Captured: Courthouse cupola

Courthouse Cupola

After wrapping up an appointment early, I had some time to myself in downtown South Bend. I figured I might find myself in that situation, and it was a crisp, beautiful spring day, so I took my camera along. I had never really spent any time photographing downtown before, and I had been practicing framing shots using the rule of thirds. I’m not so sure how well I applied the rule in this photo, but I like its interplay of lines and how the white cupola pops against the vivid blue sky.

Two St. Joseph County courthouses stand in South Bend, one behind the other. The newer one, still in use, was completed in 1897. The older one was built in 1853 on that site but was moved to make way. This cupola tops the older courthouse.

The current courthouse is on Main Street. A few blocks north, also on Main Street, I took this photograph of the last remaining block that is paved in brick.


9 responses to “Captured: Courthouse cupola”

  1. Sheila Swansom Avatar


    You are a terrific writer and photograper. I love the way you captured the picture of the courthouse against the blue sky. The courthouse really “pops” and looks so crisp and clean. Is writing and/or photographing what you do for a living? I just love the picture and the way yours words just seem to flow in your piece. Thanks for the great story and picture!

    1. Jim Avatar

      Thanks, Sheila! I’m an amateur photographer all the way. I did write for a living for about 15 years, but it was all technical writing, mostly for software.

  2. Lone Primate Avatar
    Lone Primate

    Yeah, the instant I saw that photograph I said, Wow, that’s CLASSIC. That’s shot is truly striking in both its angular composition and the simple purity of the narrow chromatic range. Really inspired. :)

    1. Jim Avatar

      Thanks, LP! You gotta know that the S80 did a lot of the work here — all I did was see a photo-worthy scene and frame it up. I do wish I’d gotten the cupola a bit “straighter” — it seems to be leaning back in the shot.

      1. Jim Avatar

        But, then again, I’m the kind of guy who will straighten all the pictures hanging on your wall.

  3. vanilla Avatar

    That is a great photo. (We’re a long way “down the road” today: Colorado!

    1. Jim Avatar

      You’re two desperados hiding out in Colorado! Have a great trip.

  4. Scott Palmer Avatar

    That is beautiful!

    And though I’m far less knowledgeable than you are about photography, it seems to me that you composed the shot perfectly. The “rule of thirds” idea that the image should be divided by horizontal and vertical lines strikes me as excessively restrictive. Very neatly, your shot divides vertically along diagonals from lower left to upper right. It looks just right.

    Seriously, Jim, there’s a book in all these wonderful photographs and narratives. I’d sure as heck buy it (even if I didn’t know you :-) ).

    1. Jim Avatar

      Scott, I’m really flattered by your praise, and I sure like to feel flattered. And really, recognition from those of you who read regularly is really my payday on this blog. (I have a post in the hopper about this very subject.)

      The rule of thirds would probably be better called the rough guideline of thirds. It’s just one principle that can be applied in art or photography. Many successful drawings, paintings, and photographs ignore the rule of thirds entirely!

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