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George Eastman Is My New Personal Hero (Day 68)

September 24th, 2009 1 comment

The Reader’s Digest book suggested that, while in Rochester, I should visit the George Eastman house. As a result of my obedience, I now have a new idol. A dead one, sure, but I’ll take what I can get. Reasons for my idolatry:

  1. Single.
  2. Liked photography.
  3. Enjoyed planning vacations.
  4. Traveled a lot.
  5. Chose the name of his company because he felt that “K” was a strong letter that people would respond to (it ended up being a pretty decent brand).
  6. Adopted new hobbies frequently and was driven to become competent in many things.
  7. Didn’t like being the center of attention.
  8. Enjoyed giving stuff to people (although I don’t know that he did it primarily only when changing residences).
  9. When he shot himself (at age 77 and with a calcified spine), he had a second gun ready just in case the first one malfunctioned.
  10. Had really good taste in houses.

On that last point:

eastman-house_billiard-roomThe billiard room.

eastman-house_study-doorwayDecoration over the study doorway.

eastman-house_stairs-conservatoryDouble stairway with view into the conservatory.

eastman-house_ashtrayCoolest ashtray ever.

eastman-house_exteriorAnd the outside looks like this.

Fine if you disagree on the taste, but I’d like to think I’d do something similar if I invented roll film and got rich off it.

The site is also the location of the world’s first photography museum. The museum itself is pretty small — only two real galleries. One of them had “50 Photos by Jessica Lange” in it. Um, aside from not being famous, I’m a better photographer than Jessica Lange. The other gallery had an exhibit that was first displayed there in 1975 that was entitled “The New Topographics” and apparently pioneered the non-judgmental photography of “man-made landscapes”, i.e., buildings (many of the photos from the exhibit can be found here).

Thus inspired, I went out to the parking lot and took this picture:

topographic_eastman-parkingNo judgment passed.

I really no-joke kind of liked some of those photos. And then I drove away (in my own car, not one of the two above).

bkd

Best of the West Coast: Hikes, Drives, Photos

August 21st, 2009 2 comments

I have the trip broken down into four or five parts (West Coast, Northern States, Northeast, South, and Southwest — it’s four if I combine the Northern States with the Northeast) and the West Coast is now finished, which means I figure I can do some evaluation. And if you’re joining the game already in progress, maybe this will help catch up. If you want to.

Nice intro. Oh well. Here goes:

Best West Coast Hikes > 10 mi.

  1. Glen Alpine Trail to Aloha Lake, Lake Tahoe (Day 12, 14 mi.) – Had everything. Except waterfalls. And there were bugs. But still: ever mile there was something new to look at that you hadn’t seen before, plus plenty of places to throw your hiking pulls on the rocks and jump into a lake.
  2. Half Dome Trail, Yosemite (Day 10, 18 mi.) – It wasn’t fun, but it was kind of an accomplishment and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t dang pretty.
  3. Eagle Creek Trail to Tunnel Falls, Columbia Gorge (Day 19, 12 mi.) – The hike itself was kind of dull, at least until you got close to the big falls, but the payoff was huge and there were many waterfalls.

Best West Coast Hikes < 10 mi.

  1. Bumpass Hell Trail, Lassen Volcanic National Park (Day 14, 4 mi.) – Kind of cheating in that the hike I did went beyond Bumpass Hell and I’m really just talking about the trail to Bumpass Hell and not the one that continues past it. Whatever. Great views of Brokeoff Mtn. and various mountain scenery for the first and last mile, interesting views (and odors) of hell for the second and third.
  2. Fall Creek Falls, Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway (Day 17, 2 mi.) – If you took your basic Hawaii waterfall hike (e.g., Manoa Falls on O’ahu), removed all the people, then put it in Oregon, it would be this hike — which I liked a lot better than the hike to Manoa Falls.
  3. Lassen Peak, Lassen Volcanic National Park (Day 15, 5 mi.) – Another hike that’s no fun, but ultimately pretty and rewarding. It’s kind of a steep one (2,000 feet elevation in 2.5 mi.), but it’s pretty cool to be on top of something 10,000 feet high. Some pretty nice views, too.

Best West Coast Drives

  1. Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway, Oregon (Days 16-17) – Some awesome river gorges, a couple of very noteworthy mountain peaks, and trails leading off to waterfalls every four or five miles along the way. Highly, highly recommended.
  2. Mt. Rainier (Days 23-24) – The wildflowers were great, the rivers were great, the road borderline breathtaking. And I need a better thesaurus. And every time I hear the word “breathtaking”, I think of that one Seinfeld episode where the doctor calls Elaine “breathtaking”. It wasn’t really a top-flite joke or anything, I just remember it.
  3. Big Sur (Days 2-3) – I still think it’s a drive pretty much wasted if you don’t have a date with you and I didn’t really manage my routing very effectively while I was there. But still: pretty coastline! and not nearly as crowded as the Oregon Coast. Or as foggy.

Best West Coast Photos (That I Took on This Trip) (BTW, if you click on the link of the photo title, you’ll get a bigger version of the photo.)

  1. Mt. Thielsen, Rogue-Umpqua Byway (Day 16) – I love photos with roads or trails in them, sorry. And this mountain was very surprising to me. And I guess I also like how the photo conveys, you know, a *road trip* and all. mt thielsen oregon
  2. Stream Fording on the Hoh River Trail, Olympic National Park (Day 29) – I like the action in this photo — it kind of moves the eye around a little bit. Most of the photos I take just show nature, which gets all static and boring, but my nephew is neither static nor boring.hoh river trail stream crossing
  3. Tunnel Falls, Columbia Gorge (Day 19) – I like feel like big, impressive nature stuff can be interacted with, which I guess is why I think it’s so cool that they blasted a hole behind this waterfall so that I could walk through it. And I like the big white line on the left side of the photo.tunnel falls landscape orientation
  4. Vernal Falls, Yosemite (Day 10) – Mostly I just like the dark red-brown stripes in the granite that run parallell to the waterfall itself. If I could marry those stripes, I’d do it, so help me. I also like that this photo got taken at 6 AM — I’m amazed any time I have evidence of having been awake before 10.vernal falls in morning light
  5. Grass Lake, Desolation Wilderness/Lake Tahoe (Day 12) – Reflection + red mountains + blue sky + contrail + where’s-Waldo waterfall = pure gold. IMHO.glen alpine grass lake

Right, so that’s it. Feel free to argue with me, especially on the photos — it’ll only make my ego grow stronger. If I get to it, I’ll post another West Coast Best-Of thing. If not, you didn’t miss much (“best things I vomited”, for instance).

bkd

Categories: west coast Tags: , , ,

Photography Themes

May 26th, 2009 6 comments

Had a few ideas for themes that are photo-related.

Take a photo of…

1. Every falling-down barn I see (not sure I have the patience for this one).
2. Every lighthouse I see (I’d be doing this one regardless of formal theme designation).
3. Every gas station I fill up at.
4. Every place I sleep.
5. All the trailhead signs for trails I hike.

Maybe.

bkd

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