River Diamonds

Today is a gray, sleet-drizzling day in Milwaukee. So it seems like a good time to post a short video from a field trip to the park with our dog a couple weeks ago. Just a few cheerful moments of sparkling sunlight dancing atop breezy ripples in the Menomonee River on a beautiful November afternoon.

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November Tracery

“Tracery” is a term referring to the spidery, lacy stonework in a Gothic stained-glass window.

I was outside in the last light of day this evening shaking hay out of our guinea pig’s “potty pads” (fleece bedding), and for some reason the branches and utility pole caught my eye as I finished and turned to walk back to the house.

Maybe it was the contrast between sturdy and delicate? Or straight and curved? Or maybe that “silhouette” contrast between light and dark?

I took several pictures, and when I looked through them in my camera roll, trying to decide which one was “it,” this was the shot I kept landing on again and again. It’s funny how the same subject can look like nothing at all unless some alchemy of light or composition or something takes over and makes it special.

So here’s the one I liked.

And here are the rejects. What do you think? Did I make the right call?

Oh wait.

Now that I uploaded the other pictures, I see that WordPress has automatically cropped the ones that had been in a wider, landscaped format. Not cool, WordPress: Your new Gutenberg editor takes a lot of liberties.

On the other hand, now I guess I’d better take another pass through the candidates and reconsider my options. Maybe one of these WordPress-cropped photos will stand out to me more than my own original 😂

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Autumn color: red leaves against a blue car

I took this picture about two weeks ago, as I was pushing my cart out of the grocery store. The red leaves against that blue car made such a striking color combination that I discreetly pulled out my phone and took a couple photos. Then I realized that the car’s owners were right behind me. Oops! But they were busy talking and didn’t say anything to me nor even pause their conversation. Just got into their vehicle, still talking, and drove away. Whew! I’m glad I didn’t have to explain why I was taking a picture of their car. Although, as you can see, I wasn’t really going for their actual car so much as I wanted that blue background for the red leaves. Luck strikes again. Because had I chosen a different checkout line in the store, I might have come outside a minute later, the car would have been gone already, and I’d have missed my chance to see this fabulous pairing of colors!

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Cricket phone store at night

I’d like to try taking more photos at night. Usually my nighttime photos turn out kind of green, like this one of a runner in night fog that I took several years ago. But last night when I was stopped at a traffic light on my way home from work, I decided to try capturing the pretty green glow from the phone store’s windows. I liked it. The building colors were pretty true, and the only green was the lighting around the windows, which is supposed to be there! So not bad for my first deliberate foray into “night photography.” Opportunistic though it was. That is, very seldom do I “deliberately” do anything with photography. Mostly it happens when I’m just going about my day and all of a sudden “see” a picture in front of me. Sadly I don’t have the equipment needed to capture truly decent nighttime images. But I can still try whenever I see something cool. And then someday when I have time I’ll work on getting better tools😄

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Late Afternoon Coffee Run

After several hours in a row of teaching and advising today, I decided that some fresh air and a brisk walk down to Starbucks were in order. The light on this building caught my eye on the way back, so I set down my venti Pike and took a photo, careful to keep the many (ugly) security cameras out of the frame. Sometimes I worry that whoever monitors the cameras will think I’m a criminal casing the joint or, worse, a terrorist planning an attack. But I have taken so many pics of this building over the years that they’re more likely just thinking “Oh, there’s that crazy lady from MSOE again with her coffee and her phone.”😄

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Grohmann Atrium Staircase, Late Afternoon on an Overcast Day

I’m behind on everything. Teaching online during a pandemic has presented a tremendously steep learning curve, and in addition, anything I do takes at least twice as long as it would in the analog world. My students have been wonderful, though, so thank God for them! I haven’t been posting to my blog at all this fall (this year, actually) because, really, I have no business spending time on that when I’m so behind on all the work for my actual job.

But I do still take pictures throughout my days, whenever something presents itself. It occurred to me last night that I should try posting some of those, with limited commentary, so I can at least continue putting something creative out into the world.

Here is a photo I snapped on my way to use the scanner in our department office. I go to MSOE a few days a week because it’s very hard teaching and getting a good day’s work done at home. Anyway, the geometry of all these various lines, plus the dark mass of the stairs, caught my eye, and now I’m sharing that moment with you❤️

And here’s another shot with a slightly longer view and different focus. The colors are a little warmer, and the staircase doesn’t disappear into darkness. I’m not sure which I prefer, so I guess I’ll just have to post both!😃

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The Bauhaus Museum In Weimar: A Collection Of Things Or A Movement That Changed The World?

The disappointing exposition of the new Bauhaus Museum in Weimar which led to an obsession in me to find better concepts and to explain a little bit …

The Bauhaus Museum In Weimar: A Collection Of Things Or A Movement That Changed The World?

This post first appeared on one of the blogs I follow. I love how the writer talks not only about art (and one of the coolest art movements ever) but also about history, politics, UX (obliquely), and ordinary life. I hope you enjoy it, too!

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The Flicker Show (or, putting the garbage out)

That’s what they used to call  movies: the “flicker show.” Tonight I was putting our garbage and recycling carts on the other side of our gate so they could be wheeled down to the curb for collection tomorrow. It was late, and in the darkness the garage light cast stripes of light through the slats of the gate onto a garden hose lying coiled on the driveway. I loved the way it looked. Really striking.

When I turned around  to close up again, I decided the gate itself looked kind of cool hanging open, so I took two more pictures, each from a slightly different angle.

I like the way they look here on the screen stacked atop each other. Kind of like a zipper.

And then, finally, as I pushed the gate shut, I noticed that those stripes of light on the hose started to move in sort of a psychedelic, discotheque-y manner. Cool, right?

I just now previewed the video with sound for the first time. My phone is always set on “silent,” so I never hear anything when I look at video I’ve just shot. I didn’t realize it at the time, but in addition to the gate clunking as I pushed it, there is a distant siren in the background. It kind of fits as a spooky soundtrack 🙂

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Field trip!

We try to take our dog on a field trip once a week, just to give her some new sights and smells and not to mention a thrilling opportunity to ride in the car!

Today my daughter and I went over to the field near the middle school and local cemetery. I loved the way the trees in the cemetery undulated in the breeze, so I hung back and shot this video with my phone. That’s Coco at the bottom, about one-third of the way in from the left, checking things out along the fence.

This is the last Friday of summer, which always makes me sad. I’ve been a teacher for many years now (starting as a TA in grad school). I often wonder if I’d notice the change of season or feel the loss of summer quite so acutely if I weren’t tied to the academic calendar. Maybe I’ll find out someday when I retire.

However, it occurs to me that if it turns out I’m no longer sad about the end of summer once I’m retired, I’ll probably start feeling nostalgic instead for the way I used to feel sad about it when I was working! 😂

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I started writing an actual post last Friday, which I hope to get back to eventually. But I had some frustrating issues with my new laptop for work and spent the weekend losing way too much time to that situation. The problem seems to be resolved now, which is lucky since I have loads to do before school starts next week!

Anyway, tonight while searching through my iPhone camera roll to find a photo for my daughter, I came upon these pictures I took last February of some electrical conduits in the basement parking garage of MSOE’s Campus Center. (At least, I assume that’s what they are; I’m just an interested layperson😄)

Just as the rest of the Campus Center even today retains much of its beautiful, curved Streamline Moderne styling (from its 1940s-era beginnings as the Blatz Brewing Bottle House), these conduits and others running along the basement ceiling are almost a work of art and a reminder that true quality extends beyond the obvious surface details.

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