COLOR!

A color challenge/photo challenge…so many colors…so many approaches…let’s just see what happens…

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Color is

a Sol Lewitt piece at the 59th St. Columbus Circle subway station in New York, and

it’s an urban industrial sunset on Staten Island.

Color marches up a sculpture by John Fleming and soars

against bluest heaven.

Color is graffiti in Seattle, too – and the intricate thread-work

on an ancient Silk Road Ikat coat, tacked to a museum wall.

Color grows organically on a rusty old truck

behind a nursery in the Skagit Valley (where soon miles of tulips and daffodils

will set the evening aglow).

It plays games

in a midtown New York City store window.

Color is isolated

by a rubber glove dropped in a Seattle alley;

and color

dances

when sunbeams illuminate a torn leaf

in my red cabinet.

Color sweetens the deal in pink and

purple stripes: red osier dogwood twigs blended, in camera.

It reflects late day sunlight  – 

silver and gold: a banner night. It 

swirls

in choppy waves across Chihuly glass

in Tacoma. 

Mid-day summer-sun sets color down

flat

on tabletops set out on Seattle sidewalks.

Color ricochets through glasses in an old ship’s galley,

mushes together as it lays exposed

to the elements,

stuck

on a car door,

abandoned in a field,

somewhere.

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Photographs taken with a Samsung camera phone & a Sony NEX digital camera, in NYC, Seattle, and other locations in the Pacific northwest.

Find more colorful Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenges here.

Weekly Photo Challenge

This is a very late weekly photo challenge, because I have been away, back in New York.  For two days we stayed in a house with no power. After that we had a hotel room, complete with electricity, but between the family events, my slow netbook and a desperate need to spend time revisiting some favorite places in the city, I didn’t post last week.

The Weekly Photo Challenge from WordPress is “Renewal” and Jakesprinter’s Weekly Photo Challenge is “Surroundings”. I have definitely been in unusual surroundings in the past week. And being in New York for the first time since moving west earlier this year, I experienced a renewal of my love for new York and a renewal of my intentions in moving out here. Yes, I miss the pleasures of the city, but the pleasures here are sweet, too.

We took off into the sunrise – a promising start. However, the NYC forecast called for a “significant storm” to hit the region just as we arrived. I was anxious.  Sure enough, just as we began our descent into JFK, the plane suddenly pulled up.  The monitor map traced a huge circle away from the airport, as ice flew by the shaking wing at my side.

But of course we made it, arriving at a messy airport still dealing with Hurricane Sandy clean-up. Many other flights were cancelled due to this second storm – we just made it in time.

The surroundings were chaotic. This we knew! We had called ahead to be sure our rental car had a full tank of gas because of the reports (all true) that people were waiting in long lines for 3-5 hours to fill their tanks. We drove onto the Belt, slushy with snow and snarled with traffic – what a welcome!

We were staying with family on Long Island. It was Day 9 without power for them, and it was plenty cold outside. “Surroundings” began to take on a new meaning.

We huddled around the fire and ate a simple meal of pasta – thank god the house has a gas stove. A picnic cooler outside kept perishable food cool. We turned in early, buried under quilts, tired but cozy.

The next morning we lent a hand in the yard. A telephone pole in the front yard had snapped in two and the transformer now dangled precariously, its wires weaving a complicated web through a prized plum tree, which had split down the middle. More wires traced a long arc across the driveway. We sawed off  limbs to free the wires, and hoped LIPA (the hated Long Island Power Authority) would get to our street soon.

Back inside, we warmed up around the fire again, stuffing our wet gloves with newspaper (enough stories of suffering!) and setting them by the fire to dry.

The village had power, so we drove down to a packed Starbucks to recharge phones and laptops (and recharge my brain with the daily double espresso). A thoughtful customer had plugged a power strip into the wall outlet – otherwise, we could have waited an hour or more to charge our phones. Later we went to a rehearsal dinner – this trip was in honor of a nephew’s wedding, taking place the next day at a catering hall, which happily had power. The surroundings were convivial, the food was incredible, and the wine flowed. I guess that was in the opposite order.

The next day we checked into a hotel. Our reservations were made months ago – lucky for us, because there were no hotel rooms available on Long Island. Our hotel was packed with line and tree workers from all over the country; a scrawled sign on the door read, “No Rooms”. The thought of getting ready for a wedding in the dark? Not too good. So we were glad to have the room. The wedding and reception went off without a hitch, and after another day spent with family, we finally had time to jump on the train to Manhattan.

As soon as I emerged from the subway I felt renewed. These surroundings – the crowds, the noise, the cabs and bikes and vendors – will always draw and energize me.

Another family get together was planned for midtown, so we wandered through Central Park. We had to leave downtown – my preference – for another day.

The park looked surprisingly intact – I only saw one large tree lost to the hurricane. But the Central Park Conservancy website says over 800 of its 20,000 trees were lost in the storm.

That night we ate at John’s Shanghai in midtown with my sister-in-law, who’s from Shanghai. She ordered of course, and it was funny to hear how she and the waiter began speaking English, then added a few Chinese words, and gradually morphed into full Chinese as they negotiated the details. Their famous soup dumplings were delicious.

The next day we were able to spend a few hours downtown.

First, the Rubin Museum, which always renews me:

Then a train down to the World Trade Center area, where I worked.

One World Trade Center is looking good. There are lights on in my old office building, on the right. It felt good to touch base, but it feels great not to be working here anymore. Talk about stressful surroundings – constant worries about security, never ending construction – we even had to put up with snipers on our roof one day when Obama visited.

Over in Battery Park, which took the brunt of the storm surge, it looked like nothing had ever happened. I suspect that had we walked the length of the park, down to the ferry terminal, it would have been another story.

Here though, boats were safely tied up and lights sparkled across the Hudson River as evening fell. I used to come over here after work to walk and be renewed by my surroundings. Now, they inspired me again. But inside, I felt disoriented – perfectly relaxed, alert and at home in New York, and yet not. I was a tourist now, this was not my home any more. Sill, I felt more attached to the city than to my new home in the west.

I wished I had more time in the city, but this was our last day. We topped it off with Kobe burgers at Zaitzeff and headed over to Financier, where I bought as many of their outrageous pastries as I could tuck into my bag for the plane ride back. Chocolate eclair, Madelaines, Apple Gallette, Macaroon…umm.

Our plane took off at dusk the next day and the moon was new so the skies were bright with stars. I nodded off after a glass of wine and woke up over Montana to see a mysterious glowing curtain hanging below the Big Dipper – I stared and stared at this weird shape shifter, and finally I was convinced that this really was the Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights. Of course I tried to get a picture, but it’s just a green blob. What are the chances of waking up from a nap on a six hour flight just as your plane flies by the Northern Lights? What rare surroundings!

The next day was quiet, and I didn’t get out of the house until almost dark. I drove over to the waterfront and watched a beautiful sunset. The ducks were content. The surroundings were lovely. I felt pretty content, too.

And yesterday morning, a foggy dawn gave way to clear skies. I had just enough time after taking care of business for a walk on the Coal Creek Falls trail on Cougar Mountain.

The surroundings were magical.

Moss glowed on cedars, aspens and maples.

Mushrooms sprouted.

Lichens dripped with moisture.

Leaves dangled, caught by branches as they fell to the ground.

The sun set.

I felt renewed.

More information about these Weekly Photo Challenges, and many more submissions, can be found here:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/weekly-photo-challenge-renewal/

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/sunday-post-surroundings/

APP

A few days ago I downloaded an Android app called Photogrid. It puts your phone photos into collages.

A shake of the phone produces a new arrangement (you pick frame styles & colors) –

Here’s a grid of road trips in the Pacific Northwest:

Here’s another arrangement of the same images:

This one is a mash-up of

Buddhas,

flora,

rain on the car window (near Seattle of course)

a hand,

and street shots in New York & Seattle:

I don’t think you can change the placement of the images by dragging them around – that would be even better.

But sometimes random choices produce juxtapositions you wouldn’t have thought of, and they’re really nice –

(yes, John Cage figured that out long ago).

I think I like this one best:

And the app is free!

Everyday Life is Extraordinary – Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s Photo Challenge is about showing people at their everyday activities. Here are some images of people in everyday situations (to them, I believe) which looked pretty cool (to me).

These men paused to talk in Manhattan, at the Staten Island Ferry plaza. Old friends who took different directions? Or strangers rehashing a Yankees game?

This man is painting an ad on the side of a building in lower Manhattan on a freezing cold day in January. His precision was amazing. He wore big headphones – blocking noise?  Listening to a song about mischief?

I don’t think they had any idea how beautiful their choreography looked from above. Taken from the High Line, NY.

A Buddhist nun and her friend buy flowers at Pike Place Market in Seattle. Very possibly an everyday activity for them – but to my eye a delicious image. (Too bad it was taken on the run with the phone).

An ice storm closed Sea Tac Airport in Seattle. When it finally re-opened there was lots of work to do.  An ordinary day for them – just keeping us from falling through the air from an unacceptable height.

Everyday for them, joy for me. Street musicians in downtown Philadelphia.

Cutting stems for a bouquet at Pike Place Market. Another day for her, but for me – well, almost a Pre-Raphealite moment.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

At the beach – it’s where near and far intertwine. Walking on the beach, the broad view envelops me and the close-up obsesses me. Back and forth, back and forth between dazzling intricacies of  tiny shells, rocks and littoral animals, and the equally dazzling dance of water and light on the horizon.

Starfish, shells and beachcombers on Sanibel Island on Florida’s west coast.

Another winter beach, a colder latitude: Whidbey Island, Washington. Giant bullwhip kelp washes up at Ebey’s Landing as a gull wings across the cold bay.

On this June day my job in New York City had taken me to a home care agency on Long Island’s southern shore. After investigating and interviewing all day, I took off for nearby Fire Island. I put in long hours and traveled many miles on that job, but often, at the end of the day, I was happy to skip dinner and explore. It was worth it.

They grow kelp big in the Pacific! Camano Island, Washington.

Distant sea stacks seen through driftwood at La Push, Olympic Peninsula, Washington. Selenium style processing in Lightroom.

A beach of a different sort: on the industrial north shore of New York City’s Staten Island, railroad tracks curve out of view towards the Bayonne Bridge. Built in 1931, it’s one of the longest steel arch bridges in the world, but it won’t be tall enough for mammoth container ships that the widening of the Panama Canal will bring to the port. The plan is to build a new roadway higher up within the existing arch, then tear down the old road. Somehow I doubt the view from this spot will change much – the city is full of forgotten corners with compelling views that haven’t changed in decades. From many of these forgotten corners, the close-up view is of garbage and detritus, but look in the distance and there’s gold.