Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Posts Tagged ‘cityscapes

Cleveland Skyline

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It is late on a Sunday afternoon in late September. A friend and I are visiting Wendy Park in downtown Cleveland, which runs along the west bank of the Cuyahoga River. It’s a great location from which to make a portrait of the skyline of Cleveland, or at least a portion of it.

Look carefully and you’ll see that the Huntington Bank building to the left of Key Tower appears to have two different shades. It is a produce of the sun hitting the angled building at different angles.

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Bridges of Cleveland

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The Flats area of Cleveland features several bridges over the Cuyahoga River.

Many carry or once carried railroad tracks that served industries in this traditional industrial district.

But many of the industries are gone, although not all of them, and some of the tracks are gone, too.

Shown are two angles of a drawbridge that once carried the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad over a branch of the river.

The rail line went to Whiskey Island but has since been abandoned.

So the bridge is frozen in the up position as a living monument of bygone era.

The building next to the bridge is Shooters restaurant and bar. The bust is of Leif Ericson, although I’m not sure what he had to do with Cleveland.

A City and its Lake

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Cleveland is one of a handful of large cities situated on one of the Great Lakes, in this case Lake Erie.

Although the city sometimes has acted as though the lake wasn’t there, particularly in downtown Cleveland,¬† it did establish a lakefront park just to the west of the central city area.

Edgewater Park is known for its beach, but at the western end of the park is a bluff overlooking the lake.

It also affords a sweeping view of the downtown city skyline and the lake.

The Edgewater Park beach can be seen to the right. With temperatures on this late September day soaring into the 90s, it was a popular place to be.

New York at Night

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I made my first and only visit to the observatory of the World Trade Center in early November 1981. I was visiting a friend who lived in the Big Apple although we had met back in Springfield, Illinois, when we both worked for the state.

We visited the WTC twice on the same day. The first visit occurred during daylight hours. I might have said something about what a nice view it would be at night.

Whatever the case, we returned that evening and I made this image. I don’t remember having a tripod. Perhaps we went back to Mark’s apartment to get one. I can’t imagine that I was traveling with a tripod.

This image was made on slide film and over the years it has badly faded. I scanned it anyway and through some Photoshop work was able to regain some of the image.

It would not only be the last time I visited the WTC it would also be the last time that I saw Mark. In fact, I can’t remember his last name or how to get in contact with him. Our last visit, though, was a memorable one.

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.

Some Play the Piano, Some the Violin. All Wanted to be Paid.

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It’s Memorial Day weekend in Seattle in 2014. I’m staying over during a train trip that would see me cross the United States on Amtrak and across Canada on VIA Rail Canada.

I had most of the day to enjoy Seattle and set out for Pike Place Market. With so many people in town for the weekend, it was no surprise that the street musicians were out trying to hustle a buck.

That these musicians are in it for the money is without a doubt. Jonny the piano player has a sign asking photographers to give him a tip and a large blue jar perched atop his piano.

The violinists have a large plastic jug with an enlarged reproduction of a dollar bill affixed to it. There is nothing subtle about what these guys want.

Jonny has more in mind other than entertaining passersby and making a few dollars. He also wants to educate you about the dangers of genetic engineering.

As for the violinists, they just want to play and get paid. They have no political agendas to promote.

The violinists are young, perhaps college students trying to make some extra money. Jonny, though, looks like an aging hippie trying to change the world.

I’ve often wondered what the stories are behind street musicians. Why are they performing on the street rather than on a stage for customers who bought a ticket to get in.

Their stories probably vary. Some might be sad, some might be tragic, some might be pragmatic. All of them must have interesting stories to tell about playing on the street.

Whatever the case, street musicians and entertainers are part of the fabric of city streets in America and represent a purer form of capitalism than that practiced by the giant corporations that own the buildings surrounding those musicians.