Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Third and Main

As the name implies, Little Rock's Main Street used to be the heart of downtown. Stores and shops lined the streets, and it was the commercial hub of the city (and maybe the state). Of course it would all come to an end, thanks to the suburban shopping malls and the abandonment of downtown. Efforts were made to bring people back to Main Street, including the Main Street Mall in the 1980s. But that was short-lived and it closed in 1989. For years afterwards, Little Rock's Main Street was a lonely and desolate place. A few stores survived, but they sat amidst a collection of empty and boarded up buildings. It was said that after 6 PM, when rush hour traffic left downtown, that you could fire a canon down Main Street and not hit a single person.

But things have definitely changed in the past five years. A major revitalization effort has taken place, with some new blood being pumped into Main Street. A stretch of Main has been dubbed the Main Street Creative Corridor, and the street itself has been redesigned with new lighting and rain gardens and plants. The Little Rock Technology has taken over a few buildings, and several restaurants have opened up. Loft apartments have opened or are supposed to be opened soon. It's an amazing transformation, and a huge step forward for downtown Little Rock.

A few years back, I took some pictures from the top of a parking deck that overlooks the intersection of Third and Main Streets. Since things have changed so much, I decided to head back downtown and try to get some new pictures of the view. I got to the parking deck just before sunset, and set up the camera and the tripod. But I had to move around because there ended up being a pretty neat sunset, and I headed to a different spot on the parking deck that had a better view.

IMG_2933-2

Once the sunset faded away, I moved the camera and tripod back to the first spot which overlooked the intersection of Main and Third Street. I like this view because it has a nice collection of old buildings in the foreground, with the newer skyscrapers lurking in the background.

IMG_2980-2

A lot has changed in the years since I had last taken pictures there. The military supply store that once sat at the corner (which has been open since 1870) has since moved a few blocks down the road and has been replaced by an advertising agency. Several restaurants have opened on this block (I highly recommend Bruno's Little Italy and Samantha's Tap Room. I haven't tired Soul Fish Cafe yet). Buildings that were once empty have new life in them, and once again people are returning to Main Street. For comparison, this is the last picture I took from here, way back in 2012:

3rd and Main

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Subiaco

Subiaco, which is near the town of Paris in western Arkansas, looks a little out of place when you first drive by it. The old buildings look like they were scooped up from Europe and then plopped down in the middle of a field in Logan County. The Abbey was founded in 1878 by Benedictine monks, and today it also houses a boarding school (which I know nothing about but I'm still just going to assume its like Hogwarts). The abbey is surrounded by pasture, which was covered with both cows and a blanket of wildflowers.

IMG_2523-3

Just a bit down the road is an old barn that I've taken a few pictures of over they last few years. It's slowly falling apart, and I was curious to see what kind of shape it was in now. This is my first shot of it, taken way back in 2011:

Still Standing

And the barn now in 2017. Not sure how much longer it will be standing...

IMG_2571

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bingham Hollow

I had to make a drive to western Arkansas the other weekend to help out with some family stuff, but I made sure to leave early enough to be able to visit at least one waterfall along the way. This was just after the massive storms that moved through the state, dumping record amounts of rain and causing some flooding. Creeks, streams and waterfalls were definitely up and running, and I needed to get some waterfall pictures in before the water all drained away.

I decided to visit Bingham Hollow Falls. The falls are just a fairly short drive up from the freeway, and the hike is short and easy. And also the waterfall is incredibly scenic. So after driving down some dirt roads, I eventually reached the parking area for the falls. There is a trail that heads off into the woods, following the creek that feeds into the waterfall. After all the rain, the creek was full of water.

The only problem is that after days and days of rain, the sun came out just as soon as I got there. Dang. I followed the trail as it ran to the edge of the bluff, and then around to a spot where you can safely scramble down the hill to the waterfall. A few passing clouds provided some good cover for a few pictures, but it would only last for a few seconds. I tried to get shots, but wasn’t really pleased with anything and was about to leave. Until finally, some thick clouds moved in and the light was perfect. I ended up spending a few hours here, luckily the family didn't mind me being a little late. This is a shot of the creek, just below the falls.

IMG_2436-4

And Bingham Hollow Falls, which is about fifty feet tall. The falls tumble over a large overhanging bluff into a pool surrounded by trees and moss-covered rocks.

IMG_2471-4

And the view from behind the falls…

IMG_2446-Edit-4

After the waterfall, the creek passes by this small waterfall and then rushes deep into the woods. It’s tempting to follow the creek to see where it goes, but I was already late in meeting the family so I had to head on out.

IMG_2478-3

IMG_2496-3

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Clinton Library

It's not even summer yet, and the bugs outside have already gotten huge!

IMG_2203-2

The bugs are actually animatronic sculptures that are part of the Xtreme Bugs display that is currently at the Bill Clinton Presidential Library. Here is another shot taken just a few feet away, with the library building reflected in the waters of the fountain. Just off frame of this shot is the edge of one of the animatronic bugs, which would move and shake anytime someone walked by.

IMG_2212-Edit

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Haw Creek

From Pack Rat Falls, I made the short walk over and made a visit to Haw Creek Falls. Haw Creek Falls is only six feet tall, but it is an impressive waterfall. The falls stretch across the entire creek, tumbling off a rock shelf that sticks out above the creek.

IMG_2154-4

Just down the road is a small camping spot right along the creek, which provides a great spot to access a different spot along Haw Creek. The creek was definitely running high after all the recent rains.

IMG_2170-3

It was getting dark, and there wasn't much light left out there to take pictures. I got one last shot of this small creek that poured into Haw Creek with a small waterfall.

IMG_2174-3