Posted on Nov.23, 2010, under Detroit

(Olympus E-3, 14-54mm at 14mm (2x crop factor), ISO 100, exposure 1/400 sec @ f/8.0)

Note: This is article is a repost from the early days of this blog. This is one of my favorite images and I’m hoping that new visitors to this blog will enjoy it.

The Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan was built in the mid-70’s. At the time, the thought was that this new set of buildings would help provide for a ‘renaissance’ of the city of Detroit. Alas it wasn’t to be. The building was more of a fortress than anything else. It had large berms which faced the main street, and the other side was the river. This created a structure which was more of an island than anything else. A couple years ago, General Motors purchased the buildings and moved it’s world headquarters to it. There was a bit of irony in this, since the Renaissance Center (aka ‘RenCen’) had significant funding from the Ford family.

To GM’s credit, they spent a great deal of money reworking the building. They removed the berms in front which helps open the center up to the rest of Detroit. They improved the interior, which was previously dark and cold. The built a nice atrium in the back, which ties nicely into the Detroit Riverwalk. However, we now have a new irony as it relates to this building. GM is hanging on by a thread financially and may not survive, whereas Ford is doing much better. Perhaps GM will have the last laugh in all of this and will manage to pull through. If so, it may be appropriate that it’s headquarters is in something called the ‘Renaissance Center’.

The image itself was taken on the Detroit edition of Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk. This image was also the winner of the Detroit event, and was one of the top 10 finalists in the entire Photowalk competition. It also managed to wrangle a runners-up mention in the 2008 Photoshop User Awards contest. This shot was taken from the riverfront side of the building. It was late morning so the sun was at a good angle. I was lucky that there were some interesting clouds that day as well. I converted the image to black & white (initially using just Lightroom, but I redid it later in Photoshop) and then added the duo-tone color. The raw image that I started with is shown below. Some additional processing details are described here

Comments and feedback welcome.

Image and text Copyright © 2008-2010 James W. Howe – All rights reserved

This image can be purchased.

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