Arch Portraits

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO with dramatic, threatening clouds

My last post showed views inside and from the Gateway Arch in St. Louis made with a fisheye lens. This one is all portraits of the soaring stainless steel structure itself.

I carry a camera practically everywhere I go. I set times to study a subject. Then I photograph it in many ways. I walk around it. I set up the tripod and really look at what is in the viewfinder.

I chose to do this study of the Arch with a fisheye lens. Below are several of my favorites photographs.


This view is from ground level just in front of one of the in-ground lighting wells that illuminate it at night. Part of downtown St. Louis shows inside the world’s tallest arch. The Mississippi riverside is behind me.


The 630-foot tall Arch was designed in 1947 by Ero Saarinen in the Structural Expressionism style of architecture. The shape is similar to the arc a piece of chain suspended from each end forms naturally. The Arch spans stairs that descend from it to the Mississippi river. The 15mm 180º view fish eye lens purposefully curves them as a compliment to the shape of the Arch.


Construction started in February of 1963. It was completed in October 1965. This is my fourth trip to the tallest man-made monument in the United States. Every time I visit, I see a different way to picture it.


Point of view is always important. In this photo, my back is resting on the edge of the Arch, and my head and camera are tilted up its length. I love the weathered look of the steel and how fluid it appears against the angry sky.

The monitor on a camera is to review work not to compose a shot unless the camera is on a tripod
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