Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sad Palm Trees, Newcastle, UK

By the banks of the river in Newcastle are a number of the saddest-looking palm trees that I have ever seen, looking grey and wan and somewhat forlorn in their Northern England exile. I have no idea how they survive the winters.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wanted Schroedinger's Cat, Edinburgh, Scotland

Spotted on a laboratory window in Edinburgh.  The red eyes are not actually on the poster, but are "bedazzling" glass gems on the window in front of it, so they drift and hover in front in a surprisingly spooky manner.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Sunset bridge reflected in Sage Gateshead, Newcastle, UK

Sunset silhouettes reflected in the sweeping face of the Sage Gateshead, a bulbous modern performance space bulking beside the river in Newcastle.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Rollerskate horse, Newcastle, UK

Outside a restaurant in Newcastle, this roller-skating horse greets passersby and patrons.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Newcastle train station roof

Ribbed patterns on the roof of the central train station in Newcastle, a major waypoint on the North-South route connecting England and Scotland.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Eroded Miner, Newcastle, UK

This poor miner, above the entrance to the Mining Institute in Newcastle, has eroded badly over the past century and a half.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

High Level Bridge, Newcastle, UK

The High Level Bridge is an old, yet remarkably elevated rail bridge crossing the river in the heard of Newcastle upon Tyne.  Beneath the rail deck runs a small road and two elegant pedestrian paths offering lovely views out across river and the city.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gateshead Millenium Bridge, Newcastle, UK

This beautiful swing bridge carried pedestrians and bicyclists around on the curve to the right, while the counterbalance hangs arching in the sky to the left.  When it needs to raise for a ship, that arch dips and the roadways rises to parallel it in the sky.  At night, the whole span is lit with shifting rainbow colors.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sunset jet, Chicago O'Hare

My flight home to Iowa gleams beneath the setting sun, its golden sheen seeming to externalize my desires to board and slide away the last few airborne minutes toward home.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Long Stairs, Newcastle, UK

The river in the midst of Newcastle sits deep down below the level of most of the city around it.  Many different routes go up and down from the higher city to the banks, most simply modern roads.  In amongst these, however, you can still find a few truly medieval passages like these, the Long Stairs.

Sunset over Chicago O'Hare

The sun goes down over a terminal at Chicago O'Hare Airport as I wait to board my flight home to Iowa.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Happy squirrel enjoying its stolen sandwich, Boston, MA

My daughter was not quite hungry or vigilant enough, which made somebody small and furry intensely happy.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Tent caterpillars, Belfast, Maine

Tent caterpillars swarming and preparing for a mass breakout in the woods behind the family farm.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Chickens in Maine

A few of my sister-in-law's many chickens, free-ranging and dust-bathing at their organic farm in Belfast, Maine.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Boston Garden goose

Goose in the swan-boat pond at Boston Public Garden, sailing aggressively towards us in search of food to steal.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Skyscrapers looming over Boston Public Garden

The Hancock building and other skyscrapers loom over the tranquil waters of the swan-boat pond in the Boston Public Garden.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Boston cargo docks

Containers and cranes on the main cargo docks on the southern side of Boston Harbor.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Rainbow tank, Boston

One of the most noticeable local landmarks of Boston for all my life and more, the Rainbow Swash has persisted as a cheery punctuation mark on local commutes despite both demolition of the original tank and (bizarre) political controversy.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Ashmont T yard, Massachusetts

Railyard just past the Ashmost terminus of the Boston T, where the Boston red line subway trains live at night.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Mill River salt marsh, Weymouth, MA

I've always loved the regular carved grooves in Massachusetts salt marshes, legacy of the historical harvesting of salt hay as fodder in centuries past.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Hewitt's Cove Ferry Departing, Hingham, MA

A ferry twirls to depart from the Southern suburbs of Boston, heading for downtown.  They are run by the same agency that does the buses, subways, and commuter rail, but unlike the rest of the modes of transportation I've never actually had cause to ride on one. I've always wondered if they are worth it: boats are slow, but Boston traffic is so terrible and the harbor intricate enough that I suspect it must be so, though only for certain niche locations.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Deep and shallow water near Lynn, Massachusetts

Off the coast of Lynn, clear water reveals the structure of the underwater channels and shoals.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

MIT Haystack Observatory

Near the border of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, MIT's Haystack Observatory is still a home of astronomical research despite the low altitude and not-so-dark skies, focusing its work in frequencies not so badly affected by the atmosphere.  Also on its grounds is the clubhouse of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston, where I used to go with my advisor, Gerry Sussman, to look at the stars and nebulae.  My favorite times were in the darkest deep of winter, when the sky was blackest crisp and clear and we went back and forth between observing and warming up in the darkened clubhouse with tea from Gerry's thermos.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls from the air, looking northward toward lake Ontario (Toronto was barely visible across the lake).  From this perspective, the rapids upstream are most visible and the falls are mostly hidden, but on the left Horseshoe Falls is kicking up spray, and downstream the rainbow bridge arches across connecting America and Canada.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Airport fire training

This was an excitingly fun sight to see as we landed into Chicago O'Hare: no peril at all, but a training exercise on the blackened steel dummy jet seen afire here.  The firefighters work remarkably fast: they touched off the plane just as we were landing, and flames were entirely out by the time the plane had decelerated from landing and turned around.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Baltimore landfill

I find the shapes of landfills fascinating, their sculpted layers a sort of 3D-printed hill writ large upon the landscape of America.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Baltimore wastewater treatment plant

This is a truly massive wastewater treatment plant on the edges of Baltimore, its various stages of separation laid out in patterns of lines and circles.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Tidewater life in Baltimore suburbs

Looking down at these estuarial suburbs, it's easy for me to fantasize about an amphibious life.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ciliary docks, Baltimore

Around the complex twining edges of the Baltimore harbor, it seems that every waterside home has its own dock, making a dense pattern of visual fibers like cilia on the edges of a microbe.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Baltimore marina

A marina in the Baltimore area, thrusting its docks out into the harbor like stiff-wired antennae.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Frances Scott Key Bridge, Baltimore

The Frances Scott Key Bridge is a white slash across the pure blue of the outer Baltimore Harbor, with the perfect hexagon of Fort Carroll by its side.

Monday, August 1, 2016


Baltimore is an unprepossessing city from the air, just another nice little tower farm, wrapped around its complex harbor, with nothing in particular that sticks out architecturally.