I never thought I'd hear myself say this but. . . Oklahoma City has got it goin' on! Love the Devon Energy building. Because it towers over the rest of the skyline, it seems taller than the Bank of America building back home in Dallas. But it's not. Funny how context can influence perception, is it not?
From a new NBA team (well, new to me!) to the Myriad Botanical Gardens downtown to beautiful architecture and friendly people and a laid back attitude, OKC is screaming growth.
The relatively small population (compared to my hometown, Dallas) has an enormous number of benefits from all "stuff" going on. For now, it's a pretty quiet town but it has all the earmarks of growing into a major, very cool, place to live.
As I approached the city from the previous day's stop, Amarillo, I came up alongside a biker on a great looking motorcycle and gave him a thumbs up. And he (I later found out his name was James) looked the part - sleeveless leather jacket, tattoos, tanned and windburned from working outdoors, and, of course, the ZZ-Top beard. Looks tough but was actually a very nice guy. James, originally from Longview, Texas, works on an oil rig and was just out cruising when I asked him to pull over. I had an idea for a photograph. And if there's one thing I've learned over the past 20 years, it's this: If you don't ask the question, the answer will always be NO.
We pulled up in front of the Cox Convention Center and I had him position his bike just so. I went through my way-too-long process of setting up the camera, composing, and adjusting the exposure, and had him mount his bike. I took a few shots, thanked him, and he was off in a cloud of ducks.
The rest of the day was pretty productive. I didn't quite know where I was but it was a target-rich environment and I just began shooting whatever struck me.
Two buildings, the Park House and the Ice House, were beautifully designed and rather minimalist but I could see the thought that went into every inch of each building. The Ice House is a hamburger stand on the edge of the 17-acre Myriad Botanical Gardens. I ordered a cheeseburger (medium rare, thank you!), fries, and a root beer float, and sat down to enjoy breakfast.
The water feature behind the Ice House was like a magnet for kids and moms and it was a pleasure watching them playing with such joy and abandon.
I got up to do some shooting but quickly found that my camera battery was dead and I headed back to the truck. All those carbs (and lack of sleep over the past 10 days) did a number on me and I jumped in the cab of my FJ Cruiser and took a little nap.
When I awoke, the heat had cranked up to the upper 90s. Strapping on 30 pounds of gear and walking around in that heat has a habit of sapping the strength right out of you. Nonetheless, I took a tour about the downtown area and spotted some places to shoot.
As the sun sank in the west, I stumbled on the old Union Station, long since abandoned for newer digs and taken over by area homeless, who, it would seem, have no buses of their own.
As I was going through my paces, shooting different exposures and compositions, a young guy came near to see what I was up to. Ken was his name and he, too, was a photographer, though a nurse by trade. He had a little toy with him that I've had my eye on for some time - a Fujifilm XT-1. Sweeet! I've been thinking about a mirrorless camera like that for a while and it was a treat to actually hold one in my grubby, little paws. We talked photography for a bit and went our separate ways.
Time to head back to Big D. Fort Worth is on the itinerary tomorrow. Then two days of Dallas. A little pizza at Hideaway Pizza on Broadway and I'm hittin' the road. On the way out of town, I drove by the Botanical Gardens again where they were having some sort of an event. Lovely way to spend a Sunday evening.
(Here's a note for all you grammar purists: I realize I am mixing present and past tense in my running commentary. That's because in the moment I write about my experiences, I sometimes am truly in the moment of experience - it's as if I am there. So, for all the little grammar gremlins out there who are pooh-poohing and tut-tutting about my grammar - particularly the little one on my shoulder - BUZZ OFF! Thank you. Your regularly scheduled commentary will now continue.)
Not far from the Oklahoma/Texas border, I pulled over at a scenic overlook and took a shot of the work by the Greatest Architect. A weak attempt at best but it was the best I could manage on short notice without a tutorial.
See you in FW and D.