“Robert Frost in Michigan”

One of my favorite poets of all times is Robert Frost. If you’ve been following me for a while, you might already know that! 😉

Frost wrote so many wonderful poems, my favorite is “The Road Not Taken”.

Most people associate Robert Frost with living in and being from New England only, but what you might not know is that he also spent a bit of time in Ann Arbor Michigan, and loved it!

In 1921 Frost accepted a 5,000 fellowship to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  He once said to a friend of his “I like Michigan people and I like Michigan”.  He stayed in Ann Arbor at the University lecturing, attending receptions and arranging poetry readings with other American poets of the time, and meeting with groups of students.

He used to love to wander the streets of Ann Arbor at night when he couldn’t sleep, which was often because he suffered quite badly from insomnia. On one of those walks he found a Greek Revival House that he thought was “charming”. This house which used to be in Ann Arbor on Pontiac Trail became his residence while here. The house was later moved to preserve it’s history and is now located at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan.

This is the house as it looks today at Greenfield Village:

"Robert Frost House"
“Robert Frost House”

 

Frost wrote two poems during his stay in Ann Arbor.  The first one is:

SPRING POOLS

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods—
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.

“Spring Pools”  captures the natural rhythm of seasons in transition with flowing water and reflections as well as the transformation of  flowering tree buds to the deep dark green foliage of the summer woods.

"Time to Reflect"
“Time to Reflect”

 

This poem was written around the time he had a bout with the flu. He took to writing at that time for three full days. He stayed in this house  by a roaring fireplace on the couch and wrote, quite enjoyably to his hearts content!

In a conversation with Edward Latham a number of years later, Frost recalled the circumstances of that writing: “I lived out on Pontiac Trail then. One night I sat alone by my open fireplace and wrote Spring Pools. It was a very pleasant experience, and I remember it clearly, although I don’t remember the writing of many of my other poems.”

In the 1920s Frost became quite a well known figure in Southeast Michigan. He lived in this house from about 1924 through 1926.

I mentioned before, that he wrote two poems while in Ann Arbor. The other poem is called “Acquainted with the Night”, which I won’t insert into this post right now. I might bring that at another time with an image that reflects his words.

Robert Frost did also mention that He felt as though he did some of his best and most creative writing while in Ann Arbor!

I personally think that is really awesome!! 🙂

 

“IDS and Foshay Towers Minneapolis”

On my last visit to Minneapolis MN. I spent a day in this beautiful city just wondering around the streets essentially with my eye to the sky.

My original destination was The Foshay Tower, which I went to first. I toured the inside, then went to the observation deck for the spectacular view from the top. I love the historical aspect of the architecture there! You’ll see the Foshay Tower in the last image.

The IDS Tower was the building that called for my attention next! It’s such a lovely building with it’s glass facade, angles, and height. Two of the images below are from one frame and processed differently. The third image is from a slightly different angle of the same building that reveals some of the reflections of other structures in the area.

I really like the sharp edges and deep contrast of the architecture of the IDS Tower itself. When processing I also used high contrast in these two images, whether color or monochrome. Only the last image is done in a softer tone.

The IDS Tower is 57 stories tall, it became the tallest skyscraper in Minneapolis when it surpassed the height of the Foshay Tower, which is 32 stories tall. This happened in 1972, which then ended the Foshay Tower’s 43-year reign over the Minneapolis skyline. In addition to being a lot taller, The IDS Tower occupies much more real estate than the Foshay does. The Foshay Tower was desighed to look more like the Washington Monument so it has an obelisk-like look to it.

Enjoy these images from a small part of Minneapolis as you look to the sky. Be careful don’t strain your neck! 😉

"IDS Tower Framed" mono
“IDS Tower Framed” mono

“IDS Tower Framed” mono

"IDS Tower Framed"
“IDS Tower Framed”

“IDS Tower Framed”

"IDS Tower Reflections" mono
“IDS Tower Reflections” mono

“IDS Tower Reflections” mono

"Foshay Tower" monochrome
“Foshay Tower” monochrome

“Foshay Tower” monochrome

“Foshay Tower” mono

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been working on some images from this past fall, a visit to Minneapolis MN. One of the buildings I really wanted to see during that stay was the Foshay Tower. Originally built in 1929, it was modeled after the Washington Monument. The Foshay Tower was the lifelong dream of of Wilbur Foshay, an art student who later became a business man.

This building has a rich history and quite a story behind it. Sadly not a very happy one for Wilbur, who never even got to live in the lavish apartment he had created for himself. The crash of the stock market and the completion of the building came quite close together. Fifty some odd years later in 1978 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Foshay was the tallest building in Minneapolis from 1929 until 1972 when the IDS Tower was built, and surpassed it in height. The architectural style is that of Art Deco.

When I was processing this and some other images of skyscrapers in the city, I decided to go with a really bold, high contrast black and white. I like the effect it gives. Maybe that of power. I also feel like it represents the time period.

The Foshay has been a beautiful hotel for many years now, but it still has an open observation deck, and a small museum to learn about the fascinating history behind this Mid-Western echo of the Washington Monument, and Wilbur Foshay, the man behind the dream!!

Enjoy the image!!

  "Foshay Tower" B&W
“Foshay Tower” B&W

“Light of Sunlight”

This image of a wonderful stone lighthouse is from a recent visit to Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown, New York at the place where The Niagara River meets Lake Ontario. Quite a lovely location!!

The lighthouse was originally built by the French and established in 1782. It sat atop a chateaux or “French Castle” as it was called, which is still located inside the actual fort. The lighthouse was later moved off of the chateaux in order to make more room for more officer’s quarters, and is now located just outside of the fort itself.

The chateaux is wonderful and I’ll be bringing you images of that in a later post. I spent a lot of time at the fort with my son who was mesmerized by the history, and gave me plenty of time to get as many images as possible! 🙂

The type of stone used here in the lighthouse is limestone, it also has a brick lining, which you can see when you go inside of the tower. The original lens was a fourth order Fresnel lens.

The lighthouse itself was deactivated in 1996 and was replaced by a light beacon which is located at the U.S. Coast Guard Station Niagara.

To me there is something really fascinating about lighthouses, the stories they could tell and the history they’ve witnessed.

As many of you know I have a great love of history and architecture in addition to my love of nature. I have many more images of lighthouses and historical places to come in later posts. I hope you’ll enjoy that.

For those of you who don’t live on or have never visited any of the Great Lakes in the U.S., you’ll find that the majority of, if not all the lighthouses were the type connected to a living quarters, more like a light station. Different from the style you’d find on the coasts near the ocean.

Each style has its own beauty. I especially love the strength and charm of the limestone one here at Old fort Niagara!!

On the day I visited the fort itself, it was pouring down rain the entire time. I had to wait another day for the weather to clear to get this and many other beautiful images of the lighthouse!!

Enjoy!!

-Light of Sunlight-

“Darker Days”

In 1885, Michigan opened its third mental institution which was in Traverse City. The institution contained twelve cottages, as well as two infirmaries. The original central administrative building was a hallmark of Victorian-Italiante architecture, but it was sadly demolished in 1963, after it was deemed it a fire hazard.
The twelve smaller cottages, which date from 1885 to 1903, still stand, and have been renovated for different purposes.
Dr. Munson, who headed the Hospital at the time believed in the idea that we should use the “beauty as therapy” method for the mentally ill, so the grounds were covered with trees and flowers. I didn’t get the chance to get images of the grounds, but they are still lovely, with huge trees, gardens, and large open green spaces!

The asylum was completely self-sufficient. The patients worked making furniture, canning fruit, and farming, all to earn funds for the hospital. The hospital produced its own steam to heat and electrify the buildings.

Over time, the space was used to treat other diseases, such as tuberculosis, polio, and, in the mid-late 1980s, as a drug rehabilitation center. But in 1989, the state finally closed the doors of the hospital.

In a twist of fate, the property was purchased by a group of developers, who then renovated the deteriorating buildings to develop it for commercial and residential use. The project was finished in 2010. It now houses hotels, apartments, boutiques, quaint shoppes, an urban winery, coffee roaster, a bakery and more.

While today very different, the Village at Grand Traverse Commons still evokes a time when the mentally ill lived here in a harmony which was rarely found even in the sane world. Quite a beautiful location and series of buildings!

My image here was taken as the sun was beginning to set behind this main building. The clouds were amassing, and the combination of architecture and sky was beautiful.

I decided to take make this image on a slant as to gain more of the sky, get in some of the more important aspects of the building, and to keep unwanted shoppers and visitors out of the frame.

I also processed this in monochrome which really gave it the feel of “Darker Days”. That image can be seen on 500px for those of you who missed it.

So as you see. Today I decided to get away from cars, which I’ve done quite a lot of lately, and give you a bit of architecture and sky drama, as well as a little history.

Enjoy!

Historical Architecture
Historical Architecture

“Salt”

When you look at the title of this image, then actually take a look at the photo. You may wonder why such a title? Well I’ll explain. First of all let me tell you that it was a cold late winter”s day when I took this. I was on the same architectural photo hunt that I mentioned to you in my previous post.

After going around the main part of the central campus of The University of Michigan, I headed off towards the direction of the hospital, which is still part of the school. There are plenty of medical school buildings there as well.

After turning onto a side street I happened upon the building you see here. I really wanted to get out of the car and take in the whole of the building, but I wasn’t able to, I searched everywhere for some place to park. I knew I just had to have an image of this place although I had no idea even what it was from the vantage point I was in.

Being that it was in the middle of the day, on a busy week day. There were cars, and people everywhere, and no way for me to actually park and roam around. So I did the only thing I could.

I put my car in park, put on my flashers, right in front of the building and took a few photos of the entrance area. I loved the style of architecture, looking like that of something from the U.K.!

In the color version of this image you can see all the embellishment and the crest above the doorway really standing out in on the brick. You can see it here too, but not quite the same.

You may also notice bunches of snow still piled up along the stairs and entry area. Well this is where the title comes in.

When I was processing this photo, I noticed there was quite a bit of salt that had been put down on the stairs and walkway. The salt was blue in color, so of course it was not plain salt, but one mixed with additives to melt ice. This didn’t look very nice, but it also wasn’t very practical to take it out of the photo either.

So I opted to leave it in, and do a monochrome version, and then title it “Salt”. Since I didn’t know the name of the structure, I had to search it up. I came to know that it is the Kinesiology Building. Part of the U of M, and also has a sign on another area that says Observatory Lodge. I’ll find out more about it in the future.

I’m planning on going back there again. Probably in the warm weather, when I’m able to get out of the car, find an actual parking space, and get a full view of this lovely piece of architecture. I know you’ll love seeing the complete structure too!

For now, I leave you with “Salt” in monochrome!

Kinesiology Building
Kinesiology Building

“Reflecting Angles”

On a recent foray out into the wilds of Ann Arbor 😉 , I went in search of architecture, and architectural details to photograph.

There are so many great opportunities for all types of architecture there! Historic, modern, art deco, and just about anything you can imagine. All within a few miles of each other including on the Central Campus of the University of Michigan.

I love to get angles of many types of subjects, and of course of those is buildings. This image comes from an area of the C.S. Mott children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

It was a very busy time of day, on a weekday. Which probably isn’t the best time for shooting, so I spent my time focusing up rather than down. I liked this angle not only because of the lines and shape of the structure itself, but for another reason. What started out as a cold, but sunny winter day, suddenly transitioned to a cloudy and snowy one! What you see in the upper left hand side of this image, is an area of clouds, which was the leading edge of the transition from sunshine and blue skies back to clouds and snow.

The beautiful blue of the sky was reflected in the windows of the structure, which I really liked. I continued to do many different shots as the sky changed, but this one is my favorite because of the timing. I also converted this to a monochrome image which will be on my site. The monochrome also has a nice punch to it! Very deep and dark!

Stay tuned for more architecture!! 🙂

Architectural Details
Architectural Details

“Winter at Parker Mill”

This image is of historic Parker Mill during the wintertime. The Mill was originally built in 1873, and at that time was used to grind flour and corn for the Parker family and their neighbors. In 1887 a second building was added to press apples into cider.

It is one of the historic treasures of Washtenaw County located in Ann Arbor Michigan. The grist mill is still in operable condition and also still has the original milling machinery that was left in it when the Parker family stopped operation in 1958.

On weekends in the fall you can tour the mill, and talk to the really knowledgeable and helpful guides as you watch the grain being ground. If you ask, they will also give you a small bag of ground corn to put out for the wild birds in your yard!

There’s something so special about old buildings like these. One of the first things to me is the heavy scent of old wood. There’s nothing quite like it!! Another thing is just imagining how the people who built, owned and used the mill were. What they did,and how their lives were!

To me I find it so wonderful that places like this are still preserved for future generations to see, learn about and enjoy. Especially a place like Parker Mill, which is still in working condition!!

As you can see, it’s quite a beautiful place with it’s huge and colorful stones as the foundation, and a light mustard yellow colored wood on top.

It is beautiful in any season, but I like it especially well in winter, when nothing obscures the view! Enjoy! 🙂

-Winter at Parker Mill-

“Entrance Doubled”

For something a little different tonight. I decided to go a little overboard in processing this image, just for fun!
I did a little photo walk on my own not long ago, and just went walking around a town taking in the scenes, and getting some shots here and there of whatever caught my eye.
I really liked the doors here, as well as the beautiful brick work, and architecture. All of it being an historic building.
For some reason when I was processing this I just felt like taking it out of what I normally do, which is good for a change. I feel it really brings out the brick work! I wanted to bring out the doors too in a different way, but I’ll plan that when I go back and process it again!
I hope you like it, and can get a feel for the structure, historic feel, and mood! BTW, it was freezing that day, but without snow! 🙂

Double Doors Doubled!!
Double Doors Doubled!!

“Barn of White”

Among many other types of structures, barns are one of my favorites. Somehow the most common color that I see used on barns seems to be red, if any color, or paint if used at all.
I came across this barn and other buildings and was struck with its beauty. Someone had done such beautiful work on this and the others matching it.
It certainly has a picturesque feel to it. The field leading up to, and surrounding it. The woods behind and to it’s side, and the stormy way the clouds hung over the entire area.
It was enough to make me stop the car, turn round in the middle of the road, and get out for a good long look and a few shots, which was all I was able to do, then it started to rain. I imagine this whole area would be gorgeous in autumn in a blaze of color!!
What a backdrop that would make for this lovely barn in white!!

Beautiful Barn in a Field
Beautiful Barn in a Field