Friday, March 20, 2009

One Fine Houston Evening

I'm reading the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson for the second time. It seems the first time I read it I didn't comprehend much of the information provided in the text.

Last evening I was feeling the call of the camera so I decided to put some of the knowledge I gained from reading the book to good use. So at about 7:00 PM I head out to see if I could capture a decent sunset and possibly some night photos.

I'm not thrilled with the sunset photos. Not because of the sky but because other than buildings and trees there isn't much else to in West Houston to use as the foreground subject in a sunset. Mountains are hard to find in these parts!

These two images are of a building near our house. I was actually driving back home after getting the sunset images and saw the sun reflecting off the building. So I pulled into a shopping center parking lot and setup my tripod and camera and snapped these two images all while a rent-a-cop sat in his/her truck and watched me the entire time.

All images copyright Daniel Ray Photography.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


At 6:00 AM the alarm sounded and I hit the snooze button and thought to myslef "Arg! its Monday and I have to go to work", but then I remembered that it wasn't Monday, it was Sunday and I had to get the kids out of bed and dressed so we could see something we've seen on TV but never in person. Within a few minutes we were dressed and ready to head out to the Up Town /Galleria area of Houston to watch the implosion of the Compass Bank building located at 2200 Post Oak Blvd.

We arrived at 6:45 AM with plenty of time to allow me to setup my Canon HD video camera and tripod and my Canon 40D still camera and tripod. But wait! Oops, I forgot my still camera tripod at home. Oh well nothing I can do about it now. I'm just going to have to make do by setting the ISO to 800 or 1600 so I can get the shutter speed up to compensate for the motion blur that will no dought be introduced by me hand holding the camera.

Cherry Demolition had a reception for thier guests. We accidently wandered into their roped off area and we were given free red "Cherry Demolition" hats. As soon as I relized what we had done we relocated outside their roped off area. Sorry about that, but thanks for the hats anyway.

The weather was cool with a light sprinkle of rain every now and then. At times the low clouds partially concealed the top of Williams tower which is the building where I work. I'm sure several of my co-workers were watching from the 53rd floor. Hi guys! I was a little concerned that the demolition would be cancelled because of the low cloud cover which could bounce the sound from the explosions back down into nearby buildings and possibly break windows.

There were a lot of video and still image photographers ready to capture the event. This fellow didn't forget his tripod like I did. This image was overexposed by about 1.5 stops so I could capture the detail of the forground which was much darker than the building and the areas under the parking lot lights.

The crowd and anticipation began to build as the five minute warning was given to the spectators.

Five, four, three, two, one... Boom, boom, boom. The sounds of the implosion could be heard while at the same time small yellow flashes could bee seen as the explosive charges began to detonate inside the building.

Almost as if in in slow-motion the northeast corner of the building began to sag and then it fell to the earth just as they had planned.

The southeast corner followed shortly after.

Then the rest of the building is pulled down to the ground.

A cloud of dust started to rise as the building settled into a huge pile of concrete and twisted steel.

As the cloud of dust spread wider and grew taller people begin to run for cover.

But the wind was blowing away from us so the cloud of dust moved away from our location.

The aftermath of dust a debris with the Galleria Mall and Williams Tower in the background.

What a spectacular event to witness first hand. You can watch my video of this demolition, titled "Demolition" on my YouTube page or watch the smaller embedded video below.
All images copyright Daniel Ray Photography.