Category Archives: Architecture

Contemplative Photography Lesson

Sunlit Entryway – Yakima, WA

I have been working to develop my process for contemplative photography.  My assignment today was to take a walk with a fresh open mind not looking for any specific thing to photograph.  The practice objective was to just wander and let the world around me catch my eye.  If something caught my eye, I needed to keep my mind open, take my time, and explore specifically what was it that captured my eye, what was important, and what was not.  Only then I could raise my camera and frame the image.

Walking along Front Street, I saw a bright orange flash that stopped me dead in my tracks.  It was in stark contrast with the surrounding area of old stucco and bricks. Shadows from a metal gate added to the contrast.  Soft mottled shadows from a street tree graced its surface.  The vertical bars of the gate framed the brilliant orange.  What a wonderful gift I was given.

Contemplating Back in Time

WWI Soldier Grotesque – Smith Hall, Univ. of Washington

This WWI soldier grotesque has intrigued me since I first attended the University of Washington in 1968. It is located on Smith Hall in the University of Washington Quadrangle.  The figure commemorates WWI complete with the gas mask.

Over the years, I have photographed this grotesque multiple times.  For some reason, my images have not turned out:  out of focus, too light, too dark, or branches/leaves cluttering the image.  During my last visit, I was determined to get an acceptable image.  I was lucky that it was an overcast day.  The soft light on the soldier was relatively even without deep shadows. I walked around to get a perspective that gave me the most eerie mood.

 

Great Memories

“The Columns” – Sylvan Theater, University of Washington Campus

A couple of weeks ago, I spent several hours walking around the University of Washington campus.  I had not been there for about 15 years.  How much things have changed.  My old hangout, the EEB (Electrical Engineering Building) has been completely remodeled and enlarged with a large new section for Computer Science..  When I was there, Computer Science was just a small part of the EE Department.  Now it is its own Department with over 1300 students.

During class breaks, I use to go to the Sylvan Theater and the Columns just behind the EEB.  It was a wonderful peaceful place to sit and wonder about what the future would bring,  The Sylvan Theater was just about the same as I recall it was 50 years ago.  However, there were several students there with hard hats, surveying equipment, and tape measures.  They were taking measurements to design a new courtyard to replace a good part of the grass.  I feel a little sorrow to see my old memories change.  But I guess it is for the best.  Those memories are great ones!

 

Looking Back at Me

Salt Collecting Rocks at Lapakahi Historical Park

I was walking along a path in a historic Hawaiian Village when I saw this face looking back up at me.  I couldn’t resist stopping and capturing an image.  See the eyes, nose and mouth.

These small hollowed-out stones were used by the Hawaiians to collect salt. Sea water was poured into hollowed-out stones like these.  Sun evaporated the water leaving pa’akai (salt crystals.  Salt was used to preserve fish and season food.

Beautiful Day!

Fuji X-T1, XF55-200mm @ 86mm, f/13, 1/340 sec, ISO 400

It was a beautiful day with a bright blue sky and the sun shining down on this bucolic rural scene just below Hearst Castle along the central California coast.  You can see the Castle on the hill above.  It was just fun being out enjoying the countryside.  I waited until the horses moved around to frame the country school house.  I felt like I was going back in time.  This area will be a place I come back to in future years.

Christmas at Fonthill – Conclusion

151231_FonthillChristmas_YellowTreeDetail_Impression by Karl Graf. Fonthill Yellow Room Christmas Tree Impressionistic Detail

This image is an impressionistic perspective of yesterday’s post of the Yellow Room Christmas tree detail.  I used Topaz Impressionism plug in to achieve the look.

This posting ends my series on the Fonthill Castle Christmas Decoration Exhibit.  I hope you have enjoyed the series.  I have enjoyed sharing it.

This probably be my last major project at Fonthill.  I will be moving back to the Washington State next Spring.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at Fonthill starting with a workshop led by my good friend John Barclay.  I want to also thank Ed Reidell and the staff at Fonthill for the opportunities to help out.  It was truly my pleasure.  I enjoyed every moment of it.

Tomorrow starts a New Year.  Every day is a gift to be enjoyed to the fullest.

Christmas at Fonthill – Map Room

151228_FonthillChristmas_Map Room by Karl Graf. Fonthill Castle Christmas Decorations – Map Room

Books and reading areas are everywhere at Fonthill.  The Map Room is a small alcove extending from a walkway between the Study and the West Room.  Byers Choice Carolers are on the bureau on the far side of the room. The Dickens’ era figures compliment the decor of the Castle.  Mercer and Dickens were acquaintances.  See below.

151228_FonthillChristmas_Map Room2 by Karl Graf.

Christmas at Fonthill – West Room

151227_FonthillChristmas_West Room by Karl Graf. Fonthill Castle Christmas Decorations – West Room

Some rooms didn’t have room for big trees.  They still had their share of Christmas spirit.  Note the dull monocular tapestry.  At one time this decorated the concrete walls in bright color.  After around 100 years, the colors have faded.  I have seen some earlier photos of these tapestries.  They were beautiful.  Let your imagination wander.

To complement the tapestry, Mercer installed a series of tiles depicting Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers on the fireplace.  See below, and notice the tapestry again.

151227_FonthillChristmas_West Room2 by Karl Graf. West Room Fireplace with Dickins’ Pickwick Papers Tiles.