I made a large print of one of my train pictures as a birthday gift for my younger son, and took it to be framed at a local framing establishment attached to a garden center. Their display of pumpkins outside caught my eye:
I wanted something simple, and I got it; in terms of the graphical elements, this is a point enclosed by a frame-within-the-frame. I had updated my camera’s firmware the previous night and forgot that the update would reset image mode back to JPEG, but Fuji’s JPEG engine on the X series cameras is the best I’ve ever seen from a camera vendor. I couldn’t have done the color or dynamic range better from RAW.
Contrary to the University of Illinois’ reputation for political disengagement, I found some more current affairs graffiti on a recent photowalk:
Sometimes one picture will trigger an association with another in my library, and the connection between them can be quite obscure. Our friends protesting the NSA above made me think of a picture taken last year that I finally decided to publish:
I leave articulating the connection between them as an exercise for the reader.
The Greeks were wise to relieve the intense catharsis of a tragic trilogy by appending a satyr-play to it. For me, at least, this experience of diachronicity needs comic relief:
I’m gradually coming to the conclusion that the most interesting part of photographing graffiti is not the images by themselves, but interactions between the images that are perceived by the photographer, and expressed by juxtaposition or collage. I’m curious to see if and how this idea alters my approach to my graffiti collection.
The leaves are changing here in Illinois.
Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs are my favorite of his works. The second song, “September,” speaks of golden leaves falling from an “acacia” tree, by which is meant the black locust or false acacia; this thornless honey locust on the way to the bus stop suggests the same idea.
The maple trees on the west side of Goodwin Avenue start turning early. I think this poor tree is dying, but ere it goes it gives us variegated leaves against a very blue sky.
My wife used to be the organist for a couple parishes that shared a pastor in southern Champaign County. Weekends involved a lot of driving, including driving a much younger John around if he fell asleep between Masses. One Sunday morning in 2010, while in pursuit of naptime, I drove past the ATC radar tower on the west edge of Willard Airport and visualized the photograph above. It took me two tries to succeed; the first time around I came too early and the rich warm colors of the sunset had not yet appeared, but this time I remembered to set out later and nailed it.
Patience, preparation, persistence — leave any one of them out and you miss the shot you want.
I am privileged to live a mere half-hour’s drive from a very well-supported railway museum. The Monticello Railway Museum has an enthusiastic and devoted crew of volunteers, an excellent machine shop (so excellent that other railway museums have paid them for their work), and legions of fans, young and old, who come out on the weekends for a ride. In the middle of September every year they have one weekend with all-day passes, extra trains running, and extra amusements for the kids, and our young railfans have made it for the past two years.
I was sitting at home one evening a couple weeks back, a bit tired from the day, not really in the mood to take pictures. I glanced out of the front window and saw the neighborhood suffused with a curious red light. From experience I knew this could mean only one thing: an oddball sunset, a lucky alignment of atmospheric phenomena. I got off my keister, grabbed camera and tripod, and went out to try to do something with some fascinating light that, as it turned out, lasted all of 5 minutes.
If I had been able to plan and set up for this shot I would have gotten something more dramatic; instead we have this little serpentine wisp of cloud, isolated from the sky with a long lens, contemplative in its presentation. Nonetheless, I took Galen Rowell’s advice, and didn’t let the sunset pass without trying something. Perhaps that’s the most important thing.
One of my Flickr contacts is a professor of political science whose office is in a building on the south end of campus. Behind that building there is a fascinating pyramidal fountain:
The surrounding oak trees are shedding their acorns, and these two cupules would not quite make it over the edge and into the drain trough.
This fountain has many possibilities, and I hope to come back and explore more of them.