Categories for Architecture

Day 3: Solace
November 2nd, 2012

Temple of Juno. Burning Man 2012.

By day three, I started seeing less of the sights and started to see more of the people. I spent much of this day taking stalker shots of the Burning Man attendees from a distance. Each and every one of them was beautiful in their own way and I couldn’t get enough of them. So now I have a stockpile of random people’s faces as they watch a show or interact in a event. Maybe I’ll make a collage of them some day.

The Temple of Juno. The Temple was still being perfected earlier in the week so my first visit wasn’t until day three. For those who don’t know, the temple is a yearly recurring highlight of Burning Man that usually is a main hub for highly emotional interactions. Often times, many individuals or groups of people will leave keepsakes, notes, scrawling’s of literature and imagery, etc. in remembrance of those who are no longer with us or will be leaving this world far too soon. This year, the entirety of the temple, shrine and outer gate structure was built (almost) completely out of highly intricate tracery cut wood. The scene was absolutely breathtaking and especially so while being softy illuminated at night. The swirling emotions located within these holy walls left an even more powerful impression. No one person could enter these premises and not feel a fragment of sorrow. The Temple goes up in flame on the last day of Burning Man and with it, an ocean of emotion, I imagine. We left early before the Temple’s burn, so we got to miss out on needing to hide the fact that we were going to cry in front of each other. Darn sand in the eyes.

Day 1: Pilgrimage
Day 2: The Invisible Circus
Day 4: Let the Effigies Burn!
Day 5: No Camera Day (coming soon!)
Day 6: The Man Burns! (coming soon!)
Day 7: Departure (coming soon!)

Day 1: Pilgrimage
October 30th, 2012

Burning Man 2012.

Finally. The week of Burning Man is upon us. “Welcome home” spoken by many. A home I do not understand nor appreciate just yet, for I am a virgin burner. Nonetheless a home I yearn to become a part of.

Other burners can be seen soaring down interstate eighty with their blue painter’s tape in the formation of The Man plastered all over their vehicles. The majority of them already dressed in their Burning Man attire. Or perhaps they are the ones in this world who constantly stand out in a crowd. Forever dressed in their Burning Man garb, never to remove the core principles they have come to embrace which are displayed like badges of honor. I make a consorted effort to stop thinking that these are costumes one would wear in attendance to a Halloween party but rather a way of life.

We decide not to brave the predictably long line that will certainly exist during the first few hours of Burning Man. Gates were to open by 7pm and I was convinced, 40,000 people were all expecting to be among the first few vehicles to enter the premises. Instead we slept off our anticipation in Reno and proceeded towards the pearly orange construction gates the following morning. We later received confirmation how wise of a decision this was from some fellow burners who got to watch the sunrise while sitting in line waiting to gain admittance.

Playa bound. Once getting off I-80, a visible convoy of vehicles started northbound towards certain isolation, towards The Playa and towards The Man. Many were pulled off to the side of the road, some already celebrating and cheering at the line of vehicles all working their way Northward. Like a bunch of fertile salmon fighting their way back upstream to reach their old spawning grounds (sorry had to). Many of these salmon people were being hassled by bears local law enforcement agencies as they sit on the side of the road, their hands cuffed behind their back, all the while teams of officers proceed to search the contents of their over-encumbered RVs. My heart went out to these burners. It seemed everyone was looking to benefit from our proliferation.

Our wait in line was overall, very short. Less than an hour, I would say. We did arrive during the middle of a whiteout, which just enhanced the realization of what we were getting ourselves into. Upon driving through the gate we promptly found a location to set up camp (5:30 and Jasmine). We will later decide that this is too far if one wants to travel to the (central) action on a regular basis yet far enough away to actually receive sleep if one desired it so.

Behold the La Llorona! Once we built our structure that we felt was suitable enough to protect us from the sun, wind, and dust (truly, there is NO protection from the dust). We ventured our way towards The Man. Bike-less and wide eyed. One of my very first sights was that of the most amazing scene of a half sunken pirate ship in the middle of the desert. Thinking about it now, brings tears to my eyes. The craftsmanship that went in to creating this masterpiece was top notch. It was as if they took pieces of wood from an actual sunken ship and reconstructed it here in the middle of nowhere. Even the interior was completely legit with a dash of pirate skeletons and a sprinkling of treasure chests. As you walked up and into this ship, the slant of the boat certainly played a factor in your mobility. The astonishment was shared equally by everyone who set foot on to and into this ship. Later I returned to this site to witness a dub-step party take place, as hundreds of pirates danced about. I still don’t believe half of what I saw during this week of Burning Man and I’m not entirely sure it all really happened.

The Man in all his glory. The Man! I took so many pictures of The Man (or possible The Woman this year considering the theme was fertility 2.0). Everyday I awoke, and started my day out by biking to the Man to just to take it all in, all over again. From there we made our decisions on what we would try to accomplish for the day and what we would make an attempt to see. Inside the gazebo like structure that The Man stood so brilliantly on top of, there was a honeycomb jungle gym (beehive theme). This hive (all slot and tab construction mind you) allowed people to climb up and around on, lay and relax in and meditate upon. I took my turn and climbed to the highest point. This point being where you are closest to The Man. I felt at home.

The sights and sounds one would experience during the day were only amplified at night. I couldn’t take enough pictures as I just drifted around. Everything was so brilliantly illuminated that it was hard to just concentrate on not running in to something or someone else, who was equally distracted.

Giant squid. So beautiful. The art cars that maneuvered around at night added to the amazing spectacle that is Burning Man. One night I was biking towards The Man when I started hearing the ping of a sonar echo. This ping got louder and as I took a look over my left shoulder, a massive submarine floated on by. I stopped my bike to take in the delight of such a sight. After the sub passed me by, I was blown away as a giant squid, with its fluid tentacles gave chase to the submarine. The number of art cars that drove around increased each night, many of which shot enormous balls of fire in to the night sky. Briefly illuminating this strange desert landscape.

These photos don’t give justice to how everything really appeared. Nor do they show the utter chaos that is taking place at all times and for that I apologize. I urge each and every one of you, whom has yet to experience Burning Man to go and make the pilgrimage for yourself. Go see why so many people, including myself, call it home.

Day 2: The Invisible Circus
Day 3: Solace
Day 4: Let the Effigies Burn!
Day 5: No Camera Day (coming soon!)
Day 6: The Man Burns! (coming soon!)
Day 7: Departure (coming soon!)

A Study of Gehry
June 17th, 2012

My first attempt at a HDR photo. Turned out pretty well except for the foliage in the foreground. Too much movement causes blur or those white ghosts around the leaves. Sunrise.

A study of our Advanced Technology Building designed by the famous Frank Gehry. An interesting architect who designed many of his constructions with what seems to be plenty of melting metallic forms and oddly positioned shapes.  Not only does it look like a child’s construction of wooden toy blocks (covered in sheet metal) but Gehry even throws together a variety of different building materials as well as if the Swedish Chef was actually the true genius and creator behind this work of art.  “First ya take the stone, then ya take the copper, bork bork bork.”

Gehry’s construction here in Iowa City is definitely a badge of honor for the University of Iowa.  The building is (unfortunately) really only presentable from the Iowa River (west side).  The view or lack of one from the main campus (east side) is that of one massive rectangular block of stone and a weird, seemingly detached, copper, bulbous form.  But if one were following the Iowa River, this building acts as a beautiful sight and a breath of fresh air as it reflects the setting sun like a jewel amidst a ruin of neoclassical marble monoliths.

I’ve wanted to photograph this series for a while now and I still want to take a few more photos to fulfill my original intentions. Like for instance, I still have never got the chance to enter said building. I don’t even know what the inside looks like. Sad. So plan on a part 2 in the distant future.

My second HDR image. Early morning. Clouds really pop in HDR photos. They were barely noticeable in original files. Makes the scene look ominous.  HDR can be used to really make a building appear haunted.

I do love architecture but I really wish I could levitate or fly around, taking photos from different perspectives rather than always looking up in photos. Fortunately looking up is a satisfactory perspective when it comes to Architecture otherwise I would never have anything to show. One thing that I did finally get to try out for myself was an attempt at HDR photos (two above photos). An HDR photo is the merging of numerous photos with the same subject, each with a different exposure value (also called bracketing). It’s very easy to do and really takes less skill than it seems.  I’d be happy to explain it to anyone that’s interested in trying it for oneself. Let me know what you think.

See also:

A Fall Walk

EDIT: I reposted these images in a larger version under the photos tab.

The Old Capitol
October 11th, 2011

The Old Capitol - A walk to the river with a new friend and fellow photographer. Corinthian capitals amidst a sea of blue. I wonder what I would have to do in order to get up there.

I could be wrong but I believe it is a mandated requirement that every University of Iowa student have a photo of the Old Capitol in their possession at all times. Or so it seems to be that way. And why not? It is a beautiful building with it’s golden (leaf) dome, temple front, and stone block masonry.

The Old Capitol Building is both the symbol and the heart of the University of Iowa.