Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Posts Tagged ‘cities

Hey Indy!

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Many people hardly look out the window when they fly, but I make it a point to request a window seat and watch the landscape below as we cruise along.

I want to know where I am an I enjoy seeing places where I once lived and/or know.

I was en route from Cleveland to Phoenix aboard a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 when the captain said we were over Muncie, Indiana.

At the time, there was a cloud cover so I couldn’t see anything.  But I kept looking and soon the clouds parted and I was able to pick out Indianapolis, a city where I lived in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

That is the White River meandering just west of downtown.


Written by csanders429

June 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm

Roots of General Motors

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This building in Flint, Michigan, is part of the heritage of General Motors. Built in 1896, it served as the headquarters of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company.

Although the company ceased making carriages in 1917, it transitioned into making automobiles and became the Dort Motor Car Company

This building was its headquarters until 1925. A historical marker notes that many decisions were made here that led to the forming of General Motors.

Nearby, is a statue of William “Billy” Durant and J. Dallas Dort, the founders of the carriage company known initially as the Flint Road Cart Company.

That company went out of the carriage business in 1917, but Durant and Dort went on into the business of making automobiles.

This statue of the two men stands next to the Flint River in the area where their manufacturing plants were located. Dort’s plaque had been removed at the time of my visit in October 2011.

Do You Like Your Cities Wide, Medium or Close Up?

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Photojournalism textbooks often talk about wide angle, medium and telephoto shots. Each has its own pros and cons, but ultimately the reason for doing one or the other depends on what you are trying to show.

Shown here are three different views of essentially the same thing. I’m standing on A Mountain overlooking Tucson, Arizona.

My focal point is the city’s downtown. In sequence, the images are progressively becoming wider in scope.

By zooming out, the perspective changes as the frame becomes narrower on the focal point. It becomes a tradeoff between detail and a wider sense of place.

The Cloud Line

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I don’t consider myself a clouds photographer, but I do find clouds to be interesting. Aside from them being illuminated by the colors of the rising or setting sun, I also have an interest in the edges of clouds, particularly when that edge is straight and shows that a front is moving in or out.

I find the back edge of a cloud pattern to be a sign of optimism. It means that clearer skies and sunlight are in store even if there won’t be much of the latter because sunset is near.

This view was made from my hotel room in Seattle during a May 2014 overnight stay. It had been cloudy all day and although I was done being out and about for the day, It still felt good to see the edge of the clouds and some late day sunlight.

A Spring Morning on the Lake Michigan Shore

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Spring had sprung in Chicago along the lakefront. How’s that for cliched writing? But its true. There were lots of flowering trees with white and pink blossoms.

Although it was the middle of May, it still wasn’t the boating season. And it was a weekday so that is why there are so many boats moored in the water along the Lake Michigan shore.

It was, though, a good day for a jog along the lake for some people.

It wasn’t, though, the best day for photography. As you can see if was mostly cloudy. But I was there, the blossoms were in full bloom and capturing spring is such a small window.

But you can’t have April showers and May flowers without clouds, right?

When Snow Creates a Work of Art on a Work of Art

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I don’t know for sure, but I suspect the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park in Chicago has a stainless steel outer shell.

If so, I wouldn’t think that snow could cling to it. But as this image shows, it does. It might be a factor of cold and heavy snow.

The snow on this side of the sculpture, through, has begun to break up and slide off. I wonder how much of that was due to it receiving “help” from visitors.

The patterns created by the snow have produced their own work of art that must be enjoyed quickly before it melts and or falls away.

Jumping, Sitting and Reflecting at Millennium Park in Chicago

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Some jump so they can see their reflection . . .


. . . while others jump to be photographed. Look above the head of the far right jumper and you’ll see a reflection of the woman in the foreground capturing the trio of jumpers on a smart phone.

As for the guys, well you find them recording themselves goofing off.

As for the guys, well you find them recording themselves goofing off.

Sitting and "holding up" the sculpture.

Sitting and “holding up” the sculpture.


Standing and “holding up” Cloudgate.

Millennium Park in Chicago is a great place to hang out if you like to photograph people.

If you stand around at the Cloudgate sculpture — which many like to call “the bean” due its shape — you’ll be treated to a daily ritual of people jumping by or near the statute.

Because Cloudgate produces a mirror image with its polished metal surface, it can be intriguing to watch how people interact with it. Everyone wants to see their image reflected in the sculpture’s shiny surface.

Some folks like to watch their reflection as they zoom skyward. Others will pose for a photograph made by a friend or stranger as they ham it up for the camera.

For some reason many of the jumpers are young women and you usually don’t have to wait long before one or a group of them will jump for joy in front of one of Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions.

But most of all, people like to sit, stand or lie on the concrete surface to photograph or admire their reflection.

Here is selection of interactions that I’ve made over the years while visiting Cloudgate. None of these were planned. You just have to have your camera ready and strike when a moment occurs.