Saturday, February 28, 2009

Creative Photo - Courting You

For Roger's Creative Photo, I offer a view that is a unique view of an old structure, taken from inside my Ford van. By using Curves, the style of the Litchfield County Superior Court changes character. The building sits on the town green of bucolic and tony Litchfield, CT. It is a classic gray stone structure...however, the curves give a not so somber slate blue hue to the judicial abode. And check the top of the picture...the tinted band at the top of the windshield is blue in the real world. But the alterations give it a different striped look. The tradition of a New England town green meets digital design. See Roger for many fine photographers and their art!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Winter art, of a sort

Winter is still around, as it will snow Sunday despite being 58° today. But winter can be the source of beauty, as profound or offbeat as you prefer.

To the right is a picture from Christmas day 2002. The lighted thing is one of those faux LED trees that we attempted to place in the ground via the (cheap) plastic spikes. It was as flimsy as it sounds, and with the stakes broken, it could not be displayed as designed, it wouldn't stay upright.

Voila! We attached it to the corner of the railing for the wheelchair ramp at the front door. Granted, it was inverted, but full of color. And the snowflakes look like floating orbs when the camera flash bounced light of each falling icy crystal. No, it is not art. But the winter gave us a nice entry welcome to our abode...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Looking at the Sky - Fielding

Fair weather skies with lots of blue and fair weather clouds mean a low humidity day. So for Looking at the Sky this week, I thought the above would be the ideal summer sky. It was taken on the field of Nolan Field, the home of the Ansonia HS Chargers football team. Just a few wispy clouds, but the low cloud count adds a greater style to the blue heavens. And the formations give us unique views that a clear sky might lack. For instance, I see a furling flag and a fish with a large dorsal fin. But that's just me...Enjoy the wonderful sky views at Tish's fun photo meme!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sepia Scenes - another steeltown scene

For Mary's Sepia Scenes, I am back to Steubenville, the hub of activity in Jefferson County. This shot is old and scratched, and is beyond my repairing it. Therefore, sepia enhances the picture and adds a bit of bronze and ages the photo in a subtle way. I will assume this to be around 1948-1949, when televisions were still a novelty, and assume this was his first (naturally, it was a Motorola). It was nice to have the TV when it was new, and check out that beer in the stylish pilsner glass.

Sepia really enhances B&W.
For more sepia gems, check out Mary's mem

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tall is as tall does

I sit a bit shorter in a wheelchair, sitting a full 55 inches above the ground. That is only 4'7" (about 115 cm). My mother was 4'10", and would be taller than me right now. A few years ago, Patti and I went to a wedding, and I was trying to get a photo of her and her colleagues, and the results you can see. In PC parlance, I am vertically challenged. Patti is in the blue, by the way...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ruby Tuesday - Reflections on a Pink Sky

My choice for Ruby Tuesday this week is an unusual ruby pink sunset and the change in hue wrought by the unusual sky. The picture sequence has a date stamp of August 22, 2003 and is taken from the view to the east, outside our roost in the Ansonia Uplands. Pink is the only descriptor I can think of here, as magenta seems darker, dusty rose being too pale. I can only guess that the skies are cloudy
to the east but with a dazzling sunset to the west, although I am unable to find a capture...

What really works here is the effect of the skies on our vehicles. It is a subtle pink glow to our vehicles. The Hyundai color is called Champagne, but the dark pinkupstairs has turned the car a sort of dusty rose.

Likewise, my van that Ford calls Light Saddle, and the pink glow is drawn to the backside of the large van. So the pinksky by itself is a beauty, but offers a pastel ruby where one did not exist. The visual change barely exists, but the character change is noticeable. Follow the link to Mary's great meme!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Arriving and Departing

I have used the photos before, but since I am working with, a fine free photo edit program, I am trying to further understand the nuance of this program, things like resizing, layers, straightening photos and lasso select. So I was happy with the perspective on Roger's Creative Photo yesterday, with the aerial views. So today, I am sticking to the turf, and an interesting view of the Union Station signs on platform for Tracks 10 and 11 (at wheelchair height, of course). I like this free photo edit platform as well, and hope to edit photos with the best of them!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Creative Photo - Collision Course...

I enjoy my moniker Airhead, as I like planes of all varieties. For our Gem State gem Roger, and his Creative Photo meme, I am dredging up the past. Again, but aerial things are always of interest to me. At jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney's 1985 air show, I fixed my K1000 onto the aerial displays. On the left is an old aerobatic plane, jut trimmed to fit and photo adjusted. A fine display, but on the right, I made adjustments that add a darker view to our air acrobat, the inverted colors and the horizontal image flip. There is a difference that is quite obvious, and I am not sure if it is: The coffee color surrounding our subject, the aqua sky colors of the aircraft, or the black smoke from behind that indicates an engine in distress. Any or all could apply. Check out a fine group of photo artists at Roger's site!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Winter exists for now...

I have been writing the weariness of winter. However, the greatest thing about winter in a four-season climate is that transition from Winter to Spring is worth the cold, darkness and leafless trees. The first 60° F day in march when everyone loses their jackets is always a glorious day, with spring feeling so close...A fleeting feeling, sometimes. Like April 6 1982, the Tuesday before Easter that year. A snowstorm dumped 12 inches of a heavy wet snow in the Hartford area. It was April. Although the snow was all gone by Sunday, a slap by nature to those anticipating spring by April...

This has not been a terrible winter, but the number of snow occasions has made the season a nuisance. But I have gone to the archives to pictures of a real storm, a true Nor'easter. Those in the Northeast remember this one, February 6-7 1978. At the family home in East Hartford, around 30-36 inches of snow fell, and then CT Governor Grasso ordered the state shut down from 6:00 PM on Monday to Noon Wednesday. It was awesome that there was no traffic to speak of. But shoveling the snow, was tough. Pretty snow with brilliant blue skies and such clean air made it a treat of's not so bad!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Looking for the Sky - Aviation Skyscapes

I tend to live in the past for Tish's Looking at the Sky. This week it is December 1980, and I am not just gazing skyward, but am traveling in a heavier-than-air machine in the sky. The place is somewhere over the east coast of Florida on a Delta Tri-Star at an estimated altitude of 25,000 ft. Over the Atlantic, the clouds seem to change at will, and you might never see the same sky again. This is true everywhere, of course, but the oceanic formations change faster that most. The sun is still fresh for this day, attempting to peer out from the top of the window frame. Visit Tish's great meme and aim your gaze into the skies!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Just waitin'...

We are having a bit of snow now, just an inch or two that waill change to warm rain tonight and melt (warm may be open to interpretation, but greater than
32°F, so no freezing). I may be jumping the gun here, but patio pictures from July gives me a sense of hope...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sepia Scenes - Sky Pilot

My dad was a writer for several newspapers and wire services when I was young. In this week's edition of Sepia Scenes, it is 1960, and then he was a Travel Features writer for United Press International in NYC (we resided at 203-11 42nd Ave in Bayside, Queens). Here he wrote a story for UPI about taking a flight in an F-105 Thunderchief, a supersonic fighter. The flight was from Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, and my father is on the right, stuffed into his pressure flight suit. I don't know if the Air Force pilot went past Mach 1, but the ride had to be a thrill. I also like the handle of the flyboy The Texan. I would love to see if the UPI has copies/microfilms of the articles he wrote, because I'd enjoy the write-up of this...

The sepia just adds a light bronze highlight to the B&W print. A true 'Blast From the Past' (I couldn't resist!). Check the Teac
h's fine photo meme!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ruby Tuesday - Red cheeks

For Mary's Ruby Tuesday, and remaining seasonal for this week (and not pining for a vacation on Cape Cod), I offer the man of the hour in 2005, the erstwhile Cameron in the helpful snow removal man. Interestingly, he was a freshman then and is a freshman again, although in a more advanced setting these days. Red outerwear looks about right contrasting against the f
resh layer of snow...For the views of red in any season, check out Mary's great weekly meme!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pound sand, they said...

The old saying (much like 'fry ice') is not untoward. With the wheelchair, sand travel is not possible, so I
have learned to not blaze any trails at the beach, stopping just before the wood ends. But this is not a problem, being in the vicinity of big ocean waves with the briny sea breezes. This is a pleasure for me, being here at the splendid Nauset Beach in Orleans on the Cape. I am content to sit on the ramp and just breathe in. And there is a snack bar at this beach, but I wonder if the order taker is missing the obvious question: Would you like some sand with your fries? Although fried food at the beach would be fine right about now...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Creative Photo - The Olde School

I am giving 'the old college try' in this week's Creative Photo by Idaho resifent Roger - the pre-eminent photo artist in the Gem State (in my opinion, anyway!). I am using this time an old program for The Game, as it is known in these parts, That of course the perennial Ivy League rivals, Yale and Harvard. I modified the cover of this program into the pencil sketch adjustment mode. I like this because it looks as if this artwork seems to be chiseled into stone. Much like the classic Greeks and Romans, tradition should be upheld and not taken for granite (okay, that was bad!). Nobody could lift the program if each page was chiseled in stone...
I worked again with the Curves feature at
The effect is such that the cover was drawn in neon paint, and the red tones look cool - and with no insult intended, even though red is the color of Harvard, not Yale...

Patti's father was a statistician for Yale sports for many years. A carton of these old Yale programs survived the fire, but have water damage. Cameron rescued these gems before they were thrown out. This from 1956 looks to be the oldest in the collection that remains. These programs show the more innocent times of college athletics, not the huge buiness of today. College Athletes...what a novel and innocent concept these days...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Who's paranoid?

It starts innocently - you sense something. Not bad, but a different kind of feeling. Like somebody is looking at you. Like, say, a cat...or two. I suppose the view in the rarified air at the 8 foot level upon the cabinets makes them feel secure. Or the heat rises and they are comfortable. Or perhaps they are watching us. We often ask ourselves where are they? Upstairs, of course, looking at us. Wonder what they are thinking...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Looking at the Sky - Marconi

Tish is on to something with her meme Looking at the Sky. You can see lots of moods in the skies that aren't necessarily blue. This example was from the Cape Cod National Seashore, and at the Marconi Beach - this is the place Marconi sent his first wireless communication to Europe in 1903. These forty foot high dunes are so rough hewn and natural with their grasses and ground shrubbery - a non cultivated beauty. But what of the sky? It is in August 2001 and the oceanic clouds have covered the sandbar known as the Cape. The sky has deposited a briny fog of sorts over the land, and this is the case where it is 15°F cooler here than the 45 air miles north to Boston, where no doubt it is sunny and warm. Bur for the sun to be hiding, the sky and terrain form a view that is probably closer to the shores of Eire and Scotland (and I would love to visit both someday!). A unique view of the combination of turf and sky. See many more sky captures at Tish's site!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

People's Car

I am blessed to be able to use my wheelchair and be able to drive these days. In the old days, I really liked to drive a car, not the barn sized van behemoth like now. Something that was small, lively and really fun to drive. I present the absolute best car I have owned, my 1982 VW Rabbit. It had what I can't use now, and that is a manual transmission...with a clutch pedal. I miss shifting for myself, and over the 101,000 miles I owned the car it averaged 30 MPG. And with good tires, it was a blast to drive on a twisty road.

In these pictures from 1982, the car was only two months new, and like most guys in their 20s, I washed it every week - winter included. And the color I loved, it was beige, a color that you don't see anymore (it really hid the dust!). I would have kept it, but it was the older of the two VWs we owned, each having two doors, and we were expecting Allegra and we sold it for a station wagon. Which is the usual course of action when space for the family mattered more...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sepia Scenes Surround Steeltown Steubenville

Sepia often can mask the age of old, unrestored black and white photos.Which is why I have chosen these for Mary's
Sepia Scenes
. Not so much the photo on the left, which had a new negative shot in the 1970s, but a companion photo on the right. The photo quality is poor, but the sepia adds a bronze accent to the scene that offsets the scratches...
Some may have seen the 1920 photo on the left before. Grandpa (Ralph I) is second from the left at somewhere at around 18-19 years in this family shoot.

I am certain that this is Steubenville Ohio, the family migrating from nearby West Virginia. His half -sister is to the left, and is with his parents. It appears that the family appears the same day in the other photo. Grandpa isn't in this one, as I think he shot this pose. I do not know the other people, but in those days, dressing up for the photo shoot was expected, and everybody complied. And the results give us a glimpse into a far different era than today... of honest and proud people. Visit the world of sepia at Mary's great meme!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ruby Tuesday - Affairs of the heart

(This is an edited re-post of last year's Valentines Day. This of course for Mary's Ruby Tuesday. Who said that sentimentality is dead??)

As it is the Valentines holiday, I am happy to reminisce of this day in years yore. When I was a kid, it seems that I never received many of these valentine hearts, not unlike Charlie Brown who always yearned for one from the red h
aired girl. As much as I enjoy Snoopy, he got a mailbox full of these heart shaped treasures instead. Sigh.

Be that as it may, I rather enjoy this holiday as a grown-up, or
at least since 1985, when I was swept off my feet by the ever lovely Patti. That year, the very first of this holiday for us, we went to a long gone restaurant in Guilford called Westwinds. I knew the piano player, and the piano was next to the fireplace which was roaring. Patti requested from said piano man the Rodgers and Hart song My Funny Valentine. It is a great song - "You make my smile with my heart". We like old romantic songs (my request was the great Satin Doll). But was it the warm fire, red wine and a piano? These were nice things, but the more important thing was we were becoming closer and closer. It was a great day, and that continues.

But one thing is different this favorite florist, Daisy Dock in Derby, had a fire in 2007 and is no longer in
business. They were the best around at creating those fine petal arrangements that I could surprise Patti with.

Perhaps we can reminisce (over a nice romantic meal) of the fine February 14th days of the past while looking forward to more. It may be an artificial holiday to some, but not for me...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

History in the making...

It is the gift the keeps on giving as a post - that being the David Humphries House in Derby CT. I have written about this great old house here and here. Being the home of the Derby Historical Society, we went to their annual meeting this afternoon and part of the day was a presentation from the pre-eminent Civil War researcher in these parts. The presentation had to do with letters home from a Derby resident wrote home from his travails on the battlefield, places such as Chancellorville, Cold Harbor and Gettysburg as part of the larger 20th Connecticut Infintry. A wondeful presentation given by an expert who has a passion for the study of this war and has gone to the local archives for excellent background, with a splendid slide show. When things are presented so well, you come away impressed. Daughter Allegra is majoring in history, and she would have loved this presentation. I prefer history as reading, and think it's time to visit a library - it's been awhile...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Suburban Scenes - I

The sprawl of suburbia was everywhere in the early 1960s. My memories are of East Hartford, CT from early 1963 on. As the nearby city, Hartford in this case, shrank in population East Hartford grew form 29.000 in 1950 to 43,000 in 1960 to 53,000 in 1970. And this was typical of much of the US. Interestingly, the house at 115 Wickham Drive was the most expensive in this development. at $20000 in 1962, about $150000 in today's money - not a bad deal. But as you can see that things were new, no real grass, nor new trees or shrubbery yet.. But suburbia in that era you notice right away: Kid (me) on a bicycle, kids jumping rope, the neighbor's Rambler American and a close look on the left, and you see our 1963 WW Microbus. And beyond the snow, the car is a SIMCA Aronde, a French car few Americans have heard of. But families were larger then, and you see more kids at play. And pools became a common sight, for us in 1968, as we had one at 24 ft across, and 3 to 4 feet deep, the big kids were tasked with watching the little ones, with parental supervision of course. Of course sprawl has extended in reach to tough to handle proportions in the ensuing decades. But we kids weren't thinking about is a fun age to be where play is your profession.

Friday, February 6, 2009

When the sun hits your eye...

I have been posting of late about my distaste for winter. But I don't want to get older faster, so I would be foolish in wishing for Spring immediately. So I am left to refer to pictures that remind me of warmth, at least a little bit. So, how does this creation of ths sauce for Lemon Chicken do that? Well there are the slices of lemon. They look like the sun...okay, it is a stretch for that. But yellow seems to remind of spring as we await daisies, say. Yellow just looks warmer! Therefore, this sauce looks like spring...

This observation is indeed a stretch. But I have this photo as the desktop on my work MacBook, and as it is as bright as could be on the screen, with yellow everywhere...

PS: For a dish like this, I will only use a fresh lemon, nothing from a bottle. Nothing can sub for a lemon!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Looking at the Sky - Farm and More

Tish's great meme, Looking at the Sky, compels us to, well...look! My entry this week is the sky over my favorite farm in the world in Northfield, CT. I worked up in Litchfield County for a year and passed by this gorgeous property ever day, both ways. There are chickens and cows and silos and pastures and a barn. Not like this is a money making farm, but styled and with details that show a labor of love. This picture was taken in 2006, and taken by Patti from my moving E150. A beautiful summer sky interwoven with the voluminous fair-weather clouds. And the reflections on the glass from inside the van offer a view akin to the sun's rays. Check out the other sky views at Tish's excellent site!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sepia Scenes - Where ya been?

For The Teach's Sepia Scenes, I am drawing from the past this week...

I've had this picture in my files forever it seems. And this is the question: Who the heck are Phil and Marty?! The note on the back says Phil is 3 and Marty 2. Unsure of the date, but I believe it to be how much, I don't know. There is something about the suit short set, straw hats and two-tone Buster Brown shoes, but I sure can't describe it...but can anyone??

To the right, if I said anything untoward about the sartorial splendor of Phil and Marty, I take it back! Check out my 1961 Bayside Easter outfit if you dare! The only difference in our styles is the fact that I am wearing a sort-of sea captain's hat, and Phil and Marty’s straw hats. I think that my grandparents bought me this outfit at that great NYC area department store Alexanders. The other styles of the past include Michele (faux fur), and Claudia (hat with ribbons).

Ah, the charms of sepia from a bygone era...