The Capitol Rotunda

Texas Capitol Rotunda (click to view on flickr)

I never get tired of visiting the Texas Capitol. Fascinating architecture and craftsmanship. Incredible history. Love the place.

I’ve lived in Austin for 20-ish years and had never taken a picture in or around the Capitol until a month and a half ago (I wasn’t really “into photography” until this past year). I’m hooked now and it will take a long time for me to get all the Capitol shots I’d like.

A few evenings ago I hopped over to the Capitol on my way home from work because the clouds and sky looked promising for a great sunset. The hoped-for sunset-with-the-Capitol shot never materialized but I did take a handful of other pics before I departed.

There were very few people inside the building so I had plenty of chances for clean shots. As I took the rotunda shot above I chatted with one of the peace officers who herself had been a photographer in the Army some years back. “I would never be able to figure out one of these fancy automatic cameras”, she said. I showed her some of my previous Capitol images (via flickr on the iPhone) while taking my exposures. “Wow, those are beautiful. I might have to get into this again.”

A family passed through the rotunda while I was setting up for this image and they were very concerned about being in my way. I thanked them for their consideration but begged them to take their time (it’s their building every bit as much as mine). I think it’s important as a photographer to be extra considerate. I mentioned to the peace officer how surprised I was that tripods were allowed in the Capitol.  She did say that they have occasional problems with photographers doing things like setting up tripods in the middle of the main doorway as if no one else was there — on Saturday afternoon with all sorts of people trying to come through.  I suspect lawyers aren’t the only reason tripods are often disallowed in public places…

For the image above I wish I had a 7-8mm lens instead of 10mm. What I had hoped to get was the top of the rotunda roughly as shown but extend the image all the way to the floor or at least until the paintings on the wall made a swath across the bottom of the frame. I had also hope for a bit more angle on the rotunda-to-bottom doorway but it cropped some of the other elements I liked. I considered cropping out the already half-cropped paintings…Nah. I just like it as is given that I couldn’t go wider.

Someday I want to find my way to the top level to take pictures. Anyone have connections?


3 responses

  1. Really nice shot of the dome, Michael! Always a great place to photograph, isn’t it?

    January 30, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    • I have no idea what happened with that last comment…

      It is a great place to shoot. I could hang out there all day even without the camera. With the camera my imagination runs wild and I like to just experiment in there.

      February 27, 2010 at 11:58 pm

  2. Pingback: Sometimes You Only Get One Shot « Michael Tuuk Photography

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