Thank you so much to everyone for making 2012 a fruitful, successful year. I’m truly blessed to have the best clients and supporters that I could ever hope for, to get to see, partake, and share everything I’ve been able to. These are my favorite photographic memories of the last year. Again, it’s been a thrilling ride, so thank you and see you in 2013!
Finally, the last blog from my road trip through Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas. If my vegetarian and vegan followers will forgive the metaphor, but this is blog is 100% red meat – nothing but architecture, baby – no filler. Actually, you’ll also need to forgive me for the literal interpretation because that’s exactly what I ate a TON of while in Texas. Did I eat unholy fried foods at the Texas State Fair before Big Texas burned down? YES I DID. Did I have Texas barbecue, Freebirds, and Whataburger? You bet. Did I chase that all down with Shiner? Seems only proper.
The speed limit in Texas ROCKS. I don’t even know why they bother posting numbers anymore, they just need to have road signs that claim “SPEED LIMIT: LOL“.
Texas will always have a fond place in my heart. For a place in which I lived only six years, the majority of my close, long friendships are with people who currently reside or used to live in the state. I got to see a slew of them in Dallas, whether they lived in town or happened to be visiting at the same time, some for business and others to witness Texas obliterated by Oklahoma. So I actually didn’t shoot very much, I mostly saw the wonderful people I’ve been blessed with in my life.
Before I get too much further – if you’re reading this right now, you’ve likely been following my two-week long road trip. What? NOOOOOO? Well, the below links will catch you right up!
At the earliest opportunity, I went downtown to the Dallas’ art and museum district – it’s the first time I’ve been there since many of those buildings were under construction. What was the first thing I decided to see?
The Museum Tower condos. Not because it was some cathedral of architecture but the hilariously tragic circumstances of its construction. Adjacent to this middle-finger that resides in the heart of the museum district is the Nasher Sculpture Museum designed by one of my favorites, Renzo Piano. The museum is built into the sloped city block, with a glass roof above illuminating the displays below. Thanks to the glass skin of the Museum Tower, not only is the artwork inside endangered but surrounding landscape and trees.
As the sun began to lower, I experienced firsthand the brightness and heat reflecting of this building. It’s a veritable furnace. If you’re in the Dallas area, there’s no need for a tanning booth – just spend an hour in front of those condos on a nice day.
After cackling in commiseration how commercial developers can pretty much ruin anything if they set their minds to it, I checked out buildings that didn’t exist the last time I came here.
First stop was the Wyly Theatre, designed by another one of my favorites, Rem Koolhaus.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go inside as there were no showings and closed to the public. It’s a shame because I wanted to see the building transform into a robot. Further, the exterior wasn’t lit so I didn’t get to see the architecture and urban landscape to its full impact. Thankfully, Mother Nature saved the day.
Another place I didn’t photograph was across the street at the Winspear opera house, as a matter of bad timing. There were outdoor events, but nothing going inside the theater, so the lights never turned on. The day hours were either too cloudy, or there was too much activity going outside to get relatively clean shots.
One of my very good friends, an architect in Dallas recommended checking out the new Calatrava bridge and Perot Museum of Nature & Science by Morphosis. She was right about the Calatrava Bridge – you kind of wondered if he did the design himself or if he just had an intern do it; it would feel more exciting if I hadn’t seen all of his other work which is much more stunning. I may bother attempting to photograph it when I have more spare time.
The Perot building, under construction, is the first Morphosis design I’ve ever seen closeup. Next trip to Dallas, I’ll be interested in scoping the outside a bit more along with the exterior.
I also returned to a design of another one of my favorite architects (yes, you’re noticing a trend here), Tadao Ando – the Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth. I first visited this building in 2006 in the early throes of pursuing photography as a hobby while still grappling with my Canon 10D, so wanted to see how I’d capture the building today.
Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth (2012)
While on this trip, I got to meet Jason Witherspoon, a Dallas fine-art and architectural photographer. We’re both self-taught, entered photography from different professions, and experienced early success in fine-art; he did it in less than a year and I’m interested in observing how he progresses and grows over the years. We talked shop – business, equipment, prints, digital processing, and of course – the capture. It’s a super-interesting and fun educational experience talking with someone who captures similar subject matter but with a drastically different style and approach to your own. It’s even more fun to shoot with ‘em. He told me about the Irving Convention center which I did not know about. HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS BUILDING? It’s a photographer’s playground, so he took me out there.
The above image was captured with my Canon 5D Mark II and 17mm tilt-shift lens. The below image was captured with Jason’s Nikon D800 and 24mm tilt-shift. Now – I do think Canon maintains an advantage over Nikon with their tilt-shifts, but they’re losing ground with their camera bodies. Right now, not only are Nikon’s latest bodies cheaper – they’re straight-up better. Hey, CANON – if you can make a $3200 camera that good, I will buy it, you’ve given me zero reason to upgrade to 5D Mark III, I’d rather just jump to one of your 1D series.
Inside the Frame (2012)
Okay, no more bitching at Canon – this piece of architecture was a great opportunity to do what I love most – manipulate the heck out of presenting a building with wide angles and tight crops.
Heaven’s Gate (2012)
Split Level (2012)
Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuup, that was as much fun as it looked like. Maybe next time around I’ll spend more time in the area to some greater detailed exploration for these and other sites.
First, I’d like to thank the gracious hosts in Texas who made the remainder of my blitzkrieg Texas tour wonderful memorable. So much appreciation to Jamie, Dina & Trey, Reb and her ever-creative beansprout, Clayton, and Stephanie.
Though I went through the cities of Austin, San Antonio, and Houston in a 48-hour span, I only took the time to capture photographs in downtown Houston. For exactly 25 minutes. Before I got caught in a torrential downpour.
First, I want to thank my Dallas friends for being such gracious wonderful hosts and dealing with my topsy-turvy schedule- James, Chanda, Haewon & Dan, Marcia, Steve & Cindy, Laura & Bob. It was wonderful to see and hang out with all of you even if it was for a brief spell. Next time I’ll try to make it a bit longer.
And it was good to eat Freebirds again. For those of you who have not had the experience of Freebirds, please observe the following pecking order of American-type Mexican grills:
Freebirds > Chipotle > Moe’s.
In fact Freebirds = 2 (Chipotle + Moe’s)
It was originally a Texas A&M thing that has now franchised in several cities across the state. If you visit to Texas, go to Freebirds. I’m ordering you do so.
Dear North Carolina State Fair: please don’t de-friend me on Facebook for what I’m about to present in this blog. I still like you. Really, I do!
Summarizing the State Fair of Texas requires sensitive and superfluous vocabulary and grammar. I must string together my words in a detailed descriptive way that truly captures this experience.
OMIGOSH, THE STATE FAIR OF TEXAS IS FRIGGIN HUGE!
LOOK! WHEN YOU GET IN, SOME GINORMOUS INFLATABLE BEHEMOTH OF A TEXAN GREETS YOU! ITS DISTURBING DETACHABLE JAW OPENS AND WORDS COME OUT OF ITS MOUTH! AVOID IT SO IT DOESN’T EAT YOU!
THE JOINT IS SO LARGE THAT THERE’S A FOOTBALL STADIUM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GROUNDS! UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AND UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA WERE PLAYING COLLEGE FOOTBALL IN THE CENTER OF THE WHOLE THING WHILE I WAS THERE! PEOPLE WERE EVERYWHERE, MUST’VE BEEN OVER 100,000 PEOPLE ON SITE AT ONCE! THOUSANDS OF CUTE CLONE-LIKE COLLEGE GIRLS IN COWBOY BOOTS WERE INFESTING THE ENTIRE CITY!
SEE THAT AUTOMOBILE ADVERTISEMENT BELOW? THOSE AREN’T PICTURES OF CARS, THOSE ARE ACTUAL VEHICLES PARKED INSIDE OF A DISPLAY CASE! IN THE CENTER? IS A LIVE PERFORMANCE STAGE! THE TEXANS ARE ABSOLUTELY OUT OF THEIR MINDS!
SEE THAT FERRIS WHEEL? IT’S MONSTROUS! THE LARGEST NORTH CAROLINA FERRIS WHEEL FITS WITHIN THE CONCENTRIC LETTERS FORMING “TEXAS STAR”!
A LENGTHY SKY-TRAM RUNS FROM ONE END OF THE MIDWAY TO THE OTHER EVEN THOUGH THE ENTIRE PLACE IS ON FLAT LAND! NOT A SKI SLOPE OR HILL IN SIGHT!
And at the vision of Big Tex’s lack of a posterior, the amazement suddenly grinds to a halt. Now you know why he needs that big ‘ol belt. He sort of reminds me of some of my university professors…
I went to the State Fair on Saturday with Marcia and on Sunday with Chanda. To update everyone on the food report, I had during those two days: Italian sausage, a chicken leg fit for a viking, and fried cheesecake.
It was so good, I had the fried cheesecake twice. Wasn’t what I expected…it was like a warm crepe with cheesecake filling.
I’m not sure what it was like at the NC State Fair, but the fried butter at the Texas Fair was selling like hotcakes. To further stretch the limits of your gastrointestinal system, how about some chocolate-dipped jalapenos?
Yes, you read that right. The sign claims fried peanut butter macaroons. To further make your mouth saliv…well, do something, this vendor also had fried honey buns, fried pralines, and fried marshmallows.
A couple of more snapshots and say g’night to the State Fair of Texas! It was huge, man. Literally.
Texas was good. Birthday was good. Basically did Austin, San Marcos, and Dallas. Half of the people I saw were reallllllly sick, but we made the most of it anyway. Good times with good friends. Ate all the food at all of the places I used to love to eat. I took a total of about 150 pictures. Which for a 4 day trip is pretty measly – that should tell you how unfocused I was on photography. That’s pretty much all of the detail you’re getting from me here – below are photos from the trip.
Back to studying. Sometimes I wonder if I’m ever going to finish taking (and pass) all of these exams.