The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Photo Club at Spivey Hall

Spivey Hall is a world-class performance hall located on the campus of Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia.

Spivey is considered one of the best small halls in the United States. The acoustics are excellent. Along the side walls are curtains of heavy fabric that are opened and closed depending on the performance. By keeping them open, closed, or partially opened, the hall is "tuned" to fit the type of performance at hand.

Emilie and Walter Spivey were prominent citizens in the southern crescent area of Atlanta. The Spiveys made a fortune developing the Lake Spivey and Lake Jodeco areas. They wanted to give back to the community in a resounding way. Emilie Spivey had always been a patron of the arts and she was an organist. She also loved the wooded grounds of Clayton College. Walter approached the school with the idea of a concert hall. Emilie was the brains behind the idea. She insisted on hiring architects who understood music, an acoustician, and her own personal decorator to insure that music would be heard perfectly and that the surroundings would be as beautiful as the music the audience was hearing.

Neither of the Spiveys lived to see the hall, they did not even live to see the groundbreaking. But the plans that were set forth were carried out completely.

Spivey's doors opened late in 1991. The organ was not complete and added until 1992. The instrument was built in Padua, Italy by Fratelli Rufatti, then disassembled, and shipped piece by piece to Spivey Hall. The builder traveled to Spivey Hall to reassemble his masterpiece. The organ has 4,413 pipes. I have attended an organ program at Spivey Hall -- the sound is amazing.

Yesterday the Fayette Photo Club met to spend a couple hours inside Spivey Hall photographing what ever caught their eyes. One of the two hall pianos was on stage (I forget if it was Emilie or Walter --- the pianos share the names of the Spiveys). There was much to catch the eye --- Corinthian columns decorated in gold leaf, shining brass handrails, beautiful wrought iron panels, chandeliers, the organ, the piano, etc.

Of course, you are drawn to the piano on stage. I took some photos of the keys - a nice macro across the keys, looking out to the audience and the spotlight in the upper right of the photo. Also the inside of the piano was a draw. The lid was open and you could see all the workings on the inside. I took a couple macro shots there.

One of my favorite shots of the piano shows it alone on the stage in the spotlight. In another photo with the piano, I had my daughter sit at it and then slowly get up to leave the stage. The photo shows an interesting blur, I had the shutter set for an eight -second exposure. The shot of the piano in the spot was also an eight-second exposure. I took many shorter and some longer exposures. It was fun to play with the light. Another setting I played with yesterday was the white balance. Most of my shots I settled on fluorescent as my choice. This gave me a nice bluish spot and a warm glow on the upper portion of the organ. The tungsten setting (which I used a lot also) gave just the bluish cast to the whole photo.

Not only did I have the Canon XTi with me (I was using both of my Tamron lenses, the 18-250mm and the 14mm wide angle) I had the Canon S2 IS and took some great macros with that camera. One of my favorites is of the little figure decorations around the bottom of a vase. The macros of reflections in those super, high-polished brass handrails were also interesting and made for good abstracts.

It was a fun time and a great stretch to look for the unusual shots. It was also a treat for us for the people at Spivey Hall to allow us to come there and explore. To learn more about Spivey Hall, perhaps to check the schedule for a concert, check their website

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