Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Blowing on my Sax

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A street musician in Chicago plays his saxophone along Michigan Avenue on a June morning. Note that the man has an ID badge around his neck and I’m not sure if that means he has a license to play on the street or that he is a worker who is playing during some free time.


Looks Like the Arctic Circle

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I went to Headlands Beach State Park on a recent Sunday to seek out and photograph ice on Lake Erie. We had had a spell of very cold temperatures following by a few days of above freezing weather.

On Friday Northeast Ohio awakened to temperatures in the upper 50s. But a storm moved in from the northwest and the temperatures plummeted. The storm also brought snow and freezing rain.

Two days later we were treated to a sunny day, albeit with temperatures in the teens.

I was not disappointed in my quest for ice. In the foreground sheets of shelf ice have piled up after hitting an accumulation of ice that began forming in December.

Beyond the shelf ice is deep blue water, but beyond that the lake remains mostly ice-covered.

Marooned in the Ice

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There must be a story behind how this sailboat came to be marooned in an ice field near the mouth of the Grand River in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, where it meets Lake Erie.

I doubt that the boat’s owner made the decision to store his boat in the middle of the river for the winter. Maybe it broke loose from a dock and drifted as far as the ice would allow. Maybe someone was trying to steal it. Maybe it was abandoned. I’ll likely never know.

In the background is the town of Fairport Harbor and the Grand River Light, which also features a museum that is open during the summer.

Not in Kansas

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The state of Kansas is known The Sunflower State and the plant is featured on the state flag. The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas.

It has been that way since 1903 although Kansans didn’t always admire sunflowers. Less than a decade earlier, some called for eradicating what they termed a noxious weed.

But the beauty of the sunflower with its bright yellow pedals and brown center won out and the legislature adopted the wild sunflower as the state’s official floral emblem.

Sunflowers are not limited to Kansas, though. I found this particular plant in downtown Vermilion, Ohio, growing by the side of a building. I don’t think that it was growing wild, though.

Written by csanders429

January 12, 2018 at 6:38 am

Where Will the Road Take You?

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I’ve always seen an open road as an invitation to travel, even if for just a short distance. As a photographer I find a road hard to resist when out making images.

Shown is Gates Pass Road near Tucson, Arizona. It passes through Tucson Mountain Park and we had stopped at a pullover so I could make images of the surrounding mountains.

As often happens, I find myself making open road images when I am actually seeking to photograph something else.

Gates Pass is a twisting, turning road that goes up and over the mountains and is typically traveled by those going from Tucson to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum or the Old Tucson amusement park.

The view here is looking eastward. Follow this road as you see it here and you’ll eventually wind up back in Tucson.

Frozen Furnace Run

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It was late in the afternoon when I arrived at the covered bridge spanning Furnace Run in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I hadn’t planned on making  a photograph expedition to the park on this day, but when the clouds finally started to break around 3 p.m. I decided to head down there. I was going to be in Akron that night anyway so I might as well try to make some winter photographs.

Known as the Everett Covered Bridge, it is the last covered bridge left in Summit County, Ohio. At one time there were more than 2,000 covered bridges in Ohio, but most are gone now.

This bridge is no longer open to vehicle traffic, only pedestrian traffic. At times, the bridge deck has been used for contra dancing.

Once Part of My Life

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For two years the Carnegie Building on the campus of Penn State University was my academic home. I had an office on the second floor, yet I only taught one class that met inside this building during the time I was at Penn State.

Most of the classes taught by the School of Communications met in other buildings because there were few classrooms in the Carnegie Building.

The Carnegie Building opened in 1904 as the Penn State library. It was funded by a $150,000 gift from Andrew Carnegie, a steel industry magnate who served on the PSU board of trustees.

At one point the building was known as Carnegie Hall. It was expanded in 1921 and renovated in 1940 when the library moved to another location on campus.

In the ensuing years, the Carnegie Building was used for numerous uses, including offices, studios and storage for the university’s music program.

The journalism program moved into the Carnegie Building in 1950 and at one time the student newspaper, the Daily Collegian, was housed there.

Today the Carnegie Building is the home of the Donald P. Bellisario School of Communications, named after a 1961 Penn State alum.

The school’s website quotes Bellisario as saying “winning is having the right person believe in you.”

I’ve found more than once during my life that there is much truth to that statement.

Although my time in the Carnegie Building was short, it was quite memorable and not always for good reasons.

I went to Penn State on a one-year contract and it soon became apparent that I would be moving on to something else and not staying for long.

Academic life can be that way. For some, a particular campus can be a lifetime endeavor. But for most people, including students, your time on any given campus is transitory even while it may be quite memorable.

Written by csanders429

January 9, 2018 at 6:39 am