Friday, April 15, 2011

Hamilton County Courthouse:
Noblesville, Ind.

Today, I visited Noblesville, Ind., the seat of Hamilton County, which for the past couple decades, has been the fast-growing county in the state. It is home to two of the state's fastest-growing communities as well -- Fishers and Carmel (for you non-Hoosiers, we pronounce the latter "CAR-mull," i.e., accent on the first syllable, not on the last, as they do in California). Fishers and Carmel are just north of the Marion County line, and Marion County is where Indianapolis, the state capital, is located. Noblesville also is growing quickly, but because it's more centrally located in the county (i.e., father north of Indianapolis than Carmel and Fishers), not nearly to the degree that Carmel and Fishers have.

While I was in Noblesville, I had a 20-minute window where I decided to capture some pictures of the Hamilton County courthouse, and because it was such an overcast day, I decided to do so with bracketed shots with the intent to process them afterward with high-dynamic range (HDR) software. I started the shoot on the east quadrant of the courthouse square, and worked my way clockwise from there -- south next, then west and finishing on the north end.

The shoot graphically demonstrated to me the limitations of the wide-angle lens (I used a Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 for this shoot). A lens with a wide range of field is needed to best capture structures close up, but to do that with a normal wide-angle lens -- because of its construction -- means lots of distortion. The only recourse is to stand back -- the farther back you stand using a wide-angle, the less distortion.  But, you get unwanted and expansive foreground and other clutter. On Friday, I elected to see how distorted things would be with closeups; I didn't want the expansive foreground and other clutter. To avoid distortion -- and get structures on the same plane as the camera body when doing closeups -- one needs to use a tilt-shift lens, which professional architectural photographers. Distortion can be a neat effect in many closeups, which is why the wide-angle will always be an important, valuable lens. But when it comes to architecture documentary imagery, tilt-shift lenses are definitely the way to go. 

So here are the courthouse images, leading off with the left side of the west quadrant at the top of this post. Below are the other views, beginning with east, then followed images taken in a clockwise circle around the square, including the separate Museum of History building, which is at the extreme southwest quadrant.

I conclude with the Hamilton County Government and Judicial Building, an annex to the courthouse structure that is on the opposite side of Eighth Street from the courthouse on the west quadrant.


  1. Ooooooo! I like these. I studied Interior Design at the Art Institute so, I've always been a fan of nice architecture. The lines and colors are amazing.

  2. You would love the interior of the Historical Courthouse. We have free standing stair case that extends 3 levels.

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