Hole in the Clouds

April 2017


Apr 9, 2017

The sun sets on the other side of the International Date Line, in Teneriffe, a riverside suburb of Brisbane, Australia. Or so they say; this post is yet another in a long irregular series spouting off about places we've never seen and about which we know next to nothing.

But we persist.

In the early twentieth century, Teneriffe was the wool-export center of the universe, with warehouses that could store tens of thousands of bales of Australia's wool. During World War II, the country's largest submarine base was located here. But in recent years, shipping has moved to container facilities at the mouth of the Brisbane River, and Teneriffe has assumed more of a residential character.

cityscape   night   sunset   Australia   palm trees   pavement   Brisbrane   (Image credit: IBazzil)  

Mann und Maus

Apr 18, 2017

The guard in the doorway of this room at the Seattle Art Museum said children smile and wiggle with excitement when they see this big mouse, about eight feet tall (photographer included for scale). There's a giant mouse in the house!

But then the kids get a little closer and, um, uh. As seen below, the giant mouse isn't just in the house, he's in the bed. And there's a man in the bed, a life-sized man–but a life-sized man looks pretty puny when a giant mouse is walking all over him.

The guard says kids tend to back away when they realize what they're looking at. Some hide their faces and seem close to tears. 

Adults, on the other hand, just keep on looking. What's to be scared of? Sticks and stones can break my bones, but art can never hurt me.

The sculptor is Katharina Fritsch, of Düsseldorf, Germany.

sculpture   Seattle Art Museum   nightmare   mouse   (Art by Katherina Fritsch)  


Apr 19, 2017

Photographer Kevin Horan makes portraits of chattel–goats, mostly, also sheep, and occasionally pigs. He says he aims to capture the individuality of each animal, with special attention to their varying moods; he photographs them much as he would human subjects, using backdrops and lights and other fancy gear. 

Above is Lily; below, Stanwood, and below him, Bella.

Magical Mystery Transport Pod

Apr 20, 2017

Kevin Horan, the goat portraitist featured in this space yesterday, lives on Whidbey Island, Washington, where he's developed this thing about ferry boats.

"Every islander knows the mind space within a ferry," he writes. "In transit, you are in neither one world nor the other." He shot a series of long-exposure ferry scenes to emphasize how the vessels "track across the water like UFOs across the sky." Ferries are "magical mystery transport pods."

This is the view from Fisherman's Bay on Lopez Island of the Friday Harbor ferry at dusk.  In the distance are the city lights of Vancouver, British Columbia, reflected in the clouds behind Mount Constitution on Orcas Island.

landscape   Puget Sound   San Juan Islands   ferries   (Image credit: Kevin Horan)  

Trouble on the Magical Mystery Pod

Apr 21, 2017

This past week, the Bell Island ferry out of Newfoundland's provincial capital of Saint John's was trapped by unusually late pack ice, requiring the ice-breaking assistance of Canadian Coast Guard vessel Earl Grey.

The heavy ice around Newfoundland is actually a product of global warming. Record-breaking thaws this past winter along the west coast of Greenland–including a first-ever hurricane that drenched Greenland in January–disrupted normal patterns of ice circulation on the surface of the North Atlantic.

Greenland's fast-melting glaciers spit out icebergs four months early this year, which have clogged shipping lanes. Ocean currents and winds usually break up Newfoundland's pack ice early each spring, but the unusual flow from Greenland has kept this past winter's ice trapped in harbors and coastal waters.

winter   ice   ocean   Greenland   climate change   ferries   Newfoundland  

A Pepper Picker

Apr 25, 2017

Pausing for her picture in 1939, on her way back to the house from the pepper patch. The pincurls in her hair suggest that she's got post-pepper-picking plans for the evening.

She was one of eight children in the Schrock family in the Yakima Valley of Washington state, where they were clients of a Farm Security Administration tenant-purchase program, a New Deal effort to help migrant farm families obtain homes and farmland of their own. The program worked best, it turned out, for families that broke the rules and generated some cash income by finding work off the farm.

Johnny Cash grew up in a similar FSA project in Dyess, Arkansas.

garden   Farm Security Administration   Depression   child   Schrock family   1939   girl   Yakima Valley, Washington   (Image credit: Dorothea Lange via Shorpy)