Thursday, May 17, 2012

Second Street

On Sunday night I headed to downtown Little Rock with the idea of getting a picture of something.  I drove around a bit and finally decided to try to get a shot of the old Federal Courthouse on Second Street.   I've managed to get a few pictures of it during the day, but never at night.  It's a neat old building, constructed back in 1881.  It was originally built to be a post office, then it became a federal courthouse and office building.  Now it's the home of the Bankruptcy Court.  Towering above it is the Stephens Building (built in 1985), which provides a nice contrast of architectural styles.

The main problem with getting a shot of the courthouse at night is a streetlight, which is poorly positioned right in front of the building.  In long exposures, the light probably wouldn't be all that great.  So I tried to strategically set up the camera in a spot below the light, so it wouldn't be much of a problem.  That meant that I was almost directly below the Courthouse, which wasn't the composition I really wanted.  Oh well, I took a bunch of pictures anyways...


I walked a block west to another old courthouse - the Pulaski County Courthouse.  This is probably one of my favorite buildings downtown.  It was built back in 1889, which is pretty old.  To put it in context, this was just a few years after electric service was introduced to Little Rock (1886).  It was also around the time that the first streets were paved (with cobblestones) in 1887.  It's also a pretty cool looking building too, and one that I like to photograph when I'm downtown.  This is what it looked like back in 1905.

The county has kindly illuminated the building at night.  But the lights on it are funky, some of them being a few different colors.  I tried to wrangle the colors in photoshop to make them look right, but had little success.  So I gave up and just converted it to black and white, which still shows how cool the building is.

And one funny quirk about the courthouse is the clock in the tower.  The clock was refurbished during renovations, and efforts were made to keep everything historically accurate.  But when the clock was originally installed, there was a little mistake on it.  Turns out that whoever built the clock wasn't up to date on their roman numerals, so they messed one of them up.  They put in "IIII" instead of "IV" for 4:00.  When the building was renovated, the historic mistake was kept and is still there to see today.

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