Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Creative Photo#7

This week' submission to Roger's Creative Photo Contest. This is a storm fence and erosion limiting vegetation on Long Island Sound at Lighthouse Point. Granted, the wave action here is almost non-existent when compared to the surf of the Atlantic, but erosion is quite natural on the Sound shore as well.

What is intriguing here, is that fence must have a personality. Taken in late Winter '86, the fence was up through a hurricane the prior fall and did not topple, thereby performing its job admirably. This is a great time to visit a beach. The temp is cold, but not too cold. The sun gets stronger in March, the crowds are non-existent and the end of a perfect day to such beach combing is a rewarding mug of warm cider.

I see the fence styled like prison bars, but in what way: To keep the surf out or to keep the sand in?

What I like about this early spring beach trip is the muted beach ambiance and the plainer tones of the sand. When you look on the shore in March you are tantalized by the sun and can imagine the nicer warm weather and blue skies and water that will inevitably come your way.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ruby Tuesday redux

Tuesday is here, and we offer another view in red. This being a wing walker on a classic plane, probably a Stearman.

This view evokes the style of entertainment in the Depression wreaked 1930s. I suppose it may be the dual views the spectator often grapples with: Do we admire the wing walker's skill in keeping his balance or are we looking for disaster? I hope for the former.

This was taken in 1985 at an air show in CT. I enjoy all the planes, at one show seeing the Air Force
Thunderbirds in their stunning precision with F-16s.
However, I really like to see the old birds in flying condition and old barnstorming flights of fancy like this.

Thanks again to
The Teach for sponsoring this gem (couldn't resist!), and do check out all the imaginative contributors in this endeavor.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sky Pilot

I wear the moniker Airhead 55 for one simple reason: I like to look at the sky, clouds, birds. On the ground or from an airplane. Blue skies and cloud formations intrigue me.

The three items today are from my '84 Olympics trip, and are on the back pages of the photo compilation. I truly had a great time, and liked the L.A. area (but not the 24 hour traffic jam on I-405 and the Harbor Freeway). However, like all good times, you have to go home. The flight itself was one of those memorable ones.

I remember the flight, and all the minutiae. United flight UA108, LAX-Chicago-Hartford on a big DC-10 with maybe 100 people. A seat by t
he door,
no bathroom lines, you could buy drinks from the bar cart at the bulkhead, smooth flight and the coolest takeoff over Santa Monica Bay. And not captured, night shots with the lightning flashes below the plane, out of harms way but with the clouds below illuminating after each bolt. And excellent shrimp cocktail and raw bar at O'Hare. A variety of small, insignificant (to some, maybe) things that made for a memorable departure back to reality.

And the sky shots. I've posted other photos of this sort before, but a view out the window still captures my interest. The bluest skies, cloud formations and the occasional sighting of another plane, safely separated by air traffic control (we all hope). I hated to leave SoCal, but had enough pictorial memories to be able to relive an excellent time sometimes...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Creative Photo no. 6

This week is another photo from a 1984 vacation which included the Olympics in LA, but a several day trip to Colorado on the way. This happens to be a shot of the Rockies somewhere around Colorado Springs. What appeals to me now is the symmetry of the mountains and the clouds.

Not perfectly symmetrical of course, or even parallel. Nothing in nature has that preciseness, except maybe a spider's web. But here, it seems to be a duel: did the mountains form the cloud shapes this day? Or, does the Front Range seem insignificant as if the clouds are molding the mount instead? You wonder which is the result of what. I'd call it the illusion of proportion.

Not only has Roger and his Creative Photo Contest prompted me to dust off my photographic archives, it has opened my eyes to so many talented people and their expressive works. The best of luck to all!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday is upon us, and the search for red, as prescribed by The Teach, is on.

It seems that there are the usual discouraging words about the heat and humidity in the Northeast. So try to cool down, as Allegra and Cameron were making snow angels around four winters ago. Undoubtedly we complain about the cold in this season. But this day, it looks like a glorious winter day, the sky is very blue, and the sn
ow clean and fresh. And the kids are in red, cheeks included
As both of you will be in college, we hope when you visit us, you continue to act like kids as you sled and play in the snow. It is hard to outgrow wintertime frolicking.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tally Ho!

We complain about the heat and humidity, but we compensate for the weather by dressing for it. With cotton blends and less material. However the players in the sport of Equestrian show jumping have no such luxury. The riders wear the olde English styled wool uniforms. Tradition and all that. The poor horses wear...well, horsehair. I like traditional garb, so proper. So English.

The horses are dressed for the occasion, beautiful and many having braided manes. Style and elegance for the equine performers. The setting was Santa Anita Park in Arcadia during the L.A. Olympics of 1984. Of all the sporting events my sister and I had tickets for, the horses were my favorite. I guess that the rider and horse need to have that nuanced sense of what the other was about to do. And there is the performing aspect to this...the bar keeps being raised, and the team is penalized for the bars that fall and for a slower time. Lots of jumps.

I was looking for a Ruby Tuesday picture, so I was looking through my '84 Olympic photo book, saw these and decided to post here. The weather was hot that day, and the L.A. Basin pollutants at the track were an irritant. I was enthralled by the style of it all. Obviously, I am not of old money to be nominated a member of an Equestrian riding club. My wheelchair might be an impediment to finding a sponsor also. But the style, grace and athleticism of the horse and rider were so unique. I enjoyed it all.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Creative photography #5

This week's submittal for Roger's Creative Photo Contest is really simple. An evening photo out the front door after a few hours of snow. There is a surreal feel to this shot as the street light only enhances the freshly fallen winter precip.

There is always the after-the-snow niceties. The air is crisper and cleaner than ever, the shadows of the branches appear as a web on the snowy blanket. Even the mini Alps along the curb left by the plow have not yet been tainted by road sand. The best part of winter are those times just after the snow falls.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ruby Tuesday revisited

For this week's installment of Ruby Tuesday, the brainchild of Mary (aka:The Teach), I offer my submittal.

This week, it is a picture of the former Olde Birmingham Bank in Derby, Ct. Currently housing a restaurant, it was constructed in 1892-1893. The Derby Historical Society refers to the design being "constructed as a monument, richly detailed with Sullivanesque and Neo-Greek elements". I don't know much about architectural history, but I'll take their word for it.

The red stonework is stunning, and reminds me of the elegant brownstones you might find say around Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Massive to be sure, but elegant yet delicate in its myriad detailing. Style wise, classier than anything modern constructed of steel and glass.

When I met Patti in 1985, we had dined there when it was the
Olde Birmingham Restaurant, and it retained the 1893 style and details inside as well. And neatest of all, the red wine cellar was housed in the original vault. A stylish reminder of a bygone era.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Travelin' man

I found this receipt while looking for a suitable picture in red for my last Ruby Tuesday post for the Teach. It was found in my photo scrapbook of a European trip I took in 1982 where my sister in the USAF and her friends showed me around. She was stationed in the Saar region of Germany in the charming town of Zweibrucken. Being near the French border, we went to the Auberge De Strasbourg. The most interesting thing to me is that each country feels different in not just language, but architecture and ambiance.

This restaurant is
what your perception of France might be with the checkerboard table cloths...only missing the accordion. A great meal for 251 Francs. The dollar was very strong then, and at the official rate then of
7 FR = $1US, t
he cost for the food, wine, beer and Grand Marnier around was about $36 for three, a low price even then.

In these memories, I have located my long expired passport. The American tourists had to have their passport stamped, naturally. Even in those border crossings where they usually waved cars through then, well before the open borders of the EU now. You could spot Les Américains pretty easily - they all wanted their passports stamped. And you can see a number of countries in one sixteen-hour day, one day starting in Belgium for breakfast, lunch, Bastogne (Battle of the Bulge) and Waterloo, Luxembourg (for dinner) and back to Germany.

I have often posted that I would love to see much of Europe from the wheelchair. A dream for when the US$ is stronger (and I have lots more of them). It remains in the realm of possibilities. I had better renew my passport...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Creative photography #4

It is a delight to enter this weeks entry in Roger's Creative Photography contest. It is fun to provide my submissions, but even a greater treat to view the excellent work of others who capture the moment. Whatever and whenever that moment occurs.

Is this a photo for the ages? It depends on who is viewing, but for me it is. The Olympia Diner is on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington, CT. There is the undeniable art deco style all about in this 1952 classic. The passenger train car style clad in a bright stainless steel topped by a neon sign perched as if a crown. With two modern touches, a wheelchair ramp and preferred parking sign in front. Feeling so invited, we often stop there on the way back from the U of Hartford for diner delights and fresh diner coffee.

And most delightful, to me anyway, is their Corned Beef hash - the best I've had anywhere. Topped with a couple of scrambled eggs, a perfect meal anytime. I have to think that the hash recipe, like the general ambiance, probably hasn't changed much if at all since 1952. Too many buildings today are styled to evoke a certain period. Certainly the new isn't unattractive, actually most are. But not as authentic as an original of the genre.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ruby Tuesday (Mardi rouge)

I offer this week's view for the splendid meme from The Teach
, Ruby Tuesday. This week it is the awning on this building in the German city of Cologne (Köln). I like this picture not just for the red, but the different architecture and details that remind one that, like Dorothy said to Toto: "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore". Or Connecticut, for that matter.

This shot was taken from across the street on the promenade at the famed Cologne Cathedral with its immense proportions (twin spires over 500 foot high). A trip taken long ago, when there were still Deutsche Mark, Francs and and Lira in circulation. A beautiful country with excellent food and the absolute best beer in the world. It would be fun to take such a trip again.

It's not the heat, it's the humidity

I seem to have heard that one before. How to beat the heat? Reminds of another olde-tyme insult: 'Go Jump in a Lake'. Like this golden retriever. This was taken many years ago at my Aunt Terry's northern Minnesota lake house, at Big Stony Lake near Park Rapids.

The dog's name was Brandy, and a nicer pooch than you could imagine. You could throw that branch into the water fifty times, and the dog would retrieve it and drop it at your feet, for the fifty-first toss. Into the clearest, cleanest water anywhere you will find, the Land O'Lakes. The land of sky blue water. I feel cooler already.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Creative Photography #3

Kudos to Roger for his Creative Photography contest. I only record the moment, yet always happy when the image brings back the memory.

I have posted this photo before, but this sunrise shot remains one of my personal favorites. Shot by a lowly 50mm Canon rangefinder, on 1/2/1981. It was shot from behind the wing on the starboard side of a Delta Airlines 727 somewhere over the Carolinas. I generally don't sleep on planes, and the 6:20 AM departure from Atlanta ensured that I hadn't slept since my travel day began in West Palm Beach around 1:30 AM, after a lengthy New Year.

You can pick up the gentle arcing curvature of the earth up there. The winter sky is as blue as can be just before the sun intrudes at 30,000 feet. This is another scan of a photo where the negative has been lost. Yet, the colors seen in the troposphere are still vivid. Nature is always beautiful, regardless of the pixel count...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

I have become aware of this cool meme courtesy of
The Teach and I offer my view of something red. And this is a special one, as it shows our then twelve year old son Cameron upon his return from his People to People tour in 2003. He came back from 20 days in England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland. The shirts were red, probably to better spot the tour participants on the plane. Easier to herd?

That was a long twenty days away for his parents, but quite rewarding for someone who was about to enter the eighth grade.

He is showing off his stamped passport, and is looking satisfied if slightly afflicted by jet lag. Notice he is wearing a hat with a flag of Scotland. The kid looks good in red, the color of his next stop, the University of Hartford. Go Cam, then...and now.