Denver Photographs

Denver Photographs
Downtown Denver evening photos
August 31, 2015 at 2:25 am 2
Taking photographs of downtown Denver in the evening is an activity that one is relegated to during the dog days of summer. Cooler fall temperatures will be welcomed, but the evening photography in downtown Denver creates some unique images. Sundays evenings are a great time to be downtown with free parking meters, a limited amount of chemically altered knuckleheads in LoDo, and in general a more relaxed and subdued environment as the thoughts of Denverites begins to shift towards the workweek. The first picture shows Denver's second tallest skyscraper 1801 California on the left, 1999 Broadway in the middle, and One Lincoln on the right. 1999 Broadway A narrow window exists after the sun has gone down and there is still a touch of blue in the sky. This window is known as "Blue Hour," but in my opinion it is closer to Blue Half Hour." This being the case, a plan is needed to maximize this ephemeral lighting. I usually start with a plan and then about half way through I end up scrapping it and start pointing the camera at whatever catches my eye. Next is an image of the Byron White U.S. Courthouse at 18th and Stout Street. Denver Courthouse The intersection of 14th Street and Market is captured. Two cranes can be seen- the one in front of the Four Seasons belongs to the 22-story 1401 Lawrence project that is currently under construction. The crane to the left of the Four Seasons and Brooks Tower belongs to the 40-story 1144 Fifteenth Street project. Downtown Denver With the fleeting light of urban night photography, a person may feel compelled to dash to new spots in downtown Denver as fresh ideas percolate in the photographer's mind. Cutting through scarcely traveled alleys while jogging past restaurant staff on their smoke break where mutual head nods and howdy's are exchanged seems oddly within normal urban activity. The restaurant workers don't seem to be phased by a person running down an alley on a Sunday night with a camera and tripod. The below photo was taken near Blake Street on the 16th Street Mall. The white building is the middle of the image is the re Barclay Tower, and for years was one of the few residential options in downtown Denver. The second photo was snapped while an RTD Mall Shuttle drove past. Daniels and Fisher Tower RTD Bus Denver Next are a couple of photos of the fountains adjacent to Denver's Union Station. Denver fountains On the left hand side of the next photo, one of the construction cranes for the Z Block project can be seen. Denver fountains The below photo was captured at the train platform at Denver's Union Station and looks towards the Millennium Bridge. With all of the current construction and development, this part of Denver is becoming a top notch location for urban night photography. urban photography Above, if you look closely at the base of the Millennium bridge mast, just to the left of it is a glowing light blue object. This is a new piece of art that was recently installed on the plaza of 1601 Weatta. The sculpture slowly changes color from yellow, orange, red, purple, blue and green. Here is a closer look: 1601 Wewatta No more vestiges of daylight are left, so time to head home. Here is one last photo of I-25 looking towards Sports Authority Field at Mile High home of the Denver Broncos. urban night photography
Denver Photographs
The man behind the Denver Photo Archives
August 20, 2015 at 2:01 pm 0
"My goal was to take an image that was absolutely killer! I walked and walked, climbed and climbed. I took an image fueled by childhood adventure and honed into an uncommon view from my tenacity to capture a powerful iconic image!" -Kim Allen
Denver native Kim Allen who grew up in Harvey Park is most well known for his photographs of Denver from the 80s and early 90s where he documented the Mile High City at a unique time in its history with the use of his camera. 
Denver Photo Archives

Photo of 16th Street viaduct in 1984 looking towards downtown. Copyright Kim Allen / Denver Photo Archives

What makes these pictures distinctive is Allen had the foresight to capture areas of downtown Denver that were decayed, but were on the cusp of a renaissance. He captured photos of the viaducts just before they were torn down, the area where Coors Filed was built, and a desolate and deteriorated LoDo was visually chronicled before any trendy bar or exorbitantly priced lofts could be found. Allen's photographic adventure of Denver has created a comprehensive review of a city that was on the brink a major metamorphosis.
LoDo historic Denver

16th Street looking northeast down Wazee Street in 1988. Copyright Kim Allen / Denver Photo Archives.

Denver Skyline

Rail yards in 1986 near current location of Pepsi Center. Copyright Kim Allen / Denver Photo Archives

Kim's photos are showcased at Denverphotoarchives.com. The Denver Photo Archives was created to feature Allen's work. His photos are also found on the website buckfifty.org which includes engaging articles and works from several contributing Denver writers and artists.  Denver Urban Review had the privilege to learn more about Allen's photographs and captured his thoughts on Denver. DUR: How did your youth shape your photography? Kim Allen: My youth was unstructured. I do remember an elementary school visit to the City and County Building, our class was asked to draw about it... I distinctly remember a pencil drawing I did of the front of the building I was very proud of, an early conception of composition. DUR: Was photography something you were passionate about as a youngster or was it something you discovered later?  Kim Allen: Photography was not on my radar as a youth, sports was king... then discovering girls and beer replaced sports. DUR: How did your interest in photography evolve? Was it something you fell in love with right away, or was it something you gradually developed an interest for? Kim Allen: As a teenager I traveled alone many-many times by bus to visit cousins in Lake Tahoe. I started collecting postcards and was enthralled by wanderlust and postcards that celebrated travel. After high school I moved to Vail, I traveled as well by bus and hitch hiking mostly in the west. . . I started taking images of my trips with my little instamatic camera, I was hooked - I could not wait to see my photos! DUR: The photos featured on the Denver Photo Archives website– the idea to capture Denver and specifically LoDo just before all the redevelopment took place, was that the result of one epiphany or was there a build up and a combination of several ideas that coalesced to create this work? Kim Allen: I had lived in Vail and Telluride for a total of 10 years after high school. I thought I would spend the rest of my life in the mountains... basically the adventure dulled. I was essentially a lower/middle class kid that as time went by realized I loved and felt more comfortable in Denver. I noticed various renovation projects in Denver and started to photograph them, I became hooked on documenting Denver as artistically as possible. Once again, I was hooked! I studied books of photographer's L. C. McClure, J.E. Stimson and David Plowden and realized the respect I had for such important work as chronicle of our historical heritage. DUR: Why do you think you were really the only one that recognized that this moment in Denver's history needed to be documented? Kim Allen: I would love to take full credit for being the only person to photograph in a similar vein at that time. A gentleman named Roger Whitacre did some work related to his real estate clients. Some of his work was seen in Historic Denver publications, he is a drawer and done small sculpture's as well. Roger is a very talented man, I consider him a friend. I developed my own style of climbing R.R. tower's, climbing buildings, climbing viaduct infrastructure's etc.  - My goal was to take an image that was absolutely killer! I walked and walked, climbed and climbed. I took an image fueled by childhood adventure and honed into an uncommon view from my tenacity to capture a powerful iconic image! I researched subject matter, called people, talked to people... I knew exactly what was going on, "if a board had moved" from one month to another... I had become Denver. My composition became better, each photo, each roll of film confirmed my dedication was producing excellent photographs. My own style was created, I wanted to be better than any photographer Denver had ever seen, period! DUR: Do you see yourself as an artist or documentarian? Kim Allen: Documentation and art can overlap each other... I tried to combine both intensions. I artistically wanted my images to be great, the documentation was simply the determination to continue part of Denver's story. I hung around with some artist's (painters) and some photographers... it really was not my gig. I actually was shocked that none of them seemed to understand what was occurring, even the photo staff's of two major newspapers in Denver did not recognize the phenomena that had started. DUR: During the time of the Denver Photo Archive images were captured, were you working as a full-time photographer? If not, what was your day job? Kim Allen: I started out wanting to be an assistant commercial photographer or a newspaper/magazine photographer. I really had no clue of the actually reality of each profession. I really did not fit into either profession and discovered early on I had a different calling... I was a loner determined to create special work. I worked construction jobs of painting to pay rent, buy my film and beer to celebrate. DUR:  When you were down in the LoDo area taking photos, was it pretty easy to walk around and take photos, or were you always looking over your shoulder? Kim Allen: I would have devoted more time to other areas of Denver, the action just was not there. I followed the money... when Dana Crawford, Mickey Zeppelin, Larry Nelson, Jerry Glick and others were starting LoDo projects I knew the city was about to change Lower downtown/ Platte valley was very expansive. I could walk forever never crossing a fence or major street because the viaducts carried most of the traffic... it was all fields, birds and rabbits. It is a huge misconception of downtown or lower downtown being dangerous, there was no one there. It is a myth that is was dangerous, a good story for my photos - but untrue. DUR: Did you continue to take photos of Denver through the 1990s and into the 2000s? If not, why did you stop? Kim Allen: Photographing Denver was an obsession, it had taken control over my life. I realized one day I seldom took images of my Mother or family members. The respect of my photo work had not matured, I liked beer too much, and a new relationship with my future wife, they all added up to putting my camera away in 1994. I put my negatives and camera in storage, never looked at them again until 2008. DUR: Over the last 25 years, has Denver progressed as you anticipated it would, or have you been surprised by how it is evolving? Kim Allen: I was absolutely certain Denver was going to bust out big time. I thought more would develop to the east side of Union Station. The vast Central Platte Valley took precedent... the deep financial pockets of Denver's sport scene replaced the rail yards with Coors Field and Pepsi Center, and the gold rush was on.... Elitch Garden also relocated prior. Many-many small projects had started prior in lower downtown, the transformation was already set. John Hickenlooper and fellow founders in 1988 of the Wynkoop Brewing Company. The perfect storm had started, the purchase of land behind Union Station by East-West Partners and also Continuum sealed the deal big time! DUR: With Denver's current incredible growth, do you fear that Denver's identity, its culture, and its built environment are headed in the wrong direction? Kim Allen: The market determines everything, supply and demand. My parents experienced a different Denver, I experience a different Denver, new residents are now experiencing their reality. I would however urge ALL residents to look deeper into the wonderful attributes of Denver other than the low hanging fruit of the dazzle of overpriced restaurants and cocktails that appear in the sewer system soon afterwards and the money gone... setting the bar a little low as a community in my opinion. DUR: Down the road in 50 years, how do you feel people will view the architecture of this current development cycle? Will people say that buildings were constructed that are not architectural significant? Kim Allen: Yes and no... a city is part of massive complex of components. You can not make everyone happy... developers, contractors, architects, planners, citizens all have their own role and agenda. Living in a perfect world of great architecture and construction etc. for small town prices is a thing of the past. There are pros and cons of everything, nothing in life is free, there is a price we all pay - the result of what we consider success. People who sit on the side line and complain about every design need to get a JOB in the field, then will realize their boss calls the shots - and the boss is told what to do - by his boss!
City Improvements, Denver Photographs
Denver’s Arapahoe Square
August 9, 2015 at 4:53 pm 2
"Arapahoe Square, located just north of Downtown Denver, is envisioned in the City’s adopted plans to become a densely populated, vibrant mixed-use district." -City of Denver Community Planning and Development Department Arapahoe Square Denver
Arapahoe Square in Denver does not have construction cranes, it does not have apartments buildings currently rising, and it does not have real estate agents touting its trendy restaurants and boutique shops. . .yet. Today marks a unique moment in the history of this neighborhood, as it will not be long before its bones and urban fabric are changed forever. Currently the area is a plethora of parking lots, unused buildings, and crumbling sidewalks. It truly is the last bastion of gritty honesty that can be found near downtown Denver. Arapahoe Square DenverLocated northeast of downtown between 20th Street, Tremont Place, Park Avenue West and Larimer Street, Arapahoe Square represents a portion of Denver that has largely been untouched while other neighborhoods adjacent to downtown Denver are seeing their surface lots rapidly disappearing to future developments. However, those involved in the development community are fully aware of Arapahoe Square's development potential. Brandon Shaver, a Denver-based urban planner specializing in business improvement districts and land use economics shares his thoughts on Arapahoe Square's potential. "Arapahoe Square is ripe with development potential. As downtown Denver continues to densify, Arapahoe Square offers a great opportunity to create a walkable transition from the central business district to the Five Points and Ballpark neighborhoods. This is especially true along Welton and Larimer streets where significant reinvestment and redevelopment is occurring north of Park Avenue. It is my hope that Arapahoe Square square transforms from a sea of barren parking lots into a unique, tightly-knit urban neighborhood with a diverse mix of housing options," said Shaver.   In discussions that Denver Urban Review has had with developers, some have stated they have plans to develop projects in Arapahoe Square.  We do know that projects are coming. Denver-based architecture firm Kephart is designing a 12-story apartment project in Arapahoe Square, but they are not at a stage to release a formal statement or renderings as the design and financing have yet to be finalized. It is written on the City of Denver's Community Planning and Development website, "Arapahoe Square, located just north of Downtown Denver, is envisioned in the City’s adopted plans to become a densely populated, vibrant mixed-use district. Neighborhoods Plan, adopted by City Council in 2011, recommends creating new form-based zoning for Arapahoe Square in order to help implement this vision. City Council Districts 8 and 9 worked with Denver Community Planning and Development to form a technical task force to guide the development of new zoning for Arapahoe Square. The task force is composed of residents, business owners, land owners, developers, design professionals, and other stakeholders that represent Arapahoe Square and its immediate surroundings." An Arapahoe Square Technical Task Force meeting is slated to be held on Wednesday, August 26th at the Mile High United Way at 711 Park Avenue West. For more information about Arapahoe Square including technical information such as zoning and design guidlines, visit this page of the City of Denver's website by clicking here. Below are additional Photos of Arapahoe Square from August 8th, 2015. Arapahoe Square Denver Arapahoe Square Denver Arapahoe Square Denver Arapahoe Square Denver Arapahoe Square Denver Arapahoe Square Denver Arapahoe Square Denver Arapahoe Square Denver  
Denver Photographs
Friday Night in Denver
July 11, 2015 at 2:46 am 4
I went to my favorite spot to take pictures of the Denver skyline as I was looking to capture some photos of the city with the Colorado Rockies' fireworks in the sky. I was all set to go and had my camera aimed at Coors Field with plenty of time to spare and even took a few test pictures to confirm I had the camera aimed at the right place. A few other spectators gathered near me to watch the fireworks. Looking behind me to the west I began to notice that the clouds were quickly thickening. The Channel 4 mobil weather truck parked a few feet from me and this certainly foreshadowed what was soon come.   Denver Skyline   Faint flashes of lighting soon became bright bursts of electric bolts. In a moment, I went from killing time until the Colorado Rockies game ended to frantically getting the camera set to capture a lightning bolt. I fired off as many photos as I could. Most of the lightning was cloud to cloud and at times appeared to be directly overhead. I did not take anytime to look to see what I was capturing. I just kept hitting the shutter button as many times as possible before the rain fell or the thunder chased me off. The rain did begin to fall, and my gut kept telling me the keep snapping photos while also telling me that standing out in the open during one of the craziest rock and roll shows that mother nature can produce was not a good idea. I just needed someone to play Jimi Hendrix's version of All Along the Watch Tower for the perfect soundtrack to the storm.   Denver Skyline lightning   Denver Skyline lightning   Denver Skyline storm lightning   While I had the shutter open a bolt hit in the distance behind the Four Seasons. I took a couple more photos like a fly fisherman on a Colorado rocky mountain stream who says it's his last cast and ends up doing ten more.  I did not push my luck and grabbed my gear and headed for cover. I thought it was funny because there was a few other photographers and spectators there to see the Rockies' fireworks, and as soon as I scampered for cover they all did too. . . I guess they thought I knew something they didn't. The storm moved off to the east just as fast as it had arrived and after a half hour it was safe to get set up to snap some pictures of the fireworks.   Denver skyline fireworks Colorado Rockies   Denver skyline fireworks Coors Field   I suppose the ironic thing about Friday night was, I have gone down there a few time before to capture some lightning bolts with the Denver skyline in the frame. Those attempts were not fruitful. On Friday I went down there to get pictures of fireworks and I come back with some pretty cool lightning photos. . . go figure.
Denver Photographs
Denver in photographs
June 29, 2015 at 12:38 am 2
I have collected a nice little library of Denver photos over the past few months while documenting the progress of the construction projects taking shape around town. Some of the images I have captured are not related to specific news stories, but still wanted to share a few of my favorites below. Have a good Monday everybody! The train platform at Denver's Union Station is now a popular place to take pictures. I know I have taken my fair share of photographs of the platform and canopy.   Denver Union Station   I happened to be in the right place at the right time when the conductor of Amtrak's California Zephyr was walking down the platform. It caught my eye and I snapped a few photos. This was during one of those chilly and rainy days this spring.   Denver Union Station Train California Zephyr   I have attempted to take a photo from Speer looking towards the Four Seasons on a couple of occasions.  The below image is my favorite from that spot.   Four Seasons Denver Skyline   Denver Skyline   The composition of the above image and the one proceeding it will change greatly in the months to come. You can see 1401 Lawrence, a 22-story office project is beginning to make an impact. In 30 months 1144 15th Street will be completed and will truly redefine the skyline from this angle. Below are a couple photos where I have been experimenting with a wide-angle lens. Both of the below images show 1999 Broadway—my favorite building in Denver.   Downtown Denver RTD   1999 Broadway   A few weeks back I was taking pictures of the Alexan Uptown project and turned around and really liked the way the church steeple was framed right in between the Cash Register building and the Denver Financial Center.   Denver Skyline Cash Register   LoDo Denver   LoDo Denver   The above photos were taken at 15th street in LoDo. The old brick buildings of LoDo have just as much character at night as they do during the day. Thank goodness these buildings were not lost to the wrecking ball. The other night I was taking pictures in the Golden Triangle. There are many unique and photogenic structures in this part of town such as the Denver Library, and the Frederic C. Hamilton building of the Denver Art Museum that was designed by Daniel Libeskind.   Denver Art Museum Hamilton Libeskind   Denver Union Station   Denver's Union Station neighborhood is rapidly evolving. In the next few weeks the view from the 18th Street pedestrian bridge will change as the 17W project goes vertical.