Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Late afternoon, light on the door

Light against the old door frame. Somehow, time has stopped, as I get lost in the patterns.
Most of the windows in the rear part of this house (facing the sun) are “cylinder glass.” It’s not the oldest glass, but glass with an interesting interpretation of light. It’s not the best for seeing what your neighbor is doing in his yard, but it can’t be beat for daydreaming and staring at your walls.
How to make cylinder glass: A glass blower would first blow a very large bubble of glass that was confined within a steel cylinder. After cooling, the resulting cylinder would be cut around the middle along the long dimension. Each half of the cylinder, laid on its rounded side, would be re-heated on a flat surface until the cylinder was flattened by gravity. The uneven expansion of each side of the halves would result in the wavy patterns in the final flattened sheet.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Graveyard, Outer Banks, Ribbon

There are a few old and small graveyards in Avon, N.C., a short walk from the road, but all but hidden from the road by the gnarled live oaks. I was wandering through one on my last vacation, doing my usual sleepwalk, thinking and looking at the ground go by. I came across this leftover ribbon on the ground.

Here are a few other photographs of the same area

Black and White Dreams

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Asylum Street Spankers - Spanks for the Memories Tour

Last night I went to the Spanker’s very last show in Charlottesville, Va. The Spankers are a band renowned for their music and especially for their renditions of songs which are obscene to some degree. Musically, they’re adept at rendering all sorts of genres, although vaguely dirty old-timey music has definitely been a specialty.
Although most of the members of the band are in the limelight for a song or two each night, Whammo and Christina had been the lead singers and players form most of the pieces. Christina had taken a long maternity leave from the band, which toured with Whammo last year. I saw them play in Charlottesville at that time, and they were great. Whammo is quite a presence, so the gig was big fun, but the naughty 40’s and 50’s girl songs were missing without Christina. She can channel a number of Betty Boop voices and other more scorching fems.
Last night Whammo was missing, but Christina, and the rest of the crew, who also do their own songs (each of them could hold a show on their own) did their last concert in Charlottesville.
I will miss this. The Spanker experience is a unique and sublimely entertaining. It is also wickedly funny. I surely hope all, or part of them, will reconsider.
Their website does have a DVD or two of live shows. Well, exactly two. It may be the only way to experience them now. Both “Sideshow Fez” and “Re-Assembly” are memorable.
For photographs of an older concert:
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Monday, May 3, 2010

The older graveyard near the Downtown of Charlottesville is a great place to wander around in, checking out the souls floating, and what the stones say about them. There are plenty of old souls in this place, back to Civil War in some cases. Charlottesville made many of the uniforms for Confederate Soldiers, in what was called the Woolen Mills, which is still what the neighborhood is called. The area was also the location of a number of hospitals set up to deal with Confederate wounded ( )

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Liberty Sees Red

Liberty Sees Red

The serene green Statue of Liberty of Liberty Tax Service is now red. What explains the change in color? Are we in the red for this tax year, or is it just getting close to the deadline? Its a good color. Maybe we should do the real statue up in a bright red. Here's the original green color . . .

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Statue of Liberty Visits Charlottesville

There’s been an unusual sight this year (and last year also) as you drive up the Route 250 Bypass in Charlottesville. As you make your way up the hill past the CVS, quick mufflers, etc., there has been a wild man waving at the traffic in an odd green outfit. All through the worst of the snowstorm he was out there, probably moving to keep himself from freezing to death. The Statue of Liberty, portrayed by a man. Of course, he’s the animated sign for Liberty Tax Preparation. I caught an entirely different Liberty when I stopped to photograph him. It was a warm day for these times, and he was giving a sort of demure wave more like what royalty does as their limo slides by the masses.
Of course, I hate paparazzism, so I spoke with him and got his permission for a photo. (Paparazzi was coined from a character in the movie “La Dolce Vita”). So I got him in action and promised to bring him back a print. Although, I’ll be on the lookout for the some of the dancing, gyrating versions of liberty for yet another photo op. If we forget about Liberty, well, it might just go away.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Devin's Window

This was a child's window above Park Street, N.W, in Washington D.C. Part of Rock Creek Park can be seen, and, in the distance, The Washington Zoo. Somehow this window slips into some sweet impossibility, at least for the grownup. All consuming play, if it only could be experienced again.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Light Painted Flowers

This is one of the more radical approaches I’ve taken to a still life photo. The fact is that I’ve done quite a few of these, but this color one was the most successful. I’m having a show of black and white photography in Charlottesville in a few months, and I have a shot of Foxglove flowers illuminated by flashlight.
This is a simple technique. If you happen to be shooting on digital rather than film, you’ve got it made. You can experiment on a succession of shots and fine tune your lighting as you go.
This was done with a single flashlight I chose color rather than black and white due to the color of the flowers. The flowers came from the Charlottesville City Market, and it was from the Twin Oaks Commune people, one of the longest running communes in America. The shutter was opened at F11 (arrived at through many unsuccessful experiments). This time I went behind the flowers to bring out some unusual highlights.
All you need that is a bit tricky, is a shutter release that allows you to lock open the shutter. Not difficult with a film camera, but a digital camera will usually require the purchase of an electronic shutter release to lock open the shutter.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Are Bathtubs a Measure of a Culture?

I do so miss this bathtub. It was in a rental on Jefferson St., Charlottesville. It was long enough to let you stretch out entirely. There was a gas hot water heater, fully adjustable, and also in the apartment. Using this as a morning ritual really helped set a tone for the day.

I don’t like the drift in bath philosophy I see in beach rentals, a shower with a tub as an afterthought. This is a nation with no time for the simple pleasures. You need the simple pleasures as a foundation for the more complex ones.

A few months back, a local builder was showing me pictures of a custom house he was building. The bath was very large and essentially vertical, deeper than an average person’s height. It was designed for a family moving here from Japan, where it is obvious that bath traditions still rule.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Old Postcards - City Lights Books

There is an "antique" store in Charlottesville that I can usually find some interesting post cards. They are old, but generally unused, which means I can mail them to someone.
I was surprised to find this one. Its a picture of City Lights Books in San Fransisco, probably from the 70's based on the appearance. While the card had been "used," it hadn't been mailed. The back of the card had a poem written in magic marker. I can only speculate on the source, and I certainly can't speculate on the meaning.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti founded the store in 1953. He also spent some time here in Charlottesville while teaching a course at UVA. He shared a house with a friend on Park Street, which is about two blocks from where I'm living.
I also included a detail scan of the people in front of the store.

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