The Message

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 30, peaceful protesters met in Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids and marched in silence to protest the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.  Their message of outrage was clear.  As night fell, a different crowd took to the streets and the evening turned violent as rioters smashed the windows of downtown businesses, burned police cars and caused other mayhem.

The following morning, volunteers from the community came downtown and cleaned up the mess leaving, behind boarded up businesses. Most of the business remain covered in plywood.  But, the plywood has become a canvas for artists to send a message to the community about racism, redemption, and Black Lives Matter.

Someday soon, the plywood will come down, replaced by glass. The artwork will be auctioned off.  While it is wonderful that the artwork will be preserved, it may lose some of its impact when it no longer appears together.  So today I walked around downtown today to capture these photos.  (Click on an image to see it larger.)

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More shots from Seidman Park

I figure I spent close to two hours this weekend (2 separate visits) standing in the middle of a stream that feeds into Honey Creek. What a great way to start the day, listening to the burbling of the stream as it passes over the rocks on its way to the larger creek. On this morning’s visit I was rewarded with mayapple flowers, which are hidden beneath a canopy of leaves.  Mayapples grow in colonies from a single root system.  Their leaves obscure the beautiful flower that blossoms in late April or May.

Nature First

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Recently, I joined an organization of nature photographers who dedicate themselves to principles to limit their impact as they practice their art.  I was reminded of this yesterday morning as I was exploring Seidman Park and Honey Creek once again.  As I bushwacked off the trail, I followed deer trails so as to avoid stepping on newly emerging flowers that decorated to the forest floor.   I also resisted the urge to investigate and backed off immediately when I accidentally flushed a hen turkey from her nest of eight eggs.  I would have loved to have taken a closer look, but knew that my presence would keep the hen from returning to the next and might attract the interest of other people enjoying the park.

We can’t help but have an impact on the land whenever we go out into nature.  But we can learn to limit that impact.  Members of Nature First commit to 7 principles:

THE NATURE FIRST PRINCIPLES

  1. Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography.

  2. Educate yourself about the places you photograph.

  3. Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.

  4. Use discretion if sharing locations.

  5. Know and follow rules and regulations.

  6. Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.

  7. Actively promote and educate others about these principles

You can learn more about Nature First Principles by visiting their website here.  You can learn more about Leave No Trace principles by visitng LNT.org.

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“Our Magnificent Planet”

I submitted three photographs to Lenswork Magazine today for possible inclusion in a book they will publish this fall titled, “Our Magnificent Planet.” They will select 300 photographs from those submitted. Fingers crossed, they will select one of these. (Click on images to see them full size.)

A Spring Morning along Honey Creek

After our 6:00 a.m. commando visit to the grocery store (complete with face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer), I escaped our new Covid-19 reality and went out to Seidman Park with my camera to see what Spring looks like. (Click images to see them full size.)

 

Covid Close Ups

Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order is denying me the opportunity to travel north to photograph this year’s spring. So, I have begun practicing macro photography. On one of our infrequent visits to to the grocery store I bought some flowers and on a walk I found a couple of pine cones to stand in for Sleeping Bear Dunes, Lake Michigan and Point Oneida. Even in the smallest things, however, there is beauty. (Click on a photo to see a larger version.)

 

 

Venturing out for some art and culture while staying in

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Being under orders to social distance in our homes during the Covid-19 pandemic does not prevent us from getting out and exploring, virtually, some of the world’s greatest museums of art.  I have a gathered here links to four temporary exhibits that no one is able to view right now except on the Internet.  After that I have included links to a host of museums and cultural sites that you can explore in the safety of your home.  If I come across more

Venturing out while hunkering down

My wife and I are hunkered down, both working from home, doing our best to stay away from the Covid-19 virus.  Of course, it is important to get out of the house.  We have each been taking walks alone and together. Fortunately, the last few days have been dry and bright.  The last couple of mornings, I have gotten out early before the world gets going to shoot some photos.

Yesterday, I drove around the city of Grand Rapids looking for a composition.  I decided to shoot the Chester Street Engine House, home of Company 11.  I drive by the station each evening on my way home from work and have frequently and have admired often.

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Constructed in 1902, the Chester Street Engine House is the oldest active fire station in Grand Rapids.  The building is designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, popular in the late 1800s.  The Grand Rapids Historical Commission’s website, describes it as follows: “Design characteristics are: asymmetrical massing; a decorative wall texture created by the brickwork, variegated on the first floor and smooth on the second; the row of wide, round-arch (Romanesque) windows, as well as the double-hung windows with (not quite) transom windows above.  Although the dormer is quite typical, the wide, over-hanging eaves of the roof give it an almost Prairie style look.”

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My morning wanderings also took me to Grand Rapids’s southwest side where I spotted several spiral fire escapes.  These are still fairly common on older Grand Rapids buildings. The spiral stairs made for an interesting bit of shadow play, reminding me of a Möbius strip.

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This morning, I drove through the country to Fallasburg Village, north of Lowell, which was founded on the banks of the Flat River in the 1830s  by John Wesley Fallass.  The Village, which today consists of a few preserved buildings and some private homes, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. More information about Fallasburg can be found on the website of the Fallasburg Historical Society.

I focused my attention this morning on the Fallass Barn with its stone foundation, built in 1894.

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