Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Madison, Wisconsin.  Fifteen thousand people were expected for Saturday’s march, but official police estimates put the numbers at between 75 and 100,000 citizens, rivalling the crowd sizes from the Act 10 protests in 2011.

Yes, your friend Wabi Sabi was there as well, wearing her pink cap lovingly knitted by a good friend, but not carrying a sign. (I learned during the Act 10/Walker Recall marches that carrying both a camera and a sign is unwieldy and I’ll opt for a camera any day.) The Women’s March, like the 2011 protests, was a happy, polite, helpful and thoroughly civilized gathering, filled with singing, chanting and a great deal of laughter and talk. And, while billed as a Women’s March, there were plenty of men in the crowd as well.

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A selection of faces in the crowd:

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Driving by the Milwaukee Art Museum on Saturday morning, the contrast of the open soleil against a brilliant blue, cloud-streaked sky was more than I could bear. The Wabi Sabi staff car made a sharp unplanned right, nearly missing the entrance, but was rewarded with an unlimited view of the building, sans visitors and assorted cars.

Of course, I ended up zeroing in on the wings as they stood poised against the sky, like impossibly graceful birds.

Windhover Hall, a mind-boggling component of the Milwaukee Art Museum complex, is the portion of the museum visible above made up of blue-tinted glass. The Burke Brise Soleil is a moveable sunscreen with a wingspan of 217 feet that fits over Windhover Hall and opens and closes twice a day. Both the Hall and the Soleil are part of the museum campus called The Quadracci Pavilion and were designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.  The entire structure is an incredibly arresting sight, poised on the shore of Lake Michigan and often appearing on the verge of taking flight.

For views of Windhover Hall from the inside the building, check out these earlier posts:

https://wabisabiphotography.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/milwaukee-art-museum-interior-shots/

https://wabisabiphotography.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/soft-interior/

China Lights, a Chinese Lantern Festival, as staged at the Boerner Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee County.

Usually, I like to build to a big finish when I have several posts on the same subject or event but, doggone it…how to you tell a 260 foot dragon to wait his turn?

This is the second year the festival has been held at the gardens and it has proven to be wildly successful. This past Saturday alone, 10,000 people passed through the gates to view the forty displays spread across several acres. The unique celebration is a collaboration between  Chinese artisans and technical staff from Sichuan Tianyu, located in Zigong, China and the staff of the Botanical Gardens here in Wisconsin.

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I am hopelessly and forevermore drawn to industrial settings for their hard and gritty look. Pile on some rust and railroad tracks, concrete and crumble, and I am a girl gone crazy in love with her surroundings. 

Lately, though, I have found myself playing with my captures, buffing out the gritty and softening the harsh. The results are one or two steps removed from reality and more evocative of illustrations in a child’s book than the original captures would be.

This is Milwaukee’s Jones Island, an aggressively industrial setting if there ever was one, but transformed here into a quieter, more gentle world.

If you are viewing on a full-sized monitor, the pictures really pop to that storybook look when viewed large.

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The second night anchored on a sandbar near the bridge in Winona, Minnesota.

The thunderstorm rolled in around midnight. Loud! Holy Mother of Pearl! Had you told me cannons were firing from the upper deck, I would have believed you.

The only cannons firing, though, were mine.

Okay…Canons, not cannons.

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There was no way to go out on the deck to shoot, though…not unless I wanted to sacrifice my equipment to the storm so I spent my time running back and forth from the front of the boat to my berth, shooting through the glass and playing with colors and focus. Lovely jagged bolts of lightening would have been splendid, but this wasn’t that kind of storm. The sky kept blowing up all blue-white which was enormously cool to watch, but not much for photographic drama.

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Eventually, I ran out of shots to take, stowed the cameras and climbed into bed. By positioning myself just so, I was able to fall asleep to the sounds of thunder, wind, and driving rain while keeping the bridge in sight.

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This makes my short list of Best Nights Ever.

The bridge at Winona, Minnesota, spanning the Mississippi River.

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When I first saw this particular bridge, I thought it was fine, but I was not doing a Happy Bridge Dance on top of the houseboat. I took a few shots as we passed below it and didn’t even beg to make a nautical U-turn in order to take more. (Last year, under the bridge at Wabasha, we made so many passes back and forth that a casual observer might have thought we were caught in a maelstrom.)

Then came the sunset,  and the lighting–both natural and manmade– created a beautiful picture.

I began tapping my toe on the deck. I was warming to my neighbor.

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Somehow, the transition from sunset to full dark happened without my help or notice, because the next time I looked…Hello, Bridge!

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What an incredible surprise! This ho-hum worker-bee bridge by day turned into a bedazzling star after sunset and I celebrated with a series of wildly enthusiastic Happy Bridge Dances from one end of our boat to the other.

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Perhaps those wildly enthusiastic Happy Bridge Dances had an impact on the weather, because still to come: major midnight thunderstorms and your friend Wabi Sabi runs for her camera.

Winona, Minnesota. Bridge over the Mississippi River.

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I have more. LOTS more. We anchored our (rented) houseboat on a nearby sandbar  for a day and half, during which time I was able to capture the bridge in sunlight, fog, dusk, full-on night and a raging midnight thunderstorm. Very cool.

This bridge post is an offering to the gods since I am having some bridgework of my own done today (Tuesday) that for sure involves a Sawzall and direct access to my savings account.