Saturday, December 31, 2011

Frozen pond

Actually it is not frozen, considering it was 40 degrees Fahrenheit a few days ago... but perhaps it will soon be frozen.

Last photo of 2011... Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas snow

Finally some snow, but unfortunately a week late for Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Where is the snow?

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, but is sure does't look like it.  By now we should have a pretty good cover of snow, but so far this season we have only had a light dusting, and that disappeared almost instantly.

The weather watchers are telling us that we are on track to have a new weather record... the least amount of snow in the month of December.

So much for a white Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

About 300 miles

I recently published a photo of the drained canal.  This is just another photo, from a different perspective, taken on another gloomy day.

This is very near to my work location, at approximately mile 300 of the 363 mile long Erie Canal.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Santa Claus

Perhaps I should say, second in a series?  Here he is from last year.

A number of years ago we were in Germany and bought these hand painted pewter figures.  They are a favorite Christmas decoration of mine.

This was shot with my Canon DSLR, but with a lens adapted from my old Pentax Spotmatic that I bought when in high school.  It is a Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm f1.4, a wonderful sharp lens.  Of course it is manual focus on the DSLR but still produces very nice photos even though it is over 40 years old.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Treetops

I love to look up into the treetops.  On a day like this there is deep blue sky and the shape of the trees just makes for an interesting view... a sight that is often overlooked by many.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Wild Center

A fairly new instutuion in Tupper Lake New York, The Wild Center/Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks, is an interesting place to spend an afternoon.  Very nice exhibits and a lot of opportunity to interact in a beautiful natural setting.  Highly recommended.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Endangered

So here are some interesting statistics:
  • The population of the United States is 309 million people.1.
  • The number of cellular mobiler phones is currently 294.4 million.2.
So who is using phone booths these days?  I guess superman still needs someplace to change into his super clothing?

1. The United States Census Bureau, United States Census 2000.
2. The World Bank Group "Data Catalog" The World Bank.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Drained

Each year in November the Erie Canal is drained to just a trickle, at least this section.  This is done to enable inspection of the walls and making repairs.

The canal originally opened in 1825 and connected the East cost with the Great Lakes, opening up the interior of the content.  It was in reality the first American super highway.

In the spring the canal will return to a normal depth of 12 feet and, although bypassed by modern commercial traffic, it will again provide a waterway for recreational boating in the warm months.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

On to the next holiday

Here in the US we have made it through Thanksgiving, and now all are focused on the the big holiday; Christmas. The decorator of this door choose wisely, a motif that transcends both holidays.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

First cover

We have seen a bit of snow in the air over the last week or so but this is our first cover of the season. I came down fast and thick for a while, but even when this photo was taken, most of it has already melted away thanks to the morning sun.

Of course this is only the first taste... there will be much more as the weeks progress.

I think this picnic table will be pretty lonely for the next 6 months.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Going bald

It's hair loss season. Now that this little tree has relinquished its red in a neat pile, all that's left is a raked-up, a suck-up, and a haul-away.

And no, I did not boost the reds. I actually subdued them a bit.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dark parking lot

Now that daylight savings time is over my walk to the parking lot after the work day is in near darkness. The days are getting very short.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Abandoned

This lonely building started life out as an upscale gas station, IE a bit more than the standard box with pumps out front that was typical of the era.

It has seen use since then for number of purposes, including the admissions office for the local community college.

But today it stands, scars and all, surrounded by highways and ramps that were not there when it was built, making it strangely isolated and inaccessible as traffic rushes by.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Color outside

It's as if all the color got sucked out the window.

And it reminds me how somber my workplace is.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bright spot

I tend to be an optimist and always look for the bright side. Life is a series of cycles. In each phase you can find beauty if you take the time to look.

Even though autumn signals the end of warm sunny weather, it presents us with nice bright colors. Winter is next with pristine blankets of snow. And then spring will return, with vibrant green, presenting a new start.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Way out

The first time I went to England I was amused that doors to the outside were labeled "Way Out". It reminded me of the hippie expression "Way out man!".

Here in the US we use the term "Exit" to signify a safe passage to the outside world.

I have been thinking about exits lately.

I know that just around this corner there is a exit, and although the sunlight tells me it is a sunny day, I am not so sure. Frankly I would rather stay inside a little longer. But perhaps that will not be possible.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sea Breeze roundabout

The 590 expressway was recently converted to a boulevard in an effort to slow traffic to be more compatible with the neighborhood. And nothing slows traffic more than a roundabout. This particular roundabout announces the entrance to Sea Breeze, that part of East Irondequoit that meets the shore of Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes.

As it seems to be the current practice when building expensive highways, often there is an attempt at aesthetics in the form of decorative features or public art. Being this area is know as Sea Breeze it was natural to select a nautical theme for the signage.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween decorations

More and more people are putting up lights and decorations for halloween. I guess this kind of fun can't wait for Christmas. So these days homes are decked out with orange, black and spooky, at least until it is replaced with the red, green and Noel.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Africa

This certainly violates my rule: included photos are less than 2 days old before upload.

However, even though these were shot over 10 years ago, the digital files are only 2 days old. When I traveled to East Africa in 2000 I was using a APS SLR (I think I bought one of only a dozen or so ever sold). By APS I mean APS film, that attempt by Kodak and Fuji to bridge the gab between film and the coming digital revolution. Some readers will recognize APS-C as a sensor size in todays mid-sized digital cameras... the APS designation was taken from the film format.

For a long time I considered getting some of the APS negatives professionally scanned and a Groupon for ScanCafe was what got me to actually get it done. I had doubts that the quality would be very good by todays standards, and actually most of the photos in retrospect were pretty much of the snap-shot variety, but there were a few images that had possibilities.

The photos suffered from high contrast and most days in Africa did not offer very good light (perhaps the time of year or the fact that most of our drives were in the middle of the day). It also reminds me of the great benefits of digital... the ability to take lots of pictures and not worry about film and processing costs, the better dynamic range (at least when compared to APS), the lack of film grain (but with digital you have noise which seems easier to deal with these days)m the ease and extensive options for editing.

By the way, if you are interested in seeing more of the shots from my Africa trip click here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

False front

How do you make an aging suburban strip plaza more attractive to tenants as well as consumers?

Just slap on a new front.

Brick looks solid and steadfast. And give each storefront a unique shape or texture. It does look new, but it is only "skin deep". And it really is one long building behind all of the various facades.

But if this is all it takes to fill up empty spaces, I am all for it.

And it does look pretty good.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Autumnal green and being real

Autumn of course is not all orange and red and bright yellow. There is also green and browns and even grays and blacks.

Shots of pretty trees are nice. And some photographers take great pains to avoid anything man-made in those kind of shots. A year ago I would not have included a light post, or what is obviously a parking lot, in a "nature" shot.

But I am looking at things a bit differently these days.

One of my recent posts generated some discussion from two picture makers that I admire. Colin is always encouraging (and has an interesting blog that I enjoy) and the Landscapist (a great teacher) is perpetually challenging my viewpoint (literally and conceptually). For this I am grateful and appreciative. The fact that these photographers occasionally visit this blog is very flattering.

As I have said from the beginning, this blog is primarily for me, as an exercise, and to compel me to generate photos and words. If anyone else sees any value, that is an unexpected bonus.

So here's to real, and not too much orange.

Which is not to say the photo above is necessarily any good.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn returns

It is hard to resist the colors of autumn. When the light is right and leaves are full of oranges and reds and yellow it seems like the perfect photo opportunity. Is this too much cliché? Are the colors too vivid? I don't know... I just like the look.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bug on the window

Just a small bug on the outside of the window. But here in extreme close-up he looks like quite a monster.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Carpeted pond

I have shot photographs of this pond before, but there is something strange going on now.

At first you may think that beyond the foreground there is a luxuriant meadow. Take a closer look and it appears to be a lush green carpet. But I would not advise you to try walking on this carpet, because you would get rather wet.

I am not sure what is going on this season. Apparently the surface of this pond is covered with some kind of algae bloom, so perfect and continuous that it almost does not seem possible.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Painted clouds

I am not sure why I am so attracted to clouds, but I do find them often fascinating. This particular sample has an almost almost oil painted look, typical of the autumn season that is now upon us.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Overgrown

Apparently the homeowner is not concerned with the vegetation that is taking over this house. I sometimes wonder how quickly all things man made would be obscured by nature if not kept in check.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Why is the sky blue?

We know the lake is blue not because it is water, but because it is reflecting the sky.

But why is the sky blue.

It turns out that light scatters as it travels though the atmosphere, and the blue component of sunlight has a shorter wavelength. Because the shorter wavelength has more energy then red or yellow, it scatters more and is hence more visible in the sky.

Of course the sky is not blue all of the time. For example at senset it turns to red and yellow. This is because the light is traveling though a lot more atmosphere and this means most of the blue has by then scattered away.

It is hard to image, but that if physics worked differently, instead of blue skys we could have red skys during the day.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Food or fuel?

Grown as a food staple since prehistoric times, corn is today the most widely grown crop in the Americas. But not all is grown as food. In recent years corn has increasingly been used to produce corn ethanol for use as a fuel or fuel additive.

Today 40% of the corn crop is used for biofuel production which critics content is a waste of valuable farmland that is contributing to higher cost for food production.

Anyway, it makes me happy when corn season comes along. Food or fuel? I pick food.

Friday, August 26, 2011

By the seat of my pants

I guess more accurately I should say "From the seat of my MINI".

I just don't seem to have the time to properly capture photos, or more precisely, I do not take the time to properly capture photos.

I see a composition, or something catches my eye when I am on the road. That can mean a mad dash to grab my camera and snap a picture before the light changes. But more often, as I drive along, I am attracted to a possible photo, and that usually means I turn around, stop the car, but (being rushed or lazy) shoot through the rolled down window.

One of these days I need to find the time to be more focused... but till then, it will be by the seat of my pants.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dark cloud

Abandoned businesses are sad to see. Where once there was vitality and employment, there is now crumbling empty buildings that look tired and lonely.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mattresses on sale

I often wonder, why there are so many mattress stores? How often to people buy mattresses? And how many do they need when they do buy?

It must be a profitable business because there seems to be a lot of interest in setting up stores.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

After the deluge

Another sky shot... second in a row... but after a strong blast of rain, the sky began to clear and I could not resist.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rose hips

You don't think of a rose plant having a fruit, but here is the rose hip, about a half inch in diameter hanging on a simple pink rose bush. Of course rose hip tea is pretty common as an herbal beverage, but rose hips have other uses as jelly, pies and even wine. The fruit is also fed to chinchilas and guinea pigs as well as horses to improve their coat.

Rose hips are very high in vitamin C and were used for medicinal purposes in Europe when other sources of the vitamin were not available.

Apparently ants prefer the blossom to the fruit.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Queen Ann's Lace

Daucus carota, commonly know as Queen Ann's Lace is actually a wild carrot. The blossom does resemble lace, and if you look closely you will see one small flower in the center that has a deep red tint. The story goes that Queen Ann pricked herself with the needle while making the lace.

What I think is interesting is the overall form of the blossom is almost a hexagon.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Three trees, three antennas

The afternoon turned blustery after the strong rain showers receded. I was drawn to the wind swept trees, but then I noticed the repeating pattern of the antenna towers.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Desperate reflection

At first glance it almost looks like an evil monster eye. But it's not. It is just a puddle in the parking lot.

This is the second photo of our parking lot in the last month. Perhaps a sign of desperation? Seems like my picture making goes in streaks... some days I see a lot, and sometimes my eye just does not notice or find anything of interest. So this is an attempt to get the flow going again... a little desperation.

The good news, the puddle is an indication of rain... something we really need. Our lawns are beige and crunchy. This shower is probably not going to help much, but it can't hurt.

The image reflected is of that unloved sculpture I have posted about before. So why do I keep photographing it?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Car storage

We Americans have lots of cars and we all like to go to the same place. So where do we put our car when there are so many other cars already there? The parking lot is already full.

Let's build big buildings just to store our cars in while we shop.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Salt rivers

What happens if you seal asphalt without first washing away the snowmelt salt?

The accumulated salt bleeds thought the sealant creating what appears to be rivers of salt.

And that shadow of a giant? It is only the photographer.