Let’s get this out of the way right now. In case you’re wondering, no, the clouds were not exactly like this when I took this picture of the Palm Springs Visitor Center.
That’s not entirely true. The clouds on the right side of this iconic structure are natural and looked just like this when we visited Palm Springs between Christmas and New Years’ last year. On the left side of this hyperbolic paraboloid at the time I took this was a clear blue sky with a bit of the mountains showing at the base of the image.
As I looked at the original image with the symmetry of the building, it seemed incredibly obvious to me to turn this into more of a composite and take the clouds from the right and mirror them on the left.
Now, I appreciate if this is not your cup-of-tea. But for me, I think it really makes the image. Here’s the original shot below. You can decide for yourself which one you prefer.
About the Structure
Regardless of which photo you prefer (if either of them!), this is one of the most iconic buildings in Palm Springs, California.
It is now the Palm Springs Visitor Center, but it was originally the Tramway Gas Station and its construction was completed in 1965 and is considered to be a prime example of modernism in architecture.
Without a doubt, the defining feature of this building is the cantilevered, wedge-shaped canopy. There’s a sign on the building that describes this shape technically as a hyperbolic paraboloid.
If you go to Palm Springs, be sure to stop here. It’s on Highway 111 and serves as the entrance to the Palm Springs Tram.