Thursday, October 29, 2009

Manini'owali Beach Sunset

Big Island of Hawaii, January 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Great Train Ride of 1961

As I explained back in 2006, in a post titled "Another San Francisco Dead Author," one of my earliest writing efforts still extant is the following account of a second-grade field trip. It could have occurred as early as the fall of 1960, but I think it more likely happened in the spring when teachers wanted to get out of the classroom at least as much as their young charges. If you want to know the tenuous connection between this trip and a dead author in San Francisco, you'll have to follow the link to the 2006 post. It's not worth repeating here.

Click to enlarge.

Today, I had a day off, and spent a few hours driving around the area looking for photo ops. I didn't really think about it till I was driving home, but I had taken pictures of the two train stations I visited almost a half century ago. The Nappanee station has been maintained over the years, but the Syracuse station, now owned by CSX, has fallen into disrepair. There is a movement afoot to save the station, move it, and renovate it. I hope it happens.

Nappanee Station
Nappanee Station, 2009

Syracuse Station
Syracuse Station and Passing CSX Freight Train, 2009

Syracuse Station
Syracuse Station, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday #75

A brass horse converted to monochrome with Silver Efex Pro.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Origin of "South Pacific"

Rogers: Knock knock.

Hammerstein: Who's there?

Rogers: Sam and Janet.

Hammerstein: Sam and Janet who?

Rogers: Sam and Janet Evening...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Skywatch Friday, Season 4, Episode 15


Ornamental Grass and Clouds, 2009. Shot with an Acme W20 camera and Tmax 400 film. Developed in Diafine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kinetic Sculpture

Annular Eclipse V
Annular Eclipse V, 2000, by George Rickey

George Rickey was born in South Bend, Indiana in 1907. Several of his works are on temporary display around town now. The photo was taken with an Acme toy camera (a Diana clone) on Kodak Tri-X film, developed in Diafine.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Scout view for a head CT. The newborn has a pacifier in his mouth.

Addendum, Monday, 10/19/2009: I've noticed a number of people have arrived here from the Shadow Shot Sunday site and not left any comments. This indicates to me that they

a. think this is a lame entry
b. don't understand it
c. are shocked by it
d. all the above

Perhaps a little explanation is in order. A scout view is an X-ray obtained in a CT scanner. It is the digital equivalent of the films one frequently sees hanging upside down on a viewbox on televised medical dramas. The scout view allows the technologist to know precisely where to perform the CT scan. Since people sometimes refer to the shades of gray on a radiograph as shadows, I thought I would present this as a "shadow shot." This image was a routine part of a medically necessary exam. The child wasn't exposed to radiation just so I could have a picture to put online. And by the way, the scan of the head was normal, and everyone lived happily ever after.

If any of the conditions in the list above still apply after reading this brief explanation, please feel free to leave a comment to register your disappointment, befuddlement, anger, or dyspepsia.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Updike's Ashes

John Updike died of lung cancer at age 76 in January. I have yet to write a Rest in Peace post for him, as I have for Tim Russert, Buddy Holly, Les Paul, and Dick Kemp, truck collector extraordinaire.

It was hard for me to come up with anything to write about this literary giant at the time of his death. For one thing, detailed obituaries are available from many major news outlets, and I don't need to rehash the details of his life . For another, his writing has resonated with me since I first picked up a copy of The Centaur on a trip to a continuing medical education meeting in Philadelphia in the 1980s, and I am saddened that his voice has been silenced.

I see this post not as a formal eulogy, but as a collection of random thoughts about Updike. Well, let's face it--this blog is nothing but a collection of random thoughts. Why should this post be any different?

Somewhere around here, I have a photo taken of me with John Updike at a reception following a lecture and reading he gave at the Dogwood Festival in Dowagiac, Michigan. I could have sworn I stuck the picture in the copy of the novel Brazil he autographed for me that night, but it's not there now. Someday, I hope it will turn up, in which case, I'll scan it and post it. One of the poems he read that night had to do with a Memorial Day celebration in a small town, and I have attended many of those. I find it awkward to try to come up with something to say to an author at a book signing, so I seized on that poem as something I could talk to Updike about, which I did when my turn came. He was very gracious and told me how his father had dressed up as Uncle Sam for a Memorial Day parade.

I've been thinking about Updike a lot since I read that his alma mater Harvard University has acquired his papers recently. As usual, one online discovery led to another, and I found out that a volume of his poems was published after Updike's death, so I bought the audiobook Endpoint from iTunes. Since the audiobook is abridged, I thought I should buy a printed copy. Then, driving between hospitals the other day, I decided to stop by a branch library to take have a few minutes respite before going back to work. In the unlikely event any of my partners should read this post, please note that I carry my lunch, and virtually never take a break to go to the doctors' dining room, so I'm entitled to ten minutes at the library. Not really expecting to find Endpoint on the shelf, I searched for Updike materials, and there it was, so I checked it out, along with Beowulf on the Beach (recommended highly by my son), Hollywood Foto-Rhetoric: The Lost Manuscript with photos by Barry Feinstein and text by Bob Dylan, and a CD of Bruce Hornsby's appearance on Marian McPartland's PIano Jazz radio show (which by the way is a great CD).

In further online meanderings I found out that Updike had been cremated and part of his ashes were scattered near the graves of his parents at the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Shillington, Pennsylvania, where he lived till age 13.

Now comes the weird part. Last night at choir practice at our church, I read the fine print above the title of one piece of sheet music we worked on, which said it was written for the 100th anniversary of the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Shillington, Pennsylvania! It's a town of 5000 people. It's over 600 miles from where I live. Yet there I was, holding a piece of music written to commemorate the church where Updike's ashes were spread. Uncanny coincidence, or an example of Jungian synchronicity?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Skywatch Friday Season 4, Episode 14

Armco Ferro

This shot was taken at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The house in the foreground is the Armco Ferro House built for display at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. It, along with four other houses built for the fair, was moved across Lake Michigan by barge in 1935. It is built of steel and is being renovated.

For more pictures of this and other Century of Progress Houses, click this link.

Fall Colors

I haven't done the Nature Notes thing for a while. The local paper this morning carried an article stating that fall colors are going to be subdued in these here parts due to a lack of sunny days this autumn. So, I am posting a photo of a small grove of sumac from last October, when conditions were better.

Here's another version, worked over with Photoshop--for better or worse.

See more nature pictures at Rambling Woods

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Fountain in front of Morris Civic Theater, South Bend, Indiana, captured with a Holga 120CFN.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday #73

War Memorial
War Memorial Fountain at the University of Notre Dame

Friday, October 09, 2009

Skywatch Friday, Season 4, Episode 13

Amtrak Station, Niles, Michigan

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Avant-Garde Nature of Winky Dink

Tonsure. Marcel Duchamp with haircut by George de Zayas, Paris, 1919. Photo by Man Ray.

In the book, Dada Culture: Critical Texts on the Avant-Garde, edited by Dafydd Jones, T.J. Demos writes:
In 1919 Duchamp had the shape of a star cut into the hair on the back of his head (Tonsure). Here, the articulations of his artistic practice...intersected with his bodily appearance, as language's flight crossed over Duchamp's own physical decontextualisation. Duchamp threw himself into the flux of expatriation, rewriting his own appearance, and giving life to his own inscriptions.
The author goes on, with terms like "ephemeral tattoo," "eventual erasure," "sublime state of pure becoming," and "perceptual counterpoint." You get the idea. I really can't bear to transcribe any more.

Winky Dink. Dell comic book, 1955.

No doubt, existential angst and surrealistic tendencies led my boyhood idol Winky Dink (see previous post "Winky Dink and Me") to adorn his cranium with a star. He was so out there, he went Duchamp one better by wearing a star for a collar.

Photo Multigraphs

Charles Dana Lewis, Photo by Bostwick, NY. From the Images of the History of Medicine Collection, National Library of Medicine

In the late nineteenth century, a photographic technique emerged, enjoyed limited popularity, and then sank into obscurity. Via the internet, I have been able to learn about this technique, which I find fascinating. The photos are called fivefold portraits or photo multigraphs. Thanks to the web site Uneinsamkeite/Unsolitudes, authored by Herr Heinz-Werner Lawo, many of these mesmerizing photos are now online. The photos were typically made into postcards.

How was it done? With mirrors. The subject was seated in front of two mirrors which intersected at an angle of 65-75 degrees, which resulted in four refections of the subject. The photographer stood behind the subject to capture the image. Usually, the subject faced away from the photographer and toward the mirrors, although he may have been seated in profile or facing the camera. A popular motif was to have the subject seated at a table, appearing to play cards with four clones of himself.

I had to give this a try, so I went out a bought a couple mirrors and set them up to obtain this photo of The Intrepid Explorer, which you may recognize from an earlier post, "Shadow Shot Sunday, #71."

Intrepid Explorer, Photo Multigraph by David Cory, 2009

Rather than launch into a detailed description of the history and technique of photo multigraphs, I will refer the interested reader to an excellent article, "A Multigraph from Montreal," by Irwin Reichstein.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Monochrome Sky

First Presbyterian
Holga photo of First Presbyterian Church, Mishawaka, Indiana.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Plastic Camera Skywatch

I've started developing B&W film at home. This image is from the first roll, exposed with my Acme W20 plastic camera, and developed with Diafine.


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