Yesterday was a fine, cool, blustery autumn day at the trailing edge of summer. The haze from the west coast fires was gone entirely leaving the sky a cloudless blue during the evening golden hour. I walked up to Marywood to fetch my wife home. Come walk with me.

Figure 1. Nazareth Student Center. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

One climbs from where I live up a short hill to campus. The first really attractive building I encounter is the Nazareth Hall Student Center (figures 1, 2). It’s flanked by tremendous old oak trees and has a vast parking lot in front of it. So I perched at the far end of the lot where I could support my camera on a tree trunk against the wind and profited from the wonderful light.

Figure 2. Nazareth Student Center from the southwest. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

In figure 2 and in many that follow you’ll see that the leaves are in softer focus than the building because they were really blowing around. I liked the shadow of the big oak to the left on the brise soleil.

Figure 3. Noble oak by Nazareth Student Center. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

The energy of the wind can be guessed at from the shape of the tree branches in figure 3. This is the noblest oak on campus, southwest of Nazareth.

Figure 4. Nazareth Student Center parking lot looking uphill toward Rotunda. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

From the Nazareth parking lot one climbs a short hill (figure 4) to the terrace that fronts the Rotunda and the Learning Commons. It is occupied by a formal landscaping I call the Italianate garden.

Figure 5. Rotunda with Italianate garden in front. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

To the immediate left of figure 5 is the Learning Commons with its Italianate garden overlook just entering the image from lower left.

Figure 6. Learning Commons façade. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

Viewed obliquely, the brise soleil of the Learning Commons has an attractive rhythm, a finer mesh than the mid-century one on Nazareth (figure 6).

Figure 7. Learning Commons porch. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

The porch, or at any rate the ‘walkway’ along the façade of the building runs from a wee copse (as I call it) on the north down to Alumni Hall, the eastern extension of the mass of the Rotunda. That’s the overlook with its Black Lives Matter sign at the south end of the porch.

Figure 8. Path along north face of the Learning Commons toward the School of Architecture. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

Before heading to the overlook, let’s take a look over our left shoulder, east, past the narrow north end of the Learning Commons toward the School of Architecture (figure 8).

Figure 9. Learning Commons overlook. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

The overlook itself (figure 9) was more interesting in the light I had than what it overlooked. In case anyone has doubts about the structure’s function, there is, barely visible in the shadows of my image on the left, inscribed the word OVERLOOK in the pavers. But look at the stainless steel, the white coping, the crisp, squared-off mass of bricks. The Learning Center is longing to get back to about 1960.

Figure 10. Learning Commons overlook. Detail: shiny flecks in cement coping stones. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

Richard Neutra directed that flecks of shiny mica should be put into the finish of the walls of the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs, a fine example of the mid century urge to decorate with textures, light, and geometry. I couldn’t resist a close-up of the overlook’s coping stones which are very much in the mid-century spirit (figure 10). Shiiiiiny….

Figure 11. Reflecting pool in Italianate garden. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

Sorry, I was mesmerized for a moment. Descending into the Italianate garden there is my favorite stop, the reflecting pool (figure 11). It was choppy seas on the reflecting pool, but I captured a gratuitous image of some reflected trees.

Figure 12. Learning Commons from the south. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

With the sun effectively behind my back, the Learning Commons (figure 12) presented a rather brighter façade thanks to its brise soleil than it did from the north in figure 6.

Figure 13. Learning Commons, south end. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

The south end of the Learning Commons presented all kinds of problems with its glazing reflecting the light in all directions (figure 13). This image reflects (heh) several desperate choices I made in editing. But I liked the reflection of the glazing onto the adjacent dark bricks, giving the illusion that the glazing extends farther than it does.

Figure 14. View east past the south façade of the Learning Commons toward the Insalaco Center. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

The light brought out the texture of the trees in the quad behind the Learning Commons, especially in the pines (figure 14).

Figure 15. Learning Commons, north end of main façade with wee copse. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

Now at the door of the Rotunda, I captured a view of the wee copse I mentioned before down at the north end of the Learning Commons (figure 15). As always, those little trees admirably show the wind.

Figure 16. Mountain west of Scranton from Rotunda porch. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

The view from the Rotunda’s porch (figure 16) was just as beautiful towards the side-lit mountains as it was toward the school.

Figure 17. Japanese Maple in front of Regina Hall. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

I did a study of this Japanese Maple (figure 17) just in front of Regina Hall as I left Campus. My wife had last-minute business, so I had time to dally on the way home. I prefer these trees in transmitted light, but I was able to use the telephoto for close-ups by pressing my camera down onto the dado of the steps leading down from Regina. This is the best picture of the day, I think.

Figure 18. Statue of the Virgin on main entrance arch. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

I was recently complaining to my wife that the statue of Mary over the grand entry arch is nearly impossible to photograph. In the day she’s washed out against the sky or burned out with bright sun or backlit and shadowy-muddy. At night, well, she’s got this halo. But yesterday, finding her side-lit with golden tones against the blue featureless sky, I think I got a reasonable shot. I had to press myself against a tree to steady the camera, and at that this (figure 18) was the only fair shot of about five I took.

Figure 19. View into campus from main entrance. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

By now, the sun was almost down, but I managed a shot back toward the Learning Commons capturing the grasses at the gate and the other great Japanese Maple on the premises (figure 19).

Figure 20. Rotunda dome at sunset. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

My parting shot, so to speak, was of the golden-lit dome of the Rotunda. It was dark enough when I arrived home that I had to turn on the lights.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Arlington, VA

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