15_the_circle: (california poppy)
Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 09:33 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

last image in the San Francisco series, taken while walking back to the hotel from City Lights

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)

up into the fog layer

once again I was taken by the way structures lose definition as they cross into the fog layer. 

15_the_circle: (california poppy)
Saturday, August 21st, 2010 12:57 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

that San Francisco is a city of bridges is patently obvious.  from anywhere with even a fractional view they blend with their settings to make a pleasing whole.  part of my father's boyhood was spent there before the bridges were built but I really can't imagine what it would have been like then. 

by now the bridges are very much feeling their age (it wasn't at all reassuring to glance from the deck of the Bay Bridge at one of the maintenance access points, marked with a warning sign reading condemned followed by some lengthy text, all of which flitted past too quickly for comprehension of the details.  work is underway, however, to replace the eastern part of the bridge (out of frame to the L in the first image below) and presumably the other upkeep items are being seen to, so the bridges should be around for a while. 

important though they are for defining the places they connect and the region they serve, I have always favoured the prospect from the waters over which they cross.  the images below were taken from the deck of the Sausalito ferry. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)

Bay Bridge
Bay Bridge, portion between Yerba Buena Island and San Francisco

meanwhile, over on the Golden Gate the omnipresent fog softens edges, creates the sort of lighting that subdues the bridge's signature colour and conceals the summit of the N tower, its full extent hinted at by the visible part of the cable assembly it supports.  there's just enough of a breeze to keep the fogbank in motion and to create texture and interplay of light and shadow on the bay's surface. 

Golden Gate
Golden Gate Bridge
15_the_circle: (maneki neko)
Saturday, August 21st, 2010 11:13 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

what a fine thing it was to encounter a lion dance troupe.  the auspicious character of the day was marked with a break in the customary fog. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)

Lion Dance
bright banners in the sun

... +5 ... )
15_the_circle: (california poppy)
Friday, August 20th, 2010 12:18 am

[OT from cottage renovations]
[crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] doorwindowwall]

there was something about this building on a corner that caught my attention and I actually hung around there for a while, retaking this shot as twilight turned into night and the lighting got more interesting. 

there's a lot going on here.  for me it started with structural detail, of which of course there was no shortage, and then went on to the small touches like the way the wash was hanging to dry in the casement window.  look at it for a while you'll see there's even more 

(click through this thumbail for higher resolution image)

night lights

over the past couple of days this is one of the images that has kept pulling me back. 

15_the_circle: (sea breeze)
Thursday, August 19th, 2010 11:37 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

more than 150 years ago Commodore Matthew Perry's black ships went to Japan to secure trading rights for the US, an event commemorated by Shimoda's annual Kurofune Festival

more than 400 years before that, the last of the Ming Dynasty's great treasure fleets sailed the Pacific and Indian oceans under the command of the legendary Admiral Cheng Ho

nowadays the Yang Ming Line's black ship YM North is on the north Pacific run, laden with a treasure consisting of mass produced consumer goods serving a market whose trade balance now runs the other way.  it is just one of many whose comings and goings may seem unremarkable to many and at 3,860 TEU it is not even in its owner's first or second tier by size.  this may not matter in the current shipping market: though inbound it is clearly less than fully laden. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)

Yang Ming Line

even so it made quite a sight from the deck of the Alameda ferry, seen under the Bay Bridge as it began the turn to round Yerba Buena Island on approach to the Port of Oakland's container terminal.  on arrival the containers of many colours will be lifted off, yarded, drayed and hauled to their market destinations, many of them by rail. 
even out on the water one never is far from the railroad. 

15_the_circle: (california poppy)
Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 11:08 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]
[crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] doorwindowwall]

coming down the hill it was the details of this scene that caught my eye: the low wall's brick core, its outer crust cracking and spalling off (taking the graffiti with it), the detail of the gates on both sides. 

but what remained with me (though I don't know why) was the green of vegetation ... and matching recycling bin. 

wall end
15_the_circle: (GITS laughing man)
Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 10:33 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

San Francisco: where the statuary has brand preferences and the litterbugs have a sense of humour. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)

brand preference
15_the_circle: (GITS laughing man)
Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 10:08 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

as seen recently from the Alameda ferry: the bulging eyes, bulbous nose and red face immediately suggested a possible source of inspiration for this vessel's Japanese naval architect. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)

ginga eagle
Tokyo Marine tanker Ginga Eagle
riding at anchor in San Francisco Bay
syakki mask
Noh mask, available from Inoue Corp, Kyoto
15_the_circle: (look ahead look south)
Saturday, May 8th, 2010 11:59 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

miscellaneous images from today's Habitat for Humanity rebuild in Silver Spring, to which some Grove volunteers came to help out.  unlike our experience on the Gulf Coast this job was at end of process, so the painting, cleaning up and hauling off of tools was followed by a dedication of the home to its new owners. 

the home is a 1950s split-level, acquired by Habitat in distressed condition after a foreclosure. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)

(L to R: Bill, Dick, Elise, Judy, Sylvie, Collin, Erica, David, Lur)

+16 )
ribbon cutting
ribbon cutting
15_the_circle: (calcifer)
Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 01:09 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

in response to listserv queries about conditions at the lake. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)

Maple Lake

frozen lake

open water
some open water near the spring


15_the_circle: (snow cottage)
Sunday, December 20th, 2009 11:56 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

this weekend's snow allowed for the revival of an old tradition, that of creating a toboggan run on the back steps.  anybody can shovel snow off their steps, but to do this right one is best off piling the snow onto the steps as well as along the slope out back.  the back deck always accumulates an excess of snow that's readily available for the purpose. 

with the Wonder Boy off pursuing graduate studies in Gotham it fell to the current generation of neighbourhood children to take the first trips down; with each one the ramp get better and they went further and faster, as can be seen below:

(click though these thumbnails for higher resolution images)

preparing to board
preparing to board

a good run another good run
a couple of good runs

with 22 -> 24 inches of snow having fallen there was plenty left over for eating ...

tasting the snow

... and for targets of opportunity

target of opportunity

good news: the snow passed the taste test. 

passing the taste test

the sled run will remain in place and available as a public nuisance convenience as long as conditions permit.  anybody who's passing by is encouraged to make use of it though you'll have to BYO sled -- it's been a few years since we've kept one around. 

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Sunday, December 20th, 2009 01:13 am

[OT from cottage renovations]
[crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] itsinthedetails]

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)

this image is actually from a couple of weeks ago but I hadn't gotten around to putting it in this space. 

pipe end with eye bolt and turnbuckle
pipe end with eye bolt and turnbuckle

I'm not quite sure what it was about it that caught my eye, but I found it oddly appealing.  your mileage may vary -- that's OK as it's all in the eye of the beholder. 

15_the_circle: (snow oak)
Saturday, December 19th, 2009 11:58 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

given how ridiculously soggy wet this year has been it really didn't come as a surprise when the temperature went down for the precipitation to have continued.  it was a very quiet day here in the Grove, most folks having the sense to stay indoors.  the only people I saw abroad had snow shovels, sleds or cross country skis. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)

the Circle

there are some images that I haven't had the sense to get past taking, and this is one of them.  of note is that the snowcap on the porch roof has drifted up above the bottom of the upper front window; it is odd to look out through it and have the view partially obstructed by snow. 

cottage in snow
cottage in snow. 

of course.  what else were you expecting? 

McCathran Hall

with no events going on in the Town Hall the snow was drifting up to its porch.  the sign in front, the flag and the brick chimney provide the only chromatic highlights in an otherwise highly subdued scene. 

town hall in snow


another iconic image, we seem to have some severe repetition settling in here.  the large oak growing up through Mimi's porch is framed by lesser trees in the foreground; that one on the R with its leaves doesn't do much for the image but I was neither able to crop it out nor willing to remove it digitally (not that I wasn't tempted, but perhaps tomorrow will afford a chance to go back and find a better location from which to try again with this image). 

1st avenue cottage row in snow
cottage row

Acorn Lane

unlikely though it may seem to those who know the setting well, this has become one of my favourite views within the Grove: looking down Acorn Lane across Chestnut Avenue and the church parking lot into the West Woods.  this is another image I've tried to capture at different times but it can be a challenge to compose -- I wanted it to be about depth as well as height so it needed more cropping to the R than I would have liked. 

if you think you've seen this before, you're right. 
crank the wayback machine to April 2006 (and scroll to the bottom of the entry). 

Grove Avenue

holiday lights shine brightly on the façade of Hutch and Linda's cottage. 

Hutch's cottage in snow

15_the_circle: (snow oak)
Sunday, December 6th, 2009 11:59 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

the snow moved on and the following day wasn't quite as warm as predicted, which meant that the snow was taking its own time about melting off.  clumps of it remained in the tops of the trees, trapped in the interstices out at the edges and presenting a completely misleading appearance of abundant spring blossoms. 

surely if one waits long enough that will happen, but not just yet. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)

Chestnut Road

not in bloom
not in bloom

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Saturday, December 5th, 2009 11:18 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

we don't often get snow this early in the season, and if tomorrow's forecast holds it will be melted before the day is out. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)

snowy facade

snowy facade
snowy façade

Center Street

the snow accretes to good effect onto twigs, leaves and berries. 

snow on twigs snow on honeysuckle leaves

Ridge Road

snow on berries

upper field

the reason for heading out in the first place was to see what effect the snow squalls and lighting were having on the treeline between the upper and (what remains of the) lower fields.  these thumbnails really don't do justice to the moody atmosphere ... click on through for a better view. 

treeline recedes into snow
treeline recedes into the snow

the break in the hedgerow
the break in the hedgerow

walking on through the break, nearly ignored by a few deer ambling by, for once I found the highway interchange construction project to be neither an auditory nor a visual blight. 

the upper field's most prominent tree presented a ghostly aspect, snow and light combining in a way that made it impossible to stop for just one image. 

ghostly ghostly
15_the_circle: (Default)
Sunday, November 15th, 2009 11:34 am

Alice's large plant has moved up in the world cottage ...

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)

... leaving a lot more space in the front room and subtracting less than I had anticipated from the loft. 

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Sunday, November 15th, 2009 02:15 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

the Grove's hostas often have variegated leaves, some of them quite spectacular.  give them enough time and the hydrangeas can often do nearly as well though only at end of life. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)

Bittersweet Cottage garden

Monday's watery sunlight passing through the same leaf as seen against different backgrounds. 


this is in its own way an historic event: the first time that stupid T-111 siding on the newer parts of the place has been useful for anything. 

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Sunday, November 15th, 2009 02:02 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

in the side yard there's a forsythia that often fumbles the seasonal transitions by flowering in the fall as well as in the spring. 

one difference is the year's first blooms come before the leaves are out whereas the second round turns up when the leaves are going through the annual colour change. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)

Bittersweet Cottage garden


15_the_circle: (state flag MD banner)
Sunday, November 15th, 2009 01:41 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

it's been three decades since relocating from southern California (it's interesting that one says "out West" and "back East" but never the other way around) and though for quite some time I maintained a bi-coastal life and outlook, somewhere along the way the centre of gravity shifted this way; nowadays when I'm out there for one or another reason the place has become quite unfamiliar and one feels closer to what it once was than to what it has become. 

even so, the experience of living there is transformational and one needn't be an NSGW to have some form of attachments that persist across space and time. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)

not quite in the Grove, but just across the tracks, next to Hershey's parking lot a clump of California poppies has settled in from goodness-knows-where and is happily in full bloom even in early November.  though quite common out there it is remarkable to find them around here and for once my usual horrified reaction to invasive species is overridden by welcome.  they are notoriously difficult to transplant so these must have shown up as seeds; as to their manner of arrival one can only speculate. 

I've kept an eye on these for a couple of weeks and last Sunday I finally went down there for a closer look in the last of the afternoon light. 

california poppy

+4 )

california poppy
eschscholzia californica

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Thursday, November 12th, 2009 11:59 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

last weekend provided an opportunity for a day trip to visit my favourite graduate student up in New York; I had been meaning to go up for the purpose sooner, but the demands of his academic schedule have been running him pretty ragged and it took rather a while for his schedule to clear up. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)

Newark NJ

riding up the Northeast Corridor one is struck by several things:
  • fast running: even the regional trains spend much of the time cruising in the 125 mph range.  this wasn't immediately obvious but I was using the opportunity to test a GPS equipped PDA for work. 
  • density: even on a Saturday scads of commuter trains serve the Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York markets.  they do this all the time and it's taken for granted by the many riders but the reminder is salutary for those of us from the hinterlands. 
  • the wonderful contradiction posed by this signage in the Newark NJ station:
waiting room

(image crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] doorwindowwall)

I'm guessing the rest of us are supposed to wait outside the waiting room. 
or not wait. 
or something. 

New York

the first time I got there, it was too late. 
not a problem with the train, which the Penn Central had brought in right on time; but it was two years after the station was demolished.  Pennsylvania Station was designed for a 500-year service life but lasted only a tenth of that and the vestigial rail terminals make no sense without everything that once stood above ground to pull them together. 

as a result I've never had much use for Madison Square Garden though I do seem to recall watching the Russian Circus perform there in the early 1970s.  ducking up to street level the most bizarre facility reuse became obvious: a new bumper car concession.
finally, something useful:

bumper cars - madison square garden

except that, whoops, it was just a small herd of forklifts for some passing show's roadies.  nonetheless, as so often happens, consolation was to be found in detail:

bumper car detail - madison square garden

it's always so cool to see a buccaneer-American (we do prefer the hyphenated form, thank you) getting in touch with his or her inner piratical self. 

so the obvious question arose: what to do?  the Wonder Boy expressed a wish to visit the airport that never was, so off we headed to check out what might remain of the airship terminal that was planned and actually built (but never used) atop the Empire State Building.  yeah, an obviously cheesy touristy thing to do, but what's the harm in that? 

the 86th floor observation deck was supposed to hold a ticket counter, passenger lobby and customs area.  however iconic the view there's no reason not to stop and look gawk. 

doors windows walls - we got 'em

(image crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] doorwindowwall)

the arrival and departure gate was a small round room on the 102nd floor.  the hoped-for airships never came (however cool it was actually a pretty stupid idea) and the space ended up housing radio and television transmitters.  lots of them.  accordingly there's one heck of an antenna farm up there; here's a bit of detail of the top of just one:

antenna detail

(image crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] itsinthedetails)

the increased elevation provides an even better view: looking to the S a famous silhouette stands in the harbour:

S of L silhouette

before we leave, just one for the camera ...


Central Park is visible in the distance to the R; his student apartment would be a bit above the outer edge of the hood of his sweatshirt.