Monday, December 30, 2013

Year in Review 2013--Final

Here are my top three favorite photos from 2013.

First we have a shot of Mackeral Cove in Harpswell Maine, near Portland, taken in June.

Below is a late July view of the countryside in Hiland, Wyoming. You can see why they call it big sky country.

Finally, my favorite photo from 2013. This is an infrared photo converted to black and white. The scene is a couple of grain bins in the countryside south of Rantoul Illinois. This photo was taken at the end of November.

Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful 2014!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Year in Review 2013--Part 3

In the next to last installment of my favorite photos from 2013 I have three pictures from out west. All three photos in this post were taken in mid-July.

Above is the Oregon coast from just north of Newport. The lighthouse is the Yaquina Head Light.

Below is the abandoned school in the Montana ghost town of Forsyth.

Finally for today, dust devils on the fields of western Washington, northeast of Warden.

On Monday I'll post my top three photos from 2013.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Year in Review 2013--Part 2

Three more of my 12 favorite photos from 2103:

The view above is of the hills of the eastern Oregon high desert, taken in July. The road is U.S. 20. I was completing my long-held goal of driving it from coast to coast.

Below is a view of the Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by Calatrava. Taken on a beautiful day in early May.

Finally, a view of the countryside in Central Illinois, taken in late October.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Year in Review 2013--Part 1

It's that time again: Time to pick my favorite photos from the past year.

It wasn't as good a year as I'd hoped for photography, and that in spite of driving coast to coast in search of good scenes to photograph. I had some equipment problems, and went through a strange creative drought, although that started to lift by the end of the year. In spite of the travel, I just didn't get out to shoot as much as I would have liked.

On the other hand, I greatly increased my use of black and white this year, and also learned a lot about Photoshop, building my skills by working on photos from past years. Regardless of the photography, I got to see a lot of America this year, which I enjoyed immensely. So it wasn't all bad.

Starting today, I present my 12 favorite photos from 2013. I'll post three in each post, through next Monday.

We start out above at the Old Stone Church in Preston, CT, a beautiful old edifice that is listed on the National Register of Historic places. I took this photo in late June.

Next, below is a view of the Connecticut hills, taken from a viewpoint in New Milford. This is an infrared shot, converted to black and white.

Finally, for today, we move to central Montana for a classic wide-open-spaces vista. This was taken on U.S. 12 in Rosebud, Montana, on July 12.

On Wednesday, the next three photos of my 12 favorite pictures of the year.

Friday, December 20, 2013

State Capitol Week: New York

A final entry for the week is the New York State Capitol in Albany. The 19th Century Capitol building is a pastiche of Victorian and Romanesque styles, the result of three different architects working on the project. However the Capitol is now truly overwhelmed by the brutally modernist Empire State Plaza facing it. The plaza, pictured below, was the signature achievement of Governor Nelson Rockefeller. It's quite a place, in a dizzying sort of way.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

State Capitol Week: Oregon

The Oregon state capitol in Salem is built in a unique style that reminds me of a church, with its flattened dome and gold statue. It is fronted by a beautiful set of gardens with flowers and fountains. Quite idyllic. Well done Oregon!

Monday, December 16, 2013

State Capitol Week: Vermont

I've been visiting state capitals in my travels recently, trying to get pictures of the Capitol buildings themselves. It's been fun for me, but then I've never claimed to be an exciting person. This week I want to show a few of the pictures I've taken, and some of the diversity of architecture in American state capitols.

Above is a shot of Vermont's State House, situated in America's smallest state capital, Montpelier, population 7787. It's a beautiful little capitol in a gorgeous traditional style. A little out of the way, but well worth a visit.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas in Japan

Christmas is a very big holiday in Japan, which is surprising because very few Japanese are Christians. The Japanese seem to have latched on to the celebratory nature of the holiday, and so it is a time for parties and gift giving. The Christmas tree, above, is in the Kyoto Train Station.

Santa Claus images abound, just as they do in the U.S. Some are a bit irreverent, as the photo below shows. Also, Kentucky Fried Chicken is a necessity for Christmas dinner, and so people reserve buckets of chicken weeks in advance at their local KFC outlet. Go figure.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Paris in June

A panoramic view of the Seine in Paris. Posted for no good reason, but who doesn't love Paris?

Monday, December 9, 2013

At the Sea in Japan

This is a panorama of the beach at Hakodate, Japan, on the very southern tip of Hokkaido Island. In the background is Mt. Hakodate, an extinct volcano. Hokkaido is Japan's most northern island, which many people refer to as Japan's Alaska.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sunrise, Monument Valley

This is a photo from my visit to the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal park in October of 2010. I was taking pictures of the sunrise and then, as every landscape photographer should, I took a moment to look behind me. This is what I saw.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Serenity in the Evening

This is a photo I took over the weekend, just south of Rantoul, Illinois. The sun was going down behind me, and had hid behind some clouds, leaving a beautiful soft glow lighting the landscape. This is an infrared shot, converted to black and white.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lincoln Circuit Markers, part 2

As I explained in the previous post, there are markers placed around central Illinois that commemorate the route that Abraham Lincoln and others followed when riding the 8th judicial circuit in the 1850s. In addition to those circuit markers, there are also plaques and other memorials at the courthouses themselves, and at places along the way that Lincoln and the others would stay.

The picture above is of a statue of Lincoln and Anthony Thornton, located in front of the Shelby county courthouse in Shelbyville, who debated each other in 1856 on the virtues of their respective parties--Lincoln for the Republicans, and Thornton for the Democrats.

Above is the Mt. Pulaski Courthouse, one of only two of the original courthouses still standing that existed when Lincoln rode the circuit. Mt Pulaski is no longer the county seat, and the courthouse is a museum.

Another still-standing building from the time is the Dunlap House, in Middletown, an inn that Lincoln stayed at regularly while riding the circuit.

Since most of the buildings are gone, it is far more common to come across a sign in the middle of nowhere, commemorating a long lost building. Below is the sign for Kelly's Tavern, an inn that disappeared over 100 years ago, on the old road between Urbana and Danville.

Following the old 8th circuit is not an easy task. Most of the memorials and plaques are in obscure places buried in the countryside of  central Illinois. However, the history is out there, if you care to look for it.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Lincoln Circuit Markers, part 1

Driving around rural Illinois a few years ago, I wanted to go from Charleston to Paris, and I spotted on the map an old country road that appeared to do that. Driving along the road, I passed a plaque on a post, absolutely in the middle of nowhere. So of course I stopped and backed up to check it out. That plaque, pictured above, was my first encounter with the Lincoln Circuit Road Markers.

From 1847 to 1859, while Abraham Lincoln was an attorney in Springfield, he rode the Illinois 8th Circuit. About twice a year a group made up of a judge and several attorneys would leave Springfield and ride together to each of the county seats in the central part of state, spending a few days in each to hold trials and conduct judicial business. It was often several days' ride between each county seat.

Seventy years later the Daughters of the American Revolution decided to commemorate Lincoln's circuit riding by placing a plaque at each of the courthouses of the circuit, and also by placing a plaque on each county line on the actual road that Lincoln and his party would follow.

Below is a closeup of one of the plaques:

There were 18 such plaques originally (two have since been destroyed) and each one lists on its base the names of the two counties on whose line it stands. The first one I encountered by chance was on the Coles-Edgar county line. The one pictured below is from the Piatt-Champaign county line plaque.

Interestingly, none of the roads that were used to ride the circuit in the 1850s have evolved into major roads today. All of the plaques are well off the beaten track on two lane, sometimes barely paved, county roads.

I have prepared a map showing the locations of the markers, and of the country seats involved. It is available here. For those especially interested, there is also an excellent article by Guy Fraker about the history of the Lincoln circuit, with descriptions of each plaque's location. The article is available here.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Illinois Farmscape

Here's a picture I took on Sunday while exploring rural Illinois. It shows the vast flatness of land in this part of the country. There is a beauty in it, but you have to look for it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

ECIL Sunset

As usual, encroaching winter makes me nostalgic for summer, so I found myself browsing browsing my files from some evening shooting sessions around East-Central Illinois from June of 2012. The shot above was taken west of Tolono, IL.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Misty Morning, Newport, Oregon

The Oregon coast is surprisingly clement, even in mid-summer. I was a little bit concerned when I found that my hotel in Newport, Oregon, whose beach is pictured above, had no air conditioning. I needn't have worried. Even in mid-July, when I was there, it gets down into the 40s at night. As a result, the mornings often have wonderful mists on the ocean, as seen in the photo above.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Manhattan, 1998

This is a photo of part of the skyline of Manhattan taken on the ferry to Liberty Island. It was shot on film in 1998, which was before...well, you know.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Photo of the Day

This is the Malheur  River, at its confluence with its north fork, just outside of Juntura, in far eastern Oregon. The road is U.S. 20, which runs coast to coast, from Boston to Newport, Oregon, on the Pacific.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Photo of the Day

A bit of East-Central Illinois countryside, at sunset in November.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Photo of the Day

Here is a moody black and white photo of old pilings near the mouth of the Columbia River in Chinook, Washington.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fall in Kyoto

The beautiful fall colors that are on the trees right now remind me of a fall visit to Japan. This view is from the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fall Colors

This is a photo I took on Sunday at Homer Lake park, near Homer, Illinois. The fall colors are glorious right now. I made this image in Photoshop by combining a normal "straight" shot of the scene with another deliberately blurred shot.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Photo of the Day

This is a view I like of a rural road near the sea in Provence. I love the overhanging trees and the read disappearing around the bend leading to...what? Something good, I'm sure.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Photo of the Day

Welcome to November. Facing the encroaching winter I thought I'd reach back to spring for a photo of lush blue skies, wispy clouds, and sprouting fields in East Central Illinois. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Photo of the Day

This is a view of the famous Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by Calatrava. It's worth noting that, while most of my photos (nearly all) are taken with DSLRs, this photo was made on an iPhone. That's pretty good for a cell phone camera.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Photo of the Day

This is one of my favorite scenes to photograph, northeast of Sidney Illinois. It's just a country road with two trees along it, but there is something about it that I find iconic. I go back there from time to time under different weather and light conditions, and in different seasons. I was there a week or so ago at sunset and got this shot. I like it.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Photo of the Day

In the lovely Washington Green, Connecticut, this is the First Congregational Church. It was built in 1801, and is a classic example of a New England church.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Photo of the Day

This is the old Town clock in Dubuque Iowa, on a winter night. The pedestrian plaza in the foreground has since been torn out and reverted to street. The clock, however, is still there.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Photo of the Day

This is a night view of the Burlington Street bridge over the Iowa river, on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City, Iowa. In black and white.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Photo of the Day

This is a summer scene from the Lower Brule Indian Reservation, near Pierre, South Dakota.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Photo of the Day

Believe it or not, this is an autumn photo; sunrise and surf in Monterey, California, way back in November of 1997.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Photo of the Day

This is a nice dreamy summer scene from South Kent, Connecticut, from this summer. As summer fades into fall, this brings back pleasant memories.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Photo of the Day

This is an infrared shot of an old building and tree in Hastings, Nebraska.