Over the years, as I moved to digital, the orientation of my photographs have shifted. Back in the film days, I had a healthy mix of photos in both the portrait and landscape orientation. But the horizontally oriented computer screens have had an undue pull on my images. Now, a vast majority are oriented in landscape, better filling monitors.
I’m trying to break free from my hardening conventions and with my recent experimentation with my Photo Sketchbook, I’m trying different things. I’m making an effort to shoot vertically again. And for some reason, this portrait orientation seems to have more of an artistic feel, especially for subjects like architecture. Perhaps the atypical orientation introduces a bit more abstractness to the images.
I shot these in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Details from the wonderful 100-year-old restored bathhouses that form the centerpiece of Hot Springs National Park. I zoomed in close, closer than I usually do, to isolate details and simplify the composition.
They are not true abstracts of course, but I think they have a certain artistic feel. Different, for sure, than my typical wide-angles in a landscape orientation. I took all photographs with the Panasonic ZS50 travel zoom.
The Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center, now called the Arkansas Career Training Institute looms large over bathhouse row. An already large structure, it looks all the more impressive, perched on top of a hill. Built in the early 1930s, it was the first joint Army and Navy general hospital.
I shot all three photos at a 24mm equivalent with the Panasonic ZS50, also known as my Photo Sketchbook. I used the built-in HDR mode which automatically shoots several images and combines them, in-camera, into a single photograph. The resulting image is detailed and with higher dynamic range, but tends to be flat and muted, color-wise. I find black and white conversions work well for these in-camera HDRs.
Fordyce is one of the eight restored bathhouses on bathhouse row in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It serves as the visitor’s information center for Hot Springs National Park. Completed in 1915, its grandeur was meant to match or exceed that of its contemporary European bathhouses.
The free, self guided tour is available for the entire facility and worth a visit. The place was clearly designed to impress with large expanses of marble, stained glass and statues. But the 100-year-old machines look vaguely like torture equipment. The gymnasium looks familiar, though they seem really enamored by rings.
All photos shot with the Panasonic TZ50 travel zoom.
Elaborate bathhouses were built in Hot Springs, Arkansas during the early 20th century, modeled after ornate structures in Europe. Now, as part of Hot Springs National Park, Bathhouse Row preserves eight historic bathhouses. Fordyce Bathhouse, seen on the right, now serves as the visitor’s center.