Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Archive for February 2017

In the Warm California Sun

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This is one of those places where I know generally where it is, but I have forgotten the specific location because I didn’t make any notes as to where I was when I made these images on slide film.

It is July 1979 and I’m in northern California somewhere south of San Francisco and probably near San Jose.

I had rented and driven to a park along the Pacific Coast. Alas, I don’t remember which one.

As I look at this series of images I’m reminded of the song California Sun by the Rivieras. It has been covered by numerous performers.

These images evoke in my mind a day at the beach whiling away the time in a secluded cove sitting on the sand. But there must be countless numbers of those along the long California coast line.

I don’t remember spending much time here and were it not for these photographs I might not remember being here at all.

Late Day Venture Onto Lake Erie

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I chose this photograph as my “signature” image at the top of my home page at Flickr.com. In part it was because it would lend itself well to the narrow space in which it had to fit, but also because I just liked this image.

There is a golden glow due to the warm light of the late day light. I also liked the wake left behind by the watercraft and the solitary feel of the image.

It is an expansive photograph in the sense that it seems to reach out into infinity. There is a faint horizon but maybe that is a mirage.

The long wake suggests a journey and that is what my Flickr page is about. It is journey through my world of photography.

The image was made in late July 2011. We had gone to Geneva on the Lake, Ohio, to have dinner at a restaurant that has a deck overlooking Lake Erie.

I had my camera with me and you can see what I saw.

Nothing Like Sitting in a Laundry Basket

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Our cat Suki likes laundry baskets filled with clothes. Much of the time she likes to get into a basket of clean clothes, but dirty clothes are fine, too.

We made the mistake of leaving a closet door open and it didn’t take Suki long to find the basket of clothes kept there and to stake it out for a long afternoon nap.

She doesn’t seem to pleased to have her picture taken or being disturbed.

Written by csanders429

February 24, 2017 at 6:38 am

Threatening Skies at Tawas Point

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It has been an on and off stormy day near Tawas Point State Park in Michigan. We were visiting the lighthouse there and hoping that the rain held off.

It didn’t and we had to take shelter in the gift store until the rain passed.

Once it did, I had one of those opportunities that often comes right after a storm. There was a break in the clouds that allowed sunlight to come through against a backdrop of the back edge of the storm.

The result was about as dramatic an image of the Tawas Point lighthouse as I’m ever likely to make.

Sunset Casts its Glow on the Mountains

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The sun is setting in Scottsdale, Arizona, as we wrap up a visit to Pinnacle Peak Park. I can’t see the sun from where I’m standing but I can see the reddish glow that it is casting on the nearby mountains. It is a sight I will never tire of seeing.

Tracks Left in Place Forever

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For many decades, the Jaite Paper Company in Jaite, Ohio, produced paper products that were shipped all over the nation.

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad had a spur to serve the factory, which sat near the company town of Jaite.

By the early 1980s, the paper mill had fallen on hard times. The plant that once produced 8 tons of paper a day and employed 250 closed in 1984.

By then the land around it had become part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, which is now the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The National Park Service razed the paper mill buildings in 2006 because they had become a safety hazard.

But it left the concrete slab and some machinery from the factory. It also left intact the B&O spur line to the paper mill, which includes the through truss bridge across the Cuyahoga River seen in this series of images.

I recently walked that spur and made some photographs. The rails, bridge and remnants of the paper mill are reminders of the industrial heritage of the Cuyahoga River Valley between Cleveland and Akron.

It would also make a good place to stage a ghost trail walk in the dark at Halloween.

As It Once Was in Small Town Indiana

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In the final scene of the movie Hoosiers, a small boy dribbles a basketball beneath a photograph of the 1952 Indiana state champion Hickory Huskers, dreaming of some day winning a title himself.

But chances are that title was not the state championship but the sectional tournament. In 1950s Indiana, winning the sectional title was as big as players in small schools dared dream.

The sectional was the first of three tournaments that a team had to win to reach the Final Four, which was played in Indianapolis.

Hoosiers was inspired by the story of how Milan High School won the 1954 state tournament, becoming the smallest school to ever do so.

But that was an aberration. Small schools stood little chance to win once they got past the sectional tournament because they would be playing larger schools and their deeper talent pool.

There never again was another Milan that won the championship when it was still single class. Milan was a once in a lifetime team.

Hickory is a fictional school and the actual 1952 Indiana champion was Muncie Central. The boys in the photograph in the Hoosier Gym are actors and their coach was actor Gene Hackman.

What some visitors might pay less attention to are the small banners “honoring” the 1931 and 1932 sectional championships that Hickory “won.”

Those banners are not meant to be just mere movie set props. And there is a reason why there is a line in the movie in which coach Norman Dale tells his players that it has been a decade since Hickory was in the sectional tournament title game.

Winning the sectional was once a big deal in Indiana, particularly if you had to knock off a larger school to do it.

Hoosiers represents an era when many Indiana schools were operated by townships. In the middle 1950s, Indiana had 776 high schools.

The Indiana School Corporation Act of 1959 mandated that school districts with fewer than 1,000 students in grades 1 through 12 merge with a neighboring district. The number of high schools in Indiana quickly shrank.

Most of the basketball scenes in Hoosiers were filmed in the former Knightstown, Indiana, high school gym. Today that gym is a community center and museum to Hoosiers.

When I visited the Hoosier Gym a few years ago I was reminded of my time in the middle 1980s, when I was a part-time sports reporter for The Herald-Telephone in Bloomington, Indiana.

My job was to cover the outlying high school basketball teams and I saw some gymnasiums much like the Hoosier Gym.

Like the Hoosier Gym, they had banners celebrating past sectional champions. And if a school had a once in a lifetime team that won beyond the sectional tournament, there was a photograph of it prominently displayed on the wall just like in Hoosiers.

The times have changed in Indiana. The last single-class state basketball tournament was played in 1996.

The next season the tournament was divided into four classes based on school enrollment.

Attendance at high school games had been declining for years prior to the switch to a four-class tournament.

Even when I covered high school basketball in the 1980s it wasn’t quite the same as it had been in earlier decades. I used to hear now and again about how that 1959 law requiring consolidation had changed things.

Of course high school basketball also lost popularity because people began having more things to do than attending a basketball game on a Friday or Saturday night.

Nonetheless, basketball remained ingrained in the social consciousness of Indiana. Hoosiers may have resonated with most people because of its storyline of the underdog triumphing, but it also harkens back to a time when dreams of hardwood success were more often than not focused on winning what many today might consider a “lesser” tournament.

Written by csanders429

February 20, 2017 at 5:33 am