Monday 30 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Maddening Crowds
It is a while since I featured one of Charles Winpenny's pictures: this one caught my eye because I imagine that house must be a very peaceful place to live. The scene is Towan Beach, Newquay, in the English county of Cornwall. A number of lines from the 'Jerry Seinfeld' series spring to mind, especially Mr. Costanza senior clenching his teeth and yelling for "Serenity Now!". The Seinfeld characters always become nervous when their 'significant other' relationships reach that dangerous 'unannounced drop-in' stage. None of these problems exist here, in what I imagine to be a haven of serenity. If only that bridge was a drawbridge! Madding or maddening, both are equally repellant.
Never read 'Far from the Madding Crowd', Thomas Hardy's 19th century novel of courtships and relationships between the rustics in the fictitious English countryside of 'Wessex'? There is no need to need to trouble yourself by making the effort, just pop along to AWERTY.com for an almost effortless literary summary. The author claims Hardy was censored for his descriptions of sexual relationships: I think that what may have been meant was censured, but if I am wrong that in itself sounds like a very interesting line of enquiry. There are 68,999 other essays to choose from, so with this bluffers guide you can become erudite in only a few days.
I was pontificating to she who must be obeyed that like my father I despised instant erudition. She did manage to deflate me somewhat by pointing out that I had said exactly that same thing, at exactly the same point on our journey to the nearby town, on the previous Saturday. A lesser man might have taken this to be a clear sign of boring decrepitude. However, I take it as a sign that I am at least consistent in my beliefs. That aside, how I wish this resource had been available when I was cramming for English Literature examinations. Needs must when the Devil drives hardest, which was often the case in my misspent youth.
Sunday 29 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Vlad the Impaler
Weblog favorite Tony Richards has been on vacation all last week in Whitby, said to be the place that inspired Bram Stoker's 'Count Dracula'. Tony's picture of Whitby Harbour just makes me wonder what Stoker had been taking to conjure up such warped nonsense. The historical 15th century figure who was the inspiration behind the Gothic novels main character must have been a far more frightening prospect.
Author Benjamin H. Leblanc has a concise biography of the life of Vlad Tepes Dracula. He was also known as 'Vlad the Impaler' for reasons that will become apparent if you read his story. Maybe not a good way to make friends, but certainly an effective way to influence people. His rule was so firm that it is said that he placed a golden drinking goblet in the central square of Tirgoviste so that travellers might refresh themselves. It was never stolen. His answer to poverty in his kingdom will probably appeal to you if you have extreme right wing views.
Tony is now back in Lakeland, well away from such dark fantasies. Although come to think of it, Croglin village in the nearby Eden Valley did once have an outbreak of vampirism, and heaven alone knows what stories Colonel Lacey and Long Meg and Her Daughters might have to tell.
Saturday 28 September 2002
Pix of the Day: More Pictures from Space
This is the extra picture provided by Dr. Jay Apt for this feature. The picture shows another view of Mt. Everest taken form the international space station, and is also available as a high resolution image, suitable for viewing on larger monitors. Jay has also provided a corrected version that may be seen at normal resolution or at a higher resolution for viewing on larger monitors.
I thought visitors might also like to see a picture of Jay from his days as an astronaut. If you go to the OrbitExperience website there are many more pictures, including some of Jay on the unscheduled space walk when the malfunctioning Gamma Ray Observatory had to be deployed manually. The website also has a news section so you can keep up to date with current developments, and a 'This Week in Space' history of the exploration events. A very rich site, well worth a full investigation.
I would like to thank Dr. Apt for his kindness in allowing me to use his pictures, linking to his website, and for his help in preparing this feature.
Friday 27 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Mt. Everest from Space
Dr. Jay Apt has walked in space! It happened when Jay flew as a member of the crew of the space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-37 mission, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on April 5 1991. During the mission, the crew deployed the Gamma Ray Observatory to study the universe by observing the most energetic form of radiation. Jay and crewmate Jerry Ross performed an unscheduled space walk during which they manually deployed the observatory's large radio antenna when remotely controlled motors failed to do so. The following day they did another space walk, scheduled this time, to perform research.
This stunning picture comes from Jay's OrbitExperience website, which has two photogalleries with pictures of the earth taken from space, and much more besides. The picture of Mt. Everest makes it easy to see why the Nepalese call it 'Sagarmatha' (a Sanskrit word meaning "Abode of Snow'), and the Tibetans call it 'Qomolangma' (Chomolangma meaning 'Goddess-Mother'). If you find these images as awe inspiring as I do then you may want to read how Jay and others reviewed all 286,000 NASA photographs taken over a 30 year period, then selected the most spectacular 156 for a book entitled 'Orbit: NASA Astronauts Photograph the Earth'. Pictures in the book are scanned and corrected from the originals, so the quality is superb.
Dr. Apt's biography reads like the fulfillment of a young boy's dreams: four space missions with 35 days in space; a visit to the Russian Mir space station; recipient of NASA's highest medal; former museum director; and professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He now divides his time between lecturing and his work as Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer of iNetworks LLC, a venture capital firm.
For those further interested in Mt. Everest ThinkQuest has a comprehensive website. For a more first hand experience of trekking in the Himalayas Gordon Cook (as part of 'The Cook Report on the Internet') has an interesting selection of maps and pictures. Today's feature picture is also available at a higher resolution, suitable for viewing on large monitors. Dr. Apt has also kindly contributed another picture for this article, Mt. Everest taken at a later date from the international space station. That picture will be featured tomorrow.
Thursday 26 September 2002
Pix of the Day: JWP's Bitter Harvest
There are a number of pictures of John Wesley Powell to be found on the web. Earlier pictures show him as a young soldier with the extravagant whiskering of the day. Later pictures show him as a late 19th century administrator with a grizzled beard. However, these are my two favorite pictures of Powell. He was a driving force behind the institution that eventually became the 'Bureau of American Ethnography'. Lasting from 1879 to 1965 the Bureau was established under the Smithsonian Institution to sponsor and publish research about Native Americans. Powell must have met many Native Americans, and these two pictures seem to sum that up nicely. Both pictures, 'The Mirror Case' with Powell talking with a Ute woman Tau-ruv in the Uintah Valley, UT in 1873 or 1874 taken by John K. Hillers, and Powell on horseback speaking to a Native American, are courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.
In 1893 John Wesley Powell, addressing the International Irrigation Congress, said, "I tell you gentlemen you are piling up a heritage of conflict and litigation over the water rights for there is no sufficient water to supply the land." The man who had measured the water flows, determined that an acre-foot of water was needed to support a family of four, was saying there was not enough to go round. The audience rose to boo and jeer at the man who was telling them something they did not want to hear. You may read and hear on the NPR website historian and land manager William deBuys talking about Powell's legacy, and how his work is relevant today. The Missoulian has an interview with deBuys about his book 'Seeing Things Whole: The Essential John Wesley Powell', a reassessment of Powell's life and work.
The Arizona Republic has a whole section devoted to drought topics. There are declared emergencies in several states, but still the spirit of free enterprize demands that restrictions are not placed into legislation. Instead the authorities 'turn up the volume' on public service messages. Charles F. Hutchinson is a professor in the Office of Arid Land Studies, College of Agriculture, the University of Arizona, and has a page on the Cosmos Club website (Powell was a founding member) about the legacy of the rush to exploit the arid west. The Biography of America website tells how the 1862 'Homestead Act' spurred on the notion of 'Manifest Destiny' so that Powell's warnings were ignored, leading to his retirement, a defeated man.
In 'A River No More: the Colorado River and the West'
(1981, now out of print) author Philip L. Fradkin had this to say:
"The Canyon Ditch is the first diversion of water from the Green River. It is the highest man-made interference with the natural flow of the Colorado River system and thus of great, although virtually unnoticed, significance to the seven states in the watershed. From the headgate of the ditch, it is almost 1,700 miles to the last diversion of water from the river - the headgate of a similarly unlined ditch the Mexicans have dug through the sands of the delta to divert the last flow of the river north into Laguna Salada. Between these two ditches, dug with the same knowledge available to ancients - that water runs safely downhill if the incline is steady but slight - is gathered the most technically complex assemblage of waterworks in the world, run by such complex gadgetry as computers and laser beams and all girdled by a dense network of treaties, laws, and administrative decisions of such talmudic proportions that they are known only to a few."
Wednesday 25 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Men of Action
This picture, courtesy of Philip Greenspun, was shot during a 1999 re-enactment of Major John Wesley Powell's epic exploration of the great river that drains the arid Southwest United States. A superb higher resolution version of the picture is also available if you have a big monitor, showing the boat shooting the Lava Rapids in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. Philip is something of a modern day adventurer in the Powell manner: his Travels With Samantha is an Internet classic (winner of a Best of the Web '94 award), the story of an extended journey through America with a laptop computer, seeing places and meeting people. The website eventually became a lavish book that arouses in me the sin of covetousness. You may check out the progress of Philip's current adventure, which is piloting a small airplane on a route from Boston to Alaska and back again… the long way.
The Grand Canyon expeditions, there were two of them in 1869 and 1871, established Powell's reputation. He was the first man to navigate the vast river system, and the first man to sail through the Grand Canyon: an earlier claimant, if in fact he managed to succeed, did so by floating down the river to escape capture. There are several excellent web resources available if you want to read summaries of Powell's life and achievements. Check out the 'John Wesley Powell Memorial Museum' in Page, Arizona at the foot of the reservoir that was created when the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado was built, and named Lake Powell in his honor.
The Smithsonian has a page with other details, a picture of Powell's life preserver worn on the first expedition, and details about Powell's later fight to establish the now world famous USGS (United States Geological Survey). Canyon-Country.com has another biographical summary, with details of Page, Lake Powell, and the surrounding area. GrandHikes has the story of the passage through the Grand Canyon illustrated with some of the sketches from Powell's own account of the journey. The 'John Wesley Powell River History Museum', in Green River, UT has many interesting pages on Powell, and the earlier explorations of the area.
There is such an abundance of information about Powell on the web that I found it difficult to marshall it all into a readable account. One website stands out as a way to get a sense of how the explorer went into the last uncharted territories of the new country that had become the United States: Bob Robokas' Grand Canyon Explorer details the journey in way that is succinct yet brings the story vividly to life. This is a very rich site, worthy of extended exploration, much as Powell himself would have done. For regular readers of this weblog the photogallery is of special interest.
Tuesday 24 September 2002
Pix of the day: One-Armed River Runner
23 September 2002 was the 100th anniversary of the death of Major John Wesley Powell, who was a Civil War hero, an explorer of the American Southwest, and a government official whose work is even more relevant today than in his own lifetime. The featured picture above, by Earl & Gail Cook, is of Green River Lake, near the source of the Green River. The Green begins high in the Wind River Mountains on the west slopes, close to where seven of the largest glaciers in the Rocky Mountains are located. The picture comes from the Green River Rendezvous 2000 website by Earl & Gail, which is highly recommended if you have any interest in the Old West, or even just enjoy a good yarn with pictures. Little Dale Lake is the official source, a lake that is half frozen most of the year. Powell was the first man to navigate the 1,500 mile length of the Colorado River basin, and his journey began on the Green, ending where the Colorado leaves the Grand Canyon. There is also a larger version of the picture.
Powell is pictured left, in a photograph by Wells Sawyer taken around 1886, sitting in his Adams Building office. The picture is courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution from their page on the story of the founding of the National Museum. [Smithsonian Institution: BAE Negative # 64-2-13]. After a distinguished military career, he lost his right arm at the Battle of Shiloh, Powell returned to his academic life as a geologist. He became an explorer, but is contribution to modern life was his work as the man who understood that the development of the arid Southwest United states was dependent on water. He measured water resources, the terms 'run-off' and 'acre-foot' were devloped from his work, trained other water specialists, and took his ideas into high office. He became a victim of the political in-fighting of his day, and his fall from power was rapid. He is buried in Arlington Cemetry. Over the next two days I will retell his life story, and try to relate his work and ideas to a modern context. Powell is now attracting attention in a time when overstretched water resources, and the impact of water management of the environment, are becoming an increasingly urgent topic.
Monday 23 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Geomarginalism is Dead
Several myths became unsustainable in the post-Internet world: one of these was that some places were central and other places were marginal. Now everywhere is at the center of somewhere, and geomarginalism is dead. Map makers beginning with Mercator, whose projection puts London firmly at the centre of the known world by increasingly distorting the margins, only give credence to to such absurd notions. I am able to correspond daily with people who are right at the centre of both their own world, and the wider world.
Australian journalist Eric Shackle, (WHOOPS! there goes another myth, because at the age of 79 years Eric defied the ageists by launching a new career as an Internet web publisher), drew my attention to the works of Margie and Chris McClelland. The photograph is taken from Margie's gallery, and the drawing is taken from one of Chris's galleries. The couple live and work among the 40,000 sheep on the vast 185,000 acre Tupra Station, near Hay, New South Wales, Australia. Chris has also done a small number of Australian drawings: you may marvel, as I did, at the drawing of the Eastern Bearded Dragon, done only with ink dots. The website offers prints from Chris's award winning work at very affordable prices.
Those of you who are paying attention will have realised that hornbills and elephants are not creatures that one readily associates with the Australian outback. The McClellands have an abiding passion for Africa and its wildlife, which provide the inspiration for their work. They obviously look beyond their immediate location to a continent that is part of their family history, so they are certainly not in any sense guilty of some form of geomarginalism. The family name taken in conjunction with naming their son Lochiel might be another clue to their history: to this day when Cameron of Lochiel enters the City of Glasgow, Scotland, the bells are rung in thanksgiving for the Lochiel who prevented the sacking of the city in the 1745 uprising.
The McClelland website does not neglect local interests either, but provides some great links to other local artists, businesses, and organisations. The nearby town of Hay (50 miles is nearby in this big country) has an interesting history, and lots of activities currently in progress. I found a definitely non-geomarginalist map that clearly puts Hay at the midway point of the Sturt Highway between Sydney and Adelaide. The area is part of the Riverina district, which includes names that may be more familiar to you than you might imagine: Wagga Wagga and the Barossa wine growing area fall within its purlieus. A famous location nearby is One Tree Plain, with the epoymous One Tree Hotel. Regrettably the tree blew down in a gale on New Years Eve 1987: a terrible loss when there is only one!
There will be a short intermission while I struggle with the time differences between the USA and Australia. If I receive copyright permissions later this evening (local time, but early morning in the antipodes) the daily update for Monday should be around 01:00GMT, a couple of hours later than usual. My Mamma told me there would be days like this… meanwhile, enjoy this fine picture from Tony Sainsbury at EyeOnTheLakes.com: the classic picture of the Dru and the Montenvers rack railway. Taken from Tony's Alpine gallery, the URL may be removed by Tony at some time.
Sunday 22 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Family Picnic Nightmare
It's a long story… patient visitors with larger monitors can get the big picture. I saw this extended limo parked across four bays at our local shopping mall, while the driver tried to figure out how to get it running. A nightmarish scenario passed before my eyes, of a party of whinging kids and disgruntled relatives demanding to know when the transport would be fixed so they could continue on to their picnic. It happened to me once on vacation in Yorkshire, England with a Mini, which was bad enough. On this scale I would have freaked… actually, I think I probably did.
Saturday 21 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Sublime and Subliminal
I confess at the start that I am not a lover of the grandiose, not even for temples or cathedrals. The picture on the left is the LDS Temple in St. George, UT. That on the right is the east facade of La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain. I have seen a big enough sampling of famous religious buildings to say that for me the intended effect just does not happen. I always have a niggling suspicion that the architects are celebrating the worldly achievements of their patrons rather than the divinities in whose name the buildings are erected. I apologise unreservedly if that causes offence to anyone in southern Utah, where people have been openly welcoming to this heathen from a far off shore. The nearby Tabernacle does get full marks!
That's not to say that within their own terms of reference many of the buildings do not work at some level. At night he LDS Temple burns like a beacon in the center of the surrounding town. The medieval cathedrals of Rouen, Orvietto, Mont St. Michel, Durham, Salisbury, Lincoln, and Wells are each splendid in their own way. Even the stumpy, much knocked about, truncated cathedral of my home town of Carlisle is not without its own endearing features.
I have never seen Antonin Gaudi's Barcelona Cathedral, but I think that may just work for me because of the playful, capricious nature of its surrealist references. The picture was taken by Angus McIntyre whose site is well worth a visit. Click on the handy site map and there are six galleries for areas all round the world. The specialist sections for Petra, and the Inca Trail are absorbing… but there's much more; poetry, writing, and collecting to name just some. Everything is nicely ordered on the site, which is as neat and well implemented as anything you will find on the net. Dig deep enough and you will even find a recipe book that includes Greek style spinach pies!
Friday 20 September 2002
Pix of the Day: IN•2•IT West Coast Cool
This picture is of Donna & Robin, who jointly are IN•2•IT. You can catch their next gig in Springdale, UT on Sept. 27+28 from 12-3pm and again from 6-9pm at the Sol Foods Restaurant. Springdale is at the entrance to the Zion National Park, and from the terrace where IN•2•IT will be performing you may watch the sun go down on the Zion cliffs. The music is 'tasty, bluesy, and jazzy'. Being uncultured in such matters, at their last appearance I asked a fan what type of music they were playing, to which he responded 'West Coast Cool, Man'. I thought Donna's voice had more than a hint of Bonnie Raitt, and that the way Robin swings his axe at the end of the riffs was early Claptonesque. That probably explains why 'Rolling Stone' has never featured any of my work. If you dig it there is a fan size version of the picture suitable for on larger monitors.
Perfumery in the Early 20th Century
These delightful Geraniums at Hackett Forge, Little Langdale in the English Lake District, are from Tony Richards' update for today on his LakelandCAM.co.uk website. The essential oil of this plant was a late arrival, though a close relation Herb Robert had been used medicinally for centuries. Adolphe Saafeld of Manchester in England was a surviving passenger on the Titanic, on his way to New York carrying a satchel containing sample ampoules of perfume. The satchel was recovered in 2000 and it is said that the perfume in Adolphe's ampoules is as fragrant today as it was when it went down with the ship. RMS Titanic, Inc. in association with Quest International are planning to create a perfume based on Adolphe's samples. David Pybus, who is a Perfume Historian for Quest International, has a webpage with the story of perfumery in the first decade of the 20th century.
Thursday 19 September2002
Pix of the Day: Plugs of the Auvergne
I have not been lucky enough to meet in person many of the people whose work I have featured here. However, I am fairly sure that one lovely summer's day several years ago I did bump into Tony Sainsbury, the photographer who took today's picture. I was walking Swirral Edge in the English Lake District about 4 years ago with my colleague Robert, when we stepped aside to allow a stream of younger, more athletic persons, to pass on the track down to Red Tarn. Another… ahem… mature gent joined us, and we passed the time of day: I think that was Tony, but cannot be sure until he has checked his walking diary. Unfortunately I have only my memory to rely on, a method fraught with problems of unreliability. Tony descended at that point because he had an appointment to keep, but Robert and I continued along the ridge to the deserted summit of Catstycam, to enjoy the wonderful name of the place also known as Catstye Cam and Catchedicam, for some quiet uncrowded reflection.
Meanwhile, Tony has been on vacation in the mountainous areas of France. Today's picture is of two denuded volcanic plugs near to Le Mont Dore in the region to the south of Clermont-Ferrand, part of the Massif central, in the Auvergne region of France. From my own window I can see a volcanic plug named Molly's Nipple, one of six topographical features in the area to bear that name: as local guide 'Ranger' Bart Anderson remarks in his lectures, "She must have been one interesting woman". There is an excellent site about volcanoes at ThinkQuest.org, which is clear and concise for non specialists. Graeme and his son Alasdair walked south through the wonderful countryside of the Auvergne. Their website records the journey with excellent maps and pictures. You may accompany them (perhaps after adjusting your browser's text size) and be accompanied by the strains of Marie Joseph Canteloube de Calaret's 'Bailèro' from the wonderful 'Songs of the Auvergne'; beautiful music for the female voice.
Wednesday 18 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Gold Panning in Georgia
This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is Gold Standard panning! If you have ever used the panning technique to swing the camera so that a fast moving subject is captured pin sharp against a blurred background, then you will know that it is not as easy as the instruction manuals make it sound. Click the picture for the original, unsullied by the usual compression I apply for a fast download. This fine example comes from Cyber Motorsports coverage of the 2001 'Petit le Mans' event at the Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center in Georgia, USA. Earl & Gail Cook, otherwise know as LaserSol, are the husband and wife team behind this and many other interesting sites. The 2002 Petit Le Mans is scheduled for 9-12 October, so look out for more action shots then.
Tuesday 17 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Far Out Farr
Regular readers of this weblog will be familiar with John H. Farr, whose photographs of Taos, NM have often graced these pages. Indeed, today's featured picture, Taos Mountain, was taken by John as the seasons changed at 7,000 feet of altitude in the high Rocky Mountains around Taos. John is also a writer, one who fell in love with northern New Mexico, and abandoned his comfortable life in lush green Maryland to pursue his dreams in the harsher environment of Taos, with some harsher realities to be learned. Now he has published an account of his experiences, called Buffalo Lights. Interestingly he has chosen the e-book format, which is being released in advance of the paperback edition. Follow that link and you may read three sample chapters with a full synopsis of the contents. Then for a paltry $9.99 you may download the e-book; payment includes free updates as material is revised or added.
Taos has attracted writers since the early part of the last century. The full list contains luminaries like Spud Johnson, Myron Brinig, and perhaps the most revered of them all Frank Waters. English writer DH Lawrence tried to start a community there under the patronage of heiress Mabel Dodge Luhan, whose stellar lifestyle attracted a whole coterie of the literatti and glitteratti of her day. John's going to have his work cut out to follow in those footsteps! The list of Taos artists is equally impressive: my favorites are Georgia O'Keefe and Lady Dorothy Brett (only the less whimsical paintings), who was the only person, with the exception of Larence's wife Frieda, to join him in the Rananim Community experiment.
Monday 16 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Brazos Cliffs
US Highway 64 upper eastward from Farmington, NM towards Taos, NM. The route crosses the Continental Divide and The Brazos Pass, then runs along the Chama valley before crossing the Rio Grande just before Taos. It is one of the most beautiful roads I have ever travelled, winding through a variety of breathtaking vistas, and looping through intimate valleys. Crossing the Continental Divide was not the breathtaking summit I had imagined: the marker sits on a flat pasture with farmers on tractors going about their work. The Brazos Pass is where the Divide should really run if there was any justice. The road seems to climb forever among the golden autumn aspens to a broad summit, just beyond that there is the Brazos Overlook. Those cliffs are 2,000 feet of clear rock face and the tops are over 11,000 feet of altitude above sea level. There is a bigger picture for those with large monitors, requiring a correspondingly longer download time.
Sunday 15 September 2002
Pix of the day: Western Justice
This is the Old Courthouse in St. George, UT. When the Mormon Pioneers first arrived in Southern Utah they quickly began to build the infrastructure of an ordered society. Preceded by the Tabernacle, the Mormon Temple in St. George was completed even before the main Temple in Salt Lake City. These buildings have survived because they are maintained and cherished, not only as part of the heritage of the town, but for use as meeting places and public institutions.
Saturday 14 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Steam Driven Harz
Webmaster Alan Newble is a rail enthusiast as well as being a prodigious all round photographer. He has eleven galleries, with landscapes and general photographs, some that were prize winers, in addition to the trains from many countries. Alan took today's featured picture in the Harz Mountains, and here is the story in his own words:
'The Harz Mountain system is a wonderful find for the steam enthusiast. At one time it was in East Germany, with a branch up the Brocken Mountain that went close to West Germany, which was therefore lifted. When I first visited, with Rail Travel and Photography, in 1994 it was very busy all over, incredibly well maintained, unlike the roads, and nearly all steam! Branches ran everywhere, junctions abounded, and presented two or more trains leaving simultaneously. I returned last year with my wife, who is a JS Bach fan, and found the system sadly different. The good news is that the Brocken Line is re-instated, and trains from Wernigerode to Brocken Mountain are frequent, all steam, and pass at the junction at Drei Annen Hohne; marvellous for photos. The bad news is that the rest is very run down - with closed stations, dowdy or peeling paintwork on most, few steam trains and some diesel railcars. In fact the main-line from Nordhausen to Drei Annen Hohne has just 2 steam trains per day when we visited. The branches to Gernrode, Harzgerode, and Hassefelde had about one steam train per day, though some specials plied the branches.'
There is more information at SteamCentral, including region and system maps, plus travel details for getting to the area. There is a good geology guide to the region, where the highest peak is the Brocken of spectre fame (ascended by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe on 10 December 1777, a man who knew a good hike when he saw one), a Webshots gallery and there is even a Steinbach Nutcrackers website, called 'Magic of Nutcrackers', devoted to the local industry, apparently making collectors items. By comparison rail enthusiasts seem a very normal bunch of people.
Friday 13 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Arise in Splendor
Quite by happenstance, the result of a delay while I was waiting for permission to use this image, yesterday's magnificent sunset is followed by a splendorous dawn on the other side of the world. This is Brisbane City in Queensland, Australia. If you are a user with a larger monitor, then there is a larger version available. For this feature the photographer was Colin Austerberry (username 'austerco' if you want to find him), who is one of the contributors to the Webshots Community. Colin has six albums available, in which he shares his life through pictures of his family, vehicles, vacations, and two galleries of the beautiful countryside of the land where he lives.
Webshots is vast Internet resource, with 14 million registered members, 20 million archived photos, and more than 70,000 new photos added every day by enthusiastic photographers like Colin. The keyword 'brisbane' returns 696 results, of which the featured picture was the best in my opinion. There are galleries grouped by themes, most downloaded pictures, and featured contributors. Sprinkled among the images you will also find commercial posters available for purchase, and there is direct access to the work of some professional photographers.
Desktop software (Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP only) is available to make the most of the pictures, and other computer applications are also available. All the content is 'family friendly', and a check for 'adult content' search terms returned a screen that reinforced this point. Webshots membership is free, though you do not need to be a member to access the website. Other levels of membership will give you access to advanced features, such as high resolution versions of the images. If you want a picture of something, it is very likely that Webshots will have it in their archives.
[Dedicated to Brisbane resident Melisanda, even when elsewhere not forgotten.]
Thursday 12 September 2002
Pix of the Day: The Sun Will Rise Again
Shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center I was invited to my sister in law's wedding. Almost one year later I was unable to find any adequate way to memorialize the events of 11 September 2002. I struggled to find a way to mark the day because it was just so big. Where to begin? How to avoid crassness and fake sentimentality? How to represent the events of a year ago as a tragedy for all humanity, without dishonoring people from many nations who suffered real loss? How to avoid turning the events into a media feature to be gawped at, then forgotten?
One picture, which for me at least, captured the sense of devastation coupled with the will to survive, and grow beyond the painful events, was by Bill Biggart. You may read the story of the personal tragedy behind the picture. However, somehow the act of going out to seek such a symbol negated its value for the intended context. The unsolicited arrival of an email, from my now brother in law George, quoted here in its entirety, was quite different. It also seems appropriate to me that this feature will appear on 12 September, rather than the memorial day itself.
"Attached is a photograph taken at our house by Rick Capozza almost one year ago at the time of our wedding. The beautiful New Mexico sunset framed by the American flag is a beautiful tribute to all those who suffered and died in our national tragedy September 11, 2001. To me it symbolizes not just our strength and unity but our belief that social, economic and political justice is necessary for all of us on this small planet to live in peace and prosperity." George M. Henke.
I thank the extended Lock family for accepting me into their midst with love and kindness. If you have a larger monitor there is a larger version of the picture. Whoever you are, and wherever you are reading this, please fly your own flag for social, economic and political justice for all of humanity to live in peace and prosperity.
Wednesday 11 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Tawharanui Was Framed!
This picture delighted me! It must have been done before, surely? I did a piece a while back on Claude Glasses, but those New Zealanders have a refreshingly direct approach to the technique. The photographer was Alexander Todorenko, who has a whole gallery of pictures taken at this spot, Goat Island, Ti Point, Tawharanui Regional Park, near Auckland in New Zealand. Alexander has a regular updates page and a growing galleries section including one of Auckland City that will give you a flavour of the webmaster's hometown. The first picture of Alexander's that I featured, 'Gnawed by the Wind', still sticks in my mind's eye as one of the finest available on this site.
Tuesday 10 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Pantiled Elegance
David Fields is the webmaster of ClevelandCAM. His usual area of operation is that eponymous county in the northeast of England, though if you follow that link this week's gallery is Nerja, Costa del Sol, Spain! Cleveland is a region of enormous contrasts: along the River Tees there are heavy chemical and engineering industries; in the countryside there are open moors with delightful period villages; on the coast there are seaside towns and fishing villages that have withstood the pace of change that has affected other places.
One such coastal village is Runswick Bay, which has many happy memories for me. The red roofed houses you see in the picture are finshed with pantiles, a form of roofing tile developed in the Low Countries on the European mainland. Ships returning from delivering to the Dutch ports, would use pantiles as ballast and a return load. Because of their low cost and good local availability they became a feature of the vernacular architecture along the northeast coast. The essence of a pantile is that it has S-curved edges that overlap the adjoining tile, a very good feature for keeping out the weather. Not that this is necessary hereabouts, because as you can see the sun always shines in Runswick Bay!
Monday 9 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Goathland Station
My favourite virtual walking page to visit is Don Burluraux' NorthYorkMoorsCAM. Currently Don is featuring a walk from the village of Goathland (this will change when the site is updated, but there is an archive), the setting for 'Aidensfield' in the UK televison series 'Heartbeat'. This fine picture of the restored railway station, with the village beyond, is part of the walk gallery. The walk goes from Goathland via Lilla Cross to Eller Beck, before heading back to the starting point. Along the way you will see ancient stone crosses and way markers, old steam trains, giant golf balls, poisonous snakes… and did I mention the fine open countryside of the North York Moors with blooming heather?
Sunday 8 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Brodsworth Hall
Photographer John Beres' website covers the English counties of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, but does range further afield. I chose to feature these two pictures, part of a gallery John made after a visit to Brodsworth Hall, near Doncaster in the county of South Yorkshire. The site has a number of galleries themed by location, and two flower galleries. Usefully for such a site, there is also a map to give you an idea of John's usual area of operation.
Saturday 7 September 2002
Pix of the Day: The Derby Ram
The ram is a significant symbol for the townsfolk of Derby, county town of Derbyshire, which is in the heart of England. Garth Newton, who took today's featured picture, is the webmaster of IlkCAM in the nearby town of Ilkeston. Garth has a page devoted to Derby Rams of one sort of another. Garth also ranges up the Erewash Valley and across the neighbouring county of Nottingamshire. There are lots of pictures, a good archive section, and collections of special interest. Pay a visit to see this corner of England, and elsewhere when the CAM goes on holiday.
Friday 6 September 2002
Pix of the Day: All Quiet in Gallipoli
The name Gallipoli will bring back memories to many from an older generation. Today however 'The Beautiful City' is a quiet seaside town, photographed by Paolo Borgognone. Paolo's website is Rome-CAM, which more usually features pictures of 'The Eternal City'. Nothing like a few descriptive labels to clear the air! This was my first visit, so I wished there was an archive, but I guess I'll just have to keep checking back to catch Paolo's updates.
Thursday 5 September 2002
Pix of the Day: All is Vanity
Alex Thomas is the webmeister at SwanseaCAM, and took this picture of a Peacock on a recent visit to Carreg Cennen Castle, which is located 4 miles southeast of Llandeilo, near Trapp in the western part of the Brecon Beacons mountains known as the Black Mountain, South Wales, UK. King Solomon in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 1.2, concludes from his search for a life apart from God, that "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity". That seems to fairly sum up the male Peacock's way of living, though as a friend of mine was fond of remarking about Solomon's homily, "Hardly a life changing observation from a man unwise enough to have seven hundred wives, some princesses, and three hundred concubines". Think of all those mothers in law!
Alex does a thorough photo tour, and notes that although the Welsh Princes of Deheubarth built the first castle at Carreg Cennen, what remains today dates to King Edward I's period of castle-building following his conquest of Wales. Now there was another man with a sense of his own importance. He died on Burgh Marsh (pronouced 'Bruff' in that delightful volte face way of my countrymen) on the Solway coast of Cumbria, looking out towards Scotland.
After Edward's defeat by Robert Bruce at Bannockburn in 1314, Scots balladeers were triumphant. Much later Robert Burns wrote a version 'Scots wha hae' and a modern song 'Flower of Scotland' has the lines "...stood against him, proud Edward's army, and sent him homeward, tae think again". Think indeed Edward did. When he had finished thinking he returned, and as Scottish comdedian Billy Connolly's jokes "…he came back and gave us a really good f∗∗∗ing!" Edward became known thereafter as 'Scottorum Malleus' -- 'Hammer of the Scots'.
Edward gave the Welsh considerable attention. Cunning rather than force of arms seems to have characterized his policies there. He promised the Welsh a prince who 'spoke not a word of English'… then invested his tiny baby son as Prince of Wales. The appointment was revived in more recent times for pomp and ceremony. If you follow Alex' photo tour you will get a good sense of how fourteenth century castle building was used to threaten and subdue conquered territory.
Wednesday 04 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Jump Jet Recovery
One month ago, on 2 August 2002, a Royal Air Force Hawker Siddley Harrier 'Jump Jet' crashed into the sea near the English east coast town of Lowestoft. Photographer Ian Davey from SuffolkCAM.co.uk was on hand to capture the recovery. Afterwards the aircraft was cut up and placed on a lowbed truck for its return journey to base at RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire. The BBC reported the crash and the recovery. If you are set up to view RealPlayer format movies the BBC also has video footage of the moment of impact, with the pilot ejecting safely at an altitude of 50 feet.
Two years ago another Harrier crashed on 24 August 2000 to the west of Suffolk in the county of Wiltshire. At £35million a throw ($49million) August is an expensive month for the RAF. Paul Farrer spoke to one Harrier pilot elsewhere, who told him that the plane's onboard computer was "a bit better than a ZX Spectrum but not quite as good as a Commodore 64". Now I know why my buddy who was a military aircraft maintenance technician refuses to fly anywhere! The Joint Strike Fighter that will replace some Harriers were estimated in 2001 to cost between $73million and $106million each -- lets hope a PeeCee running Windows XP is not being considered.
SuffolkCAM has regular updates and an archive that I'm sure reflect the usually more orderly pace of life in that county. The pictures of rivers, swans, sunsets and ancient buildings should give you a good idea of peaceful Suffolk life at its best.
Tuesday 3 September 2002
Pix of the Day: More Timber & Plaster
Yesterday's featured HampshireCAM picture was by one of the two professional photographers who are behind the website, and today it is the turn of David Packman the other partner. David's picture is also of a timber and plaster structure, but in a rural setting: the Fulling Mill at Alresford sits astride the River Alre, and is one of a series of David's pictures taken along the river.
Monday 2 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Tudor House Museum
www.HampshireCAM.co.uk, a weekly updated CAM site about the eponymous English county, is jointly David Packman and Frank Riddle. Today's feature picture of the Tudor House Museum in Southampton is by Frank, so in fairness I have already chosen one of David's for tomorrow's feature. The two are both former Royal Air Force photographers, who on leaving the service became civilian news cameramen.
Frank is still working as a news cameraman in the English county of Hampshire. David is retired and webmaster for their site, as well being Studio Manager and webmaster for Winchester Hospital Radio. Frank's pictures of the wonderful Bargate (a Norman gateway arch dating from 1175) reminded me of when I revisited the town of Southampton after many years absence. This time I was driving a 32-tonne truck, and headed for the docks. I thundered down the long straight approach road ('The Avenue' known as Above Bar and Below Bar, if I remember correctly) and wheeled around the Bargate, only to find myself totally confused while making a dramatic screeching halt, because at the other side there was now a pedestrian only area!
Regular visitors to this weblog may notice three sidebar pulldown menus. You will find that the menu items lead to nineteen UK CAM sites (including HampshireCAM), four CAM sites elsewhere in the world, and three photo gallery sites. All are places I have enjoyed visiting, and more will be added through time.
Sunday 1 September 2002
Pix of the Day: Cornish Wildlife
Today's feature is pair of detail shots from Charles Winpenny's always excellent www.CornwallCAM.co.uk with a Peacock Butterfly and a Common Frog. Swing on over to Charles' site today and he has a Small Copper Butterfly, Nine Maidens, and the 5,000 year old Chun Quoit. Charles' has exceeded even his usual high standards in the last few days.
|. . . . . . . . . . . . |
. . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .
Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)