Drink at the Duce

This is another shot from The Duce, a hidden gem in downtown Phoenix that we discovered a few weeks ago. The inside is crazy…there is a boxing ring, restaurant, vintage shop, bar, bleachers for Suns games and more. While the inside probably demands some HDR attention from me down the road, on this night I was focused mainly on grungy walls and alleyways, and the west side of the building was calling my name.

I absolutely love the sign on this wall, right down to the font and layout of the name of the building. The way the light from behind the metal cutout shows you not only the name, but some of the brick details behind it is awesome. That light also helped illuminate the area below it and highlight a few other things. There is just so much about this wall I loved…the textures in the bricks and doorway, the sidewalk, the vertical “drink” and the specks of light coming through the square windows on either side (which you can see better if you view the larger version).

I definitely would like to head back inside the place at some point to snatch some shots of the awesomely quirky interior.  The boxing ring is kind of stuck in my head and I know I must capture it someday.


(Canon XSi, Tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, ISO100, F8, Six Exposures, HDR)

Feels like it’s been awhile since I just went out shooting for “me” instead of client photoshoots…and I have to say, Sunday evening was a lot of fun. I had a short, 40 minute shoot at 4pm, so that left me with a bit of daylight to explore the downtown Phoenix area a bit more. I drove down some alleyways, stopped under bridges and saw some things I hadn’t known were there before.

There is one real takeaway from my urban exploration trips…I’m a chicken. The sun was down, the light fading…every now and then I’d see a homeless person walk by at the end of the alleyway, or even just a random guy in a hoody headed south towards an old neighborhood. I should feel safe down there (I think)…afterall, this was just a block or two from the US Airways Center and an impending Suns game 2 hours away. But in the quiet dusk hour…looking at the side of an old building in a deserted alleyway…it’s super-easy for me to get creeped out. And this is with my car parked right behind me *grins sheepishly*

Still, I love doing this and it’s probably just a matter of doing it more and more and getting over those nerves.

I loved this wall though…the loading dock doorway was amazing and the various colors all over the bricks was awesome. I don’t have a tilt-shift lens, but I wanted to bring the focus to the door, so I blurred the left side just a bit.

Need to get back down around this area and shoot a bit more. So much awesome stuff down here…in fact, I may use this spot for an upcoming shoot with a guitar-playing family of four.