LOCATION :: Pritzker by Night


Chip Bunnell Photography Destination Architectural Florida

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My recent trip to the Midwest allowed me a day in one of my favorite cities – Chicago. The rich history of architecture seems to cover every street in a virtual competition to decide which structure will have the greatest visual impact. Buildings from well over a 100 years ago play on the same corner as their much younger siblings. A central location of gathering and community enjoyment is Millennium Park. On the vast acreage is located the centerpiece and work of modern art, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

Designed by Frank Gehry, his plans for this ultra-modern orchestral center were unveiled in November, 1999. The Pritzker family, for whom it is named, donated $15M towards the project. Unique curving stainless steel plates frame the stage opening. 4,000 fixed seats are positioned for a clear field of view. Large curving beams fly high overhead the lawn to support lights and a speaker system for the up to 7,000 additional attendees below. This open air venue is a wonderful destination to enjoy your favorite music under the warm summer sun or a clear starry night. While we enjoy this structure today, it was not without challenges to build. Most notably, a local historical zoning law forced the city to appropriately consider the structure art, rather than a building. Given its appearance, this seems be an accurate classification.

To me, the challenge when photographing such an iconic structure is to find a slightly different way to portray the mood. I tried to capture the sweeping feel of the high arches by positioning the camera slightly off axis. The exposure was slightly dark to negate the sky and bring the pavilion out as the main subject. The colorful lights in the background buildings add interest without removing focus. Seemingly tiny chairs on the stage add to the perspective of its truly massive size. My timing was fortunate as I was able to make this image just minutes before they closed the stage doors for the night.

Single Frame, Processed in LR and Topaz Clarity


LOCATION :: Manhattan over Rocks


Chip Bunnell Photography Palm Beach FloridaI have always enjoyed sites and perspectives that others see.  An even greater thrill for me is to find an object or view that others do not often find.  A recent trip to the DUMBO area of Brooklyn gave me that very opportunity.  As an admirer of the architecture of interesting bridges, I find that New York has some of the best over the East River.  While the Brooklyn Bridge may perhaps be the most famous here, there are others that are critical in the daily lives of locals and the all-important tourists.  Each has their own story and each has their own equally unique features.  Following my constant quest to find something new, I fixated on the youngest of the bridges – the Manhattan Bridge.

The Manhattan Bridge is a graceful suspension bridge that spans the East River, connecting lower Manhattan to Brooklyn.  Despite her middle position visually, she is the last one to have been built.  Started in 1901, she spans 6,855’ from end to end and rises 336’ above the waters below. She was opened on December 31, 1909, but was not actually completed until 1912. During those years, 7 lanes of roadway, 4 railroad tracks as well as lanes for pedestrians and bicycles were built.  Something that was very interesting to me is that when she was built, all the rail lines were not attached to steel on the land. The connections did not come until years later. I was impressed at the forward thinking in this initial design.  At the same time, however, there has been a number of high dollar renovations to compensate for the substantially larger and heavier trains that now use her rails. At one point, the weight of a passing train would literally dip the bridge deck 3’ lower than the opposite side.  “A” for initial design effort as well as finding solutions to help her adapt to our current demands.

I made this image to include my love of water as well as the interest and size of the bridge herself.  The trees on the left, coupled with the boulders below gave a nice framing effect. The setting sun on camera right added interest to the sky as well as helped define the layers in the clouds above.  Details in the bridge frame work and color make it the most interesting of the 3 bridges to me.  I processed this image with a painterly approach to give a more surreal feel.

All in all, she not a bad looking lady, especially at her young age of 112!

3 Frame HDR, Processed in Photomatix Pro, LR and Topaz Clarity