Monday, November 30, 2009

Sheboygan in Sepia

While I haven't traveled any great distances in recent months, I have been experimenting locally with my photography as a result of a composition in photography class that I've been taking. The photos in this post show aspects of the city I live in and some of the reasons that I've settled in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on the western shore of Lake Michigan. I chose to take the images in sepia as it seems to reflect the Fall season in the Northern Hemisphere. Perhaps the sepia tints also give the images a feeling of timelessness.

Most of the photos relate to water, either the Sheboygan River or Lake Michigan that it empties itself into. The nature of the city combines industry and recreation. Manufacturing has grown due to waterways. At one time ships traveled from the Atlantic Ocean, along the Great Lakes via a canal system, with some ships stopping in Sheboygan. Today, due to changes in commerce patterns, the main commercial vessels are fishing boats. Yes, there is also an active surfing community here. Admittedly, often the Lake is flat and placid, but there are times when surfing is very good. The metallic bird made of found art materials seems incongruous in this collection. My intent was to present aspects of the city that have kept me here. The scissor-beaked bird stands outside of the John Michael Kohler Art Center, a very active place and one in which I spend some of my time as a volunteer.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope that you have found something to enjoy during your visit. Please feel free to come again.

This is apparently my 100th posting on this blog. I especially would like to thank those of you who have returned over the last couple of years and have occasionally left comments. I have enjoyed sharing ideas with you and hope to do so through future posts.

In the meantime, may all of your travels be both interesting and enjoyable.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Urban Visions

Urban settings vs. natural settings are always a dilemma for me. I love walks in nature-the quietness and natural beauty are things that I truly appreciate. On the other hand, a good urban setting is also full of surprises and a different kind of beauty even though it lacks the quietness of Nature.

It has been a while since I have visited a truly urban scene. As I scroll through my photos of prior travels, scenes of my favorite city keep calling me back. In the end, I decided to return to Paris, at least virtually. There is just something about its essence that wants to make me revisit it again and again. To be honest, I'm not even going to attempt to analyze my attraction to the city; I'll just present images of some of its many aspects and hope that you enjoy them. If you have the opportunity, visit Paris yourself-I would be interested in your impressions.

Thank you for visiting. May your travels be interesting and enjoyable.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Art of Commerce

The ways that cultures deal with different aspects of life is one of the reasons that I enjoy travel. Cultures are influenced by the physical characteristics of their location. They are also influenced by social interactions, those from within their own group and from groups outside of their own. One of the many basic human activities is commerce. What is sold and how the buyer's attention is captured is not all the same as you travel from culture to culture.

There are two common factors in the photos in this collection, regardless of where they were taken or the product, itself. First of all, they are all trying to sell something. Secondly, they all involve urban settings.

The top photo, taken in Lucca, Italy, is trying to sell part of local culture in the form of the musical works of a great musician. The second focuses on a tea product, using twist of distinctly British humor (a twist that would be called unacceptable in most smaller communities in the U.S.A.). The third is a neon call to a Las Vegas hotel, one where there is always a show performance. The lobster claw sign in Bar Harbor, Maine draws tourists to this coastal gift shop, a place where they can buy works of both local artists and a multitude of sea-themed trinkets made in China. Lastly, we observe the image of a sophisticated woman promoting the fashions of Paris.

The reason that I chose these particular photos is that I felt they clearly invoked their cultural locations. If we were to exchange the images and their original locations, like mixing up the pieces of a jig-saw puzzle, I don't think they would comfortably fit. I hope that you enjoyed looking at cultural differences in this way.

As always, thank you for visiting. Please feel free to leave a comment if you wish, and do stop by again some time. May your own travels be interesting and enjoyable.