Massachusetts State House Dome, Boston, MA

One capitol building closer to completing a bucket list item…

I was in Boston for my friend Daniel’s wedding, but since the only person I knew at the wedding was the groom, I packed my schedule full of sightseeing stuff that I would enjoy. I take two kinds of vacations. I “vacation” and I “travel”… “Vacationing” is staying in the home of friends or family and spending all of my time hanging out with them. “Traveling” is possibly seeing people I know and love, but being on the move constantly taking in the sights. I love both versions and find them equally enjoyable. However, my “travels” make people tired just listening to the litany of things I cram into a short amount of time. What can I say? If you can’t keep up, don’t go on travel with me. (Although, my baby brother says everyone should travel with be because I will “drag your ass to all the things you didn’t know you wanted to see.”)

One of the things I was most looking forward to on this trip was touring the Massachusetts State House. While I got some good photos of the outside back in 2012, I didn’t go inside. Something I’ve regretted for 3.5 years. I had firm plans to rectify that situation, and I did.

Massachusetts State House DomeThe exterior of the dome is gold. Not ostentatious at all. Nooo… The interior wasn’t like anything I expected to see. This is one of the reasons I find capitol buildings so incredibly fascinating. No two are alike and I never know what to expect!

As I approached the interior dome, I could see an abundance of coral-, rose-, and salmon-colored marble. It was beautiful already, and I had no idea what was waiting for me as I passed through the arch.

Massachusetts State House DomeThe arch I passed through is one of many that circle the floor leading into Memorial Hall. The second story has a rail protecting anyone circling the level, but the best view of the paintings on that level is from the floor (primarily because the doors onto the second level are locked). The paintings depict events in Massachusetts’ history… the return of the Civil War flags, the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, the Battle at Concord Bridge (I’ve been there!), and a Puritan minister (John Eliot) teaching the Native Americans. They are gigantic! The overabundance of colored marble is a feast for the eyes. It radiates warmth.

Massachusetts State House DomeAs you move your eyes up… wow! There’s an incredible sight to behold. The interior of the dome is not a rotunda, it’s a stained glass feature. But it’s not a feature, it’s a remarkable piece of glasswork. I don’t even want to guess how many hours went into it.

As you can see from this photograph, the marble work and murals lead toward the obvious centerpiece of stained glass. Finding information on the design of the glass centerpiece is darn near impossible. Normally, I can find a gazillion details about anything I want to research for my travels, but there’s a shocking lack of detail readily available. Fail!

Massachusetts State House DomeI actually stood in the center of the floor and shot photo after photo of the glasswork as I slowly turned 360° so that I could do some editing magic for a square shot showing as much detail as possible. Yes, I could’ve grabbed my wide angle and backed out the shot and then cropped it to a square. However, I prefer to get the highest resolution I can so I have the option of printing photos as poster-sized prints for display in my house or office. For that reason, I’m more apt to close in on an object and then reassemble it electronically. Yes, it’s a bit of a cheat, but I used to be a graphic designer and I think it’s ridiculous to park those skills at the curb and pretend I can’t use technology to my advantage. That’s just crazy talk!

Massachusetts State House DomeThis is my favorite shot.

Yes, the stained glass is actually upside down.


It won’t stop me from matting and framing it if I decide it should be displayed in my gallery. If the photo can stand up to my other photos, I’ll pop it up there.

But I love a shot that has some kind of dynamic involved. From this angle, you can see the domed glass in the center of the stained glass canon. (You can also see where one of the light bulbs on the dome’s rim needs to be changed. Oops. And yes, I could use my technological magic to put a light bulb that’s lit in its place, but surprisingly, the unlit bulb doesn’t bother me.)


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