank you for viewing this blog and for those of you who have been waiting, next week it is time to talk about the animals at the Minnesota State Fair. I hope you are enjoying the last days of summer and first crisp days of fall.
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:
Originally published Feb. 23, 2011
I was thinking this morning about how lucky I am to be an architectural photographer in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. We have so many great buildings between the two cities and as if that wasn't enough, the Mississippi River runs through both. I am one of those people who thinks that water makes everything more interesting. Having photographed cities that do not have bodies of water in them, I can just say it's better with water. But, back to the main topic, the great architecture we have.
Minneapolis can boast being home to such stunning architecture as The Guthrie Theater, the IDS Tower, the Foshay Center, the Minneapolis Central Library, the Orpheum, the State Theater, the Basilica of St. Mary, the Weisman Art Museum, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, to mention a few. They have at least 3 remarkable bridges (Third Avenue, Father Hennepin, and the Stone Arch) that cross the river providing fabulous cityscape shots for anyone willing to take the time to venture there (and lots of great food excuses to get you there too).
St. Paul is equally fascinating from an architectural standpoint. For starters they have the Capitol and the surrounding structures. The Ordway, St. Paul Central Library and St. Paul Hotel are anchors to the Rice Park area, as well as the Landmark Center. Other notable edifices include The Cathedral of St. Paul, the Fitzgerald Theatre, the Children's Museum, and the Hamm Building. St. Paul is home to the Wabasha Street Bridge and my personal favorite, the Smith Street a/k/a High Bridge crossing over the Mississippi, both of which provide excellent opportunities for cityscape photos.
After all this talk about the great architecture we have, I'm starting to wonder what I'm doing sitting here typing on my computer. I have a lot to do! Maybe I will start a self assignment and post images I can make of some of these buildings. In the meantime...I have something much more exciting for next week (and a lot more computer work)...I just have to keep it a secret until then! Let's just say it has to do with one of the buildings mentioned in this blog.
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.