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Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Trouble Over Bridges

Light Rail Overpass
Rosh Hashana morning. A tentative knock on the bathroom door...

"Dad?" It was our daughter Leah, home for the holiday. "Did you call the police?"

Standing in my dress shirt, tie, socks, and gatkes, I wasn't really prepared for such a question. "Noooooooo...." was all I managed to get out of my mouth.

"Well they're at the door right now asking for Mr. or Mrs. Rosenbach!"

"Ah...!" Suddenly it was all clear to me. "Bridges."

On went my suit trousers and down the stairs went I. I opened the screen door and stepped out into the beautiful morning with a smile and a bright, "Good morning, officers!"

There were two of them, Anne Arundel County Police. A policeman, let's call him "Officer Hodges," stood on the porch, while a woman, "Officer Parker," remained a few feet back. Officer Hodges had a concerned look on his face.

"Mr. Rosenbach, were you in taking pictures of bridges on September 2nd?"

"I have taken pictures of bridges," I said proudly, "but not on September 2nd."

"No, I think I have the date wrong," he continued, "... in Baltimore?"

I volunteered that I was in Baltimore and did take some bridge photos the day before Labor Day - "... let's see, that would be the 5th," I said.

On that trip into Baltimore, I was stopped by a University of Baltimore policeman when I was snapping photos of a light rail overpass and the Charles Street Bridge. It turned out that what I thought was a blocked ramp to the Jones Falls Expressway was in fact private property, and I was trespassing. That policeman apparently filed a report, including my license plate number, and my county police were following up.

Of course, Officer Hodges asked why I was taking those bridge photos. Now any passionate photographer would have immediately know the answer to that question, but not in terms that a "civilian" would understand. So I said something golly-gee-whiz about the bridges being painted yellow and green and making nice patterns. Well, true enough, but of course it really didn't express my true motivation behind the photos.

What I wanted to say was something like this quotation from Sam Abell:

"... taking something mundane and seeing something transcendent in it is the high ground of photography."

But who, other than another photographer, or an artist, perhaps, would understand?

Monday, September 13, 2004


The Handsome Outhouse

Fogel's RefuseIt's a nice design, isn't it? I found the radial, fan-shaped pattern attractive in itself, reminiscent of something in nature, perhaps a palm tree? I especially liked the way the pattern worked with the mid-day sun to create increasingly wider shadows going from bottom left to upper right.

Would you believe this is the upper part of the door of a porta-potty? I found this one adjacent to a construction site while I was walking from our office to the post office in Columbia. I think the pattern on the door caught my eye before my brain even had time to register the fact that it was an outhouse. Well, good design is good design, no matter where you find it.

Having never seen any porta-potties that were anything but ugly, I was very impressed. The designer really thought about this one. She could have just used the usual flat piece of blue or white plastic and reinforced the door with a strip or two of metal on the inside. But instead, she decided to turn the door into something attractive and, in the process, make it self-stiffening.
Handsome Outhouse
The oval-shaped escutcheon is nicely integrated into the design and provides a flat area for the john's owner to place his logo.The designer even used an "affordance," the loop in the door handle that says "pull me," which you can see in the overall photo.

There is so much bad design, awful design, around us. Even the big-time architects get away with it. Look at Philip Johnson's AT&T Building (now the Sony Building) in NYC. He defaced the upper East 50's skyline with a huge, ugly slab with a Chippendale broken pediment top (although he redeemed himself later with the innovated "Lipstick Building" on 53rd Street.)

Yesterday, as Sandy and I were driving along the coastal highway in Bethany Beach, DE, I spotted a cluster of new, Soviet-style condiminiums blocking the view of the ocean. Now, in my opinion, foisting architecture like that on the public, especially just astride the ocean, should be a capital offence.

With so much bad design all around, isn't it encouraging to see that someone took the time to design a handsome outhouse?

Monday, September 06, 2004


The Color of Time

PinkNeonTimeI like this photo, and I like its title, Pink Neon Time. It reminds me of the 1967 proto-psychadelic, one-hit-wonder band, Strawberry Alarm Clock, and their one hit, Incense and Peppermint.

I took this photo almost a year ago, with my "old" Canon A40 2MP point-and-shoot. I was working in Towson at the time, a very tough commute, but a photogenic place once you got there. On one of my lunchtime walks, I happened across this rather large, pink, neon-ringed clock high on the wall outside a restaurant.

I like this image from the standpoint of design, but I like it even more now that, along with two Annapolis-boat-y photos, it sold last week at City Dock Cafe!

Sunday, September 05, 2004


Up Against The Wall Redux

GreenStreetWindowWalls can be interesting, as I've mentioned before, and here is a nice one on Green Street in Annapolis.

What made this one interesting to me is that relatively small, red-framed window set in a large wall of blue-green stucco. It's that "useful cliché" of "a little bit of something in a lot of nothing" that often works very well.

The morning sun helped out here, too, bringing out the texture in the stucco and adding bold shadows slashing across the fame. The bright sun and clear blue sky also contributed the nice reflection in the window.

I took this photo about a half-block away from City Dock, but looking away from the harbor. It goes to show that not all the good pictures in Annapolis are boats and water.

Saturday, September 04, 2004


There MUST Be Something There!

Chevys Walls & Umbrellas
Ben called me last night to tell me he had a flat tire and was riding on his donut. "Meet me in Edgewater at the tire place tomorrow morning," I said, "and we'll take care of it."

Heading back through the edge of Annapolis from "the tire place", we passed by Chevy's, a Mexican restaurant with boldly-colored stucco walls and big, bright umbrellas shading an outdoor terrace.

Chair Window Clouds"There must be something there!" I thought. Shapes, colors, light - what else do I need.

Ben and I continued up to Severna Park to meet Sandy for lunch at China Buffet. Afterwards, I drove Ben back to Edgewater to pick up his newly-shod car, and I headed back to Chevys to see what I could see.

Into Chevy's parking lot and up close, things still looked good. But then I took quite a few shots and just didn't feel as if I had anything worthwhile.

I was ready to leave and decided to take a few more photos. These were the among the last four exposures, and I think they look pretty good.

Shapes, colors and light - I knew there had to be something there. You just have to work it sometimes.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


Figure Study

Rock NudeOK, let's get something straight right now. This is absolutely as close as I'll ever get to photographing nudes. My wife is worried that I'll get arrested taking pictures off of the Weems Creek Bridge in Annapolis. You think she'll let me get near any nudes? Fagedaboudit!

Actually, this is a rock sculpture of a mother bear holding her cub. Located on Wincopin Circle in downtown Columbia, MD, I stumbled across it a few weeks ago on a mission to buy stamps walking from work to the post office. I just liked the shape and texture of the rock and played with it for a few exposures.

I forgot about these images altogether until a few days ago, when I happened to run across them looking for something else. I laughed out loud when I realized that this picture looked like nothing so much as a naked tuchis.

And that's the bare truth.

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