February 2012 Archives
With more space than the Minneapolis campus, the Saint Paul campus of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities has some attractive landscaping. I took these pictures last summer; it's nice to see them in the midst of a long (though not very severe) winter.
(Click to enlarge) Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Building
(Click to enlarge) Stakman Hall (Plant Pathology Department)
For the next week or two I'll mainly be posting photos from my series "Places of Learning and Discovery" focusing on the Saint Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota. This campus (officially just part of the Twin Cities Campus, but often known as the "Farm Campus") has an unusual mix of activities. For example, here are two photos from the Animal Science/Veterinary Medicine complex.
(Click to enlarge) Plaques honoring dogs in the K-9 service of the St. Paul and Minneapolis Police Departments
(Click to enlarge) A modern biological science lab whose equipment wouldn't be out of place anywhere on campus. The molecular and cell biology research, of course, is intended to serve the health of animals and humans.
I went underground a few days ago, as part of my "Behind the Scenes" project, to photograph plumbers testing and replacing the stormwater filters serving the University of Minnesota's TCF Stadium. Wet and gritty, but also high tech and important for the environment.
(Click to enlarge)
(Click to enlarge)
This is a photo in a chemical waste shipping room at the University of Minnesota. I took it for my "Behind the Scenes" project. But I also took it as a composition in dynamic color arrangement: blues, yellows, browns, blacks, whites, grays, creams, reds, ... If the barrels and shelves were just splashes of color, would it work as an abstract painting?
The University of Minnesota has a state of the art integrated waste disposal facility, named after Fay Thompson, the former director of the environmental protection department at the UM. I was given a guided tour of the facility as part of my "Behind the Scenes" project. I'll be posting photos from the facility for the next few days.
(Click to enlarge) Entry to the hazardous waste rooms of the facility.
(Click to enlarge) Labels ready to be used.
"The Huichol are a deeply spiritual people, and much of their traditional artistic output is an extension of their faith. This particular work combines the traditions of the Huichol with an icon of popular culture, the Volkswagen Beetle. Within many Huichol works, as is the case with Vochol, there can be references to animals such as deer (the most revered of all animals), peyote (used as a part of a sacred ritual), and various abstract designs.
"Vochol's bright colors and intricate details meld popular culture and historic tradition in a singular work of art. The name derives from "vocho," a popular term for the Volkswagen Beetle in Mexico, and "Huichol," the common name of the Wirrárika indigenous group. This 1990 Beetle was covered in 2,277,000 beads applied by eight artisans from two Huichol families, who finished their work in late 2010. This installation at The San Diego Museum of Art officially marks the beginning of the international tour of Vochol."
Click images to enlarge them, to see the amazing beadwork in greater detail.
Yesterday we rented a car and drove east to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (with a stop in Julian for apple pie). It's quite a switch from the urban seascape of San Diego, to the rural mountains and forests around Julian, then down to the harsh desert of Anza-Borrego.
(Click to enlarge) Our initial impression was of harsh, rocky sterility, matched in our experience only by the Sinai in Israel.
(Click to enlarge) These backlit cholla cactus show that there is some life in the desert.
(Click to enlarge)
(Click to enlarge) And the chuparosa were out in profusion.
(Click to enlarge) Near the oasis at the head of Palm Canyon, papyrus and cattails thrived in a pool of water. So, as always the case, the desert is not dead, and adaptations to the harsh environment are remarkable.
Yesterday I spent several hours at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, which has an interesting collection of ships from the 19th and 20th century. I was attracted photographically by the profusion of crossing lines and masts on the sailing ships, and the dials, wheels, and other mechnisms on the submarines.
(Click to enlarge) Star of India: built in 1863, the second oldest ship still sailing regularly and the oldest iron-hulled merchant ship still floating.
(Click to enlarge) Star of India
(Click to enlarge) HMS Surprise, 1970 replica of a Royal Navy frigate used in the movie "Master and Commander"
(Click to enlarge) Furled sail, HMS Surprise
(Click to enlarge) Dolphin - US submarine that holds the depth diving record: more than 3,000 feet
(Click to enlarge) B-39, Soviet Foxtrot class submarine.
(Click to enlarge) Bunks and heads went anywhere there was room on the B-39.
Yesterday I decided to take a lot of photos with the "Dramatic Tone" art filter on my Olympus E-PL2 camera, in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego. Southern California is a good place to use this effect, since, as I discovered, it works best with strong contrasts of color and of light and dark. Here are the most successful attempts. I like the effect for this kind of subject matter.
Click photos to enlarge them - they look better bigger.
I spent much of yesterday at the San Diego Zoo, where I relearned something I already knew: zoo photography is hard. Bars and wires, busy backgrounds, shy and dozing animals, and light either too glaring or too shadowy present real challenges even when the animals are still - which they rarely are. Nevertheless, I got some portrait shots that are not too bad.
(Click to enlarge) Silverback gorilla
(Click to enlarge) Pheasant(?)
(Click to enlarge) Flamingo
(Click to enlarge) Duck
(Click to enlarge) Monkey
(Click to enlarge) Small African antelope (dik-dik?)
(Click to enlarge) Slightly larger African antelope (springbok?) in silhouette
(Click to enlarge) Meerkat keeping an eye on the sky
(Click to enlarge) Bactrian (two-humped) camel
Yesterday we spent a few hours on the USS Midway, a famous aricraft carrier that has been turned into a museum in San Diego Bay. It's a very interesting and impressive ship, and the tour - largely self-guided with audio headsets, but with lots of explanation available from old-timers who served on the Midway or similar ships - takes you into all the major operating areas. Good use is made of life-size mannequins to dramatize activities, and in this selection of photos I've concentrated on those. (Lots of photos of pipes and dials will come eventually.)
(Click to enlarge) Giant sculptural rendition of the famous Alfred Eisenstaedt photo of a sailor celebrating the end of WWII in Times Square.
(Click to enlarge) A training room below decks. The ship was extraordinarily complicated, and training was a continuous activity.
(Click to enlarge) Serious misbehavior meant time in the brig.
(Click to enlarge) Life-size cardboard cutout of a Marine guarding the Admiral's quarters.