Picture of the Week, Jan. 11 10

Frozen Roots

Okay, so this isn’t a photo from the previous week. I took it while Tyra was visiting here 2 weeks ago. These are the frozen roots of a tree that had washed up on the beach at the tip of the Homer Spit. Water initially covered most of the roots, and then as the tide receded, the 4° F air froze the sea water on the exposed wood. Wave-action kept adding more and more water to freeze, creating the icicles that look like fangs.

Update: Aaaand I apparently don’t know what today’s date is. Woo!

Instantaneousinstances.com is live

With the new year, I’ve spun off this blog from bigwoofs.com, and from now on you can find it at instantaneousinstances.com. I’ve configured it so the old URL still works and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.

Along with this change, I’m starting a new project for 2011: Picture of the Week. I know some ambitious folks do a photo of the day theme, but I’m also running a tech support business around 10-12 hours a day and I know my limits. So every Monday, I’ll post a photo taken the previous week, whether it’s from my D90 or iPhone. I’ll include some context and maybe even a critique if I’m feeling enthusiastic.

I’ll also be discussing the drastic changes that have occurred since we moved here over 2 years ago. The experiences we had in 2008/2009 feel so far away, but they left an indelible mark on our consciousness that colors every decision we make now. I’d like to explore that more in writing.

Welcome, 2011!

Finally, the finale.

I had an appointment cancel for this morning (yes, I had an appointment scheduled for 8:30am on Saturday, it’s that busy), so I think I’ll finish posting the photos I took during my trip to NYC in…September? Was it that long ago??

Anyway, here are the final shots from my trip, taken from the top of the Rockefeller Center.

That bright red glow to the right is Times Square.

The Empire State building changes its light colors to commemorate or sponsor different events or groups. This night’s lights was for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of NYC.

You can see the lower observation deck here, with all the Plexiglas jumper barriers.

There are spotlights pointed up from the lower observation deck in a number of places, making it difficult to get good pictures from certain angles. Here, though, the spotlights let me include part of the Rockefeller Center in the shot.

On the top deck, there is a room with these flashing lights in the ceiling, and a security guard. That’s it. I felt like I had stepped into some sort of 80’s European discotheque.

The following morning, I woke up, packed up my bags, said goodbye to Krishna and took a taxi to the airport.

More NYC

Continuing where I left off with the last post, here are some more photos from my trip to New York City. Okay, it’s not exactly picking up where I left off. I’m missing a day of photos, they’re on a card I seem to have left at work. So I’ll have to go back a day in time on the next post.

These photos are from Friday, my last full day in the city. I spent the afternoon shopping with Matt and Krishna. Before heading out, I took some shots on the corner of 78th and 2nd Ave, where Krishna lives.

78th St, facing 2nd Ave.
Looking north up 2nd Ave.
I didn't eat here, but the metallic tiling is cool.

We took the subway downtown, and exited at the Municipal Building.

Looking up constantly hurts your neck.
Massive arch is massive!

There is also an old, above-ground subway station there.

Tiles tiles tiles tiles TILES
I wonder who gets to clean the grout and replace any missing tiles?

Shopping was uneventful, we strolled up Broadway and hit likely places to find what we were looking for. One thing I noticed: every block has a set of the same stores. H&M, OMG and Essential Clothing are repeated over and over. I guess for the lazy people who can’t be bothered to walk a block or two from where they happen to fall out of their cab?

Sidenote: I walked a whole lot in NYC. More than I’ve walked during several years of living in a 5 block town in Alaska, for sure. By Friday, I had developed a very large and painful blister on my right foot. I kept draining it, but Wednesday and Thursday it felt like a large marble under the ball of my foot. By Friday, it was like a large marble with spikes in it.

After we shopped ourselves out, Matt and Krishna went back to the apartment, and I headed for the Rockefeller Center. I wanted to get some shots of the city at night. I waited in line to buy a ticket for “The Top of the Rock” for about 45 minutes. Leaving the ticket counter, I happened right into an open elevator. I thought “that wasn’t so bad!” Then the elevator stopped after ascending one floor. The Center employee waiting for us said “Everyone please step out and follow the walkway to your left.” Clearly we were not at the Top of the Rock as everyone in the elevator expected we would be at the end of this ride, so these instructions were met with either stunned silence or a more audible “Buhhh…wha?” from the bolder passengers. No one moved. After a good 5 seconds, I realized the employee was not going to repeat herself, and I was apparently the only passenger still in command of both my mind and body, so I said “Let’s go” and stepped out of the elevator.

Of course, with the spiked marble blister on my foot, it was more of a lurch than a bold stride, as at this point in the day I was limping like a wounded giraffe.

We made our way around what I’m sure is a delightful interpretive installation on the history of the Rockefellers and their Center, but I ignored all that shit. I just wanted to get to the top of the damn building before my foot fell off.

At the end of the installation, we found not one but three lines on tiered platforms, in front of three giant screens. We were herded into the third line, closest to the front of the little theatre. The screens cheerfully informed us that Line 3 had 12 minutes to go, and wouldn’t you know, there were three 4 minute videos about Rockefeller and the Center to keep us company. I don’t remember anything from the videos, I was too busy trying to keep the Korean tourist group from pushing around me to the front of the line.

After our 12 minutes were up, we were instructed to go around the corner and…wait for it….GET IN ANOTHER LINE. This one put us on our final elevator, though, so my journey was coming to an end. Once on the elevator, all the lights went out and we found ourselves staring straight up through the clear ceiling into the elevator shaft while little LED lights denoted every passing floor.

Once at the top, I still had to go up an escalator then another set of stairs before I could get around the giant plexiglass barriers that surround the edges of the building.

I arrived just in time for sunset. It had been unseasonably warm all week, culminating in temperatures in the upper 80’s that Friday. The humidity was visible as a fog around the city. The following photos use a technique called High Dynamic Range (HDR) to capture what I saw better than a standard photo could.

So many buildings, so many people.
The Empire State Building dominates the skyline.

I waited around for twilight to fade so I could capture the city lights. But that’s another post for another time.

Times Square

I’ll be posting photos of last week’s trip to NYC thoughout the following week.

I spent most of last Wednesday hanging out in Times Square. I went to visit a former IU School of Journalism faculty member, Sandeep, at CUNY. After that, I spent several hours immersed in the press of people, stores, and lights that make up Times Square.

The entrance to Times Square.
There are quite a few interesting buildings in the area.
Based on the way people drive, I wouldn't ride a bike unless heavily armed.
There is a seemingly endless variation to the kinds of taxis now, including many hybrids.
The 3-story Toys-R-Us has a ferris wheel in it.
I purposefully overexposed this shot. With the sun reflecting off the glass buildings, it was the only way to get a decent exposure on the ground!
In Alaska, the overarching color-scheme is greens and browns. The colors of New York are a visual feast!
This is a walkway underneath a building.
This is under the marquee for...can you guess? ... McDonalds!