Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fat German Bear, Leavenworth, WA

A piece of Leavenworth's over-the-top street decor: this merchant has apparently decided to part a giant fat stuffed bear in Bavarian costume outside their shop. I just can't get over its wonderfully grumpy expression, and imagine it yelling incomprehensibly at passersby.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Leavenworth, WA

On the Eastern side of Stevens Pass, one descends into the delightful incongruity of Leavenworth, a town that has essentially turned itself into a Bavarian theme park. On a hot summer day, it is jam-packed with tourists there to soak up the spectacle: it is all so ridiculously fake and over the top that it all becomes actually rather delightful.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rockfall netting, Washington

Steel netting covers the cliffs by the side of the highway in Stevens Pass in the Cascades, to trap and mitigate rockfalls.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Root structure, Cascades, Washington

Polished and moss-hung surfaces on the tipped up roots of a long-ago fallen tree near Deception Falls in the Cascades.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mossy trees, Cascades, Washington

Heavy moss coats the towering trees around Deception Falls, where the spray helps create a rain-forest-like environment despite the high altitude and cool.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Log bridge, Cascades, Washington

A nifty angled log bridge over a small side-stream of Deception Falls.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Rainbow waterfall, Cascades, Washington

At a lower stage of Deception Falls, a rainbow floats above the spray and the clear pure waters of the river.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Deception Falls, Cascades, Washington

Deception Falls feels to me like nearly the Platonic ideal of a rushing mountain stream, foaming down a sequence of drops in a pocket of unusually ancient trees that have been protected from fire by its damp spray.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cascades freight, Washington

Northeast of Seattle, massive freight trains pass continually through the towering peaks of the Cascades, plunging through an eight-mile tunnel on their way beneath the highest portions of the pass. On the other side of the road, an older tunnel has been turned into hiking and biking trails through the thick green forests.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Lost whale, Seattle

This plush blue whale sat sad and forlorn on the edge of a derelict lot.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Musical building, Seattle

I don't know what the significance is of this audio waveform on the side of a building near the University of Washington, but I certainly enjoy its form.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Angular apartments, Seattle

Apartments (I think) with sharply angular windows, near the University of Washington.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Cooling tower rain, Seattle

One more angle on the cooling tower rain, showing an access catwalk and some sort of sheltering panel whose function I am not entirely clear on.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cooling tower rain, Seattle

Continual heavy rain inside this building, coming from a cooling tower at the UW power plant. I just love cooling tower rain: the strong shushing waterfall sound, the inward bend, the sheer improbability of heavy indoor rainstorms on a bright and sunny day.  For context, I offer this second photo:

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Staircase windows, University of Washington, Seattle

I think that this picture is vertically straight, but the conflicting textures of the building's surface and its stair windows make me feel like it is tilting over.

Friday, September 8, 2017

University of Washington Sundial, Seattle

A giant sundial of a peculiar design that I have never seen before stands across the Southern side of one of the buildings of the University of Washington.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

University of Washington Quad, Seattle

Looking down the green and pleasant channel of the main quad of the University of Washington, you might think this is some sort of wooded campus. Much of the rest of it, however, is blocky modern buildings shouldering each other in a solid crowd---much like most other world-class scientific universities.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Well-stapled telephone pole, Seattle

Another shot of the well-stapled telephone pole, bringing out more of the textures.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Well-stapled telephone pole, Seattle

Many layers of staples and repaintings give this telephone pole an intriguing visual texture.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Windmill mural, Iowa City

I enjoy the way my oblique angle of shot interacts with the roundness and illusory depth of this mural.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Mall skylight, Iowa City

Hexagonal skylight and an accompanying collection of complex wire structures, suspending decorations above a children's playspace.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Today?, Cambridge, MA

Waxed right into the floor, a rather fundamental question: TODAY?

Friday, September 1, 2017

Kitty, Salt Lake City, UT

I just have so many questions about this single, isolated footprint in the concrete.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Accident garden, Iowa City

Insofar as I can tell, this collection of plants growing in broken pottery is actually intentional, an artistic presentation of an accident that has failed to be prevented by the flattened "slow" sign.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Fairy garden, Iowa City

"Fairies gather here" says the sign on this fairy garden that someone has built in their front yard near our house.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Looping lights, Eastern Iowa Airport

I really like this new lighting fixture, composed of two asymmetric circles linked together.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Lobsters, Belfast, Maine

Scrum of lobsters in a tank at a dockside restaurant in Belfast, Maine.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Astronomical mobile, Eastern Iowa Airport

This mobile hangs hidden in a raised section of ceiling at the far end of the terminal in the Eastern Iowa Airport: the symbols are clearly astronomical, but other than the Sun (orange-red at top center), and Mars (bright red) I haven't been able to figure our which symbols are supposed to represent which planets.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Friday, August 25, 2017

Interplanetary bees, Iowa City

Every year, all the benches on the pedestrian mall in downtown Iowa City are repainted by local artists. The results span from the mundane to the abstract to the thought-provoking to the downright whimsical, like these interplanetary bees.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Colorful birdhouse, Iowa

A jauntily decorated birdhouse along the Hoover Nature Trail in West Branch, Iowa.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Construction Droid

With its stabilizer legs out, this lift being used for renovation in a building looks to me like some sort of anime construction spider-droid.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Child playing alone in brewery, Iowa

As my wife and I were walking to a date-night dinner, we passed a local brewery. At first, I just aimed to take a shot of its gleaming ranks of fermenters, but then was highly amused to notice a boy, apparently unsupervised, playing a game of catch with himself at the end of the row.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Dry Iowa cornfields in August

Much of the corn grown in Iowa is not sweet corn for humans, but feed corn for animals and industrial purposes. Unlike the sweet corn eat off the cob, feed corn generally dries down in the field before harvest, leading to great brown swaths of dried plants across the rolling fields around us.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Elegant highway interchange near Dallas, TX

I like the complexity of swooping lines in the Dallas highway interchange.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Uncanny valley carousel, Huntsville, AL

Spotted in an outdoor mall: this carousel was surrounded by faces leering at me out of the uncanny valley, too realistic to interpret symbolically but not realistic enough to feel human.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Enigmatic planet signs at Monte Sano observatory, Huntsville, AL

Atop Monte Sano is a small educational observatory, and in its yard I found this collections of signs: one for each planet, plus the Sun and Pluto. Clearly they are representing (a slightly older version of) the solar system, but why are they arranged in this double-column? If they were just being stored, I would think it would be a tighter arrangement.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Monte Sano trail blazes, near Huntsville, AL

On the other side of Huntsville from the rocket museum, the Monte Sano park rises into craggy woodlands laced with any number of lovely criss-crossing hiking trails.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Offerings to Miss Baker

Standing unobtrusively near the front entrance of the US Space and Rocket Museum is this simple memorial to Miss Baker, the space monkey who had one brief and glorious flight and then spent her remaining 25 years in pampered retirement. Her grave is a quiet site of worship.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Shuttle necklace, Huntsville, AL

Another entry in the space jewelry exhibit: while I doubt this would be comfortable or practical (I keep thinking how the shuttle would snag on things), I strongly appreciate the daring asymmetry of this necklace.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Jeweled planet, US Space & Rocket Museum

There was a special exhibit of space-themed jewelry and artwork when we were visiting the museum, featuring some lovely pieces like this jeweled planet.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ceiling of a Mars habitat playground, Huntsville, AL

Ceiling in an inventive playground setup as a notional Mars Habitat at the US Space and Rocket Center.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

ISS Training Bay, US Space & Rocket Museum

Mockups of the ISS and the space shuttle, used for Space Camp --- and maybe some real training as well perhaps? In any case, I like the huge blue-lit bay.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Celebrating Operation Paper Clip(?)

Huntsville shows remarkably little shyness around its German cultural heritage, much of which came from the mostly-Nazi scientists and engineers imported to the US at the conclusion of World War II. Perhaps it is a good sign that this history is not buried, but subverted into the grin of a charming little girl.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Von Braun Disapproves

A rather stern and disapproving bust of Wernher von Braun, Nazi weapons engineer and hero of the US space program.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Military hardware grown into the earth, Huntsville, AL

Slowly, the earth grows up around the feet of the missile launchers in the rocket garden. Feels like it should be a heavy-handed metaphor, but I just like the imagery and the reminder of elapsing time.