AFIELD

Photography + Adventure

Posts from the ‘Texas’ category

Dallas – Spring

As always, click the pic to make it large. Resolution is at 50% to deter theft. Full Resolution shots are always available for sale.

Ah, springtime in Dallas. One day it is 89 degrees and the next it is 32. Naturally, we arrived on one of the coldest April weekends Dallas has seen in quite some time.  But, being people who aren’t easily daunted (one must never be daunted) we did our best to make the weekend successful – and by successful, I mean that we got re-acquainted with our favorite bartenders and ate a lot of food and bitched about how cold it was.

My office for four days.

Once the chill of the weekend had passed I was able to get quite a bit of work done just west of Downtown Dallas in the Trinity River Reservation as well as one day shooting a parking garage downtown – I chose to work down near the river because now that the flood waters have receded and the grasses mowed it is a great place to search out weird wading birds and be mostly alone in a metro area that appears to be trying for an urban sprawl record. As is usually the case I worked alone except for the day shooting the parking garage with my photo partner, Luci.

Below are a few of the keepers that I made  – keep in mind that in the four days I spent down there I walked over 40 miles and took 500+ photos, most of which were absolute and complete shit. However, any day making crap photos out in the wide open spaces is better than, well, damn near everything. Enjoy!

Read more

The View From Up There

One of my very first digital aerial photos from a flight over Iowa back in 2005. I believe it was taken with a 1.5mp Nikon.

One of my very first digital aerial photos from a flight over Iowa back in 2005. I believe it was taken with a 1.5mp Nikon hence the grain and weird colors.

I recently saw a post on Atlas Obscura by an airline pilot who wrote a book about his job/life (I like the idea of a book-worthy occupation), and in the introduction he displayed window seat photos that were sent in to him by airline passengers. Having taken seemingly countless flights around the world, I too have amassed a large collection of window seat photos since first purchasing a digital camera back in 2004. I’ve always kind of considered these photographs to be a bit of a cliché, but I continue to shoot them anyways because the world looks very beautiful and foreign from way up there. Here is a collection of some of my favorites in chronological order from 2005 until just a few weeks ago. I hope that you enjoy them.
Read more

Bluebonnets at Dawn

So the universe dealt us a nasty wind and a low cloud deck today for our early morning bluebonnet shoot near Bristol, TX. For those of you who aren’t photographically inclined this meant that our long exposure shots were blurry because of the wind shaking the camera/tripod and the flowers. After doing a lot of complaining about conditions, as photographers are apt to do, we managed to get a few good shots as it got lighter – Here they are.

FarField

A dash of vignette here, a bump of contrast there, and Bob's your uncle.

A dash of vignette here, a bump of contrast there, and Bob’s your uncle.

Read more

Spring Flowers

A good friend of mine, and fellow WordPress blogger, has talked me into getting up before dawn tomorrow in order to shoot a field of bluebonnets as the sun rises. I am neither a flower guy nor a morning person, but I will jump at any chance to get into the country and shoot something new. In preparation for the shoot I took a walk along the banks of Turtle Creek here in Uptown Dallas and shot every flower I could find. Here are a few of the better ones. I have not looked up the names of any of the flowers here but you, the reader, can let me know what they are if you feel so inclined. Enjoy.

Flowers1

It looks like a forest floor but it’s actually about twenty feet from a four lane thruway.

Read more

Baker Hotel

This last Saturday my wife and I decided that it was time to stop the July 4th Weekend Drink-Fest and do something more constructive. So we hit the road and started our preliminary explorations of the areas around Dallas. The plan on this day was to go south of town via I-45 then west on I-20 past Fort Worth then jump off on SH-180 towards Mineral Wells. That was the extent of our pre-planning. The interstates around Dallas are the same as anywhere else – busy and full of semi-psychotic individuals in a hurry to go shopping (I assume). Once we got off the interstate we began to see the side of Texas we had imagined. Lot’s of antique yards and oil well services and nodding donkeys and little houses with goats in the yard. I didn’t get many pictures of the interesting roadside stuff because I was driving and I am also not quite comfortable with taking shots of people’s houses – it breeds a bit of distrust and there are a lot of guns out there in the hills.

We didn’t see anything out of the ordinary on the drive until we were about a mile from downtown Mineral Wells. Looming on the western horizon was a large structure that I assumed was a grain elevator because it was the only tall building in town, but as we got closer we could tell that it was a huge building – maybe a hospital or hotel. As we drove right up to it we saw that it was boarded up and that it was awesome.

Jesus Christ! What is That? - Actual first words spoken by us.

Jesus Christ! What is THAT? – Actual first words spoken by us.

As an archaeologist and as one of a pair of very snoopy people, I decided that we must stop and investigate immediately. Now had we done some online research we would’ve found out that this was the Baker Hotel, a 400+ room hotel and mineral spring spa that opened just a few weeks after the great stock market crash of 1929 and closed for good in 1972. We also would’ve found this website that has a ton of pictures and historical ephemera as well as stories about how it is haunted by the former owner’s mistress who threw herself from the top floor – witnesses say they have smelled her perfume and found lipstick stained glasses in her room long after it was empty. The story that creeps me out the most is the one regarding a former elevator operator who enjoyed jumping into moving elevators – he came up short once and despite the help of  bystanders he was ripped in half . His upper torso supposedly haunts the basement corridors screaming in agony. Had we known some of this stuff we probably wouldn’t have snooped around as brazenly as we did.

The grand front lobby through a gap in the boarded up window. Elevators in the background.

The grand front lobby through a gap in the boarded up window. Elevators in the background.

Another shot though a window near the southwest corner of the building.

Another shot though a window near the southwest corner of the building.

Looky-Lous like us aren’t prevented from climbing up to the main-floor veranda and looking in through the gaps in the boarded up windows. There is a lot of evidence of people being inside the hotel after it was closed. Graffiti and beer bottles are in nearly every room. They used to offer tours of the old girl but the failing roof has caused a lot of structural damage so now one faces a $500 fine if found inside – I would gladly pay the fine if I was allowed to roam the halls for an afternoon – a very bright afternoon.

A large room on the south side of the building.

A large room on the south side of the building.

Austin and Houston Represent!

Austin and Houston Represent!

The hotel lodged some very famous people over the years. Everyone from Clark Gable to Lucille Ball to Will Rogers enjoyed the mineral baths and entertainment. Even Bonnie and Clyde stayed here – apparently they enjoyed dancing in the ballroom and some folks say that occasionally their ghosts are seen there dancing cheek to cheek.

Bridge from the main floor to the outdoor pool - The first hotel pool in Texas.

Bridge from the main floor to the outdoor pool – The first hotel pool in Texas.

The owner, T.B. Baker, went to California during the early stages of construction and stayed at a hotel that had a swimming pool. Upon returning he stopped construction and had everything moved to the west to make room for an olympic-sized swimming pool that was to be filled with the local mineral water. The pool was built over the original basement, which was used as an employee area and a changing area for hotel guests.

An overhead shot from Google. That pool is skuzzy.

An overhead shot from Google. That pool is skuzzy.

The rear drive-up entrance. Satan was here.

The rear drive-up entrance. Satan was here.

No Parking. Ever.

No Parking. Ever.

There is something about that smoke-stack that looks crematorium evil.

There is something about that smoke-stack that looks crematorium evil.

In the photo above, right above the first O in the copyright, is a steel door with two broken windows. From a foot away I couldn’t see into the inky blackness so I went to stick my head through to get a better view and got a blast of air in my face that was at least twenty degrees cooler. The sensation threw me back and gave me an all over shiver – even my wife, who was a half block away, noticed me jump back in fear. After that I decided to go across the street and take this picture rather than investigate further. Later on during our explorations near the rear entrance I felt the same thing and realized its the ventilation of the building and that it’s totally normal. I steeled myself and shoved my head back through the hole, flipped up the flash, and took this last photo on our way out of town.

I expected to see a ghost in this picture once I saw it on a computer.

I expected to see a ghost in this picture.

I can assure you that we will be going back to explore the Baker again. If you know of any other places like this in North Texas let me know in the comments.

%d bloggers like this: