Last month (April 18th & 19th, to be exact), the city of Denver held it’s 2009 “Doors Open Denver” event. The idea behind this annual event is to celebrate architecture in the city by encouraging people to get out and look around at some of the better examples to be seen. My wife was out of town for the weekend, so it seemed like the perfect occasion for a little father / daughter time with “the pup,” particularly since we just got her a cheap / indestructible camera of her own for travel. Oh, and this year D.O.D. also included a photo competition — as if I needed any extra incentive to take along my camera gear!
I thought I’d give you a quick travelogue — both so anybody who wanders by this site can do some armchair tourism, and also to get my thoughts recorded in a handy place for next year.
The first day, the weather was awful — alternating rain and snow all day long, pretty unusual for Denver. So it was a day for interior shots — but the good news was that thanks to the weather, we didn’t have to fight any crowds. First, we met up with a few folks from the Denver Digital Photography Meetup group at the D&F tower — I wasn’t wild about the interior shots I took due to the flat lighting, but thought of them as “contingency” shots anyway (more on that further down..).
The next stop was the Denver Center for Performing Arts — and boy, what a tangled mess that was! There are multiple venues in the DCPA, and each seems to have its own set of restrictions on where you can photograph, what you can photograph, etc. Some people that took pictures later in the day (or on Sunday) were told different things than we were, so part of the problem may have been ill-informed (or over-eager?) volunteers. Who knows.
Any way, the Boettcher Concert Hall was the only DCPA venue that allowed our little group to do indoor (i.e., past the lobby) photographs. Here’s one shot of the weird ceiling-mount reflectors that were added some years back to help its acoustics:
The place is scheduled to be gutted and rebuilt later this year, so we’ll just have to see what it looks like after the refurb.
Now on to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House — again, we couldn’t take pictures inside the performance space. But lobby shots were OK — so here’s one particularly escheresque shot of some stairs:
I don’t know why, but this really looks best in B/W. Also, here’s a shot of an interesting ceiling light fixture (at least *I* think it has an interesting geometry):
At this point, “the pup” was tired of hanging out with strangers, so we struck off on our own for lunch. It was still raining on & off so we hit a few quick sites:
- The Sage Building — couldn’t get past the lobby unless you’re in a tour
- The Webb Building — could only see the central “core” of the building (the atrium, essentially)
Finally, we got to the central branch of the Denver Public Library. This is an amazing building from an architectural perspective, but I had one heck of a time getting any interior shot that really showed this off — remember, it’s still raining at this point. But from the upper stories of the building, we could see an odd little spur off the building, roughly cruciform in shape — “the pup” and I wandered around until we found our way into it.
It’s called the Children’s Pavilion, and it’s a performance space for plays and such. Struggling to find a way to capture this odd little space, I finally thought to look up — and saw this:
This was one of my submittals to the D.O.D. 2009 photo contest — it wound up taking the “Runner Up” (i.e., 2nd place) spot for the “Interiors” division. Sadly, only first place shots entitled their photographers to have lunch with the mayor. So close…
Anyway, in true Colorado fashion, the weather was warm and clear and dry on Sunday — so the pup and I wandered downtown again for a quick revisit of the D&F tower. I took a bunch of interior shots looking at the sunlit clock face — and finally settled on one to pair with an exterior shot for this diptych:
FWIW, anybody can walk into the tower lobby; on D.O.D. days, you can ride the elevator to the 17th floor. But the 15 intervening floors are off-limits, since each floor is somebody’s office. Getting to the very top of the tower involves riding up to the 17th floor, then climbing a few flights of stairs.
When the weather’s clear, you can also get out on the tower’s two balconies and take some nice shots of downtown:
I’ll have to call the folks that rent out the D&F tower for events, and see how much it would cost to get to the balconies around Christmas — I can only imagine the views you’d have with the mall all light up for the season!
Anyway, I’m not done posting D.O.D. picture on Flickr just yet, so I’ll be updating this post in the future as I add to my stream…