Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bridge Perspectives

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While these bridges are some of the most heavily traveled in the world, these photos offer some less typical vantagepoints.  These may not be the best photos in the world, but they were fun to take.

The Ben Franklin Bridge spans the Delaware River between beautiful Camden, New Jersey and Philadelphia.    Built in 1926, the bridge now carries about 100,000 vehicles and 40,000 rail commuters each day.  The Camden Riversharks baseball stadium rests in the shadow of the bridge.  It's a fun ballpark with a kids' area that includes this merry-go-round.


An average of 190,000 vehicles per day cross this bridge across the New York Harbor.  The  Verrazano Narrows Bridge between Staten Island and Brooklyn was built in1964.   You get a peek of it at the top of this fall photo taken from the tip of the Gateway National Recreation area in Sandy Hook, NJ.    




To the right is a more traditional photo. It's taken from the bike path along San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.  Completed in 1937, it carries up to 160,000 vehicles a day.

Here's a bit of pseudo-math to give a perspective on how much traffic these bridges together carry - at around 450,000 vehicles per day.  At an average of 2 people per vehicle (not an unreasonable assumption), and adding in rail commuters who cross the Ben Franklin bridge, all together these carry something like 1 Million people per day or about 40,000 per hour if traffic were constantly running 24 hours each day.   To give a feeling for what this means, consider my local town, Freehold, which has a population of somewhere around 10,000.   So 40,000/hour means that every man-woman-and-child in Freehold would cross 4 times an hour, 24 hours a day.   I don't know why I felt compelled to estimate this, but there it is.....

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Country Road - Fall Colors again

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 .

It hit 70 degrees on Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service, the next time we'll see that will be in May. Yeah, May 2011. That's 6 months away.


For the longest time I was lucky to be able to commute to work by bike quite a bit, and it gave me a chance to 'see small'.  To see the little things that might look good inside of a camera. 

I had a flat tire one morning on Dutch Lane in Colts Neck.  I remember fixing it and then seeing the above scene across the road.   I figured it was fate to have the flat, because I wouldn't normally have given this driveway a second look.

A bit more abstract, but this was the road on a dark morning just after it had rained.  The white stripes are reflections of a light carried by the streaming water.




I was just about at the door one morning when I noticed the reflection from a puddle in the parking lot behind the building where I work.




Fog always has a way of making photos turn out well.  Just point and shoot, and just about every frame looks great.   Rumor has it that this is Springsteen's driveway.  Yeah, that Springsteen.  Here's an article I wrote about stalkng Bruce here at the Jersey Shore.

Monday, October 18, 2010

DANUBE CONFLUENCE

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I suppose I had heard that the Danube wasn't blue, but it wasn't until I was there that I really understood the difference.   Not to argue about the color, but it comes out clearly in this photo of the Danube at its confluence with the Ilz and the Inn, where the Ilz runs crystal blue.

Strauss wrote the song - The Blue Danube - shortly after an Austrian battle defeat.  I've read that using Blue in the title was either supposed to be an inspirational romantic vision or a slightly sarcastic barb.  I couldn't tell which was more true.  (Admittedly, I only did a quick internet search.)  Written with lyrics for a Vienna choral group, the song didn't catch on until it was performed outside of Austria without the lyrics.

Anyway, the title was drawn from a poem about a town in Hungary (Baja, Hungary -'the capital of fish soup' -  is about 100 miles downstream from Budapest).  And given the red sludge that recently made its way into the Danube in Hungary, it felt fitting to show what the Danube looks like 300km (about 180 miles) upstream from Vienna.

This is a photo high above the river from a tower in the city museum of Passau, Germany.  Here the Danube merges with the Ilz and the Inn rivers.  On the bottom is the refreshing blue Ilz -  a relatively small mountain stream.   On the top is the Inn - a fairly large river flowing in from Salzburg, Austria.  And the Danube flows between the two.   The Inn River has more water flow than the Danube, yet the three combined rivers are together named Danube.   The rationale according to wikipedia is that the Danube flows straight and continues on its path while the Inn curves in to meld with the main flow.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall began last week

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Fall started at about 1pm on September 22. So, here are a few photos to celebrate that.

If you're not from Joisey, you may not know that a great deal - almost 20% - of the land in the New Jersey is farmland.   New Jersey ranks 2nd in the nation for blueberry production, 3rd for cranberries, 4th for peaches, 8th for sweet corn, and 9th for tomatoes.  And, by some measures, it's only second to Kentucky for horse farms.  This farm is in Millstone Township in central New Jersey.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wistful for Summer

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It's that time again.  The sun is waking up later in the morning.   Ma Nature is testing out her cold breeze machine.   A few earlybird trees have begun showing off their new rainbow coats.  (sigh).  Where did the time go?

Somewhere in the Caribbean.


My Tree on Longbridge Road in Holmdel, NJ


Colt's Neck, NJ.  Early one Summer Day.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Philadelphia - a city just across the river from Joisey

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I just finished the "Gran Fondo" of Philadelphia.  It's a supported ride that's supposed to be a bit more than a casual ride but a bit less than a race.   I don't think I've ever seen as many 10-15% hills in a single ride.  Anyway, it prompted me to post a few Philly fotos.


This first shot is the Ben Franklin Bridge.  I think this foto appears elsewhere in this blog, but it's my iconic Philly shot, so it's got to be repeated.  Admittedly, it's not 100% a Philadelphia photo since it was actually taken in New Jersey.  I was on the pedestrian path at the bridge's first big tower in Camden. 
Here's the "Lindenwold Local" train crossing the same bridge. Alright, so this isn't a 100% Philadelphia photo either since Lindenwold is actually 20 miles across the river in Jersey.  But the train is fresh from Philly, and the photo was taken  from the Pennsylvania side of the bridge.  So, it deserves to be posted here.


 
There's no controversy here, this is definitively a Philadelphia photo.  The USA cycling professional championships were held in Philly each year.  While the title is now given from another race, the June race on the streets of the city remains an international classic.   The ride along the Ben Franklin Parkway with a view of City Hall on one end (in this photo) and Rocky's staircase at the other end is world renown in cycling in part because it's one of the rare races where the peleton sees its tail end as it wraps around a traffic circle and comes up the other way.



Thursday, July 29, 2010

TRAINS

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Julian Wearne from the Land Down Under linked his blog to my recent photo of New York's #7 Subway line and commented on a couple of other transportation photos I had in flickr.  That gave me the idea for this posting ... reviewing a couple of those shots here.  Thx, JW.

The Hudson River rail line heads along the river on the West Side of Manhattan, but it's usually hidden beneath Riverside Park and/or the Hudson River Parkway.   I'm a tourist, not a native.  So I had no idea it was there until we were walking from the 79th Street Boat Basin one day and saw the tracks through what looked to me to be prison bars.   The prison bars and blotchy light just stuck with me.  This photo is nobody's favorite but mine.  Just reminds me of the gritty feeling of being there.

I was not a fan the parking garage at Newark Airport.   Sure, it's convenient, but the raw girders in the architecture struck me as  low budget government work until I saw a photo in  Bob Jagendorf's photo stream.  His iconic shot of the the top of the elevator shaft made me see the contrast between the glass and steel in a new light and was the rationale for this photo I took one evening.  This is the the elevator tower and the adjacent monorail line that runs over to the airline terminals.


We recently took the subway over to Shea Stadium in New York.   Actually, we were going to visit the new skateboarding park in Flushing Meadows by the old World's Fair globe.  There was a professional competition there, and we thought that was pretty fascinating ... that there was enough money in skateboarding to make it a profession.  Anyway, on the way there we found the rail yard for the #7 line just outside of the subway station. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

RUST

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Built in 1888, the  Palace Amusements building in Asbury Park, NJ was the place to be.    A hundred rides and the white sands of the Atlantic Ocean were the height of entertainment.   After a century, it grinded to a halt and closed in 1988, and the painted horses were sold off in an auction.    The old building that served as its home is still standing and is a cornerstone of the rebuilt Asbury Park waterfront.

Witte's Marine Salvage in Staten Island was the home of scuttled and abandoned ships as the owner sold off the components under contract.   When he passed away in 1980 there were about 400 rotting hulls at dock, and that's been reduced to about 200 now through salvage.   Unless you're in a kayak, it's not possible to see more than a tiny fragment of this place - just 6 ships out of the hundreds of hulks. This is one of the six visible at low tide just off of highway 440 on Arthur Kill Road. 

An abandoned farm is slowly disintegrating just off the bike path in Marlboro, New Jersey.   Somehow these wrecks still seem to speak about their former livelihood.   This sits just across the stream from the land that is rumored to have been the eerie Marlboro Slaughterhouse.   A farm haunted by its former owner who's farm is said to have been appropriated by the nearby mental hospital, causing him to become a patient and then a stalking escapee.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

CLEVELAND

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The city of Cleveland stands along the Cuyahauga River in northern Ohio (yeah, the river that caught fire). The suburbs begin near the edge of the river's valley and continue on through the high ground above the valley. On the east side where I grew up many of the suburban villages carry the surname "Heights": Cleveland Heights, University Heights, Highland Heights, Euclid Heights, etc. Little houses along little streets. That's one of the things my memory connects with Cleveland. True, Jefferson sits in the flight path of the airport on the west side, but this photo of that suburb still reminds me of home.

The Chagrin River slices through the "heights" roughly marking the end of the Cleveland area.  Looking at a map of the city, you'll see it surrounded by parks - the "emerald necklace".  The east side parks line the banks of the Chagrin.   Chagrin Falls sits in the center of the city bearing its name that was founded roughly 40 years after the city of Cleveland that's about 20 miles to the northwest.   As a cyclist, diving down the hills to the Chagrin valley is the start of my fun early morning rides when I return to visit family.

I have glowing memories of the days we spent at Lake Erie beaches.  Gentle waves, long shallow beaches, and building sandcastles.   Sure, the occasional dead fish line the recesses of my brain.   But as a kid this wasn't a big deal.  It wasn't nearly as important as the sun and the sand.




Friday, May 28, 2010

in the night

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Costa Rica's sparsely populated Osa Peninsula isn't a typical tourist destination.    Dangling out in the Pacific ocean shielding Golfo Dulce (Sweet Bay), this remote spit of land is teaming with wildlife.   This photo shows what may be the lights of Puerto Pilon across the Bay.  We were staying at Lapa Rios - a vacation lodge that offers nature hikes & expeditions daily.   We flew, of course, into San Jose,took a small prop plane to Puerto Jimenez's one runway airport, and then bumped along in a small jeep along a dirt road to get there.

We were in New York for a wedding and had a room on the 15th floor of a hotel.   The view isn't architecturally inspiring. We were surrounded by apartment buildings. The lack of information within this scene creates dozens of storylines for me.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Skylines of Mountains

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I have no idea how anyone who lives in the Denver area gets any work done.    The wonder of the Rockies are tirelessly distracting.   I was out there for some business meetings, and I snapped this from the parking garage.   How I made it into the building after this is beyond me.   This is a photo of Rocky Mountain National Park from something like 60 miles away.    The tall mountain is Longs Peak, and it's something like 2.5 miles (4.2Km) tall.   OK, so the thing in the upper right is a bit further and still captivating too ... about 240,000 miles.   Somewhere between the scene up front and the Front Range hills in the middle is the city of Boulder, Colorado.

Cairns, Australia is the jumping off spot for the Great Barrier Reef.    We went all the way around the world to that city, but we never made it off land.   The forests & hills of Queensland were reason enough to visit.   Mt.Whitfield guards the city from the north.   The city fills the valley on the other side, beyond view here.   Daintree Forest surrounds the city which we visited by Railway (which begins climbing near the base of Whitfield) and returned by Skyrail).

Yosemite Valley offers stunning views at every turn.    If you want to become a brilliant photographer, bring any kind of camera to Yosemite, point it in a random direction, and snap away.   Every shot will be breathtaking.    A bit of hiking beyond the road at the east end of the valley takes you along the creek up to the (former) mirror lake.    It was once a spectacular scene that was enhanced by man-made structures.   Recent park nature management, though, is letting the lake return to its natural state.  It's filling with sediment and the ability to catch reflections is reduced as it's on its way to becoming Mirror Meadow.
Mirror Lake Postcard Photo - Yosemite

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Manhattan Celebrations

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Sure Manhattan never sleeps, but it comes alive in unique ways for special events.

Viewing the Macys Thanksgivingday Parade begins the night before uptown by the Museum of Natural History.  Just outside the 10 story planetarium, half-filled vinyl carcasses line the street held down by infinite rope webs.  Packd back-to-front, kids and their handlers slowly crawl past these unnatural creations.   The next day the balloons each make their way several miles through manhattan pinned down just barely by tiny humans  While not a huge floating ballon, here at about 50th street the Hooters Owl confronts a NYC cop.

The winter that the "The Gates" were going to take over Central Park, it was also the last winter that the famous Plaza Hotel was open.   So a year ahead of time, we reserved a park-view room at the Plaza for Valentines Day.    Expensive, of course.  But it was the last time we'd ever be able to do it.
 
We had no intention of watching the St.Patrick's Day Parade in New York.  We had family visiting us, so we took a day to visit some of the museums. We were just lucky to have caught the parade.  See the snow across the road?  I had never realized that these dudes in kilts were marching in winter weather.   No wonder they need to warm up in the bars afterwards.    And sometimes before.