architecture

HANGING OUT IN BEANTOWN

The city of Boston is a definite must see since it offers a multitude of activities which will please even those with the most discriminating tastes. History buffs can get lost for days on the Freedom Trail while reliving such as acts as the Boston Tea Party. Sports fans need to look no further than the one and only Fenway Park. Foodies will appreciate the diverse dining options the city has to offer.

The Boston Skyline

As with any major city possessing a vibrant downtown scene comes the opportunity to photography the city skyline consisting of several tall and iconic buildings. One of the best  places to photograph the Boston skyline is Fan Pier Park. One thing to note is that some city cab drivers have no idea where this is so be sure bring additional information or there is no telling where you will end up. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way.

Omni Parker House Hotel

When in Boston, one must be sure to sample the legendary Boston Cream Pie at the Omni Parker House Hotel. This culinary delight is known as the official dessert of Massachusetts. 

Baseball fans will definitely stop by and experience the charm and history of the world renowned Fenway Park. Home to the Boston Red Sox, this place is virtually a way of life for Bostonians. During gamedays, the area around the park practically closes down due to the immense traffic situation. When the stadium is not being utilized, tours are offered which I hope to capitalize on during my next visit.

One final dining choice which must be made is that of the world renowned Lobster Roll which can be found at a plethora of establishments. Large chunks of Lobster in a mayonnaise based salad served on a roll. 

I greatly anticipate my return visit to this amazing city to continue my amazing experience.

 

THE POWERS OF POST-PROCESSING

As photographers, we are always told to capture the best images in camera followed by modest enhancements made in software to create the final masterpiece. As much as I subscribe to this theory, there are times when the conditions are simply not conductive to creating great content. This is when understanding how to unleash the creative powers of your post-processing software can salvage an image that might never see the light of day.

SOOC - Before    F14   40 sec   ISO 400  14mm

Case in point - I recently spent the Thanksgiving Holiday in Indianapolis with my wife at the JW Marriott Hotel which was constructed at the request of the NFL prior to hosting the 2012 Superbowl. Unfortunately, mother nature was unaware of my arrival and did not choose to cooperate but I managed to make a few images while dodging the raindrops. The extremely overcast conditions provided very poor light leaving nothing worthwhile to be immediately captured. Observing the abundance of cloud cover, I decided to apply a 10 stop ND filter to capture a long exposure. The lack of any gaps in the clouds provided very little contrast thereby failing to reveal any streaking during the 40 second exposure. Not to mention the movement of the clouds was very slow.  Now time to make a decent photograph from this mediocrity. 

The image was imported into lightroom CC and converted to black and white. Mild sharpening and noise removal were done and then imported into photoshop. After duplicating the layer, a selection was made around the clouds using the quick selection tool. The clouds were then placed on their own layer. Using the path blur tool, the cloud streaks were made more distinctive and angled for better orientation with the building. The exposure was lowered to bring out more details in the clouds. After saving the image back into lightroom, some dodging and burning was done to create more contrast while completing the image with a heavy vignette.

 

WELCOME TO THE MISSION

I recently traveled to Mackinac Island for some rest and relaxation and spent a few days at the famed Mission Point Resort.  The resort was bought by a Detroit businessman and renamed Mission Point as a tribute to the part of the Island which housed one of the first churches and the Mission House, an historical landmark which still stands on the property. The resort has gone through changes over the years improving its structural integrity and overall esthetics.  IN 2004, Fodor name the resort as one of the top ten best waterfront hotels in America.

Hotel Lobby

As you enter the main entrance, you are greeted by a rustic yet inviting atmosphere along with towering wooden ceilings.  The front desk seen to the right work diligently to ensure the happiness of each and every guest during their stay.

Round Island Bar and Grill

hether its settling in for your favorite libation during happy hour or fueling up before a long day of sightseeing, the Round Island Bar and Grill is a great place to start or end the day.

Reading Room

One of the nice amenities this hotel provides is numerous seating areas throughout the lobby. These seating areas are great for scintillating conversation or simply enjoying a good book.  The wicker furniture and supple green leather chairs complement the wooden decor quite nicely.

Once you have completed the latest thriller and you have worked up an appetite, the ideal choice for dinner is Chianti, the hotel's flagship italian restaurant.  Fine dining and impeccable service will provide a night to remember.

Chianti Restaurant 

The wooden theme continues throughout the hotel providing a warm and comforting environment to enjoy a delicious culinary experience.

The Mission Point Resort sits about a 15 minute walk away from the hustle and bustle of downtown.  This provides a great deal of solitude allowing one to enjoy expansive property overlooking the Lake Michigan.  The multitude of Adirondack chairs provide a great way to relax on a sunny afternoon.

Take a load off

Mission Point Resort

As old man winter begins to arrive, the island will soon be closed to visitors.  Having said that, I look forward to returning next year for another memorable and relaxing vacation.

 

 

TRINITY CHURCH OF BOSTON

Located in the Back Bay of Boston, Massachusetts, lies one of the most important developments in the history of American Architecture known as the Trinity Church of Boston. The church which serves as home to numerous high level choirs was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson during the years of 1872-1877. In 1971, the church was given the honor being designated as a National Historic Landmark.

The church possesses one of the finest stained glass collections in the world, using examples from nineteenth century American and European stained glass studios. The groundbreaking glass work was the ingenious design of John La Farge. He was the first to pioneer the use of layering opalescent glass for designing stained glass.

This allowed La Farge to create new colored effects and shading by layering pieces of glass rather than the traditional method of painting on glass. 

Along with the copious examples of stunning stained glass, one will find a presence of commanding architecture with it's towering ceilings and columns which provide countless opportunities to observe the fine detail and craftsmanship which went into the construction of this masterpiece. The impeccable artistry can also be witness with a quick glimpse upwards. 

This room features the bust of Phillips Brooks, a clergyman, author and long the Rector of Boston's Trinity Church. He graduated from Harvard at the tender age of 20 and was fired while working briefly as a school teacher. After overcoming the lows associated with termination, he went back to school for his Seminary studies which led him to his role with the Trinity Church.

An example of the seating area on the left side of the church.

As you turn around preparing to exit the Church, there are plenty more features to absorb including the organs along the back wall. For anyone visiting Boston, this is a definite destination to add to one's itinerary. Allow ample time to bask in the glory of one of the finest building ever built in the United States of America. 

WELCOME TO THE SEMINARY

Established in 1855, The Chicago Theological Seminary is the oldest institution of higher education in Chicago, while being one of seven seminaries historically affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Located on the campus of the University of Chicago, this is one of many attractions that will appeal to most visiting photographers.

As you enter the building you are greeted by this massive staircase and concrete columns just begging to be photographed. The architecture of yesteryear brings be back to my childhood with thoughts of Dungeons and Dragons or Harry Potter for today's youth. 

As I make my way up the stairs I come to a short hallway which leads to a dead end, but not before grabbing my camera. The beautiful archway and cathedral windows are features not to be missed while not being seen on most University Campuses.

As I returned to the main level and began exploring, I came to another section of the building which houses rooms for studying, numerous classrooms and offices.

Just to the right of the previous staircase, I ventured into a rather unique room with minimal furnishings and a fireplace. I am not sure what functions this room serves, but I appreciate the dated decor nonetheless.

As I head up the stairs, I am greeted by a unique seating area bathed in daylight which serves as an ideal place to catch up on some light reading.

Finally, as I make my way back outside, I exit through the cobblestone-lined corridor leading back to the campus grounds. The University of Chicago provides a multitude of photographic opportunites by way of it's unique and eye-catching architecture. To all the photographers heading to the Out of Chicago Photography conference, this must be a definite stop during the weekend.  See you there. 

 

 

 

 

THE DRAKE HOTEL CHICAGO - STEP BACK IN TIME

Located in Chicago's Gold Coast, the legendary Drake Hotel has been a timeless property which provides its guests the ultimate access to the city's finest restaurants, shopping and nightlife.

The Drake is one of about 260 hotels and resorts in the country to be admitted into the Historic Hotels of America due to it's ability to preserve and maintain its historic architecture, integrity and ambiance. 

For a hotel to be honored with this distinction, it must be at least 50 years old as well as being designated as a National Historic Landmark. The Drake has been recognized for almost century as the premier destination the high society crowd to assemble. The ability of the hotel staff to ensure each guest receives nothing less than The Drake Standard of Hospitality ensures it's high level of customer loyalty. 

During the 1920's the Palm Court became the desired location for the city's elite to indulge in the ongoing tradition of Afternoon Tea. This room has seen the likes of Bing Crosby, Walt Disney and Charles Lindbergh imbibing on their favorite cocktails. 

The tradition of Afternoon Tea has become a city staple comparable to the Chicago Hot Dog. This quintessential hotspot has been frequented by royalty such as Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana who enjoyed their favorite tea and snacks. 

The tradition of afternoon  tea was created by the Seventh Duchess of Bedford back in 1840. Since there was such a long interval between meals, the duchess began requesting tea and cake be brought to her room to satisfy her hunger pangs. She soon made this a daily ritual and invited some friends to join her. This has now become a highly desired experience at the hotel and reservations are strongly recommended.

The hotel has become synonymous with great customer satisfaction while providing the ultimate guest experience. The attention to detail can be seen throughout the hotel through its ornate decor and ambiance. While visiting Chicago, this hotel should be on everyone's list even just as a walkthrough while providing a unique perspective on the Windy City.  One final note, I must insist you stop at the restaurant Coq D'or and partake in a Lobster Roll - you will never forget it.

TOWER OF THE AMERICAS

Located in the middle of Hemisfair Park in downtown San Antonio is the iconic structure known as the Tower of The Americas. This 750-foot tower houses a cocktail lounge, rotating restaurant as well as an observation deck which provides phenomenal panoramic views of the city. The tower, recognized as the tallest building in San Antonio, was designed by architect O'Neil Ford as the main theme structure for the 1968 World's Fair, Hemisfair '68

Construction of the tower commenced on August 9, 1966 and was completed 18 months later, just prior to the opening ceremonies of the fair on April 6, 1968. Interestingly enough, the top portion of the building was constructed at ground level and hoisted on top of the concrete pillar by cables which actually snapped leaving the top resting rather precariously on the concrete shaft. The job was then completed using oil field pipes to secure the tophouse in position.

The ride to the top takes approximately five and a half minutes and can provide some great photographic opportunities if you can avoid the crowds. 





THE TOWER LIFE BUILDING - SAN ANTONIO

For years, the iconic Tower Life Building has been a recognized landmark located in the heart of Downtown San Antonio.

In 1950, the original 100-foot flagpole was removed and replaced with an antenna in order to allow the city's second Television station to broadcast from inside the building. The cost of the conversion was estimated to be around two million dollars.

Unfortunately, in 2006 the building endured a fire while some work was being done to the base of the antenna. As a result, the antenna was removed and replaced with another rooftop  flagpole similar to the original. The lantern at the top of the building along with the stars and stripes are illuminated throughout the night hours and can be seen from miles away.

THE DETROIT OPERA HOUSE

The Detroit Opera House is an ornate building located in downtown Detroit within the Grand Circus Park Historic District. This building serves as home to the Michigan Opera Theatre as well as numerous other events. The theatre was originally designed by C. Howard Crane who also designed the Fox Theatre, The Fillmore Detroit as well as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall. The original construction was completed in 1922 with an extensive renovation completed in 1996 to bring the building up to today's standards.

The building was originally known as the Capital Theater which at the time was the fifth largest of its kind in the entire world. The theater was constructed with outstanding acoustics while assuming the style of the Grand European Opera houses. The Capital theater was decorated in the Italian Renaissance style with lavish crystal chandeliers, frescoes, marble staircases ,and brass fixtures. Rich rose-red Italian damask was used for the mainstage curtain as well as draperies throughout the house. The majority of these features are still present in the renovated version of the Detroit Opera House.

The Capitol Theater was renamed the Paramount Theater in 1934 and went on to host such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Will Rogers as well as volumes of rock stars of the 1950's. 

After decaying for several years, the theater was repaired and renamed the Grand Circus Theater in 1960 while transforming itself into a movie house. The theater provided a plethora of musical acts such as Ray Charles and Roy Orbison.  The palace closed in 1985 after a small fire.

After being neglected and abandoned for years, the Detroit Opera House was successfully restored in 1996 while assuming the current name with the oversight of the Michigan Opera Theater. While being home to the Michigan Opera Theater, the Opera House also plays host to  some of the world's greatest dance companies.

A special Thanks goes out to Alanna St. Laurent for arranging the private tour to make this experience possible.

THE ICONIC GRAND HOTEL

As the thermometer begins to dip here in the midwest, I can't help but reminisce about some time I spent last summer on Mackinaw Island, Michigan at the famed Grand Hotel. The famous historic landmark is located on a small island between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The hotel has been frequented by past presidents, luminaries, dignitaries,  and celebrities alike. The hotel has taken some flack for charging visitors a $10 fee for visiting the property.

The Grand Hotel contains the longest porch in world measuring approximately 660 feet in length while overlooking an expansive tea garden. The porch area hosts vacationers, concertgoers, along with the those attending the Annual Mackinac Policy Conference.

As you make your way through the main corridor and up a few stairs you end up at the main level of the hotel containing restaurants, bars and numerous seating areas. Once at the crossroads, you see my personal favorite, the Audubon Wine Bar to the right, a luxuriously comfortable seating area straight ahead and more seating areas to the left for everyday conversation.

The Audubon Wine Bar provides a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy the finest wines from Napa Valley, the greatest cognacs from France along with the finest single malt scotches from Scotland. The plethora of wall to wall books provides a very comfortable clubby feel without the usual ostentatiousness accompanying watering holes of this magnitude.  One final note, this place serves the best Truffle fries in the entires state, if not, the country. Do not leave without sampling these culinary delights.

As you leave the bar after ingesting your favorite cocktails, a short walk out the door leads you to another area for the ultimate relaxation. Enormous, plush couches await adorned with priceless chandeliers above.

The final destination on this wonderful journey through the Grand Hotel takes us to the top floor to the Cupola Bar which provides breathtaking panoramic views of the Straits of Mackinac. As is the case throughout the hotel, the customer service is second to none and the worn "no" is non-existent. This is a definite stop while visiting the hotel and will provide memories that last a lifetime.  I am already anticipating my return visit next spring.





DOWNTOWN GRAND RAPIDS

Last weekend I decided at the last minute to getaway for a night absolving myself from the responsibilities and obligations of everyday life. I jumped in the car and headed to Grand Rapids, Michigan which has quickly become one of the fastest growing cities with it's enticing offering of breweries, restaurants and a vibrant art scene. 

Blue Bridge

Located in the heart of downtown lies the iconic pedestrian bridge simply known as the Blue Bridge. The bridge connects the city center on the East bank to the Grand Rapids Public Museum and Grand Valley State University facilities on the West. This pedestrian bridge provides a convenient connection between the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus of Grand Valley State University as well as the Grand Rapids Public Museum and other attractions on the east side of the river.

This location has proven quite popular while providing a backdrop for wedding parties, prom pictures with its unmistakeable "Lake Blue" color.

Back to the city

Off to the left, in the two previous photos, is the JW Marriott Hotel where I spent the evening. Excellent service and attention to detail provide the perfect complement to the eye-catching contemporary architectural design.

Waterfront Downtown Grand Rapids

The downtown area is an ideal venue for taking in the all glorious options a large vibrant city has to offer. There are walking paths along the water which allow you to experience big-city excitement without the usual big city hassles. There are multiple dining, shopping, entertainment, and sightseeing opportunities all within a 10-minute stroll.

Pearl Street Bridge

 

Public Museum of Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids Public Museum happens to be one of the oldest history museums in the United States. The museum contains a cafe, gift shop, as well as a rather unique feature, a 1928 Spilllman Carousel. The museum offers attractions for everyone as well as those interested in Astronomy by way of the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium. 

Upon completing the museum tour, a simple stroll across the street brings you to the Gerald R. Ford Museum. 

Gerald R Ford Museum

Since September of 1981, the Gerald R.Ford Museum has provided visitors a snapshot into history with exhibits and interactive learning to better understand the highlights of the Ford Administration. The museum offers a gift shop to provide momentos of history while also serving as a host for naturalization ceremonies and the annual fourth of July fireworks,

 

Grand Rapids continue to flourish as one of the fastest growing cities with all its unique offerings and I look forward to returning to visit its newest attractions. 


THE CHURCHES OF SAN ANTONIO

The city of San Antonio, Texas is known for many things - The iconic river walk, Gigantic portions of beef, The San Antonio Spurs as well as the Famous Alamo. Among the less publicized attractions are the numerous churches located throughout the city. On a recent trip to San Antonio, I was fortunate enough to acquire access to three of the more better known churches in the city.

Little Church of LaVillita

The non-denominational Little Church of LaVillita happens to be one of San Antonio's most unique historical sites. Situated just off the river walk in the Historic Art Village of Lavillita, the Church was built in 1879 in Gothic Revival Architecture with a stunning stained glass window greeting all visitors upon entry. The meticulously crafted concrete walls provide an extremely unique experience among the churches of today while actively conducting services every Sunday Morning.

Saint Joseph Church

The Parish of Saint Joseph was the brainchild of a group of German Catholic immigrants searching for a place of worship in the mid 1800's. The church was constructed in a rather spartan fashion with small additions being made as funds allowed by the community. The exterior structure was finally considered completed in 1898 when a steeple was added to the gothic style rooftop. In 1902, the church was granted an immense upgrade as a handful of beautiful stained glass windows were purchased from a glass factory in Bavaria, Germany for the sum of $3000. 

Exterior Saint Joseph Church

The resiliency of the church was tested in 1945 when Joske's department store sought to purchase the church and grounds in order to expand its operation. The parishioners voted unanimously not to sell, exhibiting tremendous faith and resolve. As a result, the church remains a symbol of faith while surrounded by the Rivercenter Mall, hotels and residences. For this reason, the church is known to locals as the "jewel in the heart of San Antonio". The church serves as a respite for many locals and tourists alike every Sunday morning.

Front Section Saint Joseph Parish

This picturesque institution requires a visit by anyone in the vicinity of San Antonio - it is definitely worth the drive.

San Fernando Cathedral

Located in Downtown San Antonio is the world famous San Fernando Cathedral which has been honored to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It serves as the Mother Church of the ArchDiocese of San Antonio. The original church was built between 1738 and 1750 with the original walls forming the sanctuary of the cathedral. This church has the distinction of being the oldest cathedral in the State of Texas. 

The Church gets its name from Ferdinand III of Castile, who was a a 13th century ruler.  The Cathedral was built by settlers from the Canary Islands. Due to this effort, the interior contains a picture of the Virgin of Candelaria, the patroness of the Canary Islands.

The Cathedral was enlarged in the Gothic Style in 1868, with the addition of the existing nave. The striking stained glass windows were added in 1920.

San Fernando Cathedral happens to have the elite status of being the only church in all of Texas ever visited by a  Pope - Pope John Paul II arrived in 1987. The cathedral serves as the foundation for religious citizens of San Antonio.  Each year, countless events are held here including baptism, weddings, funerals, as well as other special activities.

 

 

THE ICONIC LEGGS INN

Perched on a high bluff overlooking Lake Michigan lies the world famous Leggs Inn Restaurant which exhibits a rather unique and mysterious approach with its architecture and decor.

Entry Foyer 

Located in Cross Village, Michigan, this restaurant features medieval looking stone, timber and driftwood taking us back in time to an experience unlike any other. The creator, a Polish immigrant by the name of Stanley Smolak, used his love of the inhabiting Ottawa and Chippewa Indians as influence for the blend of Old World European and Indian Cultures seen throughout the interior decor. Above is the entry foyer which displays an elaborate collection of nature and hand carved furniture made of tree stumps, limbs and roots which are seen throughout multiple rooms in the restaurant.

The Pool Room

The pool room continues the theme of meticulously handcrafted wood as the mainstay of its architectural foundation. 

Entrance to the game room

The cuisine is a balanced offering of authentic Polish and American dishes. Every dish is given the proper attention to detail to ensure an extremely enjoyable and memorable experience. In addition,the bar serves a multitude of accompanying hand crafted local beers not found at most establishments.

Step up to the bar

After satisfying customers for decades, the Leggs Inn has become a world famous destination acquiring praise from countless national magazines, publications and broadcasters throughout the country. 

Best view in the House

The Smolak family has gone to great lengths to enforce world-class friendly service to deliver amazing culinary delights. The waitstaff deliver the perfect combination of friendliness and attention creating a rather unique and unforgettable experience. This place has earned a guaranteed visit on my next trip to Northern Michigan.

CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER

The Chicago Cultural Center is an historic icon to many locals yet overlooked by the majority of travelers to the Windy City. This landmark building served as the central library since it's inception in 1897. In 1977, it was converted to an arts and cultural center which happens to be considered one of the most comprehensive in America. The center hosts numerous programs throughout the year involving the performing and visual arts, as well as serving as headquarters for the Chicago Children's Choir.

G.A.R Stained Glass Dome

The Grand Army of the Republic Rotunda (G.A.R.), located in the North wing, is a large hall featuring a stained-glass dome, 30-foot walls of Knoxville Pink marble, and a mosaic floor. The dome, created by the firm of Healy and Millet, serves as the centerpiece for the room with all its intricate detail. 

G.A.R. Rotunda Room

As you venture up towards the top floor, you are greeted with the ultimate prize upon entering  Preston Bradley Hall.  Through the Curved white Carrara marble pillars, a 38-foot Tiffany Glass Dome awaits which happens to be the largest of its kind in the world. The meticulous attention to  detail in its construction is absolutely mind-boggling. 

Tiffany Glass Dome

The final room on this journey is the Sidney Yates Gallery which serves as a replication of an assembly hall in Venice, Italy characterized by its coffered ceiling and heavily ornamented pilasters.

Sidney Yates Gallery

This destination is a must see when visiting the attraction - laden city of Chicago, Illinois. The best time to visit is during the week when tourists are at a minimum and photographic opportunities are aplenty.  

For those interested in photographing this place as well as other popular sights throughout the city of Chicago, I will be hosting a workshop along with Thomas Nighswander. The workshop will be held on November 1st and 2nd of 2014.  For complete details, visit Windy City Guided Photowalk. I look forward to seeing you all there.

IT REALLY IS JUST A MATTER OF TASTE

Every small town has a local establishment where residents gather for sustenance and exchange stories with friends and family.  As it turns out, my neighborhood is no exception. Located in the tiny lakeside community of Union Lake, Michigan lies a restaurant which stands heads and shoulders above all in terms of overall quality and attention to detail. The restaurant, suitably named, "It's A Matter of Taste" caters to the foodies in all of us by providing fresh seafood, pasta and steak of the highest quality around. After frequenting this restaurant countless times, the level of consistency is absolutely astounding. The waitstaff is always extremely attentive and pleasant providing just the right amount of supervision to ensure a delightful dining experience. The menu changes periodically with the seasons to ensure the freshest ingredients are utilized. Since the restaurant backs up to a residential lake, the summertime provides a refreshing and memorable outdoor dining experience assuming you have secured a reservations several days in advance. This is absolutely and unequivocally the finest eatery in the area and cannot be missed while visiting the area. 

Best restaurant in town

FREDERICK MEIJER GARDENS

As a frequent visitor to the ever popular city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, one attraction which cannot be missed is the famous Frederick Meijer Gardens.  The area host numerous exhibitions, concerts, and events for members of the entire family to enjoy.  One specific item of note are the various installations (sculptures) positioned throughout the Gardens which are substituted on a regular basis.

Lying Man

This frighteningly realistic masterpiece was created by one of the most innovative figurative sculptors working today, Sean Henry. His trademark happens to be creating realistic models in contemporary clothing scaled either much larger or smaller than life-size. He utilizes drawings and clay models that are then meticulously converted into bronze.

Fans of science would appreciate the sculpture known as "Neuron" by Roxy Paine.  This sculpture is a compilation of 3500 stainless steel rods and pipes representing the ultimate transformation from industrial to art.

Neuron

Deborah Butterfield's work deals intricately with horses and portraying them as intelligent mares rather than the customary war horse.  The name Cabin Creek comes from the location where the wood for this sculpture was compiled.  The wood is eventually transformed into bronze suitable for the elements of the Midwest.  

Cabin Creek

As with many gardens around the country, there is always a place of serenity allowing for solitude and contemplation.  

Serenity

Nature's Majesty

Alexander Liberman was showered with critical acclaim for his paintings, photographs and sculptures. This sculpture named Aria, which is a melody sung by one voice, towers at 42 feet enabling viewers to walk around and through the work.  Aria clearly demonstrates the artist’s fondness for architecture and music.

ArIa

The final sculpture of the day comes from Jaume Plensa known as "I, you, she or he…  The artist uses language and communication as theme for his installations.  The three sculptures, whose bodies are comprised of mainly stainless steel letters, are all seated on boulders facing each other, faceless, in silent conversation.  The artist is better known for his famous Crown Fountain installation in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago.

I, you, she or he...

I look forward to returning to the Gardens as there is a major expansion underway for an authentic Japanese Garden to be constructed on the property by the summer of 2015 with a Koi pond and all.

CHRIST CHURCH OF CRANBROOK

A while back I was given the opportunity to photograph the beautiful Christ Church Cranbrook in the affluent community of Bloomfield Hills, MI.  I was fortunate to be a group of about 18 photographers who had the church to ourselves for a couple hours on a Saturday afternoon.  The Church was the creation of newspaper magnate George G. Booth and his wife, Ellen who purchased a 175-acre farm in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan back in 1904.  They proceeded to construct a series of buildings including an elementary school in the community in the early twenties.  Mr. Booth noticed that many residents were traveling to other neighborhoods to fulfill their worshipping needs, so he built this Episcopalian Church to serve the community of Cranbrook.  The attention to architectural detail is a direct reflection of artistic spirit and inspiration which enriched the lives of George and Ellen Booth.

The Church opened its doors to the community in 1928 and has flourished by serving approximately 900 families while also providing great educational and outreach opportunities to those in need.

A bird's eye view of the Church from the existing and compact rear balcony.

The church is famous for it's intricate woodcarvings, impressive pipe organ, as well as it's numerous stained glass windows.

The best view in the house.

Church Corner

The exquisite stained glass windows are seen throughout and captured in virtually every photograph taken of this wonderful institution.

Front Section  

A closer view of the front of the church provides greater appreciation of the thoughtful design and planning that went it to the exhaustive construction and meticulous attention to detail.

Church Corridor

Church Exterior and Entrance

Historic Landmark Plaque

The Church was granted the coveted designation of becoming a National Historic Landmark in 1989 which can be seen just outside the entrance.

Church Sign

I had a wonderful time visiting this tremendous institution and I would like to thank our tour guide, Peggy, for her amazing insight and hospitality she providing throughout the afternoon. This is a place you must visit if you get the chance - I look forward to return visit.