September 2009 Archives

Minnesota State Fair - Prepping the Animals

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Exhibitors spend much time patiently grooming and caring for their animals.

Minnesota State Fair - Colors

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Over-the-top colors and signs are among the great photographic treats of a state fair.

Minnesota State Fair

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About a month ago I photographed the opening day of the 2009 Minnesota State Fair. It was a gorgeous day and attendance records were broken. State fairs are terrific places to photograph: over-the-top color, animals, people, food, ...

Arkansas Ozarks: Sunset at Petit Jean State Park

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A peaceful and pretty end to our stay in the Ozarks.


Click here to see my Blurb books. There are some new ones, including "Sweden" and "The Baltics".

Arkansas Ozarks: Petit Jean State Park (3)

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Two more photos from our early morning hike to the base of Cedar Falls.

Eliot Porter and James Gleick collaborated on a book of Porter's photos entitled "Nature's Chaos". The idea was that the photos exemplified the processes of nature that, although not random, lead to results that seem indeterminate. From Wikipedia:

"Mathematically, chaos means deterministic behaviour which is very sensitive to its initial conditions. In other words, infinitesimal perturbations of initial conditions for a chaotic dynamic system lead to large variations in behaviour.

Chaotic systems consequently look random. However, they are actually deterministic systems governed by physical or mathematical laws (predictable in principle, if you have exact information) that are impossible to predict in practice beyond a certain point."

I photograph such scenes with a similar aim. The challenge is to find some aesthetic order in the scene.

Arkansas Ozarks: Petit Jean State Park (2)

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Cedar Falls is one of the prime attractions of Petit Jean State Park. Unfortunately, there was very little water flowing when we visited in August; but the hike from the lodge to the base of the falls is very pleasant (if fairly steep downhill at the beginning, and therefore steep uphill coming back). We made the hike early in the morning, when the dim light emphasized the green of the vegetation and its reflections in the water.

Arkansas Ozarks: Petit Jean State Park

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(click to enlarge) A spectacular view over the Arkansas River Valley

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(click to enlarge) At one's feet on the overlook, picturesque rocks and grasses

Petit Jean State Park is the first of Arkansas' state parks, and the flagship of the state park system. The legend of its naming (probably not true) is romantic. According to Wikipedia,

"According to legend Petit Jean was actually a young French woman. When she discovered that her fiancee had signed on with De Soto to explore the area, she cut her hair, disguised herself as a boy and managed to find a position as a cabin boy. She survived the voyage and the expedition began their exploration. Once they had reached the area of the mountain, the young woman became ill, on her deathbed she revealed herself to her fiancee, and was buried on the mountain, not under her own name, but under the name she had been known by on the ship 'Little John'."

Arkansas Ozarks: Lost Valley Trail (4)

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Rocks, greenery, moss, tangles of sticks ... lovely hiking.

Arkansas Ozarks: Lost Valley Trail (3)

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The striking layered rock seems to occur widely throughout the Ozarks, not just in Eureka Springs.

Arkansas Ozarks: Lost Valley Trail (2)

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The Lost Valley Trail is a great place for close-up landscape photography: not broad vistas, but intimate interactions of trees, plants, rocks, and (sometimes) water. It appeals to the part of my aesthetic sense that searches for order in complexity and seeming chaos.

Arkansas Ozarks: Lost Valley Trail

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The Lost Valley Trail in Boxley Valley along the Buffalo National River is one of the prettiest and most popular trails in Arkansas. It was named a state park before the Buffalo River received its national status.

Arkansas Ozarks: Pioneer Cabins

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Two more details of the pioneer cabins in Boxley Valley near Ponca in the Buffalo National River. To quote the web site for the Buffalo National River

http://www.buffalonationalriver.com/

"The Buffalo River, America's first national river, begins its 132-mile tumble down toward the White River in the upper Ponca wilderness, some of the most remote and rugged country in the Ozarks. This stretch of the river is not suitable for floating, has little access and is mostly seen only be dedicated hikers. But the river reaches the historic Boxley Valley and begins a peaceful meandering that stretches the length of the long, narrow break in the hills before it begins its magnificent sweeps around the high limestone bluffs for which it is famous."

Arkansas Ozarks: Buffalo National River

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Log cabin dating from the 1830s in Boxley Valley in the Buffalo National River area near Ponca, Arkansas.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas: Last Views

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(click to enlarge) I didn't notice until later that the curb paint is the same color as the bridesmaids' dresses.

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(click to enlarge) Even the painted walls are gentle and refined.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas: Layers

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Two examples of the striking rock formations that make Eureka Springs noteworthy.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas: Amusements

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(click to enlarge) We saw a few things in Eureka Springs that amused us. One was perky fireplugs like this, painted white with a bright blue or green top, located in wooded areas.

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(click to enlarge) Another was this dog, looking like funerary statuary and sprinkled with flowers. Speculations about the relation between dog and fire hydrant, if the dog were mobile, are strictly your own business.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas: Steep Back Yards

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Eureka Springs is built on a series of steep hillsides, so many houses need substantial stairs to reach their back yards.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas: Back Yards

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(click to enlarge) The back yards of houses in Eureka Springs are often showplaces. Sometimes very pretty...

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(click to enlarge) ... and sometimes pretty impressive.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas: Rock Gardens

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Eureka Springs is built on steep layers of sedimentary rock, which in many places is incorporated into beautiful gardens.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas: Details

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The houses and yards of Eureka Springs are full of attractive details.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Victorian House

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Eureka Springs, Arkansas is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state. The entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places, largely because of its Victorian style architecture. This house was perhaps the most elaborate we saw. Can you imagine refreshing the paint job every few years?

The Ozarks in Arkansas: Thorncrown Chapel

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(click to enlarge) The summit of Thorncrown Chapel in the trees

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(click to enlarge) Even the Thorncrown administration building is attractive and beautifully sited.

Between the Truman and Clinton presidential lbraries, we spent a few days exploring the Ozarks in Arkansas. We began in Eureka Springs, a picturesque Victorian town. One of its major attractions, on the outskirts of town, is the Thorncrown Chapel. According to Wikipedia: "The building was selected for the 2006 "Twenty-Five Year Award" by the American Institute of Architects, recognizing structures that have had significant influence on the profession. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000."

It is indeed an imaginative, attractive, and peaceful structure, in lovely surroundings.

Clinton and Truman Presidential Libraries: Sculpture

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(click to enlarge) Glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly in Clinton Library.

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(click to enlarge) Sculpture portrait of Harry S. Truman

I think these two images may convey as well as anything the difference between the Clinton and Truman Presidential Libraries. Clinton: modern, sophisticated, impersonal. Truman: old-fashioned, common-man, personal. Ironically, Clinton is reputedly more outgoing and personable than Truman was (HST relished his privacy), but their libraries don't show it.

Clinton Presidential Library: Serious Business

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(click to enlarge) Recreation of the Clinton Cabinet Room, with a little family touch added.

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(click to enlarge) According to Wikipedia: "While the physical building is the second-largest presidential library after the Ronald Reagan Library, the archives of the Clinton Library are the largest, containing two million photographs, 80 million pages of documents, 21 million e-mail messages, and nearly 80,000 artifacts from the Clinton presidency." Each of the blue boxes in the vertical pillars is filled with presidential papers.

Clinton Presidential Library Views

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(click to enlarge) An old railroad bridge that crosses the Arkansas River just outside the Wiiliam J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park (the official name). We were told there are plans to convert the bridge to a pedestrian walkway, but there have been considerable delays.

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(click to enlarge) Silhouette of a docent on an upper floor of the library.

Truman Presidential Library Exhibits

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Two exhibits from the Truman Library, showing typical scenes and concerns of the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Truman and Clinton Presidential Libraries: Transportation

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(click to enlarge) Photo and model of the caboose from which Pres. Harry Truman, with wife Bess and daughter Margaret, made his 1948 whistlestop campaign tour.

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(click to enlarge) An armored limousine that conveyed Pres. Clinton.

These two exhibits are striking illustrations of how concern for presidential security has escalated in recent decades. Remember that Truman was a sitting president in 1948.

Truman and Clinton Presidential Libraries

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(click to enlarge) Truman Oval Office

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(click to enlarge) Clinton Oval Office

Earlier this summer we drove south from St. Paul, Minnesota through Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas on our way to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We stopped at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri and the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas. They're very different places, reflecting each president's character, the times in which they governed, and the challenges they faced. These recreations of the Oval Offices give some feeling for the differences.

Northern New Mexico Photos: Leaving Taos

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(click to enlarge) A painted fence along a road leaving Taos. There's a lot of mural and public art in New Mexico, but this seemingly modest painting is one of the most affecting I've seen.

Northern New Mexico Photos: Millicent Rogers Museum (2)

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Two religious carvings from the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, New Mexico

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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