Energy is big business in Oklahoma. Oil and natural gas are a large part of the economy and, judging by the size of its downtown location, Devon is a big player in the market. Until I went there, I had not heard of the company. However, once you are there, you can hardly miss their tower which dominates the skyline. It is a pretty simple structure in principle but there are a few features that catch the eye. The gentle curve in towards the top is interesting and the texture on the windows had me looking at various ways to shoot it.
The overall shape did make me think of something less than flattering though. I did not read the Lord of the Rings books as a youngster (or since) but I have seen the movies. The shape of the building made me think of the eye of Sauron atop the tower in the films. You may think I am delusional for seeing this but that was how it struck me. I am not suggesting Devon is an evil corporation – it’s just the building reminded me of a film.
As the sun went down, I had varying options with the light on the tower so tried shooting from various angles and played with the exposure to get the effect I was after. I also got a few shots of it after dark when I was walking back from dinner. I’m not sure whether I like the building or not but it has certainly got my attention.
In the heart of downtown Oklahoma City is an oasis from the normal bustle of a city in the form of a botanic garden. This is not something on the scale of some of the other botanic gardens I have visited over the years. It is more of a park that has been nicely landscaped. However, it is known as the Myriad Botanic Gardens and it has a glasshouse at its center. This is a cylindrical structure that spans a pond.
I got to the gardens at the end of the day and with limited time before it closed, I didn’t bother to shell out the entrance fee (which did seem a bit steep). Instead, I was more intent on getting some shots as the sun started to set. I wasn’t alone in this idea. There were a few photographers like me wandering around looking for shots and a considerable number that were there professionally shooting individuals and family groups against the various backgrounds the garden had to offer.
Aside from the cylindrical glass structure, there were water features, sculptures, a stage in the round and an open space with a stage at the end for free concerts, one of which was setting up while I was there. A reggae band were getting ready and, as I strolled around, they started their performance so I had a nice bit of background music while I enjoyed the evening which had cooled nicely to the high 90s from the earlier temperatures in the 100s!
While the downtown area of Oklahoma City has not struck me as one that has a lot of people living in it, there was a good sized crowd at the concert as well as those walking around the gardens. It seems to be a popular spot and, being within a couple of blocks of my hotel, it was a pleasant change from the usual hotel environment.
As part of the regeneration program that is underway in Oklahoma City, an area known as Bricktown is becoming a focus of development. It is a short walk from the heart of downtown. What was there before I don’t know but I imagine bricks had something to do with it. There are a lot of restaurants, bars and hotels in the area with a canal structure running through them. It is also the home of the minor league baseball stadium.
I stopped off for dinner one night after wandering around the city a bit. After my meal, I was walking back to the hotel and grabbed a few shots of the area. It was pretty dark and I had the ISO ramped way up but you can get a bit of a feel for the area. You can also see the lights of the baseball stadium in the background. I guess that they had a game that night. There are also horse drawn carriages plying their trade on the streets. This was a familiar sight when we lived in Chicago. They have gone to town on the lighting of these examples though. I guess it helps get some attention.
In previous posts about the federal building memorial in Oklahoma City, I talked about how it is lit at night and that I wanted to go back. This I have now managed to do. I showed up around sunset and walked around the whole memorial. I was traveling light so no tripod, only a GorillaPod. This worked fine for most things. I was interested to discover text on the end of the memorial which lit up at night. I had thought it was a blank wall previously.
The subtle lighting across the memorial was very nice. As the sky color faded, I got a bunch of shots, some with quite long exposures which helped to blur out the other visitors of which there were plenty. The gentleness of the scene was what I wanted to convey since it was even more apparent in the dark than during the day, even though it is a calm place then too. That the place feels so peaceful while remembering such a violent event is a tribute to those who created it and maintain it.