So I recently took a two-week road trip that I will completely present out of order. The first stop is Memphis, TN in which I stopped briefly on the way in and stayed for a weekend on the way back to Carolina. My friend, Jerry Coleman graciously hosted me and it was great to catch up with him and meet his family. Jerry was my TA during my first design studio in architecture school and though we’ve kept in touch, I hadn’t seen him in at least 15 years. He’s been making it with his design firm for the past several years and might I add, doing quite well!
This is Memphis. There’s much about the city I still have to explore, areas I’d like to revisit and some sites I didn’t get to photograph that I hope to in the future when I visit there again. The night life alone Beale street is a little touristy, I’d eventually like to catch it on an “off” night.
Of course, I shot some of the local landmarks such as the Peabody Hotel and Orpheum Theatre. Though photographing the Orpheum wasn’t quite catching lighting-in-a-bottle such as when I took the Chicago Theater, I was geeked with the final result.
The Orpheum (2012)
The industrial vernacular permeates both traditional manufacturing and shipping structures as well as contemporary office buildings. You can see some of that in the alphabet-block design of MIFA and the Bridges Center near downtown (gee, I wonder what the inspiration for BRIDGES was?)
United Equipment (2012)
One of the places I absolutely had to see was the National Civil Rights Museum, in which I had mixed feelings. Having been so directly impacted by the movement to revisit the circumstances in which Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and what it means, to see exactly where it happened, how it’s been preserved/reconstructed, was an emotional experience. On the other hand, I’m going to have to say – it’s a little touristy and the interior of the main museum could use an upgrade. It’s just weird seeing people take family pictures in front of the wreathe, you know? Anyways, this was one shot I took with my cell phone as I was leaving.
The introductory movie in the theater is well worth seeing all 32:44 – it’s interesting how many things have changed, and how much hasn’t. Incredible how many buzzwords and concepts linger strongly in the majority American mindset to this very day.
That’s about it. Just like most of the road trip, I saw more than I actually photographed, which I think is the point of having a real break! It’s just great getting out to see new places, people, and things. Of course, it’s also nice to revisit old favorites, like White Castle.
By early March, I was near the tail end of my contract work and determined to spend more time in North Carolina. To wrap up some of my travel:
ROCKY MOUNT, NC
I would like to spend more time in this town in the near future. There’s a nice historic downtown and plenty of industrial facilities I’d like to explore further.
I’ve been to Chattanooga several times over the last few years so was more intent on seeing good restaurants and drinking beer than shooting photos. I’ve always enjoyed this time and ventured into the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel for the first time, formerly the Terminal Station in downtown. Hotel is pretty neat; the terminal has the lobby, bar, and restaurant and in the courtyard they’ve got several strings of railway cars that they’ve converted into hotel rooms. What I found most interesting though, was the restroom.
They just don’t do restrooms like that anymore. When I design my own house, I want to install this in the bathroom. By mid-March, I was back in Carolina for good – well, as good as I can be anyways. Last weekend, I did something I haven’t done in forever – take a weekend off, relax, and shoot for fun. I knew that when I became a professional photographer and decided to make a business out of this, there would have less time to get away and shoot photos purely for the fun of it, but you never really anticipate how little time you’ve got. I miss it. It’s become my goal to take more personal photographs within North Carolina’s border over the next couple of years.
I went to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro with the Raleigh Outdoor Photography Club. I don’t really have the equipment to be shooting animals, but it hadn’t been to the zoo in four years and it was fun to walk around and banter with fellow photographers.
Went back to the silo adjacent to the Boylan Street Bridge:
I took two trips to Durham, The first was an evening trip and the second was fellow photog and friend Matt. We pretty much stuck to downtown.
One Way (2011)
Fell Down Yesterday (2011)
I’ve seen this building in downtown Durham for the last decade and have never successfully photographed it. I’ve seen plenty of spectacular photos of this building, but have really struggled with it. Maybe I’ll figure it out someday!
And finally, this is the Durham Performing Arts Center during an opening. Been meaning to shoot this awesome piece of architecture for awhile, glad I finally had the opportunity to do so.
Normal people spend New Year’s Eve in some metropolitan area counting down to the upcoming calendar year. I am clearly not normal and spent it in central Tennessee and western Kentucky.
The biggest surprise of my venture into photography is an affinity towards the rural condition and this was the first real opportunity I had in a couple of years to truly explore a rural area.
There were a few barns I spotted near the Tennessee / Kentucky border – don’t ask where I was…I don’t know.
I find capturing the rural condition during the dead of winter is a story of pure desolation. The following structures and rural landscapes were shot in Adairsville, Slaughters (yes, you read that correctly), and Elton, Kentucky. I know many find traveling through these areas quite boring, but to me, there’s something magical about seeing these isolated objects dotted on the plains.
What amazed me about Kentucky was how intact the rural vernacular was – barns were everywhere, and in very good shape. I think these structures will stick around much longer than the quickly disappearing tobacco barns in North Carolina. The most common paint scheme was a faded burnt red color that I hadn’t seen anywhere else in my travel and dominated the Kentucky landscape. The following was a series of structures on a property in Adairsville.
This old Chevy truck is on display in “downtown” Adairsville.
Several barns, like these two in Adairsville and Russellville had a quilt pattern above the barn door – reminds me of Pennsylvania, actually. I’m not sure the history of these patterns or if they have any purpose besides decoration.
An abandoned trailer en route to Slaughters:
It was amazing all the things you could discover in less than one day’s worth of time. If I ever go back with enough time I want to focus more on the trailers and people who lived in them (scary proposition, I know). Finally, I’ll leave you with a sunset scene in Hopkinsville, Kentucky through barn remnants that seem literally on their last leg.
This blog basically covers some of my travel between October 23 and December 8, 2010 – Spartanburg, Shrevesport, Myrtle Beach, and Nasvhille. Ready? Here goes:
SPARTANBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA
Trespassing at an abandoned truck stop across the street from my hotel:
Abandoned IV (2010)
I hadn’t traveled to Shreveport since visiting with my parents as a teenager. There’s a riverside with a slew of pretty tacky casinos (great food though!) While there, I was very fortunate to have an extra day to roam around by myself and explore downtown a bit:
My black and whites are getting grimier and moodier with every shoot. I’ve been trending this way for the last year and I’m unsure exactly why I’m doing it. Yet.
406 Cotton (2010)
Hotel 6 King Street (2010)
And of course, you know I have to show tagging some love:
MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA
You’d think a trip to the Carolina coast, even in November would be relatively warm, right? WRONG! I woke up at a 5 a.m. to capture the Second Street Pier at sunrise. It was 25 degrees Fahrenheit with a bitter wind chill down into the teens. As I shivered uncontrollably with tripod, camera, and remote trigger in hand, I thought to myself, “So this is what death must feel like.”
Second Street Pier (2010)
By sunset it was much warmer in the low-40′s. This is a scene at the Myrtle Beach State Park Pier. I was actually parked at a different pier when the colors came ablaze and I could see this scene in the distance. Driving to the pier would’ve meant taking about 15 minutes to travel by car, park, and pay a fee to enter the park and get to the pier. Time was of the essence, so I ran (yes, ran) about 1/2 mile with my camera equipment and tripod slung over my shoulder to catch this scene. It’s stunning I didn’t collapse, really.
I’m not sure what happened here…whether I accidentally bumped the tripod, triggered the camera while adjusting or what, but the result of this capture seemed interesting.
And this is the finished “polished” photo.
Sunset over Myrtle Beach (2010)
Nashville. Man, what to say about that. It reminds me a bit of Los Angeles. Huge music scene, respected art scene, and ugly as sin. I didn’t bring myself to capture any of the iconic downtown buildings, though with more time, I might’ve considered it. The afternoon I arrived and parked downtown, I exited my vehicle and caught a baseball lying on the curb:
Love the Game (2010)
…then walked downtown a bit.
Nashville has a slew of industrial and old mercantile and manufacturing facilities that I would’ve loved to explore further. I think it’s enough to merit a return trip just for those buildings.
If you’re an architect or have studied architecture, or visited Greece, you must be like…WTF? Yes. That is exactly what you think it is. It’s an precise true-to-scale replica of the Parthenon in aggregate concrete, the only one of its kind outside of the actual Greek Parthenon. So I had a bit of fun toying with it in black and white.
That’s it for now, everyone enjoy their holiday season and have a great New Year!