Walk This Way

No, we haven’t had an earthquake here in western New York. The road surface isn’t buckled, though you can see some potholes have developed. I don’t know what the reason is for this strangely warped crosswalk at a nearby shopping plaza, but I had to stop and take a picture.

For those who don’t recognize the title of this post, it may have begun in vaudeville but here’s a very old example in a clip from After the Thin Man (1936).

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Pedestrian

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Never Trust a Window

Windows are generally for looking through, right? But this image isn’t of the view through the window. It shows the reflection off one of the windows in a building at my college campus. Standing outside, I can see the buildings, trees, and sky behind me reflected in the window, and can’t see anything inside.

So let’s always remember: windows are tricky things. Sometimes you see through them to the other side. Sometimes you just see your own side, reflected back at you. How can you be sure? NEVER TRUST A WINDOW.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Windows

At the Water’s Edge

Isn’t this beautiful? I took this shot a couple of years ago at the docks in Pultneyville, NY. There’s so much going on here: old steel beams anchoring the docks, wooden dock steps, algae-covered water, and a ton of wild plants. Front and center is a stand of purple loosestrife, which is gorgeous but actually troublesome, because it’s an invasive species that crowds out native wetland plants. I’m afraid it’s got a firm foothold here in western New York, though, and don’t see how we’ll ever get rid of it. So I choose to enjoy its beauty every summer, when it spreads its hot pink spikes wherever the ground is wet.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Layered

Ready for Takeoff

A couple of years ago a bunch of my friends got together for a terrific weekend in a cabin on a lake in the Adirondacks owned by one of us. We laughed, hiked, sang, watched the Perseid meteor shower, and went tubing on the lake. Here’s one friend settled into the tube, ready for another friend to gun the outboard and give her an exciting, noisy, wet ride. I can still here him calling, “Ready? You’re sure? All set?” and her screaming back, “Go, already!”

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Waiting

Tree Branch Self-Similarity

Trees are beautiful when they are lush and green in summer or when they flare with red and gold in autumn. What about winter, when the branches are bare? That’s when it’s easiest to see the self-similar structure in the tree’s branching habit. At each juncture where a bud begins a new branch, the angle of the branch is determined by the tree’s genetics and specific influences in the environment. Each tree species has a standard pattern, which is repeated with every bud, so that the shape of the junctures is the same, broadly speaking, in everything from the first heavy branches on the trunk to the newest fine twig. I’ve talked about this before, but I just can’t get enough of the beauty of these elegant patterns.

There are important biological factors behind a tree’s branching habit, but from a mathematical point of view it reveals a fractal pattern, which has the property of being self-similar. A self-similar structure looks roughly the same at every scale from the largest zoomed-out view to the narrowest closeup. There are practical limits in the real world (if you zoom in far enough you get to individual cells and eventually molecules, which aren’t particularly similar to the tree trunk), but within the range that we can call the tree structure the idea holds. If you zoom in on the picture above each branching region looks like the overall structure of the tree.

Fractals are important in nature and mathematics (as I’ve commented before). They are also very beautiful, and reveal the beauty in the structure of everything around us.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Structure

My Cozy Corner

Isn’t this nice? This is where I’m usually found when my husband is out sailing (and you can just make out his boat above the chair in this image). The marina where we keep the boat sets up this gazebo each year, and I sit there in the shade, enjoying the view and the breeze, with my book and laptop and iced tea, and it’s wonderful. Sadly, this year they never put the gazebo in place, because the water level in Lake Ontario is so outrageously high that the ground never firmed up enough. I spent hubby’s sailing time either in the car or in the marina office, but neither spot is as comfy as the gazebo. I’m looking forward to settling back into gazebo bliss next year, though.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Corner

Gorgeous Light

I’m a sucker for clouds, with hundreds of sky photos in my folder. Here’s a shot I love of the gorgeous, golden light on the buildings and clouds opposite the setting sun. This time of day is often called the golden hour because of the color of the light, and it creates a warmth that you don’t see at other times. The view stopped me in my tracks. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Shiny