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Monday, December 25, 2006


Presenting...Kristin Jansen!

Umbrella & Awnings - Toronto - Kristin Jansen ©2006Uncle SteveR is proud to present some photos by his amazingly talented niece, Kristin Jansen of Oakville, Ontraio.

As you can see, Kristin, who is in her last year of a Nursing degree, has a superb eye for composition, pattern, color, and shapes.

I would like to take some credit, even some genetic credit, for her great talent, but alas, I can't - she's my wife's brother's daughter. Eggplants & Cukes - Toronto - Kristin Jansen ©2006I didn't even know Kristin was interested in photography until we were visiting with her family this past July. Sister-in-law Sue mentioned it to me, and the next day, Kristin and I got up early and went to Oakville's picturesque harbor on Lake Ontario around sunrise. She used my camera and came back with some excellent photos.

Leechees - Kristin Jansen ©2006Since then, Kristin bought her own camera, a Sony SteadyShot DSC-H2, and is making good use of it, as you can see here. About an hour ago, she showed me some of the photos she's made since I was last here, and straight out of the camera, they just knocked me out. She didn't have any photo-editing software yet, so I suggested that we download Picassa from Google, which we did, and we quickly ran the images you see here through Picassa for some minor cropping and levels adjustment.
Green Wrought Iron Fence - Kristin Jansen ©2006
I coulda easily picked another half-dozen or more photos, but one can only take so much genius at a time. So more to come from Kristin later on. Hangers - Kristin Jansen ©2006Actually, I'll try to talk her into putting up her own photo-blog - why not?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Legg Mason in 250 W Pratt

Here's a view of one of my favorite hi-rise buildings in all of Baltimore, 250 W Pratt Street, showing a reflection of the 40-floor Legg Mason building.

On a morning with good sun, if I look over my left shoulder one-half along my walk from the Light Rail to the office, this is what I'll see.


100 E. Pratt

100 E Pratt Street, Baltimore MDI'm always looking for interesting patterns as I walk to and from work. A few days ago on a sunny morning, the waffle-like pattern of 100 E. Pratt Street jumped out at me. I had walked by there literally over a hundred times, but just didn't "see" this image.

100 E. Pratt is an odd building. This heavy masonry facade is only a few stories tall, but stretches for the entire block along Pratt Street. Behind and attached to this blocky structure is a 28-story steel-frame tower. On top of the tower is a "hat truss" from which - get this - hangs another structure, a 1991 addition to the original (1973-1975) building. The addition is almost as tall as the tower and the same width, but it looks to be only 1 office deep. You can get a better look at this whole affair An Engineer's Guide to Baltimore. This website notes that the whole weight of the addition is suspended entirely from the "birdcage" truss at the top of the tower; that is, there's no foundation holding it up.

Those are brave people sitting in those offices!


On This Night, Let Us Light...

Glass Dreydles"...six little Hanukkah candles."

That's from a song that Jewish kids sing in Nursery School to learn about Hanukkah. And tonight, we will light six candles for the sixth day of this eight-day holiday.

Today's photo of glass dreydles was part of a self-assignment to make photographs for Hanukkah three years ago.

I'd never seen little glass dreydles like these before that time. They were at the annual Hanukkah Bazaar run by our Synagogue's Sisterhood. I asked the "sisters" afterwards if I could borrow their stock for some photos.

The don't spin worth a darn, but they sure are nice to look at.

The Hanukkah dreydle has on its four sides the Hebrew letters, Nun, Gimmel, Hey, and Shin. This stands for the sentence, Nes gadol hayah sham, which means "A great miracle happened there."

The "there" means Israel, or more specifically, the Second Temple in Jerusalem. And the miracle refers to the miracle of the little jar of oil, which should have only been enough for one day but lasted for eight.

And that's why we celebrate Hanukkah 2,171 years after the event it commemorates. The miracle of the oil is why we light candles for eight nights, and, by the way, why we eat oil-fried foods on Hanukkah.

Ashenazim, Jews whose more recent ancestors lived in Northern and Eastern Europe, eat potato latkes, or pancakes. Sephardim, Jews whose families lived in places like Iberia, North Africa, Italy, or Turkey, eat sufganiot, which are donuts.

Wherever you live and wherever you are from, Hanukkah, the Festival of Light, is a time of miracles - may you each be granted a miracle of your own!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


On the Way to Work This Morning...

200 Block West Pratt Street, Baltimore MD
Christmas Escape

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Coolidge Corner

Coolidge Corner 'T' StopThis is the Coolidge Corner stop of the MBTA, otherwise known as the 'T', Boston's mass transit system. Coolidge Corner is a beautiful old neighborhood in Brookline, where Sandy and I stayed this weekend while attending the bat mitzvah of my cousin's daughter Hannah. I didn't take any photos until just as we were leaving to go back to the airport - pretty much forgot that I brought my little camera (well, that's an indication of the good time we had seeing our relatives at such a happy occassion.)

As we stood waiting for the 'T', I noticed the early-moring sidelighting on the tile roof of the passenger shed. I'm a sucker for tile roofs anyway, and I liked the perspective of the scene. Does it do anything for you?

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