Downtown Phoenix Architecture Old and New

Tonight I have three more HDR images from my photo walk in downtown Phoenix, Arizona this past weekend.

This first image is the bell tower at the historic First Baptist Church on Monroe Street.  The church was built in 1929, and it was gutted by fire in 1992.  The interior of the church is gone, but the shell still stands, including this bell tower.  It’s on the National Register of Historic Places, and the owners of the property are trying to pitch it to investors as a future art space of some kind.  Fortunately, there is a parking garage right across the street from the tower, and by climbing up about five or six floors, I was able to get almost eye-level with the top of the tower, avoiding any perspective issues with shooting the tall tower from ground level:

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This next image is the the back of the Orpheum Theatre (on the right) where it intersects with the side of Phoenix City Hall (on the left).  I know that there’s a perspective issue on this shot–since it was taken from ground level with the camera pointed up, the buildings look like they’re leaning into each other.  I thought about trying to correct it, but decided that I kind of like the compositional aspects of the way the buildings appear to be huddling together.  I think there’s a lot of geometrical interest that would be lost if I corrected the perspective on the shot:

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And finally, here’s a shot of the newly expanded downtown Phoenix Convention Center.  I really love the multi-color stone facing on the building, as well as the angles of the walls.  I also like the way the glass of the overhead pedestrian walk reflects a nearby sign–I didn’t notice that detail when I was taking the shot:

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Each of these images was created from a bracketed series of three photos (-2.0/0.0/+2.0) taken with my Nikon D5000 and the kit lens (18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6) at F/13.  I used Photomatix Pro v3 to produce the HDR image, and then post-processed in Paintshop Pro X3 to tweak the brightness and contrast, and I used the Curves tool to modify the color balance slightly.

Hope you enjoy these images from a very warm October day in downtown.  I’ll be sharing more as the days pass.

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Big Bugs in Downtown Phoenix

Sunday was my birthday, and I was fortunate enough to get to spend several hours with my camera and tripod in downtown Phoenix.  The hubby went along with me, and he carried my backpack with extra lenses and assorted paraphernalia, leaving me free to climb stairs and low concrete walls to get the shots I wanted.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t choose to shoot downtown in the middle of the day since the shadows can be so harsh.  But I knew I was going to process these shots as HDR’s, so I decided to take advantage of a beautiful, if still warm, autumn day when downtown was pretty much deserted.

I took about 55-60 bracketed series, and I’ve just started going through them, but these three images are going to be some of my favorites, I can already tell.  These bronze sculptures are located on the plaza of the newly expanded Phoenix Convention Center.  According to their official website, the sculptures were created by Tom Otterness and they include:

Three large, whimsical bronze sculptures of desert creatures, enlarged to human scale. The creatures include a millipede with a hat and shoes; a walking stick in high heels, and a scorpion holding two small men in top hats tugging at a bag of money. Accompanying sculptural elements of people, scaled down to Lilliputian dimensions, interact with the creatures. The sculptures are set in a unique water-harvesting garden at the public plaza located near the southeast entrance of the North Building.

Each of these images was created from a bracketed series of three photos (-2.0/0.0/+2.0) taken with my Nikon D5000 and the kit lens (18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6) at F/13.  I used Photomatix Pro v3 to produce the HDR image, and then post-processed in Paintshop Pro X3 to tweak the brightness and contrast, and I used the Curves tool to modify the color balance slightly.  I like the way that the HDR process accentuates the variations in the shades of bronze on the sculptures, especially on the millipede.  My biggest disappointment was on the scorpion–once again I have a little flare spot in the middle of the picture.  I need to figure out where that’s coming from so I can get rid of it.

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The majority of the other images that i took are architectural in nature, and I’ll be posting them in the next few days and weeks.

This coming weekend we’re planning a trip into Oak Creek Canyon north of Sedona to check out the fall color (if there is any yet).  I’m looking forward to getting my camera out in some cooler weather–it was over 90° in downtown Phoenix when these shots were taken yesterday.  Way too hot for late October!!

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