Detroit Architecture

One Detroit CenterThis past weekend, we headed to The D for the first Pure Detroit Skyscraper Tour of the season. The tour starts at the Guardian Building (a view of the interior of the building can be seen below) which is an Art Deco marvel unlike anything I had ever seen before. From there the tour guide, who is a historic preservationist and urban planner, takes you around several blocks and tells you about the history of skyscrapers and architecture in Detroit. It was interesting learning about the history of the city from original 1701 Detroit settlement to the Renaissance Center, or as our tour guide like to call it, GM’s Galactic World Headquarters,. The building pictured to the left is one of the newest buildings featured on the tour, One Detroit Center, which was completed in 1993 and is the second tallest building in Michigan (second only to the Renaissance Center). The best thing about this tour? Its free! Pure Detroit offers this tour as well as tours of the Guardian Building and Fischer Building that are free and open to the public every Saturday and Sunday. Visit PureDetroit.com for times and for more information. I’m making it a goal to go back and do a tour of the Fischer Building this summer.

Guardian Promenade

The downside to doing a skyscraper tour is that is was hard to get a good shot because everything around us was so, well, tall. And, the few shots I got inside the Guardian Building didn’t really turn out because I had my aperture too wide so one point is in focus while the rest of is fuzzy and while that is great for portraiture, it doesn’t look right in architecture photography. The photo above was actually taken with my iPhone. I will have to go back to the Guardian Building and try it again with different settings.

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Grand Traverse Commons

The Mercato

During our recent visit to Traverse City, I was excited to check out The Grand Traverse Commons which is home to many unique shops and restaurants. You can tell from this photo that The Grand Traverse Commons is not your typical shopping center. It used to be the Northern Michigan Asylum. Many of the hospital’s old buildings have been demolished, but a few of them remain and have been preserved and revitalized into the Grand Traverse Commons. The former building 50 is the centerpiece of the complex and houses The Mercato in the basement. It is fascinating navigating the twists and turns of the old building to see it all. The architecture is fascinating! We really need to get back to making buildings like this!

Grand Traverse Commons

Both of these photos were single RAW exposures taken with my iPhone 7 and edited in Lightroom Mobile. I believe the bottom, exterior photo was taken with the new HDR function. At first I couldn’t find HDR mode, but its not in pro mode. It is now a third option: Pro, Auto, and HDR.

Thanks for stopping by! For more information about Grand Traverse Commons visit, TheVillageTC.com. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

The Amway Grand Plaza

Amway Grand PlazaI’ve stayed at the Amway Grand Plaza a few times for an Early Childhood conference. Each time I’ve been there, I wished I had a wide-angle lens to capture the beauty and the detail of its architecture. So, when Chris rented a wide angle lens to shoot a racquetball tournament in Grand Rapids, I agreed to go as long as we could stop at the Amway and I could take a few pictures.

Being that this was the first time I shot with a wide angle lens, it was harder than I anticipated to get the composition I wanted. I am definitely not used to the wide angle distortion (I don’t know how long I stared at this image trying to decide if it was straight or not) but overall I am very happy this shot and I think I captured the opulence that is the Amway Grand Plaza. Now I want to add this lens to my bag.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with Tokina 11-16 f/2.8, handheld

Date Taken:
February 4, 2017

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Epic Michigan Road Trip: The Soo

Soo Locks Boat Tour

I have wanted to visit Sault Ste. Marie (which means the Rapids of the Saint Mary’s River, thank you Google!) for as long as I can remember. Since I was little, I’ve heard about how my grandfather guarded the locks during the Korean War and yet, I had never seen them. So, when we were planning our road trip, I added a stop in the Soo. After doing some research, I discovered that the best way to experience the locks was on a Soo Locks Boat Tour. I always enjoy these kinds of tours because they give you interesting facts and history of a location. This tour had so many facts, I barely remember any of them, but getting to go up and down in the locks was an experience I will never forget. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Soo Locks were built to bypass a 21ft waterfall on the St. Mary’s River that runs from Lake Superior to Lake Huron. Unless you have your own boat, the Soo Locks Boat Tour is the only way to ride through the locks. I highly recommend it!

The nearest state park to Sault Ste. Marie is in Brimley which is a 20 minute drive to town. So, I started exploring the private options. There are several private campgrounds in Sault Ste Marie, but only Aune Osborne allows you to reserve your spot in advance (although you have to call, they don’t take online reservations) and as I mentioned in a previous post, that is very important to me. I am not wasting vacation time driving around trying to find a place to sleep. The biggest thing this campground has going for it is the location. It is right on the river, the Soo Locks Boat Tour dock was two doors down. Waterfront sites are available (although not to tents because of “liability reasons”. I’ve posted the pictures from Straits right? This seems nuts to me) so you can watch the freighters go by while you sit around the campfire. That is pretty unique. Also, the bathrooms were the cleanest and fanciest of the trip, although they are locked which caused me a little headache trying to remember the code to get in. The downside and the reason why I usually stick to public campgrounds, we were one of three sites with a tent. I could get over this if it wasn’t for the fact that the other campers looked at us like we’d slept in an igloo or something. It was an interesting experience. I asked myself if I would stay here again and that’s really hard for me to answer. If could get a waterfront spot, I would be back in a heartbeat.

About the Photo:
This was a single RAW exposure taken on the Soo Locks Boat Tour and with basic edits done in the Lightroom. I was trying to highlight the architecture of the building along with the engineering marvel that is the locks.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
July 1, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For more information about The Soo Locks Boat Tour and Aune Osborne Campground, visit SaultSteMarie.com.

Chris Corner #4: The Verrazano Narrows

Verrazano Narrows Bridge in Morning Fog by Christopher Mowers on 500px.com

Last summer, Ashleigh and I had the joy of taking a cruise on the Norwegian Gem out of New York.

Not only was cruising out of New York great because it is a relatively short drive  for us compared to Florida, but it was incredible to sail from a pier in Manhattan. These views were unbelievable.

Most of the pictures we got in New York Harbor were from our departure. The weather was outstanding. The thing that was really difficult though was that everyone else was also outside trying to get pictures. We decided we would get up early on our arrival day and try to get pictures with fewer people on deck.

One problem- the weather didn’t think this was such a great idea. Seriously, we didn’t get much. I don’t know how on earth I managed to capture this image, but I’m glad that I did.

 

About the Photo:
I took this photo at 55 mm, f/4.5, ISO 200, from the Promenade deck of the Norwegian Gem. I captured this photo the day that we drove home from New York, and on that car ride home, listening to the Improve Photography Podcast, heard all about the new dehaze slider in the lastest Lightroom release. I used that same dehaze slider on this photo with excellent results.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200mm f/4-5.6 lens.

Date Taken:
June 21, 2015

Thank you for reading. You can see my best work on 500px and can also find pictures of the “trying my hardest to be good at this” type on Flickr or Pixoto.

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