Exploring the Landmark

Our local photography club, the New Braunfels Photographic Society, has themed monthly challenges and for September the theme was “Architecture.” I’ve been lax in posting (and shooting, to be honest!) and should go back and post all of my Assignment photos from the year for the club. But I’ll start here with September.

Because of the pandemic, we’ve been allowing members to pull from their archives for the Assignment images. I decided to re-visit some of my older photos from traveling… Curtis and I got to visit Italy in 2017 for 10 days and Paris in 2016 for a long weekend.

St. Peter’s Altar from Behind

I took this inside of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in Rome. If you look in the far bottom corners, you can see people touring the church with various tour groups. Those tiny people give you a sense of the enormous scale of this church and this altar. I decided to use this as my Assignment image for Architecture because it’s one of my all time favorite photos of any indoor space.

Nikon D750 | 20mm| f/2.2 | 1/320 | ISO 2000 | handheld

The New Braunfels Photographic Society also encourages members to submit an additional B&W photo and an additional color photo from their archives. Neither have to be related to that month’s theme but most people do submit images related to the theme anyway.

The Gargoyles of Notre Dame

Getting to visit Notre Dame in Paris in 2016 was truly a life-changing experience. I’ve always been a fan of Gothic architecture and gargoyles. Getting to see them in person was surreal. It was so sad when the fire damaged Notre Dame and I’m so grateful to have these images from that trip. I decided to revisit this image which was originally in color and see what I could do with it in black and white. I did a lot of selective dodging and burning to bring out the texture of the stone. This is the image I submitted to the B&W category for the New Braunfels Photographic Society‘s September theme of Architecture.

Nikon D750 | 35mm| f/5.6 | 1/400 | ISO 100 | handheld

When I first started thinking about the theme of Architecture, I decided to go out in our community and shoot something local. Ultimately, I didn’t feel our local (and albeit much newer buildings in comparison to Europe) could compete with some of my older images, but I wanted to share what I got.

I decided to explore The Landmark here in New Braunfels, it’s an old power plant and has some really cool architectural details. It was decommissioned in the 70s and now houses businesses on the bottom floor, and apartments and condos above. There is a large room that hosts events off to the right.

The Lobby of the Landmark

When you first walk into The Landmark, you come into a small vestibule area with offices on either side. The building manager said I was welcome to come in and explore. Of course I kept my mask on the entire hour I was inside. This photo is of the lobby once you get past the vestibule. There are businesses along the left-side and a large open room on the other side of the brick wall to the right. The back wall is navy blue with an elevator to take you up to the residences. I love the industrial, urban feel to the architecture here. This is the image I submitted to the Color category for the New Braunfels Photographic Society‘s September theme of Architecture.

New Braunfels architecture photograher
Nikon D750 | 20mm| f/2.2 | 1/80 | ISO 1600 | tripod

Angles and Lines

Walking to the first little seating area in the lobby of The Landmark and looking up yields this view, all angles and lines. There are two of these skylights, what used to be old smokestacks for the power plant.

New Braunfels architecture photograher
Nikon D750 | 20mm| f/2.2 | 1/80 | ISO 1250 | tripod

Back Blue Wall at the Landmark

Getting to that back blue wall in the lobby of The Landmark shows the elevator going up to the residences and one of the doors to a local business. I love that red brick!

New Braunfels architecture photograher
Nikon D750 | 20mm| f/2 | 1/80 | ISO 1250 | tripod

Long Brick Wall

Speaking of that gorgeous red brick, I walked over to the door of the business from the last photo and looked back toward the entrance to get this perspective. It really is a warm space, very inviting. My dog groomer, The Paw Spa, used to have their business here but has since moved to Gruene Lake Village.

New Braunfels architecture photograher
Nikon D750 | 20mm| f/2 | 1/80 | ISO 1250 | tripod

The Pink Bike

Residents of The Landmark are allowed to leave their bikes in the lobby and today only one was present… this sweet pink bike. I love how the light from the skylight above is illuminating the bike. Looks like a still from a movie set.

New Braunfels architecture photograher
Nikon D750 | 20mm| f/2 | 1/80 | ISO 1250 | tripod

Straight Up Sideways at the Landmark

This was my second favorite image from this series of The Landmark. I was really proud of how I shot this. First I took my camera off of the tripod, turned on the camera’s Wifi, connected my phone to the camera’s Wifi, then launched the Nikon WMU app. I then laid the camera on the floor facing straight up at the second skylight, picked my focal point with my phone, and remote triggered the shutter with my phone. So freaking cool!

New Braunfels architecture photograher
Nikon D750 | 20mm| f/2 | 1/80 | ISO 1250 | on the floor, remote triggered with phone

Straight Up at the Landmark

Here is another perspective using the first skylight at The Landmark. Using the same method as the previous photo, I laid my camera on the floor looking up and remote triggered the shutter using the Nikon WMU app, but at a 90-degree angle. Using a wide angle does lead to some distortion but that’s easily tweaked in Photoshop. This view looks virtually the same as the previous image, doesn’t it? I love the steel beams.

Nikon D750 | 20mm| f/2 | 1/80 | ISO 1250 | on the floor, remote triggered with phone

The Turbine Room

Remember the first photo when I said there was a large open room to the right of the wall? This is part of that space. There is an upper level and lower level. This used to be the turbine room when it was a power plant. Now it’s rented out for weddings and other events. There is bar and lots of seating on the upper level and a cool neon LCRA sign on the left wall. The entire space spans three stories. Even though The Landmark is mostly apartments, it’s really got some cool spaces for other purposes!

New Braunfels architecture photograher
Nikon D750 | 20mm| f/2.5 | 1/200 | ISO 400 | tripod

The Hoist

In the previous photo, you can see the hoist in the upper left part of the image. It’s hard to describe just how large this hoist is… kind of light traffic lights (did you know a standard traffic light is 3.5′ tall?). This hoist at The Landmark has to be at least 6′ tall. From the Comal County Historical Commission:

Two large Link-Belt hoists located in the turbine house are the only original mechanical elements still remaining in Comal Power Plant. Suspended from two massive I-beams that travel along steel tracks affixed to the east and west interior walls, the two hoists have capacities of 75 and 25 tons, respectively. Either can be utilized throughout the length of the Turbine house. The larger hoist … was used primarily to repair and maintain the two turbine-generators by lifting the heavy metal covers away from the top of the turbine.
New Braunfels architecture photograher
Nikon D750 | 20mm| f/2.8 | 1/160 | ISO 400 | tripod

I had fun exploring this amazing piece of history right here in our hometown. It would be a great location for a senior photo session or some stylized model shoots. A special thank you to The Landmark‘s building management for allowing me to come in and explore. Thanks for looking!

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