Tuesday, July 22, 2014

coin tower

This shows part of Amsterdam's Amstel Canal. The tower belongs to Munttoren, Munt Tower, dating from 1620. The clouds were beautiful on the day I took the photo.

Monday, July 21, 2014


This shows the Lookout on of foggy day. It's a color photo; there just isn't much color to record. The Lookout was formerly a boarding house is now a restaurant and country inn. The place is Flye Point, near Blue Hill in the Penobscot region of Maine and it's August 2013.

Friday, July 18, 2014


We heard some beautiful music last evening in a place of beautiful paintings. I did some research recently on a man who studied art as well making it. Before starting a painting he chose tone balances, made decisions about tensions of line and area, and considered overall harmonal values based on theories of color, design, and music. You can dissect his work using these theories, but this technical vocabulary does not give you much help when you try to communicate what you find satisfying about it.

The image shows fields and bogs leading to the sea at Judique, Nova Scotia. It doesn't have a particular point of interest. It evokes happy personal emotions about the place and that makes it difficult for me to tell whether it's a good photograph as well as a reminder of a good vacation. Is it pleasing in general, or simply a memento of a specific place at a specific time?

I can think of some good adjectives to describe them but I can't really convey the pleasure it gave me to examine a painting by Bonnard or a performance of the Debussy quartet (both of which floored me last evening). All the same, I'm certain others respond to the two works much as I do. It's different with the photo. I can say why I think the photo might have aesthetic value, but I can't put myself in the position of a viewer who wasn't present when I took it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

digging out

I've been observing an excavation that's taking place where I shop. Over recent months the yellow digger in the photo has been gradually removing earth from an area which used to be a nicely landscaped courtyard. I expect the objective it to increase rent by bringing in new retail establishments.

What's interested me is the engineering problem facing the crew. For many weeks the digger with its caterpillar tracks was at the bottom of the hillside it created. In many repetitive steps, it moved dirt up the incline and loaded it into waiting dump trucks. Now that the excavation is nearing completion, it's up top. The process has been methodical and, obviously, it works.

There's a limit to the effectiveness of the method, however, and I wonder how the contractor plans to get out the last of the earth. The digger can't return to the bottom to bring it up since it needs the incline to get itself out, yet the digger's arm isn't long enough to reach down from the top to bring up the last of the dirt. So, I keep watching as I make my daily run to the grocery.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

young and happy

This photo was taken in 1888. The young woman is my paternal grandmother. She loved dogs and I never knew her to be without one close at hand. Her childhood was largely a happy one, spent on this property — the house and gardens of an estate of her father's in Woodside, Queens, New York. She loved dogs and her home, but most of all she loved her father. So as to remain with him as long as possible, she put off marriage until she was over thirty and the man she chose worked in one of her father's business concerns and came from a family closely intertwined with her own. The wedding took place not that many years before her father's death and it was not a success. She endured a relationship that was painful to both partners and remained faithfully in it for sixty years, until her death in 1962, aged 92.