Bricktown Oklahoma City, OK

No trip to Oklahoma City is complete without a visit to Bricktown.

Bricktown was originally a railroad “hub” in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The structures were made of brick and were mainly one or two story buildings.

It was surrounded by working class housing and was a warehouse and manufacturing area. It was also home to the first local chapter of the NAACP and Oklahoma’s first black newspaper the “Black Dispatch” that helped to bring to light racially segregated housing.

During the Great Depression, manufacturing declined, so businesses moved out of the area. Rail freight began being replaced by trucking which led to further decline. At the end of WWII, the government started subsidizing housing and families began moving to the suburbs.

By the 1980s, the area was mostly abandoned.

There was a time, not too long ago, when Bricktown, and even downtown, were dangerous places to be. Abandoned buildings and high crime became the norm.

In the 1990s, then mayor, Rick Norick and the Greater Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce developed the Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) which revitalized Bricktown, along with downtown and other districts in the Oklahoma City Metro.

Now, Bricktown is a vital and beautiful area in Oklahoma City. It sits right along the Oklahoma River and the junction of I-40 and I-235, on the dividing line of north and south Oklahoma City.

I took these photos last summer – so, you know, it’s time to go back and get more!

There are walking/biking trails right along the Oklahoma River. These photos are toward the Boathouse District.


The Boathouse



There are places along the trail for free workouts. They have fixed equipment and even instructions. No need for a gym membership here!



You can view the Centennial Land Rush Monument, take a ride in a water taxi through the canal, see street musicians and enjoy live entertainment at many of the outdoor street cafes.



Devon Tower in the background.



Streets are actually brick! You can take a carriage ride at almost any time of day or night.



We stopped in Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, home of the Oklahoma City Dodgers ~ a minor league baseball team and Triple A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The day we were there, we got to see a youth baseball tournament.



There was a beautiful water fountain…and, of course, Oklahoma’s own, Toby Keith Bar and Grill.


If you are ever in the area, it’s worth stepping into Bricktown. And, I will go back soon – I didn’t even get a pic of Chesapeake Arena, home to the OKC Thunder!


Parrot’s Cove Cabin Extra, Guthrie, OK

I posted about our little mini getaway to Parrot’s Cove cabin in Guthrie a couple of week’s ago. You can see that post here. We loved it! It was like a quick trip to a faux Key West – and it’s just what we needed.

Parrot’s Cove cabin is one of a handful of cabin’s owned and operated by Aaron’s Gate out of Edmond, OK. All cabins are virtually secluded and are sure to give you that privacy and relaxation you might be looking for.

While there, we took the time to go exploring. Get those fit band steps in, check out the area and take some pictures. I had my camera in tow and I just couldn’t resist that bit of adventure 🙂

The very first cabin you see when entering the property is “The Meadowlark Barn”. This is the cabin with the silo and the antique truck. It’s a wonderful greeting to see this as you round the first curve.




We also took a walk along a trail away from the cabins. It was stormy that day and we ended up having to hurry back as the first raindrops hit us. But, I was able to get a few pictures along the way. My favorite is the “heart” hole in the clouds as the storm gathered.


Again, if you ever need a quick secluded getaway just north of the OKC metro, this is perfect!

R&J Lounge and Supper Club, Oklahoma City, OK

We had a late lunch at R&J Lounge and Supper Club in Oklahoma City one afternoon following a doctor’s appointment. If you prefer quiet, mid afternoon is a great time to go! There were a couple ladies seated at the bar, but other than that, we had the place to ourselves. So, I didn’t have my big camera with me – I’m too chicken to leave it in the car around the city – so this is iPhoneography at it’s core.

It is located in the Midtown area at 320 NW 10th St. We had read that it is a little hard to find since the signage isn’t really visible from the road and you need to look for “the door”. So, I took a pic of the sign and the door – scroll to the bottom for a screen shot of the exact location. It’s worth finding! 


Everything in The R&J Lounge and Supper Club is retro styling…..including the beer.

The decor reminded me of something from a mafia movie setting….and a little bit of home (there were lots of supper clubs in the Ft. Leonard Wood, MO area!)

From R&J’s website: “…seeking inspiration in vintage menus from the 1950s and 1960s, to create an original menu and time-honored atmosphere. The brightest ideas from the mid-20th century are incorporated into every aspect of the classic, sentimental flavors of The R&J experience.” (


I had a BLT and fries. It was very yummy.

Chris had a lobster roll. He said it was excellent!


If you’re familiar with Oklahoma City, this simple map image will show you exactly where to go.


Centennial Land Run Monument, Oklahoma City, OK

The Centennial Land Run Monument is a must see if you’re in the Oklahoma City area. Sometimes referred to as the Oklahoma Land Run Monument, it is designed to commemorate the Oklahoma land run of 1889. At noon on April 22, 1889, more than two million acres of Indian Territory in Oklahoma were opened up for settlement. Cannons were fired and the run (race) was on!

It was referred to as “Harrison’s Horserace” as President Benjamin Harrison is the one who issued the proclamation to open the “unassigned land”.

The sculptures depicting the Land Run are referred to as “heroic size” meaning they are one and a half times “life size”. Trust me, they are huge. If you take the time to walk up and really look at the sculptures, you will notice all of the intricate detail put into each piece.

I actually took these photos last year, and as I understand it, more sculptures have been added since then. Which means, more pictures this year!

When the Centennial Land Run Monument is completed, it will be one of the largest  freestanding bronze art sculptures in the world. It will span over 365 feet and be 36 feet wide (and 16 feet tall!). There will be 45 individual pieces when all is said and done.

To get to the Centennial Land Run Monument, just go to the far end of the Bass Pro Shop parking lot (lower Bricktown, right along I-40) – you can’t miss it.

**p.s. look at my last photo with people standing next to the sculptures to get an idea of the size


Parrot’s Cove Cabin, Guthrie, OK

Chris and I had the opportunity to get away for a few days. We chose to head north of the city, but still be within a quick drive if we needed to get back for any reason.

We discovered Aaron’s Gate properties and that they have a “Key West” themed cabin. We loved (L-O-V-E-D) Key West when we went and since we didn’t have time to make a trip to the real thing, we were excited to find a secluded cabin themed for a pretend beach trip.

This cabin was actually kind of perfect! It had a lot of water elements to satisfy the water soul in Chris, but trees and dirt and birds to satisfy the earth soul in me. I mean, seriously, how perfect is that?

We were greeted with a beautiful wreath welcoming us personally.


We walked in and were greeted with subtle caribbean spa music, rose petals and a beautiful cabin that captivated and serenaded us to a peace that was almost immediate. I had read that about the Aaron’s Gate’s cabins, but until I walked in, I didn’t understand the meaning of that immediate peace.



The table was set with parrot’s and caribbean colors. How adorable are those parrot napkin rings?!



This little guy was in the corner on a large floor arrangement.



We had champagne chilled and waiting on us. We also chose the package where we got to keep our champagne glasses.



Aaron’s Gate wants you to be completely relaxed and at peace. They don’t want to interrupt your solitude by having to deliver any meals you want, so they have it all there beforehand. Any stay has breakfast for the next day already to go (with instructions) – waffle batter, vanilla sauce, fruit and juice.

You can also have a dinner prepared beforehand (cost is extra). We chose grilled pork chops with sides, so that was already in the refrigerator and ready to be warmed.
(you can make a quick trip to Guthrie or Edmond for dinner if you choose)



An indoor dry heat sauna all set up with towels and instructions. There is also a hot tub on the attached, screened in porch, a shower for two and a whirlpool tub. Water souls will love this place!



The screened in porch that holds the hot tub and these adorable tall adirondack chairs. See the parrot’s perched?



Chris had a milk and honey and champagne bath set up for us (cost extra). I saved this for the second night and it was luxurious!




We went on a walk and I couldn’t resist more photos of the front of the cabin.
P.S. I will have a couple more blog posts coming up with photos from our walk and one of the other cabins.



We had our grilled pork chop dinner on the second night. Very yummy!



We had such a good time at the Parrot’s Cove cabin at Aaron’s Gate. We went mid week, so we truly had the whole place to ourselves. The cabins are spread far enough apart that I am sure even on weekends or when fully booked, you would still feel like you had the whole place to yourself.

There is satellite TV available. We didn’t watch much television (other than to track severe weather on day 2). We chose to listen to music and just enjoy each other’s company.
**there is also wi-fi available, but the signal isn’t really enough to get connected. AT&T had good cell service, after the storms blew over.

Aaron’s Gate check in is located in Edmond, OK and they give you directions to the cabins. I think it’s super secret, so I won’t disclose their location, but they are a quick drive on I-35. If you need a secluded get away, I think you should give it a try!

I linked to their website above, but need to state that they had no idea I would do a blog post and we were not compensated in any way for this blog post.
Just Keepin’ It Real

What the Heck Do You Mean, You Shoot in RAW?

Invariably, when I’m doing a photography session, somebody wants to see their photos “in camera.” I hesitate to show them at that time, but always with the warning, “I shoot in RAW, so these won’t be processed yet.” Needless to say, nine times out of ten, they first of all, don’t get it; and second of all, still want to see their photos “in camera.”

So, I’m going to try to explain just what the heck I mean by “I shoot in RAW”…….

I have two cameras – a Canon 7D crop sensor and a Canon 6D full frame. Both are capable of shooting in Camera Raw format or JPEG format (or a combination of the two). Camera RAW is what I shoot in…and here’s why. If a camera is set to JPEG, when a photographer captures a photo, the camera does the processing (and compressing). What you get is a photo that you can’t “tweak” much because the camera already did it for you. This is great for snapshots, but not so great for professional photos. If a camera is set to RAW, when a photographer captures a photo, the photographer does the processing. As a photographer, I want total control on every aspect of my work – including areas of the photo that I want to highlight, add shadows, adjust contrast, exposure, tone, levels…you get the idea.

In essence, the camera captures a whole lot of data when the shutter is fired. It holds all that data on a memory card that I can transfer to Lightroom and Photoshop and do all the adjusting and tweaking myself. (P.S. this is why it’s important to look at a photographer’s work to decide if they are a good fit for you. Find somebody who’s artistic eye is something that appeals to you).

Here is a shot that I took from the big bridge in Devils Elbow, MO this past weekend. This is the RAW file:


Kind of blah! This is pretty much just raw data my camera captured. Think of it as a negative from the film days.
It hasn’t been processed yet!

Here is the same file loaded into Photoshop, but not yet processed:

Screenshot 2014-11-06 15.01.43

See my adjustments are all dead center and “as shot”. It’s up to me to figure out what slider to move where. There are several ways to make adjustments on a file, but this is the basic “camera raw” adjustments.

And, this is the same photo after I processed it:


I only did some minor processing to this photo. I wanted the “end of Fall colors” and the blue of the sky and water.

Quite a difference from the RAW file, huh?

Now you know why I am hesitant to show you photos “in camera”.