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!

Figure 1. Mariae Silva. Rotunda façade, Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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).

Figure 2. Oblique Rotunda. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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).

Figure 3. Autumn berries at Architectural Arts Center. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 4. Loggia connecting the Architectural Arts Center with the Shields Center for Visual Arts. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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).

Figure 5. Birdhouse and vine. Detail of rear of Architectural Arts. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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).

Figure 6. Architectural Arts from west reflecting Small Wood. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author. PA. Photo: author.

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).

Figure 7. Twin trees in the Small Wood. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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).

Figure 8. Small Wood trees embrace. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 9. Lonely late autumn in the Small Wood. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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 sly of figure 9.

Figure 10. HDR edit of Small Wood. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 11. Small Wood with faint autumn light. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.’

Figure 12. Red riot. Small Wood with splashes of direct autumn light. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 13. Red remnant. Small Wood. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 14. Red remnant between Architectural Arts and the Learning Commons. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 15. View through the north-end sunroom of the Learning Commons. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

It’s possible to look through a thicker section of the Learning Commons toward the Italianate Garden and Regina Hall (figure 16).

Figure 16. View through Learning Commons toward Italianate Garden and Regina Hall. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 17. Early Halloween colors. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.
Figure 18. Small trees against glazing, south end of Learning Commons. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 19. Mid-October mélange. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 20. Focus depth study. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

The Small Wood with a rainbow of colors is easily visible out the other side of the Lady of Victory shrine (figure 21).

Figure 21. Small Wood and Our Lady of Victory Shrine. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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).

Figure 22. Fall foliage in Wee Copse. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 23. View through Italianate Garden. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 24. Day scene reflected in exhedral glazing of Shields Center for the Visual Arts. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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).

Figure 25. Twin trees, west of Architectural Arts. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 26. Glazed atrium, O’Neill Center for Healthy Families. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 27. Focus practicum. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 28. ‘Dramatic’ preset edit of fall foliage with Luminar 4. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 29. Mary crushing the serpent. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

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.

Figure 30. Aurora HDR rendering of a late-summer day. Marywood University, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Arlington, VA

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