pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: August 2011

30 August 2011

Brave boats

Chauncey Creek
Kittery Point, Maine
31 July 2011

I was raised on East Coast seafood, no big surprise since I was born in the mid-Atlantic region. So I had a secret plan to get to Maine on this trip.

One word. Lobster.

And the spouse, as it happened, had his own secret plan: get to Maine, just so he could say he's set foot there.

It was a gorgeous Sunday, hot and clear. The Platonic form of a summer's day.

The son and I had a lobster rolls. The daughter and spouse demurred, ordering chicken tenders and chili respectively. The son has a new appreciation for What Tastes Good.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40. The photo was taken from the Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier, where we had lunch. In the wake of Irene, I looked at the photo this morning, and hoped they fared well. I know that the place we stayed in Vermont the night before was hit hard.

26 August 2011

Memorial clinic

Lydia Pinkham Memorial Clinic
Salem, Massachusetts
31 July 2011

Lydia Pinkham, of course, is best known for marketing an herbal remedy to treat "female complaints."

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4. I found a lot of interesting doorways on this particular trip, and was using the hashtag #tourdedoors on Twitter.

25 August 2011


Healy Hall
Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.
22 July 2011

It was so hot. The crepe myrtle was explosively bright.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

23 August 2011

So it begins...again

23 August 2011

My youngest began high school this morning. I'm not sure if I've gotten my head around that, or if this fact is simply lost in the morass of trying to reassure her that she'll do ok in a school of 1750 students, when she's used to a school one-quarter that size.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

17 August 2011

Pretty bird

American robin
Gettysburg National Military Park
Adams County, Pennsylvania
25 July 2011

This was a flirty bird. It actually followed me around, and it would cock its head at me left profile, then right profile, almost as if saying "is this my better side, or is this?"

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

16 August 2011

The other temple

Renaissance Providence Hotel
Providence, Rhode Island
1 August 2011

There are writers who seem to be sensitive to architecture. In The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson writes with great feeling about the dissonance of Hill House as a building, and in her biographies, it's noted that the story was based upon real houses that seemed cursed. In writing "The Shunned House," HP Lovecraft is said to have been inspired by two different dwellings that seemed off to him.

This hotel was formerly a Masonic temple, and the architectural renderings of the building hang within the hallways of the hotel. Everything feels very symmetrical and somehow reassuring inside. Outside, it's a bit of a mausoleum, and it wasn't until I was trying to crop this photo that the way the building sat seemed off. Using the straightening tool, I fiddled and fiddled until I got something that didn't seem lopsided. It may be the perspective from which I shot the photo, or the topography, which was hilly, but it was odd.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone 4.

15 August 2011

The Temple

Temple of Dendur
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, New York
4 August 2011

When the daughter and I were at the Met in May, I made her speed through here on our first visit with the promise we'd take in the entire Egyptian wing at our leisure when we visited the next day. I make plans; the Met laughs. This entire area was closed off for no apparent reason the next day, and our Egyptian wing trip ended up being incomplete. I felt terrible because the daughter is passionate about Egyptology. So it was serendipitous that we returned just a few weeks later. The daughter and I abandoned the son and the spouse at the entrance to the Egyptian art and ran--okay, maybe we just walked very fast--to see if the Temple of Dendur was open. And it was, and we spent a blissful half hour examining it in peace with almost no other visitors in the area (they were all waiting in line for Savage Beauty).

Sated, the daughter and I went back and collected the spouse and the son, and tried to ensure they saw the highlights of the museum.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40, available light, which happened to be abundant that day.

14 August 2011

State house

Providence, Rhode Island
1 August 2011

The hotel where we stayed in Providence was once a Masonic temple. It was kind of a fun hotel, even if it's a chain, and the view from our window was this. Pretty spectacular, especially as the sun began to set.

Providence was an interesting little place. The houses on the hillside that we could also see looked sparkling and pretty, but then I went out and walked around, and yeah. HP Lovecraft? Yup.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40. I'd given the son a book of Lovecraft stories sometime back, and he finally read them, and "The Shunned House" really freaked him out. (It really freaked me out, too.) So when it suddenly dawned on us that we'd be in Providence, we took a little walk...but that's another photo.

12 August 2011

As seen on TV

I'm not going to publish a photo today, just this link.

Lenses shield 9/11 photogs as they capture history

"Richard Drew said his lens acts as a filter: 'The things are happening over there, on the other side.'

Another Associated Press photographer, the late Marty Lederhandler, put it this way: 'I let the camera absorb all the disaster or the sadness of an event. It protects ME from the event.'"

(A word of warning: the article contains a single, very disturbing photo of a man falling from one of the towers. I'd never seen the photo before and I wish I hadn't.)

I understand what those interviewed here are saying: one becomes not a participant in the action, but a conduit. This is how, shooting a football game for the yearbook, I got a concussion. I was so busy framing up photos, I completely failed to notice the advancing tide of players until they ran me over.

In the months following the attack, I helped with preparing some reports. The photos tell immense stories of what occurred that day. They still haunt me.

11 August 2011

Hey batter, batter

Angels at Orioles
24 July 2011

Okay, so it was a strike. He still homered on this at bat.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

10 August 2011

I held my breath

American Museum of Natural History
New York, New York
3 August 2011

I am not a photographer. I like photography and I enjoy shooting photos, but I haven't the hubris to consider myself anything more than a hobbyist, and a relatively lazy one at that. Someday, when there is world enough and time, I'll take more classes. And learn to play the piano.

Most museums will allow photography so long as it's non-flash and you don't use a tripod. Those are good rules: light can damage exhibits, and gods, a tripod in a crowded museum? There's a few lawsuits.

These are limitations. Or challenges. I am perfecting the art of holding very still when I use low, ambient light. Here, I held my breath, and anchored myself in a wide-legged stance. And this time, it worked.

It doesn't always. But that's part of the fun. And the frustration.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40, in the available light.

08 August 2011

Here lies...

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Sleepy Hollow, New York
28 July 2011

I think it was the daughter who suggested that we should stop in the village en route to wherever we were going that day. She is a huge fan of Washington Irving's most famous story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The cemetery, which is vast, is across from the visitors' center, which is small. It just happened that we found the part of the burial ground where Mr. Irving rests with little difficulty.

It is actually a lovely place and quite peaceful.

And we can confirm that Sleepy Hollow lives up to its name.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

06 August 2011

The battlefield

From Little Round Top
Gettysburg National Military Park
Adams County, Pennsylvania
25 July 2011

There are places in the world where I won't go. Mostly, those are places that commemorate war or unreasoning slaughter. It's not that I want to forget those places and events, more that I can't. Visiting the sites only reinforces the horror that I can imagine quite well on my own.

The spouse, on the other hand, is fascinated by and enjoys reading about battles. He owns one of the most extensive collections on the battle of Jutland that I've ever seen, though he's never restricted himself to any one war. I'm not going to pretend that I understand why he finds it interesting, but then he probably didn't understand why I couldn't stop talking about the Alexander McQueen show that the daughter and I saw at the Metropolitan in May.

When we were in D.C. a couple of years ago, he hoped to see some Civil War sites, but we couldn't squeeze them in, so I arranged for him to go to Gettysburg on this trip. It is a beautiful place for somewhere so steeped in sad history, and to me, remarkable for the number of casualties in what is really such a very small area. It is all at once moving and astonishing.

It gave me a great deal to think about.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

05 August 2011


From the Roof Garden
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, New York
4 August 2011

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

04 August 2011


Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, New York
4 August 2011

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

02 August 2011

Take a ride on the Northeastern Regional

Somewhere between Rhode Island and New York
2 August 2011

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

01 August 2011


Providence, Rhode Island
1 August 2011

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.