Boxes

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Sometimes things appear to be compartmentalized into bite-sized chunks that we digest one at a time.  They can be natural or created by us, and the self-made items are the ones I consider to be the most interesting.  This is because more likely than not the design is unintentional.  In this case the design of the house is, of course, no accident, but a more critical observation might bring one to the conclusion that the original design of this house had little to do with its current appearance.

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While on my Baseball vacation this past summer I occasionally stopped when something of interest caught my attention and D’Vino in Niles, Ohio was such a place. It had such a stately structure with an interesting shape and something telling me that this was a special place. The problem was that in the middle of the day there were no cars in the parking lot. The scene was perfect for my panoramic pinhole camera so I set things up and photographed it.

Unfortunately, I was able to confirm that this highly rated restaurant was closed for good, the flare moving across the image reinforcing this fact.

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It seems that to be a successful Minor League Baseball team one of the more important elements is the naming of the team itself. Locally, I have found these to be a bit wanting. The Frederick Keys name is based on Francis Scott Keys, which is appropriate, the Bowie Baysox name is based on the Chesapeake Bay, which is also appropriate, but boring, the Aberdeen Ironbirds name is based on Cal Ripken, and so on. But there are other teams that have decided to go where no team has gone before, and I think that that is pretty cool.

One of my favorites is the Akron RubberDucks. Actually, “RubberDucks” refers to Akron’s history in the rubber industry, which is pretty awesome because there is an actual connection (as opposed to idiotry like the Indianapolis “Colts” – a team that cannot even come up with an original name) and this is so obtuse that nobody would be able to guess its origin.

Anyway, here is a panoramic pinhole image of the ballpark.

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Braddock Farms is located on Braddock Avenue and is part of GrowPittsburgh.org.  It seems to get bigger each time I see it, and indeed that is the case.  When I last visited I was told that the produce would be sold at the farmer’s market, which the sign suggests.

In an area that, without the concerted effort of those involved, might become a food desert, healthy, locally grown food has got to be a boost to the community.  Grow Pittsburgh offers youth internships and high school students are given training in sustainable agricultural production.

This print will be shown with three others in the upcoming show, Eternal Photographs, at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD from 10 November through 19 December 2014.

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This year on my Minor League Baseball trip I saw nine games in six days, one a double-header. The ballparks I selected to see encompassed a group in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania that I had not visited, and with their addition my ballparks page now holds 63 locations. I now have just about all existing ballparks within about a five or six hour drive of home. There are some onesies here and there that I need to add some day, like the Vermont Lake Monsters and the Portland Sea Dogs, but I’ve got pretty much all of them.

In looking at the geographical locator I happened to notice that there was one nearby that I had missed, the Potomac Nationals. I had been to that ballpark in the early 1990s but that was before I started adding panoramics to my website, so I decided to go to a playoff game there, as the season had ended.

The 45 miles took me three hours, driving through D.C.’s rush hour traffic, and I arrived just in time. The reward for my efforts was a wonderful sky, a great night for a game, and a win by the Potomac Nationals (they won the playoff series and are now playing for the Mills Cup).

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A few weeks ago I was on my Baseball week, where I try to see as many minor league games as possible, photograph a panoramic during the game, and post it to my website. This time I brought one of my pinhole cameras and additionally shot a panoramic of the ballpark exterior. This is a 35mm panoramic camera that I was fortunate enough to trade for years ago and works quite well. The nicest thing about it is that the film is advanced by a lever, similar to the one on my Nikon FM2N, so turning the lever three times takes me to the next frame.

This particular ballpark was that of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, who are located in Niles, Ohio, where I started this year’s odyssey.

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One last pinhole from Point of Rocks.

I have offered two other images from the train station location, but none of the station itself. It is rather picturesque and I have a feeling that pretty much anyone who has been there has taken the same picture (a glance at Google Images confirms this).

I wanted to photograph what happened on that particular day, which was a windy one, so I moved to the other side of the railing where foliage was being tossed back and forth and chose what I felt would be a unique vantage point.

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I thought that I would post one more image taken from my 35mm pinhole camera. Again, this is the Point of Rocks train station, and this part is the waiting area. I hadn’t thought of it at the time but the image looks much as if this is a toy on a child’s train set-up.

Another reason I wanted to post this was because so often I hear the comment that when using a pinhole camera one does not know what their results will be, and best practice is to simply hope that the composition includes the elements one wishes. I am not certain where this advice started but it definitely is not the case. It was my intention to include the small buildings in the frame and position the outer ends of the structures on either side equidistant from the side. It is simply a matter of marking sight lines on the camera to make this work.

One thing that I did notice is that the bubble level on the camera is not exactly positioned, so that is something I will need to adjust. Once done, this camera will be ready to travel with me later in the year to Ireland.

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A while back I had the opportunity to trade one of my Bromoil prints for a pinhole camera that uses 35mm film.  I enjoy trading my prints for other’s prints (one of the few ways I can afford them), but this was the first time I had a chance to trade for a pinhole camera.

I set it aside without a chance to try it out, but I have been trying to decide which cameras to take with me to Ireland so I decided to test it out.  The thing I like about it is that not only does it employ a very wide format, but the film advance uses a winder from an old manual camera.  This means that I am not counting turns of a knob when advancing the film, but am pushing a lever, in this case three times, to properly advance the film.

To test the camera I went to Point of Rocks, MD, a stop along the MARC line that goes to Washington, D.C.  This is a picturesque area where I found it easy to use the full roll of film.  This particular image is of an abandoned rail car sitting to the side of the tracks.  I wonder how many miles it may have traveled in its lifetime.

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The first minor league Baseball game I saw was in 1989 when Ben McDonald pitched for the single-A Frederick Keys at the end of their season. This was at McCurdy Field, a Babe Ruth League stadium where the only seats were bleachers, and was replaced by Harry Grove Stadium the following year. In 1994 the Oriole’s AA affiliate moved to Bowie, MD and I decided to document the construction, which lingered on due to the harsh winter. Around that time I started visiting minor league ballparks by taking a week off from work and travelling to as many as possible to see a game. I did not even think about photographing the venues until 2001.

One of the difficulties of photographing a panoramic at the time was the fact that there was no convenient means of stitching together the disparate images that comprised the whole, as I did not have a panoramic camera. Photoshop now makes that task simple, but I gained my stripes figuring out how get things to work with the tools available.

Last week I saw nine games in six days (two of the games were part of a double-header), which was a little unusual because it is typical to endure at least one rain-out during my week off. The most picturesque of the games was the 11am start for the Lake County Captains in Eastlake, Ohio. Exceptional clouds graced the day and forced color everywhere.

This image will go onto my website, where once I have completed processing this past week’s images, will include 66 minor league venues. This represents all but a literal handful of ballparks within a few hundred miles of home. It was not until I mapped out all of the minor league ballparks existing and marked the ones I had yet to visit that I realized that I had completely forgotten about the Potomac Nationals. I saw them as the Prince William Cannons in 1994 but that was before photographing the location, an oversight I will correct later this summer.

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