The title is Latin for ‘Marywood’, a translated name coined, like the adjacent ‘Scrantona’, for the inscribed panels across the attic of Marywood’s splendid Rotunda, a building that rewards study, photographic or otherwise (figure 1).
For me, the Rotunda and Marywood are both beautiful laboratories as I am climbing the steep learning curve of landscape and architectural photography, as well as digital editing. You’re invited for a tour of campus!
Later autumn, once a goodly portion of the leaves have fallen, offers the chance to see the Rotunda from the Art Quad behind the Learning Commons (figure 2).
There are some varied berried somethings outside the Architectural Arts Center, which I believe was hitherto a natatorium. I caught them fairly early on a late October morning (figure 3).
The same varied berried things are visible from the side in a view down the loggia of the Architectural Arts Center looking down to the Shields Center for the Visual Arts.
The rear of the Architectural Arts Center has one of those greenscape roofs from which a striking golden vine is growing; there is a charming birdhouse-y thing adjacent to the vine (figure 5).
On the west side of the building there is a glazed wall that reflects a group—really a small wood—of mature oaks, maples, and other things (figure 6).
Amongst those trees in the Small Wood are two, an oak and one of those something elses, that have grown practically into a single tree (figure 7).
In fact, they have grown so closely, and for so long, that there are branches that have grown into one another and grafted themselves together (figure 8).
On a cool evening, as the sun was obscured and going down, we got an early version of the blue hour in the Small Wood (figure 9). Here I was pleased by the composition and the cool tones I adopted to tell a story about lonely late autumn.
But [insert here sound of 100 clowns crashing in inside a little car and spilling out] one can take these RAW files and subject them to HDR processing. The colors go characteristically a little candied when you edit that way (figure 10), but you can see that the editor (Aurora HDR) does near miracles pulling drama and structure out of the featureless sky of figure 9.
Not candied but reasonably true to what I saw is figure 11. There was just a suggestion of light breaking through the clouds and hitting the trees, an effect that was better expressed in figure 12.
I let the Luminar 4 Sky Enhancer Ai do its thing in figure 12, and it found a way to insert blue into the clouds. The clouds were much more substantial than figure 12 would have us believe. I also had to tone down the reds in figure 12, because they were exploding out of the image: hence my title ‘Red Riot.’
Reasonably riotous but now in morning light (and far more barren of leaves), the red tree visible near the top of the oak in figure 12 puts on a good show against a mostly blue sky (figure 13). This tree was visible as a landmark in figure 14.
Looking on the same morning as in figure 13 but toward a grey front coming in, the Red remnant and a yellow friend grace an image of the pleasing cyan glazing of the Architectural Arts Center and the black ceramic of the Learning Commons (figure 14). I like very much how the Marywood banner reflects in the side glazing of the Learning Commons.
That same grey front can be seen in the background of figure 15. Here, edited with SnapSeed, is a view through the sunroom at the north end of the Learning Commons out into the Italianate Garden, all lit by morning sun at the photographer’s back and left. There’s even a smidgeon of the Wee Copse reflected in the glazing on the far left.
It’s possible to look through a thicker section of the Learning Commons toward the Italianate Garden and Regina Hall (figure 16).
Moving toward the south end of the Learning Commons there are the little trees in figure 17 and 18, caught recently with the full colors of Halloween between the foliage and the building’s black ceramic wall (figure 17) and less orangely but still pleasingly against the glazing in figure 18.
There was a sunset not long ago that did everything the golden hour should: it warmly illuminated the Learning Commons’ Wee Copse and the trees behind it (figure 19). I title the image ‘Mid-October mélange’, but it could easily have been another symphony of greens, punning as I have before on the subtitle of the remake of Nosferatu.
North of the Learning Commons, with the big Marywood banner visible in figure 14 in the background, is an outlier tree of the Small Wood. The geometry hidden by the tree pleased me, and I was working with the wide-angle lens to get everything into focus, including the granite pillar of a little shrine (to “Our Lady of Victory”, commemorating a close brush with capitalist destruction of the campus) as well as the carpet of golden leaves.
The Small Wood with a rainbow of colors is easily visible out the other side of the Lady of Victory shrine (figure 21).
Near to the Shrine is the Wee Copse at the north end of the Learning Commons. The foliage, while not as striking as many other trees’ nevertheless exhibited an interesting and appealing texture (figure 22).
The sunset was again the occasion for this image of the Italianate Garden in figure 23. The trick here was to try to get the far side of the garden from the steps of the Rotunda with the trees of the Garden in the way. It’s like the trees are peeking through the darkish mesh of unlit branches.
I’ve taken a number of shots of the east end of the Shields Center for Visual Arts with its exhedra of glass and theatral steps fronting it. Here (figure 24), of course, I was mesmerized by the colorful reflection in the glazing.
Not long ago I published two photos of what I call Banner Row, along North Washington Ave. It is a long stretch of Marywood banners paralleling a stretch of what look like beech or cherry or gum trees. The morning with the front blowing in provided an opportunity to get an even longer serried row of banners with Emmanuel Hall and its astonishing copper-colored oak brightly lit by the morning sun (figure 25).
The west side of the atrium of the O’Neill Center for Healthy Families, with the sun to the right, offered a very appealing image (figure 26). The giveaway candy-colors reveal that I ran this through Aurora HDR (or a preset in Luminar 4 which does the same exact thing). The sky is the real one, but, as I say, candied up. The reflections in the glazing are great.
There is an electrical transformer just north of the Learning Commons decently hidden by a cedar hedge. I used it as a prop to steady my lens for an image of part of the Mid-October mélange, seeking to get the foreground (cedar) and background (orange maple) in acceptable focus at the same time. I focused on the grey diagonal branch in the mid-ground and used f/18. The composition is a strong series of diagonals that frame the maple.
As another test of the HDR- and HDR-like editing possible with Luminar 4, I took an image I had been pleased enough with and ran it through processing. The original was an orange cascade of leaves backlit by the evening light (not direct but behind clouds). The leaves were crisply outlined and had a near-uniform color. Luminar, in one of its presets (‘dramatic’, I think) took that image and did its magic. It bought out the greens in the leaves and the veins; and it made quite contrasty what had been very, very subtle differences in the brightness of the oranges. The background is pretty much unchanged, maybe a hair brighter. I like it, but the artifice of it makes me a bit nervous.
The fine statue of Mary crushing the serpent on the second floor of the Rotunda interior finally yielded to being photographed from all the way across the interior (figure 29). The geometries of the image cleaned up very nicely, and happily the light was muted evening light from behind clouds. I’d had bad luck to this point trying to get this difficultly lit statue.
For the 30th and final figure I offer an image of the Memorial Arch with tree and banner in wide angle. It was a pleasant morning in mid-to-late September, and I’d edited the image about as well as I then could. You can see my hand in the burned shadows from the tree to the right and rear of the photographer (which was, of course, where the sun was, too). It was a nice image, but I ran it through the Aurora HDR program and got this (figure 30). It’s actually pretty nice, and the sky is only a bit candy-fied compared to the original. The clouds benefitted from the processing.