Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Need Some Direction?

After about 5 trips to the cancer center in the last week, Melinda rewarded herself with lunch at Culver's - one of our favorite places for burgers. They appeal to us as we enjoyed them in the Midwest before they moved down to Arizona, and they do fresh and hot better than anyone. Anyway, while enjoying a snack there (I had a scoop of "Chocolate Oreo Volcano" custard - the flavor of the day!) I again noticed the striking weather vane across the street at the Altamira Apartments at the NE corner of River and First Avenue. I had vowed many times to take a picture of it - a western-themed vane showing a cowboy astride a bucking bronc. Finally getting Melinda home at 3:30, it was almost too late to go back to work, so loaded up a scope or two and fulfilled the vow to shoot it! Shown in a wide view at left, the weather vane tops a tower at the southwest corner of the apartment complex. Other than the link to the complex above, I couldn't find anything about the vane itself on line...

But it is a very nice piece of art in close-up! While it does portray a bucking bronc, the details revealed with the TEC 140 (1,000mm focal length) show a rider and mount reacting to a rattlesnake in a western tableau... And wouldn't you know, while I was shooting it from the Culver's parking lot, a bird perched on the metal desert yucca plant depicted!

And if you were wondering with all the mountains around Tucson, why there weren't any in the view, it's because the apartment complex is elevated and the Catalinas north of town aren't in the view. But moving a block or two south, brings them into the background. I figured for the shot at right, I was about 3/8 mile from the weather vane, and just under 5 miles to the mountains. Taken just after sunset, with the long focal length, I did a focus-stack - combined a shot focused on the vane and another focused on the mountains. While I know how to combine those, you will note that there is a zone within the vane where it didn't use the distant frame. So there are some fuzzy artifacts where it used the incorrect image in the combo... Still more to learn about Photoshop - sigh!

And with this one in the bag - I know where there is another! Down in central Tucson, across Broadway from El Con Mall, there is an old water tower topped by a weather vane. Also an artistic design, the water tower, built in 1929, either was used to supply water to the old El Con Hotel or the local upscale neighborhood.  The 50,000 gallon tank was originally surrounded by steel girders, and when neighbors complained, it was enclosed by stucco walls, stained glass and topped with the weather vane in the '30s. Scheduled for demolition in the 60s, it was saved and upgraded. A storm in 1978 damaged the bearings for the weather vane, and it was repaired using the rear axle of a 1955 Buick station wagon! Now on the register of historic places, it is now a beloved local landmark...

So those are two of the neatest weather vanes in Tucson - if you know of others, let me know!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

culvers is the best!