Wednesday, August 2, 2017

College of Charleston features a blend
of old and modern architecture

I'm sure that some photographers don't understand the lure of making images of a college campus. You know, "if you've seen one campus, you've seen them all." There's Old Main, a campus mall, a chapel, a student union, the athletics facilities and maybe a fine arts building. Pretty predictable, right?

Not for me. I've rarely done any of my college campus photo shoots without experiencing a rush of great anticipation. And in most instances, I've not been disappointed. Yes, most campuses include the components listed in the lead paragraph, so any person with a camera has a good idea of the primary components to look for before setting out on a shoot.

But no college campus is laid out exactly the same as another. The architecture -- whether it's all classical, a mix of classical and modern, or all modern -- varies from one school to the next. Adding a considerable variable to the mix is landscaping and infrastructure -- not just flowers and bushes -- but hills, roads, fencing, ponds, lakes, rivers, fountains and the like.

The College of Charleston, the oldest municipal college or university in the nation, is an urban school. The campus is at the north end of the downtown district, and its core is the historic cistern area that features its oldest buildings -- Randolph Hall, the primary administration building (see lead-off photo); Porter's Lodge (right) and Towell Library (left). Each structure was built in the early to mid-1800s in Roman Revival style. While the Towell Library is still used, the more modern Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library is the primary campus library facility today.

Complementing these older structures are the more modern Stern Student Center, the Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center, the Thaddeus Street Jr. Education Center, the School of Science and Mathematics, and the Addlestone Library. Athletics facilities are located 15 minutes away on the Mount Pleasant side of the Cooper River.

Because of rain, I made two visits to campus, on May 23 and 24; fortunately, the school was within reasonable walking distance from our hotel. But weather wasn't really ideal on either day, so you'll notice that skies appear dark and/or ominous in a lot of the photos. I didn't make a point to check out the sports facilities at Mount Pleasant. Perhaps another time.

As usual, click on any image to bring up a larger, sharper version. This is particularly useful if you access the blog using a mobile device. Click on the link in this sentence to view a full gallery of the images I made at the College of Charleston. 

Photo geek stuff: I shot all of my photos with my Canon 6D and Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di PZD VC lens equipped with a B+W polarizing filter. I bracketed all compositions for three exposures to allow for melding in high-dynamic range (HDR) software in post-processing. Many of the images in this post were treated that way. 

Above and next three below: Gateway to the admissions center, an area that features a sculpted cougar, the school mascot. 

Above and next two below: The area behind the admissions offices is like its own village, best illustrated by the first photo below. 

Above and next two below: Inside the Towell Library.

Above and two below: Inside the Towell Library, I looked through several windows to create these compositions. I used the pane as a frame (above), moved closer to shoot directly out (first below) and was ground level when I zoomed in on the colored leaves (second below). 

Exteriors of two residence halls, McAlister (above) and Joe E. Berry Jr. (below). 

Above: I liked that someone put some curb appeal thought into the design of this parking garage. It abuts the College of Charleston campus, but I don't think it's college property.  

Bikes lined up always pique my interest. The shot above isn't anything extraordinary, but I included it as evidence of student presence. 

Above: The facade of the Charleston Water Systems office building also isn't part of the campus, but it is embedded in the layout, and I liked the reflection of the glass windows framed by the Palmetto tree and white-painted brick extension on the right. 

Two more facades integrating lots of glass. Above is the entrances to the School of Science and Mathematics, below the exterior of the Marc Brown Museum of Natural History, which is part of the math and science complex.  

The Addlestone Library entrance (above) doesn't hint at the fascinating rotunda design and dinosaur display inside (next two below). 

Above and below: Views of the fountain and plaza behind Addlestone Library. 

 Above: A pattern composition not far from the Addlestone Library plaza and fountain. 

Above: A radical crop of the Hollings Science Center forced by extensive construction activity on the building's facade on either side of the scene above. 

Above: The facade of the Stern Student Center.

Above: I found yet another bicycle ... 

Above: Street vendor around the corner from the Stern Student Center. 

Next up: Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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