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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.

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)

 

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)

 

Morning Reflected

Sunrise Reflected Chase Tower Downtown Phoenix

Yes, it’s another shot of Chase Tower in downtown Phoenix. I’ve taken a few different views and angles of this thing, but none of were taken in the early morning hours as the sun was rising. I photographed this back on December 22nd.

My buddy Rick Young told me months before that I gotta get down there for a sunrise once because the reflection will be amazing.

You were right my friend.

I definitely feel like I need to plan a few more early-mornings out before the sun comes up. Lately I end up being too tired, so I stick to later in the day/sunsets instead. But my last trip out to the Superstitions on January 31st was in the morning and I loved it.

I’m hoping that the weather is awesome this weekend and perhaps another morning drive will be in order.

The Towering Inferno

I’ve never seen The Towering Inferno, but considering it stars Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, it’s probably a good flick. It arrived in theaters sometime in 1974, a full year before I was even born. Despite not ever seeing it, I’ve heard the  name multiple times and it was the film that came to my mind when I was looking at this image for Movie Title Wednesday.

I’ve posted a few shots of Chase Tower since moving downtown (here and here), but I end up going back to it when the background and reflections will be different. One day I will probably have a series of images from this very spot with varying types of weather backdrops.  This was sunrise on Tuesday morning and I wasn’t sure if I had missed it or not, but I headed up to the top of a nearby parking garage and suddenly the sky behind (and to the southwest) of the building exploded in a beautiful orange plume of color. Not only that, but the sky to the east of it was also lit up, so you get a reflection off the building.

There is something so simple and stark about a building framed against a sky with nothing else around it. Almost feels unreal… isolated…lonely. I love it.

Been a great week for weather in Phoenix…amazing morning and evening skies, rainy, gray clouds…and more to come.

Mirror to the Sky

Sometimes you can go light on the processing, sometimes you can go heavy…this photo of the Chase Towers in downtown Phoenix is a bit on the heavy side. There is a plugin called Topaz Adjust and I love the Exposure Color Stretch filter. It can take a good photo and add something unique to it. Most of the time I love the way my images look naturally, but on occasion, I like to shake things up!

I shot this over a month ago…just a few weeks after moving downtown. The exploration of the urban Phoenix area has progressed a bit since then, but mostly I’ve been doing photoshoots of people down there instead of bracketing old buildings and architecture. That changed last night as I took some time post-photoshoot to drive down some alleyways and peer under bridges to see what I could find.

I didn’t post this one earlier because I had already posted another shot of this building last month from a slightly different angle. I figure if you are going to blog more than one angle of a specific structure, you may as well spread that stuff out over a few months. Which may or may not mean I have a third one coming 🙂

Reach for the Sky

The Chase Tower in downtown Phoenix

“Reach for the skyyyyyyy.”

Ah, a favorite line from one of my daughter’s favorite things to watch…Toy Story. I should note…I also love those movies. I find that I can still laugh at them over and over despite the amazing number of times we’ve watched it in our house!

This is Chase Tower in downtown Phoenix, a monolithic structure that immediately caught my eye on one of my first real exploratory drives down there. We’ve now lived down here for a few weeks now and I’m finding more opportunities to explore here and there and in the process of doing that, discovering all kinds of things I want to photograph. This particular skyscraper I believe is the tallest building in Arizona, or at least it was a few years ago. I haven’t see anything that could surpass it as I’ve driven around.

I have several angles of this building, from about 20 feet away looking straight up, to this shot from across the street in a parking garage (a ‘parkade’ for our Canadian friends). I intend to post the others someday, but what struck me the most with this one is the kind of “flaring” clouds behind it.

Six brackets make up this shot, processed in Photomatix and CS5, with a finishing touch using Topaz Adjust. I don’t use Adjust as much anymore, but I do have to say the Exposure Color Stretch is my favorite filter in that entire tool. The image above was done with that filter, and while it gives is a sort of “halo” about it…this was intentional and not an indication of sloppy HDR work *grin*