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Roadside | Oklahoma & Texas

A few weeks ago we found out my wife’s grandfather passed away. Because air fare at the last minute was expensive for our family of four, we decided to drive the 927 miles to Alva, Oklahoma instead.

We had our two kids in the back and it was a long drive, so stopping to get out of the car and take photos was pretty much out of the question. But when we hit Texas and then Oklahoma, we ended up off the Interstate and started passing these old towns with abandoned buildings. I love that kind of stuff and so badly wanted to take some shots.

So I decided to be quick about it. I would roll down the window, stop, take a quick photo, and keep driving. We were already going 35mph so it wasn’t much of a time-suck. Sometimes I didn’t even stop all the way. The train image was actually my wife holding the wheel while I snapped away.

Was fun to do something different. There are some other things here besides buildings, but mostly I was looking for symmetry and decay. Hope you enjoy.

The first five photos were taken on our way there and it was completely foggy and overcast. The rest are from the trip home.

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

Roadside Series

A painted sunset over uptown Phoenix

20130109-56170-Edit
(please click to view larger on black // canon 5d mark ii, canon 35mm f/1.4 l, iso 100, f/16, 1.3 sec // buy print)

After the storm season ends in Phoenix, we seem to get the “nothing season,” which means temps that aren’t too hot and nothing but sunshine. But sometime in late November towards December, it gets colder and we have our fall/winter time here (even if it’s not like most places) and then the clouds start appearing more often and you get those beautiful sunsets again.

This was from yesterday evening. A sky that looks to be painted on with a brush.

Despite us not having snow or anything, the next 5 days are going to be crazy cold for Phoenix…lows near 20 degrees for 4-5 mornings in a row. Unprecedented. Gonna be interesting.

The city in the water

Motion, Tracks and Buildings - Downtown Phoenix Reflections

(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/5.0, iso 100 // buy print)

There are two very different storm seasons in Phoenix. In the summer, it’s all monsoons and thunderstorms. The rest of the year, it’s just random winter-ish storms that roll through. The summers bring lightning, the winters bring rain.

So in the summers, I go outside of the Phoenix area to chase the weather. In the winters, I head downtown.

One thing I really ended up finding amazingly fun and rewarding was pointing my camera downwards at these giant puddles of water after a winter storm. And I like my images to be of the darker, stormier variety, so I try to do this when it’s dusk and the sun is going down.

It’s not easy…the chance of rain anytime here is usually slim, and then to hope the puddles last until sunset…well, it all makes it a rare occurrence. But I’ve been able to find the opportunity twice now and each time I’ve fallen in love with this kind of composition.

The above photo is the surface of a random parking garage. Tire tracks fly across the image. Two large buildings rise against the dark, angry evening clouds. In fact, it was in the midst of raining off and on at this point, I just happened to catch a break in the action.

This is an HDR image, so you may notice the bit of motion on the surface of the water. That was just some bubbles from a passing car, which I decided to leave alone and not fix.

Back to the Future

Back to the Future - Tire tracks in a puddle in downtown Phoenix

(please click the image so it fills your screen in the event you might have smaller monitor like I do. Also a dark border looks nice with it)

Twice this year I’ve been able to do some stormy sunset reflection shots downtown and I have to say, I absolutely LOVE this kind of photography. But first off, this is Movie Title Wednesday and we’re going with Back to the Future this week!

I remember seeing Back to the Future for the first time as a kid at my aunt’s house. God bless her for renting it that night. My brother and I loved it. And we’ve been huge fans ever since. I’m fairly certain the old, long-gone, Cine Capri in Phoenix did a marathon one day of all three films that we attended.  Anyways, this was such a good movie. A bit of science fiction time travel, but in a way that didn’t seem like sci-fi at all. Great music, awesome writing and of course, Michael J. Fox whom I’ve loved forever.

I went with this movie today because of the tire tracks in the puddle leading off to a firey sunset. Kind of makes you think of the Delorean’s fire trails after  jumping back in time right?

There is something a heck of a lot of fun about finding these scenes in giant pools of water after a storm. It was actually still raining a bit when I was down there, so a few times I had to duck under some shelter to wait for it to end.

(canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/8, iso 100)

The Two Towers

Two Towers Downtown Phoenix Chase Freeport McMoran

Without realizing what I’ve been doing, this has become the second Lord of the Rings movie to be featured on Movie Title Wednesday in the last few weeks. I guess I’m sub-consciously excited for the June 28th release of the entire extended edition version of the trilogy on Blu-Ray for the first time. It’s been pre-ordered for months and soon I’ll be camped out on the sofa for about 12 straight hours.

I’m going to have a heck of time finding an image to represent Return of the King. I dunno if I can do it.

This week we’re going with The Two Towers for obvious reasons. The movie is of course awesome. There are two parts in the film that I could watch over and over and over and…well…over. The charge of the Ents onto Isengard. Wow.

“The Ents are going to war. It is likely that we go to our doom. The last march of the Ents.” – Treebeard

I get chills just thinking about that scene. The other is the appearance of Gandalf and the Riders of Rohan towards the end. So much love for this film. But I could babble all day.

So the image above. On the left is the Chase Tower in downtown Phoenix that I’ve shot a lot since moving down here, and the other is the Freeport McMoran. I ventured downtown on May 18th after a good rainstorm came through, which granted me another chance at some stormy reflection shots and dark skies for architecture shooting. I got stuck in a few spots when it suddenly started raining and I had to hide myself and my camera under a parking garage or two.

But wow do I love being down there shooting during dark weather as the sun is going down. It’s inspiring.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/5.0, iso 100)

 

This Old House

An old, scary house in Kansas

(looks scarier with a dark lightbox around it. Click image to scare yourself)

A little more “farmex” straight from my recent stormchasing trip to the midwest. This image was taken a bit south and west of Wichita, Kansas.

I dig creepy places and shooting them, but unless I got a buddy with me, I’m not sure I could go much closer than this. Wind was blowing, creaking sounds were coming from the house and the surrounding trees…it was definitely giving me goosebumps.

I passed so many places like this. Old, abandoned farms, silos, houses, sheds…it was amazing. Highly recommend Kansas if you are looking for this kind of subject.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, iso 100, f/16, 1/80)

 

The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower - Chase Tower Downtown Phoenix

(click the image to view full size for your resolution, or if you have a humongous monitor, see it larger!)

Ah yes…rain in Phoenix. It’s always awesome. I can be completely “blah” about photography for whatever reason…long days at work, tiredness, blue skies, no motivation, you name it. But rain arrives, stormy skies ensue and suddenly nothing can stop me from getting out and exploring the world.

If you’ve followed me for long, you may have seen a shot or two of Chase Tower in downtown Phoenix. I didn’t go down there last night with the intention of shooting it however. I was looking for reflections again, but as I walked in front of this thing I was just struck by the contrast of colors and so of course I stopped and snapped away.

The clouds up top were moving in and after about 10 minutes it started pouring. But the lower portion of the building showed a few patches of blue sky left behind me and that dynamic was just too compelling to pass up.

I did add a few fun reflection shots to my ongoing series, so I can’t wait to process those down the road.

We’re headed out to Memphis today for our family vacation. As it would happen to be, Memphis is on the edge of having some severe weather this Saturday and after having missed out on most of that last week, I am hoping to get away for an hour or so to snap some great weather photos whilst in Tennessee!

I may be a bit absent on the Twitter/Blog front while we’re gone, so have a great week everyone and keep on shooting.

(exif info: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 21mm, f/16, iso 100)

 

The Town

Downtown Phoenix Reflections

(A much better view can be had by clicking to see with a black border and slightly larger!)

This is probably the first time that a Movie Title Wednesday film has been something so recent. That could mainly be due to the fact I don’t SEE as many movies as I used to what with a kid and all. Before Lyla, my wife and I would tend to see around 1-2 movies a month, always on Saturday mornings with the elderly folks at the earliest possible showing. It’s less crowded, more quiet and then we could always come back home after and taken a nice little nap.

Ah…the good ol’ days when we were just kids.

The Town stars Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner, along with the awesome mad man himself, John Hamm. Fantastic movie, I love that it was set in Boston and it’s one of the best movies Affleck has done in awhile. I really liked how it revolved around what it claimed to be a true story about robbery families being a part of the history of Charleston. There are some really tense scenes, and it reminded me a lot of the film Heat, one of my all-time favs.

Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet.

This image is the final one from my downtown Phoenix reflection series. That series could get a sequel down the road if we ever again see a drop of rain, but for now, this is the last entry. And I couldn’t be more proud of it and the entire series. In fact, this week I will be showing six pieces of art down at First Fridays from 6-10pm at the New City Gallery (more info here) and three of the images are a part of this series. The entire theme will be downtown Phoenix and I’m so excited about doing something way different than the last time I showed.

I will be there from around 6:30pm onwards, so if you happen to live close by, I would love to see you again, or meet you for the first time, whatever. There are going to be some other great artists, live music and food/wine. It’s a great night to be downtown and is also going to be the last of the New City Gallery’s First Fridays until the fall.

My wife saw the above image and asked if I did a texture overlay on it or something, because the reflection kind of makes it hard to tell. But no, this is just a puddle of water over a concrete slab with some awesome stains on it. I especially love the glowing “rift” near the top that was likely some leaked oil at some point now a part of the surface.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 100, f/10)

The Remains of the Day

(Please click on the photo to see it larger…my lightbox plugin gets lonely sometimes)

Today’s Movie Title Wednesday film may be obscure for some of you out there. In fact, it’s kind of obscure for me too considering I only saw it once and it came out in 1993. My wife (then girlfriend) and I worked together at a movie theater back in those days and so we’d pretty much see everything that came out as long as the reviews were decent.

The Remains of the Day was a classic, well-done film. At least, I remember thinking it was one of the good ones. Check out the rating it has on IMDB…8.0…that’s high. I don’t remember much about it other than Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson were in it and it was one of those period-piece movies that not as many people go to see as they should.

My wife and I used to crave seeing stuff like that and it kind of makes me miss those good ol’ days. If you want to broaden your horizons a little bit, check it out…the performances are superb.

This photo is part of my little “Reflection” series that I started last week with a shot called “Criss Cross.” The movie’s plot doesn’t necessarily correlate too well with the image above, but the name of it certainly has quite a few layers of meaning.  The shot was taken after a rainstorm in downtown Phoenix after the sun had just disappeared. So you can kind of see the rain being a “remnant” of the day’s storm. It also should be fairly easy to connect the number “24” to a certain amount of hours in a day. There might be a few other links to the title, but I’ll let you make your own conclusions.

If anyone wonders how close I was to changing this series to TV Title Wednesdays so I could use a certain show starring Jack Bauer…it was definitely on my mind. *grin*

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/10, iso 100)

Criss Cross

Criss Cross - Downtown Phoenix Reflections Rain

(image looks sharper and clearing by clicking on it to view in lightbox)

I rarely do “series” on my blog, because if I do they just get strung out for weeks at a time since I like to change things up on a daily basis. At that point it’s hard to keep track of them. But yesterday I started an “Over the Fence” series and today this is kind of the beginning of what will start out as a small “Phoenix Reflections” series.

Last week after we had a rare moment of rain, I decided to head downtown around dusk to get some reflection shots. My Dark City image last week was the first shot I took, but then I forced myself to start looking “down” instead of “up” or “out.”

Sometimes if you want to stay on task, you just have to make yourself focus.

So I found a nice, flat parking lot full of large puddles and started exploring their reflections. It was a beautiful time of evening, with the sun having just set, some murky clouds hanging around and awesome contrast in the asphalt with the striping. I made it a goal to keep the reflections based around the buildings around me.

Had a lot of fun and wished this particular moment in time had lasted three hours instead of 20 minutes.

I have a few more shots from that night, but this may become an ongoing series depending on the frequency of rain we get here…so it may be months *grin*

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 27mm, f/10, iso 100)