Saturday, April 30, 2016

Frosted leaves, Iowa City

One morning last fall, I went for a walk by the river in a land of perfectly frosted leaves and grasses.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Painting with light, deCordova Sculpture Garden, Lincoln, Massachusetts

At the deCordova sculpture gardens, just outside of Boston, they had an interactive exhibit for kids, which let you "paint" with light and shadow, water, texture, and other things.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Massive prism, deCordova Sculpture Garden, Lincoln, Massachusetts

Just outside of Boston, in Lincoln, Massachusetts, is one of our favorite places, the deCordova sculpture garden.  Scattered across a sprawling set of grounds, in and out of the woods beside a lake a public lands, deCordova presents a slowly shifting collection of sometimes challenging contemporary works.  Honestly, many of the pieces that they show do not do much for me, but others often do, and I'm much happier to be seeing them taking interesting risks than simply playing safe.  I also have fond memories of picnicking there and napping in the shade with my infant daughter draped across my chest.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pentagon at night

One of the things that I love about taking off from National Airport in DC is that the requirements that the plane not fly too near sensitive buildings means that Northbound takeoffs send you right up the center of the Potomac with all the sights of Washington laid out on either side of the plane.  This isn't a great picture---the vibration of the airplane does not mix well with slow shutter speed---but it's the best I've got so far, and I like the composition.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Construction by the Iowa River, Iowa City

I've been enjoying watching this construction project rise beside the river.  Most days, I take a walk around noon, and my path typically takes me past this building where it can show me all the patterns of props and reinforcements.  If I were more organized, I might have set up to do some sort of time lapse, but I have not been.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Nature lesson

My three-and-a-half year old daughter and I were visiting family in Maine and went out to a park.  As we were talking, we came past these two, who were scrambling all around and making quite a lot of noise, and so of course we had to stop and watch and answer questions.

There's a book I've found very useful as a parent, recommended to me by my awesome aunt, called "Talk To Me First."  Its basic premise is that the cultural notion of "the talk" about sex, bodies, etc., is a bad idea, because kids have different questions and appropriate incremental levels of knowledge pretty much throughout their childhood and development.  The place where parents get into trouble, according to its view, is reacting too strongly based on their own relationship to these topics: either flinch away from encounters with these questions, putting them off for later, or else dive too deep and overwhelm their child; either reaction teaches a kid that this is a touchy and problematic subject that they probably shouldn't talk with their parents about.

I find this very helpful to think about, and it means we can notice the squirrels, I can simply explain to my daughter that no, they're not fighting, they're mating in order to make more squirrels, and we can go on about our day, incremental knowledge gained and another little bit of groundwork laid for dealing with much higher stakes topics later in childhood.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Grant Wood's Revenge

Another bit of toilet humor: being in Iowa, Grant Wood looms up occasionally as a somewhat ambiguous cultural icon, his work having been received much less well at home than elsewhere in the nation.  In the current renovations ongoing at the Eastern Iowa Airport, one of the odder decisions has been to install a massive mural of American Gothic in the entrance to the outside-security Men's Room.  From straight on, it looks more reasonable, but every arriving traveller who walks out of security sees it at this angle, her dour and disapproving gaze challenging you: how much do you really need to go?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Urinal full of pennies, Upstate New York

Maybe I just have a puerile sense of humor, but this really made me laugh, to find a random urinal with its outflow completely packed with pennies and for no discernable reason.  Or perhaps it is merely the case that somewhere nearby lives a true fan of Marcel Duchamp.

Friday, April 22, 2016

National airport parking garage, Washington DC

Around Christmas time, the parking garage at National Airport in Washington had its lights all done up in holiday colors.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rust bloom

I'm not sure exactly what happening here: my best guess is that there was heavy paint/spackle up the base of this metal bar, and as the bar rusted, it lost adhesion and peeled back away from the bar.  Whatever the origin may be, however, I do like the resulting form.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Hangar art, Boston Logan Airport

Every time that I enter or leave Logan Airport in Boston, this giant airplane mural is my favorite landmark greeting me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Salt marsh near Boston Logan Airport

Intricate mixtures of water and land in a salt marsh near Boston's Logan Airport.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Winthrop, Massachusetts

The little town of Winthrop wraps around Logan Airport, occupying most of a peninsula sticking out deep into Boston Harbor.  It's small tight-packed houses occupy nearly every bit of land that is not beach or marsh, crowding along the water as the planes roar directly across it on one of their most common landing paths.  When my daughter was a toddler and very into airplanes, we took picnic dinners out to sit by the water and watch the big jets pound down above us, bringing on a near-overwhelming delight.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Beach, Revere, Massachusetts

From above, I cannot quite tell just where the sand ends and the water begins on this beach shading incrementally into water as clear as New England ever gets.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Freighter off Nahant, Massachusetts

Descending into Logan Aiport in Boston, one afternoon in the mellow declining sun, idyllic scenes of New England seemed to simply lay themselves out before my camera.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Anole, St. John, US Virgin Islands

Little anole lizard, caught sitting still in the darkness outside the tent I had been staying in.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Airborne sunset clouds

Some of the most glorious sunsets that I have ever seen have been while airborne, when the setting sunlight comes through the clouds from more and different angles than you can see if from the ground.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Snow traces, Chicago

More extremely light snowfall seen from above Chicago, evidencing a delicate tracework of tracks around a number of baseball fields and making me wonder what form of human or animal activity might have been so regular and dense already in its coverage.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Perforated snow cover, Chicago

This light snowfall was apparently just the perfect density: enough to be opaquely white upon the ground, yet still so light as to leave near-perfectly circular shadows around even the barest of trees.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Snow shadows, Eastern Iowa

One early morning departure out of Iowa, the previous night's light dusting of snow was just starting to melt away off of the land, lingering only in the gentle folds of land and highlighting them to better see with soft and dusky blue-white shadows.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Complex Chicago highway interchange

I still love highway cloverleaf exchanges, in all their varied curves and interlacing layers.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

ADM farmer services plant, Cedar Rapids

I don't know what this plant does, exactly, but it's a great big steaming landmark for the Eastern Iowa airport, a complex and multi-geometried conurbation of agro-industrial something-or-others.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Selfie bunny

Seen around Christmas in a department store: I feel quite ambivalent about this image.  On the one hand, I find the artistry marvelously expressive and am quite impressed by how well it feels three dimensional even though it is a perfectly flat 2D cutout.  On the other hand, I have a purely prejudicial reflexive poor reaction toward the selfie stick, and wonder if the image is supposed to induce that in me or to wholeheartedly celebrate the glory of the selfie stick.  On the gripping hand, it's mass-produced corporate art and surely appearing in thousands of other stores around the nation, which causes me to further discount it, albeit again I feel unfairly.  Corporate art, after all, even uncredited and mass-produced, is no less a true artifact of our current civilization than the amphorae of ancient Greece were of that time.  Fortunately, I feel there is no need to resolve these various conflicting viewpoints, but simply to acknowledge and experience them in my appreciation of this artifact of corporate art.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Car hood frost crystals

Light frost in the early morning light across the hood of my car, dense enough to cover yet light enough to preserve its crystal structure in all its feathery glory.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Sunken Pumpkin

Sometime after Halloween last year, I came across the saddest pumpkin I can ever recall having seen, coldly sunken in the stream by the bike path near our house.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

French countryside, on the Geneva-Paris train

And let us bid goodbye to Paris for a time, drifting across the rich green open fields of the countryside of France.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Within Parisian blocks

Behind and within the blocks of Paris, tiny back courts and yards look up to the sky through narrow channels, quiet bare oases in the urban fabric.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Paris streetcorner

Most of Paris is not so strikingly modernistic as my last few images have shown: throughout most of the center of the city, in fact, the feel is much more these sorts of quiet sleepy blocks alongside narrow streets.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Parisian sidewalk Uncle Sam

Another odd moment in Paris: I'm not sure what this giant Uncle Sam was doing on the sidewalk here, but it had been quite painstakingly done, and recently, in chalk.  Perhaps it was simply busking of some sort, but I found it quite dislocating to come around a corner and to find it staring at me.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Looping eye tanks, France

For this day of oddities and occasional mirth, another looming joke from the French countryside: giant tanks staring at the train beneath their eyebrows of looping pipe.