Tuesday, May 28

Patagonia 8: Buenos Aires - Deadly Thoughts


How do I wind up in cemeteries? Seems our guides, or friends find the largest and most historic dead-zones for us to wander (and wonder) about. So on February 2, 2019 - at about 10am: Here’s a moment in  El Cementario Recoleta where Argentina’s largely 1822-1960 very rich and/or famous are spectacularly interred. It’s a tourist magnet. And at its epicenter my Canon 7D MkII snapped this decisive Buenos Aires moment. Our brains are wired to bring order to puzzles. To find meaning in disparate stuff.

And in the park's epicenter - with all of the ornately crafted and bejeweled mausoleums about, my camera found this decisive moment of passers-by...

Strangers among the dead

And as I studied the moment... this came to mind:

“So… did’ja ever see a
poem?” she asked, her foot tapping.
.
 “Y’know, in another language?
Maybe Spanish? But, like, 
I don’t understand Spanish.”

“So… I’gotta’ geek at words that
sorta look English-ly?”
That foot twitched quicker.

“Which reveals what? 
Maybe there’s sorta’ 
D-E-E-E-E-P stuff in there?”

She paused, foot tapping loud.
“So… well look at this image. 
It’s kinda like that.”

Her tapping paused…

“You know what I’m sayin’?”

Well do you... um... know what she's sayin'? There seems to be a story in that image, perhaps a visual poem... haunting me as much as the opulently haunted little bone-homes lining the avenues which lead to esta centro del Necrolpolis de Recoleta. 


Wednesday, March 13

Patagonia 7: Chilean Fjords

Leaving Puerto Chacabuco our Norwegian Sun cruised at some 15 knots along the Chilean Fjords then the Straights of Magellan to reach the next port: Punta Arenas, Chile.




Here's an early morning grab taken from the foredeck while it powered south at some 15 knots along these watery highways. It took two days along first the Chilean Fjords then the Straights of Magellan to reach the next port: Punta Arenas, Chilé.




Up in the early morning darkness I was curious how the black blotches along each bank of this passage would look in the first sunlight.

Those aren't tilled fields. Nope, this place is virtually uninhabited. Instead the dark areas are dense green growths, the yellower regions are, for some reason, less fertile. Perhaps they're too rocky?


Some 25 hours later Thursday 1/24/19

800 miles nearer to the South Pole, the land grows dramatically craggier and mid-summer temps much chillier.

1519 Along the Chilean Fjords

Imagine how this looked to the 500 sailors in Magellan's 5 wind-blown ships as they discovered these passageways in 1519. Did they imagine that only 17 of them would survive their expedition and get back to Spain two years later?

What passed through their minds as they plowed northward surrounded by these treacherous coastlines and spookily quiet landscapes? Landscapes that remained unchanged from this in the last 500 years.

GEEK STUFF: Hand holding my Canon 7D and its EF-S17-85mm lens on the shifting decks of the Norwegian Sun. Canon's stabilizers are uncanny and it's processor can cut into both the shadows and highlights. 




Wednesday, March 6

Patagonia 6: Let Sleeping Sea Lions Lay

This craggy finger pokes from the sea some twelve miles south of Ushuaia, Argentina – the city at world’s end. Here Patagonia’s southern tip slices into the earth’s only spot where three oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, and Antarctic) swirl together to brew storms and tides which conjure fog, rain, snow, ice, gales, wave-surge, and lightening strikes that last moments, hours, or longer.

Detail of a 40 yard-long rock off the coast of Cape Horn

Daytimes, hundreds of night-hunting sea lions doze among this rock’s gnarls. Even at rest, their raucous snoring, burping, farting, and random-yelping eclipse the din of New York’s Cross Bronx Expressway. 

People who come within feet of these lightening-quick 400-500 pound sea mammals risk maiming and death. Sea lions have crushing muscles reinforced by scalpel-honed fangs and claws. Look closely. See their pelts gashed with cuts, holes, and wounds that etch tattoos of damage? 
Not a good plan to tip-toe among them and scream "BOO!" Y'think? 

GEEK STUFF: Despite a wind-whipped hail pelting the catamaran’s pitching deck I hand-held my Canon 7D’s EFS 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens to get close as I dared to the colony of sleepers. Except for some PS-CC diddling with dynamic range in post, this image faithfully reveals the information within the raw capture.

Around noon on Saturday, January 26, 2019.  

Wednesday, February 27

Patagonia 5: Puerto Chacabuco - Soft Scrapple


For details, click on any image...
It's 291 nautical miles from Montt to our second
stop at  Chacabuco south through the Golf of Corcovado.
It's about a day and a half by ship between the red pins.
Puerto Chacabuco is a relatively new port city. In 1991 a savage wilderness fire and the eruption of nearby Mount Hudson volcano silted the Aisén river and blocked access to Puerto Aisén which caused the construction of a new port in the sleepy village of Chacabuco some 10 miles south of Aisén. Transition's fattening up Chacabuco and its population of 1,243. 

However, the town's location along the far side of the Aisén river is magnificent. 

At sunrise on Tuesday 1/22/19 we awoke to this view from our balcony on the
ship's port side with Chacabuco visible (below) from the starboard.
Daytime temperatures dropped about fifteen degrees, on average from Santiago mid-day 90 degrees to Puerto Montt and another ten degrees in Puerto Chacabuco. The town's weather is wet much of the year, but in mid-summer-January that still left us wearing heavy jackets over long sleeves in the port's morning which we ditched by late afternoon.

Joe & Mary Mayberry, Gib & Marti Armstrong and
 my wife Rita model Chacabuco January mid-summer fashions.
BTW, that's our Norwegian  Sun anchored to the right.

On the other side of the river from the image above, Chacabuco sits
 in a river valley and is beginning to sprawl as a result of
its replacement of Aisén in 1991 as the region's major port. 

And what's to do in Chacabuco? Well, just about nothing. So we engaged an old VW bus-like ride to visit the new National Simpson River Park.

As you can see, the topography is rugged and mountainous.
Our bus had an ancient low gear which left us expecting to push.
The trip did reveal the life style of people living along rural Route 240 as well as structures in both Chacabuco and Aisén.


Generally the people are NOT poor. Rather they live in tidy, secure, and comfortable structures in a rocky countryside dotted by small livestock farms. NOTE the canted metal roofs in all of the structures above. Why? Tons of snow of course. Note also the lack of foundation shrubbery which is always destroyed by the collapse of snow upon them from those roofs. This is a challenging place in winter.

 The last President of Chilé kicked off an expensive (and not overwhelmingly popular) series of national parks. One of the newest is the Parque National Rio Simpson. Which features, well, some wild flowers and the Simpson River. 

The Simpson's a nice mountain river, and well, ho-hum. Perhaps if you are a Saudi
this is inspiring. And certainly to fly fishers it's inspirational. I'm neither. Seen one river,
seen 'em all? Well no, but this one is pretty average even within its mountainous setting.

The trip up to the park though wound cooly through valleys alongside a rushing stream fed by waterfalls dropping from the peaked walls of the old Pioneer Trail.

Note, just to the right of the base of the lower waterfall. See the guy? I left him there 
to put the height of these glacial fed falls in perspective. Rain  returned as  I teetered
atop the two-lane highway bridge's  railing to grab this shot above the stream. 
In the very center of the port sits Radio Chacabuco there on the right. It was hidden behind a few downtrodden  
shops but worth the effort. See the dirt road? What you can't see well in this painting without blowing it up is the line of new  construction there between the mountain base and the field at the road's end. 
A Levittown development's happening there with perhaps a hundred homes going up. Chacapuco's about to change as its expanding port juices economic activity. This image captures the transition right before it happens. And, of course it's just the painting to bring country life to a chi-chi Santiago, New York, Lancaster, Atlanta, or Viennese up-market condo, right?


Chacabuco caused one of us to wonder if this is where you flee to escape the rest of the world. Near-antarctic winters are intense and even the summer's are challenging. But the farms and port apparently create jobs and incomes sufficient to live snugly with the weather, volcanos, and earthquakes. It's not hard scrapple, no... but definitely soft scrapple. 









Saturday, February 16

Patagonia 4: Volcano Orsono


North and East of Puerto Varas we drove some 15 miles away and up  from Lake Lanquillue to The Vincente Perez Rosales Chiléan State Park and the Petrohué Falls.
These are a series of chute waterfalls grinding paths through ancient basaltic lava blasted from the Osorno Volcano that sits between two lakes, the largest, Llanquihue supporting the resort towns discussed in the last post. The water decanted in the lake is clear with a distinct green hue but the cascading torrents from melts of Volcano Orsono carry sand and silt which has ground the walls of its deep crags into glassy surfaces.

Volcano Orsono, Chilé

Chilé's most active volcano: Orsrono is a symmetrical and glacier-capped peak which has produced massive lava flows. It's blown from both the summit and from flank vents and fissures along the left face of the image above. Many of its eruptions over the past 14,000 years have created astonishing pyroclastic flows and surges while explosions from its tip have effected world-wide climate effects.

Took Rtes 5 then 225 up to Petrohué Park then hiked


The cone of the mountain sits above a roughly 250,000-year-old stratovolcano whose caldera is deeply glacial scarred and mostly buried today. Interestingly, scientists have measured pronounced increases the size of Osorno's glaciers as they have with glacial growth throughout Patagonia and Antartica. While this glacial expansion's received little media attention, meteorologists have recorded increasingly colder Southern Hemisphere temperatures over the past three or four decades. It's a puzzling activity which astronomers have noted on Mars where northern ice caps appear to be contracting as its southern caps expand. 

Vocanic Danger Zones! Signs found throughout the lake districts, this one explaining
  the various warning levels  and evac-routes posted in the media and along roadway billboards.
So at about 2:15 on the afternoon of Tuesday, January 21st, we hiked up the rocky park trails beyond the tree-line toward the majestic finger of Orsono to a spot which allowed both a view of the gushing chutes and their pristine glacial source thousands of feet above.

Here's the miles-long trail that brought my camera (and virtual easel)
to the base of Orsono and the cascades gushing from its summer run-off.
GEEK STUFF: The photographer's nightmare... or daymare? Sun blazing through almost cloudless skies during the day's hottest hours. Both contrast and glare got cranked beyond 10 with highlights burnt crispy and shadows darker than Satan's fantasies. YIKES! What to do. I tried HDR shooting to bracket exposures then blended them together in Photoshop, digging into both the whites and darks, but still the images wouldn't give up their secrets. So, screwing a polarizer over a neutral density filter to darken the sky and pop the whites I got an image that allowed me to  tease out the impression that this Monster blow-hole burnt into my feelings. 

Failing to pop an acceptable photograph from the mid-day sun's broiling, here's my imagination's take on Orsono's cone and it's tributaries which form the headwaters of Chilé's Petrohué river. 

A south-western painting of Volcano Orsono and it's glacier-blue/green
waters gushing along the explosive Saltos Del Petrohué.

Wednesday, February 13

Patagonia 3: Puerto Montt, Chilé



Puerto Montt: Gateway to Chilé's lake (and skying) district.
Two days out of Santiago the Norwegian Sun sailed into the Reloncaví Sound, and to Port Montt, Chilé some 650 miles south of the capital where tenders brought us into the city gateway to the nation's playground of lakes, volcanos, and waterfalls.


While dry in summer, it's a wet port city in the Llanquihue province of the Los Lagos Region. With a quarter million population it's at the southern end of the Chilean Central Valley and gateway into the Chiloé Archipelago and the Handle Heap lakes and Western Patagonia. It's at the heart of the Chilean salmon aquaculture with a culture formed by a swirl of German, Spanish, and Chiloé peoples and its labor force growth's attracted workers from all over the country, and continent.

Frankly, Puerto Mott is a pass-through bland place of concrete and somewhat soviet architecture. It was quake-shaken mostly to rubble in the 80s when they rebuilt largely utilitarian cement structures for this hard-working port city. Most tourists drive a few miles north to Puerto Varas and Frutillar, Germanish towns on Lake Lanquillue where the older architecture of quaint (and wealthy) vacation buildings stand in the shadow of the majestic snow capped  Orsono Volcano. Styled like Swiss and Austrian chalets these homes are largely surrounded by walls and wet-fanged Rottweilers. And just north of Puerto Varas meet Mary & Joe Mayberry who treked beside us up to Petruhue Falls...




Monday, February 11

Patagonia 2: Impressions of Santiago, Chile 1/16/19

Santiago's Cooly Wealthy & Sparkly
Here's where we began our trek in January of 2018.

Chilé's capital marks the Pacific-top of Patagonia, which forms the bottom 20% tip of South America that Chilé shares with Argentina. Starkly modern: crystal fingers erupt from Santiago's earth like glittery blue nails of a haughty latin diva. She's home to about two thirds of her country's population and fueled by Latin America's hottest economy. The city reflects its searing summer sun glaringly as a mirrored radio telescope faceted with glass and precious latin passions. Neither New York, London, nor Brussels wears a richer cloak of ambitious success.

Geek Stuff: Santiago demands a wide angle lens... It's almost impossible to step back far enough to frame any of her parts. So I screwed my EF-S 10-22mm (f3.5-4.5) onto its Canon 7D Mark II to make sense of her pieces. Then, pulling out a digital pen I sketched out the Square, a multi-tiered neighborhood restaurant, and poked between the shoulders of twin heaven-scrapers to scribble in another tower popping from the ground behind. Everywhere the throb of contractors, taxis, and people-throngs cranked up Santiago's latin pulse.

If you can make it there... you can make it anywhere.

Sunday, February 10

Patagonia 1: The Light at World's End


The world's southernmost light just beyond
Ushuaia, Argentina

At the very tip of America del Sur, perhaps three miles south of Ushuaia, the capital of Terra Del Fuego and the southernmost city in the world sits this ragged finger poking into Cape Horn's heavens - shuddering upon the most dreaded waters where three oceans smash at its cold cragged granite.



Geek Stuff: During January and February of 2019 we voyaged for weeks around Patagonia's tip, from Santiago, Chilé to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We sailed through the Channels of The Beagle and Magellan poking in and out of the fjords and down the Avenue of Glaciers. Here in Ushuaia we were halfway and two days after a small typhoon that forced us to flee behind the Chilean islands a way from 22' wind-whipped waves. Atop the shifting deck of our catamaran I cranked up the ISO to hand-held my trusty Canon EFS 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens on its 7D Mark II. Then in post I dragged out a bunch of custom brushes into PS-CC. This thing's a totem! You look at it and the wind howls a choir's anthem.

Somehow it makes you whisper, "Amen"!


Wednesday, January 9

A Sense of an Ending

And Its Artist Died
Has the studio soul?
Does it scram with its artist?
Is a studio clothes?
An affectation of him,

Or the kernel of a whole?

Do studios wonder
When harshly left… Forsaken?
About advice to finish
What together they started?

Does Studio mourn an end?

Here’s a lonely, gray Lancaster County, Pennsylvania morning… or mourning, depending on your bent. Can you sense mine that day? I captured its aura through my hand-held Canon 7D’s 17-85mm f4-5.6 glass then stitched the pieces together in PS augmenting its feelings with a bunch of custom brushes and textures. Finally I grabbed Alien Skin’s Snap Art to work in an oil-painted mood of loss or even portention (izzat a word? Regardless, it fit my feeling).

Friday, January 4

DIGIMOS, ILLIOS & COMMVERGENCE

DIGIMOS, ILLIOS & COMMVERGENCE


Digimos Are Cruel Mothers
Merry New Year Andreas... I'm totally grateful for you response to my last post, and for the thinking it triggered.  I've told you my "Mogul" theory of digital education... Let me reiterate for others..

Moguls are fiendish cuts or bumps that nature or diabolic groomers lace onto a ski slope to challenge downhillers. Fields may often have many hundreds of them. Of course the greater the slope the greater the challenge they present to athletes. Now anyone who can stand up on skis can navigate, say, one of these things. But as the slope increases, well they seem to come faster and faster - goosing up the challenge. 

App developers produce their products much like mogul crafters. Most consumer apps are like any one mogul, meaning they present little challenge to folks with average intelligence... like me, or like a 7, 8 or 10 year-old. The thing is, I have a life and consequently not a lot of time to spend on the mogul fields of application development... the digital moguls or digimos. So I commit those scarce moments I have for learning toward mastering the most essential digimos and no time to understanding the architecture of an entire field of related bumps. Which is why youth (or dedicated specialists) seems so much smarter since digimo surfing is their passion.

Once There Were Dinosaurs 

I first entered the digimo fields in college, BACK IN THE EARLY 1960s, when my undergrad school got an IBM 1620 that was fed instructions (and data) through a combo of wired boards and cardboard cards. Economic education understood the importance of cyber tools but there was so much else to study that residual time for computer mastery was already rationed and there were few spontaneous moments to invest in the computer room (which was an eye-squinting white and sterile environment). And even getting access was time consuming. 

For the next 15 years computers were like Bibles in medieval churches... chained to their sanctuaries and available only by permission to the priesthood. Actually my field of economic study allowed me a LOT MORE access than to others but only for the use of rapidly appearing econometric apps... so I studied and mastered essential digimos - that my field's increasingly mathematical emphasis permitted me to enter. 

Revolution came in the mid 70s with Tandy and Apple personal computers. Any kid with keyboard facility could leap onto the digimo field and careen along even the steepest slopes. Neither scarcity of time, nor a mathematical facility hampered access for kids as developers built an increasing array of new mogul-like bumps. With so much time available to them, great hunks of the 70s youth warp-sped along. Even slightly older folks with computer knowledge were left behind as life crowded out the mastery-time which kids had. 

Let me be clear, kids were no brighter, shrewder, nor more analytical than us... but a hell of a lot more proficient. Plus app developers dumbed down their offerings. computer friendly times had arrived. Instead of apps demanding computer literacy, apps had become people literate. Had to since frankly the bulk of kids weren't all that bright (no population as a whole is). So while I carefully picked out the apps I had to master, youth scampered, skipped, careened, and flashed across whole fields of digimos seeing both the value of each to them AND the relation of each new app to the field as a whole. They mastered deep and wide application knowledge. Fascinating. BTW... application knowledge does not equal development mastery.

Slipping & Sliding 

Given the decades since, the divide between users and masters has grown dramatically. And whole generations of people are routinely falling off of the digimo fields much the same as glaciers calve away icebergs to float off  then dissolve in warmer waters. Digimo mastery, like athletics, is a place where youth are best equipped to play. 

So, when this Blogger challenge (which I grumbled about in my 12/17 posting) occurred a month or so ago, I was lost in this digimo field. The glitch it turned out was tiny, yet not intuitive. I finally carved out a piece of time (once again, my most scarce commodity) and fixed it. Meantime a dozen other glitches have developed in my desired use of other apps, and each will demand similar hunks of time to diagnose and repair. The warm waters of maturity are melting away my aging computer expertise. Grumble. 

Sooner or later as we bob away from the mother glacier we will all sink as we watch kids cavort all over its surface. Sigh...

Commvergence: Andreas Channels The Tide

Do I envy them? Well hell yes. The website you designed for yourself answers so many of the needs which blog sites do not. And in particular it carves into the most vexing irritant of creators of fine art. Blogs are linear. But they deal with the evolution of an idea in precisely the wrong direction... at least for the visitor. What that visitor sees at the beginning - is an end. S/he finds that the conclusions to a stream of thought are the first thing that they see and have to somehow wend their way back to its inception in the thread to follow the intricacies of a concepts evolution. Which is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of the way that video, audio, print, and minds have worked for millennia. 

So now you've allowed your visitor... audience... class... acolytes, fans... friends... students... whoever... to more easily start at the beginning and to sense relationships between different aspects of your art (visit Andreas Mannesinger's blog with the link on the right column). This is an important start. Do I envy that... HELL YES! The structure of blogs is inconsistent with the spontaneous evolving  intermix of graphic and alpha conceptual discussion in a usefully accessible way. I cannot easily grab an image I may have posted from ten years ago to expand a current concept. Worse yet, a visitor can not in any casual way sink her/his own drill into the ImageFiction vein of stuff (don't get me started on the primitive nature of tags for navigation). 

Which is why I gave up daily posting a LONG time ago. I consider images and words  to be married... it's a form called illios where both the writing and graphics form a total concept. Graphics are not illustrations. They are not illumination of written thoughts in another form, but instead are irreplaceable components of an illios' concept. They are not worth a 1,000 words, but rather worth no words, nor are any number of words worth a graphic. Each is essential to the illio or concept which is being communicated.... The is communications convergence or COMMVERGENCE. You've begun the task of creating a truly commverged site. There is no vanilla app (like Blogger) that will do that. At least none of which I am aware. And those which may allow me to approximate it are expensive and will involve time to master their internal logic.

In reaction to my problem with Blgger you commented, "Oh my! Infrastructure. Don't get me started. Currently my blog works and it should, as I have nobody to blame any more. Problems like that originally made me leave Blogger. At that time I couldn't add more tags to my posts. Anyway. Glad it works again for you :)"

But your mastery of development allowed you to roam around atop the iceberg, well behind the cracks that calved me away decades ago. So, I continue to make a blog site work to produce comprehensible illios on a blog-device that's like a Conestoga wagon to your starship. Grumble... Oh the wagon generally gets me to a destination, but slowly and with a lot of compromises re. the power of commvergence. I've yet to see a photographer or artist's home site that will allow a true marriage of words and graphics, nor an ability to squoosh visitor-comments into the individual illios. Right now, the business of posting is a complexity that sucks away the artist's time... which is, as I've whined above, the scarcest of all commodities to anyone much older than say... twenty two.

Did I write "grumble" before?