A couple of weekends ago, we had a lot of rain here in Austin. We were all constrained to indoor activities on Friday, Saturday, through Sunday morning, June 2nd, 2013. Nobody complained, as we are always grateful when it rains in Austin, especially in the summer months.
When the rain stopped, and the clouds had parted, I decided to head out and take some photos. I was somewhat tired of the macro photos of the flowers in my neighborhood, so I decided to head to downtown Austin. It was almost 2:00 PM when I parked my CR-V on Willie Nelson Blvd (2nd Street), just east of Congress Avenue.
That put me just south of the construction site of the J. W. Marriot luxury hotel, and 1 block east of The Austonian (seen in the opening photo, which is currently the tallest building in the City of Austin at 56 stories – 683 feet (208 m) tall.
I was travelling light. I brought only my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera, with the Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens, and my WhiBal card. No camera bag, no tripod, not even a spare battery. Absentmindedly, I left my hat in the car.
I crossed Congress Avenue to get to the west side of the street and started heading north.
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Now I must mention here that the photo above isn’t really how my camera captured the image. I used the new Upright feature in Lightroom 5’s Develop Module to remove most of the perspective distortion that you get when looking up with a wide angle lens. Not bad for a one-click correction!
I was pleased to see that the overcast sky had pretty much dissipated into the partially cloudy sky.
Here is a photo looking up the side of The Frost Bank Tower, which is 33 stories – 515 feet (157 m) tall.
I always find it interesting how the new architecture and the old architecture co-exist within this relatively small area.
But “old” in Austin, Texas isn’t really very old, as compared to most large cities. Even though Austin is now the 11th most populous city in the United States, it did not even exist before 1839.
Even the iconic Littlefield Building (see with the American flag on top) didn’t start construction until 1910, and was completed in 1912. This 8 story building became the financial center of Austin, and was the height of opulence when it opened.
Here is the out-of-focus One American Center building behind an interesting business sign.
At 6th and Congress, I paused to take this photo looking south.
This is the only other photo that “straightened-up” by using the new Upright feature in Lightroom 5.
I continued heading north until I reached 8th Street, and then I turned around. Between 7th and 8th Streets, the historic Paramount Theatre (1915) sits just to the south (right) of the Stateside Theater (1935).
There isn’t very much traffic in downtown Austin during the middle of a Sunday afternoon.
I crossed over to the west side of Congress Avenue when I got to 7th Street.
At the corner of 6th Street, at the base of the Littlefield building, I had a nice view of the Austonian, 4 blocks to the south.
I was standing at the same corner with this iconic clock.
Looking across the street, I thought that this view of the base of One American Center was interesting enough to spend a minute to capture a few photos of it.
Here’s another one of those “old meets new” images that seem to be everywhere along this stretch of Congress Avenue.
At the entrance to The Frost Bank Tower, I noticed three or four of these large succulent plants.
Now I know that this is not a particularly pretty picture, but I included it just to give you some context for the setting of the next photo, which is part of the same plant, just from the opposite side.
It was getting pretty darn warm, and I had forgotten to bring my hat. I was glad that it was only a 2 block walk back to my car. As I got to the construction site of the new J. W. Marriot hotel, I couldn’t help but look up and take this photo of the three cranes.
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2 thoughts on “The Old and The New on Congress Avenue”
That Geisha Room – I would definitely have to stop and take a peek inside there just to satisfy curiosity given my interest in modern Japanese culture over the years. Frost Tower #028 – really nice. Angles can be tough in crowded urban sprawl. Well done 😉
Well, thank you, Libby. I was also curious about the Geisha Room. I am pretty sure that it is a bar or dance club, but I don’t think it was open in the middle of the Sunday afternoon.
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