Adventures in Light: Charm City

Lanterns above illuminated hand-cranked animation machine by Elizabeth Whitmore Crankie
Ceiling of Penn Station Baltimore
The beautiful skylights inside Penn Station Baltimore

Here are some selects from my photographs during Light City Baltimore 2017. Attributions of the various installations (as many as I could gather) are listed in the photo captions. There were many more installations than shown here, but some of them simply don’t convey well in still images.

View above the courtyard of UMBC’s Spark Gallery at Light City 2017
Looking toward the harbor from UMBC's Spark Gallery
Looking toward the harbor from UMBC’s Spark Gallery
“The Divided Line” by the RE/PUBLIC; a VR experience
“The Divided Line” by The RE/PUBLIC; In the googles, a stunning  VR experience that reimagined the harbor in 360º
Illuminated umbrellas
Illuminated umbrellas
“Light Happenings Part II” by Labbodies
“Light Happenings Part II” by Labbodies

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LEDs and the dancing fireplace wall

Some fun lighting at Kelley’s house in Baltimore. Mini Light City right in the living room!

I got loads of photographs from installations around the Inner Harbor last night. I’ll be posting some of those soon.

In the halls of UMBC Visual Arts

It’s disconcerting to run into an oversized facsimile of my own stylized face in the halls of the university. Giving my talk on Saturday evening. Super nervous! But looking forward to it, and seeing the illuminations of Light City around the Inner Harbor.

Stylizations of the observed: Rochester edition

ere is the scene in a bar in Rochester, Skylark, which serves food in the form of balls. Meat balls, rice balls, potato balls, etc. We had a late dinner there.
And some observational do-dads from Monday evening— trivia night at the Bug Jar. Our team won, having missed only one question (we guessed wrongly that the NYC Subway is older than the London Underground).
More observational studies. That one guy looks a bit like Rasputin.

Gingerbread houses

houses in snowChristmas day was sunny and crisp. In the afternoon the extended family gathers at my cousin’s house in a neighborhood filled with lovely houses from the 1920s— steep pitched rooftops, Tudor woodwork, stucco and stone— surrounded by towering old trees and a slim carpet of remaining snow.house002
After dinner a few of us walked around the neighborhood to fend off food comas and to see lights and decorations or warm glows and twinkling trees in the windows.

Idylls following a solstice

Red barns in snow
The view from my upstairs window in the morning after new snow

Cold and picturesque, the Farm this week; a winter idyll. The drive upstate was unfettered by traffic or difficulties; highway dark on the eclipsed solstice, save the odd bling-lit freight truck. Not a wink, not a star—no Orion out the passenger window.

Red barns in snow
View of the barn from the pasture
locust trees in snow
The stand of locust trees, perished. My mother says they must come down; I’ll miss those stoic sentinels.
horses in snow running
The stout lads in their winter coats

I went out in the afternoon to say hi to the Dudes. The new horse is still being kept separate until they’ve become reliably friendly, so he was down in a separate pasture. Seneca and Prince were feeling feisty and joined me in running.

horse-badgerNew guy Badger met me, allowed me to say hello, but upon realizing I bore no gifts, sauntered off down the hill to search for what  blanketed grasses he might find beneath the snow.

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After dinner I unearthed the super 8 film projector and its tin of reels. Something about the metal box slotted for specific storage reminds me of a world war ammunitions case, but it’s square and gold-colored, so it’s all in my head. Anyway, it arms us with lost moments of the past, the sound of the projector a kind of covering fire in the sentimentally charged dark.

super 8 still of horse and kids
My oldest brother and I displaying a telling interest in the horse kind at Niagara Falls

We made it through ten reels. During set up, I had a stray thought, marveling at how the bulb has lasted us through so many of these viewings. A doomed thought, for after I threaded reel eleven, the bulb didn’t come on. We opened the machine and took the bulb out; filament had finally given out. So the session ended with us researching where to find. They are expensive things, and rightfully so. What a beautiful and intricate thing; and now in low demand. My father is off now to find a replacement.

people at a lake
My mother at the cottage on Silver Lake in some fly green shades

the lake is blue, the forest watchful

watercolor of a woods
Watercolor sketch of the sky in the pond
Fahnestock State Park camping
Our campsite was near a ridge overlooking Pelton Pond at Fahnestock State Park
Fahnestock State Park
The sky came down to say hello and sit on the water for a spell


every detail clear,
tin cup and rippled mirror.
The day is bright and songless

—from Morning in the Burned House, by Margaret Atwood
(An excerpt from a poem shared by a friend this morning; the title of this post is from same)

.  .  .

Spent two days camping upstate midweek, and the first day was clear and beautiful, temperate. The sky-blue sky and stark white clouds reflected on the stillness of the pond. After sundown: a sky full of glitter— so many stars it was difficult to find Orion as we peered up through the tall trees.

Day two broke wan and grey with the shrieks of crows overhead, tricksters. Autumn had arrived in earnest, layers needed against the chill, but it was a fine way to transition the seasons, in a hilly wooded landscape.
camping Fahnestock State Park
moss Fahnestock State Park
camping Fahnestock State Park
hiking Fahnestock State ParkPeyton Pond at Fahnestock State Park


Ripples on the glass pond; stone-skipping in the fading light
Ripples on the pond; stone-skipping in the fading light