A Pyramid Perspective
As I passed by The Pyramids at College Park, located at 3500 Depauw Boulevard, Indianapolis, I looked out the window of the family van and noticed this was the day I had been waiting for.
The Pyramids are office buildings that are part of a 200-acre commercial development in College Park. The structures sit on 45 acres of land next to a 25-acre lake. “They were constructed between 1967 and 1972 by the College Life Insurance Company (now part of Americo Life, Inc.) using a design by famed architect Kevin Roche. They are noted for their abstract quality of the opacity of the concrete walls which face the nearby highway and the reflectivity of the glass curtain walls that face the landscaped grounds.” The Pyramids (Indianapolis 2019) In Wikipedia.
I have passed by these structures many times over the past few years and I always knew I wanted to photograph them, but the conditions had to be right. I was looking for what Kevin Raber would refer to as a “Palouse sky,” which consists of big puffy white clouds that play with the light as they pass overhead. In central Indiana, those types of skies are rarer than you might think and when they do happen they are quick and typically lead to an all grey or an all-blue sky. I knew I had to jump at this opportunity.
As I pulled up close to The Pyramids, I could see the amazing reflection of those cumulus clouds in the windows of the buildings. All the elements were working together, the light the color and even the fresh-cut grass lines added another level of geometry to the compositions. With my camera bag strapped to my back, I walked right up to the base of the structures. Using my Canon 5D Mark IV and a 16-35mm lens I captured my first few frames as wide as I could. Then, I continued to walk along the base looking for different perspectives.
Based on the metadata of my first image and my last image I spent about 40 minutes shooting from all different angles and points of view. After using my 16-35mm, I switched to my 70-200mm and hunted down some beautiful abstracts.
The blue and green, along with the incredible clouds and light, made for an extremely dynamic shooting scenario. One second the buildings would be immersed in shadow and the next they would be bathed in sunlight while the areas around them went dark. I could visit this same location 100 times and not replicate the images I captured on this day.
Recently, many of us have been forced to look for the beauty that surrounds us.
This was a great exercise in truly exploring a subject and this technique can be applied to anything or anyone. Get close to your subject, get far, use different lenses and different lighting. If your subject is like these buildings visit it in the spring, the summer, the winter, and the fall. Wake up early and visit in the morning or find a spot for sunset and stay into the late evening. Shoot it at night or try painting your own light. Process your images in color and then try black and white.
The creative possibilities are endless.
I plan to visit this location again and again and when I do I will be sure to share my new perspective.
Indianapolis Aerial View
After studying broadcast journalism at Illinois State University, I began my career in Central Illinois creating commercials and on-air promotions for local television affiliates. From 2008 to 2012, I worked for The Marketing Store where I created content for clients such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Southern Comfort. From there, I worked for Maddock Douglas, an innovation consulting firm, developing an internal photo/video offering. I left Maddock Douglas to be a creative director at FÁS Chicago, where I worked primarily for Case Construction. In 2017, I relocated to Indianapolis with my wife and two sons and I have started Michael Durr Photo/Video, LLC. Currently, I work in partnership with Kevin Raber and PhotoPXL, creating video content on all things photography. In addition I work on other freelance projects primarily around the midwest. Throughout my career, talented friends and great mentors have surrounded me. I have been fortunate to wake up every day never feeling like I was going to work. The combination of my professional experience, personality and drive to improve has given me a unique perspective from behind the lens. It is a combination of work and life that inspires me.