Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tiny Flower

I was nosing around with the macro lens in the feral ivy patch below the shed (which was an outbuilding of a garage, located there many years ago), when I came across this little flower.  If you had the perspective of the flower it would have been an eerie experience.  A huge spherical glass would have broken through the clouds and leaves, and you would have seen the tiniest reflection of yourself.  Then there would have been the massive clunk noise of the shutter, like a door being slammed in heaven.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lately I’ve been lurking around in the shadows, looking for night photographs. This one is beyond the exit ramp from the parking lot of Whole Foods. It’s the rear of the store’s parking lot, just off the ramp to the exit. The two walls of the building are a public face on the left, with an “alley” on the right. A car came through and left a track of lights. The radical difference between the two walls of the one building comes from the lighting. The right side is sodium vapor (warm), the left side is mercury (a small, bluish, swatch of the spectrum). Light comes from poisonous metals.  Not all light, mind ye.

I’m really trying to process these so that they look close to what it looks like to my eye.  I’m a night walker; I use the exercise and the difference sense of space as a “place” to think (wonder).

I tried to find an overview in Google Maps. I did, but the buildings roofs looked new and freshly painted. It turned out the copyright statement at the bottom had the image copyright date as 1994. There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then, and there hasn’t been any money floating in it. So maybe a new-style WPA project will be painting the roofs white in all the big boxes that stretch from coast to coast.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Goodbye Vivian

Goodbye Vivian was taken on the long way to anywhere, Route 301, as it snakes through the infinite tidal flat lands. When this sign worked its way over the horizon, I was a bit struck by the personal tone. Surely it was for a goodbye party, or a retirement. Maybe they didn’t have enough letters to make a longer message.  There’s a song called "Goodbye Vivian" but the sign predates it by many years. It made me sad to know that Vivian had already left. I pulled in the empty parking lot, got out, took the picture, sat in the car for a while. 

The color in the photo: courtesy of Kodak and Kodachrome. Its was always a bit too vivid.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Photograph of a Water Skimmer on White Rock Falls Trail

I took this photo of a “skimmer” (water strider is the proper name) in a small stream on the White Rock Falls trail in Virginia. The stream  through a hilly section divided into small pools.
    The skimmers tended to shy away into a corner of the pool as they saw me lean in to take photos. Then, if I was fairly motionless, they would repopulate the surface slowly. The fact that they can float on surface tension, with thin “feet” is hard to really imagine. They should need tiny pontoons. The shadows of the skimmers on the stream bottom were interesting too. There were shadow circles where their feet were. The curvature of the water must have diverted the sunlight enough to cause a shadow.
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Monday, April 9, 2012

"Jumping Spider" on a Butterfly

I had gone for a hike in the Skyline Drive part of the National Park, and noticed a butterfly on the trail ahead of me. It was flying low along the trail, and it landed just ten feet from where I was hiking. I had a camera with a macro lens in place, so I tried to get a shot of it as it stopped on a piece of grass. I noticed that it had something on its back near the “hinge” point of its wings. Through the macro lens I could see that it was a small spider. I took a few pictures, and then tried to brush the spider off with a twig. This wasn’t successful, as the spider evidently had a firm grip on the hinge of the wings.  Took a very close shot of the spider, and then left the two of them alone to play out the scenario. The spider in the picture almost looks like a piece of construction equipment.
 It’s possibly this type of spider:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Redbuds on Brown's Mountain in Charlottesville

I walked up Brown's Mountain (not far from Monticello) and found that the red buds were blooming. These are small trees that are struggling between larger, more successful tree types. It was quite a visual effect. There was a heightened sense of depth, as those reddish clusters could be seen stretching to the top of the mountain.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunbeam Bread Bill Board

A Sunbeam Bread Billboard - 1978

Back in 1978 I visited Charlottesville Va. for a job interview.  I brought along an old Rolliecord twin lens reflex camera loaded with color film. Color film was a rare experience for me at the time. I could develop my own black and white film, but had to bring the color film to a camera store for development.

                I just came across the negatives from that trip. The interview was at U.V.A. and I wandered around the campus taking a few photos, and then drove out Route 250 West. I came across a billboard advertising Sunbeam Bread and evidently ( it was a while ago, so the negatives are a bit of a surprise to me : ) got out of the car and took a photo of the sign.  The Rolliecord only did really square pictures; twelve 2.25 inch squares on a roll of film.

                Sunbeam was an odd concept in bread. It was spongy. You had to put in the grocery bag last, unless you wanted flat bread.  Good for the hobo life! Use your bread as a pillow, and then have your pillow for breakfast.
                The roll of film was interesting to scan. There’s a strange feel to the colors. Everything was greener back then, even faces.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Unearthing Project

I was driving back to my house a few weekends ago, and, after passing over the train tracks in Charlottesville, I saw a set of large black and white photographs mounted on the panels enclosing the failed Landmark Hotel Project. I parked and took a few pictures of the pictures. These are all people that are active in the movement against mountaintop mining. The photographs were taken by Charlottesville based photographer Will Kerner.
Will's photographs are on alternating panels of a construction barrier at the Hotel. I was very impressed with the presentation of the portraits. These are large black and white prints, and the sense of eye contact with the subject is very strong. The consistency of mood in all these portraits really gives a feeling of the intensity of the situation. Many of the faces look like they've been through a tough and tiresome ordeal. Other than Will's panel describing the outline of the project, the message can be found in the faces themselves.
What I hadn’t known before: the majority of the local electric power is taken from mountain mining.
As for information on the effects of mining at higher elevations: here’s one research study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science: A link from the Virginia Conservation Network.,358,0,0,html/Mountain-Top-Removal Southern Environmental Law Center . The UNEARTHING Project ( ) is a wide variety of projects involving dance and theater. Some of these have already occurred but the dates on the upper right of the site go through April. Don’t miss the about page of the site:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gordon's House in the Hollow

To give a little background to this image: A group of people lived near the top of a small mountain south of Charlottesville, Va. To all living there, it was called “the hollow.” I think (?) this was Gordon’s house. Gordon had a cameo in "The Parking Lot Movie “ telling about an incident that happened while he was driving a cab in Charlottesville. I knew most of the people living there, and would visit occasionally. There was at least one yearly party, which was usually a whole day/night with a “recovery” morning tacked on. People would bring food, and it would be cooked barbecue style. An unused field became a parking lot and spots for campers. I tried to find the locale recently, and found that not much was familiar on the road.

Here's is another link to an article on "The Hollow"

Friday, January 13, 2012

This is the very small second bathroom in our house, which was added during one of the many expansions. These expansions were by prior owners, so we can only piece together the story by looking under the flooring for changes in construction, wiring, and materials. This bathroom had a outward facing window that became an inside window when a porch was added.
     The house is old enough that it probably had an outhouse at some point. Most of the houses on the street started early enough to be before the miracle of flushing.
     The lighting of "pocket bathroom" was done with a flashlight during a time exposure that took as long as the lighting required. This is often my strategy if I can shoot in complete darkness.
     There is a photograph of a section of the same room in the lower right corner of the window, making a picture within the picture.