Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 30 > A Bird On The Wing

I stopped by the old St. John's School this morning to scout for possible photo opportunities in it's stone entryway. A group of common house sparrows were chattering in some nearby shrubs and as I zoomed in on one of the two eagle sculptures perched on either corner of the ledge above the school door's, one of them broke from the flock and landed on the head of its oblivious stone cousin. As I continued searching for good angles at which to capture the eagle, I tried to incorporate the smaller bird into the composition. After a minute, it moved to the perfect spot on the wing and seemed to do its best impression of the larger bird's stern visage.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 29 > Downtown Green Bay YMCA

Another of Green Bay's notable downtown buildings.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 28 > A Walk On The Frozen Bay

My original destin ation when I headed out yester day morning for my daily photo hunt was Red Banks County Park on Green Bay's west shore. This morning I made it a point to go directly there without getting sidetracked (and I almost did it, too) so I could take advantage of the morning light which I hoped would provide a little contrast and color to the snow covered surface of the frozen the bay.
I arrived by 9am and after exploring the possibilities along the shore's edge and getting a few shots, I set out across the ice toward a little village of ice fishing shanties a quarter mile or so offshore.

Today was almost certainly the first time I've ventured out onto the bay ice since the days of ice fishing with Dad so many years ago.
It was another very cold morning but not as brutal as it has been the past few days so the walk turned out to be quite enjoyable. I had almost forgotten what it felt like to be in that blindingly bright and wide open environment with the blue sky stretching to the horizons.

This little adventure qualifies as yet another experience I would likely not have had were it not for this photo project.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 27 > Early Morning, Golden Light

If if ever there was a reason not to sleep in then the warm glow of the early morning light in winter would be it. Scenes that at a later hour would seem ordinary come to life at this time of day.

Once again, the photo for the day was captured while en route to what was to be my chosen spot to shoot today. I'm perfectly happy to save that location for another morning.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 26 > Old Friends

Converse All Stars. An American classic. My 'punk rock' shoes.
With the exception of events like weddings or funerals that require more formal footwear, these shoes or a pair like them, were the only thing I wore on my feet for the majority of the 90's. I still love these shoes and would still be wearing them regularly were it not for the need for shoes with a bit better arch support. I missed my old friends today so I dug around in the back of the closet and tried them on again for old time's sake.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 25 > The Old Downtown Train Depot

The old train depot in downtown Green Bay on the edge of the Fox River is one of the more historic buildings left standing in the city. I know very little about it's history but can judge it's age by the stamp in the iron posts that support the roof over the passenger boarding area which reads Duncan Iron Works; GB WI 1898. Of course, due to changes in the way we travel today, this depot has not served rail passengers in many decades. When I was a child the railroad still used the building for office space but eventually they no longer had use for it and for a time (if memory serves) there where tentative plans to demolish it as has happened to so much of the city's historic buildings. Luckily, a young entrepreneur stepped in with a plan to renovate the interior of the building for use as a microbrewery and restaurant while retaining the exterior's original look. Today, The Titletown Brewing Co. is one of the major success stories in the revitalization of the downtown area.
My timing on this day could not have been better. As I left the car with camera gear in hand I heard the warning bells begin to chime on the street at the nearby railroad crossing indicating a train was approaching.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 24 > Terraced Ice

What an amazing sight today! Terraced ice formations have developed along the Lake Michigan shore at Neshota Beach in Two Rivers. (Please be sure to click on the image to view larger) Moving over it was a bit treacherous making staying on hands and knees the safest way to get into various shooting positions or to approach anywhere near the shore's edge. In summer, this beautiful sandy beach slopes gently into the lake but winter has now transformed the edge into a 6 ft ice cliff a person would not want to slip over! Today's temperature near zero and a very strong wind made this shoot quite challenging but despite the severe discomfort in the extremities and a numb face, I am happy to have once again captured images I may never have had the opportunity even to see if it were not for this project.
Other shots from today:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 23 > Union Church Courtyard

The snow filled court yard of the Union Congre gational Church. Est. in 1899, this church once served as a stopover on the Underground Railroad that harbored African slaves seeking freedom in the north.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 20 > A Historic Day

Free at last, free at last!!
The dark age of the Bush occupation has finally come to an end!

The owner of this building has had a running countdown to today's presidential inauguration in the first floor shop window for the past month. I'd kept an eye on the display during that time but ultimately I decided to save this shot to commemorate today's historic event.
One sad note on this otherwise joyous day; as I took this photo, a motorist driving through the nearby intersection shouted a racist remark that served as an ugly reminder that, as much as the inauguration of the first African American president signifies a major change in this country, some things will remain the same.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 19 > Hoar Frost

Jack Frost was at work last night leaving a nice surprise this morning!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 16 > -10 F

8:30am; Steam rises from the buildings of downtown Green Bay as seen from the roof of the parking ramp at the now dead Port Plaza mall. The temperature reading on the sign in the parking lot of the bank below me read -10F.
I couldn't feel my face after just a minute or two of looking into the wind.
Seriously, I'm going to freeze to death during one of these outings...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 15 > Midnight Moon

12:05am; -6 Degrees F

Cropped version:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 14 > Shrine of St. Anthony of Padua

Chapel in woods on the campus of the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 9 > A Winter Oasis

In the first chapter of Herman Melville's Moby Dick, the main character, Ishmael, talks about our natural attraction to water saying "Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it".
It is true. Those paths do exist in so many places familiar to me but are obscured at this time of year here in the north. And yet paths to water are still there to be found over the surface of the deep snow. Of course, the animals making those paths are not seeking any sort of magic or beauty as man might in warmer seasons but a basic need. The presence of open water in an otherwise frozen landscape serves to create an oasis of sorts that, as can be clearly seen by the trails crisscrossing this creek, draws life to it like a magnet.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 8 > Industria Argentina

Yerba Mate. Coffee wishes it could look this good.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 7 > It's snowing again

It's funny how so many of the photos for this project have just kind of happened. I woke up this morning with absolutely no idea where I'd go or what I'd like to shoot for today's image. As I poured my first cup of coffee for the day, I noticed through the kitchen window that big, fluffy flakes of snow were falling and thought this fresh white blanket might make for a nice landscape shot or something.
An hour or so later I stepped outside and immediately noticed the perfect snowflakes settling on and standing out so nicely against the sleeve of my black jacket. Ding! I had an idea.
I set out a sheet of black poster paper to collect snowflakes for a while then dug out my set of macro closeup filters and tripod. Ten minutes later I set up the camera, carefully focused and clicked. The image for day 7 was captured by 8:30 am and hardly had to leave the house.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 6 >

Old Christ Church in downtown Green Bay.
According to the inscription in the stone near the front doors, this congregation began in 1829 but the church itself (as best as I can determine from the badly weathered words) was built in 1899. A plaque above the inscription identifies the church as a historic site recognized by the State of Wisconsin.

It will become clear as this project progresses just how attracted I am to very old stone buildings, gravestones, etc. Things with history behind them have always intrigued me. When I am in the downtown area I can hardly keep my eyes off this place, not only because of it's amazing architecture but especially for the way it stands out in such stark contrast against the backdrop of modern building that surround it. I've chosen to highlight only this small section of the church because as striking as it is as a whole, I felt that if the photo were to include all the modern clutter that would be visible in a wider view, it would take something away from the image's ability to transport the viewer back in time.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day 5 > A Very Cold Morning

I've had my eye on this tugboat tied up on the Fox River for quite a while now, thinking it might be a good subject for a photo. It's been there since some time last year yet I foolishly chose to get around to shooting it on this windy and bitterly cold day.
Adding to the misery, the slick sidewalks left by the weekend ice storm made walking up the bridge to the spot overlooking the boat treacherous to say the least. But despite the difficulty and discomfort the weather conditions presented, I captured this image in the beautiful, early morning light while somehow managing to avoid frostbite.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 4 >

January 4th; Freezing rain overnight left the roads covered by a sheet of ice keeping me at home for the morning hours.
At noon I was really feeling the itch to get out to capture the daily image, so after scraping all that ice off the car's windows, I headed to nearby Fort Howard Cemetery since it wouldn't involve driving very far on the very slippery roads.
As I drove I wondered if my luck with stumbling upon interesting subjects would hold for another day or if this would be the first time I'd have to settle for a less interesting image than those I've captured so far for this project. Once Spring arrives I expect that I will have so many subjects available that I will actually have a difficult time choosing which photo will represent each day. Winter, however, is a different story. Each day has proven to be quite a challenge with the earth buried under two feet of snow.
I arrived at the cemetery and strapped snowshoes to my feet (to aid in traversing the aforementioned two feet of snow) grabbed my backpack and camera and made my way toward my first possible subject; a weathered statue of a seated woman atop a large base. I'd shot this statue several times before so I didn't have high hopes it would become the day's image but thought I might find a new angle of view or that the snow that had fallen on the figure might provide some added interest. At first glance I was fairly sure I'd have no reason to pull the camera from it's bag but then I noticed something out of place just below the woman's right hand and realized it was a small wasp's nest.
It never ceases to amaze me how ingeniously hives are positioned to protect them from the weather but this one seemed especially well placed.
The wasps instinctively built the hive in the shelter of her hand while she seemed to be demonstrating a motherly instinct to provide that needed protection.
I took the photo and moved on but felt confident that I'd captured the winning image for day four.
So my lucky streak continues. I've got my fingers crossed for day 5.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Days 1 - 3 > It's a start...

January 3rd: Icy toes?

January 2nd: Norway Spruce cone

January 1st: Ruins of an old blacksmith's shop

An overly ambitious goal for the new year? Well, yeah, maybe...

I've never put much stock in new year's resolutions.
I suppose I've half-heartedly set some of the same lofty goals that so many others have each year but never stick to for very long. Like most of those people, I rarely make it past day one.
For example, this year I told myself I'd finally return to regular daily workouts beginning bright and early January 1st.
Riiiight...already blew
that one.
Perhaps January 2nd would have been a more reasonable start date and it turns out I
did fit in a three mile walk that evening. Tonight is another night. Time will tell if the workout resolution can be salvaged.

As I've just demonstrated, I am not exactly the most regimented or strong-willed person when it comes to any sort of routine activity, no matter how desirable or beneficial it's outcome might be. It is for this reason that my other goal for 2009 may seem slightly overambitious if not outright foolhardy.

But first, a little background information...
new year's day I had considered beginning a photography project that would involve taking photos, one per day, for 30 days based on a similar undertaking by Minnesota photographer Jim Brandenburg whose self-assigned 90 day photo project produced a collection of magnificent nature and wildlife images that was published by National Geographic magazine and later became the subject of the book Chased By The Light.

Now, I'm no Brandenburg but I found the idea intriguing and thought it might force me to get out and shoot on a regular basis but, as with goals of new year's past, I neglected to get clicking on January 1st, then told myself I'd give it a try on
February 1st by which time I just sort of forgot about the whole thing.

Well, this year is going to be different! (hey, save your dubious smirk, I mean it this time!)
Not only have I resolved to begin a project that will involve taking at least one photo per day but have actually begun the project on day one...a small victory in itself.

But unlike my original plan to shoot for one month or Brandenburg's 90 day photography mission, I plan to take things up a notch. In fact, I hope to atone for all my past new year's resolution failures with a venture that will require a new image
every single day for this entire year.

At this writing I have managed to keep the project alive for an astonishing three days. Will I be able to reach my goal of 365 images in 365 days? A part of me is strongly committed to this goal but already I'm realizing this will not always be easy and that the entire project could be ruined by a single day's laziness.

However, I feel that by making my intentions public through this blog, I greatly increase my chances for success because to fail privately is one thing but to fail publicly is an entirely different matter. Call it self-imposed tough love!

With that said, I embark on my mission...wish me luck!