Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Chamber Garden

One morning I arrived a little early at the local chamber of commerce. It was still not open. It just so happened that the morning golden hour was in all its glory. All the plants were beautifully illuminated, even the weeds. 

Of course, I used a flash to fill the dark side of the plants. I love how some vegetation just glows at sunrise and sunset. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Vines and Shallow Depth of Field

I took several shots of this vine as it reaches over from a nearby fence and grabs hold of the coax cable on the house. It is a very thin vine, making it difficult to auto focus. One of the problems with shooting vines with a shallow depth of field is that they meander in and out of focus. 

This photo was the only one that I found pleasing enough to post. The camera's display is not that great at showing how good such a little vine photographed. So, now I know that it's best to close down the aperture a bit so that more of the vine stays in focus. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

McAllen's Main Street Overpass

It's not your typical bridge that is lined with trees on both sides and affords  you an unhindered view of the expressway below. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mayoreo y Menudeo

I took this photo for the vanishing point; but, the words "Mayoreo" and "Menudeo" always bring back memories of my childhood when my grandmother would take me shopping to downtown McAllen. This was the only place I would see the words at storefronts.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Public Works Patching Streets

This post is pretty self-explanatory. McAllen Public Works employees were out patching potholes early one morning. That's it. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bus Depot to Bus Depot

These are photos of the return trip from the San Antonio bus depot to the McAllen bus depot. 

It's a 4-hour drive that I've taken many times; but, lately, I'd rather take the bus than drive it myself. You can read a book, take a nap, do some web browsing, or just zone out. Let somebody else take the wheel. 

Although, if there were a McAllen to San Antonio train, I'd rather ride that. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

St Joe Bricks

Bricks used to have the name of the factory stamped into the clay before they were baked in the kiln. There are people who look for old buildings that are being torn down so that they can collect some of the bricks. Surprisingly, they even write books about the bricks they have found and where they originated. 

What is most fascinating about these brick historians, is that they find information about the brick companies, the owners, and what other projects their bricks built. So, it's not entirely the bricks themselves that are fascinating, it's all the peripheral history that they entail. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blocked Entry

This door that is off its hinges rests diagonally across the door frame. I wondered why the door would just be left like that. Surely it would be a security problem. 

It turns out that the door is an entrance to a room; but, it's not a big room, more like a closet. Thus, the lack of urgency in fixing the door. 

This is an alley-facing wall. 

Friday, September 21, 2012


I took this photo in an alley. What caught my attention was the insane fire escape ladder; but, as I took the photo, I realized that it looked like a face. It wasn't until I was processing and converting to monochrome that I realized that there was a big scar on the face. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tables and Chairs

This photo of tables and chairs, besides being about a repeating pattern, has an additional significance to me. 

I used to work at a restaurant that used this same model of tables and chairs. The tables are solid, though top heavy; but, the chairs have a tendency to buckle under very heavy people. If you're up over 200 pounds, you do not want to scoot backward or forward. You should lift it and place it where you will sit, and then gingerly sit down. 

Rather than slide across the floor under the guidance of a heavy person, the leading leg will tend to catch on something and then bend. Anybody that heavy will not hit the floor gracefully. It's quite a scene. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Shooting at the Parking Garage

I had the need to park at a garage in downtown McAllen a couple weeks back. I've always meant to go up to the top to photograph whatever I see from there; but, I never made the time. 

Well, this time would be no different. However, I did take advantage of being there to shoot some photos of what I was able to see. There are two types of photos you get, looking down at rooftops or off to the horizon, and lots of lines. 

Shooting pics of rows of parked cars isn't really all that appealing to me, visually. However, there are pipes, fixtures, signs, paint, and all manner of objects in a parking garage that catch your attention. I got one photo of the stairwell. In retrospect, the stairs may be visually rich for photographing; and, I imagine they also make for a good, well-lit location to photograph a model. 

Perhaps not all parking garages have the same appeal; I've seen some that just aren't attractive at all. But, if you're lucky, you might have a nice one nearby. Be sure to check it out. I'm going to have to make time to go spend shooting at this garage. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Garden With Variety

My father-in-law has a green thumb and he lives in an area with moist soil. Through most of the year there is something blooming in his yard. Except for the occasional winter frost, there is always something in season. 

When it comes to taking photos, it's fun to go visit my in-laws just for the variety of vegetation. On his small property, he has a lemon tree, a lime tree, orange tree, mandarin orange tree, pecan tree, peach tree, oak tree, and some variety of banana tree. I think his grapefruit tree died. And, then there are a bunch of other plants I couldn't identify. 

On occasion, he'll plant peppers, onions, and other produce. In addition, he'll plant flowers and other plants for my mother-in-law. It is interesting that such a small plot of land can be so fertile. 


Key lime from very close.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Unanimously Creepy

I took this photo of a locked gate as I was returning home from a photo walk around town. It was dusk and the street lights and security lights were beginning to glow. The scene caught my attention and prompted me to take a pic.

I typically post these pics on Facebook and Google Plus. One common comment that came on this photo was, "creepy". I think it's perhaps the long shadow that creates the eerie feeling. I took another version of this shot from a closer perspective, and it failed to get as much reaction.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lifeless Trees

When you walk by a property and see a lifeless tree in the yard, you kind of have to wonder why it's still there.Besides being great subjects for black and white photography, they aren't good for much else. In an evening or two, it's possible to hack off the limbs and finish with the trunk.

One could wax philosophical about the virtues and beauty of trees; but, here in south Texas, shade is their best quality. Absent that, the alternative is firewood.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Garage Apartment


Pebbles on the walk leading into a children's playground. The pebbles provide good drainage to keep the playground from becoming a muddy mess, Children play with the pebbles, grabbing fistfuls at a time. Pebbles, despite being hard as stone, soften the inevitable falls of young bipeds. Pebbles also get everywhere.