Monday, November 12, 2007

The World's Only Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota

The World's Only Corn Palace is the north anchor of Mitchell, South Dakota's main street business district. If you've never seen a large building with corn and grain stapled to the sides of it in artistic murals, well that's why they call it "World's Only." It's also known locally as "the world's largest birdfeeder," for reasons that are obvious if you think about it. The murals are changed annually with exceptions made in years of extreme drought when the many colors of corn needed just don't want to grow. Each set of designs follows some theme, such as Lewis and Clark, A Salute to Veterans, Rodeo, etc.

The front of the Corn Palace faces directly west, so gets sunlight best in late afternoon and early evening. In late fall and winter the light also reaches the south side murals.

Due to it's location in a downtown area, angles to shoot the Corn Palace are somewhat limited. Far most common is the shot (below) from diagonally across Main Street on the corner in front of the drive in restaurant.



Finding other angles is a challenge, but using reflections in windows of the shops across the street can give an unusual look.



The practice of annually replacing the murals means there's almost always something different to shoot. Closeups of the clever designs of corncobs and grain make interesting patterns, sometimes with the birds feeding on the art.

Note - August and September are the months when the artwork is usually replaced, so expect to see scaffolding blocking the view as workers tear down the previous year's leftovers and apply the new corn. I think of it as another unique photo opportunity of workmen stapling corn to a building. Where else can you get that?

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