Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Archive for September 2016

Muted Welcome to Pennsylvania

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On the interstate highways, Pennsylvania welcomes visitors with large signs that seek to brand the state with whatever image campaign is in vogue.

When I lived in Pennsylvania, the theme was “America starts here.” The current signs sport the slogan “State of Independence.”

But off the interstate the welcome is a bit more, shall we say, low key.

This sign on U.S. Route 20 on the Pennsylvania-New York border welcomes you but doesn’t describe the state.

But at least the border is marked. I was on a back road that crossed the Pennsylvania-Ohio border southeast of Youngstown, Ohio, that had no sign denoting the state line. No welcome to Pennsylvania. No welcome to Ohio.

I figured out I was in Pennsylvania when most of the cars I saw parked at homes along the side of the road had Pennsylvania license plates.


Written by csanders429

September 30, 2016 at 5:46 am

Last Light of Day

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Catawba sunset 03

I don’t know if these three women had intended to watch the sun set over Lake Erie at Catawba Island State Park.

They arrived well after the sun had set. But they had time to admire the red, orange and yellow glows of the light bending over the horizon and lighting up the sky before the arrival of the blue hour.

In some ways the after sunset light show is just a striking as watching the sun dip below the horizon.

Steps to Mission Point Lighthouse

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If  you follow my blog or spend any time looking around you will notice in time that I like to photograph lighthouses.

This interest is of recent vintage. I’ve long had some interest in lighthouses, but it has accelerated in recent years. Whenever possible, I visit a lighthouse along the Great Lakes.

Shown is Mission Point lighthouse, located at the end of Old Mission Point, which juts out into Grand Traverse Bay, which itself empties into Lake Michigan.

There is a nice beach just steps away from this lighthouse. A website devoted to Mission Point describes it as a classic piece of Michigan history.

It was removed from service as a lighthouse in 1933 so today is is a tourist. Nonetheless, I imagine that many mariners have made note of it as they passed nearby.

This image was made in August 2010 and was scanned from a slide. I have not been back to Mission Point since.

Written by csanders429

September 28, 2016 at 6:11 am

Could be Any Town in Smalltown America

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This view happens to be on the main street leading through Ripley, New York, but it could be any small town in America.

The view is looking west down the sidewalk that runs parallel to U.S. 20 not far from the Pennsylvania-New York border.

There is the ever-present post office, which in many towns is now a modern building. There is a collection of commercial red brick two-story buildings where much of the space is vacant.

And it is all there to see to anyone who drives through and is paying attention.

I made this scene on a Sunday morning when the streets were more empty than usual aside from passing traffic.

Even in the slow lane of small town America, there are always people who have places to go.

Invitation to Sit For Awhile

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Whenever I see a bench overlooking a scenic overlook I consider it an invitation to set for a spell and enjoy the view.

I didn’t do that when I saw this bench overlooking Lake Erie at Barcelona Harbor in Westfield, New York.

I had come to photograph the lighthouse here, which I did, but then I took a a few minutes to look around for some other photographic opportunities.

I didn’t see anyone sit on this bench during my time here. Perhaps not that many people use it. But I suspect that some have taken up the invitation to sit for a while and enjoy the view.

New England Fishing Village

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I don’t remember the name of this town or even what state it is in. It is somewhere in New England, probably in Maine.

I made a trip trip up that way in late October 1978. I had flown in Bangor, rented a car and set out the next day for Acadia National Park.

I don’t even remember what motivated me to travel to Maine. Maybe it was because I had never been there.

More than likely I was driving along and passing through a small town when I saw this scene. I stopped, grabbed my camera and photographed it.

It probably caught my eye because of its beauty but in a way it also captures my mental image of the quintessential New England fishing town. It looks like a scene you might find framed and displayed on the wall of a Red Lobster restaurant.

At the time, I lived in the farm country of America’s Heartland. We didn’t see scenes like this where I grew up. So it must have fascinated me to see something that I had only read about.

I’ve only been back to Maine once since this 1978 trip. I don’t know if I passed through this town or even if I could find it.

Yet it still looks to me like a typical New England fishing village.

My First Lighthouse

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Most of my lighthouse photography has focused on the Great Lakes because I live near Lake Erie and have made trips to Michigan.

But my first lighthouse photograph was made far from there.

It was the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse on the coast of Maine. I had to do some research to figure out the name of this lighthouse. Back in October 1978 when I made this image, I was not good about recording what and where I had photographed.

I figured I could remember what it was and where it was. At the time it was enough to know I had made this image in Maine.

If my memory of where this lighthouse was faulty, I remember as though it was yesterday how this image came to be. I had spent the day exploring Acadia National Park. It was getting late and about time to head back to Bangor, where I was staying.

I happened upon this lighthouse and was intrigued by the late day light playing upon it. I made a few image of it on slide film and left.

Upon returning to Illinois and having my film developed, I decided to have an enlargement made of this scene, which I thought was one of the best images that I made on a trip that included visits to Vermont, New York and Massachusetts.

My Dad made a frame for the photo and it hung in my bedroom and, later, my apartment in Indiana.

But life has a way of changing. I got married and the Maine lighthouse photo didn’t have a future in the decor of our homes. It sat in storage for awhile before being discarded.

This is still one of my favorite photographs from that long ago trip. Perhaps some day I’ll get it printed again.

For now this image continues to bring back pleasant memories of a journey I made long ago when I just getting started in photography.