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Archive for the ‘roadside’ Category

Taking the time to sit down and edit again after a long and busy summer away from blogging. Rainy days like the one we’re having at the moment don’t induce the kind of “carpe diem” guilt that parking in front of a laptop, editing does on a brilliant blue sky summer afternoon.

Here’s a tumble-down tin roof roadhouse sagging toward earth near Muscoda, WI. Old wood and tin, irresistible!

Wooden roadhouse near railroad siding and highway 133 crossing

Wooden roadhouse near railroad siding and highway 133 crossing

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Cows and calves are out on pasture everywhere now. These mommas cast a calculating eye upon me, especially the one huge with calf on the right. Hidden among them is the bull, preoccupied with his duties.

Cowculus, Stitzer, Wisconsin

Cowculus, Stitzer, Wisconsin


After staring at each other for an hour, these beasts seemed almost radiant with life, entirely present in a way that comes rarely to us, without meditation, yoga or prayer. Chew the cud mantra… all on a glorious, warm, sunny day, the most simple gift so gladly presented and received.

Cowculus II. Illuminated Stitzer, Wisconsin June 2014

Cowculus II, Illuminated. Stitzer, Wisconsin.

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Teaseled  clouds and trees

Tall Teasel dominates an abandoned farmstead at the top of Fennimore Hill.

I admired the architecture of these dried tall weeds and discovered their name & history later:

Historical: Common teasel is a native of Europe where it has historically had many uses. The heads of a cultivated variety of teasel are used for wool “fleecing”, or raising the nap on woolen cloth. (Grieve 1995). These heads are fixed on the rim of a wheel, or on a cylinder, which is made to revolve against the surface of the cloth (Grieve 1995). No machine has yet been invented which can compete with teasel in its combined rigidity and elasticity (Grieve 1995). The roots of common teasel are also reported to have various medicinal values ranging from a remedy for jaundice to a cleansing agent (Grieve 1995). http://www.cwma.org/Teasel.html

What struck me was the remark that “no machine has yet been invented which can compete with teasel”. A case of ‘first design, best design’.  The prickly cone shaped heads atop the tall stalks are amazingly tough and durable. More durable that the receding farmstead that the teasel, trees and other encroaching brush and weeds have overtaken. As natural forces will always overtake what people abandon.

Therein a reminder to stay humble. Our tenancy and current dominance over the landscapes of this earth is entirely fleeting.  Grasses, sky and trees around the house appear to have enjoyed a good bit of teaseling on this windy day.   CanonT2i DSLR, 18-135mm f5.6 @1/200, no post-editing except the c. notice.

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Evening walk down Airport Road, a residential, light industrial, verge of Wisconsin River wetlands mixed use landscape. Wilderness, industry and family homes collide in a kind of rural, blue collar pastoral. Which vista is sublime, which ridiculous? My beautiful cement factory, illuminated like a Byzantine icon. Where do we even begin to draw the distinction, when everywhere is altered and nowhere pristine, not even Yosemite Valley.

Because I see it everyday even the factory parking lot has gained meaning; for me and also for all who have worked/ work there- does our constant regard lend it an aesthetic also?I’m becoming obsessive about these kind of visual questions. Maybe it’s not healthy 😉

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Antique Fairgrounds’ Clouds

These flat shots are all preliminary study done with a Samsung G4 phone, of subjects I’ll revisit to build out with the DSLR. Under the influence: Reframing the New Topographics

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Packaging factory shiftworkers’ parking lot

wisconsin river floodplain

Along the Wisconsin River floodplain

Sunset and cement, Highway 133 W, Boscobel

Sunset and cement, Highway 133 W, Boscobel

Define Beauty. Sunset, Hgwy 133 W. Boscobel

Define Beauty. Sunset, Hgwy 133 W. Boscobel

Notice the Red Truck

Notice the Red Truck

Near the Antique Fairground, Airport Rd

Near the Antique Fairground, Airport Rd

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Driving across Tennessee years ago, had to stop for a cold one and observe a history lesson. Image produced from a digital scan of a 35mm B&W TMax film negative recovered from materials that survived Hurricane Wilma’s flooding of Key West, FL in 2005.No post scan editing. Exact location in Tennessee has been lost. If anyone recognizes this place, I’d appreciate hearing more about it, thanks!

Tennessee Gateway, 1989

Tennessee Gateway, 1989

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One of the shots made in Muscoda yesterday,filtered through all that this day of remembering the ultimate cost of conflict represents in America.
My “photomod” post-processing actualizes the implicit tangle of emotion, layering visual moods directly over the image, rather than make any attempt at an objective presentation. The image becomes as freighted with interpretation as is our culture of ideals bruised by the realities of our actions and history. And our determination to get back up and move forward, unbroken.

Land of the Free

Land of the Free

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We drove over to Muscoda on Hgwy 133 Saturday to go to St Vincent’s Thrift Shop. I knew there were several sites / sights in this small river town that I wanted to frame and to think over. Memorial Day weekend always gets my attention anyway. Makes me mindful of what gets taken for granted in the backgrounds of our daily routines. There are the buildings, commerce, highway, past and present colliding. The road signs to tell us where we’re at. And then there’s the flag(s) speaking louder than anything else this weekend.
Here’s a couple of shots taken downtown at the intersection of Hgwy 133 & SR 80; I was testing smaller f-stops, using a remote release with the camera tripod-mounted and longer exposures, ISO 100. One’s “as shot”, the other’s post processed to adjust contrast and saturation. I need a better monitor for editing; this laptop’s color profile was balanced with a Spyder Pro, but I’m still not convinced that I’m seeing what I need to. Would appreciate knowing what they look like to you. Cheers.

Memorial Day weekend, downtown Muscoda, WI

Memorial Day weekend, downtown Muscoda, WI

Memorial Day weekend cruiser,  Hgwy 80 & 133

Memorial Day Weekend cruiser, Hgwy 80 & 133

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