Gary, JoPaul, and I went to the parking deck at 24th St. and 7th Ave. South based a tip a total stranger gave us a couple of weeks ago. It was one of the best locations in our sunset quest. You can get more of a sense of the skyline than up on Red Mountain.
Gary and I spent a lot of weeks this spring chasing the perfect spot to get the sunset behind the Birmingham skyline, but never found the "perfect" spot. Of course it would move with the seasons too. Tuesday night Jo Paul, Gary and I went back to Stratford Road so Jo Paul could try a panorama. We waited patiently for the sun to set (8:01 pm) and got a few shots.
Here the sun sinks behind a cooling tower at Plant Miller as it pumps power to Birmingham and Alabama. Once the sun was down, the sky sort of went purple and pink and the lights of the city started to come up. That's Plant Miller way off on the horizon to the left, still lighting the city (and cooling the interiors of all those buildings).
The Tip Top Grill sits atop a large bluff on Shades Crest Road at the highest point in Jefferson County. It has a fantastic view of Shades Valley, so Gary and I went to try to get another sunset.
The view from the Tip Top Grill can be fantastic, but when we went to shoot the sunset it was very hazy and the partly cloudy conditions quickly gave way to cloud cover that stretched all the way to Texas. No hope the sun would peak under the clouds and paint their bellies pink and orange. As a side, I wonder why the Tip Top Grill is only open for breakfast and lunch when a dinner view of the sunset over Shades Valley could be fantastic.
Years ago I lived near Bluff Park and would frequent this hardware store when I needed something for the house. They always seemed to have it, and there's not much better than just wandering around a really old fashioned hardware store.
The skinny aisles and floor to ceiling displays just make me want to go in and see what I might need.
This sleepy wooden Indian stands outside On A Shoestring in Bluff Park. I guess he's chained there to keep him from wandering off, although he looks too tired to go far.
Birmingham developed based on mining, railroading, and steel. Sloss Furnace, very near downtown, was still in operation when I moved here in 1971, belching fire into the night sky as I drove by on the First Avenue Viaduct. It's now a museum.
Birmingham also became a transportation center, and any night we're here shooting, the trains are constantly rumbling past.
As the sun goes down and the lights slowly come up, the nickname the Magic City seems to come to life for me.