Friday, March 10, 2017


I continue to be fascinated with the red spires at the Grand Traverse Commons.  This week I practiced using my various lenses to try to capture as many spires as I could in a single image.

I often catch glimpses of the spires in the distance as I drive down the hills of Silver Lake Road.  On this day, I pulled over to the side of the road and used my telephoto lens to capture these six spires.  The long lens really pulled them in, although I was unhappy with all the shrubs and fence lines in the foreground.

The lens I thought would be the most useful for my task was my ultra-wide angle lens.  I mistakenly thought the ultra-wide would help get all the spires in.  While I did get eight spires in this one image, I hadn't expected the foreground to be so prominent and exaggerated.   Great for a lovely landscape scene, but not so good for this venue.

Besides the prominent foreground, photographers have to take care to keep their cameras with ultra-wides very straight in the horizontal or buildings can appear to be tipping over.  I have a bit of that in the building to the left.  Five spires and counting.

At this point, I could see my ultra-wide wasn't going to work for the job.  I switched to my mid-range walk-around lens, a 24-105 mm.  While I didn't get as many spires in, the scene appeared more natural with the size of the buildings being prominent and the foreground parking lot being of normal size and not so exaggerated.

I got five spires in this scene, but there were too many cars to clutter up the scene.  Right lens, but wrong time of the day.

As I closed out the three days of shooting, all with beautiful sunshine and blue skies, I returned to my zoom telephoto lens for a close-up of this building and the three red spires.  I can see I have more work to do to get the image I'm looking for but I have some ideas for the future.  Finding a higher vantage point and shooting at a time when there's less activity might give me what I'm hoping for.


  1. Beautiful pics, Karen! Thank you for taking us along on your instructive and inspiring journey! :)

  2. Thanks, Jan. It was a learning experience.