The Arabian Library in Copper

Tonight’s post is another image of the Arabian Library in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Its exterior walls are a beautiful copper color which positively glows in the sun, especially against the bright blue of the desert sky:

Arabian Library in Copper

This is a single exposure shot handheld at 85mm, ISO 200, F/6.3, 1/640s. I processed it in PaintShop Photo Pro X3, using Topaz Adjust to bring out some of the details that were lost in the harsh sunlight.

I spent a few hours (and a few bucks) today establishing my new online domain, Over time, I plan to get a website set up to display my best photography, and then eventually start some sort of business from what is now a very expensive hobby. But for now, I just wanted to make sure that I own the domain. It may never amount to anything, but one has to start somewhere.

If you like my work, please subscribe to this blog and feel free to offer comments.  You can also find me on Facebook at ZannWalker Photography.


Copper Entryway

I took my camera to work with me today and at lunchtime I made a quick trip over to the Arabian Library in Scottsdale.  I’ve been there several times before and always thought that those copper walls would make some great photos, especially when contrasted with the deep blue sky.

I got several decent shots today with the 28-300mm zoom, even though the noontime sun was quite harsh.  This particular shot was made on the side of the building where there was an entryway cutout in the wall.  Just inside this entryway there are doors leading to the left and the right, although they aren’t visible here.  What caught my eye were the two pieces of red alarm equipment on the inner wall.

I just liked the geometry of the scene:

Copper Entryway

This is a single exposure shot handheld at 85mm, ISO 200, F/6.3, 1/640s. I processed it in PaintShop Photo Pro X3, using Topaz Adjust to bring out some of the details that were lost in the harsh sunlight. I love the texture and color variations in the copper sheeting, it would have been a shame to lose that!

Now I need a model release??

What a litigious society we live in!  It seems that if I want to take pictures with a cellphone or a Blackberry, no one really cares.  They won’t even bother me if I have a point-and-shoot Coolpix.  But, boy howdy (as my Southern women friends say), just go out into a public place with a DSLR, and suddenly you’re a lawsuit waiting to happen.  And God forbid you should have that DSLR mounted on top of a tripod.  Agghh…the horror!!


I wanted to do a little night shooting tonight, and I wanted to do it somewhere close to home because I was tired, but I wanted someplace that had at least some minimally interesting lighting and architectural features.  So I decided to go across the street to Glendale Community College.  You know, the campus that my tax dollars help support.

I knew they probably had some kind of restrictions about taking photos on campus, but I decided to go for it anyway, especially since I had no intention of photographing any person, at least not close-up or in a way that they would be recognizable.  And I’m certainly not making any money by doing this.

I was able to get a few shots around the Student Union building on their patio.

I liked the way the arches and the awning were underlit against the night sky, and I thought the empty Pepsi cup on the table was a nice touch.  You can tell that someone just left there to go to their night class.

Then I shot this picture of a tree with it’s multiple trunks framing the lighted campus map.  I was shooting bracketed shots at ISO 100, aperture priority, so I had some pretty significant exposure times.  When I looked at the shots, all three of the images in the bracketed series had this ghosted image of the campus map super-imposed on the tree trunk.  Not sure exactly what made that happen.  Any ideas?

Anyway, I walked around campus a little more and when I came to the library, I just couldn’t help myself.  I knew what the answer would be, but I was just too tempted by all those books….I walked in with my camera and went to the front desk where two students were working, and I asked them if it would be okay if I took some photos in the library. (Thud!)

They, of course, had no idea how they should answer my question, so they went and got their faculty advisor.  He was very nice, but let me know in no uncertain terms that I could not shoot in the library, and should not be shooting at all on campus.  He told me he used to be a professional photographer, and then he gave me a (friendly) lecture about the importance of using model releases.

Now, I’ve heard and read about model releases, but being the naive, trusting person that I am, I just assumed that I didn’t need to worry about that since I’m just taking pictures as a hobby.  He assured me that, to the contrary, I need to get a signed release from every person that I take a picture of, or I could find myself in deep trouble if someone ever got upset about me taking their picture.  He said he always carried the release forms around with him when he went out shooting.

I rarely take pictures of people that I don’t know, and I certainly don’t intend to walk around with a stack of legal forms every time I go out to take a few photographs.  But I’m quickly finding out that I can save myself a lot of headaches if I just aim my camera at something that’s non-human, created and built by Mother Nature rather than constructed by man.  Especially if they have a marketing department.


Glendale Main Library at Sunrise

I got my HDR’s of the library uploaded this morning.  Once again, all of these HDR’s were created from series of three bracketed images shot at -2.0/0/+2.0, at ISO 100, aperture-priority.  They were processed in Photmatix, and I did a little bit of tweaking on each one in PaintShop Pro, but nothing major–a little cropping here, a little sharpening there.

For some reason I enjoy the symmetry of architecture, especially when the light creates interesting shadows and splotches of bright color.  My brain likes order, and the 90-degree angles of this building just appeal to that sense of order.  The roof is partially made of copper which has developed that wonderful green patina which complements the reddish glow of the brick when the morning sun hit the building from the east.

The remainder of the set can be seen on my Flickr site in the set “Glendale Main Library“.  I hope you’ll visit and let me know what you think of the set or individual images.

I love the Glendale Main Library.  I’ve done some volunteer work there over the past year or so, and made some good friends who still work there.  I believe libraries are very special places, and deserve to be preserved and supported, so I hope these photos will encourage someone who sees them to visit their local library and see what they have to offer.

I have a few more HDR’s from my shoot, as well as some single-image photos taken while I chased the pigeons and peacocks around the library lawn (very undignified, I assure you!).  I’ll post those later this week.

Please feel free to subscribe to this blog either by RSS feed or by email–comments are welcome (although spam will be deleted!).



Glendale Veterans Memorial at Sunrise

I was sort of bummed that the forecast for today called for a 60% chance of rain.  I really wanted to try out my new tripod.  When I woke up at 5:30 this morning (hubby had to get up to go to work), I looked out the window and as far as I could tell it was completely overcast.  I went ahead and had a cup of coffee and some toast and resigned myself to getting an early start on the tax returns.

Then, about 6:30 I looked outside and saw that there were some breaks in the clouds just as dawn was breaking.  I got dressed, grabbed my camera and tripod and headed over to the Glendale library, which is just about five minutes from my house.  I had been planning this shoot for some time, and had just been waiting for a morning with a good sunrise.

In front of the Glendale library there is a memorial to U.S. Veterans and to those lost on the USS Arizona during WWII.  It’s a beautiful sculptural piece of copper, bronze, steel, sandstone and concrete, shaped into four trees surrounding an obelisk that contains actual salvaged pieces of the USS Arizona.

I drive past this memorial every day and noticed how the morning sun creates a beautiful golden glow on the copper leaves of the trees. So this was the morning to finally capture it.  I did all my shots in bracketed series of three shots at -2.0/0/+2.0, and shot at ISO 100, aperture-priority.  The new tripod worked like a champ.  I didn’t realize just how much easier it would be to shoot with a decent tripod, but quickly fell in love with my new Sunpak as I discovered just how simple it was to switch from landscape to portrait orientation on the fly.  The pistol grip with the squeeze trigger has me spoiled already.

I took quite a few shots of the memorial and processed them tonight in Photomatix into HDR images.  I’ve already uploaded them to Flikr in a new set called “Glendale Veterans Memorial“, so be sure to check them out.

I also got some great shots of the library, a neighboring church, and some of the plant species in the botanical gardens around the library.  I’ve already processed these in Photomatix as well, but haven’t yet uploaded them to Flickr.  I may want to tweak some of them in Paintshop Pro just to see how much they can be improved.  I should have them uploaded early next week.

It was a great hour of early morning shooting….no crowds, no security guards hassling me….just the beauty of the sunrise and the surroundings.  It was a very zen-like way to start my weekend, and it proved to be short-lived–about ten minutes after I got home it started raining, and it didn’t stop until late this afternoon.  It’s all about the timing!