Sunday, August 11, 2013

Photos 8/11/2013, A Little Bit of Houston

I was kind of proud of some of these.  Some are as they came out of the camera.  A couple I really worked on with Photoshop, removing unwanted elements.  See if you can tell.  Leave me comments if you find one (one is really funny, I made a mistake—and left it in.  You have to really think to figure it out.  It’s kind of my version of a “hidden Mickey”…).  Leave me a comment below, even if it’s just “You suck!”  (click the image for full-size)


If you’ve never been to Houston and your Texas History is not so great, here is my exceedingly truncated and probably highly inaccurate capsule. 

This statue is of Sam Houston, on his great Arabian horse Saracen, pointing the way to San Jacinto.  It was at the battle of San Jacinto (about 30 miles from where the statute stands) where the ragged Texian “Army” of 900 fell upon the best-trained standing army in the world at the time, the army of Mexico, 1,400 strong, while the Mexican army was taking a siesta (they had been on forced march for two days, and were exhausted).  The battle lasted 18 minutes.  630 Mexicans killed, 700 captured, and the Texians captured General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, widely considered to be one of the greatest generals in the world.  Everyone, of course, has at least seen the movie “The Alamo”, and it’s the most famous building in Texas—but it was a colossal failure and a classic example of a local refusing to follow orders and taking matters into his own hands.  Houston had desperately instructed Travis to abandon the Alamo, as Houston considered it indefensible and needed every man for the battle that was to come.  Travis decided he could hold the Alamo, which is what led to the defeat and massacre.  Nevertheless, the cry, “Remember the Alamo” goaded the Texians at San Jacinto as they defeated the same Mexican army that had taken the Alamo.

Everything in Texas named “Houston” is named after Sam.  He went on to become “The Father of Texas”, President of the Republic of Texas, and first Governor of the State of Texas when Texas joined the United States.  He quit in disgust when Texas voted to secede with the rest of the south and spent the remainder of his life in seclusion in Huntsville (about 60 miles north of present-day Houston).  The city that would bear his name was not formed yet, it was a swamp unusable because of all the noxious nuisance material bubbling all around that made the land unsuitable for farming or cattle.  Who needs crude oil anyway?



If you look through the arch, you’ll see an obelisk in the distance.  More on that in a minute….



This is part of Hermann Park, one of America’s great urban parks.  Reflecting pool and replica of the Washington Monument, with the Zoo in the background.  I was standing in the arch of the statute’s base when I made this.  The Texas Medical Center, the largest accumulation of medical personnel assembled in one place in the world, is immediately behind the trees on the right.


Not my best job on the Mecom Fountain—it’s in the middle of a roundabout with heavy traffic, and many of the hispanic Houstonians use it as a background for the young ladies of their familias upon their Quinceañera.  So it’s hard to get a decent shot.  I’ll have to go early some Sunday morning, before the church traffic gets rough (there are 7 major churches along South Main from this point north to the Southwest Freeway).


I absolutely LOVE this.  It’s on the side of one of the small buildings in the Museum District.  No idea what it is (didn’t see a sign, it may have been part of a building renovation, as the old building on which it’s painted has just been redone.  The painting is sparkling new as well, and very vivid.  I really love this.


My shot of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts’ Brown Pavilion, which was designed by one of the fathers of the International Style of Architecture, the great  Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe.  It’s an important building architecturally; it’s fabulous, and I love it.



Two of the three fountains making up the Mecom Fountain.  You can see both Sam and the obelisk in the background.


Mother’s plumeria.  Un-retouched (except for the addition of the watermark), exactly as it came from the camera.  The smell is unbelievable.  I love my new lens.


  1. Love the Pictures my friend... as a lay student of History.. I would love to see more "historical" related pictures in the future.

  2. If I can get up to Huntsville in a week or so, I'll have some more. The house to which Sam retired (I have a great reverence for Sam, as you can probably tell) was/is called "The Steamboat House", as for some reason (something to find out!) it was built in the general shape of a steamboat. It's still there and is a museum. A Houston restauranteur, also a Sam fan, had a huge collection of Texana, and no place to house it. He built a new restaurant out on the Beltway called "The Steamboat House Restaurant", also in the general shape of the Steamboat house, and eating there is like eating in a museum (the food is excellent, too, and not unreasonably priced for what you get). It's where I take all out of town visitors....maybe I'll do lunch up there soon and take pics of the collection. The wait staff is trained, and you just point to an item and they tell you the history of it. Neat.