Returning to Trinity College’s campus for reunion this summer, I felt a little like I was sneaking around in a place I didn’t quite belong. The moon, hiding just behind the chapel’s steeple, seemed to share my bashfulness.
I wasn’t surprised to find a plethora of churches in Paris, but I was surprised by their array of designs. This first example neatly abuts the sidewalk, filling its lot.
By comparison, this next example is set back from the street and exhibits a vertical reflection plane.
This last case has a wholly different geometry and stonework hue. Am I even sure this is a church? Christian imagery appears on so many buildings.
The new steeple on Gunnison Memorial Chapel is installed (remember when it arrived?) and beginning to react with the atmosphere around it. This chemistry, in which copper metal transfers electrons to non-metal atoms from the air to become an ion, is called “reduction-oxidation” chemistry—abbreviated “redox.” Seeing this reaction happen on such a large scale, and produce such an awesome array of colors, is a treat.
The last golden photons, their combination of diffuse and specular reflections bouncing from the windows of Trinity College’s Long Walk, are the perfect additions to the final moments of a crisp winter afternoon. This photo captures only a small section of the full stretch of Long Walk, which I still find rather astonishing.
Pressing yourself to try something different is important: different setting (no crazy vista here), different lens (70-200 mm f/2.8 in place of my frequent wide-angle lens), and a different mood. There’s a stillness to a mausoleum door that never gets opened—something odd and unsettling and heavy that I think this image conveys.
On a cloudy day, the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh has a softness to its stone exterior. (Its interior, as I’ve shown in the past, is equally stunning.) The sense of scale to the image (and the distortion of the wide-angle lens) can play tricks on your mind, making the whole scene seem smaller than it really is. To get a feel for the imposing/soft contradiction, concentrate on those improbably small revolving doors. They must be human-sized, right?