A few photos from a recent June, 2017, trip to my hometown, Omaha. Featuring a couple of shots from my old stomping grounds in Elmwood Park. I’ve shot the Jones Street footbridge to the park (just a couple blocks away from where I grew up) many timesbefore, although mostly in winter (quite a contrast to the lush path through the trees). I’ve also included a few photos from Omaha’s historic Old Market.
In addition to sanctioned urban art in the park exemplified by the above photo, local kids have kept alive the long-standing tradition of decorating the environs underneath the Jones Street bridge with graffiti and creative urban art, especially on logs around the trails underneath, as I commented on the above mentioned My Omaha Obsession post.
Graffiti also shows up in the tunnel under the stone bridge in the Elmwood Park Grotto. But I believe such tunnel art is ephemeral because the City routinely paints it over (not a good backdrop for all the wedding photographers who pose wedding parties in the Grotto).
I’ve shot the Durham Museum / Union Station before. See, e.g. here for a closer up shot of the front façade, here for a close up of one of the south side entrances, and here for another shot of the interior.
While I was back in my hometown over the holidays visiting family, I got a tour of the newly renovated Burlington Train Station by my brother’s wife, Sheila Ireland, who was the lead architect on the project (more on that below). Although I only had my iPhone, I managed to get some good images.
Burlington Station closed in 1974 after Amtrak constructed a new station to the east. The building passed through several owners and unsuccessful plans for various renovations and adaptive reuses, including failed plans for office space and residential condos, until local ABC-affiliate KETV purchased the property to relocate its TV station. Omaha-based architectural firm Leo A. Daly won the project and Sheila Ireland become the lead architect in no small part because she had done her Master Thesis on adaptive reuse of the Burlington Station. See this special presentation on the newly opened station, which includes this brief tour of the station and interview with Sheila, seen here in this video:
Winter sun filtered through thin clouds, peaking through snow covered branches. Elmwood Park, Omaha. I went out in the snow and took a few photos when I was home over the holidays. Elmwood park is just a couple blocks from the family homestead — my playground growing up. I’ve also tossed in a couple other winter photos of the park taken during trips home the past few years.
The long abandoned giant grain elevators adjacent to Interstate 80 in Omaha are now used as a canvas for urban art. This project resulted from the vision and execution of Emerging Terrain, a non-profit research and design collaborative “working to engage the public about factors shaping the built environment by creating awareness, meaningful experiences, and vibrant places and spaces . . . through innovative design projects and site-specific interventions intended to shift frames of reference.” The silo art in these photos is the second installation: Stored Potential: Transport(ation). The first, Stored Potential: Land Use, Agriculture and Food, a couple years ago included an event showcasing the installation that brought folks together at an 800 foot long table, running the length of the old grain elevator, with food from 110 local chefs and local food producers. Pretty cool.
The sun also shines on the forgotten. I surreptitiously shot some abandoned structures in an urban lot a couple miles south of downtown Omaha when I was home over the holidays. I first thought this site was part of an old Army Quartermaster Depot Historic District, but I now think it’s just an old Utility District site a few blocks south. In any event, it’s a cluster of very interesting old buildings that looked great in the late afternoon December sun.
The bleak, snowless, winter terrain added to the desolate feel, but stark beauty, of this old place. I felt this mood was best matched by monochrome sepia processing for a look reminiscent of the bygone era when these structures were likely first built. A couple shots, however, cried out for color:
And here’s a B&W shot of the sidewalk adjacent to the site. The neon sign attached to the building at the vanishing point is Piccolo’s, a very old school (“since 1933”) Italian steakhouse.
I headed out to the Bob Kerry footbridge over the Missouri River to capture fireworks exploding over Omaha’s skyline during the New Year’s Eve 7PM family firework extravaganza downtown.
Despite being worried that very high wind gusts could set the stage for the next how to loose $2000 in 20 seconds video, I was attempting to stabilize my tripod as securely as possible when the rain started, then picked up along with the wind to drive me, soaking, off the bridge.
So I shot these from inside the car in the Gallup parking lot, with the camera hand held on the dashboard. No city skyline backdrop or river reflections. No chance for 2-4 second exposures, extended light trails or multiple explosion captures. But these turned out better than I expected under the circumstances.