Zoo Abstractions

If we think of photography as a continuum, with documentary photography (capturing the event, object, story) on one end and interpretative photography (portraying the feeling, essence, emotive qualities) on the other end, most photography falls somewhere between the two poles. That said, photographers often show a preference – slight or strong – for one of these two approaches to photography.

For me, art is all about reaching head and heart. In my photography I try to capture enough of the subject to set a context but also try to provide an emotive element. Today’s somewhat abstract images from the zoo lean much more toward the interpretative end of the continuum.

In the first two images I attempted to portray the intrinsic beauty of the peacock through rather abstract (interpretive) images of the bird’s feathers. The third image is about the colorful beauty of the rotting process in a fallen tree. The last image is of eyelashes from an African cow. The interpretation comes in capturing the swirls and the shadows in this tight shot.

Tail Feathers

Tail Feathers

Side Feathers

Side Feathers

Rotting Log

Rotting Log

Beauty is in the eye . . .

“Beauty is in the eye . . .”

Zoo Animals

I have mixed feelings about animals in a zoo. On one hand I like the opportunity to take pictures of the beauty and diversity of creation (especially if the zoo has few barriers to photography and a natural setting for the animals). On the other hand, I am unsettled with cages for living things. It is a difficult dilemma but I have come down on the value of people being able to experience animals that they otherwise might never see, if the animals are well cared for. Binder Park Zoo has a good reputation for ethical care of their animals which helped mitigate my discomfort. Wherever you come down on this tough tension, I hope you can enjoy these pictures. I enjoy reading your thoughts and comments . . . on the pics and/or the dilemma.

Whatcha lookin at?

Whatcha lookin at?

No Bull

No Bull

Smiling for the Camera

Smiling for the Camera

Nap Time

Nap Time

Sticking Out Your Neck

Sticking Out Your Neck

Fish & Fowl

Met our Michigan sons, spouses and their families (including 3 of our grandkids) at Binder Park Zoo on Saturday. The family pictures are on my Facebook page. My intention (unless I change my mind) is to post animals later this week and abstract/other images this week or next. It was a great day with family and good lighting. Enjoy some fowl and a fish.

Crown Prince

Crown Prince

Whatchyou lookin' at?

Whatcha lookin’ at?

Swan in Shade

Swan in Shade

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Large Carp

Large Carp

Roundhouse

In boxing a roundhouse is a big punch. Jackson’s former economic big punch was its railroads. There is a good article about Jackson’s rail history (with pictures) by my friend Ken Wyatt at
http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2012/06/peek_through_time_central_
Add rail.html to the above link. Word press doesn’t like long URLs.

Pat and I went with the intention of trying to see if anything remained of the Jackson roundhouse where her grandfather had worked. We were able to find some remains of the roundhouse; the circular foundation and tracks leading out. To our delight we also were able to see much more. The surrounding warehouses are still in use (mostly by trucking companies) and many of the tracks still haul freight. There was an intrinsic beauty in both the history of the ground we walked on as well as the beauty that remains in the aging infrastructure. These are just a few of yesterday’s shots; more later (Do notice the windshield wipers on the side window of the blue caboose!)

Caboose Window

Caboose Window

Changing Tracks

Changing Tracks

Tied In

Tied In

Spikes (from a large pile)

Spikes (from a large pile)

Bliss

Bliss in Blissfield comes from finding keepable photos on a day forecast to be partly sunny but turning out to be the sun’s day off. (To be fair, the weather folks weren’t specific about what part of the planet would be mostly sunny). Somewhat frustrated by the poor lighting conditions, we went to Blissfield for lunch at the Hathaway House Stables.

Our dining area provided the lantern shot. The unusual six-faced barn roof is from a barn behind the restaurant. The barn window comes from the same barn (note how the barn wood frames the left of the window). The smiling Officer Friendly (or Kelley) consented to a picture in her cruiser surrounded by her technology. The picture is a double portrait as you can see yours truly in the near window.

So even on a cloud mega mania day you can still take pictures and find bliss.

lantern

roof

window

Officer

Prison Photo Essay

Today’s post is a photo essay on one of Jackson’s claims to fame . . . its prison. Specifically, the pictures are of the old prison; replaced in 1934 in a different location by the current prison.
Built in 1837, the old prison covers about 20 acres with stone and granite walls twenty-five feet high. The early cells were 7 feet long, 3½ feet wide and 6½ feet high. The later blocks were “expanded” to 9 feet long 5½ feet wide and 7 feet tall.

In the prison’s early days businessmen could pay the prison as little as 34 cents a day for cheap labor. The inmates did not get any of the money. If needed, the prison even provided space for the industry inside the prison walls. This continued up to the 20th century,

The need to move products to market helped make Jackson an early railroad center. By 1871, at least six railroads radiated from town. A spur directly linked the prison complex with the outside world. At its maximum capacity Michigan’s first state prison was big enough to hold one-third the early population of Jackson.

What was once the largest walled prison closed in 1934, although one expert in the paranormal says at least 50 distinct ghosts or other entities still roam the area. I wasn’t able to catch any of these in my pictures. Still there remains a stark eeriness, and occasional beauty, to the old prison.

Eastern Wall

Eastern Wall

Northwest Entrance

Northwest Entrance

The Big House

The Big House

Gate Door and Hinge

Gate Door and Hinge

Watchtower Window

Watchtower Window

Wall Detail

Wall Detail

Stool Pigeon

Stool Pigeon

Barbed Wire

Barbed Wire

Trestle, Ivy Escape, and Light Pole

My friend Pat said all there is to say about the mystical, magical trestle we came upon (http://imissmetoo.me/). I expected to see hobbits at any moment. Her post on fire escapes is worth visiting as well. In addition to two pics from the trestle, I have added an ivy-covered fire escape. The final image is a black-and-white shot taken at the farmers’ market. This is from the morning the sun was playing peekaboo with us. Love to hear your thoughts.

trestle

trestle nuts and bolts

fire escape

from farmers market

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