Road Trippin’…Porter Sculpture Park

One of the fun aspects of a road trip is to have a general route but keep a loose itinerary.  That way when you encounter something unique it is possible to squeeze a stop in.  We were no farther than thirty minutes out of Sioux Falls, SD when we spotted a large steer head sculpture in a field ahead.  As we neared it we saw other sculptures scattered around a couple acre area.  Enough said, we had to stop.  We had already stopped to get our photo with the Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, MN and would wind up stoping for corn on the cob at the Corn Palace in Mitchell SD.  It was just one of those trips…stop at cheesy places to take our photographs and simply have a good time along the long drive.  To say that we got way more than we bargained for when we pulled off Highway 90 and turned into Porter Sculpture Park is putting it mildly.  We were first greeted by Wayne Porter, the sculpture himself along with his constant companion Banbin0…

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who I promptly fell in love with.  He was such a dear, wanting petting and attention but, he was patient enough to pause a moment for a quick portrait.  I dialed in minus exposure compensation to bring down the exposure and finished the image in Photoshop by darkening the background even farther allowing Bambino to be the sole focus of the image.


After a very nice visit with Wayne and Bambino, we began our wandering through the sculpture garden.  I loved how whimiscal some of the sculptures were and our first stop was a lovely piece with a yellow hand gracefully outstretched with a beautiful blue butterfly perched atop an outstreched finger.  It simply made me feel good and the sky certainly didn’t hurt any so, I began making images.  The first image gives you a close up view of the awesomeness of Wayne’s work with a hint of more to come with a glimpse of the sculptures in the distance..

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Not only is Wayne a talented sculpture, he has written some wonderful poetry to go along with some of his sculptures.  One that particularly captured my fancy is…


Said the one to the other, “Let’s find a way out- explore.”

Said the other, “we are goldfish.  We live in a bowl.”

“Yes, said the one, “buth there must be a crack, a door, a soul.”

They never found the one, or his soul, but he swam far.

-Wayne Porter_

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I found myself lost in the sculpture garden as each piece drew me in for a closer look, a photo here and there, another poem to read, more sculptures to make fun and creative images that matched my enjoyment of the whimsical works of art.  It’s no wonder that Time Magazine named Porter Sculpture Park “One of 2010’s Rop 50 American Roadside Attractions.”

Here are a few more of my images from our stop that morning.  Forgive me Wayne for taking creative license with your work.  I somehow think you won’t mind since they simply reflect my own whimsical reaction and testiment to your wonderfully inspiring work (both sculptures and book of poetry “The Poetry of Art”, thank you)…

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Story behind the images…

All images except Bambino were handheld, 5 frame bracketed images in one stop increments.  I used a Nikon D4 with AF-S 14-24mm 2.8 lens in all except the fishbowl image where I chose a fisheye lens (how appropriate) to capture it all within the frame and even the 180 degrees was tight.  I also used a small aperture of f22 in each image for maximum depth fo field to include the background as part of the scene.  I processed the RAW files into an HDR using Photomatix Pro 4.2 and then finished the images using Photoshop CS6 and NIK Plugins.  In order to further increase the colorful, abstract approach in creating these images, I let my imagination run free with NIK Color Efex Pro 4 (Tonal Contrast, Detail Extractor, Classical Soft Focus, Brilliance and Warmth) to name a few.  I had almost as much fun processing the images as I did making them.  If you are ever on I-90 near Sioux Falls, SD make it a priority to stop at Porter Sculpture Garden and wander for awhile.  You will be glad you did.  Tell Wayne Laurie says hi and give Bambino a quick pet for me!