West of the City

West of the City

Instead of going out in the wilds this week, we are going to explore the corporate jungle. I am going to show you pictures from where I work and some of the buildings in the area.

 This adventure takes place about about 25 miles from downtown. How exciting, we are going in to the suburbs! There are plenty of highrise office buildings and parking garages among the houses and shopping centers. Think of Houston as a city with numerous downtowns. Some of my loyal readers are co-workers in this same set of buildings, and maybe this will be a new perspective for them as well.  

I work in a gated complex with multiple buildings, parking garages and facilities. On these premises we can eat, work out at the gym, have our clothes cleaned and our cars washed and serviced. We have our own ATM machine. There are several sports fields and even a hair salon. They make it easy to never leave work.

My building

My building

That is my home away from home. It was taken from top of the parking garage, and I like the way the fog shrouds the building in mystery and intrigue. Just what devious plans and actions go on inside this gated fortress?

Bird or ... possibly a MAV?

Bird or ... possibly a MAV?

I sometimes get a chance to photograph birds from the parking garage. Mostly pigeons or grackles. Rumors are there was a hawk at one time, but I haven't seen any. I was interrupted during a conference call once by a co-worker to identify some birds soaring outside our 13th floor office. I put the call on mute and explained they were Turkey Vultures.

View to the East - downtown on the left, Galleria on the right

View to the East - downtown on the left, Galleria on the right

Speaking of the view, this is what I see from my office when I have time to look. This is due East, so I have the blinds pulled in the morning because of the glare. Afternoons I keep them open, but my back is to the view and so I don't get to enjoy it much. A few times I have stayed really late and the lights after dark are pretty nice. 

Oh, for you non-local readers, I carefully framed this shot so you don't see the freeway and traffic just in front of the building. 

View from parking garage to the West

View from parking garage to the West

The fall color and fog was a lot of fun to photograph. There are houses behind those trees. Wonder how they feel with us looming over them? 

View to the South in the summer from one parking garage to another

View to the South in the summer from one parking garage to another

Above is another parking garage. I like all the squares and shapes and how they are repeated in the landscaping.

Glass and sky

Glass and sky

The photo above is of one of the other buildings in the complex. I pass this building if I walk over to the Big Cafeteria for lunch. Usually, I just grab a salad downstairs and take it back to my desk. Oh, you want to see inside? 

One bank of elevators in the lobby with a kazillion dollars worth of copper on the walls

One bank of elevators in the lobby with a kazillion dollars worth of copper on the walls

We have to show our badge to get into the parking garage, then again to enter the building where we work, then badge through here to the elevators. You place your badge on the black part of one of the pillars until the light turns green. And you have to repeat the action going or coming. There is a (minimum wage) guard watching you in the lobby at all times. We are so safe.

Once we get to our floor, we badge in again to get the doors open to the offices. We do not have to show our badges to go to the restrooms. We can put money on our badges so we don't have to pay cash for our lunches. That is kind of cool and saves time. 

I am so used to doing it I never thought how restrictive it sounds until I just wrote it all out. Yes, we wear our badges all day, clipped to our clothes or some folks wear them on a cord around their necks.

Stairs in the Cafe to mezzanine seating

Stairs in the Cafe to mezzanine seating

I love these stairs. They are in the Cafe on the lobby level where I get my eggs and bacon for breakfast and my salad for lunch. I hardly ever use them, but I like the bright orange color and the sweep of the shiny bannister. I put this picture on Instagram and even showed it to the cafeteria ladies on my iPad. They were so excited to know their workplace was on the internet.

Light in the stairwell at the parking garage

Light in the stairwell at the parking garage

I am too lazy to look up the architects that designed the complex originally, but they paid a lot of attention to details. And it has held up well. This light fixture is a bit brighter than it looks, but it was a cloudy day... and I processed it to look a bit more dramatic.

Cautionary marker in the walkway

Cautionary marker in the walkway

These flat metal markers of checkered plate are placed around the vehicular entrances and exits. Most of those are now gated and have controlled access, but at one time were used. This is a small, unobtrusive safety detail.

Looking up through the trees

Looking up through the trees

I was standing in a grove of trees on the far side of Garage 4 for this shot. It was a bright day, and if you look really hard.... there is a pigeon on the roof. Can you find it?

Sunset after a rainstorm

Sunset after a rainstorm

I have started carrying my camera with me everywhere these days. This was taken late one afternoon from the garage before I went home. The sky was just on fire and that tower made a nice pattern against the clouds.  

Foggy sunrise

Foggy sunrise

One morning the fog was exceptionally heavy. I felt badly for all of you that have to drive in from Katy or other outlying areas. I hurried my 2.2 miles, watching the sun hide and reappear in the fog and knew I had just a bit of time to do something spectacular.

And I was really happy how it turned out.  

What about your workplace? If you worked from home would you miss the buildings and the surroundings? Do you have a nice view from your office?

Adventures Amiss

Adventures Amiss

A Not So Swampy Swamp

A Not So Swampy Swamp