Sunday, February 27, 2011

Survival Flight

The Arboretum is pretty close to the Michigan Hospital. The parking lot I use passes right by the landing pads for the helicopters. Every so often I get to see them take off.

As I was walking back to my car, I heard the helicopter starting its warm up. As I got close enough I saw it start to take off. Fortunately, I had my big lens on the camera so I was able to get a picture. Unfortunately it was through the trees but I kind of like it.

It lifted up above the trees and started to turn, so it gave me a pretty good shot.

And another good shot as it headed towards its destination.

The Wolverine - Train

The Wolverine is a train that runs between Union Station in Chicago and Pontiac with stops along the way at many places in Southern Michigan. It makes three runs per day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

I heard the whistle as I was walking through the Arb so I decided to wait in a spot where I thought I would get a good picture. And sure enough.

I kind of wish I were a little further back so I could get the whole engine in the frame but oh well.

The train heading off to Detroit.

Nichols Arboretum in February

So I decided to go out and do my Arboretum shot for February today and it was a good thing because I don't have too many days left to do it. It was actually fairly warm so it wasn't too bad. The snow was packed down quite a bit so it wasn't too bad walking around although it was slippery in a few places.

A shot looking down the Huron River. As you can see, the ice is almost gone at this point although I think there are other spots on the Huron that still are covered in ice.

Looking down towards the Hospital.

One of the trees with the River as a backdrop.

A stand of pine trees. This is probably one of my favorite spots in the Arb. It is fairly quiet once you get back here.

A spruce tree.

Looking up at one of the pine trees.

Some Birch trees. These are another one of my favorite trees.

This is what a prairie would have looked like about 100 years ago (minus the house in the background of course). They try to manage the prarie in the same way that nature would do it.

Lots of people walk their dogs through the park.

I kind of liked the look of this shot.

Same with this one.

You can see a little bit of ice behind the rock.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Theodore Levin Building

Not an Albert Kahn building, but I like the look of it.

The Theodore Levin Building houses the US District Court for the area. Construction was completed in 1934. I guess it's really beautiful on the inside.

It was named after Theodore Levin in 1995. He was a US Federal Judge. One of his nephews is Carl Levin, US Senator for Michigan and his other is Sander Levin who is a US Congressman for Michigan.

The S.S. Kresge Building

Sebastian S. Kresge was a traveling salesman that purchased part interest in two retail stores in 1884. One of these stores was located in Detroit and Kresge moved there. He gained control of a Five and Dime store on Woodward. By 1912, he built a chain of 85 Kresge Stores many of which were located in Michigan.

He first commissioned Albert Kahn to design him a 18 story building which is now known as the Kales building (which I will take a picture of at some point in the future).

The building shown above was built in 1927 and designed by Albert Kahn. It is located on Second Avenue in Cass Park. It housed 1200 employees.

The building is basically a horizontal skyscraper and occupies a whole block. It is shaped like an E with the prongs pointing away from Cass Park. It won many awards for outstanding architecture.

The building is 5 and a half stories tall. Its size comes mostly from its length.

The building is a mix of styles with a Mansard roof. It has elements of the Second Empire and Art Deco styles.

Like many of the other Kahn buildings there are some nice details. I like many of the sculptures on the building.

In 1972, Kresge moved its headquarters to Troy (it is now known as K-Mart). The building is now used by Wayne State as an incubator for high tech firms.

The Detroit News Building

The Detroit News Building is about three blocks down Lafayette from the Free Press building. It also was designed by Albert Kahn and was constructed in 1917.

It is a three story reinforced concrete building where the concrete is made to look like stone. The large windows were designed to let light into the building but they were blocked after the riots in 1967. They were reopened when the Free Press move its offices there.

The sayings at the top are pretty cool.

Each of the statues appear to be important figures in the history of the news.

The Detroit News started in 1873 and 1919 it absorbed the Detroit Tribune and later the Detroit Times. Later the News and Free Press effectively merged leaving the editorial staffs of each intact.

It's a pretty neat looking building. Sadly, it probably is reminiscent of happier times for newspapers.

The Detroit Free Press Building

The Detroit Free Press Building stands at 321 West Lafayette Street in Detroit. It was designed by Albert Kahn in 1924 and completed a year later.

The building has a two story basement and 14 stories above ground. It is a steel framed structure with limestone facing. It has an Art Deco style with lots of nice details on the building. To me it has a very utilitarian appearance with some style.

It was occupied by the Free Press from it construction until 1987 when they moved down the street to be closer to their new partner, The Detroit News.

There are lots of neat little details on the building. Sadly it is unoccupied at the moment and shows some signs of disrepair although not as bad as some of the other buildings of Detroit.

This is one of the friezes on the building.

Looking up at the building. You can see alot of the same styling cues that Mr. Kahn used in other buildings.

The front entrance. It was going to be used by the Motor City Film Works as a soundstage but that may be on hold. There is talk that it may be used for apartments, offices and retail space.

Albert Kahn - Architect

(Image Courtesy of the University of Michigan Bentley Library)

It's not often that I will post a picture that I haven't taken on this blog. In fact, I think all of the pictures posted on this blog have been my own. However, since I can't travel back in time and take a picture of the man above, I will have to settle on someone else's picture.

The man in the picture above is Albert Kahn which is a name that has been frequently mentioned on this blog. He designed many buildings in Detroit and the surrounding area and at one point designed about 20% of the factories in existence in the United States in the early 20th Century. Probably his most famous building is the Fisher Building in Detroit but he has a number of other buildings there as well. He also has quite a few buildings outside of Detroit, including many of the buildings on the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus.

He was born in Rhauen, Westphalia, Germany in 1869. His father was a Rabbi. In 1880, the Kahn family emigrated to Detroit. Financial difficulties forced Albert to start to look for work and he found it as an apprentice for the architectural firm of John Scott and Associates. Later, he apprenticed for Mason and Rice.

In 1891, he won a traveling scholarship from the American Architect and Building News and traveled mostly in France and Italy. He learned alot in this period. However he had no formal education so he won his clients with hard work.

In 1903, he started to work with his brother who was a civil engineer (who studied at the University of Michigan). The pair of them developed new construction methods for factories which landed them lots of work. One of them was using steel to reinforce concrete (for which Julius Kahn had the patent). The list of buildings that Albert Kahn designed is pretty extensive and he was probably one of the more prominent architects of the Industrial Age. He died in 1942.

Anyways, I think one of my projects is going to try to take pictures of his buildings in the area. It's quite an extensive list and will keep me busy for a while.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

And Some Pine Branches

We also have some pretty nice trees around the property at work. I kind of liked the look of those too. But I decided to take close up pictures of them this time.

One of the pine branches. I believe it is a red pine.

A pine cone.

A better shot of the pine cone.

The pine cone laying on the ground. As you can see, we still have quite a bit of snow. Seriously, I thought we mugged the ground hog so he wouldn't see his shadow. I've had enough already.

Milkweed Pictures

I've been taking a little hiatus from my photography for a bit. The weather has been kind of blah and I've been kind of blah. On Monday, we had our floating holiday (who in their right mind would pick February is beyond me) and I was gonna go take some Albert Kahn pictures but we got dumped on. So I didn't want to deal with the snow.

Anyways, I took my camera to work today and I saw the milkweeds out back and decided to take pictures of those.

I really like this shot.

I kind of like this one.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More Shots of the Trains...

I also decided to stop by the trains again before I headed home. The light was quite a bit better.

This almost looks like an engine that had the crew compartment removed.

An Engine for Rail America.

I'm not sure what company this engine is for.

One of the Huron and Eastern Railway engines.

A shot of both of the engines together. I kind of like this shot.

Just an overall shot of the railyard.

A shot of the engine from the side.

Another one of the former Central Michigan trains.

This is a shot of another part of the railyard.

Another shot that I kind of like.