Chad Comello

libraries, culture, typewriters

Tag: photography

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A log in our building’s backyard bonfire was pushing out smoke from both ends:

This wasn’t taken for Memorial Day but it might as well have been:

I liked the color combination here, and not because I’m a Packers fan:

This bookshelf and plant are no longer in this spot, so you’re looking at history (then again, all photography is history):

Finally, I found the rainbow connection at a crosswalk:

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One of the many things I love about fall and winter is sunrise happens later in the morning, thus allowing me to go for a run in the darkness of the morning without having to get up at WHAT o’clock. On a recent run I broke my rule about not taking pictures of the sunrise or sunset. I was running to the lake as usual and saw this guy standing atop the large boulders buttressing the shore:

Several people along my route were gazing at and taking pictures of the sunrise. It occurred to me then that if there’s ever an apocalyptic event and I’m somehow stranded with strangers, I’d like to be stranded with the kind of people who wake up early to photograph the sunrise.

Here is the same sunset one minute later, made more dramatic by my iPhone camera viewing it through a playground and trees:

Plus a bonus pic atop a viewing station at Blue Mounds State Park in Wisconsin:

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Just for fun I’ve started turning videos I take into GIFs using Giphy’s super easy GIF maker.

This one was on a flight descending into Raleigh, North Carolina. The rain was streaking on the window like that for only about 10 seconds, so I’m glad I had my phone ready:

rain

The breeze and sunlight was dancing nicely with the makeshift curtain in our bedroom window:

breeze

On a recent morning run to the lakeshore the water was really choppy, more so than I think I’ve ever seen it. The waves were crashing against the boulders that buttress the shore and splashing onto the sidewalk. Since I couldn’t predict when and where and how high the waves would crash, I planted myself at a pleasingly symmetrical position and hit record. This is about 10 seconds out of a 40-second clip. As usual the camera fails to capture the stunning color and spectacle of what my eyes saw:

splash

And one photo, from a family reunion/memorial in West Virginia:

Elkins-reunion.jpg

Technically First

This happens to me all the time: I hear about a book (or movie or album, but usually book) and find it at my library, then I read it and see mention of another book or figure, sending me off into that direction, where I find another book to read. And so on. I’ll call it the Wikipedia Effect, which is a little less hippie-dippie than calling it the Everything Is Connected Effect, though it’s of the same spirit.

This time, I listened to the 99% Invisible episode on the U.S. Post Office, based on Winifred Gallagher’s new book How the Post Office Created America: A History, which I went to look at in the stacks. I didn’t end up checking it out, but as my eyes wandered a little farther down the shelf I did see an intriguing title: A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable by John Steele Gordon.

Calling the story “heroic” is a bit much, but it’s a quick and well-done story of the small group of monied men in mid-eighteenth-century New York who staked their fortunes on basically willing the oceanic cable into being, even after some pretty serious setbacks. It’s a good companion with Tom Standage’s The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-Line Pioneers, a broader history of the invention of telegraphy.

I spotted it on a shelf at the library when I was looking for something completely different—is there a word for serendipity striking in the library? Librindipity?—but my interest in it made me realize I’m intrigued by the stories of how innovative technologies came into being.

In addition to these two books about the telegraph, I’ve already read a few books I think fit into this theme of the development of a revolutionary technology or notable technical achievement:

  • Screw and screwdriver (One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw by Witold Rybczynski)
  • Chairs (Now I Sit Me Down: From Klismos to Plastic Chair by Witold Rybczynski)
  • Photography (River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West by Rebecca Solnit)
  • Longitude (Longitude by Dava Sobel)

Some of these were heralded in their time, known right away to be revolutionary, but some were not. I’m interested in both: how things came into being whether we noticed them or not.

A quick brainstorm yielded a few more ideas for future reading along these lines. (I’ll need a hashtag for when I catch up with these. Let’s go with #TechnicallyFirst). There’s no guarantee I’ll read these; they’re just ideas gathered in one place for future reference:

  • Transcontinental Railroad (Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad by Stephen Ambrose)
  • Interstate Highways (The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways by Earl Swift)
  • Electricity (Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World by Jill Jonnes)
  • Pencils (The Pencil: A History Of Design And Circumstance by Henry Petroski)

Will have to keep adding to the list. But I thank A Thread Across the Ocean for sending me down this path, wherever it leads.

Souvenirs, redux


It’s fall outside, of orange and red.

Recent Views

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Flying above Idaho, returning from Portland. I usually don’t take pictures from airplanes, but I’m a sucker for mountains, especially ones as pretty as these. They sparkled:

2016-04-16 11.38.48

Chicago at sunset, as lonesome and resolute as the celestial orb overlooking it:

Chicago-sunset

William Fitzsimmons concert. I liked the natural quadrants that formed outward from the violinist, and the colors exaggerating those divisions:

2016-04-28 20.39.05

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