This year is quickly coming to a close, but the blog queue is still deep with 2010 photo collections. I try to keep it fresh and maintain a balance of photos, interesting viewpoints, service complaints/rants and things that make me go huh? Linda and I were lucky enough to go on some pretty nice trips this year which means our hard drives have been riddled with photos this year. It is far easier to make comments on things if they are still in short term memory so rather than push this off to next year, let’s go ahead and dump the Phoadtography collection from the Maine trip we took in June. There are a lot of them so be warned, your browser cache is going to get a workout. For sanity purposes (yours and mine) this post will actually be a two parter. For those who don’t know what Phoadtography is please check out my previous post… especially if you are preparing to unleash your fury on how bad some of these shots ended up being.
Starting off this set is every kid’s favorite toys and more importantly, the machines that pay both our salaries. Guessing due to the stimulus money (that actually got spent on job creating projects), we encountered a lot of construction on our way out and back to Maine. Most travelers probably cuss the slow downs and stoppages, but in the case of my wife and I the sound of Caterpillar machines in motion is music to our ears. As mentioned in the introduction Cat machines are always a good target for Phoadtography shots. This vehicle is one of our articulated trucks that, if I remember correctly, are produced in Waco TX.
Pretty cool machine if I say so myself. Hit the jump to see the rest of the pictures in this post.
Continuing with the they yellow workhorses, this particular shot had a number of different machines in it. The two on the left are of an excavator (some produced in Aurora IL), A track type tractor (some produced in East Peoria IL) and one of our off-road trucks (not sure exactly where this one is built, but Decatur IL facility produces our larger mining trucks).
We stumbled on this lonely paving piece sitting near an on ramp. A lot of our paving products are produced in our Minneapolis facilities and their sister sites in Minerbio Italy and Rantigny France.
Here is another one of our fine excavators returning investment with quick and efficient earth moving. I am a little partial to these particular machines having spent a number of years designing a 3D solid modeling program that allows the design engineers to virtually route the tubes and hoses that are abundant in our machines (see the top of the main boom and the articulation areas on the bucket arm). One of the excavator models was our test/validation machine allowing me to become quite familiar with the structures and components involved. That’s all I’ll say about that subject for now – don’t want our competitors mining any strategic ideas.
Some would see a setback to their days journey. Linda and I view it as a paycheck and delivering on a better infrastructure for the future. Feeling a little sorry for the dude that has to wear a powder blue safety hat to work every day, but the key point is this form of stimulus money is directly employing two people in the picture.
While on the subject of traffic, this is the scene we were faced with trying to get across the island to Niagra Falls. The elapsed time was probably in the 20 minute range with the main bottleneck due to the far right merge. If the driver didn’t have the EZPass they had to merge across two of their own merge lanes and then force their way into the pay lanes. There were some frayed nerves all over this particular stretch of road. Also note that all the toll lanes had to merge down to two lanes on the other side which was essentially a game of chicken. Linda’s Chicago driving experience came in quite handy here.
Another favorite Phoadtogaraphy subject is interesting statues and freestanding structures. This one caught our attention due to the sheer size of it compared to the church it was positioned in front of. The telephone pole added another dimension since it looked like a smaller cross. For those keeping a keen eye on the shots, this one turned out pretty darn straight.
I never did see the front of this statue, but it’s creator spent some time getting the butt just right. I wonder if he used Kim K. as a 1:1 ratio. Do you like the interesting blue gradient. Think it was some fancy lens filter? How about a fancy post production effect? Nope, it was the simple result of taking the shot too high from the front windshield which had a built in sun diffuser.
As we made it into Maine, the number of nautical themes went up exponentially. Not being a big sea guy and actually not a fan of seafood, the huge fishing bobbers baffled me a little. Eventually it became evident they were lobster trap marker floats. This picture was a victim of being too close to the car for the zoom, but it made me laugh since it looked like the sailor was eating one of those 4th of July cherry bomb ice cream treats. For the record, another vertical shot score
Apparently there are a few Indian reservations out in the New York area. There were a whole bunch of billboards advertising tobacco products produced by one of the tribes in the region which was ironic since there was an article in a local newspaper discussing how the government was potentially going to up the regulations on it. Guessing that will be a battle worthy of this big guy.
What is that, like a 25% lean on the following shot. Not only that, I didn’t even get it completely in the camera frame. The real question is… is it a Sailor or Gandalf. How would you like to wake every morning and see that standing in your yard? Mom, I had a horrible dream last night that the cookie monster was trying to eat me.
We stumbled upon these two dudes while checking out the Kennedy’s vacation area. The water was down (obviously) and they were way out in the middle of the mud pit digging around for something. No idea what the goal was unless it was oyster and/or clams but it sure looked like a lot of work. The intriguing part was there didn’t seem to be a trail out to where they were.
How about some wildlife shots. Getting birds and such focused and in the camera frame is one of the tougher shots when it comes to Phoadtography. The smaller the body, the hard it is to get the focus set and the high ISO isn’t always sufficient to compensate for the movement of the car and the shake from the hand holding not to mention they tend to be moving themselves. I lucked out with the 20 dogs (cats and rabbits) in this picture. What? you mean they are fake? Oh, thought they were just acting out a scene from the Outsiders.
In contrast, the following bird shots were a lot more difficult. The particular shot below took time to rationalize what I was seeing and even longer to get the camera focused on the right piece. The first thing that caught my eye was the interesting pillars jutting out into the water. It didn’t seem like it was heading anywhere since they were actually parallel to the river but didn’t really have an origin or an end. Then I saw it. That would be the huge nest towards the bottom of the picture with the awesome bird sitting in it.
Here is a closer view which isn’t tack sharp (give me a break, Linda was doing at least 65), but it does give some clue as to its type. My guess at this time is that the bird is an Osprey which ironically is a bird I’ve been trying to track down for years to add to my photo collection. According to my National Geographic Complete Birds of North America guide, the Osprey builds a large stick nest increasingly on man-made structures like channel markers, telephone poles and cell towers. It think that is a check! This is definitely my favorite Phoadtography shot from the entire trip.
Hawks are becoming very abundant in our neck of the woods here in Illinois. I have not researched the reason for this, but it is rare to go more than 5 miles or so on a road and not see one perched in the trees or on road markers. Although not at the same frequency we did see a few hawks along the way. My mission on the next trip is to get better pictures of these deadly birds.
Look, it’s the rare and colorful Fat-Head Sandhill Crane. Avid followers of the blog should know I like to photograph cranes which turned out to be a strange coincidence when a this bird came up alongside us at a filling station. It just stood there and stared at me while I was taking its photo. It didn’t even blink the whole time. Okay, okay, it was on a U-Hual and if you are wondering, I “DID [NOT] KNOW’ the fun fact they had on the side.
Check this out. On our return trip I told Linda I really wanted to try and get that cool bird again. Sure enough, Linda was able to snap another one off as we drove back over the bridge. Still not tack sharp, but does give another perspective on the fact these cement structures didn’t seem to have a point other than providing a great nesting spot.
Ah, the interesting buildings along the way. It is pretty amazing just how diverse the architecture is as you travel from state to state, or for that matter, city to city. This ranges from the ornate churches to the ultra-modern look of large city skyscrapers. Here are some that caught my eye. I have no idea who Michael J. Zone is, but guessing he experienced a let down while looking at his new boring box shaped building positioned in front of two cool looking Minuteman silos.
Check it out, the Leaning Tower of Pisa! The problems with Phoadtography buildings is how easy it is to tell when your camera is tilted. I give this one a ‘C’ for a Phoadtography grade due to the nasty lean in the shot. It would have been a ‘D’ but I did manage to get it all in the frame. This would be interesting to see from the inside due to the very long windows at the top and for some reason right int he middle of the structure. If those are floor to floor windows it must have a couple of beautiful atriums. Note, I believe this was taken as we passed through Cleveland.
This structure wins the prize for “Best in Show” for the Maine trip. It looks like it was a college campus based on the signage, but not exactly sure which one. Possibly an Indiana Technology institute but those buildings look pretty ornate for a specialized school. There might be a clue towards the left side of the building. If ILM stands for Industrial Lights and Magic then clearly it is aligned with a heavyweight in the movie business. For those not aware, they are partnered with Lucas Films and known for their spectacular special effects – think Transformers, War of the Worlds, Perfect Storm, Star Trek etc. By the way, ILM’s website is pretty neat – drag your cursor over the title screen to peel away the special effects in the scene.
Another shot of a structure whose purpose is unknown. The grounds were immaculate with a number of artistic features. The fountains were positioned nicely between the outer columns of the structure and if you look closely in the middle there appears to be a geodome of some sorts. First guess, based on the grounds and dome, is that it is a botanical gardens of some sort. On closer observation I decided to go with a military monument based on the center column and more importantly, for some reason the flags were set at half mast. Any other ideas out there?
A few seconds delay before hitting the shutter would have helped this shot out a bit. The roadside brush is eclipsing the structure a tad, but you can still get a good feel for how odd it looked in the middle of nowhere. Based on the top it could be a cell tower, but that is major overkill for the supports. There are also a lot of features down the side with doors and such giving a lean towards it being some form of watchtower. There were no large forests near it or really any indicators it was guarding a prison – nor were there “No Hitchhiking” signs on the road. It’s a mystery, but at least my alignment is back on track.
We stumbled upon this house while exploring the Kennedy vacation spot (wish I could remember the name of that place – Kennebunkport maybe?). Not liking the modern look of this particular house, but it probably has a spectacular view to the ocean from the observation tower on the left side. At least the best man can do, the bird’s view trumps us all.
Finally I give you an odd ball. I barely got this shot off due to the obscure location. This building was actually nestled pretty far off the highway in the middle of some trees. At first I couldn’t figure out what I was looking at (which was part of the delay – they other being trying to get the focus off of the closer power lines). Ecstatic I got the picture at all with the bonus it is somewhat in focus. Do you want to take a guess as to which company is in this building? Hint, the spherical structure in the glass atrium is a huge clue. Give up? The building signage indicated it was Rand Mcnally which makes absolute sense with a huge globe sitting in the middle of their office. I wonder if it spins! Note, I was unable to verify this with Google Images (my go to source when trying to do quick research). Until someone can provide evidence against it, going with what I wrote down after the shot – Rand it is.
and that brings us to a close on the first part of the Maine Phoadtography set. Hopefully it provided some interest to you. It was fun actually revisiting the pictures and recalling the specifics of the trip. It seems like I got a whole lot more entertainment out of the actual travel time which is traditionally the part we dread the most. Try it out yourself sometime and share what you find!