Renaissance Center (Detroit, Michigan)

Standing on the Windsor side of the Detroit River I took sunset pictures of the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, Michigan. Built in the 1970s and (at least partially) funded by Henry Ford II the RenCen now houses the world headquarters of General Motors – one of Ford’s biggest competitors. The seven-building complex remains the tallest building in Michigan as the hotel in the center of the complex rises 79 stories into the air.

The sun shined perfectly on the tower as it set to the west. The reflection cast a blinding sparkle towards me and reflected on the water. I stopped down the aperture to f/32 (essentially squinting for your eyes) and fired away to try and create the starburst effect that you can get while shooting directly into the sun. The reflections on the building were essentially the same thing so I wound up with a number of star bursts.

Renaissance Center (Detroit, Michigan)

Renaissance Center (Detroit, MI)

My father worked on assembly lines in Detroit while I was growing up. Every day, I watched him do what he needed to do to support the family. But he told me, “Life is short. Do what you want to do.”

— Anita Baker

We all can’t be so lucky – to do what it is we want to do – but at least thus far I’ve been pretty damn close. It isn’t always perfect but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This life is too damn short to miserable so get out there and enjoy yourself. You never know when your ticket is going to be punched.

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Detroit Skyline (Windsor, Ontario)

Just over the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario lies Sculpture Park which is a great place to park the car and get out for some pictures of the Detroit skyline. The Detroit skyline prominently features some very unique architecture and buildings designed by some historically significant architects. The highlights to the skyline are the Fisher Building, One Detroit Center and the Renaissance Center. It’s funny how growing up here and going to Windsor many times I never appreciated the beauty of the skyline from this spot as I do now. Detroit has been through it’s struggles but it is starting to revive itself and hopefully will one day be a model for other beleaguered economies for how to pick yourself up, dust yourself up and rise again.

Detroit Skyline from the bank of the Detroit River (Windsor, Ontario)

The city of Detroit at Night

Stepping Up Big when the Team needs it most

A few months ago I wrote a post about the Tigers need to pay Justin Verlander. Yes, he wanted alot of money and yes they ultimately paid him. Tonight he stepped up yet again for the Tigers and proved why he is worth (almost) every dollar. If only he could hit too I might like their chances out in Boston better. Hopefully Austin Jackson and Alex Avila can find their swings in the next two days because if not every one of the Tigers pitchers is going to need to go eight strong innings or it could be a quick series. For now, I’ll sit back and enjoy their victory.

Photo of the Day – Stepping Up

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I took this picture while out at Spring Training back in March. We had a feeling at the time that the Tigers were going to special and here they sit in the final four again. Let’s just hope they can finish it this year!

It’s the only game in town

Now that basketball and hockey have wrapped up for the year it is now back to being fully baseball season so if you haven’t been watching there are some pretty amazing things happening in Motown. For one, Miguel Cabrera is tearing it up again this year and if not for the amazing power display that Chris Johnson is putting on he’d be leading all three triple crown categories again. Most of the rest of the guys have been hitting too (just not lately) and they have the highest team batting average in all of baseball (.279), second highest OPS, fourth most runs scored and the 3rd least amount of strikeouts. On the other side of the ball Max Scherzer is the leading candidate to win the Cy Young award with a 13 – 0 start to the season. The rest of the starting staff has been pretty good too as they hold the second best ERA in the AL – even with former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander looking human. With all of these positives you may wonder why they are just barely hanging on to first place in a weak AL Central division….it all comes down to the bullpen which has been a train wreck. They’ve made some changes recently and they may need to make some moves at the All-Star break but I think they’ll get it figured out and come October I hope to be back at a World Series game again.

Photo of the Day – Tigers in 3D

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This was before the game three of the World Series last year in Detroit. Unfortunately they wound up being no match for the Giants in that series but they are doing a lot of things right this year so there is a strong possibility (and the Vegas oddsmakers are favoring them) that they finally bring home the championship this season.

Going Home Again

Heading back to Dearborn unexpectedly this weekend. Seems the past few times I’ve visited haven’t really been under the best circumstances but it will still be good to see my family. Back in November when we were in Dearborn for Thanksgiving I got up early one morning and my Dad and I went downtown to take pictures of Detroit. T.O.M (Tom is my dad’s name but he likes to put periods in between the letters so it can stand for the ‘The Old Man’) is a really big supporter of my photography and I wanted to get some pictures of the older buildings and areas that I am just not all that familiar with. Growing up outside of Detroit you’d think I would know the city a little better than I do but considering the state the city has been for the past thirty years maybe it shouldn’t be all that surprising that each time I go downtown I notice something new. Detroit used to be a nice little city (or so I’m told) but then the wheels came off and those in charge of putting it back together have just been tearing it down more and more as the years go by. Recently the city garnered some new hope when former NBA and Piston legend Dave Bing took over as Mayor. His experience was limited but given the old croonie capitalism run by the previous mayor(s) that was seen as good thing – a fresh start really. Well a few days ago he (sadly) announced he’d be relinquishing the Mayor job at the completion of his term and cited an inability to really get anything done because all the alderman and other ‘croonies’ in the system are still around with their hands out but nothing to show for it.

Photo of the Day – Where Legends were Born

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Sadly this is ‘old’ Tiger Stadium. The fences are missing, there are no concession stands or even a plaque noting it was there from what I could tell. All that remains is a baseball field that is kept up by some locals who just didn’t want to see the area become as overgrown and dilapidated as the rest of the area. Over 100 million people visited ‘the Corner’ to catch a ball game during the stadium’s life. Professional baseball was first played here in 1895 and last played here in 1999 (I was on of the fortunate to be there for that game – with my father and uncles). Tiger greats Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, Cecil Fielder, Willie Horton, Charlie Gehringer and many others spent the best years of their life standing right where I crouched to take this picture. I spent alot of the best years of my life at ‘the Corner’ and I can fondly remember the smell of the old ballpark – the fresh grass, boiled hot dogs and stale beer. Every summer I looked forward to going to ball games with T.O.M and occasionally keeping score throughout the game.

I certainly appreciate all that those who keep the field in working order have done but when you think of all the history that happened here I think it is a damn shame that the city of Detroit couldn’t get their stuff together and provide for a more respectful memorial.

The Controversial Fist of the Brown Bomber

Joe Louis was the heavyweight champion and the pride of Detroit in the 1930s and 1940s. He is widely regarded as one of the first heroes to African Americans across the United States. He created this legend as a boxer and it grew as he defeated the German champion in the years leading up to World War II as the Germans built up their powerful armies.

Photo of the Day – Fists of Fury

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At its open the fist elicited alot of responses – some were good some were bad but most were and still are confused by the statues meaning. Some thought it evoked images of the black power movement or felt it represented only Louis’ violence and not the other tremendous things he did for the Detroit community. Others felt it was a powerful representation of the city of Detroit itself – tough, gritty and determined.

I personally take the latter view in that I think it is a representation of the never say die spirit you see in the city of Detroit. It’s a hard working town and this fist represents that drive and spirit that I hope will ultimately lead to the revival of a truly great city.

If you build it, they will come

Tiger Stadium was an iconic piece of architecture in my childhood. We went there a lot and I have amazing memories of the sounds and smell of the ballpark. For people in my parents generation the stadium meant even more – if you lived in Detroit you witnessed two world championships in 1968 and 1984. You also witnessed the race riots of which Tiger Stadium was a major backdrop in the heart of downtown Detroit. Through all the good and the bad the stadium remained constant. Here lies ‘Gate 4’ of the stadium that meant so much to so many people.

Home Plate and the pitching mound are still largely intact as is the flag pole in the distance – all which have stood the test of time. My father told me that everything is left as is so the home plate that rests out there now in its current location is the same home plate where Babe Ruth took his cuts, where Kirk Gibson hit his dramatic walk off home run to win the world series and where the iron horse (Lou Gehrig) ended his consecutive games streak at 2,130 games (thought at the time to be unbreakable until Cal Ripken Jr. broke it in 1995). Alot of amazing moments happened within the confides of ‘Gate 4’ and I’m happy to say that I was lucky enough to witness some of them.

Photo of the Day – The Magic of Gate 4

Interested in watching a short (five minute) review of some historic Tiger Stadium moments? Watch the video below.