Monday, October 11, 2010

Dry Dock

Pomme deTerre Lake in SW Missouri is not a big lake, even by Missouri standards. So when the Army Corps of Engineers announced that they would drop the water level by 6-12 feet below normal pool this fall/winter for dam maintenance, the ramifications were obvious to everyone. This is a flood-control lake and as such the water level can raise considerably. But it rarely drops by much, and never in the history of the lake has the water been this low.

It's not this dramatic everywhere, but some of the coves really took a hit!

On the other side of the dam it's a different picture. The increased and sustained flow from the spillway cleaned things up nicely.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Building Spelunking

Spelunking is the technical term for cave exploration. Building spelunking is what I call picking through the dark recesses of old basements. Sometimes they're so dark you literally can't see your hand in front of your face. And other times there's just enough light to creep you out. Many times I don't know what I'm shooting until I see the image on the camera.

Yeah, it's fun!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Be there

Was at Mount Moriah Cemetery this afternoon right after the rains for another project and HAD to stop and shoot their mausoleum. I've wanted to photograph this building for several years now but only spent a few minutes grabbing these shots. The stone work is amazing . . I'll be back; hopefully sooner than several years from now!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

f-stop in New York City

Last week I was hired by Rosin Preservation to photograph two buildings in Herald Square and parts of the Empire State Building. We were in NYC for a week and I took close to 2,000 shots, both for work and fun. I won't bore you with a lot of general tourist stuff, but here are some of my favorites from both categories.

We stayed on the 33rd floor of a condo on the upper west side, two blocks from Broadway and about 6 blocks from Central Park. Here are some views from our windows.

Rosin Preservation is preparing an application for Historic Tax Credits for the owner of the buildings and my photos were to show the completed rehab/restoration work.

Same story for the Empire State Building. Here's the restored main lobby.

OK, ONE touristy shot . .

I had a great time and very much hope to go back soon!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sometimes . .

Sometimes, despite your best efforts and intentions, a building can get away from you. The Atkins-Johnson Farm restoration project being undertaken by the city of Gladstone, Mo., is going fantastically well. The main house and root cellar are beautiful. However, in the time it took to complete the exterior of the house the smokehouse (which was in bad shape before) deteriorated beyond hope.

It's an interesting contrast. A few more years and the main house would likely have suffered the same fate.

Note the use of logs (now collapsed) as ceiling beams.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ya never know what you're gonna find!

Everybody who knows me knows I collect Tiki stuff . . artifacts from the Mid-Century-Modern, Polynesian Popular Movement (Poly-Pop for short) exemplified by restaurants and bars decorated in exotic island themes. Well, the movement didn't start with bars and restaurants. It started with home bars in WWII veterans' basements; with their desire to recreate the South Pacific they'd experienced during their military service.

At least, that's what I've been told. I'd never actually seen a vintage home Tiki bar.

Until today!

While photographing a house for pre-restoration documentation we found enlarged scrapbook pages taped on the wall of the living room for the new owners to enjoy. Among them were these:

I couldn't wait to see how much, if anything, was left of the Hawaiian Room! To my surprise, there was more then I expected!

How cool is this!! THEY DO EXIST!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Keep looking . .

DISCALIMER: The following is simply my personal opinion based on years of observation and is directed at NO ONE in particular.

I have some advice for those of you with means who are considering purchasing a historic home; keep looking.

In my experience, I rarely if ever see historic houses and/or buildings horribly remodeled by the poor. Neglected, often yes, but the structure and it's details usually remain intact. It takes people with money to replace windows, rearrange interior walls, "update" kitchens and bathrooms, build additions, etc.

Now things like insulation, high efficiency heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical updates obviously make sense in today's world, and those things can be done with minimal intrusion. I'm talking about esthetics here.

So here's a short, non-comprehensive list of things you may want to consider before buying a historic home:

    1. If the house isn't quite big enough and you'd like to put on an addition, KEEP LOOKING.
    2. If the rooms in the house don't have the "flow" you'd like, KEEP LOOKING.
    3. If the bathroom isn't big enough for your Jacuzzi, KEEP LOOKING.
    4. If you believe that new sinks, toilets and light fixtures will work better than the home's original fixtures, KEEP LOOKING.
    5. If the "space" doesn't feel right it isn't your job to "fix" it, it's your job to KEEP LOOKING.
    6. If you feel the need to do anything to the house that can't be classified as restoration and can't be easily UN-done later, KEEP LOOKING.

Sure, it's YOUR house and you can do anything you want with it. But if you follow these simple guidelines the odds of future owners cursing your name long after you're gone will be greatly reduced.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I lived here . .

A few years ago I had the opportunity to photograph my old apartment building for pending historic tax credit restoration work. It had been twenty or so years since I'd lived at Clyde Manor on the corner of Armour Rd. and Gilhman, so I was really interested to see what it looked like. Well, it hadn't changed much, just gotten a bit more run down.

Today I got to go back and shoot it after all the work has been completed. What a difference! The units, in general, are larger and everything is clean and fresh looking. Nice!

Here's the main lobby:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Old School

Last week I shot a project that required film photography. Now, I haven't shot film for anything in over four years. And although I still have most of my old equipment I was a little nervous about revisiting "the dark art" for an important project.

If it's not large format, my go-to camera has always been the Nikon F3 and the Nikkor 28mm PC lens for architecture. It doesn't get any better than this.

The F3 was the top of the line Nikon in 1980. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, this camera had all the up-to-date bells and whistles you could want. And, if you had to, you could drive nails with it. By today's standards it's pretty basic, but it works fantastically well with the Nikkor PC (perspective correction) lens. You were not an architectural photographer if you didn't have this combination. My variant has the HP (high point) veiwfinder, great for people who wear glasses like me, and the motor drive.

Using it was like shaking hands with an old friend. I'll try not to let so much time pass before I use it again.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I love my job.

Honestly, if you had seen this building before you would never believe this was possible. Not that the building was in bad shape. No, rather there was no indication that this was waiting to come out of it. I like surprises, this kind especially.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hi Ya Watha!

Everybody's heard of Hiawatha, Kansas, right? But how many of us have ever been there? Well, I got the chance Tuesday to photograph a project for one of my favorite, long-time clients, Rosin Preservation.

The project was the old bank building on the town square. As I understand it, a life-long resident of the town wanted to promote the area's history, so she donated money to the city to be used for the restoration of the building and it's use, in part, as a local history museum. Now competed, the bank building will also house some city government offices.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

World of Wheels 2010

Just got back from the biggest annual indoor custom car and bike show in Kansas City! Along with the usual spotless, candy coated goodness was a greater number of old school, garage-built hot rods than last year and some fine new works from our local Anchor Motorcycle Shop.

Good stuff.