March, 2010 browsing by month


A Calatrava Sunrise

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Sunrise at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Sunrise pictures can be striking, with the layering of colors in the sky as the sun peeks over the horizon. Even more striking is including an architectural beauty – in this case the Santiago Calatrava-designed Milwaukee Art Museum.

The Burke Brise Soleil (seen in the picture to the right) is usually photographed when the wings are expanded, but I also enjoy it closed, with Lake Michigan as its backdrop, looking like the bow of a ship rising from the lake.

This photo uses a technique called HDR (High Dynamic Range) in order to show clear definition of the building in a difficult lighting situation. Even the barely-risen sun produces a great deal of light, making it difficult to show the detail in the darkened building.

Milwaukee Art Museum at Dawn

Here’s another example of a photo using HDR. This photo is taken before sunrise, in the early dawn – which still produces a lot of light in the sky. A jet stream can be seen in the sky behind the Art Museum, adding an interesting dimension to the photo.

With HDR, I take 3 photos, bracketing the exposure to get one that captures highlights, one that captures shadows, and a third for mid-tones. I’ll describe this technique more fully in a future post, but by combining the 3 photos, I can produce a photo that has much more tonal range than a single photo is capable of producing.

Milwaukee Skyline

A final and very different view of the Milwaukee Art Museum, this one taken shortly after sunrise. The museum is in the center of the photo, across the breakwater, with the US Bank building just to its right and the Discovery World Museum all the way to the left. Although difficult to see in this light, the moon can be seen high in the sky above the Discovery World Museum.

This last photo is not HDR – the lighting conditions are more even across the scene so the camera is able to capture all of the available tones in the picture.

For more photos from this early morning visit to the lake front, click here.

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