Lady Liberty in miniature

The St. Joseph County Courthouse (full photo here) was built in South Bend in 1896. It’s the county’s third courthouse, all three of which stood on this spot. The first was a frame building, built in 1832. The second was built in 1855. When this one was built, the 1855 courthouse was moved thirty yards to the northwest, where it still stands. I shared a photo of its cupola with you a few years ago; see it here.

The twisted effect of this photo as you scan it from top to bottom both intrigues and infuriates me. Another shot I took with this camera on this trip has the same effect (see it here). Did I just shoot at a wacky angle twice in a row? Was it something about my gear? But I really like how my Nikon F2 and its 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor lens rendered the textures present here on Kodak T-Max 100 film.

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Photography

Captured: Lady Liberty in miniature

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2 thoughts on “Captured: Lady Liberty in miniature

  1. I may not be seeing what you are describing as twist in the same way. To me the perspective seems basically to conform to what I would expect when you point the camera upward at an architectural subject. There is a normal tendency for most people to perceive some distortion in such a situation when the composition is enclosed in a rectangular frame.

    Are you concerned with divergence of the horizontal lines at the top and the mid-point of the picture? If you would rather have them to seem parallel, that can be accomplished in Photoshop by first rotating the picture one degree clockwise, and then using the crop tool with perspective turned on to slightly pinch in the top and bottom right corners. That basically mimics the process that an architectural photographer would employ using swings and tilts with a view camera. That leaves the verticals with slight convergence, but I think that is more in accordance with normal expectations.

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    • Mike, you describe what I’m seeing very precisely, thank you.

      I was wandering around downtown South Bend with my camera in my hand. This shot would have benefited from a tripod and extra time to line it up.

      Perhaps if I find some time I’ll play with this image in Photoshop as you suggest.

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