July 2008 Archives


Ruttgers Sunset 2.jpg

Sunset at Ruttgers Resort, Brainard Lakes area, Minnesota (click to enlarge)

Napier Sunset.jpg

Sunset from West Quay, Napier, New Zealand (click to enlarge)

Click here to see my Blurb books.


Sunset, Ruttgers Resort, Minnesota.jpg

Sunset, Ruttgers Resort, Minnesota (click to enlarge)

Sunset on West Coast of South Island, New Zealand.jpg

Sunset on West Coast of South Island, New Zealand (click to enlarge)

Sunsets are such cliches, but they're so beautiful.

Click here to see my Blurb books.


Carousel, Rouen.jpg (click to enlarge)

Carousel in Rouen, Normandy, France

Carousel Horse Como Park.jpg (click to enlarge)

Carousel horse at Como Park, Saint Paul

Click here to see my Blurb books.

Defunct Bridges

I35 Bridge Fragments.jpg

Fragments of collapsed I-35 bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis (click to enlarge)

Old LCDR Bridge Columns.jpg

Headless columns of old London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Bridge across the Thames, London (click to enlarge)

Fragments from the old days are more impressive, I think.

Click here to see my Blurb books.


Fern, Como Park Conservatory.jpg

Fern in Fern Room at Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul (click to enlarge)

Fern at Waitopo Thermal Area.jpg

Fern at Waitopo Thermal Area, North Island, New Zealand (click to enlarge)

Ferns, I've recently discovered, are among the most beautiful things to photograph. They have marvelously diverse sizes and shapes, intricate designs, and often striking colors.

Click here to see my Blurb books.

Watching the Show

Sea Lion Act, Como Park, Saint Paul.jpg

Sea Lion Act, Como Park, Saint Paul (click to enlarge)

Outdoor screening of Finding Nemo, Brisbane, Australia.jpg

Outdoon screening of "Finding Nemo", Brisbane, Australia (click to enlarge)

See my Blurb books at http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/search?search=victorb&commit=Search

Old Stone, and Older

Underground Passage, Blair House, Saint Paul.jpg

Basement hallway, Blair House, Saint Paul (click to enlarge)

Pillars, Pompeii.jpg

Broken, mossy pillars, Pompeii (click to enlarge)

Blair House, where I live in St. Paul, was built in 1887. This hallway runs in front of Common Good Books, Garrison Keillor's bookstore. Pompeii was founded in the 8th-6th C BC, and was destroyed by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. It was rediscovered in 1748, and excavations proceeded through the 18th and 19th centuries and well into the 20th.

What will the archeologists find when they dig up Blair House after two thousand years?

See my Blurb books at http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/search?search=victorb&commit=Search

Sitting and Waiting for ...?

Waiting for a parade, Southeast Minnesota.jpg

Waiting for a parade, Southeast Minnesota (click to enlarge)

Waiting for ? near Granville Island Bridge, Vancouver.jpg

Waiting for ? Art installation near Granville Island Bridge, Vancouver (click to enlarge)

Finding pairs of photos that go together is a bit like sequencing photos for a book, though of course on a smaller scale. Photos that I might not think of as among my best individually take on new interest when paired.

Painted Walls

University of Minnesota kiowk.jpg

Torn posters on kiosk, University of Minnesota (Click to enlarge)

Painted wall and mailbox, Reykjavik.jpg

Painted wall, Reykjavik, Iceland (Click to enlarge)

Some of my photography is heavily influenced by modern painting, particularly the colorful post-impressionist and abstract art of the past century. Aaron Siskind photographed torn posters and painted walls in black and white; I do so in color. Cities around the world are bounteous sources of fragmentary, more-or-less-random, colorful "wall art". On the University of Minnesota campus, the kiosks on which posters are stapled and then torn down become rich lodes of abstract color and texture.


Those of us who take a lot of photos are always wondering what to do with them. The recent development of "print on demand" books has provided what I think is a great solution: choose the best photos from a trip or project and make them into a book. For a modest cost one can have a professional-seeming book that is easy to hold, browse, and store, will amaze your friends, and will give lasting pleasure. I've made such books of photos from our trips from the past few years, and am gradually working backward.

Up to now I've done 17 books. In no particular order, they''re
Albuquerque Urban Colors, Iceland, Puerto Rico 2007, North India, South India, Antarctica, Chile and Argentina, Greece 2007, Las Vegas, Australia, Montreal, New Zealand, Hawaii, Vancouver, Normandy, Glacier National Park, and Rome and Campania.

The books are made by Blurb and are available for inspection (click on a cover thumbnail to see a preview of the first 15 pages) on their web site at
or go to http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/ and search for victorb.

Dried Grass

William O'Brien State Park.jpg

Dried grass and weeds, William O'Brien Park (click to enlarge)

Tussock Grass.jpg

Tussock Grass, South Island, New Zealand (click to enlarge)

There's something beautifully soothing about dried grasses, or - like the New Zealand tussock grass - grass that's golden brown in its live state, with an small admixture of green to provide chlorophyll for photosynthesis.

The Landscapist
wrote a couple of days ago "Do we really need an additional accumulation of pretty landscape pictures? Does that never-ending accumulation of pretty pictures desensitize us to the pictures that we really need - pictures that attempt to connect us to the real, not the fanciful? Pictures that require us to think rather than those that lull us to sleep (so that we can dream The Dream)?"

Are these merely pretty pictures? In what way are they disconnected from the real? They're soothing, but do they put us to sleep?


Classics Club, Washington Avenue Bridge, U of M.jpg

Painting the Washington Avenue Bridge at the University of Minnesota

Painter, Buenos Aires.jpg

Painter, Buenos Aires

The Washington Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River connects the East Bank and West Bank campuses of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. It's a cold walk in winter, so an enclosed pedestrian walkway has been built on the upper level of the bridge. It's become a tradition in the Fall to paint the interior of the walkway with colorful ads for campus organizations.

In Buenos Aires, we wandered into the studio of this painter in the San Telmo district.

Two Bars

Bar, Truchas, New Mexico.jpg

Bar, Truchas, New Mexico, July 2008

Bar, Athens, Greece.jpg

Bar, Athens, Greece, May 2007

Friday we drove to the village of Truchas, in the mountains on the way from Santa Fe to Taos. It's a quirky but picturesque and friendly place, where the movie "The Milagro Bean Field War" was shot in 1986. We struck up a conversation with Felipe Cordova, who had just opened this bar. Quite a contrast with the bar we passed one evening in Athens last May.

A note on the links in the sidebar: These are some of the photography blogs I've found most interesting. I was struck, as I assembled them, by the relatively large proportion that show black and white street photography in New York City. The crowdedness, diversiiy, fast pace, and anonymity of New York is unmatched anywhere in the US - all features that make for compelling photography. The contrast with the equally compelling "Walk Through Durham Township" and the calm, prosaic glens of Scotland in "AuspiciousDragon" is wonderful.

An Introduction

When I'm not being a professor these days, I'm usually being a photographer, and often a traveler as well. My wife and I travel widely and often. We've been to all seven continents, nearly all of the countries of Europe, and all the United States except (we think) Arkansas. We live in St. Paul, Minnesota and teach at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis; we have a second home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

When I thought about the photos I'd like to post in this blog, I was torn between travel pictures and at-home pictures. I eventually decided that I should do both, hence the title of this photo blog. "Here" will be photos from Minnesota and New Mexico, "there" will be photos from the rest of the world. With each posting---which I hope will be most days---I'll put up one of each. They may match or reflect each other in some way; they may not.

So here goes with the first pair.

Volcano Clouds 2008-07-20.jpg

A dramatic sky over the extinct volcanos on the west side of Albuquerque, taken on a walk earlier today.

Routeburn Track above the clouds.jpg

Above the clouds on the second day of our hike on the Routeburn Track on the South Island of New Zealand, from our trip in April, 2008.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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