Monday, December 25, 2006

So This is Christmas...Updated!

So it's finally Christmastime again. All the presents here have been wrapped, and too much money has been spent. After Monday, it will go back to the sad time when you have to decide when to take down the Christmas tree...sigh.

But before then, a lot of places around town have been looking really cool with Christmas lights. I've been working on a project of taking pictures of courthouses and stuff with Christmas lights on them - so that I can hope to sell them next year and make some nice spare cash. That has meant that I've been driving all over the state looking at lights for the past few weeks. Good times!

It started at the State Capitol when they turned the Christmas lights on there. I actually made it down to the little ceremony they do, which was very cheesy. Donna Tarrel (sp?) from Fox 16 was the emcee, and she was awlful. Before the lights turned on, she asked everyone in the crowd to count down from ten. She said, "Everyone, help me count down from 10!" It was funny...does she usually need help from little kids to count from ten to one? But when they turned on the lights they also set off fireworks too:


Lights and fireworks

I was having tripod problems so those aren't as sharp as I'd like. Stupid tripod. But after the fireworks, we went inside the Capitol, which was decorated for the Christmas er, holiday season...

In the Capitol

This one isn't really of Christmas lights, but I was bored. It's of the skyline from Fort Roots. It was freezing cold when I was standing out there to take this, literally. It was in the upper 20's I think. Too cold to be standing around outside taking pictures...

Downtown Little Rock

I also headed back to the Capitol to get some more shots. It was a few days later so it was luckily much warmer out...

The Capitol


Lit up


After the Capitol, I went over the Clinton Library, which had some different colored lights on it. There was actually some sort of fancy shindig going on inside the library. I assume my invitation was lost in the mail, right?

Clinton Library at Christmas

The next weekend I drove down to Benton to see the courthouse there. It had lights strung out all over the place. So there were many pictures taken...

Saline County Courthouse


Church & State

Christmas in Benton

A few days after going to Benton I set out for another county courthouse - the Lonoke County Courthouse in Lonoke. So I drove all the way out there, got a bit lost, then managed to make it to their town square. It wasn't good. The courthouse had just a few strings of lights on it - actually, there are probably more Christmas lights in my apartment then at their courthouse. And at the top of the stairs to the courthouse they had set up a little nativity scene. Now, that little nativity scene was, well, tacky. If you are going to set up a nativity scene on your courthouse steps, you'd think you could buy something nicer than the plastic version from Wal-Mart. So I sadly turned around and headed back home, wasting lots of gas in the process. Thanks for nothing, Lonoke.

After that debacle, I stuck close to home for a bit. The Big Dam Bridge next to my apartment got some really fancy lights installed before Christmas. So I headed down there and got some pictures...

Big Dam Bridge, now with lights!

Lights at the bridge...

The lights are really cool - especially from the I-430 bridge. But I don't know about this blood red color, it's a bit creepy:

Red-light district?

Then one weekend I made a long drive down to Hot Springs. It was really warm out there that weekend, one of those unseasonably warm days where it had gotten up into the 70's.

Old Army and Navy Hospital, at Christmas

It was so warm, in fact, that they even had to shut down the outdoor ice-skating rink because it was melting. How sad:

Too warm for ice-skating

This is one of the fountains along Bathhouse Row. It was steamy, which I thought was odd since it was actually warm out. But I was trying to take a picture of the fountain with the Arlington in the background, which I would soon realize was a bad place to set up because the steam from the fountain would start blowing directly onto the camera. Doh!

Along Central Avenue

This is from the trail above the bathhouses:

Unseasonably warm in Hot Springs

And the Arlington:

Arlington Hotel, at Christmas

And finally, I went to the courthouse up in Searcy. That is actually a pretty long drive up there, but it was worth it. The courthouse in Searcy is great, and there was even some Christmas music playing out over the square. How festive!

White County Courthouse

White County Courthouse

White County Courthouse

I really like how this one turned out:

I'm dreaming of a White.....County Courthouse.

Eventhough Christmas will be gone soon, I might still try to get out and see some more courthouses (or give my car and camera a much-needed break). Oh well...

Update! Took this on the way home from Charleston's the Logan County Courthouse in Paris, Arkansas:

Paris, City of Lights...

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sometimes it does help to wake up before noon

I'm bored right now so I'm going to sit down and show off a whole bunch of pictures that I went to take the past few weeks but haven't done anything with. Are you excited?! Yay! This will be fun!

A few weeks ago I went out to this little area hidden inside a park in North Little Rock that has these great little waterfalls in it. A photographer friend of mine told me about it earlier in the year, and I had never made it out there when there was water in the little creek that makes the falls.

Hidden waterfall

The creek is actually very hidden, in fact I doubt there are many people who know exactly where it is. Considering a major trail runs right by here it is surprising that many people don't know about it.


There was a small cascade, which was flowing fairly well. I think there are more waterfalls above this one, but I was going to be late for work and had to sadly leave. I'm going to try to get back out there soon, since it's not that hard to reach....




The next Saturday I went out the with the camera again, heading downtown. I drove around for awhile and ended up sitting around Riverfront Park in North Little Rock.

The Junction Bridge

The light was a bit too harsh, but it was getting close to dark so I decided to sit around and wait for the sunset.

Broadway Bridge

On Broadway!

After sitting around and waiting and waiting, the sun finally set...


The light might have been a bit better if I had stayed down there longer, but about the time I took this I got a phone call reminding me that I was supposed to be somewhere. So I packed everything in and called it a night...

And then on this past Friday night, I had a lot of trouble falling asleep. I think I maybe got a few hours of sleep - but I woke up about 6 and was wide awake. This was odd - I usually prefer to sleep till noon or later, but here I was awake at the crack of dawn on a Saturday, no less. I looked out the window and saw that the apartment buildings that comprise my view were partially blocked by a really thick fog. Since I was awake, I figured, I might as well make something out of it. I grabbed the camera and headed over to the Big Dam Bridge. The fog was really thick there...

Big Dam (foggy) Bridge

Considering the weather was a bit crummy and how early it was (you mean people actually choose to get out this early - crazy), the bridge was a popular place. Lots of joggers and people zooming by on bikes. Quite a few photographers out too.

Big Dam Bridge and fog

This is looking west from the bridge. You should be able to see Pinnacle Mountain and the I-430 bridge from here. It was odd to hear traffic on the freeway bridge but not actually see it.

Lock and dam

I spent maybe an hour on the bridge, and the sun came up while I was there. I thought the sun would end up burning away the fog, but the sun barely made any difference there...

Big Dam Bridge and fog

There were also lots of people fishing around the bridge. They managed to catch a few fish in the few minutes I was taking pictures around them. Now I don't know how clean the river is, but I wouldn't eat anything from there.

Fishing in the shadow of the Big Dam Bridge

Bridge, fog, and fishermen

After leaving the bridge, I walked along part of the River Trail for a bit. I didn't stay out there too long since I wasn't actually all that interested in hiking the whole 20 miles or so of it...

The River Trail

The part of the trail that I walked ran alongside a small lake. This tree was growing along the shore...

Tree along the trail

I left the trail and the bridge, and decided to head over to Burns Park. The fog was really thick, and had settled over the entire city. It seemed to be even thicker at Burns Park then it did at the bridge.

Burns Park in the fog

I was heading down to the covered bridge in the park, but made a stop at this one area...

Of all the times I've been in this park I had never noticed this place. The little path in the picture below heads up to a small cemetery. The cemetery is where some of the original settlers of the area that is now Burns Park were buried back in the 1800's. It felt like the place was a bit forgotten and seemed like it didn't receive that many visitors...

Burns Park

Cemetery in Burns Park

I didn't notice this when I took it, but it looks like there is a spider hanging out on the tombstone. It's on the "F" in February...

The cabin of the people who are buried is located just across the street from the cemetery. It is really small - the bedroom in my apartment is bigger than the whole cabin:

Old cabin...

There wasn't a whole lot of traffic in the park that morning, I saw two other cars while I was out there...

Road Through Burns Park

So there wasn't anyone else there when I went to the covered bridge - just me and the fog...

Covered Bridge in Burns Park

Covered Bridge

I had been out for a few hours taking pictures and the fog was still hanging around. Maybe, just maybe, it would stick around a bit longer and I could shoot a few dozen more pictures. Since I was already in Dogtown I drove over to the Old Mill, which was shrouded with fog but swarming with other photographers. It looked like there was a couple getting their engagement or something photos taken. They would stand all around the front of the mill posing while their picture was taken. How rude, they really ruined my shots! The fog really seemed to bring people out, a saw another guy with a camera walk around - aggravated - that the couple were ruining the view. He eventually got fed up and left, but a few minutes later the couple finished and went on their way, finally clearing out of the way....

The Old Mill

After the Mill I took the fun drive down Snake Hill to visit the lake there. The fog was still thick along the lake, but it had the added bonus of a bunch of ducks too....

Lakewood fog


The guy who left the Old Mill was down here too. He asked me if the couple finally left. I told him that they did, but didn't mention that they left just a few minutes after he did. He got in his car a few minutes later and left, I guess, to go back to the Mill. There was probably another group of people up there getting their pictures taken when he got there...


Ducks and fog

The sun was finally able to break through the fog, which prompted me (along with the 2 hours of sleep I got) to call it a day. By the time I got back to my apartment most of the fog was gone. But I'm glad I somehow managed to be awake that early - maybe next weekend I'll set the alarm and wake up at 6:00 again.

Wait, 6? In the morning? That's crazy talk.