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Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana’

Photography by K. Eckland 2013

Bridge crossing the Red River from Shreveport to Bossier City

On a recent trip to Shreveport, we headed downtown to indulge in two of my favorite hobbies; photography and looking at architecture..

While much of downtown Shreveport is like downtown segments of many cities across the United States, with some run-down areas; there are several lovely buildings from by-gone areas.

Downtown Shreveport (and other images of Shreveport)

The Strand

Most notably among these buildings is the Strand theater.  Originally built in 1925, (according to a local press clipping from the time), the Strand was originally conceived almost 18 years earlier.  It cost one million dollars to complete and opened its doors to the public for its first performance on July 3, 1925.  The first show at the Strand was “The Chocolate Soldier,” a comedic operetta first written in 1860, and popularized on Broadway in 1909.

Despite it’s illustrious opening, by the 1970’s the Strand had closed and fallen into disrepair.  It wasn’t until 1984 that the Strand re-opened, after several years of painstaking and meticulous restoration.

While we were wandering downtown and taking pictures – we noticed that the marquee was advertising a show that evening – for a Queen tribute band, “One Night of Queen”.  Who could pass that up??  so off we went..

A Night of Queen with Gary Mullen

Low light, and constantly changing light conditions, using my long lens (200mm), no flash, subjects with rapid movement.. Some of the pictures are terrible – but it sure was fun!  As you can see – the photos are a riot of color and noise, but it was great practice while rocking out to some great music..

Thank you to everyone at the Strand for allowing us to take pictures.  (They usually restrict photography, but immediately before the show, several ushers stated that photography would be permitted.)

The Riverwalk –

The River Boardwalk is a modern creation, devised to attract tourists to the areas surrounding the waterfront casinos.  On one side of the river lies a park and trails, along with a small string of businesses (that were almost all closed when we strolled by) and on the other side of the river, a huge shopping complex (and more casinos.)

We strolled down to the River Boardwalk after walking around downtown.  While most of it is pretty typical and kind of generic looking, I did enjoy some of the art designed to highlight Shreveport and its history.

panel from the past - tools and instruments from early Shreveport

panel from the past – tools and instruments from early Shreveport

The panel above is my favorite – in a string of decorated panels on the underside of the Neon Bridge.  There is a performance stage, several preserved handprints as well as a lonely little Mexican restaurant.  (All the other storefronts were vacant.)

More Shreveport: 

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While I always fall in love with the big things; bridges, skyscrapers and massive landscapes – along with their rich details, there is so much more to Shreveport.

While looking for more information about Shreveport architecture, I found another great photography blog called Southern Lagniappe.  If you want to better know Shreveport, and architecture, this is a good place to start.

Now, if you love home architecture, especially the ‘Painted Ladies’ – Gerald Massey has written a nice article about some of the Victorian homes in the city. (As the proud owner of my own historic home, in my native Virginia, these homes always make me just a tad wistful.)

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Since I had a few days off, we decided to take a road trip.  My assignment here is almost complete, so we are trying to squeeze in as many adventures and outings as possible before we leave for our next location.

Since I am a little camera-crazy – we usually plan trips that give me the opportunity to practice a little photography.  It’s funny how I can always manage to cram in a bit of ‘homework’ where ever we are – I guess that is what makes photography such an addictive hobby.

As many of my readers know, I never meant to do more than the usual touristy snaps – but necessity forced me to become more and more adept, to illustrate my writing, and visually document my  interviews and observations.  As I’ve progressed from project to project – my writing style has evolved, my detailing has become more precise – and I’ve refined my picture-taking.

In the most recent months, as I begin researching the next project, I’ve started practicing by trying to expand my range, beyond the casual snapshot – to fast-motion, low-light and a variety of other conditions.

So we headed off to Shreveport, for some new scenery and more practice.

Low-light, No flash with a tripod 

captioned, postcard style

captioned, postcard style

I have always lacked confidence in my photo-taking, so I’ve resisted using a tripod for a long time (and missed a lot of great photos because if it).  But, I finally had to face it; it’s just impossible to keep still enough during the SLOW shutter speeds necessary to capture low-light situations..

Even so – the photo still has a lot of noise, or fuzziness..

During our trip, we attended a concert at the Strand theater..  Surprisingly, both the theater staff, and the performers explicitly lifted the usual rules to permit photography – which was just fantastic, even if only to get photos of the restored theater.. But it was even nicer that the performers invited us to take pictures.

(More about the beautiful and historic Strand theater in my next post.)

The freehand photos from the concert stage demonstrate this lack of definition (and noise) even more acutely.

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If you don’t take a lot of photos, than this post is probably boring beyond belief – but you also don’t know the frustration of seeing an image in your mind’s eye, and then struggling to capture that image with your lens.

But then too – comes that satisfaction when the shutter clicks and the image is immortalized – in your mind, and on file, forever.  (or at least until I crash the hard drive.)

With the help of several friends, amateur and professional photographers – I’ve learned a lot, in my efforts to move the image from my eye to the camera.  I’m not always successful, but I seem to be getting better and better..  But there are other issues in photography.

For me, that struggle is two-fold; it’s both accuracy and providing perspective. Accuracy seems like an oxymoron for photography – but it’s not.  The next photo is a good example of what I mean..

a country lane?

a country lane?

Accuracy in photography to me means depicting a person, place or circumstances as honestly and straightforwardly as possible.  Now, in a movie, I recently watched – “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel“, a group of English citizens decided to retire to a residential hotel in India based on a brochure, and the photos of the hotel in the brochure..

this 'romantic' backdrop for my lovely model is actually the corner of a somewhat dirty, beat-up parking lot in downtown Sherveport.

this ‘romantic’ backdrop for my lovely model is actually the corner of a somewhat dirty, beat-up parking lot in downtown Shreveport.

(I bet you can see where this is going.)  Of course, when they arrive in India – the group quickly finds out life in India (and their hotel) isn’t quite as cute, contained and photographic as the brochure led them to believe.

This isn't a great photo - but it does show the size and scale of some great art.  A mural, 14 stories tall, that is so detailed you can visualize the fabric of her dress..  (Note the size of the reference man walking on the sidewalk).

This isn’t a great photo – but it does show the size and scale of some great art.  This mural, 14 stories tall, is so detailed you can visualize the fabric of her dress.. (Note the size of the reference man walking on the sidewalk). It’s not crazy to want to be able to accurate capture that image just as it is.

With my style and type of writing, equally accurate photography is essential.

I also want to give perspective – whether that perspective is from peeking over the shoulder of a surgeon hard at work, the view from outside the operating room theater or even just the view from down the street.. (or even from really, really far away..)

washing a fire truck

washing a fire truck

That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the sweet, or romantic photos – like these pictures from the sidelines of a recent parade.   (I was across the street – quite a distance away – but just watching from behind a camera – really did seem to tell a story.)

court'n

another photo from the same St. Patrick’s Day parade

little Eviel Knievel jumping his bike while waiting for the parade

little Evel Knievel jumping his bike while waiting for the parade

I’ll post some more photos of Shreveport in my next post..

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