Yesterday a rainy weather front that passed through this part of Pennsylvania broke up leaving haze-free blue skies with lots of clouds moving across the valley. After my last class I walked around the neighborhood enjoying the light and taking photographs until after sunset. Here are the two series I took at Marywood, and as always, I invite you to walk with me.
Marywood’s Shields Center has, on its east end, a curved section of glazing facing the southeast (figure 1). It’s blocked by a little shrine and a tree, but it was meant to profit from morning sun. It also does really well what all those glass skyscrapers of yesteryear were meant to do: disappear into the landscape by reflecting it. The glass wall’s reflections of itself on the lower left side offer a nice study of geometry.
An old, snaggly oak tree and a Japanese maple face the glazed façade in figure 1. Here (figure 2) we see the oak and just the tops of the glazed wall, the shrine, and the maple. The oak is getting weatherbeaten on its west side—that’s where our weather comes from, by and large—and it’s already losing its leaves over there. It also plays an ecdysiast game, suggestively revealing its attractive trunk and limbs while teasingly covering the rest. I do love the texture of the trunk showing through.
That ecdysiast oak tree (figure 2) stares into the mirror all day admiring itself (figure 3). But if I were as handsome as that tree, I would, too. The mirror is provided by the northern end of the Insalaco Arts building.
I’ve captured images of these life-sized bronze students elsewhere. Something about their lonely vigil during the pandemic—warmed here, to be sure, by the autumn sun—caught my eye (figure 4). Reflections appear to be the theme of the day, too, though they are muted here.
I’ve stopped at the south end of the Learning Commons before to admire the play of evening sunlight in the corners (figure 5). The dark gray ceramic face has a bit of a sheen which attractively picks up and reflects the evening sunlight already reflected by the coatings on the glazing. It’s getting progressively harder to see because there is a wee copse of birch trees growing up between this corner and the sun—a bit of one of these trees falls into this image from the upper left. It’s nicely dappled with sunlight and offers depth of field, which is why I didn’t blunder into the garden to get past it.
I’ve captured images of this tree by Marywood’s front gate before, but here the light played on the leaves as it came from the low sun to the left (figure 6). The breeze, fairly strong but not blustery, made the colors scintillate, and this image suggests that a bit.
And back in the quad behind the Learning Commons there is a maple that is putting on a wondrous show this year (figures 7, 8). It’s a big tree, and is diminished, literally and figuratively, by squeezing it all into a wide-angle shot. So in good Roman fashion I divided and conquered by splitting it left and right and by focusing on what interested me on both sides. Figure 8, like figure 6, offers a strong play of light and shadow that animates the tree. In figure 7, the bright light brought out the crinkly texture of the ruddy oranges. The sky formed a strongly contrasting backdrop: just the thing for people like me.
I went over to the Scranton School for the Deaf for a bit but returned to Marywood for the last minutes before the sun set. You can see how low the sun was in this image of Regina Hall dappled by shadows from maples (figure 9). Everything about the warm light was pleasing, not least the play of light and shadow on the retaining wall. You see that I’ve paid my photographic tax to Scranton by showing some wires.
Figure 10. Sunset on Learning Commons. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.
Almost too late I caught the (cliché alert) last fleeting rays of the sun on the façade of the Learning Commons. I enjoyed the photography, but I also very much enjoyed living in the moment while taking in the natural beauty I did my best to capture. I sincerely hope you like it, too.