sunset

Posted by Ellen

Conceded: the sun was already below the horizon when it did all this to the sky the other day. Say it set ten or fifteen minutes earlier, around 5:30 PM.

5:30's not bad. Really. We don't have to pay any attention to that groundhog behind the curtain: spring is coming.

Still have to wear a coat, though.. . .

Posted by Ellen

We take a brief break from admiring New Zealand in order to catch the view Friday evening from Drexel Park in West Philly, when the center city skyscrapers snagged the sunset.

Posted by Ellen

Artists Jordan Lloyd, Dana Keller, and Sanna Dullaway try their hands at colorizing photographs from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They've got a new book out titled, appropriately enough, Colorized Photographs.

Above is Walt Whitman, who posed for the camera in 1887. Below are Japanese archers photographed circa 1860, and below that is a sunset viewed from the Tennessee state capitol building in Nashville in 1864.

These three images suggest some of the difficulties and limitations of colorization, even in the hands of talented artists. Walt Whitman in color looks a bit like a painted portrait we may have seen in a museum. The Japanese archers in color look like they're from a movie we're pretty sure we saw but can't quite remember. And while color probably adds visual interest to the Nashville scene, it doesn't really add to our comprehension of the historical situation documented in that photo–and the blaze of color in the sky arguably distracts the viewer from the drama and rhythm of the composition, which was originally rendered with an eye toward black and white simplicity.

Still and all, there's something about photographic revisionism that gets us interested all over again in how the world used to look.

Posted by Ellen

Last weekend, Hank, his climbing buddy Pat, and their other climbing buddy, the orange-footed yaller guy, summited Mount Gimli, a 9,000-foot spire of gneiss in the Valhalla Range of southeastern British Columbia.

Posted by Ellen

The top of One Liberty Place, way above the setting sun, as viewed from about 500 feet up in Two Liberty Place, a block away.

The spire of One Liberty Place is said to top out 945 feet above the ground.

Posted by Ellen

Looking out over Philadelphia through the window of a restaurant on the 37th floor of 2 Liberty Place, a downtown skyscraper.

Posted by Ellen

Sunbeams break through gaps in dark clouds after an intense snow squall in Port Maitland, Nova Scotia. This is the sort of astronomical phenomenon that used to be used in ads for gospel albums by singers who are no longer with us, but it can occur any time that thick clouds blocking the sun get a little raggedy, most notably when the sun is low in the sky. This photo was taken 45 minutes before sunset last January 30.

Posted by Ellen

Dusk comes to the rooftops of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

Posted by Ellen

The sun sank in the west, and then it was dark in Yosemite Valley.

Posted by Ellen

A Terlingua Sunset, by Lindy Cook Severns.

Terlingua encompasses thousands of acres of sparsely settled desert country along the Rio Grande in far west Texas, between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park. There's cinnabar ore in those mountains, enough to support profitable mercury mines a hundred years ago, but nowadays the only mercury miners left are the ones in the Terlingua cemetery.

Many of today's Terlinguans live more or less off the grid; land is inexpensive, but bringing in electricity costs something like $10,000 per pole. The landowners are only lightly supervised by local government, but like big-city condo owners they are regulated by an owners' association, which employs a full-time staff to maintain community wells and roads and to operate an income-generating campground and lodge.

Vanessa Boyd, director of the landowners' organization, which is known as Terlingua Ranch, is a musician as well as a land manager. She just released a new album last week, which incorporates songs she composed in preparation for a 2010 concert tour to Nepal.