When you take a photograph, you can choose to put your subject into context, by showing the scene around it. Or you can zero in on it and make it look like something else. That is what I did in this photo I’m submitting for Becky’s July Squares with the topic perspective.
What do you think this is? I think it looks like a lot of animal poop. Maybe some big dogs came around and left these piles.
In fact, although they look like mounds of poop, they are actually weird tree roots! I spotted them in San Antonio, Texas on the River Walk. Here’s the same scene, zoomed out a little:
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #80 is about leading lines. Leading lines are one of the “rules” of composition: There are indeed “rules” of photographic composition, which like many other rules, are made to be broken. Whatever their skill level or experience though, understanding and knowing when to use the “rules” of composition can be helpful for any photographer. This week, our challenge will explore a key compositional element, Leading Lines. …Leading lines carry our eye through a photograph. They help to tell a story, to place emphasis, and to draw a connection between objects. They create a visual journey from one part of an image to another and can be helpful for creating depth as well.
This is how I spent the last two Junes, 2018 and 2019.
Our road trip (mostly) on Route 66: Sedona and Winslow, AZ
We visited the Painted Desert, too: first, horizontal lines.
Undulating formations which slope downward.
In Santa Fe, colorful pillars…
and a souvenir shop with paintings lined up along a counter.
When on Route 66, here’s a sight not to miss: Cadillac Ranch. It had rained the night before.
A year later, we were on a river cruise in Europe. One of the first ports of call was Cologne, Germany with its famed cathedral, with stained glass windows reaching toward heaven…
…and soaring arches decorated with sculptures of saints.
Later we crossed the bridge to return to our ship. The inner side of the bridge is covered with “love locks” – padlocks people leave in honor of their sweethearts. They stretch on as far as the eye can see!
Next stop was Marksburg Castle, which afforded beautiful views of the Rhein River and town below (I wish I could photoshop that pole out, but I don’t have the software).
And here’s a different view: a steeple rises up as seen through a turret.
Marksburg is definitely a “must” on any Rhine River cruise. It’s like a fairy tale castle!
Farther on down the river, a swan swam over near our ship.
We were passing through a lowland area.
I loved the small town of Miltenberg, which was so picturesque!
Inside a church, hymnals were stacked neatly in the narthex. One is drawn to the word Gotteslob, which perhaps means hymnal.
Our final stop on the cruise was Budapest, Hungary. A memorable part of the day we were there was a walking tour through the old Jewish Quarter.
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is RED. Since I have several photos of red doors, I am combining this with Norm’s Thursday Doors.
Des Plaines, Illinois: I love this house with its red door and matching light above. I met the owner, Bonnie, one day when she was working on her garden. I asked if I could take a photo of her house and she asked me what it was for. “I collect pictures of doors,” I told her! She told me she had purchased the light at an industrial goods store – it was metal and she spray painted it red. We talked for several minutes about her garden and her artistic endeavors. Very nice lady!
Highland Park, Illinois: I took my friend to a doctor’s appointment in Highland Park. I wanted to visit my niece who lives there, but she wasn’t home so I had time to kill. I walked around downtown Highland Park, taking photos of interesting things, especially doors, of course! The first photo is the front door of the Episcopal Church of Highland Park and the second is a barn-shaped shed in a park adjacent to the church.
Charleston, South Carolina: We took a road trip to Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA four years ago in early spring. The weather was unusually cold for that region but at least it wasn’t hurricane season! I am praying for my friends and residents of the Carolinas now as Hurricane Florence reaches their coastline! This big barn is where we began a carriage tour, pulled by a pair of mules, around Charleston’s historic center.
Houston, Texas: One of the most unusual art installations I have ever seen was the Orange Showin Houston. I wrote a post about it last year. This is the entrance gate.
Tucson, Arizona: We had time to just wander around town on a rainy day in December. It cleared up enough to explore a couple of neighborhoods, where I took these photos. The second is my favorite because of the animals on the roof! This photo was taken in the predominantly Latino neighborhood south of downtown.
Quebec City & Montreal, Quebec, Canada: The first photo was taken in Quebec City – this building had sets of doors three stories up. The post sticking out on top was used as pulleys to bring up goods delivered from wagons. The doors would be opened to bring them in. The second photo is a restaurant in the historic part of Montreal. I wrote a post about Quebec and another about the doors of old Montreal.
The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is sobriquet, a fancy word for nickname.
I have always had the nickname Katy – not so unusual today, there being a number of famous young adult Katys. But when I was a kid, it was a rather unusual nickname. Most people whose “real” name was Katharine (or any of the many other ways of spelling it) were nicknamed Kathy in those days. There were a few named Katie (not spelled the way mine was) and even fewer Kates at that time. I was named after my maternal grandmother, whose nickname was Kate.
Because my nickname was unusual and because people who didn’t know me well would automatically call me “Kathy” (which I hated), I didn’t like either my real name or my nickname very much. This probably had something to do with my low self-esteem in general. At the time, I tried to come up with a better name for people to call me. I decided I liked the name Karen – a much better name than Katharine/Katy! I tried to get people to call me Karen, but no one would, and soon it became embarrassing, so I went back to Katy.
Now I like my name – although I wish my parents had decided to nickname me Kate – like my grandmother and like Katharine Hepburn. If someone calls me Kate, I’m fine with that. Just please don’t call me Kathy!!
Here I am in my namesake town, Katy, Texas, in 2013.
We woke up to a much cooler morning. It had rained quite a bit and puddles were everywhere. After checking out of the hotel, we loaded the car and headed back to Cadillac Ranch. 10 vintage Cadillac models from 1949 to 1963 are lined up, nose down, facing west, supposedly at the same angle as the Great Pyramids of Giza!
When we got there, I realized we would have been better off coming yesterday – the entrance gate stood directly over a trail of mud puddles, and the Cadillacs were no longer half-buried in the ground – they were now in the middle of a lake! The cars are covered in graffiti and visitors arrive with spray cans to add their own over the layers of graffiti from those who came before them. As we walked toward the cars, we heard the rattling of spray paint cans behind us, being shaken by a group of young people. Discarded spray cans littered the ground, which was disheartening, since there are garbage cans just outside the gate, and a few people had sprayed graffiti on the ground as well as on the cars! Cadillac Ranch was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm, according to Wikipedia. The cars are arranged in order by model year, to show the evolution of their tailfins.
The installation was originally located in a wheat field, but in 1997, it was relocated by a local contractor to a cow pasture two miles (3 km) west so it would be farther away from the expansion of Amarillo.
Cadillac Ranch can be seen from I-40, but to get to it, you get off on a frontage road (the historic Route 66). Visitors are encouraged, although it is located on private land.
In addition, spraying the cars with spray can graffiti is also encouraged and the Cadillacs have thus lost their original colors, but they are now much more colorful! If the installation had been placed in a remote location, the cars could have maintained their original state, but that was not the artists’ intention – they wanted people to interact with it.
Periodically the cars are painted in various solid colors – once all white to film a TV commercial, once pink to celebrate the birthday of the wife of one of the millionaires who funded the project, and once black for the death of Doug Michels.
Occasionally they are painted solid colors to provide a “fresh canvas” for visitors.
In 2012, they were painted rainbow colors to commemorate Gay Pride Day.
The last time they were painted over, they lasted less than 24 hours in their fresh coat of paint before being attacked by spray paint again!
Well, no one was going to get near them the day we were there, although Dale did walk around farther than he should have in order to take photos at a different angle.
When he lifted one of his feet out of the mud, his shoe got stuck and he realized both of his shoes had sunk into the muddy quagmire so that they were mostly covered with the brown sticky stuff! He traipsed back to the car and removed his shoes and socks (also covered with mud) and threw them into the back of the car. The picture below was taken later, when he took them out at our hotel in Oklahoma City to clean them off!
I was not happy with all the dirty smudges made in the back seat of my (new) car as a result!
We headed through Amarillo again on I-40. Once out in the country again, we saw alongside the road a shuttered business which had tried to capitalize on Cadillac Ranch – and the cars (Volkswagen “Beetles”) as well as the building itself were covered in graffiti!
The next attraction was the Leaning Water Tower of Texas (1.5 miles east of Groom, via I-40 take exit 114, go north to Frontage Road – which is what they renamed Route 66 after building the freeway). This was a tourist trap – standing in the middle of a farm field, the old-style water tower was built at a tilt to lure drivers off the road and into the town’s commercial businesses.
After that, we continued on the frontage road (historic Route 66) to our next stop – Shamrock, Texas. The U-Drop Inn and Tower Service Station (101 E. 12th St. – Route 66) is an example of art deco design from the 1930s. The Conoco gas station gained more recent fame as the inspiration for “Ramone’s paint shop” in the Disney movie Cars.
That was all we expected to see in Shamrock, but we ended up taking pictures of several businesses with murals painted on their facades.
Even a garbage can was painted with a Route 66 theme!
Besides the colorful signs of life in this town, as on much of Route 66, we saw plenty of shuttered buildings, which also made me a little sad to see.
Dale speeded up as we reached the edge of town, but then I yelled, “STOP!” I had to take a picture of a typical Texas motel in which each of the guest room doors were painted blue with a white star in the middle. This, I could see, was a surviving (perhaps not thriving) business which seemed to be well maintained.
I took the photo above while Dale waited in our car, the Prius seen in the picture. I saw a half-dressed man looking out the door of one of the rooms and was going back to the car when he emerged from his room, having thrown on a shirt. He, as it turns out, was the proprietor of the motel, curious about who I was, and he told me the story about how the doors came to be painted with the stars and other local lore.
Our last photo opp in Shamrock:
Leaving Shamrock, we were only a few miles from the Oklahoma border. We got back on I-40 and sped on.