Yesterday I caught a ride with fellow photographer Bill Warmington and we headed out in the snow to check out the National Music Centre/Studio Bell in Calgary. I had never been there but Bill was there 3 weeks ago with the oopoomoo Creative photo group. I saw a lot of stunning photos taken that day and decided that I had to go check it out. Bill informed me that on the previous trip he’d gotten caught up chatting with a couple of fellows in the attached coffee shop and subsequently ran around frantically trying to get some photos. (I don’t know how many he took but the 3 he posted to the groups facebook page were great.)
Unlike me, Bill likes to talk, (couldn’t even type that with a straight face) and as we drove south on the Deerfoot he suddenly asks it that was that the Bow Bottom Trail sign he just saw? (It was.) Apparently he had planned to take 16th Avenue and had totally lost track of where we were. So we took the scenic route back to the east side of downtown and arrived at our destination just after 10 a.m.
It’s a neat looking building from the outside (sorry, no photos of that) but it doesn’t give away what the inside is like. Regular admission is $18 for adults but they are running a promotion during April where it’s only ten bucks on Sundays.
I had a really, really good apple pie muffin and tea before we started exploring the building. I put on the Sony 12-24 mm f/4 lens on my camera as my lens of choice for the day.
Just looking around the lobby area I decided I’d like my choice of a wide angle lens. I could see going back there with a more normal or even telephoto lens to shoot some detail shots at some point. As I’ve seen things wider than the average person for my entire life I find I lean towards wide angle lenses more often than not.
Looking to the left of the admission desk I took this shot of the stairway and thought I could probably find more than a thing to shoot in a very small area.
And while that was true, I still started venturing up the stairs.
Took this one looking across the street at the old King Eddie building. there is a skywalk joining the two buildings on the top floor but as of yet there is no public access to the other building that way.
I took a few photos of the curves and angles as I climbed up towards the top floor.
Finally I got to the top and couldn’t help notice the snow on the roof.
I had wandered through most of the interactive activity rooms but I didn’t take too many photos of them as the architecture was my primary focus. I did take a couple though. Both of these let you play instruments but I didn’t try any.
I was soon back taking photos of the building.
I really wish they would of planned out where the garbage bins and lobby signs went a bit better. They are quite distracting but I’m not about to Photoshop them out.
I spent the most time on the top floor and on my first trip to the skywalk I took this photo out the window.
I took a couple showing more of the cool window covers showing a bunch more squares but the window was pretty dirty. Between the dirt showing up and the reflection showing the window behind me they were a bit too distracting to post.
I wandered down another hallway and the sun spot on the floor and wall caught my eye.
Was heading to the sitting area and noticed the view.
Time for a selfie while I was at a seating area. I wore my self portrait on my shirt so I thought I should record it.
Still on the top floor and looking out the window I couldn’t help but notice how the fresh snow made for some nice contrast with the buildings and road.
My first encounter with the skywalk was pretty quiet but as I approached it a 2nd time I could hear a bit of a musical buzzing or drone as it were.
As the sun was coming out there was a definite sound that I hadn’t heard the first time.
When I went back with Bill to show it to him the sun was fairly strong and it was a very cool symphony of sound happening. I really wish I would of brought my microphone with me because a video would really help in this case.
One more from the top before I started heading back down the stairs.
As I headed down I was hoping a train would go by but it wasn’t to be, kind of like more hockey happening at the Saddledome this season.
By this time I met back up with Bill working his way up so back up to the top floor we went.
I caught Bill taking a shot or two. He really isn’t impressed if he notices a camera pointed at him.
Took a bunch more photos from the stairs.
I found it a bit surprising that no one was taking any people photos as the amount of natural light coming in from the huge windows is pretty impressive. (Since flash photography isn’t allowed it makes for some challenges just taking architectural photos.) Then I saw a fellow doing a fashion or model shoot. Turns out he’s also a member of the oopoomoo group but I didn’t get his name. He’s crouched down behind the wall shooting. I tried to not get too much facial detail in my documentary shot.
I seem to really like this area as I think the biggest percentage of my shots are at/near this area by the seating area.
As we started heading down the stairs I thought I’d try shooting down the railing. It is a lot more difficult then it looks and I never did get exactly what I wanted out of it.
This would of been a good shot if that damn tourist wasn’t in my shot. Lol. (To be fair, I did find myself in another photographers way while I was taking this.)
As I was taking my last photo before I put my camera away, I realized I was ending my day pretty much the way I started it – on the floor taking a photo.
With that we headed to the coffee shop to say goodbye to Kathy, another oopoomoo photographer that Bill had met earlier and we headed out.
The trip home was quicker than the one down as the weather was much improved on the homeward leg. (It had nothing to do with the shorter driving distance, really.)
I don’t know when I’ll get back to Studio Bell, but I hope it’s in the near future.