Glass Alien Chihuly Outdoors

The Lunchbox Has Landed

One of the great artistic resources living in the Ozarks is The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. It is arguably one of the finest American Art Museums in the world, and I am flabbergasted how often I run across people who don’t even know of its existence. Pamela and I recently made a trip down to Arkansas to visit the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock and on the way home we stopped in to see the Usonain house newly relocated to the grounds. We just so happened to coordinate our visit with a fun Dale Chihuly Outdoor display (another of our favorites). This is the first of a few I will be posting over the next few weeks. It reminded me of some sort of alien form (or if you are into Magic…Emrakul).

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 3 June, 2017
  • Focal length: 22mm
  • ISO: 500
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s

In the Garden of St Elizabeth’s

Church Garden

This beautiful little scene was waiting quietly for us one hot May afternoon. It was a welcome respite from the blazing sun and a serene spot to sit and contemplate. When you find spots that seem like a gift, this can be a great time to stop, and smell the proverbial roses, metaphorically or in this case the real thing!

Photo Technical Info

Pea Ridge Cannon

History Lessons

We almost didn’t stop, but the sign on the Pea Ridge National Military Park said it was National Park’s weekend and admission was free. I turned around three times before we finally firmly decided to stop. We would have been better off with more time and a more dedicated understanding of the history of the battle fought here, but despite our military ignorance, we found a number of really cool places at the park. The Elkhorn Tavern and the Civil War era cannons scattered around the park were wonderful. It goes to show, even if you don’t have the proper time to dedicate to a place, a quick stop will tell you if you should come back for a more through tour!

Photo Technical Info

Crystal Bridges on the Trail

Out Back

One of the fantastic parts of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville Arkansas is the hiking trails around the buildings. Perhaps the greatest treasure of Arkansas is in fact the outdoors. It is also fitting that one of the nations premiere American Art museums should devote such a grand “space” to nature itself. You can’t help but feel like perhaps the greatest exhibit is outside the confines of the walls of Crystal Bridges and rather out in the open air of the Natural State. One early morning Pamela and I hit the trails and took some photos. You can also see my last color shot of the Crystal Bridges Museum here.

Mother and Child

Madonna

No not THAT Madonna, think a little older. While visiting a wonderful hidden chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, I found this status nestled in a cozy little corner of the church. I think perhaps she (but especially the baby) wanted to have her picture taken. I was only happy to obliged…who am I to say no to a lady.

Somewhere in the Ozark Mountains

Heritage

I often prefer the big city, the ancient structure, the regal palace…its easy. Places like Sequoia National Forest or the Eiffel Tower are hard not to love. The most celebrated treasures of the world should be adored, but there are things closer to home, things we see every day which we too often ignore in our hustle and bustle world. The wonders of our own backyards should never be forgotten. I thought of this on a drive home from Eureka Springs Arkansas when I took this photo at a random scenic overlook. The treasure of others sparkle so brightly while we often ignore the glory and beauty of what we ourselves possess. Be thankful for your blessings. Be thankful to be where you are today…tomorrow it maybe gone.

HDR Photography
Somewhere in the Ozark Mountains by W. Brian Duncan

The Hidden Church

Where Are We?

Pamela and I went for a day-trip to Eureka Springs Arkansas just to mill around, shop and take photos. While visiting the Historic Crescent Hotel we noticed this little building behind the hotel. What in the world is that building? As it turns out, there is a small Catholic church nestled behind the old hotel dedicated to St. Elizabeth. Its a beautiful little stop if you happen to be in Eureka Springs. The grounds are fantastically manacured and the church, though less exciting when you compare it to some of the Gothic masterpieces like Notre Dame, is none-the-less beautiful.

Technicals

This is a 9 exposure bracket (-4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4) shot directly at the sun on a tripod. The bracket was combined on photomatix exported and cleaned up in Photoshop. Tonal contract and sharpening were applied with the Nik Suite. Final adjustments were done in Lightroom.

Big Crosses

Jesus

While visiting Bentonville, Arkansas and one of the cooler American History Museums in the country Crystal Bridges we went down to eat pizza at this crazy place that had a mirrored ’70’s VW bug rotating on the ceiling like a disco ball (yes full sized). On the way we spotted this church with these CRAZY big crosses. They are much taller than the church. This was a photo meant to be taken. I am much more inclined to photograph Gothic and very old Roman Catholic Cathedrals, simply because I find them beautiful. I usually pay less attention to the things we build in the states, but they too are an interesting statement about the faith of people. Enjoy.

Technicals

This is a one shot photo edited entirely in Lightroom 4.

Chapel in the Woods

A Funny Place for a Church

On our last road trip to Arkansas, we returned home a different than we usually drive. The purpose of the diversion was to visit the Mildred B Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista Arkansas. This site was designed by E Fay Jones, an architect from Arkansas who was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright. The chapel is open to visitors when there isn’t an official function happening and as luck would have it, there wasn’t a ceremony that afternoon. In fact the place was deserted! Upon arrival there was a small group of Asian tourists leaving as we entered the chapel. I set up my tripod and snapped a few shots.

Peaceful

The chapel is glass…lots and lots of glass. The woods of oak and pine surrounding the chapel envelope you when you are inside and out. You feel like the chapel is part of the Ozark woods and the woods is part of the church, the separation is perhaps an illusion. If you happen to need a beautiful place for a small ceremony and are close to Northwest Arkansas…this is a beautiful location.

Technicals

This is a three shot bracket (-2, 0, +2) combined in Photomatix, edited in Photoshop and Lightroom.

Crystal Bridges

Art in Arkansas

Sometimes people and places can surprise you. The recently opened Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville Arkansas is one of those. It is a sprawling complex with immaculate landscaping and some amazing architecture. We started roaming around the grounds just after dawn and spent all morning walking the trails and touring the museum.

Photographer’s Troubles

I initially had a bit of trouble convincing the security guards that I should be there. The kept trying to shoo me away. The grounds are open from sunrise to sunset, but I found with security personal this can be somewhat open to interpretation. We arrived Saturday night around 6:45 and were told the grounds were closed. Once the sun is below those trees, I close up for the night, one guard told us. I should have issued a challenge (but but but my pictures look better at sunset), but we decided to come back at dawn. This time I argued, nicely of course as these guys are just doing their job. After a short discussion we were allowed on the grounds early Sunday morning.

So Much to See

I will probably be processing several of these shots from the exterior of the museum over the next few months. I have a good number of photos from the trip that could use some work. The new tripod has made a HUGE difference to my workflow. No more aligning brackets, everything is seamless. Further rock solid stability of my Really Right Stuff tripod means I can shoot at ISO 100 making noise less prevalent.

HDR Photography
Crystal Bridges by W. Brian Duncan