Trapezoid sky


Probably anyone who has heard of San Antonio has heard about the Riverwalk; originally designed as a flood control system for the San Antonio River where it goes through downtown, it has become a big tourist attraction, with plenty of bars and restaurants lining the banks.

Lately, the River Walk has been extended to the north; this part is called the Museum Reach and it has completely different character than what the Riverwalk is famous far. It’s quieter, and there aren’t as many bars and restaurants. At the far end of the Museum Reach, is the redeveloping Pearl Brewery.

You can see this building from the Museum Reach; I believe it is still a part of the Pearl Brewery operations.

Also, if you want to walk toward downtown from the Museum Reach and start to get a little thirsty, look for the stairs up to the street at Lexington Avenue. Then when you’re at street level, head over to the bar at the Havana Hotel. It’s a fine place to have a beverage, or several, before you continue onward.

San Antonio, Texas
photographed 11.26.2011

PS – The Havana Hotel is a great place to spend the night. It’s part of a group of hotels run by Liz Lambert, whose design sensibilities and touch of whimsy make for very interesting lodging.

PS, part 2
One of my regular commenters, over at LensScaper, wondered what this would look like if it were cropped in portrait format, so here you go:

123013 B

For reference, here’s the original shot:

123013 C

Posted on December 30, 2013, in architecture, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Marvellous, Melinda. You caught that exactly right – the shadow detail is superb. I like the boldness of the negative space to the right of the staircase, but I also think it would look great cropped to a ‘portrait’ shaped image – emphasising the height of this staircase. I wonder what others think – or you, more importantly, of that idea?


    • Andy – thanks for the suggestion! I am at work today, but there’s a chance (somewhere around 100%) that I’ll leave early. When I get home, I will re-crop and re-post….


      • I’ll look forward to seeing that. You’re in work? Half of the UK stays home until well past New Year’s day. We’re a lazy bunch over here – or maybe you all take work too seriously over there! It matters not to me – one of the retired – every day’s a holiday!!


      • The ONLY think I don’t like about my job is that the vacation-day benefit is sort of awful; I am working this week so I can save up the days for future vacations.

        As you requested, I cropped the photo differently, and posted the original, too. Let me know what you think…

        (And thanks for the suggestion – it was interesting to go back and have another look at the photo.)


  2. I like this shot too – there is a tall building near where I used to work that gets long shadows like this from balconies. I have been trying to photograph it with just this kind of strength in the shadows. Our sun is weaker and initial attempts were not what I wanted – perhaps I will have caught it on a roll of film that is in for processing.
    I like the composition, but now that Andy has made his suggestion, I am wondering how it would look.
    Have you posted this staircase before? It looks quite familiar.

    That group of hotels look nice. The San Jose would suit me (nice chairs), but I expect if Ken ever visits, it will be El Cosmico for him.


    • Yes, I DID post a similar version of this building: (And you even commented on it…!)

      I’ve posted a revision, based on what Andy suggested; take a look, and let me know what you think.

      I love the San Jose, and stay there whenever I can. It’s in a great neighborhood in Austin, South Congress, and is across the street from a music club, The Continental Club ( that the musical members of your family might dig.

      One of these days, when I go to Marfa, I am going to treat myself to a stay at El Cosmico…..


  3. This is a very interesting photo and I’m also became interested int he cropping controversy. I did something I rarely do and that is to load your uncropped color version into PS5 and try various crops to see if I could come up with a good one. After playing around with it for a while I came up with the perfect crop. It looks almost exactly like your original square crop. The other thing I noticed was that this works equally well in color and black and white. The orange color of the fire escape is a nice compliment to the blue sky.
    I would love to stay at El Cosmico, especially during the Festival of Music + Love. The Hotel Saint Cecillia looks like another fine place. I wish I could vacation!


  4. Well, this is getting interesting! Of the three images in the post, I prefer the original! You’ll curse me now, Melinda!! But….I have two further thoughts. I think the ‘portrait’ shot works better (compositionally) if you flip it horizontally. The tree then becomes the natural ‘full stop’ at the right edge and the fantastic staircase flows very naturally across the frame. Whether that is permissable depends on one’s attachment to the original shot as being an accurate documentary record. For those who know the town – what I suggest is probably not politically correct, but for folk who nothing of San Antonio then I think it is a reasonable bending of the truth. But… that’s just my thinking. The other option would be a thin vertical slice (a vertical letter box) without tree. Not that I’m proposing version three of the original post. And do please feel free to suggest amendments to any of my images – carte blanche as they say. Now you can get your revenge…Happy New Year too, Melinda.


    • Just in the past couple of months, I realized that I can CROP and nothing horrible will happen. But rotating an image?!?? That may be pushing it! (But still….and interesting idea!)

      (I don’t care for the full-frame version; the converging verticals make me feel like I am falling over backward. And there wasn’t any other way to shoot it, unless I stood in the middle of a river, which didn’t seem like a keen idea.)

      A while back, Ken (who blogs as oneowner – I think you follow his blogs) and I had a bit of a conversation about a project where we’d edit/manipulate each other’s images. I still think that might be interesting; I am sure the photographer who didn’t take the photo would see it much differently than the one who did. (I had a sort-of related experience when my friend Laurie wrote a haiku every day of 2012 for my blog photos; she frequently pulled things from the images that I’d barely noticed. You can see that project here:

      Thanks for your suggestions on the photo; I like hearing what other photographers have to say!


      • I like the collaboration with Laurie – it works well. One of the joys of the Blogging community is the capacity for interaction and constructive comment. I’m all for more of that.


      • It’s a long story, but the short version is that Laurie was the one who encouraged me to start writing; I will always be grateful to her for that.

        And yes. I don’t think there is ever too much interaction and constructive comment. That is one of the best ways to improve our craft, isn’t it?

        Almost every day I am amazed at how many connections I’ve made – from all over the world – just because I had an idea to start a blog!


  5. Great photo, I like the black sky and shadows.


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