Friday, December 31, 2010

Winter Wonderland, Pt. 4

I've taken a fair number of images along the interstates of America.  Here's 2 more winter images, both taken at a southbound rest area along I-55, just south of Pontiac, IL.  Coordinates for the first image: 40.837181,-88.683499.  This is a great rest-stop, with the ctream runnning right behind the building. It's about 1.5 hours south of Chicago, a great place to settle the mind after fighting out of the city on a drive home.

On this day, there had been some freezing rain, which is why the one tree is bending over the stream.  You can see on larger versions that the lower branches are coated with ice from dangling in the water. it was all quite still and quiet.....  or at least as quiet as it ever gets alongside a major interstate...
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This is about 225 yards northeast of the other photo....  For some reason I really liked the juxtaposition of the "wlidflowers" sign and the barren land behind...  I intended to go back in the spring, and take a companion piece with the flowers in bloom.  But, after several years, I haven't been passing by at the right time, with enough time.....

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Wonderland, Pt. 3

Continuing the series this week:

A real oldie, from back in the film days.  February 12, 1983.  Taken in Silver Spring, Maryland after a rather dramatic snowstorm.  IIRC, we measured 22".  That's my room-mate walking east on Dexter Avenue, I'm standing in front of the house we rented at the time.  We did a LOT of digging that day.  Geek alert:  latitude / longitude:  39.022005,-77.053172

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter Wonderland, Pt. 2

Next in the series, see yesterday's post for explanation...

Next up, a couple of images from my front yard.  Taken a couple of years ago, late in the evening, after a snowstrorm had wound down.    Actually, on reflection I'm not positive these images were taken at the same time.

I rather like both of these...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter Wonderland, Pt. 1

I've been looking through the archives, and pulled together a series of winter themed photos taken over the years.  I'll be posting them here over the next week or so, hope you enjoy:

I'll start with a couple of similar images, taken about 1,600 miles apart, and almost 2,500 ft of altitude.

This was taken at Lake Barkley State Resort Park, near Canton, KY.  For the geeks out there, the approximate latatude / longitude is 36.849449,-87.930772.    Looking through bare trees down to a finger of Lake Barkley
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And this was taken on the north side of Kamiak Butte, between Pullman and Palouse,Washington.  Again for the geeks:  approximately 36.849449,-87.930772.  While the previous image looks down to a frozen lake, this one backs up to a steep hill.

Both images fall a bit short of my vision, I usually like the top one better.

Friday, December 24, 2010

White Christmas!

I was out this morning doing some last minute shopping this morning, and it started snowing.  Not unexpected, but a bit earlier than predcited.  Very nice, we'll have a white Christmas.  My son is particularly excited.  This is one of the pine trees in the back yard....

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sans Singers

During a recent commute, the wonderful song “Soulful Strut” came up on my iPod. Soulful Strut is, of course, the instrumental hit (#3) from 1968, for Young Holt Unlimited. A really great song. Which got me thinking about instrumentals. My perception was that instrumentals were a significant part of the pop-music landscape in my youth, certainly from the mid 60’s through the last 70’s. And I don’t perceive that they’re very common these days (as hits, at least).

SO… an opportunity to do some research!! YAY!! My favorite resource for such stuff is, which is not free, but is cheap. Looking at their data:

Instrumentals were indeed a notable part of the music scene in my youth. From 1960 through 1976, there were 88 instrumental songs to make the Top 10. That’s 4.5% of the Top 10 songs with no words. The percentage is about the same if you look at songs that made the Top 20. At least 1 song in the Top 20 every year from 1960 through 1976. (1970 was worst with only 1. Five years had over 10).

Compare with the last 12 years (1998 through 2009): Number of Instrumental songs in the Top 10?? That would be zero. As in none… nada, not-a-one. Number of instrumental songs in the Top 20? One.

Well, I guess 1 is better than none, which was what I expected.

I think I need to make a playlist, Top 40 instrumentals through the years…

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This Is The Way My Mind Works

OK… First big decision of the day: What to put on the iPod for my morning commute? Today’s answer: continue with Thelonious Monk’s Brilliant Corners, which I had started last night. Good stuff. I discovered Monk when I took a Jazz Appreciation class in college (hey, they can’t all be engineering classes!). And I’ve been a fan ever since. Whether it’s his use of “dissonant harmonies and angular melodic twists” or his "quirky yet rigorously logical, playful but always purposeful choice of skewed melodies and interrupted rhythm patterns."  Or maybe it's just the genius = mental illness angle?

Regardless, while cruising with Monk down I-255 (to work), I got to thinking about rock songs that reference Monk. I could only think of 2: Jeff Beck’s Thelonious from Blow By Blow, and Steely Dan’s Midnight Cruiser from Can’t Buy A Thrill (which starts “Thelonious my old friend, Step on in and let me shake your hand. So glad that you're here again. For one more time, let your madness run with mine.)…

Of course, either song could be referencing a different Thelonious. But it seems unlikely.

Meanwhile, while the Steely Dan lyrics jumped right into my head, I was struggling to remember the song name, or even which album it’s on…  So, while I’m thinking about all this (and negotiating the construction zone along the highway), my train of thought randomly switches, and it’s off to Weird Al Yankovick’s “White And Nerdy”. A true mastermiece, which was then dialed up on the iPod. Or, as they used to say on Monty Python’s Flying Circus: And now for something completely different.

Which reminds me. Anybody remember that song from 1979 or so: “Stairway To Gilligan’s Isle”?  Not nearly in the same class as Weird Al, but fun...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Most Popular Images

My most popular images for sale at

On Kamiak Butte

Yet another of the photos I've recently gotten printed, 8x10 with this one.  This is one of those that didn't quite match my vision.  But I don't hate it.  I was trying for an Ansel Adams-esqe, f64 feel, with strong foreground elelments layering back throught the trees and then falling off to a distant background.  It is available at one microstock site, but has never been downloaded.  Blah, blah, blah, huh?

Meanwhile, this was taken on Kamiak Butte, which was one of my favorite places when I was sojourning in southeastern Washington.  Drop this in to google maps for approximate location: 46.8669, -117.1555

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Hocking Hills

Third is a series of photos of which I recently ordered big prints (see here & here).  This one is from Hocking Hills State Park

The prints arrived today.  And naturally, I'm disappointed.  I'm seldom happy with my images, though, and the bigger the print, the more I obsess over the shortfalls.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Still Waters

A couterpoint of sorts to yesterday's Raging Waters.  This image is from 2005, taken in Hocking Hills State Park, in south central Ohio.  Another one that I'm getting a large print of, also 11x14.

I really like this image, although it is critically flawed, with the dramatic overexposure of the rocks on the right side.  Oh well, huh?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Raging Waters

I've been working through some of my older shots, just ordered some big prints.  This one will be 11x14, hope it pops.....

This image is at the top of Elk Creek Falls Recreation Area, in Northern Idaho.  Just off the right side is a breathtaking drop.  One of the really cool places I discovered during my sojourn in Pullman, Washington.

This image is actually on a couple of microstock sites, but in a full frame (3000x2000 pixels) and in color.  For this project I cropped to 11x14 format, converted to B&W and did some minor tweaks.  I'm getting prints from Mpix; been a while since I've used them, but have always been happy!