Recently I hosted a Scott Kelby Photo Walk with 30 photographers walking the streets of Detroit at night, and it was a lot of fun! There is something about a city at night that is so magical, with the lights of many colors and inky sky as a backdrop. The photo walk has inspired me to travel downtown at night to capture its beauty.
The People Mover is the closest thing Detroit has to public transportation in the downtown area (that will change once the new M-1 Light Rail project is completed). We didn’t initially plan on riding the Mover, but it had become a theme of the night.
On Wednesday, October 17 I traveled downtown with fellow photographer Fritz DeAnna Kammerer to capture Greektown at night, and whatever else captured our interest. We started in Greektown (who can pass up the free parking in the casino parking garage?) where the streets were bustling with people – as soon as I saw the Red Wing jerseys, I knew it must be a home game night. We walked down Monroe St. and captured a few street images.
As we reached the corner of Monroe and Beaubien we happened upon the People Mover station. Fritz mentioned he has never been on the People Mover. Wait, what? Never been on the People Mover?? “Well, we will have to remedy that!”, I replied. As we arrived on the People Mover platform, we found it filled with Red Wings fans on the way to the game. We set up our tripods to capture the People Mover as it entered the station (but of course be careful to stay behind the yellow platform!). A security officer approached us and asked if we were “pro” photographers and we said no (always say no!). He said he typically doesn’t allow people to take photos on the platform, permission is needed first, blah blah, but he let us anyway. And not only that, but he gave us some tips of where to go to get some great shots of the city! Thanks Mr. Security Guy!
We entered the People Mover train car and the first thing Fritz asks is, “Can we take photos from the train car”? I told him yes and to put his lens up to the window of the small door at the front of the train for some cool perspective shots. He captured some stunning images, and then I stepped in to take a few myself. We had so much fun with it we vowed to do this again to get more practice and better images.
We exited the People Mover and decided to get some images from atop a parking garage. Below are some images we captured.
By this time we were getting hungry and decided to head back to Greektown for some food. This was the last image of the night that I spotted as we were waiting for the People Mover to take us back. All in all is was a great night and look forward to future adventures!
Many people who grew up in the Detroit area might remember a family trip to Boblo Island. And to get there, one rode either the SS Columbia or SS Ste. Claire. The Boblo Island Amusement Park was open from 1898 until 1993 and the boats have been docked since its closure, waiting for someone to make a decision on their fate.
A New York non-profit group, The Columbia Project, plans to restore the SS Columbia and use it for excursions along the Hudson River. The boat was moved to Toledo, OH on September 15, 2014 where it will be dry-docked over the winter and partially restored, planning to make the trip to New York on its own power.
I was fortunate enough to be asked along by the photographer who was hired to document this historic move of the Columbia to Toledo. We had access to all areas of the boat, and also followed the boat down to Toledo to capture it’s temporary home.
Below is a gallery of photos I captured of the boat before, during an after the move. You will also find a video gallery of short videos I captured on the boat with my iPad Mini.
Last Sunday I drove to Belle Isle to capture the sunset, and what I saw there surprised me. While I have captured the Detroit skyline many times from several vantage points around the city, I have yet to have seen the Detroit River as smooth as silk. Still. Not a ripple. Typically the water is constantly moving and it can be rare to see it so quiet. I was happy to have captured it while in a zen state.
Below are three images I took at different times throughout the evening.
If you would like to see one of these images hanging in your home or business, you can purchase them and many other Detroit images from my gallery shop.
No one will argue with me when I say this has been a long, harrowing winter. Even those who love winter will admit they have had enough. This winter I have not spent a lot of time outdoors taking photos, at least not compared to previous winters. The cold was, well, just too cold.
I finally made a break for it and took to downtown Detroit to do some exploring. One place I wanted to revisit was the Packard Plant, with it being in the news so much these past few months with its recent sale, I knew there were going to be changes. For one, security (mostly keeping out the scrappers). I drove down E. Grand Blvd. by the plant where we usually park, and there it was, the security vehicle. We kept driving around the back of the plant, and parked down the street in front of an old abandoned warehouse I had also visited in the past.
This time, however, I am visiting in the cold. The sight that greeted us as soon as we walked in the front door was what looked like frozen blankets of water completely covering the concrete stairs with giant icicles hanging down the sides. The ice was thick and walking up the stairs was quite tricky.
As we very carefully walked up the stairs, we would stop from time to time to capture the icicles. I even had to make sure my tripod didn’t go sliding away along with my camera! Thankfully my tripod legs have spikes on the bottom of each leg to give more grip to lessen those chances! As we neared the top flight of stairs, we could see light from the opening to the roof streaming in. I used my Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens for this image to encompass the whole stairway.
What we came in to see this time was the eerie green glow of light that comes in from one of the third floor windows. The sight we found when we came upon the area was that every inch was covered in ice. You could have, quite literally, ice skated inside this warehouse. And the ice was smooth! If I had known that I would have brought my skates!
After the warehouse, we made our way down the street to the south end of the Packard Plant. Below is a slide show of images taken. It has been at least six months since I had been to the plant, and I could see the changes, most namely the new graffiti, as well as the continued deterioration (such as top floors falling down on lower floors).
This winter most of my photography has been relegated to the indoors. It’s been a long, cold snowy winter! So that has led to more shooting indoors, such as macro photography, light painting and architectural shoots.
The Fisher Building is one of the better-known iconic Detroit buildings designed by Albert Kahn and built in 1928. The lobby is lavishly awash with marble and the ceilings made up of beautiful mosaics of birds and people. The building is also comprised of the Fisher Theatre (which I remember going to as a kid to see “Annie”).
Here is a collection of images taken on Saturday, Feb. 22. This is my second photographic visit to the Fisher – it is hard to not keep coming back to take photos!
Interested in purchasing any of these images? They can be found in my gallery shop!