Old Town Parker


Glass and Brick. Windows reflect the sky on a modern office building in downtown Parker, Colorado.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S at 97mm, 1/500 sec, f/9.5, ISO 500.

I recently started a new job and it is a true work-from-home affair. This means that I spend a lot of time in my basement office—where I am now writing this blog post. It’s a nice office, and no one wants to commute, but my previous commute was often quite beautiful: there are mountains and a lake and a river and red rock formations and wildlife. So, it had its advantages, not to mention that Susan and I commuted together, which was a nice beginning and end to the working day. As it is, though, I am starting to feel like I can relate to Emo Philips:

I remember, one day I was playing. I was about seven years old. And I saw the cellar door open just a crack. Now my folks had always warned me, “Emo, whatever you do, don’t go near the cellar door!” And I had to see what was on the other side if it killed me. And I went to the cellar door and I pushed it and I walked through and I saw strange, wonderful things, things I had never seen before.

Like… trees. Grass, flowers, the sun. That was nice, the sun.

Emo Philips

A few weeks ago I decided that I hadn’t been out photographing nearly enough since returning from Portugal back in November, so I decided I needed to try to go somewhere to take some pictures every weekend. Since I enjoy photographing while wandering around cities and towns in Europe, I figured that I should try to do the same thing domestically, too. The last two Sundays, that was in downtown Parker, which is only about a 15 minute drive away.

While there are some nice modern buildings like the one above, downtown Parker has a nice historic district with an assortment of buildings from the late 19th and very early 20th centuries. A number of these are Victorian and have been converted into little office buildings for accountants and such:

Victorian Glare. The late afternoon sun reflects off the front of a Victorian building in downtown Parker, Colorado.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S at 62mm, 1/1000 sec, f/9.5, ISO 500.

When I wander around a place, I mostly just look for interesting things. One thing that often appeals to me is reflections off of things that aren’t normally thought of as particularly reflective. So, while the windows in the building at the top of the post make a nice composition, there is nothing at all surprising about them reflecting the sky. In the Victorian building above, the reflection—more of a glare, really—highlights the texture of the facade and results in a much higher contrast image than if I had moved a little to the left to avoid it. Since there is a pretty narrow zone where this type of reflection happens, it does limit where you can stand if you want it. (I was in the middle of the street, I think, but being late on a Sunday, that wasn’t a problem.)

Frequent readers of this blog (and probably even the infrequent ones) will know that I am very fond of photographing windows. I really like this next window, on the side of a hundred-year-old home that is now a little hair salon. The colors and shapes in the stone wall are wonderful and seem a little European to me. I also like the shape of the drape pulled to one side, exposing the corner of a white dresser and little else but darkness. Also, the stonework on the right is softly illuminated and low contrast in dappled light, but the area inside the window frame is very high contrast. I will need to think of a term for “contrasting contrasts.”

Shades of Dora. Shadows from a tree fall on the side of the Dora Heath House, a historical home built in 1918 in Parker, Colorado.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S at 120mm, 1/2000 sec, f/9.5, ISO 500.

This next window is on the west side of Ruth Memorial Chapel, build in 1913. It is a small building with several windows like this on either side, and the light visible here is coming from windows on the far side of the building that face the soon-to-be-setting sun; the chapel was closed at this hour and no interior lights were on. There are a lot of nice patterns in this image, from the straight lines of the clapboard walls and railings to the textured window itself. The arched window grilles also add a nice contrast of to all of the straight lines elsewhere. In the end, though, this image works because of the textured glass, in my mind.

Light Seen. Light from a window on the far side of Ruth Memorial Chapel illuminates this one in Parker, Colorado.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S at 120mm, 1/1000 sec, f/9.5, ISO 500.

I also like images with very restricted color palettes. The image above is clearly in this category, as is this next one. There are great textures in the wood, and particularly so in the vertical brushstrokes in the paint on the post. Despite the wall being a deep red, this image is more like a black and white image than color—it is about shape and texture and pattern and tone.

Not Much of a Window. Presumably there is or was a window under these blinds, but it now appears inaccessable. Parker, Colorado.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S at 70mm, 1/180 sec, f/9.5, ISO 500.

To close out this week’s post, I will go for a bit of whimsy:

Attractive. Backlit cab windows glow against deep shadows in Parker, Colorado.
Nikon Z8 with Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S at 120mm, 1/1000 sec, f/9.5, ISO 500.

The nice thing about such strong backlight is that the very cluttered parking area behind this tractor is mostly lost in shadow. (I will confess to helping a few things getting a little more lost than they were already.) A tractor like this is more often in the way of a nice photograph than being the subject of one, but the right light can make all the difference.

I put all the window-ish images from Parker in this week’s post; next week I will show some other things that caught my fancy from the same two outings.

Thank you for reading!

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