Wednesday, August 31, 2011 1:15:25 PM
There was a gorgeous sunset last night that I missed because I was in the wrong place to see it and I was without my camera.
Nevermind. Here's one from a few days ago to compensate.
A 10 second exposure accounts for smeared clouds!
Sunday, August 28, 2011 7:05:56 PM
A few more shots of Yellowstone National Park and its surroundings.
These were all taken on August 10, 2011 either on our way to Gardiner, Montana, or on a brief and shot expedition into Yellowstone National Park through the north entrance after our arrival at that town late in the afternoon.
The low sun brought out the lines of the rolling hills beautifully.
Here's a tree growing next to the Gardiner River in Yellowstone park.
Below, some photographs of the Absaroka Range taken from Montana Highway 89.
Monday, August 22, 2011 1:29:33 AM
My dear sister gave a DVD of "The White Ribbon
" for my birthday (one of two movies). I watched it this evening.
It's a story of sinister goings on in a small German village, tied to a barony, in the year leading up to World War One. Almost exactly 100 years ago from now.
So it's a reminder of how much things have changed in Europe as well as window into a way of life that was about to be abruptly altered forever, and, in the immediate future, very much for the worst. As such, the movie strives to establish a mood of hypocrisy, repression, and cruelty. It does so, but not so much that you can feel you can extrapolate this into the barbaric wars and regimes that followed. Rather, you come away feeling that any human community, however well-meaning on the surface, has the potential for evil doings underneath the surface. That is not a particularly fresh insight, however well done.
And it is done pretty well here. The movie is very slow - slower even than "Heimat
", the most obvious frame of reference. It could be considered as a sort of prequel to that fascinating series, except with artier aims. It's beautifully photographed and very well acted but remains a smaller film than I think its makers would like us to consider, and is best judged simply on its own terms rather than as carrying some grand message. Obviously, we cannot look at these scenes without the awareness of bloody war and Hitler to come, but if there is an allegorical intent it really does not work. But, as a rather unsettling and unresolved drama about a group of flawed human characters, it is effective.
As I often like to do after watching a film on DVD, I watched the trailer afterwards. Rather laughable in its attempt to cast this as a conventional thriller.
Sunday, August 21, 2011 8:30:14 PM
August 8, 2011
We drove out of Yellowstone National Park on Highway 20/89. This took us along the western shore of Yellowstone Lake
. It's funny to think that this lake is 7,732 feet (2,376 m) above sea level but that would certainly explain the fast sunburn I picked up on my arms photographing this body of water.
The day was getting on - it was 6:30 p.m. when I took the above photograph - and we wanted to make as much progress as we could heading south and west out of the park. This meant that we sped through a lot of landscape that I would have liked to give better attention to but I still was able to get a few interesting shots.
By the time we got to Jackson Lake and the view of the Grand Teton Mountains across the water, the sun was almost below the horizon. But enough remained to clip the top of the peaks. This made for a more interesting series of views that I expected.
Saturday, August 20, 2011 5:03:00 PM
Another look at the same pile of stones you see here
Two of fourteen shots that I took over the course of 90 seconds. I have spent far longer looking at this scene on my computer screen than I did in person taking the photographs.
This is not how I would have preferred it. I would have liked to have sat by that pile of stones for hours. Time was against us, alas - we had to move on.
I look at them again now and recapture again some the feel of that high lonely place, the clear powerful sunlight and the thin clean mountain air.
Not so easy, of course, on a humid, thunderstorm-pregnant St. Louis Saturday afternoon tucked away in my basement hideaway. But easier than I might have thought.
Places like this - and I find them wherever I go if I keep my eyes open and keep my other senses alive - once experienced are never truly left. A little piece of soul remains there and a little piece of the soul of the place enters me.
Thursday, August 18, 2011 11:56:53 PM
St. John's Catholic Church, Ringling, Montana.
Geoff and I stopped here briefly on our way to the Crazy mountains in early August. This beautiful historic church stands just outside the almost ghost town of Ringling, Montana. It was good see that some effort is being made to restore it. I looked up a web entry
for Ringling that gives a little history - yes, this Ringling was founded by of John T. Ringling of the Ringling Brothers Circus - but for a church that is "One of the most photographed historic churches"
an utterly dismal photograph of the building. What were they thinking?
And here's the prairie!
Utterly gorgeous - although I appreciate it might be a bit too bleak for some tastes.
I was listening to one of the (many) obscurities in my overlarge collection while putting this post together. An LP transcription from a record I picked up in a 1970s cut-out bin, Deke Leonard's "Kamikaze". If you have not heard of either the record or artist you are hardly alone. Leonard was a guitarist in the Welsh sometimes prog, sometimes acid rock, band Man
who are hardly a household name these days either.
Anyway, "Kamikaze" while hardly a masterpiece, is a moderately entertainingly slice of Americanophilic British rock of the early 1970s before punk came along and swept all this music under the rug. Living here in the real thing, as it were, I find these slightly off-kilter attempts to appropriate an American feel are both quaint and rather charming. Here's another and more detailed take
on the record from another Brit ex-pat living in the Midwest.
Thursday, August 18, 2011 3:47:23 AM
Monday week ago, I walked out of Geoff and Martha's house in Helena and climbed the hill at the end of Rodney Street.
I didn't have to walk far until I found a shady spot beneath a pine tree. I lay there for a while, breathing the mountain air and simply relaxing as I gazed up at the branches above me.
A little thing.
One to treasure, though.
Below, Geoff & Martha's house - lens-tilted to give it that 'model' look. It's the bright blue one.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011 12:00:00 PM
My Archie Bray Foundation post
has moved to 'Friends Only' - join My Opera
and friend me to see it. Public photographs available here
Monday, August 15, 2011 2:50:25 AM
A few more photographs of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park. This top one is with a medium-slow shutter speed (1/10 second) - the one below is taken with a shutter speed of 0.4 seconds.
Here's a longer range view of the falls showing more of the canyon into which the water falls 308 feet (94 m).
Finally, a photograph looking directly down in Yellowstone Canyon with the river far below.
Hardly the first or last photographs of this popular travel destination but fun to take! It was good to see and hear the waterfall in action. See also here
Sunday, August 14, 2011 9:44:44 PM
No - not the title of Western movie.
Our last night with Martha on Tuesday of last week.
Nice to look back on now that we've returned home to the gentle hills of St. Louis (elevation 466 feet (142 m) above sea level).
On a beautiful evening, we drove up into the mountains west of Helena to a glorious grassy hill about 6,000 feet (1829 m) high. Not that we had to climb that far as our origin, Helena, is about 4000 feet above sea level.
Ruth, Martha, Anna, Nate (all above left to right, Martha's head hidden), David and myself plus Lilly the dog in two cars (thanks to Martha for lending us the Blazer, our Camry would have had a hard time with the rutted road). A tablecloth laid on the grass, adorned with bread, brie, hummus, goat cheese, wine, juice and watermelon on a warm summer evening - what more could you ask for?
Afterwards, a walk up the hill to an expansive view (and you can see how high we climbed by the tiny cars in the valley below - photo above). Below - Martha being menaced by a dead tree.
In the mountains, the sun passes below the high horizon well before it reddens, but that has its own attractions as this silhouette of David on the ridge up the hilltop shows.