Monthly Archives: May 2013

Fallingwater

journal-fallingwater

Canon EOS5DMkII/EF 24-70 f2.8L at 60mm f22 1/3rd sec ISO50.  Bear Run, Pennsylvania.

Two things I noticed about Fallingwater immediately:  First, the cantilevered ceiling of the main living room is still deflecting, despite a multi million dollar repair effort to straighten the characteristic straight planes.  Wright did not trust the engineering consultancy hired by the owner, and there is some mystery as to whether or not the contractors installed extra reinforcement beyond what Wright specified.  Either way, today, there are steel cables in tension to keep the floors straight, and the sag on the largest is very noticeable.  Second, you’re not allowed to take pictures from key spots, including inside the building or from the lower part of the waterfall, looking up towards the structure.  That said, visiting Fallingwater and experiencing the harmonious integration of architecture with site and landscape, was a great experience.  The structure gives the impression of being at one with nature, almost as if a treehouse nestled in the forest and perched above the water.  The Frank Lloyd Wright buildings we’ve seen, including the Darwin Martin House in Buffalo later in this trip or the Robie House we saw in Chicago are by no means populist–they are the retreats of the rich and elite of their time, built for very specific uses and individuals, but nonetheless, they represent the emergence of modern American architecture.

I had planned for our trip to Fallingwater by taking the usual set of lenses, but bringing along an old tripod too.  My goal was to capture the water moving, which I’ve seen on landscape photos, by using sticks to enable an extra long exposure past what could be hand held without blur.  I probably could have used a ND or circ PL to cut down the amount of light even more–the day started off cloudy which was great, but towards noon when the tour was finished, the sun came out.

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