Seattle's Funky Library

Here is another shot of the Seattle Central Library.  I posted another photo of this building back in March.  You can see it here:

http://brook-ward.com/blog/2015/3/5/seattle-central-library

This building is so weird.  I don’t even know how to describe it.  When I looked it up later, the architect couldn’t even put a specific design style on this structure.  Maybe modern contemporary is the best way to describe it.  There are lots of funky angles, bright colors, unusual spaces.  Around every corner, the building design changes to the point that they don’t even go together.  So I felt like I was in a different building when I changed areas within the building, instead of one continuous building.  So my take on this building is that it fits the Seattle culture. 

I took this photo from the 4th floor balcony looking out at the building support structure and the diamond shaped glass exterior wall.  Like I said, funky!!!

If you ever get to Seattle, check this place out.  

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To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Redwood Trees

I realize this isn’t a technically perfect photograph.  The “Pure-ist” would rip this photo apart and tell me all the problems with it.  But I don’t care.  There is something about this photo that just makes me happy.  I think it reminds me of the actual experience of standing there in Muir Woods National Park looking up at these huge, majestic trees.  It was so peaceful with the sun shining through……  Or maybe I’ve just been working too hard and my mind has turned to jello.  Regardless, I like it.

Smithfield United Church of Christ

Here is an oldie.  I took this picture a few years ago, but never posted it for you.  I don’t know why, because I really like it.  It just kept falling to the bottom of the list.  Anyway, I am sorry for the delay, but now you have it.  This is the Smithfield United Church of Christ in downtown Pittsburgh.  What’s cool about this is that the church is on the 2nd floor of the facility.  Once you get up there, you enter this wonderful hidden treasure.  

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Barbados Post Sunset

So it is currently sunset time at my house in Pittsburgh while I type this.  So I think it is fitting that I post a sunset photo.  I selected this photo from Barbados.  I actually took this photo about ten minutes after sunset.  Just a wonderful spot to enjoy a sunset!  Don’t you agree?

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

US 279

This shot has been done by dozens, if not hundreds of Pittsburgh photographers.  Regardless, I wanted to capture my version of this popular spot.

This is taken from a pedestrian overpass that crosses 9 traffic lanes of US 279 looking back south towards the city.  The overpass has a chain link fence along the entire bridge, but someone (not me) cut holes in it just for photographers to take this picture without the fencing getting in the way.  Again, I’ll stress it wasn’t me.  The holes were already there when we showed up.  Below I included a behind the lens photo taken with my iPhone to show you our set up (my camera next to Brad’s camera).  The hole in the fence was small, so we had to work close to each other.

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To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

My camera on the left, Brad's on the right.  It was nice of someone to cut this hole for us.

My camera on the left, Brad's on the right.  It was nice of someone to cut this hole for us.

MLK & Washington Monument

It is almost time for my annual pilgrimage into Washington D.C. for the Baldrige Examiner training.  While I am there, I try to get into the city to photograph as much as possible.  That’s my plan this year as well, along with having dinner with my cousin Eric.  Should be fun.

This photo is from last year’s trip.  As you can tell, this is the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background.  

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Broken Arrow

During our Pink Jeep tour on the Broken Arrow trail near Sedona, we stopped at a spot called Chicken Point.  While we were there, I took this picture.  I have no idea if this mountain has a name.  I just liked the looks of it.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

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To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Here is the behind the lens video:



Matthew

Tonight I have something different for you.  Outside of football, I almost never take people photos.  But earlier this week, the local modeling agency sent over their new talent….Matthew.  Matthew, his crew and I had a great time.  We had about an hour of Matthew’s valuable time and captured some great images of him while he vogued for us.  So here is Matthew….

Matthew

Matthew

Strip District Sunset

Last week I posted a different angle of this bridge from my photo walk with Dave and Brad.  As I mentioned in that post, we spent a long time on the bridge capturing it from different point of views and with different light as the evening transitioned to night.  This one is prior to sunset…standing in the middle of the road…

Here is the link to the other post I mentioned above: http://brook-ward.com/blog/2015/4/2/david-mccullough-bridge

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Chapel of the Holy Cross

This church is surprisingly small on the inside and not as pretty as I expected.  The outside is a total opposite.  All beauty…….

This chapel was commissioned by local rancher Marquerite Brunswig Staude in 1957.  It was built on Coconino National Forest land and required a special-use permit.  They constructed it within 18 months and spent a total of $300,000 to complete the project.  Marquerite said that the “….chapel has a universal appeal.  Its doors will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed,……”  Her wish has become reality.  The chapel has amazing appeal and thousands of visitors enter the facility every day.  And the doors to the chapel are opened every day to allow the visitors access.   What a cool, unique, and wonderful place.  Add the spot to your “must visit list”.  

Oh, one more thing of interest.  This chapel sits on the so-called Sedona Vortices…..

By the way, if you celebrate Easter, I hope you have a wonderful Easter.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

David McCullough Bridge

I had a great photo walk this week with David and Brad Truxell.  We started at the 31st Street Bridge, but quickly moved down to the 16th Street Bridge (also called the David McCullough Bridge).  We spent 90% of our time on the 16th Street Bridge taking photos of it and the city from every angle. 

So tonight’s photo is a close up of the 16th Street Bridge steel work at the base of the giant arch.  This was one of the first photos I took at that bridge.  It was also the first one I processed.  I just had an idea that I’d like it.  Guess what?  I do. 

The David McCullough Bridge is a through arch bridge that spans the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh.  It was built in 1922 and spans 1,900 feet.  It was added to the list of National Register of Historic Places in 1979.  By the way, David McCullough was a native historian, author and commentator.    

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

Well, I’ve been thinking about how to mix things up a little on the blog.  I am concerned that I’ve been posting to many photos from my most recent trips.  So tonight, I am posting a picture from a photo walk I did a few years ago.  I’ve never shared any pictures from this spot.  I hope you enjoy tonight’s mix up.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Detroit Graffiti

Here is another picture from my trip to Detroit last summer with Jay Cassidy.  Work and my volunteer activities have had me very busy lately.  Sorry I missed posting anything the last few days.  And tonight’s blog post will be short as well.  Have a great weekend.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Urbex Mecca - Detroit

This article was originally posted on NikonRumors.com on December 28, 2014.  You can see that post HERE

I am reposting my article on my blog tonight. 

Urbex Mecca: Detroit - by Brook Ward:

About me: Let me start by introducing myself.  I am photographer based out of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and enjoy underwater, sports and HDR photography.  Since I don’t get to scuba diving as often as I’d like, most of my photography is focused on landscape and architecture HDR work.  I know, I know….you don’t like HDR.  I get it and I understand it isn’t for everyone.  I practice HDR on the “softer side”, which I think gives it great color but isn’t over saturated.   You can see more of my work at http://brook-ward.com

Thanks: I’d like to thank Peter at Nikonrumors.com for featuring me a second time on nikonrumors.com.  The last time my post was about Shark Photography.  You can see it here: http://nikonrumors.com/2014/01/11/guest-post-shark-photography.aspx/.  Anyway, I truly appreciate the opportunity to share some thoughts, my experience and some pictures with you again. 

Before I get into the main article, I have a few additional housekeeping items around location sensitivity and safety/danger:

Location Sensitivity: There is a very real sensitivity in the Urbex community about keeping abandoned facility locations a secret so that individuals don’t go to these spots to destroy the properties.  Everyone I know who participates in this kind of photography, loves and respects the sites.  They see the real beauty in the buildings, enjoy the history, and don’t want to see anyone destroy the site any faster than Mother Nature’s progress.  Basically the old phrase of…”take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but foot prints” fits Urbex photographers.   So normally, I wouldn’t give details on an abandoned building location unless it is already well know.  In this article, every spot I am talking about is very well know and a quick Internet search will provide anyone the location within seconds.  So I am okay with providing you some details here.  If you go, just respect the site and be safe.

Safety/Danger: Abandoned buildings, structures, facilities and campus’ can be very dangerous places.  Here is a incomplete list of concerns that everyone should know about, be prepared to deal with, and avoid:

·      Unsavory elements of society who also hang out at these locations.  These can range from homeless individuals with mental illnesses to gangs using these locations as a base of illegal activity. 

·      Police who sometimes monitor these locations for the community’s safety, protect the land owner and to watch the individuals in the first bullet point

·      Wild animals…enough said.

·      The buildings themselves can be very dangerous as they are falling apart and may have substances that are dangerous to your health such as asbestos and hazardous chemicals.  So use common sense to avoid falling through a rotted floor, into an empty elevator shaft, or getting a substance on you or in you that could cause harm.

This list isn’t even close to a complete list of the dangers, but it gives you the big items to watch out for while at an abandoned facility.

Detroit Urbex: One element of architecture photography that I really enjoy is abandoned structures.  I just love exploring sites that haven’t been used in years, checking out the old architecture and construction styles, and discovering their current state as Mother Nature works toward restoring the land.  So I’ve want to hit Detroit for a few years.  Due to the economic crash in 2008, Detroit was devastated with massive unemployment, population decline, infrastructure issues, bankrupt city, and thousands of abandoned homes, schools, hospitals, office buildings, factories, etc…  Before Detroit started to make a come back (which I hope will happen), I wanted to get there and experience what has become the worldwide mecca for urbex photographers.  Below you’ll find what I hope is entertaining and a summary of our experience photographing this once great city (and maybe great again some day).

Last summer I had a few vacation days to burn, so I contacted a fellow photographer friend and urbex admirer to see if he wanted to join me on this trip for safety reasons.  I didn’t think it would hurt that he is a former football player.  He was willing, able, and excited about it, but I warned him that I wanted to do some serious shooting.  I wanted to use every possible moment we had to capture as much as possible.  His response was perfect; he stated he was “prepared to work”.  And we did! 

In advance of the trip, we did some scouting via the Internet and I contacted some local Detroit photographers to get some tips.  Armed with a photography shot/location list, some history on the sites, and local advice we hit the road.  We arrived in Detroit around noon on the first day and quickly checked into our hotel.  We left within minutes to hit the first and our highest priority location…the abandoned Packard Automotive Plan, which is a huge (3.5 million square feet on 40 acres) site.  This is the former automobile-manufacturing factory where luxury Packard cars were made and later Studebakers’.  It opened in 1903 and closed in 1958, although a few other businesses used parts of it until the late 1990s.

 We started at the southern end of this site and waited for an opportunity to enter the massive campus when the coast was clear.  While in the buildings, we ran into a homeless guy who wanted to give us a tour, a few other photographers and a small group of college kids who looked scared of us….  We didn’t end up leaving this site until after sunset at around 830pm and saw less then 10% of the complex.  We had an amazing time exploring the multi-level buildings (most at around 7 stories tall) that go on and on for about 10 large city blocks.  The campus is probably a mile long and quarter mile wide.  Most of the campus was originally used for manufacturing of automobiles, but it also had administrative office space.  This history of this facility is outstanding and as an Urbex photographer, it doesn’t get much better than this.

 

Package Automotive Plant:

 

Following that experience we ran back to our hotel to clean up and get something to eat quick.  I was careful not to track elements of the abandoned facilities back into my hotel room and bagged my dirty clothes so that nothing evil got on my clean items.  Then it was back out into the city for some night photography.  We went straight to the General Motors World Headquarters on the Detroit River facing Windsor Canada on the other side.  We explored the main level of this massive building, taking photos as we went.  Until…we were stopped by security that informed us it is okay to photography the artwork and cars, but not the building interior.   I guess they thought we looked like terrorists or something……  So we did what any photographer would do, we went outside to photograph the exterior of building.

General Motors Headquarters:

It was at this point, around 1am that disaster struck.  My urbex partner dropped his camera and destroyed his D610 DLSR body and Nikon 14-24mm 2.8f lens.  Double ouch!!  So we called it a night and went back to the hotel.

Early the next morning, we hit the streets to visit the legendary Michigan Central Train Station.  My buddy was using his backup camera and lens at this point for obvious reasons.  The Michigan Central Train Station was fenced off and we couldn’t get access (if a place is locked up, we don’t break in), because they were filming portions of the new Batman movie inside the building.  To bad, it looked cool from the outside and I’d love to see the inside.  Who knows, maybe the owner will see this article and contact me to provide access.  Call me!!

Michigan Central Station:

 

Immediately behind this building there is a neighborhood that’s in rough shape.  We explored it primarily to photography some of the wonderful graffiti on the buildings and walls. 

Graffiti:

At just before lunch, we went to St. Agnes church on the west side of Detroit.  At this site another friend, local Detroit photographer, joined us.  This site had a number of explorers already inside when we arrived.  We all did our own thing and had a great time photographing the inside of the cathedral, rectory and the abandoned catholic school behind the church.  Again, Detroit didn’t let me down.  These structures were beautiful in their own way and I enjoyed every minute we spent here.  We finished here mid afternoon and we were starving.  So we made a quick run to Mexicantown for lunch.  Along the way, we spotted several abandoned buildings that we wanted to go explore.  And we did after lunch.  That’s the beauty of Detroit, you can’t go anywhere without finding some abandoned structure worth exploring.  At least, I think that’s a cool thing.

St. Agnes School:

Following lunch, we went back to the locations we spotted on the way to lunch.  We started with another abandoned church called King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church.  This church had a school attached to it and we explored both portions of the building.  At one time this church must have had massive expansion needs, because we discovery that it was a church within a church.  On the outside it was a church like you’d expect to see with the school attached.  But once you got inside, we discovered that it was once a smaller church.  The original church was built and then later they expanded the facility by just building a larger structure around the outside of the original church.  So on the inside you could see the walls and architecture of the original church.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  Cool find.

King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church:

Once we were finished at that church, we stopped at a 15 story abandoned Lee Plaza Hotel and spent about 4 hours here exploring every floor except for the last four floors.  That’s my only regret with this trip, we should have gone to the top.  This hotel has an awesome ballroom.

 

Lee Plaza Hotel Ballroom:

We wrapped up here at dusk and went back to the hotel for another quick stop to clean up and get some food.  Then it was right back out into Detroit to photograph Comerica Park, while the Detroit Tigers were playing.  We wandered around the outside of the stadium and went to the top of numerous parking garages to photograph Detroit from higher angles. 

It was another late night of capturing as much as possible with our limited time.  The next and last morning, we got up early again and went straight to an abandoned meat packing plant.  We spent a few hours here and captured some photos, but it wasn’t my favorite spot.  Basically, it didn’t have much character left after it was cleaned out.

Following that spot, we went directly to the Eastern Market.  This area has a huge farmers market and lots of cool businesses of all types in the surrounding area.  The really cool thing about this location, is that they actually invite the best graffiti artist from around the world to come here and do their magic.  So you can walk around for hours looking at one huge, outstanding graffiti spot after another.  They were just one right after another and I doubt you’ll find many places in the world with this many high quality graffiti paintings.  They were unbelievable.

Graffiti in the Eastern Market Area:

That took us to around lunch and we had to hit the road to get back to Pittsburgh.  We had a great time, saw some wonderful sites and captured a ton of photos.  I hope you enjoyed reading about this trip, as much as I did sharing it with you.  Even better, I hope (if you like Urbex) you get a chance to visit Detroit yourself.  Stay safe

Gilbert Arizona Temple

When we booked our Hilton DoubleTree Inn hotel room in Gilbert Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix), I had no idea it was near such a cool location.  For our trip to Sedona, we booked over night stays in Gilbert on the first night and the last night of the trip.  In between we spent our time in Sedona.  But these nights in Gilbert, allowed us to attend a Cubs vs. Reds spring training game, prep for our flights home, etc…  On our first night, I saw this temple and knew I had to go back before we flew home.  So on the last morning, I got up before sunrise and went to the temple to catch the blue hour and sunrise.  Basically, I wanted good light for this photo.  This photo is the result of getting up at 530am in the morning.

A little about the temple:  This is the Gilbert Arizona Temple, which is a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).  They announced their plans for this temple in 2008 concurrently with the Gila Valley Arizona Temple.  It took about two years to build and they had a formal public open house in February 2014.  It is the 142nd temple of the LDS Church and was built to ease the load of the nearby Mesa Arizona Temple. 

On a personal note, this isn’t a huge building but it is an outstanding structure and example of wonderful architecture.  I hope you enjoy the photo and video as much as I enjoyed seeing the building in person.   

Scroll down to see the 'how to' video.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Beer

In the last few months I’ve had some outstanding trips to Barbados, Wisconsin, Seattle, and Sedona.   Because of that, I haven’t rotated by photos much.  You’ve gotten a healthy dose of photos from Barbados and Seattle specifically.  But Sedona is going to start making a run towards the top.  With that in mind, I have another Barbados photo for you tonight.  Here is a photo I took on Pebbles Beach in the Carlisle Bay area.

By the way, this was a great local beer.  

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Balloon Shadow

At the risk of boring you, I am posting the 3rd photo in a row from the Sedona Arizona trip.  On our 2nd day in Sedona, we got up very early to enjoy a sunrise hot air balloon ride through the mountains.  It was an amazing experience and I liked this photo of our balloon’s shadow as we got down toward the ground at one point in our trip.  At times the sound of the balloon inflator (I have no idea if that’s the correct term for that) would scare animals out from under the bushes. 

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

Not only was it a great experience, but it was even better because we got to spend it with our close friends (Kris & Scott).  

MJ and I....If you look close you can see Scott behind me.   Kris must be hiding.

MJ and I....If you look close you can see Scott behind me.   Kris must be hiding.

Broken Arrow Trail

MJ and I went on a Pink Jeep tour with our friends Kris and Scott while we were in Sedona Arizona.  This specific tour took us to Chicken Point towards the end of Broken Arrow Trail.  This is our jeep at the top of Chicken Point.   What an excellent area.  Just beautiful!!

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.

To purchase a print or view the entire gallery, click the photo above.