Monday, November 20, 2017

Family Operated, Lone Tree, Iowa

I think I shall simply allow this wonderful sign to speak for itself.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Nesting Boxes, Waterworks Park, Iowa City

In the middle of the big lake in Waterworks Park in Iowa City stands this fantastically modernistic stellation of nesting boxes, all well-occupied during the summer with chirping, gossipy parents.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Lamp at night, Iowa City

An elegant web-work patterned lamp near the Hancher Theater in Iowa City.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Well-TP'ed tree, Iowa City

A few weeks ago, one of our neighbors had the tree in front of their house quite thoroughly TP-ed. Since it happened only a few weeks before Halloween, I thought at first that it might have just been some sort of awesome spider-web decoration, but pulling up closer I saw otherwise, and got to explain TP-ing to my kindergartener.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Cicada, FW Kent Park, IA

A beautiful big cicada, passed away after its brief moment mating in the sun.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dry bridge, FW Kent Park, IA

One of the other neat things about the lake in FW Kent Park is that the trail circling around it has a collection of antique steel road bridges that have been brought into the park and refurbished. They too look quite different without water.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Green lake bottom, FW Kent Park, IA

Another look across the great green shallow bowl of the bottom of the emptied lake, this time down its long axis.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Spillway, FW Kent Park, IA

This is where the lake normally drains out, down this concrete spillway. It was still where the stream is draining, but instead of spilling over the top, it was passing through a little gate at the bottom, actuated by the metal bar at the left side.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Cracked-mud lake bed, FW Kent Park, IA

The mud on the bottom of the lake had dried into a spongy surface with massive and deep cracks. While the top was quite solid and dusty, it was still damp beneath, and shifted in an unsettling way under our feet as we walked, especially in the areas where the foliage was much thicker and we could not see our feet. Notice also the freshwater clam dried out between the cracks.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Remnant river, FW Kent Park, IA

Here is the last bit of stream that remained winding through the middle of lake, a mere few inches across.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Mystery crate, FW Kent Park, IA

Also scattered on the lake bed were a number of odd wooden crates, dark, decayed, and irregular in shape. I was unable to figure out what they might have been from or for: maybe they were part of stocking the pond with fish? Note also the monarch butterfly in the foreground.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Lakebed stump, FW Kent Park, IA

One of the hallmarks of artificial lakes is the waterlogged tree stumps that lurk down below on the bottom, left in place when the land was cleared to make the lake. When the lake was drained, these skeletons of its past rise back to view again.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Fishing pier, FW Kent Park, IA

One edge of the lake has this square fishing pier, now standing high and dry above a little muddy puddle. When they first drained the lake, I wonder if they tried to do anything about the fish, or if it all just stank to high heaven for the first few weeks.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Lake under construction, FW Kent Park, IA

Another view onto the empty lake, past the orange safety barriers around construction points upon the shore as well.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Lake under construction, FW Kent Park, IA

A couple of months ago, we went to one of my favorite parks, a few towns over, to go and walk around the lake at its center. Only when we arrived, the lake wasn't there! It's an artificial dammed-stream reservoir lake, and I guess they were doing some sort of construction and refurbishment. So instead of the usual water, the boat ramp led down into a great flat bowl of greenery growing out of the lake-bottom mud.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

DFW emergency training grounds

One of the things that I think is really neat are training grounds for emergency responders like fire crews. Every big airport has one of these and some, like this one at Dallas-Fort Worth, are practically amusement parts of interesting course and set-pieces: jets of different sizes, helicopters, towers, chemical tanks: they've got it all, and it's even more fun to see people running trials, hosing down bright flames of kerosene amongst gouts of thick black smoke.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Thursday, November 2, 2017

University of Arizona Student Union, Tucson

Back to the University of Arizona: a composition of sky and struts on one of the many porch-like regions of the student union.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Subdivision skeleton, near Dallas, TX

From ends back to beginnings: the skeleton of a growing new subdivision, budding from the edge of its parent.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Abandoned subdivision near Dallas, TX

Today being Halloween, I bring you a graveyard of dreams: an abandoned sub-division somewhere on the Southern side of Dallas, Texas. Judging by the size of the trees in the scraped lines that once anticipated streets, I would guess this development went under during the 2008 financial crisis and has been slowly mouldering ever since, nature working hard but not yet able to erase the marks scored upon it by the economics of humanity.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Gateway to Chem-Bio, University of Arizona, Tucson

This remarkable gateway into the chemistry and biology region of the University of Arizona it filled with scientific allusions: a dividing cell, an ionic crystal solid, a microscope, DNA, a virus, corn, a gel digest, etc. In honor of the upcoming holiday, however, I will point you toward the skeleton in the center left.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

University of Arizona Student Union, Tucson

The Student Union at the University of Arizona is one of those inside-out buildings that only make sense in warm, dry climates: it is not so much a solid building as a lacework of shops, rooms, and walkways, full of interesting passages, catwalks, and unexpected openings to the sky.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Rooftop solar panels, University of Arizona, Tucson

With its dry cloudless skies and lower latitude, Arizona is an ideal place for solar energy, and I saw great racks of panels in many places, on top of roofs and above parking lots.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Tucson, AZ skyline

Tucson, Arizona is the flattest big city that I can ever recall visiting. With more than half a million people, there still seemed to be nothing even vaguely like a skyscraper. Instead, the city seems to spread uniformly in all directions until it laps up against the mountains on its sides.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Boston container terminal

The last bit of land that you see before crossing the harbor and landing at Logan when coming from the South: the colorful "legos" of Boston's container shipping terminal.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Head Island Causeway tidal flow, Boston

Head Island is no longer an island, but merely a little bump in about a mile of causeway cutting off a small bay from the ocean---except for two small bridges through which water is still allowed to flow. This means that as the tide changes, a boiling current runs in or out beneath the bridges, equalizing the water back and forth. Here we see the tide is coming in, and hence water is rapidly streaming from the harbor into the little cut-off bay.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Racing across the channel, Boston Harbor

Somebody's little pleasure craft, rocketing across the main channel in Boston Harbor. At first I thought it was going up the channel, but then remembered my childhood and "red right returning" and realized the channel is going from bottom left to top right in this image.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Marina near Boston

Serried ranks of boats packed in a marina just a little South of Boston.

Friday, October 20, 2017

A lot full of boats, Boston

The quality on this one is not so good, but I want to share it anyway because of its mystery and intrigue: why are all of these boats scattered so haphazardly around this parking lot?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Salt marsh South of Boston

A spit of salt marsh, still showing sharp grooves from ditching done in decades past.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Route 3 Development, Boston, MA

Swirling highways at the split between Route 3 and Route 128, South of Boston, with an old quarry turned business park nestled in their curve. I particularly like the construction project at the center, with the building rising white and wooden, one-floor, two-floors, three-floors, done, around its whirl.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

South Boston Waterfront

The South Boston waterfront is a curious zone of old harbor activities and frothy new development. The incredibly long dingy old military warehouse, sandwiched between the cruise ship terminal and one of the largest dry-docks on the East Coast, is now a high-tech hub filled with startups like Ginkgo Bioworks.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Logan Airport, Boston, MA

Logan Airport from above, at this moment every terminal jam-packed with airplanes.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Tobin Bridge, Boston, MA

The Tobin Bridge, carrying Route 1 over one of the many tendrils of Boston Harbor, a particularly industrial zone. In the upper left, you can see a bulge where the toll-booths (and nastiest traffic jams) used to be before everything was converted to electronic payments.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Middlesex Fells Exit, Boston, MA

The exit off Interstate 93 near the Middlesex Fells is an unusual perfect circle over the highway. On the bottom right of the highway, the rugged parkland of the Fells begins, and if you look closely, you can see the concrete tower that marks its first hill, site of a number of my fond memories. My mother knew it as a girl as well, and told me they called it "the monkey tower," as people apparently weren't any more respectful of its hygienic state then either.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bahá'í House of Worship, Wilmette, Illinois

Just North of Chicago, along the edge of the lake, stands a great gleaming temple: this is apparently one of only ten Bahá'í Houses of Worship in the world, serving as a focus for this obscure syncretic faith across all of North America.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Land of cul-de-sacs, near Chicago

Only one line snakes all the way through this development, while all the rest peel off into a fractal structure of cul-de-sacs.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Budding development near Chicago

New developments throwing out their loops and cul-de-sacs, in advance of the houses that are to come.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Suburban Chicago Water-Park

A small octagonal splash-pad near Chicago O'Hare Airport, its surrounding trees forming a little protected pocket of semi-seclusion in the middle of the great city.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Chicago Beach

A beach on the North side of Chicago, packed with people beating the summer heat.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Dubuque, Iowa

The city of Dubuque, Iowa wraps itself around a curve in the Mississippi. The surprisingly crisp visual edges of the city are actually a feature of its terrain: around Dubuque the hills and valleys become much steeper and the whole lighter area of city is on a low portion of plain by the river.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Watercourse, Iowa

The mown green line of a watercourse snakes a smooth organic line between fields outside of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Small farm near Cedar Rapids, Iowa

This farm looks very "classical" to me, with a small hour and a big red barn.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Cornhusks on the fence, Iowa

Fencing filled with cornhusks, blown around on the fields after the harvest.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Wooden pumpkin, Iowa City

A Halloween pumpkin carved of wood instead of the familiar gourd. Good idea given the ravenous squirrels around our neighborhood, who usually make short work of any pumpkin we put out.