Oct 162016

Gallery Doorway
gallery doorway

A second set of shots, this time featuring only color photos, from a walk through Boston’s South End on a glorious October day with my soon to be retired, five+ year-old Olympus E-P3 (in favor of a recently ordered Pen F.) Part one, featuring only black and white photos, may be seen here.  The full set of photos may be seen here, on Flickr.


a charming South End cornera charming South End corner

And here is a selection of a few South End neighborhood favorites, featuring the petit robert bistro, the South End Buttery cafe and restaurant, and Cafe Madeleine, a French patisserie and cafe with the best Pain au Chocolat in Boston—conveniently located just a few blocks from my house.

petit robert bistropetit robert bistro

South End Butter in buttery late afternoon sunlight
Neighborhood gems Cafe Madeleine and (bathed in buttery sunlight) South End Buttery

Long shadows on Montgomery off Dartmouth
Long shadows on Montgomery Street

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAQuintessential South End

Villa Victoria Ramón Emeterio Betances Mural
Villa Victoria Ramón Emeterio Betances Mural

Oct 122016

Bacon's Building
Bacon’s Building in stark sunlight and shadow

I took a walk from one end of the South End to the other on a glorious October day with my soon to be retired, five+ year-old Olympus E-P3. This post–the first of two from that walk–focuses on points south of Tremont, including SOWA, and features monochrome shots (straight B&W). The late afternoon sun provided long shadows and stark contrast which look so good in black and white. There are also some sun-dappled shots of a deteriorated SOWA block with an old, one-story electrical shop, as well as a very cool building around the corner near Peters Park with large receiving and loading doors labeled “IN” and “OUT” in the masonry above.

500 Roman Trattoria
500 Roman Trattoria

Leon Electric
Leon Electric

On Harrison, the  IN  . . .  and  . . .  OUT  . . .

One Way
One Way
Sun on Ivy
Sun on Ivy

Oh, and I’m retiring the Olympus E-P3 in favor of a new, just ordered Olympus Pen F, an “impeccably beautiful shooting wonder” that “reinvents the rangefinder for m4/3,” which some have called “absolutely the most beautiful digital camera yet, trumping even what Leica can do” (no argument from me). I was afraid Olympus had abandoned the higher end Pen models and may not follow-up the E-P5, relegating the Pen line to the lower-end, fashionable E-PL line. I was hesitant to buy an Olympus OM model because I still use my Nikon DSLR (and myriad lenses) and want a slimmer alternative like the rangefinder-designed Pen cameras. So, I am thrilled that Olympus not only came out with a follow-up the E-P5, but took it up a notch and placed its high-end Pen camera alongside its OM cameras in terms of features and specs.  And having a camera that continues the Pen F legacy is a plus. Oh, and my Pen F was paid for, in large part, by some recent photo sales for a calendar. But that’s a post for next month. Cheers.

Sep 112016


Looking up inside the Oculus (while others look down)

A few photos from a trip to the 9/11 Memorial, the One World Trade Center tower, and the Oculus at the World Trade Center Transportation hub. Although shot in late August, it is fitting that I’m posting these now, on the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11.

Yellow Rose for Christine Lee Hanson

Fountain at Ground Zero

And here are some additional photos of the Oculus and surrounding buildings, including One World Trade Center:

Oculus and One World Trade Center
Oculus and One World Trade Center

Outside Oculus
Outside the Oculus

Oculus wrap
Oculus Wrap

Oculus curve
Oculus Curve

Designed by renown Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the Oculus and World Trade Center station took 12 years to build and $4 billion in public funds– the most expensive train center ever.

As the New York Times noted, “Calatrava’s original soaring spike design was scaled back because of security issues. In the name of security, Santiago Calatrava’s bird has grown a beak. Its ribs have doubled in number and its wings have lost their interstices of glass…. [T]he main transit hall, between Church and Greenwich Streets, will almost certainly lose some of its delicate quality, while gaining structural expressiveness. It may now evoke a slender stegosaurus more than it does a bird.”

The compromised design and enormous cost of the project led to an ongoing controversy, summarized by wikipedia, with a few quotes:

Steve Cuozzo of the New York Post described the station in 2014 as it was being built as “a self-indulgent monstrosity” and “a hideous waste of public money”. Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for The New York Times, referred to the structure as “a kitsch stegosaurus”. New York magazine referred to it in 2015 as it neared completion as a “Glorious Boondoggle.”

I more or less agree with the criticism, especially given the massive cost and fact that so much of the station interior is made up of high-end shops.  But is was fun to photograph.

9/11 Memorial
9/11 Memorial

The full set may be seen here, on Flickr


Sep 092016


Highline Flowers
High Line Flowers

I took a stroll on the High Line on a cloudy August day after a week on Fire Island. The High Line is an urban greenway — a former elevated freight rail line transformed into a park and trail that runs from the West Village and Meatpacking District through Chelsea, ending beyond Penn Station.

Highline (on a curve)
High Line on a Curve

Note the funky sculpture in front of a newish apartment building on the High Line, juxtaposed with some old school graffiti and a dramatic piece political art (more on that below). Funky Chelsea buts heads with the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood and new construction along the High Line. (Or, perhaps more accurately: new, high end gentrification on top of and alongside previous, lower rent (relatively speaking) Chelsea gentrification).

Blind Idealism is Deadly
Blind Idealism is Reactionary Scary Deadly

“Blind Idealism is . . .” by renowned artist Barbara Kruger, commissioned by Friends of the High Line.

Kruger is an American artist known for “insistently addressing the issues of power, property, money, race, and sexuality. Over the past three decades her work has ranged from the photographic merging of image and text, to immersive video installations, to room-wrapping textual exhibitions, to large-scale outdoor displays of words and images. Two of her best-known works – Your body is a battleground and I shop therefore I am – also showcase the feminist overtones of her artworks, and her concentration on women as a lucrative site for advertising and consumerism.

The original quote — “Blind idealism is reactionary” — came from Afro-Caribbean philosopher and postcolonial revolutionary thinker Frantz Fanon (1925–61), whom Kruger describes as “prescient in some ways.”

High Line Follage (with Empire State Building)
High Line Follage (and Empire State of mind)

Highline yawn
High Line Yawn

The full set, along with some winter High Line photos from a few years ago, may be seen here.

Aug 312016

Fire Island Light (illuminated by the late afternoon sun)
Fire Island Light illuminated by the late afternoon sun

A few photos from a week on Fire Island, New York, and various points along the Fire Island National Seashore.  This trip is an annual event going back a dozen years (although not all trips were memorialized with photos). As with most years, these shots document a trip to Fire Island Light, the iconic lighthouse on the Island’s western end, sunrise photos (on the ocean side), sunset photos (on the bay side), beach photos, and some shots with a trusty 7.5mm fisheye lens for my Olympus m4/3. Oh, and the daily ritual of gin and tonics on the Fair Harbor Dock or Bay walk is well documented.

sunrise with seagull
sunrise with seagull

setting sun illuminating the beach grass like fireflies
setting sun illuminating the beach grass like fireflies

the moon hanging on (on the other side of the sunrise)
moon hanging on (on the other side of the sunrise)


In past August visits to Fire Island, at least one day–if not two or three–have been rainy wash outs. But other than some overnight rain and stormy skies the next morning (see fisheye shot below, with bike), the weather was particularly lovely this year. The first few nights, however, it was quite cloudy in the evening, with rain and lightning visible in the distance over Long Island. We were spared the storms but had the benefit of spectacular, cloud-filled sunsets (see the two sunset Bay shots, below, with large dark clouds and boats).

Fire Island sunset number 2
big dark clouds at the blue hour (with boats)

stormy skies (with bike and spoon)_
stormy morning skies (with bike and spoon)

Fire Island Sunset number 1
Fair Harbor Sunset

And a few more shots:

Fire Island Sunset number 5 (on the dock with bike)_finalOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApink bike _croppedRust Never SleepsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAgin and tonic and sunset

walk the dog (in the hazy sunshine)
walk the dog (in the hazy sunshine)

The sun just rose over Fire Island
the sun just rose over Fire Island

Full set may be seen here, on Flickr.

Aug 122016

Eastern Point Light
Eastern Point Light

Gorgeous August day in Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts, including a visit to Gloucester Harbor, Eastern Point Light in Gloucester, and Long Beach in Rockport, with views of the Thatcher Island Twin Lighthouses (consisting of Cape Ann South Light and the Thatcher Island North Light).


Gloucester Gig RowersGloucester Gig Rowers

Here’s a shot, above, of the Gloucester Gig Rowers in Gloucester Harbor. The Gig Rowers sponsor races and offer regular rowing events for all skill levels.


Thacher Island Twin Lighthouses (with outboard motorboat)Thacher Island Twin Lighthouses (with outboard motorboat)

Gloucester Harbor Scene (boats and buoys)Gloucester Harbor Scene (boats and buoys)

Surf's Up on Long Beach (well, sorta)Surf’s Up on Long Beach (well, sorta)

pond and lily pad layers (with swan)pond and lily pad layers (with swan)

Eastern Point Light from the BreakwaterEastern Point Light from the Breakwater

Jul 232016


low tide at Good Harbor (with sun flare)
Good Harbor at Low Tide (with cool sun flare)

I’m quite fond of low tide, wide angle (see e.g. here, here, and here) and fisheye (here, here) beach photos, including those shot into the sun (herehere, here and here). So these recent shots from Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester are no surprise.

the other side of Good Harbor
The Other Side of Good Harbor (click to see large for full effect)

yet another wide angle Good Harbor shot
Yet Another Wide Angle Shot Into the Sun

And finally, here’s a wide-angle, long exposure photo of the southern end of Good Harbor shot with a ND (neutral density) filter about four years ago (the horizontal sky gradient is quite lovely):

good morning good harbor

Good Morning Good Harbor

Jul 172016

quarry and ocean
quarry and ocean

A bright summer weekend in Rockport and Halibut Point. Halibut Point State Park, owned and managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Trustees of Reservations, includes a former quarry seen in the above photo. This Boston Globe article, Cape Ann Park Tells Ice Age Story, notes that the quarry was known for “particularly dense granite that was used to construct the Custom House Tower and Longfellow Bridge in Boston as well as New York’s Holland Tunnel and Brooklyn Bridge.” The depth of the quarry is evident by the water’s deep blue color. In a shallow pond not far away, we also saw three stages of tadpoles.

Halibut Point
Halibut Point



Here are two views of the Halibut Point State Park Visitor Center and Tower, a former World War Two artillery and fire control tower, which, according to wikipedia, was intended to assist in aiming the coastal weapons defending the harbors at Boston and Plymouth.

fortified lighthouse (with cloud)through the trees

This picturesque old shed begged to be processed in sepia (a color version may be seen here).

old shed_sepia
And finally, here’s a shot of Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse. According to Lighthouses of Cape Ann “Straitsmouth Light was built in 1835 to mark the entrance to nearby Rockport Harbor [and] is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard, but the island itself is owned by the Massachusetts Audubon Society as a bird and wildlife sanctuary.”

Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse

Jul 112016

Whoever Loves a Garden…

We had this memorial bench for my dad installed in the Tree Peony Garden within Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha’s 100+ acre botanical garden and center. Lauritzen Gardens is an “urban oasis of beauty and tranquility” and a “living museum of unique four-season plant displays maintained to the highest standards consistent with environmental stewardship.” It also boasts the fairly new 17,500 square foot Daugherty Conservatory. Some shots of the Gardens and Conservatory may be seen in this set on Flickr.

The inscription on the bench reads “whoever loves and understands a garden will find contentment within.”  This Chinese proverb is a fitting sentiment for the Tree Peony Garden (the Tree Peony is the national flower of China). It’s also a fitting inscription for my father, and leapt out at us when we were considering appropriate quotations last year.

Whoever loves a garden will find contentment within


The stone bench was designed to to complement the three large Kaneko ceramic sculptures that surround the Tree Peony Garden. Jun Kaneko is a renown ceramic and set design artist based in Omaha. As Kaneko says in this 5 minute CBS Sunday Morning news piece on his art, “I call it the spiritual scale. I am trying to make some piece strong enough to pull viewer into it. Then the physical scale is not the issue. You become one with it.”

Installed in November,  I first saw the bench in late December when I was home for the holidays. Here are a couple of shots from that trip:
Dormant Tree Peony Garden

Dormant (December) Tree Peony Garden

memorial bench with the river in the background

Memorial bench in December with the river in the background

behind the bench and Kanekos

Bench and river rocks
bench and river rocks


Full set may be seen here on Flickr.


Jul 062016

sunset over the midwest
Sunset on a Wing

The setting sun casts cool shadows on the wing. An iPhone photo shot while flying somewhere over the Midwest above Lake Michigan on the return flight from a trip to my hometown.  On the flight out of Boston a week earlier, we flew over Niagara Falls.  Here’s how the falls looked from the plane:

Flying Over Niagra Falls

The rapids on the Niagara River before the falls are easier to make out than the falls themselves. Lake Erie is in the background.  In the cropped version of the same shot, below, you can clearly see the Horseshoe Falls and American Falls, the rapids above the falls, and the rapids and Niagara Gorge below the falls.

Niagra Falls from the air

btw, the title of this post is taken from the album of the same name, which documented the 1982 European tour of The Durutti Column, Paul Haig, Richard Jobson and a couple other acts associated with Belgium label Les Disques du Crépuscule / Factory Benelux. Here’s the charming For Friends in Belgium by The Durutti Column from that release, which is a short sketch of a track written for the tour–subsequently fleshed out and recorded for DC’s Lotta Continua studio release–that went on to become a fairly well-known Durutti Column track, as DC tracks go. To my great surprise, the full track even appeared on the Washington Post website following the Brussels terrorist bombings in March. Peace.

Jun 292016

Hi Hat
Hi Hat (with Sir Duke, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Billie Holiday)

The Hi Hat, once one of Boston’s premier jazz clubs, is part of the African-American Honor Roll mural by artist Jameel Parker on the Harriet Tubman House in Boston’s South End. As noted in this Boston Magazine article on public art in the South End, Parker “attended Boston Public Schools throughout his adolescence and later attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. ‘Honor Roll’ spans two sides of the Harriet Tubman House and honors various people of color relevant to Boston’s South End. Featuring everyone from musicians to activists, the energetic mural and the faces depicted are vibrant and celebratory.”

The honor roll also includes Harriet Tubman, Sir Duke, Miles, Charlie Parker, and Rosa Parks:
Harriet Tubman Mural

DUKE (with Miles and Charlie Parker)Rosa
Duke Ellington (with Miles Davis and Charlie Parker) |  Rosa Parks

For more information, see also: Harriet Tubman House, Boston’s African-American History Museum and African-American Meeting House.