Thursday, July 30, 2020


It took two tries, but we finally got some pictures of the Comet Neowise. The first night there were too many clouds off in the distance which blocked the view of the northwestern sky. But the next night conditions were much better (there was even a nice breeze which cooled things off a bit). I met my friend John at the Two Rivers Park Bridge, which we had hoped would provide a good view of the bridge. As a bonus, it also provided a good view of the sunset and Pinnacle Mountain.



Finally the sky darkened enough so that the stars appeared, but the comet wasn't actually visible with a naked eye (I'm guessing because of too much city light). But the comet appeared in long exposures on the camera, shining above the waters of the Little Maumelle River.


I'm going to assume that the comet is named after Keanu's character from The Matrix, and it is the brightest comet that we've been able to see here since Comet Hale–Bopp in the 1990s. This was my reaction when I saw the comet on the camera:

And a wider shot of the comet, including a distant view of Pinnacle Mountain.


And then the view from the other side of the Two Rivers Park Bridge, looking across the Arkansas River towards the I-430 Bridge and the Big Dam Bridge. It's amazing that you can see so many stars even with all the conflicting city lights.


Monday, July 27, 2020

All Ears

We weren't blessed with green thumbs here, so usually the stuff we plant in the front yard doesn't often survive the Summer. But we planted an Elephant Ear bulb and it is somehow thriving. The leaves are massive, the size of books. They are big enough that they hide all the dead flowers in the pots behind them on the porch. But one day I grabbed the camera and got a few pictures of the leaves (the things you do when you work from home). It was bright and sunny outside, but the afternoon sun backlit the leaves and helped show off some of the detail.


Wednesday, July 22, 2020


As you head west from downtown you eventually reach the intersection of Markham Street and Kavanaugh Blvd, a spot that is known as Stifft Station. The area was developed back in the early 1900s back when this was the far edge of the Little Rock city limits. Stifft Station got its name because it used to be a stop on the old streetcar line, which is long gone. But one lasting piece of the area's history is an old neon sign for the Buice Drug Store. So here is a shot of the sign, reflected in the window of the real estate office that is now in the same building that once housed the drug store.


Monday, July 20, 2020

At The Capitol

The other night looked like there might be a good sunset, so I hurried off to try to get a few pictures. I ended up driving by the State Capitol, but the sunset there didn't really pan out. So I walked around the grounds and went by the memorial to the Little Rock Nine. The memorial features life-size statues of the Nine, who helped end segregation in Arkansas by bravely walking into Little Rock Central High in 1957. The statue at the front of the group is of Elizabeth Eckford, and it looks very similar to the iconic photograph of her stoically walking to the school while being pursued by a crazed-looking mob.


The memorial is titled Testament and was placed on the Capitol grounds in 2005, nearly 50 years after the students made history. The sculptures were created by John Deering, who is also the editorial cartoonist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.


The statues are placed off to the side of the Capitol, but are defiantly facing the windows of the Governor's office - "very seat of power that fueled the conflict and forged their remarkable futures."


I headed back over to the front of the Capitol, which was fairly quiet. Besides a family taking pictures on the steps, there wasn't anyone else around (besides security, which drove by about every 15 minutes). This is a big change from a few months ago, when there were nightly protests in front of the Capitol. Now you can't see much evidence of that - there are still some boarded-up windows on some of the buildings along Capitol Avenue that haven't been fixed yet for some reason. And it looks like there are some big and bright spotlights now shining down onto the two confederate monuments that stand on the Capitol grounds (to help protect them from vandalism, maybe?). These two monuments are now the only monuments to the confederacy still standing in Little Rock, and our Governor has stated that he is open to having them moved. Which I fully support, I think there are much better things about our state that we can showcase and memorialize.

Anyways, here's one last shot from the Capitol as it was starting to get dark...


Thursday, July 16, 2020

A Little Rock Sunset

The other night it seemed like conditions were favorable for a nice sunset, so I grabbed the camera (luckily the battery was charged) and headed towards downtown. It was storming a little off in the distance when I arrived at the Junction Bridge, and the sky looked gray and leaden. At first it didn't look like there would end up being much of a sunset at all that night.


But then a hint of color appeared in the west, and then it spread wide across the sky above the downtown skyline. The low clouds were a bright mix of pastel pink and sherbet orange, which was reflected in the river below. But this only lasted for just a few minutes, and the color quickly faded away. In this shot, a barge is crossing underneath the Main Street Bridge, and there are some streaks of light from a speedboat heading downriver.


There were still a few storms hanging around, so I decided to wait to see if I could get any pictures of lightning. Of course, it's probably not the wisest thing to be standing on a metal bridge next to a metal tripod during a storm. But at least I managed to capture one shot of the lightning over downtown Little Rock.


On the way home, I drove through downtown and stopped at the old fountain by the Pulaski County Courthouse. In the background is the Robinson Center.


Thursday, July 9, 2020


On the way home I passed through Cleveland (the one in Arkansas, not in Ohio). On the outskirts of the town was this old abandoned house, sitting along in a field and falling apart. I turned the car around and stopped to get a few pictures. I imagine that this huge tree used to provide some nice shade to whoever used to live here back in the day.


While I never thought that visiting this house would be something that would be on my bucket list, but at least someone was kind enough to leave a bucket here just in case.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020


From Holly Springs, I headed north along a little country road that was lined with tall wildflowers. I stopped at a few places for pictures, and really hoped that there would be a scenic old barn sitting there surrounded by those flowers. But no luck, but at least the flowers were pretty.


Further down the road was an old abandoned house, nearly completely hidden by overgrown vegetation. Out front was a slightly-ominous sounding "DEAD END" sign.


But it also had also had a few wildflowers growing out front too.


I made it to the small community of Scotland, which sits in southwestern Van Buren County. There is a nice collection of older buildings in Scotland, which was settled back in the 1870s. I'm guessing that this used to be some sort of store...


The old post office (which probably dates from the 1930s?) is abandoned but still standing.



A small bed of wildflowers were growing in front of another old building sitting next door to the old post office.


The old buildings sat in the shadows of massive trees, which stretched high above them into the sky.


Across the street was another old building, with more wildflowers growing up by some newspaper boxes awaiting their deliveries.


On the outskirts of Scotland was this old barn, which has a few thick vines growing up on it.


The barn was by this old house, which doesn't look likes it's lived in much anymore. But at least it's taken care of, someone had recently mowed the grass in front (in its Scotland Yard?).



Nearby was a field that was covered in a sea of wildflowers, so I stopped for one last shot before heading back home.


Monday, July 6, 2020

Holly Springs

There are a few places in Arkansas called Holly Springs, but there is one tiny community in the Ozark foothills that shares the name (it is near the other big cities of Springfield and Mallet Town). There is a small one-room school here, which looks to have been abandoned for quite some time. The building sits along a dirt road, which was flanked by a thick layer of tall wildflowers.


I wasn't able to find much information about the school online, but I can state with some certainty that it was constructed in 1938 by the WPA. I know that because the WPA was kind enough to put the date on the side of the building.


The school is constructed with stone, in a style that seems to have been perfected by the WPA. It's no surprise that it's still standing despite being abandoned for quite sometime.


And one last shot - a look inside the building, which was the home to numerous wasp nests (they were not taking a summer vacation from this school).


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Springfield Bridge

The Springfield Bridge in Faulkner County is old, in fact it's the oldest bridge in the state of Arkansas. It was built in 1874, which (if my math is correct) was 146 years ago. That was so long ago that the president was Ulysses Grant and there were only 37 states. The iron bowstring truss bridge was constructed over Cadron Creek, along a road that ran between the town of Springfield to Des Arc.

The fact that the bridge is still standing is an amazing achievement and a rare preservation success. In 1991, the bridge was replaced with a new concrete bridge and was abandoned. For decades the bridge deteriorated, slowly accumulating damage from rot, floods and vandalism. The bridge was in such rough shape that it probably would not be standing now if it weren't for efforts from the city of Conway, who saved the bridge and moved it ten miles south to a new home on Lake Beaverfork a few years ago. The bridge was cleaned and refurbished, and is now in use as a pedestrian bridge.

For a bit of a comparison, here is the bridge in 2011:
Springfield Bridge

And another view from 2011:
Where The Streets Have No Name

The last time I visited the bridge in its original location was in January of 2016. The bridge was in such bad shape that I assumed that it would be the last time I ever took pictures there. Most of the wooden deck looked like it had been burned away because of dumb people starting fires on the bridge. The iron arches were leaning precariously, and looked like they could be knocked down by the next flood.

Springfield Bridge

Recently we've lost so many great structures, like the bridge at Clarendon or the Majestic Hotel in Hot Springs. So it still amazes me that the bridge was saved and preserved before it was lost forever. Hopefully it will shine as an example of how to save these places before they are gone.