I have lived in Michigan my whole life (except for one year I lived in Virginia, but that is another story) and have never visited our state’s capitol building. Given my love for architecture it seems especially absurd I have neglected to visit and photograph the beauty within its walls. For shame!
You can visit the capitol building and take a guided tour for free; but also have the option to self tour, here is one document I found online chock full of capitol building history that I found fascinating – so I won’t regale you with tons of facts here 😀.
Bryan Levy, a friend and fellow photographer, accompanied me to Lansing to visit the capitol building. We parked the car and walked towards our destination, noticing the clouds parting and showing us some blue skies for a few minutes.
We proceeded to walk around the building towards the front door. This door at first didn’t seem too impressive for a front door, until I realized it was a door along the side of the building.
Walking further we came across the main entrance, and it of course did not disappoint!
The details on the front doors and lamp posts were amazingly beautiful!
The skies started to cloud over so we took the opportunity to enter the building. We decided to forego a guided tour since we were there to take photos this time around but I would love to go back and get a tour to learn more about it’s history. Of course we encountered several groups of third graders and other visitors which made shooting the space a bit challenging, as most of my images were attempting to capture the whole space and yes many people walked through while I was shooting. But that is to be expected here and thankfully the congresspeople were on recess so it was quieter than expected.
The first floor isn’t all that spectacular, except for the ceiling looking up to the second floor rotunda. We could see people walking along the floor as we looked up.
We quickly made our way to the stairway, and that is when the breathtaking architectural details began to unfold. The first thing I noticed was these large chandeliers with deer on them, which can be found throughout the building.
The hallway led to the rotunda where past state flags are kept behind glass. The glass tiles are opaque and when below can see people walking above you!
We had to quickly take advantage of the clear rotunda to get the shot looking straight up to the dome. As you can guess, I took many photos of the dome from each of the upper floors (there are five floors total).
Time to move on to the third floor, using the stairs and stopping to capture them at the same time.
On the third floor we see the past governor galleries along the walls on the third and fourth floors.
Took this side staircase to the fourth floor…
where we found both the Senate Chamber…
and the House Chamber.
The coffered ceiling in the House Chamber features the coat-of-arms for each of the 50 states, as well as Victorian and Michigan themes. Gorgeous!!
The fourth floor has the best vantage point to photograph the dome in my opinion, which is the crowning jewel of the building.
I could have shot it all day!
The fifth and final floor has four balconies and the closest you can get to the dome. We saw people walking on the walkway near the windows at the top of the dome but couldn’t figure out how they got up there. To be honest, with my fear of heights I most likely wouldn’t have gone anyway!
My final image is a 5-image panorama of the fifth floor. I am so glad I finally made the trip to see this fantastic architectural marvel and I look forward to my next trip! If you are interested in purchasing any of these images you can find them in my print shop here.