Monday, September 2, 2013

Photo Practice: Galveston

Trying to learn the camera, trying to learn PhotoShop (at least the rudiments of both) before my big trip this upcoming weekend.

I went to Galveston yesterday.  I don’t know why I don’t go more, it’s 45 minutes down the road and is a great trip.  Sitting on the seawall looking at the Gulf is great.  I didn’t go to “The Spot” this time, but only because I didn’t want alcohol when I had to drive back.

The Strand is a great photo op, the only part of Galveston that survived the 1901 Hurricane.  (If you’re interested in the 1901 Hurricane, read Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larsen.)

In any event, we proved:  (1) I’ve got a lot to learn about photography, the Nikon D90, and Photoshop Elements 11, and (2) I am too old and tottery to climb around on the jettys any more (sad face).  Well, worse things are coming….

All the below are with my Nikon D90 except those denoted in the comments as “iPhone 5”.

My efforts from yesterday:  (Click for full-size)


^You really do need to click this one.  I really shouldn’t do these, I risked a lot; I was driving, slowed down, and shot a burst of shots to make a panorama, getting horn-blasted by the christian in the minivan behind me whom I was making late to church (it was Sunday morning, everybody in the car dressed up; he honked, shook his fist, then sped around me while telling me I was #1 with his finger.  Nice going, Dad, in your minivan with the kids in the back.  Great example, and fine example of christianity…just reinforces what the rest of us think of you….)  This is the best view in Houston; I call it “Power and Money” because that’s what it is.  From left to right:  Galleria area (bookended by San Felipe Place (left) and the Transco/Williams Tower (right), larger than downtown Denver.  In the background between the Transco and Greenway Plaza, you see some “purple” buildings in the distance; that’s downtown Houston.  Further to the right are the towers of the Texas Medical Center, the largest accumulation of medical professionals in the world.  Immediately in front of you is the Southwest Freeway, and you can see the stack where it merges with the West Loop, the busiest intersection in Texas, one of the 5 busiest in North America, and the only 5-level stack in North America.  Power and Money.


^Whenever going to Galveston, I always stop at Kelley’s.  It’s NOT on my diet.  The Texas Breakfast, chicken-fried steak, grits, 2 eggs, biscuit and gravy, coffee, $10.  And the waitress calls you “hun” en espanol.  Kelley was a Houston Police motorcycle cop who was in the honor guard for JFK and Jackie when they paraded through Houston on November 21, 1963.  Kelley was later injured, and wound up being off the force.  He bought an old Rexall drug store and started his restaurant, which is still frequented by virtually the entire HPD (you’re very safe there).  One of my favourite things in Houston. iPhone 5


^This is the Texas Breakfast.  Chicken Fried Steak w/ cream gravy, grits, 2 eggs, biscuit and more cream gravy, coffee with cream.  Heart attack special.  As I tweeted, it’s gonna take a lot of bike rides to pay for that one, but it was worth it.  $10 + tip.  And the waitresses call you “hon” en espanol.  And yes, I ate all of it and no, I’m not ashamed.


The view from my seat at Kelley’s.  South Texas—Puffy little white clouds, palm trees—and a packed Gulf Freeway….Winking smile


^Speaking of “packed Gulf Freeway”, I should have left a couple of hours earlier.  Gulf Freeway (IH 45) Southbound at Beltway 8.  iPhone 5


^The Strand, “The Wall Street of the Southwest” ca. 1901, the central business district of the largest city in Texas in 1901, the biggest port, the richest, etc.  Dallas and Houston where?  San Antonio who?  These people ran the state.  The Strand, being on the highest ground on the island, survived the storm.  Most of the residences did not.  Again, read Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larsen (Isaac Cline was the Weather Bureau Chief in 1901; it’s a fascinating book.  His office was on The Strand, on the left side of the picture about 2 blocks down). The Strand is now a shopping district, almost wholly gay-owned/operated.  The Galveston Mardi Gras parade and Gay Pride parade go down this street, with throngs of people on the sidewalks and hanging off the balconies, a la New Orleans.  It’s very much like New Orleans.  Shops below, people live above in lavishly decorated apartments that belie the somewhat run-down look of the exteriors.  At the end of the street, the old Santa Fe railroad station now hosts the Galveston Railroad Museum, my next photoshoot when I’m bored on the weekend.

Following are just some architectural things I liked:






^Galveston is now a very busy cruise port.  The Carnival Magic, one of their biggest ships, is ported here.  Nathan and Pam got off this ship the night before I took the picture.  It’s 2 blocks from The Strand.



^I love this one and don’t remember having seen it before.  Maybe it’s freshly restored?




^This one really is yellow.  Love all the colours.



^Love this one too, and also don’t remember it.  I can identify the architectural style on this one:  Richardsonian Romanesque.


^Didn’t the City National Bank look imposing?  A safe place for your cash.


^The Tremont House—huge, imposing, glamourous, grand, and still one of Galveston’s finest.





^After the hurricane of 1901, the citizens literally shoved all the rubble down to the beach and used it as a base for a 17 foot Seawall.  They then back-filled the rest of the island behind it before rebuilding.  You can still see parts of houses, facades, columns, etc. in the rubble at the bottom. 


^Periodically, I just need the Gulf.  And, my God, I look just like my Mother’s family, just like Mom and her brother.  Geepers….   iPhone 5



^I love this picture.  I got to a deserted section of the Seawall and parked (my car is on Seawall Blvd. directly out of sight).  This gal whipped in directly behind me and I was at first afraid she was mad at me or something (I’d made a U-turn to do it).  No, she was just doing the same thing as me, taking a serenity break.  I climbed down onto the Jettys, she stayed up on top of the Seawall.  It was at least 10 degrees cooler where I was….



^Messing around with Photoshop


^Another in my “Kids, don’t try this at home” series.  I’ve been wanting this picture forever.  Very dangerous, heavy traffic on the Gulf Freeway approaching downtown (University of Houston is on left out of picture).   I was pretty impressed with myself on this one.


^Almost home.  Second-tallest stack in the US, 5 feet shorter than the “High Five” in Dallas.  This is the intersection of Katy Freeway (IH 10) (on which I’m traveling) and Beltway 8, the Sam Houston Tollway.  My exit is directly after this interchange.


^These were bloomed out when I got home.  As close to Cardinal and White as I am going to get, I think.


Yes, I left out many Galveston landmarks.  That’s the next trip.  So much to see and do, so many pics to take.  I have no talent, but I keep plugging.  Thanks to my few loyal followers for putting up with me. 


Finally:  One minute of serendipity:

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