Sunday, May 31, 2009

Time Together

It's easy to get caught up in the day to day, to concentrate on all of the things that you "should" do, instead of those that you "want" to do. Children set such a great example of living for the moment - something we should all spend more time doing...and doing together.

Our Memorial Day was very special, spent at the Detroit Zoo as a family. Not separated by different sports, jobs or responsbilities, but all six of us together, for an entire day.

While Robby had been to the zoo last year, this was the first trip that he was really aware of his surroundings - he was so excited I think he stopped breathing a couple of times LOL. The penguins were our first stop (mainly because it was the first exhibit we came to) and Robby pointed and squealed at them over and over again.

Rob was the navigator/tour guide, and Riley read the signs next to the exibits to learn about the animals. Riley was excited to learn about the monkeys because she was doing a school project about them, and Allie kept wondering if she was EVER going to get to see the giraffes. Dom helped out with Alex and Robby, lifting them when they needed help to see something, and only giving us his "teenager look" a couple of times. :-)

I of course documented the day with my camera, even stopping once to set up the self timer to get a few pics of all of us together. While we were stopped, Rob took a few pics of Robby and me too - this is soooo cool, PROOF that I was actually there. It is so rare that I am in the photos, I'm happy to have these.

This year the Detroit Zoo has a dinosaur garden. Alex was a little nervous initially, but after the first couple of scary dinosaurs (and seeing that Robby was NOT afraid) she soon began running ahead with Riley to see the next one. Their favorite was the dinosaur that spit water on unsuspecting passers by.

Our initial plan was to spend just a couple of hours at the zoo, and 5 hours later with Robby fading fast and the girls starting to get grumpy, we finally decided to pack it in. Alex had walked the entire time - Robby was the only one in a stroller. Rob ended up carrying Allie for the last little bit because she said her legs were soooo tired. The kiddos fell fast asleep on the way home.

It was a beautiful day....

With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Michigan Central Station

What an exciting photo outing this was, thank you so much Kiah for inviting me! Kiah's friends Brian and Ralph were great fun too - I loved talking photography and sharing ideas/comps. Oh, and Ralph you were a great model, we'll have to get some pics to your mom for ya LOL. I have to say that while I am generally a portrait photog, I absolutely LOVE taking pics just for the sake of taking pics, and what a golden opportunity for beautiful images in Michigan Central Station.

A grand, majestic old building scheduled for demolition, you walk in and your reaction (after an appropriately stunned silence) is a breathless "wow". The sheer expanse of the main room alone is breathtaking, and that is even before you look around and see the intricate stone and tile work. It's sad and depressing too, as the initial impact wears off and you realize the state of total decay this beautiful building is in - the regal columns and gorgeous architecture defaced with graffiti and crumbling concrete and tile.

It's easy to lose track of time exploring this building, around every corner was another room or expanse, always with something different if not more beautiful. I must say, some of the grafitti was pretty interesting as well LOL - gotta love urban humor.
According to wikipedia "The building is composed of two distinct parts: the train station itself and the 18-storey tower. The roof height is 230 feet (70 m)" Yes, we climbed the stairs to the top, stopping every couple of floors to take pics and look out the windows. The stairs had no railings (yikes), missing tiles and even holes/broken spots (FREAKIN yikes) and no glass in the windows on the landing of each stair floor (I can't type an expletive strong enough here). For someone afraid of heights (yes, me), it was somewhat of a nightmare to make the climb.

Good thing the boys humored me, though I'm sure Kiah will make fun of me later LOL. A lot of the floors looked the same, not as grand as the main floor and mostly with loose boards and nails covering the floors, and just the skeleton of the structure - support beams and such but not many walls/separate rooms outside of those on the outside structure of the building. There were heavy doors on a couple of the landings, but most of the doors were gone as well.
Every floor brought a more beautiful and clear view of the city of Detroit...and just when you thought it couldn't get any better, you get to the top. Tired and shaking legs do nothing to diminish the absolutely breathtaking view from the roof of MCS.

Temporarily forgetting (ok, ignoring) my fear of heights, I walked to the edge to get my pic taken with the D in the background. Kiah and Brian, get those pics to me, I need proof that I DID it! (And a printed record for my great grandchildren that I'm not quite as boring as my kids would lead you to believe.) We spent quite some time on the roof - taking pics, chatting, watching some teenage degenerates (or degenerate wannabes LOL) spray painting any open surface they could find, though I'm not sure how they were finding ANY. It was pretty windy up there compared to the ground floor and soooooo so high up and scary! Beautiful, but scary!

As the sun started to go down, we snapped a few more pics and decided that we wanted to start the decent to the bottom floor while it was still LIGHT out. I'm pretty sure it would have been an incredibly stunning sunset from the top of MCS, but not sure I would have survived (emotionally if not physically) walking down those stairs in the dark. Although the fears/concerns I had as the shoot started turned out to be unfounded on this trip. We didn't get arrested, and no one fell through a hole in the roof - though I'm still certain that it could have been a possibility because a piece of the structure DID fall down on Brian - no crackheads or bums to be found anywhere, the only other people in the building were other photographers, and LOTS of them. Some heading UP the stairs as we were heading down. I'm sure they were on their way to photograph the sunset from the top - they are braver souls than me. :-) If you'd like to read more about the history of Michigan Central Station, see the wiki page HERE. See a floor plan of the main floor HERE. I'll be updating this post and posting more pics as I get them, this was one of my most fun "non client" shoots to date - thanks again to Kiah for organizing this outing, Kiah you are the best tour guide in the D!