Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Gathering Storm

Yesterday found Birmingham drenched in rain with lightning lighting up the skies and  rumbles of thunder rattling the widowpanes day and night. Today there are predictions of a smattering of snow- yes, SNOW!!!  If we get even a FLAKE, believe me , you'll see it.  I thought this tree in Mountain Brook Village was a good image for the weather we've been experiencing.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Gatekeepers

This beautiful old gate can be found on historic Morris Avenue.  Morris Avenue is noted for it's 19th, early 20th century warehouses. It is on the National Register for Historical Places.

Caution - Artists at Work!

Tres and Tom paint together

Last night I was the proverbial  "kid in the candy store".  This is how it all happened.  Last fall I met Tres Taylor at Art Walk.  You met him on Feb.24th as one of my 100 Strangers.  Well I went by his studio on Wednesday and asked if I could photograph him actually painting. He invited me back last night.   When I showed up at his very cool and funky studio near my home, I learned that he and another well known Birmingham artist, Tom Findlay, are the featured artists in a rather unique combination art/ ballet event coming up at the Virginia Samford Theatre.  Tom and Tres will actually  paint during a ballet performance!  The catch is that they have to completely paint about 6 huge canvases and then paint the whole thing black in 30 minutes!  Tres will paint one night and Tom the next.  What I got to witness was their "dress rehearsal" - to the music.  The whole process was fascinating.   Just watching them experiment with the paint and listen to them giving each other advice was an absolute delight for me, the frustrated painter.  Neither artist was painting in their usual "style" and that was an eye opener as well.  I also got a good talking to about seeking out my own style ( painting and photography) and not letting others influence what I create.   Let's just say it was a night I will not soon forget. Thanks Tres and Tom for letting me photograph both of you doing what you do best, making me feel so welcome , AND letting me offer some advice. I have a LOT of nerve!!!!


Tres, this is my new found "style". Hope you approve!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Only the Shadow Knows

A few months back I mentioned how hard it is for me to get anywhere on time,  because I see a potential photograph and feel compelled to stop and take it.  Well it happened again the other day.  I went to my friend Michael Dulin's recording studio, Polymusic Studios.  As we were leaving to have lunch, I spotted these shadows on the wall,  and you know what happened next. Mike understands me,  so he waited patiently,  and we were only a little late for lunch!

I know you expected BW on this one but my producer/manager Wayne and I  reached consensus ( drumroll please!)  that this was the way to go.

My friend Laurie at South Pasadena DP, likes to post a photo and have her viewers conjure up a possible movie script.  This photo has Laurie written all over it.  Have at it you creative viewers out there.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

With Heads Bowed

Today, Ash Wednesday,  marks the beginning of the season of Lent for Christians around the world.  I thought you might enjoy seeing the beautiful Lenten Roses ( Helleborus)  that are blooming all over Birmingham.  They are tricky to photograph because the grow with their heads bowed.  I had to use a few tricks of my own ( think acrobatics) to capture these. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

100 Strangers Part IV

The Artist

A few more of the nice folks I've met while trying to gather 100 strangers' photographs around town.  For privacy reasons, I have chosen not to use the names for my portraits.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Blue Switch

This cool blue switch can be found at Sloss Furnaces.  I 've shown you other photos from that shoot here, here and here.  My consultants Bill and Wayne, THINK it's a switch that has PROBABLY been disconnected and covered over. There you go!  I just like the color combo.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

All Lit Up

The Alabama Theater as you have already seen here and here, is a treasure trove of beautiful details and furnishings.  The lighting fixtures are no exception.  Luckily they have been lovingly maintained. 

Thanks to my producer/manager who was smart enough to help me out by voting for the one I had already chosen! 

Lobby Chandelier from beneath

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chaise Noire

The morning sun streaming in the bedroom window.
Les ombres, the shadows

Friday, February 20, 2009

Do Not Touch

Taken at the Birmingham Museum of Art, these cases contained pottery and glass objects.  

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Old Against the New II

Far be it for me to quit while I'm ahead.  No, I'm just going to forge ahead with another Old Against the New offering today.  The top photograph features the lovely old Birmingham Public Library Building.  Today it is the Linn-Henley Research Library.  Facing Linn Park, it is one of my favorite buildings in downtown Birmingham.   The sharply modern building in the background is the new Public Library.  I'm sure there were many good reasons why they chose to move to this sleek and contemporary structure.  I can't name one.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Old Against the New

Cathedral Church of the Advent against The Financial Center/ Compass Bank

As I was walking around downtown during the marathon last weekend,  I was struck by these two examples of this beautiful old  church  pressed (visually) against the sleek, modern architecture of today.  You know my preference, what's yours? 

The Cathedral Church of the Advent against the Regions Bank Building

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Winter Afternoon Under the Arbor

Today we linger under the arbor at the Botanical Gardens.  In the spring and summer it is lush and beautiful, but I like the bare vines wrapped around the columns now.  The afternoon sun worked some magic as well.

Note:  More on the Mercedes Marathon and Kat's results coming. I completely missed her finish on Sunday, so we are waiting on other photos.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Crying Shame

Today's post is one of a series I'm  calling  "A Crying Shame".   It will  feature some of Birmingham's beautiful old landmarks that have  fallen into disrepair.  Sadly there are far too many. Every city has them, Birmingham is no exception.  While I realize this might be viewed as showing my city in a negative way, I disagree. These grand old buildings deserve to be appreciated for what they once were.  Maybe one day.........

This is but one of the many banks in Birmingham that have had as many name changes as Elizabeth Taylor!  In 1887,  Birmingham Savings and Trust Company was founded.  By 1968 it was known as Birmingham Trust National Bank (BTNB) .  By 1981 it was SouthTrust. In 2004 Wachovia gobbled it up.  I think this photograph of the old 20th street location says it all. Looks like bullet holes  doesn't it.  For the many that have lost their jobs along the way , maybe that's fitting.  This beautiful building has stood empty for as long as I can remember.  A crying shame!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Kids Running for Kids

Here's my medal , Mumsie!

This is a really big weekend in Birmingham.  The 7th annual Mercedes Marathon started on Saturday for Birmingham's youngsters.  Today, the grownups will get their chance to run, trot, jog, walk, crawl....whatever they have to do to get across that finish line.  Begun in 2002  by Paul and Cinna Sotherland (click HERE to read their story) this grand event has raised millions for the wonderful Bell Center for Early Intervention and Kid One Transport.  If you are wondering why Mercedes is involved , well we are most fortunate to have a Mercedes plant in nearby Vance, Al and they have been such generous contributors to our community!  

I have a vested interest in this marathon.  Oh no, I'm not running.  Are you kidding me?  But yesterday my granddaughter Chappell ran with a HUGE and most energetic group of kindergartners, along with her marathon running mom, Kathleen. Where those running genes come from we have no earthly idea.  Today a few shots of the Kids' Run and tomorrow some photos of the grownups. GO KAT GO!!!!

* Yesterday I did a really dumb thing and lost my billfold.  I am so very grateful to a couple on Country Club Road who found it and contacted me. It brought a familiar quote to mind.  "I've always depended on the kindness of stranger."  Blanche- Streetcar Named Desire.  I feel so fortunate to live in a community where strangers treat each other as friends! !

At the starting gate

Heading for the Finish Line

Our friend James and his dad Chris ran together

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love Boots!

It's Valentine's Day so put on your foxy red love boots and boogie the night away!!  I have been looking at these snazzy boots in the window of Zoe's for weeks.  Zoe's is a funky little consignment shop specializing in vintage wear.  The shop is in my neighborhood and I love driving by and seeing all the outrageous/nostalgic clothing displayed in their windows.  Yesterday I popped in and took these photos.  Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Attention Birmingham Viewers:  Our friend Ken Mac  ( Greenwich Daily Photo) has posted the latest on the Cheyenne Diner as it begins to make its way to Birmingham. Check it out.  If you have any additional info about the new owner and where it will be, please email me.

Click HERE to see KC and the Sunshine Band singing...."BOOGIE SHOES"!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Promise of Spring


Star Magnolia

How fortunate I am to live here in the Deep South where spring comes calling here when most of the country is still in the throws of winter.  I realize this might appear to be bragging a bit,  but I hope that instead  it brings the promise of spring to you in your corner of the world.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

We're back at Ted's Garage today.  This place was just too full of wonderful photo ops for just one post.  Today, another taste of the snazzy old cars and vintage atmosphere .  Who knows, we could come back again if you'd like.  I have a trunk full of photos left!

Yes, Ted did drive this one from Peking to Paris!

PURE nostalgia

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Autumn Leftovers

oakleaf hydrangea leaves

Like many of you photographers out there,  I've studied the many ways to use  natural light.  I don't know about you , but when I get out there shooting, I sometimes forget all of  "the rules".  If I'm lucky I sometimes manage to find myself in a situation where I just can't miss. This is an example of "backlighting" a subject.  If you go to the Botanical Gardens late in the afternoon., this is what you might find, IF you're lucky .....and look around for it!

Yesterday I stopped by Julie's Sydney Eye blog.  She has a writer's gift that puts me to shame. Her account of the deadly bushfires there and a link to a personal account brought tears to my eyes.  KB at Altadena Hiker got busy and got in touch with Julie.  Help is needed.  Please go to the Red Cross site if you would like to make a donation.  As I told KB, we feel each other's pain here because we are after all,  a community.

The Tune du Jour is "Wedding Day" by Michael Dulin.
( Now you will have to go to Deezer to hear it , sorry)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Meet Kate Merritt Davis. She might look familiar because I featured her here as one of my 100 Strangers a while back.   I met her at Art Walk last fall and she and I have kept in touch.  Today, I visited Kate at her home/studio and not only had a nice cup of tea with her but got to snoop around and have a look at her work in progress.  I asked Kate how long she'd been painting and she laughed and said she'd been making art forever.  What a talented young artist she is.  How fortunate I am that this "stranger" has become a new friend!!  I'm saving my pennies.  There's an original Kate Merritt Davis in my future I hope!

*Kate's work is available on Etsy right here.

Our special thoughts and prayers are with our friend Steve Buser on he loss of his brother Ted this past week.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Let's Go Out for Dinner!

We haven't been out to eat lately,  so I'd like to take you to one of my favorite places.  Little Savannah right here in my Forest Park neighborhood never disappoints.  Owners Cliff and Maureen Holt just celebrated 5 successful years, and they have made their cozy restaurant one of Birmingham's most respected eateries.  They've added a deck out back which has been known to feature live music when the weather warms up.  Their menu changes frequently depending on what fresh homegrown ingredients are in season.  What to order?  Well it's ALL wonderful, but I enjoyed the shrimp and polenta when I went for brunch recently. Oh, and the Proven├žal Violette Sparkler is an absolute must!

Out Back

The Tune du Jour " Savannah's Song" by David Shaw

Discover David Saw!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Column Detail

One of downtown Birmingham's most beautiful churches is the Cathedral Church of the Advent. I have enjoyed photographing it on many occasions. This week I am donating three of my photographs for the Silent Auction as part of their fundraiser for the Advent Day School.  These are two of the photographs I am offering.  It is a privilege to be able to share my talents in order to benefit such worthy causes in my community. 

The Tune du Jour is "Prelude" by Michael Dulin.

Discover Michael Dulin!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Samford University

Belltower, Harwell G. Davis Library

Samford University, a private Baptist University, has a special place in my heart.  My mother was the Presidents' secretary for 30 plus years.  It was Howard College  when she went there and I spent many a summer day "helping" in the administrative offices and learning the switchboard. The campus moved from the East Lake location to Homewood in 1957 and became Samford University in 1965  . We lived in the Faculty Apartments and I was a "Samford Kid" as were my girls in later years. They skated a million miles across the campus as youngsters.  Now I'm a Samford  night student in their Samford After Sundown program taking photography and French classes.  This is probably one of the most beautiful campuses you will ever visit.  I hope to show you more in weeks to come.  Today, the belltower of the Harwell G. Davis Library.  Major Harwell  Davis was the first president that my mother worked for and he was instrumental in moving Howard College to the new campus. On as sadder note, we all mourn the passing of Dr. Thomas Corts this week. Dr. Corts was the last president my mother had the privilege of working with.  Dr. Corts was a leader locally, state wide and nationally.  He will be greatly missed.

Reid Chapel

* By viewer request I've added some photos to Paris Through My Lens today.

The Tune du Jour is " Consolation" by Michael Dulin

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Friday, February 6, 2009

A Little Zen at the Civic Center

 I visited the Birmingham Children's Theater back in December,  and as I climbed the steps of the Civic Center, I spotted this vignette.  I have been toying with this photo ever since.  Today I sent it to my friend Bob Crowe and gave him the usual directive:  " Any good? Let me have it."  It got a thumbs up - after I recropped, so here it is.  I am so fortunate to have Bob and many other daily photo photographers that are so willing to share their expertise with me on a daily basis.  Merci Professor Crowe,  you continue to challenge me as well as advise. I need every bit of it.

The Tune du Jour is " Sundial  Dreams " by Kevin Kern

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