Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Protest Against White Supremacy

Hartford, Connecticut

In one hundred cities across America today, people demonstrated peacefully against the injustice of the "stand your ground" laws, and the perpetuation of Jim Crow that they entail, which resulted in the decision in a Florida court a week ago—the topic of what ground Martin was allowed to stand and hold was never addressed. I went to the rally in Connecticut's capital, and I'll have some more pictures later.

The title of the post is, of course about the issue. Racism isn't the issue, the issue is the assumption of white supremacy. The problem is not out of control gun laws, by themselves. It is not even the Koch-brothers-financed ALEC-written STG laws, by themselves. It is that people of color are not treated equally. To live in this USA and not be aware of that means you are either an idiot, or in denial.


Canaan, Connecticut

Friday, July 19, 2013

Summer Day, III

Tyringham, Massachusetts

Summer Day, II

Tyringham, Massachusetts

There's an saying that "the haze is so thick you could cut it with a knife." It applies.

Summer Day

Monterey, Massachusetts

There's an awful wave of heat and humidity here in the northeast. Yesterday I drove around a bit, trying to see if I could get some pictures that visually convey the intensity of the weather. Temperatures around 100° coupled to high humidity make the conditions downright dangerous for many people.

I couldn't figure out whether the figures in this field were elaborate scarecrows or some sort of art installation.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Slide Show at

The Owen Drive-in Theater, Seymour, Missouri

Over at they've put up a slideshow drawn from my American Drive-in Theater project. Some of the pictures have appeared here, but some others will be unfamiliar even to regular WP visitors.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Uncle Sam

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Still More Parade

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

It took me a while to figure out that this traditional-style helium balloon was a firecracker, getting ready to cover his ears to avoid the sound of his own explosive dissolution. I think that's because it's the stupidest idea I've ever seen if you, you know, think about it for a second. Also, too, particularly before it was fully inflated it kind of looked like something else. But, oh dear, the speculation gets worse—suicide bomber float?

Sunday, July 07, 2013

More Parade

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

The Tower Drive-in/Texas Sky

Rule, Texas

It's been a frustrating week. Back last weekend I was doing some tests to zero in on exactly how I want to make digital prints of the theater pictures (Epson Hot Press Natural paper with a neutral setting of the Advanced Black and White driver looks promising) when a heat wave rolled in and stopped everything. It isn't just hot, the humidity is sub-tropical. There's no way the modest air conditioning we have in our old house can begin to reach proper heat/humidity operating conditions for the printer. Also, Tuesday a package of Fixxons® Waterproof Silk Screen Positive Film—which I found superior to Pictorico® OHP film in earlier tests—arrived, but I don't dare unseal the package at 78° Rh. I'd been hoping to make a final round of digital-negative-Pt/Pd-tests, but it's also impossible to get the darkroom where I do the platinum printing down to the necessary heat and humidity levels. Even if I could output a negative I can't make finals. It's meaningless to do "tests" without proper operating conditions.

This digital capture of the Tower theater was one of the pictures I worked with before the monsoon rolled in. Looking at the test print yesterday, I realized that before last year's travels, if I'd come across this print my reaction to the sky would be to think someone had gone way overboard on post processing. Skies "don't look like that." Well, they never do back east where I've always lived. But in fact this, and even more so the print, is a really accurate portrayal of what the back-lit clouds above the vast Texas high plateau actually looked like in mid-morning on June 4. The sky was an extremely pale blue, but in places the clouds were were so thin the blue showed right through them. The clouds overhead were much heavier. The whole scene was both delicate and storm-threatening at the same time.

No aggressive processing is needed, either. I'd used -.66 exposure compensation to make sure there was no clipping of the cloud values. This left the gravel field a little too dark, as expected, easily fixed in ACR with the Exposure slider. To get the sense of the transparent clouds near the horizon transiting to the heavier tone at the top of the frame, a combination of some pull back of blue in the grayscale mix combined with minor pulls of the White and Highlight sliders back in the Basic panel made a convincing result.

It may not be easy to see in the online display, but the stuff near the center of the frame, left of the screen, is a tank farm. I'll have to review the pictures to get a count, but a remarkable number of theaters I visited were directly adjacent to, or even surrounded by, oil or gas tank farms. But it really isn't that surprising. The fastest way to put a drive-in theater out of business is for the land it's on to rise in value, or become a desirable location for a WalMart. An undesirable location—like next to a tank farm—can keep property values and taxes low enough for a drive-in operation to thrive.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Liberty Bell

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Preparing the Balloon Floats

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

This is billed as one of the largest Fourth of July parades around. It really is big, lasting a full two hours as the floats and bands and drum corps march through the middle of town. It seemed a bit smaller than some previous years (I haven't gone for several years). I particularly noticed that there were a lot fewer of the large balloons than I remember. Also I noticed that only a few of the balloons were being filled with helium, from a much smaller delivery truck than the huge tanker I'd seen in past years. Other balloons instead used blower arrangements powered by battery packs carried by some of the handlers. Not sure whether that's progress or not. Another thing I hadn't seen before were tall blower-filled costumes worn by marchers, like animated Christmas yard decorations, but with Liberty Bell or dancing clown themes.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Christmas in July?

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Lining up for the big July 4th parade in Pittsfield. There's a footrace right before the parade sets off and you can see in the distance that US Route 7 has been  cordoned off and cleared for the two events.

Tags, #3

New York, New York