Too Busy Watching Evening Television

“Why the ancient civilizations who built the place did not use the easier, nearby rocks remains a mystery. But the skills and knowledge on display at Stonehenge are not. The major phases of construction took a total of a few hundred years. Perhaps the preplanning took another hundred or so. You can build anything in half a millennium – I don’t care how far you choose to drag your bricks. Furthermore, the astronomy embodied in Stonehenge is not fundamentally deeper than what can be discovered with a stick in the ground.

Perhaps these ancient observatories perennially impress modern people because modern people have no idea how the Sun, Moon, or stars move. We are too busy watching evening television to care what’s going on in the sky. To us, a simple rock alignment based on cosmic patterns looks like an Einsteinian feat. But a truly mysterious civilization would be one that made no cultural or architectural reference to the sky at all.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson, Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries

View down Elm Street from walkway, near Harwood.  Downtown Dallas, Texas

View down Elm Street from walkway, near Harwood.
Downtown Dallas, Texas

For awhile now I have been interested in the phenomenon of Dallashenge. This is when, one certain days of the year, the sun is aligned to rise or set directly on a line with one of the major canyon streets of downtown, either in the evening or in the morning.

A lot of people do photography in New York at Manhattanhenge, but few realize the same phenomenon occurs in other big cities.

You can use Suncalc to determine the henge dates. I’ve gone downtown a few times to shoot both the morning and evening henges.

Morning Dallashenge from the triple underpass in Dealey Plaza.

Morning Dallashenge from the triple underpass in Dealey Plaza.

Links to blog entries:

Test Shots for Dallashenge

Dallashenge Photographs

Test Shots for a Morning Dallashenge

Morning Dallashenge – maybe a couple days early

Two Days Later

When I first did this I had to look around for shot locations. One place I thought would be good was the pedestrian bridge over Elm Street – but at the time I wasn’t sure how to get into the thing or what the view would look like, so I opted for a street-level view.

Here’s a test shot I took that shows the pedestrian bridge.

Elm and Harwood Streets. I like this view. I'm not sure if the pedestrian bridge will ruin the shot. Also, the Lew Sterrett jail is at the end of the street and may block the sun's orb..

Elm and Harwood Streets. I like this view. I’m not sure if the pedestrian bridge will ruin the shot. Also, the Lew Sterrett jail is at the end of the street and may block the sun’s orb..

At any rate, the other day I went on a tour of some of Downtown Dallas’ pedestrian tunnels and bridges.

As part of the tour we passed through the pedestrian bridge – it’s easy to get to and even has a cool coffee shop, Stupid Good Coffee nearby.

As you can see from the photo I took (the first one in this entry) during the tour, the view from the walkway is pretty good. One problem though, is that the distant Lew Sterrett jail blocks the horizon, so the best shot might be a couple days later (or before… I’ll have to think about it).

Plus, the tunnel system is officially only open from six to six and the sun sets at about six forty five – so I’d have to overstay a bit. A tripod set up with a camera might be a defense – we’ll have to see.

The next evening dallashenge date looks to be around October 26, so I have some time to think about it.

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2 responses to “Too Busy Watching Evening Television

    • Thanks, I’m surprised because I had to shoot it handheld through some not-exactly-clean glass. But it was a good time of day with nice light – I think that’s the important thing.

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