Saturday, December 10, 2011

Save energy. Better photos.


Don’t flash when you don’t have to. If your subject is not moving you usually don’t have to freeze it.
Try setting your camera on a level surface, 
aim and frame, turn the flash off and use the 10 second delay for a longer term exposure.

Instead of blowing out the mood, 
it burns the natural lighting in.

Friday, December 9, 2011

do you smell something?

Ride a bicycle around the Bronx long enough and you never know what you might find.

This “sanitary” sewage pump station is right on the water in the SoundView section.

The word sanitary is misleading. Non-sanitary stations are the ones that deal with rainwater and storm runoff and stuff like that. The “sanitary” pumps actually deal with the stuff that isn’t all that sanitary.

From Wikipedia:
“The interior of a sewage pump station is a very dangerous place. Poisonous gases such as methane and hydrogen sulfide can accumulate in the wet well; an ill-equipped person entering the well would be overcome by fumes very quickly.”

Ah. So they need a reliable chimney to vent the sewage gas, eh? How’d you like one of these by your bedroom window? thanks.
I’ll take the Third Avenue Bridge.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

heart in the woodwork

339 East 140th Street is a simple wooden house with some not-so-simple decoration.

Designed for a single family and built in 1901, it’s one of very few left from an era when housing was built by skilled European immigrant carpenters, not highrise steelworkers. 

Oft times these woodworkers would be from northern Europe or Scandinavia and they liked to show off what they could do. In fact they loved this stuff; the Swedish word for this fancy woodwork translates literally as “carpenter happiness".

Every piece of woodtrim would have been handsawn onsite, then tacked into place. This iron and oak foot-powered scroll saw dates from an 1885 patent by Ansel Ball, the same year as our ClockTower.
By February 8, 1898 (three years before this house) a simple handheld version called a “coping saw” was patented. Both of these saws were likely used here back then.
Today, the land is worth twice the house for a combined value of about $334,000.

Next time you walk by take a moment and look up. One day it will be lost to demolition. They won’t be building any more.

And surely someone’s heart is in the woodwork.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

giving Scarsdale and WhitePlains the bird

In 1885, just about the same time as our ClockTower was being built so was the Kensico Dam, cutting off the Bronx River from its headwaters.

Today it survives on a small tributary stream. That’s the Whitlock 6 subway stop on the left.

But that little stream has proven enough. With grant money secured by our U.S. Representative José Serrano, the Bronx River gets cleaner everyday.

Incredibly, until a November 28, 2006 agreement the municipalities of Scarsdale, White Plains and Mount Vernon, among others, actually dumped their raw sewage directly into the river allowing it to float down through our borough until it reached the East River and eventually New York harbor.

That finally ended May 1, 2007.

That same year Bronx Zoo biologists with the Wildlife Conservation Society spotted a beaver in the river. There had not been a sighting of a beaver in New York City in over 200 years.

Also returning are the cormorants, large and black, highly intelligent birds that breed on Mill Rock Island, south of here in the East River.

The green A in the lower left marks Mill Rock and the red marker in the center is where I noticed the bird and took these photos.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

no longer feeding fishes

Ever wonder what the difference is between a capstan and a windlass?

Yeah, me neither.

Then I happened upon this abandoned Lidgerwood capstan.
A capstan is a rotating winch with a vertical axis, used with boats and barges, often powered by a motor.
Lidgerwood makes motorized capstans, although this particular one lost its motor years ago.

A windlass is also a winch but the axis is horizontal. A waterwell uses a primitive windlass to bring the bucket of water up.

The Lidgerwood Company was founded in 1873, about a dozen years before our ClockTower. It had been headquartered in the New York metro area for much of the 20th century and sold motorized capstans for use along our city’s docks.

This is on an abandoned loading platform in the east river at 111th Street.


A Sanitation Garage is nearby so this loading assembly probably dates back to the 1970’s when our garbage was poured into barges, floated out through the harbor and dumped into the ocean.

Seems hard to believe now, doesn’t it?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Deck the Halls with Smith and Wesson™

The Scottsdale Gun Club advertised an event as "a one-of-a-kind opportunity to be photographed next to Santa while against a backdrop of a stunning $80,000 Garwood mini-gun
 and SGC's coolest belt fed machine guns including
 the M60, M249 and M240." 

The photos are $5 for club members and $10 for non-members. 

Photos courtesy of Scottsdale Gun Club

I’ll bet the reindeer didn’t think this was such a hot idea.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

the dreams that you dare to dream

5:31 of the best sacred music ever. Once she gets to the push key change at about 4:00 and gives her all, I’m a goner. :-)
One of the YouTube comments said “I’m pretty sure time just stood still.” It almost does. Take a few minutes, close your eyes and get closer to whomever you think your God might be.


all about faith

the narthex