Monday, March 4, 2013

A Day With a Camera

Sorry, this is going to be a very long post. Generally I break long, diverse shoots down into to sections or possibly only just post what I feel is the most interesting. For once I thought it might be fun to go through an entire weekend day. Sort of a chronology of a day out with a camera.

I know people that can go out with specific goals in mind—I seldom do. I go out, wander around, and hopefully come home with some photographs. Alcy had Sunday off so we called Debi to see if she would join us. We met at Denny's at 8am for breakfast with no other plans than heading out. The only thing discussed was possibly working on a camera club competition Object in Motion.

We headed downtown. There is another Color Run coming up in late March and we were discussing the route. This one is going over the Elysian Viaduct so we drove over the viaduct to get an idea of what we might have for background. At the north end we decided to turn toward the more industrial area on the east. The first thing we came to that caught our eye was a series of metal panels. I was surprised to find them still there as Janet and I had photographed them back when we were working on the Outdoor Art in Houston project some years ago. We shot a few photographs.

Leaving there we found ourselves on the corner of Jensen and Lyons. Debi and I had shot an 'art park' on Lyons a few months ago so we decided to check it out. While we where there a group of girls came up and I asked if they would pose on the stage. I hope Alcy or Debi got something I didn't. However one of the girls had bright orange sunglasses so I asked her to set for a head shot. Other than that I did a few abstracts.

Leaving the park we went back to Jensen and continued south. On Jensen in the area of Clinton Drive there is a open field that provides a fair shot of the Houston skyline. We pulled around behind what appears to be a large vacant building only to find the road lined with dumped trash. Well, I am not one to turn down a trash pile. I also thought using the trash as foreground might be interesting.

We drove on out Jensen to the intersection with Navigation. Back in the seventies one of Houston's illustrious mayors thought that the Hispanic population in that area needed a really fancy mall all their own. All Houston mayors are deep in the pockets of the land developers which probably had much more to do with building the mall than the stated aim. The Mercado was extremely nice with beautiful Hispanic influenced architecture and even a large courtyard between the street and the mall for outdoor entertainment. Needless to say, after the fact, it was discovered that the Hispanic population really likes to shop were everybody else shops and the life of the Mercado was very short. It sit empty for probably ten or fifteen years until another mayoral financial backer got the land and the mayor got a kick back and now the Mercado has been replaced by townhouses. The only thing that remains is the courtyard. The sun was shining brightly, the shadows were interesting so we stopped to shoot.

Across the street from the Mercado is St Vincent's Catholic Church. Dick Dowling, one of the heroes of the Civil War in Texas is buried in the graveyard at St Vincent's. I have gone by numerous times to get a photograph of Dowling's gravesite but the graveyard is fenced and the only access is through the church. Well, mass had just let out so we entered the cemetery through the church's courtyard. As is typical of Hispanic churches, there were numerous vendors selling food, religious art and a number selling trinkets related to their traditional celebration of Easter. After we had done our photographs we went back and joined the crowds. The people were extremely friendly and we talked with a number of the vendors about the items they were selling as well as the history of the church. We decided to purchase something to eat. As we were leaving we ran into the priest and he invited us in to shoot the interior of the church. There was another mass scheduled but he encouraged us to photograph during mass. We decided against interfering with or disrupting the service. We decided to continue on out toward the ship channel and come back later.
There is a life sized sculpture of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the courtyard. The light was very bad except on the face of Juan Diego, but I do want to go back and shoot the rest of the sculpture early in the morning. There were dozens of flower offerings around the base. We thought maybe we had stumbled onto a feast day but was told that is in December and the offerings were a regular Sunday occurrence.

Waiting for the mass to finish we drove over to Canal and out to the turning basin of the ship channel, stopping along the way for a few shots at the East Side Social Center.

We drove out to Brady's Landing before heading back to the church. I did not take many photographs inside since there were still a large number of people still there. We did talk with one of the young priests and got an okay to come back during the week to photograph the artifacts, which I am going to do. I think it is interesting, in small Catholic Churches, in small town churches in general, they seem to welcome photography. The only time there has ever been a problem was at a Catholic church in a more upscale Houston neighborhood. Debi and I even photographed inside the Co-Cathedral in downtown Houston without incident.

Many years ago I discovered a house on a side street off of Almeda that had a yard full of folk art. I always intended to see if I could get permission to photograph it. After leaving the church we decided to see if we could find it. That area has changed so much in the last ten years. I can't believe the number of townhouses being built in Houston. I am assuming that the home with the folk art got swallowed up by the building. We decided to head back to Discovery Green downtown as that was where we had started earlier that morning when we left Denny's. We probably spent a hour or so there.

It was getting late in the day and we still had not worked on Object in Motion so we decided to head over to the Downtown Aquarium for the amusement rides. We parked near the George Bush Memorial and walked along Sesquicentennial Park back to the Aquarium.

By the time we got to the Aquarium the light was fading, just what we wanted. Don't know that I got anything that I will use for the competition but at least it is a start.

We wrapped it up at the Aquarium and headed to Denny's to get something to eat and to pick up Debi's car. I simply do not understand when someone says that they can't find anything to photograph. I am not saying that any photograph I took is of any great value but I enjoyed them. From cut out metal panels, to an art park and sunglasses, to a pile of junk behind an abandoned building, to shadows, to a graveyard, to a church, to colorful murals in an Hispanic area, to Discovery Green and the Downtown Aquarium--my world is full of photographic possibilities. And we drove past a couple thousand that would have served as well.

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