Exterior view of the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay © Michael Evans Photographer 2017

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay…

A Melbourne based architectural photographer in Wales, UK

On a visit back to the UK, my parents who live in the pretty little village of Usk in Gwent, offered to take me to Cardiff Bay for the day. Located within the 4.7 acre site is the stunning Millennium Centre Wales building, of which I had seen many images online, but as an architectural photographer I was naturally keen to capture some views for myself; fortunately the staff in this lovely building are very tolerant of photographers, although no tripods are allowed. This meant that in certain areas I was pushing the ISO on the 5DSR up to 1600 – 3200, and while I could have removed most of the resulting noise in post production, the images being for personal use only I decided not to bother as I am still very pleased with how well the camera handles low light situations.

Exterior view of the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
The massive inscription on the front of the dome are two lines of poetry by Welsh native Gwyneth Lewis, in both Welsh and English. The lettering, which is actually made from windows in the upper bar area, illuminates at night and reads ‘In These Stones Horizons Sing’ © Michael Evans Photographer 2017

The building also offered me the opportunity to put my new Canon 11-24 f4 L lens through it’s paces while shooting architecture. I have used the lens on a couple of industrial shoots since acquiring it and have been incredibly impressed with the edge to edge sharpness and lovely colour rendition, but being a rectilinear design I really wanted to see just how well it handled distortion. My conclusion quite simply is that as long as the subject is parallel to the lens it is stunning, an absolute marvel of optical engineering and my compliments indeed to the Canon engineers. Of course as soon as you tilt up or down, then the subject distorts, but still looks very impressive.

Stairwell view inside the Millennium Centre Wales © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Beautiful flowing architecture… © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Upper bar windows in the Millennium Centre, Wales © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Upper bar area windows… © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Stairwell view inside the Millennium Centre Wales © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Staircase panorama using the 17mm TS-E © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Upper bar windows in the Millennium Centre, Wales © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
View from the other end…© Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Stairwell view inside the Millennium Centre Wales © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
I noticed that the stairwell on the left side of the building (if viewed from front on) is considerably darker than on the right which has more window illumination. Still interesting shapes though… © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Stairwell view inside the Millennium Centre Wales © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
The building really offers some interesting abstract views… © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Upper bar windows in the Millennium Centre, Wales © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Captured using the 11-24mm f4 L © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Stairwell view inside the Millennium Centre Wales © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Stairwell in BW © Michael Evans Photographer 2017

The centre was designed by local architect Jonathon Adams from Percy Thomas Architects, with initial construction commencing in 2002. The architect’s concept was to make the building reflect the many different parts of Wales, embracing it’s ‘Welshness’ by using slate, metal, wood and glass materials all sourced from within the country. The building was officially opened in November 2004, and has featured as a backdrop to a number of locally produced television series such as Dr Who and Torchwood.

Exterior view of the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
The amazing bronze coloured dome that encapsulates the Donald Gordon Theatre is actually made from steel cladding treated with copper oxide… © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Upper bar windows in the Millennium Centre, Wales © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Unfortunately I did not have time to wait and capture a dusk shot, but I can certainly image how stunning the building would look with the light pouring through these windows…© Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Stairwell view inside the Millennium Centre Wales © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
© Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Exterior view of the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay © Michael Evans Photographer 2017
Standing below the dome at 11mm… © Michael Evans Photographer 2017

Of course I found myself wishing that the 11-24 could be made as a tilt shift lens as I absolutely love the angle of coverage if offers, and would really appreciate being able to keep the lines straight when I tilt the lens up, however I recognise that this is probably physically impossible… My one work around is to shoot in portrait mode and then crop the image, which is something that is easy to do when working with 50.6 million pixels that the 5DSR offers.

If you ever find yourself within the Cardiff area, I highly recommend visiting and perhaps enjoying a performance!

 

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4 thoughts on “Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay…

  1. thank you for share, nice photo you took, especially B&W one which I feel I stood there and look up and down. Great!

  2. Superb photography of this iconic building, and what a joy to do it with such a wide lens. Occasionally I use a 11-16mm lens on a DX body which gives me a wide end of 17mm and that is such a creative field of view.

    1. Thanks Andy, I must admit to being somewhat obsessed with wide angles for architecture. I still love the flexibility that the 17TS-E gives me, but am really just starting to enjoy the 11-24mm too. Now I have to look into taking it climbing, as I would love to capture some shots such as yours…!

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