Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Game Day:
Romanesque-style chapel the centerpiece of St. Joseph's College campus

In this third and final installment on my recent Game Day visit to St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind., I present images taken of the campus landscape in the hours preceding kick-off of the host school Pumas' 2013 football opener against Valparaiso University.

As mentioned in the first post on this shoot, my biggest disappointment was that the front facade of the storied Romanesque Revival-style chapel on the grounds was covered with scaffolding, and the nearby reflecting pond was not operating. The two would have presented some great photo opportunities, I feel. A third disappointment I take the blame for. I rarely lug around my tripod on these walk-around shoots, relying confidently on the vibration compensation technology of my Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di PZD lens to keep my hands steady for my three-image high-dynamic range (HDR) shots.

Before you jump to conclusions, the lens did its usual fine job again for me for my HDR outdoor shots in Rensselaer. It was when I went inside the chapel and tried to steady my hands any possible way I could that I wished I would grabbed the tripod from the car trunk and brought it along. I required a much slower shutter speed indoors, and although my backup hand-steadying efforts succeeded on a few shots, even the Tamron couldn't bail me out for the majority. One of the successes leads off this post. For this shot, I was seated with knees bent up on the aisle carpet, camera resting on the knees. I'm sure the knee rest played a role in keeping the three images sharp.

And between the visit to Rensselaer on Sept. 7 and my more recent one to Terre Haute last weekend (at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology -- those pictures are in the post-processing stage right now), I was reminded that HDR shooting gets extremely dicey outdoors when the camera is situated less than 90 degrees between the sun and the subject. In most instances, even HDR can't reconcile color quality -- especially chromatic aberation in the sky -- when you attempt to shoot directly into the sun or at angles less than 90 degrees. I've actually succeeded on rare occasions -- an intentional into-the-sun shot of a fountain on the campus of Hanover College two years ago comes to mind. On the other hand, when you do have the ideal angle away from the sun, HDR dismisses the need for a polarizing filter to enrich the blue in sky colors.

A full gallery of images from the campus landscape portion of my visit to St. Joseph's College, visit my site at SmugMug.

Above and next several below: These are interior shots of the chapel. The frame above is the only usable one from those I took standing up and unaided with any hand-holding support. For the others, I was either sitting on the floor (or sacristy step) and resting the camera on my knees, or, in the case of the detail shot of the fresco, lying flat on my back and resting the camera on my chest. 

Above: The reflecting pond, which on this day was not reflecting anything because it wasn't operational.  

Above: The front facade of the chapel, being worked on by restoration crews. Notice the people emerging from the door on the left. This was a campus visit tour guide for a prospective student and his/her parents, something I see quite often on these campuses during my visits. Renovation of the building, which was dedicated in 1910, is being conducted in five phases. 

Above: The view of the Evans Arts and Sciences Building from just outside the chapel door. You'll get two other views of this building further down. 

Above: The side of the chapel. 

Above and below: Views of the chapel's backside (left) and a slight portion of the adjacent Xavier-McHale Hall. 

Above: The walk from the front of the chapel to Xavier-McHall Hall (below) takes you through this interesting spectacle.  

Above and below: The Schwietermann Hall Welcome and Admissions Center has an interesting three-sided bowed shape. These are two of those sides. 

Above: The very simple-looking exterior of the campus radio station WPUM-FM (93.3). 

Above: A closer view of the four-level arts and sciences building, where the lion's share of academic classes are held.  

Above and below: The campus plaza, leading to the Halleck Student Center in the background.

Above and below: The indoor athletics facility, Richard F. Scharf Alumni Fieldhouse. It initially was named Alumni Fieldhouse in 1941, much like how the football stadium is called Alumni Stadium. In 1994, it was renamed in honor of the school's storied multisport athlete, coach and athletic director. Below is a wall hanging in the fieldhouse.

Above and next several below: I was surprised and impressed to see the St. Joseph's College baseball team working out at the baseball complex, whose field is named after native Hoosier and Major League Baseball great Gil Hodges, who spent most of his career with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. Hodges was the only St. Joseph's College alumnus to make it to the Major League level of play in baseball.

Above: This image -- intentionally shot this way -- turned out terribly in high-dynamic range. This is an edited version (boosting midtones and shadows) of a single frame.

Above: Looking toward the baseball complex from the elevated plaza outside the Halleck Student Center.

Above and next two below: Different view of the Halleck Student Center exterior, my favorite being the one immediately below. 

Above: Interior shots of the student center. The halls of the main floor are decorated with bright, colorful school-related mural art, such as the one above. 

Above: From the student center plaza, one can look out over the mall where most of the school's residence hall and apartments are located. 

Above: Students walking along the sidewalk within the residential mall.  

Above: The front of Justin Hall at the far south end of the residential mall.

Above and below: Two views and treatments of images of the Rev. Charles Banet Core Education Center. The horizontal orientation above is a high-dynamic range rendering; the vertical below is a single-frame. 

Above: Yet another look at Evans Arts and Sciences Hall, this time from a different perspective. 

Above: Again, two perspectives and treatments of a modest plaza behind the arts and sciences building. Above, the single-frame shot; below, an HDR rendering.


  1. Gill Hodges! I haven't heard that name in ages! And, then...I only heard it...never knew anything associated with him except that he was a famous baseball player. Now, it's good to be able to put a name , a face, and a place with this man who was bigger than life in our household when I was growing up... Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. Hodges was born in Princeton, Ind., which is in Gibson County in southwestern Indiana. He grew up in nearby Petersburg, where he was a four-sport athlete (football, basketball, baseball and track). He played baseball at St. Joseph's College and was the college's only player to make it to the Major League level of play. Hodges died of a heart attack in 1972, two days short of his 48th birthday.