Sunday, September 20, 2009

San Antonio Day 3 -- Tuesday 15 Sep 2009

Tuesday morning came quickly. A submitter's meeting loomed so I prepared as best I could and met the other members of my team in the lobby. Turns out that there is a special level called "R" that appears only on two of the five elevators, and leads to a stairway to the river level and to a single boardroom. This boardroom is gorgeous, huge table with stuffed leather chairs and a large living room off one end with more lovely furniture. Wow.

Anyway ... meeting was held, deal was struck, not the point of this blog. After the meeting, I was feeling pretty good, as we seemed to have solved a major problem. I decided that, since I had been working day and night for weeks, it was time to take a nice walk around the Alamo and the river by myself. Just to capture them.

On the way down the elevator, I captured an image of the lunch area. Stuffed with people. I think I ate there this time before going outside.


Then it was off to the Alamo. As I mentioned previously, there is a water feature / alleyway between the hotel and the Alamo, which I took yet one more time. There is a statue of Losoya guarding the entrance to the walkway on the upper (street) level. I shot the statue a few times this week.


I noticed quite a few pigeons around and thought I'd capture a bit of nature. They are tame, but not to an extreme.


From the upper level, there is a tree you can see with wicked roots on it. I got a closer image the next day, but this image shows how high these vines / roots go.


Another shot at the pigeon ... decent detail for the tiny cam ...


About the middle of the walkway, perhaps 50 feet in, the waterfalls begin. There is a nice flowering bush above the waterfall that allows me to attempt the classic flower in front of water shot. But the image must be over exposed (i.e. +1ev compensation in this case), else the meter lets the water dominate and the flowers go into silhouette ...


The waterfall itself is always interesting, but hard to capture as an interesting image. Another try.


Just before arriving at the Alamo, there is a visitor's center. This really is the center of the action for San Antonio ... the Alamo is one of its great historical features ...


As I reached the street, across which is the Alamo property itself, I noted an oncoming trolley. These things are everywhere and are a great idea. Gives you the same feeling you get in London when the double deckers go by ... a little tradition.


The Alamo looks very different in the sun.


Of course, there are huge wooden doors in order to provide another line of defense. The whole compound was walled, although that has now become part of the street itself leaving just the main mission buildings and the smaller part of the compound on this building's left.



Walking into the compound, one is immediately struck by the size of a gnarly tree in the main courtyard area. It's stunning ...


There's a building with cloisters on the outside that provide a nice place to sit. Many people were taking advantage of that ... the sun was hot. (Note: Apparently we arrived in a cool week ... 90s only ... normally it hits 105 ...)


There are some pretty little flowers at the base of the tree, wide angle allows these to be caught in context.


A sense of history is inescapable inside the mission building where the history is recorded clearly and with many artifacts. It is gratifying to see someone donate an important site to an organization that is dedicated to its preservation.



Some very nice artifacts were obviously imported from "out east" in order to raise the standard of living and perhaps simple decorum on the relatively harsh west.


A depiction of the battle of the Alamo is quite moving. A small group of hundred held off a huge Mexican army for weeks.


A moving personal account ...


A letter from commander Travis to the people of Texas outlining how he intended to hold out as long as possible. Very moving. Santa Anna sent a demand for surrender which included a threat to put everyone to the sword if they had to come in and get the Americans. Travis responded with a canon shot.



Outside the mission buildings, the courtyard are a mix of stones and cactus and desert plants of every description.



The back of the main Alamo building shows some of the original structure (I presume) and offers some insight as to how scary it must have been to be behind such walls with 4,000 troops dedicated to your death on the other side ...


There is a building on site that houses a huge gift shop. But it also houses a wonderful exhibit showing the evolution of the Bowie knife. Bowie was Travis's co-commander for the battle of the Alamo and he too lost his life.


I captured that one image before being accosted and told "no photographs" ... my guess is that I was not supposed to grab the images I did of the battle artifacts ion the other building, but there was no security in there and no posted signs.

Anyway ... the bowie knife is cool ... Crocodile Dundee and Rambo both made pretty good use of it ...

Back outside and I hit the desert garden. Nice.


A quick shot of the grasses behind the Alamo building.


A shot of one of those gnarly trees they have down there ...


Here's a classic looking cactus. Very similar to what I saw in Arizona last year ...


There are succulents of all types, which makes a lot of sense being that these things exist to survive in dry climates.


Another pretty cactus. Until you fall into it that is ...


Lovely succulent ...


Looks like Adam's Needle ... one that grows around here.


Part of the courtyard with a tree that actually likes to be above the ground :-)


This Palm like tree looks imported, but perhaps just a weird manifestation of a desert plant.


There's a Scorpion like cactus that is hard to photograph. But getting in close yields an interesting view ...


And of course, some desert plants have delicate flowers on them this time of year.


Tall spires look pretty cool on this plant.


And I can't help but call these two the muppets ...


Another lovely flowering bush guards the other side of a walkway from the muppets ...


And the last image before I leave the compound ... just cannot get enough of that gargantuan tree ...


Note the cables holding that massive branch up. It's what some people call a widow-maker ...

Anyway, at this point I head back to the hotel, this time through the lower passage where the water features are. Naturally, I shoot them for the umpteenth time, hoping to get something interesting ...



And those vines / roots I shot earlier are much more accessible from down here.


The small waterfall coming out of a duct across the stream ...


And back at the hotel, I see the same mosaic that I shot the other night ...


I pop out the other side for a moment to shoot a few images of the River Walk near the hotel. I start with the jazz club that is at the back door of the hotel. Nightly jazz, pretty neat.


The long bridge across the river ...


One of the many restaurants lining the walkway ...


Hmmm .... obviously I walked a bit further than I had remembered.


Dick's is apparently famous for the staff insulting the guests ... I never got there, but I did witness a pretty young woman accosting people walking by trying to get the to come in :-)


A few roads must cross the river walk, but this provides some enjoyable shade ...


Coming out from under the bridge, I encounter what looks like a Hibiscus plant ...



These pretty umbrellas belonged to a nearby restaurant.


Then I came to an interesting waterfall I had encountered once or twice already. This fall features paths cut through the walkway where the water flows to the river. You must step over these.


A dreamy image of the falls is very difficult to get ... the dappled sunlight burns out the white foam, forcing this presentation ...


On the other hand, stopping the water is easy.


Looking back at the path, I try to capture the water coming in and leaving to the river (bottom right.)


We always have to cross the river at this bridge because they are working on a long stretch of the walkway on this side of the river. So I cross and turn back towards the hotel ...



Heavily shaded along here ... I encounter a pretty restaurant that I did not manage to visit.


There is a lovely outdoor clock nearby, and it is covered in foliage.


One of many water features along the path. They keep it interesting, I must say ...


I noticed at one point that where the sun shone in on this side of the river, you could see many small fish. This is the best shot I got, and it's a beauty ...


Somehow, at this point, I popped up to street level for a moment. A few structures near the hotel ...



And then back down to the rear entrance of the hotel at the river level ...


Where there is the beautiful internal water features ...


Up on the 6th floor, at the corner window I love to shoot, I notice that the buildings are awash in late afternoon sunlight ... the beautiful warm kind ...



And that ends the images from day 3. I went out with a friend (and customer) for dinner later and then stopped at the lobby bar to see if my coworkers were there. Here I met the ex-marine and his daughter, which I discussed in my opening San Antonio post.

I continued working my slides for the next day's presentation until 3am. I got up at 8 and continued to 11:30am at which point I simply stopped typing. Enough was enough ...

2 comments:

Test Blog said...

Thank you for posting some beautiful shots of our city.

Kim Letkeman said...

You are quite welcome. It is a beautiful city and I look forward to going back some day. I hope that you enjoy the whole series of 5 posts.