May Photofictional
A Daily Blog Posting By Bryan Costales

May's Free, daily, short-short stories from 2007.

Cabbage out for a wild night in the garden
(1 of 30) (5226 views)

(2007) Trebes, France, E.U.
Photo posted Thursday, May 31, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Imagine a children's tale about a cute little purple-cabbage that went out for a night on the town. It was a blue moon that night, just as it is tonight when we tell this tale. The cute little purple-cabbage froliced through the garden, talking and laughing with all the other fine vegetables there. One adventure followed by another (such as when she was attacked by French snails in San Francisco). Later, just before dawn, the cute little purple-cabbage fell sound asleep.

At dinner that night, the child's mother announced, "Tonight we will become vegetarians."

The mother describes to the child all the awful ways that animals are slaughtered to produce meat for the table. So convincing is the mother that the child weeps and promises never to eat meat again.

The child, anxious for dinner is surprised by a salad set on the table. The top of the salad is littered with torn pieces of purple cabbage. The child wails, "You slaughtered the cute little cabbage."

add a comment

Littlest Lockeeper
(2 of 30) (5347 views)

(2007) Canal du Midi, east of Argens, France, E.U.
Photo posted Wednesday, May 2, 2007
© 2007 Dr. William Carter
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Bryan Costales Wednesday 2 May 2007

This reminds me of the upstream battle with locks. Normally, lock keepers are among the most helpful people in France. They will catch your ropes when tossed and help you cleat your boats. This is most appreciated, especially when traveling light handed in a canal boat. But for some reason, over Easter week, the lock keepers on the Canal du Midi, to a man, refused to touch a rope.

The one exception was the young girl pictured here by Dr. Carter. She took our lines, cleated them, and ran the boat through the lock. She also closed the place up at the end of the day. Her Grandpa was very impressed by the 2 euro tip she received.


add a comment

Purple flowers bloom on a dark wooded tree
(3 of 30) (5515 views)

(2007)Puicheric, on Canal du Midi, France, E.U.
Photo posted Thursday, May 3, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Nothing can compare to good lighting to separate one component from another in a photograph. One sometime, however, moves out of the light and into the shadows. Here, for example, a tall church blocked all the sunlight from this side of the building.

Normally such an image would hit the trash because of its lack of separation. But here, the colors serve the same purpose that light would have normally served. The purple flower canopy accented by yellow splashes soften the cold stone and allow the dark wood of the tree to move forward. An accidental photo that turned out well.

add a comment

Lamp Post
(4 of 30) (5445 views)

(2007) Somewhere outside Paris, France, E.U.
Photo posted Friday, May 4, 2007
© 2007 Dr. William Carter
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

While driving north on a French freeway, somewhere near the eastern outskirts of Paris, I noticed a fire. Struck by the bright blue sky, dark smoke, greenery, and the red and white fire ladder that so nicely framed everything, I grabbed my handy camera and shot this photo.
Bryan Costale Friday 4 May 2007

This serves as a lesson why you should always keep your camera at the ready. You never know when you might drive up on a great shot. Ducks waddling along the center of a freeway, a tanker truck flipped on an overpass, or a great smile from the car next to yours. Try to never find that great shot when your camera uselessly left at home.

add a comment

Terry shoots the boat at sunset
(5 of 30) (5331 views)

(2007) Canal du Midi, west of Argens, France, E.U.
Photo posted Saturday, May 5, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

In the old days of film and optical printing there were few ways to fix a marred photograph. Burning, dodgingexternal link, and cropping were were the techniques available and were limited to rather crude repairs. In these modern times, a photographer can fix a marred photograph using Photoshop. With Photoshop the degree of repair is fine-tuned right down to individual pixels.

One photographer I know would not display this image without first spending 10 minutes erasing the telephone wire external link at the right. I, on the other hand, prefer to retain the wire. The presence of the wire signals to the viewer that this bridge is associated with civilization. France is woefully backward when it comes to putting wires underground. With the wire, the viewer experiences a different metaphor than the viewer would experience without the wire.

We at bcx.news stand for honest photography.

Allan Woods, Sunday 6 May 2007

So, if I take a digital color image and REMOVE the color information, am I creating a "more truthful" lie?

Modification of the image is what photography is. You cannot draw a clear line between what is "alteration" and what is not.

Once you begin to object to making a picture more esthetically pleasing by removing distracting wires (which are neither the subject of the image nor prominent enough to make some point) you start down a path which has no end, nor any point.

Dr. William Carter, Monday 7 May 2007

Re: "With the wire, the viewer experiences a different metaphor than the viewer would experience without the wire. We at bcx.news stand for honest photography"

All photography is an abstraction; both of time and space.

One's choice of format, lens focal length, plane of focus, depth of field, overall exposure, duration of exposure, color saturation; the use of swings, tilts, rises, and falls; 3-D vs. 2-D, method of 3-D; medium of display: The sum of these and other elements contribute to a final representation of some highly editorialized viewfinder selection of a, mute, cold, simplistic splinter of reality. Insensate and contextually deprived.

As Goddard might have you believe, film is not "truth, 24 times a second". That's a nice sound-bite, but it's a lie.

Is B&W inherently less honest than color?

Is 2-D inherently less honest than 3-D?

Is my photo of "a window across the street" (Windows2006_08.jpginternal link) inherently dishonest because I digitally applied a swing, rise, and tilt to compensate for the distorting effect of keystoning... or is it more honest?

Is removing non-essential distractions from a shot; say, something like, oh, I don't know, powerlines from behind a photo of Terry, being dishonest? I think that would be more honest, certainly more honest to the craft.

Were Titian's reds "honest"? Rembrandt's lighting "honest"? When Michelangelo carved the statue "David", he did so in a disproportionate way so that it would appear proportional when viewed from below. Was he being dishonest? Were Cezanne, VanGogh, Degas, Monet all dishonest?

Photography is a vehicle of communication. "Reality" is not it's domain.

Given the tools we have today, I think it's poor photography not to consider using them. Or just laziness. Or an absurdly obdurate and obtrusive notion that a photograph is, somehow, "real."

add a comment

Mustard Fields Forever
(6 of 30) (5395 views)

(2007) On the road toward Paris
Photo posted Sunday, May 6, 2007
© 2007 Dr. William Carter
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

No question that the French can cut the mustard.
Bryan Costales, Sunday 6 May 2007

In fact many fine mustards come from France where perhaps the best known is Dijonexternal link.

In America, there too are mustard fields. In America the most infamous of the American mustards is French's, a pale yellow mustard. French's Mustard external link is not French, nor is it owned by the French. Instead it is owned by the British firm Reckitt Benckiser PLC. It is named French's because its founder was named Robert T. French.

add a comment

The castle in the distance from the canal
(7 of 30) (5331 views)

(2007) Carcassonne, France, E.U.
Photo posted Monday, May 7, 2007
© 2007 Terry Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

The walled castle at Carcassonne, called the Citéexternal link, lies about two kilometers from the canal at the south east end of Carcassonne. After wrestling lines upstream through single, double, and triple locks, we were too pooped to walk all the way to the castle.

Fortunately, I had a 500mm lens that allowed me to grab a picture of it from the top of a bridge internal link over the river. Next year we will perhaps take a train to Carcassonne and actually visit the castle. In the meanwhile, be forewarned that going upstream on a canal boat can be exhausting to those of us baby boomers still fit enough to travelexternal link.

add a comment

Afternoon shadows begin to cross the path
(8 of 30) (5287 views)

(2007) Cemetery at Carcassonne, France, E.U.
Photo posted Tuesday, May 8, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

In France, the black plague external link lasted through 1349. In enclosed places such as monasteries, the infection of one person usually meant the infection of all. In the Franciscan convent of Carcassonne external link every monk died. Amid the death and fear of contagion, people died without last rites external link and were buried without prayers, a prospect that terrified the Christians. In Paris the estimated death rate reached 800 per day.

During the 1300's, Europe lost half of its total population. Is it any wonder that the graveyards of Europe are so full?

add a comment

By the Old Mill Stream
(9 of 30) (5858 views)

(2007) Trebes on Canal du Midi, France, E.U.
Photo posted Wednesday, May 9, 2007
© 2007 Dr. William Carter
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

An overnight stop in Trebes.
Bryan Costales, Wednesday 9 May 2007

Three of us sat on the back of the boat as the sun quietly set. The wind died leaving the water glass still. We shot this same boat at different times using different lenses on different cameras. Some of these shots were good and will appear elsewhere, later on this site. Some were flawed and discarded. This shot was selected because it illustrates an important lesson.

Whenever you find the perfect subject in imperfect light, try to wait patiently for the light to matureexternal link. Dr. Carter waited. The sun began to set causing shadows to lengthen and shift. The wind died and rain had not yet started to fall. When the light was right, Dr. Carter shot.

add a comment

Dirt road leading into town from the canal
(10 of 30) (5287 views)

(2007) Trebes on Canal du Midi, France, E.U.
Photo posted Thursday, May 10, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

When we got to Trebes, we decided to not tie up in the main marina because of some noisy Spaniards. Instead we motored to the edge of town where we found this dirt road. Although the road appears to run into town, it actually (like so many roads in Europe) does not go where it appears to.

Instead, following his road takes one to a set of private vegetable gardens on the town's outskirts. Past the gardens is a major road perpendicular to this that actually runs into town. Despite the narrowness of this dirt road, one car did speed out it at a good clip. So beware all cars, no matter how dinky the road or how placid the scene.

add a comment

A British gentleman who minded the rain
(11 of 30) (5247 views)

(2007) Le Somail, France, E.U.
Photo posted Friday, May 11, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

While docked in Le Somail, we worried as the weather clouded and began to rain. We cut our photo outing short to escape, and from the safety of the boat shot ducks and folks also escaping internal link the rain.

From the next boat ahead a British gentleman and his wife emerged to untie and cast off. We had a friendly chat with them about the canals in England, which are narrower. His scowl in this shot is not actually from the rain, but from having his picture taken.

add a comment

Boat clings to shore under heavy rain
(12 of 30) (5305 views)

(2007) Canal du Midi west of Argens, France, E.U.
Photo posted Saturday, May 12, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Heavy rain is difficult to capture in the country without some sort of backlight to make it stand out. In the city, rain is easy because street and building lights help isolate rain from the background. Unusual puddles internal link also say rain, but not on a canal. Hints like an umbrella also help. But there was nothing to help on the canal that evening until another boat pulled up to the shore.

The dappling of rain on the water, the glisten of the boat, the fading of the trees, and the slight tilt leeward of the boat all say "rain" perfectly.

add a comment

(2007) In a field, somewhere in France

(13 of 30) (5421 views)

Photo posted Sunday, May 13, 2007
© 2007 Dr. William Carter
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Pesky French

Flower to the People!

Bryan Costales, Sunday 13 May 2007

I am sure there is more of a story here than Dr. Carter admits. The sign says that individual liberty is preferred over gathering the community into one. Why is this sign next to a decorated container building? Where was this photo taken? Other than the two objects creating a natural joke, why should we care?

add a comment

(2007) Musée du Louvre, Paris, France, E.U.

(14 of 30) (5346 views)

Photo posted Monday, May 14, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Statue of a man with a boom mike

While wandering through one of the former outdoor statuary gardens (now covered with a glass roof) we noticed what appeared to be a film being shot inside the museum. We became quiet and walked softly up to watch. With an internal bolt of surprise we realized the boom operator was actually a statue. We'd been fooled.

When old sculpture is mixed with newexternal link, the effect is produced by the juxtaposition, rather than by the work of the actual artists. In this way, a museum acts itself as an artist. We saw no sign explaining why the boom operator had been placed just there, but then we were so surprised we probably didn't look carefully. This sculpture in a museum of modern art would have had a much different effect.

add a comment

City Walks: Paris: Card #2
(15 of 30) (5156 views)

(2007) Jardin Des Tuileries, Paris, France, E.U.
Photo posted Tuesday, May 15, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Menu at restaurant under leafy chestnut trees

This is the sign for the Cafe Dame Tartine, a restaurant that has a reputation for being expensive. Notice the dessert, a créme brulée with pistachio. The exchange rate at the time equated €6 to about U.S. $12. Clearly, the expense of this cafe encouraged the establishment of many fast-food stands internal link to litter the garden grounds.

Unlike most of Paris, this garden offered a sprinkling of food places all within an easy walk of the others. But venture outside the garden to the streets and the story changes. In Paris, on the right bank, restaurants cluster on busy corners. One can walk two or more long blocks before finding a cluster of restaurants. When hungry, this spacing lends the impression of a desert of restaurants. Imagine that. Stuck in Paris and not a restaurant to be found.

In France, the work week is 35 hours. As a consequence, restaurants are only open for lunch until 2:00 p.m., then close and don't open again until 7:00 p.m. for dinner. If, as many Americans do, you get hungry at 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. you are out of luck. The only alternatives are the small markets, gas stations (for sandwiches), or fast food outlets like McDonalds. Fortunately, near the train stations, one can often find ethnic food open at all times.

add a comment

One of the small parks found along the way
(16 of 30) (5317 views)

(2007) Cours La Reine, Paris, France, E.U.
Photo posted Wednesday, May 16, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Small parks surround the vast gardens along the right bank of the Siene. Some, such as the one shown here, are visible to, and frequented by, tourists. Others are more hidden, such as another small park we later found that snaked along the path leading to a pedestrian underpass.

We expected to break from the unusual heat that day by hiding in the shade of the snaking park. Instead, we found all the benches there crusted with years of bird droppings. The few people we saw all sat on spread newspapers. Lacking newspapers we dared not sit. Contrast that park to the upper and more publically visible park (shown here) which had clean benches.

Now it could be that the snaking park was, in fact, a problem park frequented by derelicts and drunks. If so, the presence of bird-dropping encrusted benches makes a certain amount of sense as a preventive measure. But in a city so proud of itself, such a technique is shameful. And if it is not a technique after all, but instead poor maintenance, it is double shameful.

add a comment

Hotel Des Invalides lends backdrop for hot day
(17 of 30) (5299 views)

Card 25, City Walk: Paris
(2007) Esplanade Des Invalides, Paris, France, E.U.
Photo posted Thursday, May 17, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Not visable from this shot is the roadway on the left that travels down the middle of the esplanade. That roadway is a very busy one. Consequently, despite the pastoral look of these grassy areas, those areas were quite noisy with the sounds of traffic.

Dispite the traffic, the grassy areas were full of people that day because of the clear skies and hot tempertures. Some people toyed with socker balls while most others lounged on the grass.

In this regard the French are much like people everywhere. Nice weather draws nearly everyone into the great outdoors. Where the French excell, however, is by the beautiful trappings with which they surround those who venture out.

add a comment

Wings made to resemble a bird's feathered wings
(18 of 30) (5348 views)

(2007) Carrousel De Paris, Paris, France, E.U.
Photo posted May 18, 2007
© 2007 Terry Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

This carrousel airplane was made to honor Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and his famous book The Litte Prince (Le Petit Prince). I must admit that I did not notice the whimsical detail of the feathered wings until seeing the photo at home. At the time I just wanted to record another instance of how the French love to honor their well-known artists.

For example there is a street named Rue de Victor Hugo in almost every village we visited.

add a comment

Hot air balloon gives kids a lift
(19 of 30) (5275 views)

(2007) Carrousel 1900, Carcassonne, France, E.U.
Photo posted May 19, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

French writer Jules Verne external link wrote the novel Around the World in Eighty Days wherein a part of the trip was by hot air balloon after the unfortunate loss of hydrogen. To a child spinning around on a carrousel the balloon reflects that spririt of circumnavagation. The look on the faces of these girls reminds one of "the half-deflated balloon caught in the rapid current, [as it] plunged like a great bubble off the Guina Falls."

Of course the mother watching would never wish such a calamity on her children. For her, it is just a gentle spring day in the park. A carrousel slowly turns to the tinkle of piped music. Birds fly overhead. A fine and relaxed day in Carcassonne.

And yet...

add a comment

A hugely long row of graves
(20 of 30) (5222 views)

(2007) Pere Lachaise cemetery, Paris, France, E.U.
Photo posted May 20, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

It is difficult to describe the sheer immensity of this cemetery, but perhaps a few facts will help. Pere Lachaise cemetery currently houses about 300,000 dead compared to Iceland's 301,000 living (the dead are more compact). The cemetery is 188 acres (48 hectares) or about the size of roughly 100 American football fields. The interesting thing about this photograph of a long row of graves is that this path only runs a short way into the cemetery.

By another measure, we spent three hours touring and photographing the cemetery and calculate that we only viewed perhaps one tenth of the graves. If you go, plan at least a week to see it all.

add a comment

All generations attend the race
(21 of 30) (5273 views)

(2007) Bay To Breakers Race, San Francisco
Photo posted May, 21 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

All generations attend the race

The Bay to Breakers race has been labeled over the years with epithets ranging from crazy drunks external link to tasteless nudes. From its beginning in 1912 (to raise spirits after the 1906 earthquake), this race has grown in attendance consistantly over the years to become one of the world's largest races. In recent years alone, the number of participants has reached roughly 80,000. During World War II the number slipped below 50, whereas during the running boom of the 80s it hit a high of 110,000 in 1986.

Despite the evolution of nude runners, this race has matured into a fun event for all ages. Even babys in strollers internal link can particpate, albeit pushed by their parents. Indeed, what Herb Caen once called "the city's longest running party," has evolved over the years into a fine event enjoyed by all.

add a comment

Jaunty and small purple boat
(22 of 30) (5281 views)

(2007) Canal Du Midi, France, E.U.
Photo posted May 23, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

One might get the impression from the pictures we take, that most of the boats on French canals are for rent. In actuality, many are owned by local folk who live aboard external link their boats. Living aboard is an more time intensive undertaking than renting. One typically rents for from seven to fourteen days. Leasing to live aboard involves stays of months at a time.

Organizations, such as the Barge Association external link can be helpful to those seeking an live aboard situation. Live aboard craft can vary from the tiny boats, such as shown here, to large barges. internal link If you are interested in buying a boat, one place to look is Apollo Duckexternal link. Or if you are more interested in just trying out a large barge, try Canals of Franceexternal link.

add a comment

Plain window with flowered curtains
(23 of 30) (5467 views)

(2007) Homps, France, E.U.
Photo posted Thursday, May 24, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

All throughout Europe, houses have shutters. Shutters serve two purposes, first to protect windows from storm damage, and second to mask sunlight so that a room may be made dark during the day. Perhaps because of this latter property, it seems most often that the only interior window coverings are shears.

In this early morning shot, the sun has just cleared the tree tops and is shining brightly into this home. Perhaps inside a man sees the sunlight streaming in and decides today will be a fine day indeed. But, because this is France, the man probably thinks that thought in French.

Dr. William Carter, Friday 25 May 2007

Shutters also serve to insulate (energy prices are high here)... and, they aid in keeping the Caliphates out

Aujourd'hui sera un jour beau en effet

add a comment

Wet star stuck in stump
(24 of 30) (5294 views)

(2007) Monterey, California
Photo posted Friday, May 25, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

While on a walk back from the Aquarium on a rainy afternoon, we stumbled across these plastic stars stuck in the top of a stump. We puzzled over them for several minutes but could not guess what they might be. Further down the trail we found a pair of abandoned sun glasses internal link and, in a blink, the mystery was solved.

Such revelations are sadly rare. More often, one will find something strange, puzzle over it, and never solve what it might have been. Such found object, re-abandoned, are quickly forgotten. But sometimes, found objects are collected, and sometimes found objects are turned into artexternal link. And, these day, a found object can be shot with a cell phone and messaged to a friend for identification.

The Tate Museum external link in Britain makes a kid's game out of found art. Others turn unknown objects external link into a science. And yet others turn lost objects into a photo essayexternal link.

Here's hoping that all you have lost may be someday found.

add a comment

Couple strolls in Campanile Esplanade
(25 of 30) (5395 views)

(2007) U.C. Berkeley, California
Photo posted Saturday May 26, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

The esplanade at the foot of Sather Towerexternal link, also called the Campanile, provides a romantic setting. But, lurking behind the folks depicted here, lies a Sather Tower filled with bonesexternal link.

Four floors store fossils, and a fifth stores patent copies from the Library. As a student, I worked in Doe Library's external link periodical room. I would occasionally go up Sather Tower to fetch a patent bookexternal link. The elevator, in those day, had a metal gate that allowed one to view floor contents as the elevator rose. Not only did I see fossils on the lower floors, but I also witnessed tableaus. Inventive students, it seems, created mini-scenes using fossil bones, for the entertainment of all who rode the elevator.

Perhaps it was these jovial juxtapositions of bones that led later to such hair-brained sites as creationism.orgexternal link. One must be careful with the jokes one plays. Today's joke may lead, decades later, to the fall of society.

add a comment

Past cable cars for an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe
(26 of 30) (5318 views)

(2007) City Walks: 14, San Francisco, California
Photo posted Sunday May 27, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Here we show cars number 5 and 27 of the Powel and Market to Hyde and Beach line. These are single ended cars that have to be rotated at each end. To learn more than you thought you might ever want to know about San Francisco's cable cars, click on the Cable Car Museumexternal link. If you visit San Francisco and want to ride the cable cars, we recommend doing so before 7:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. when the cable car fare external link is just $US 1.00.

Just one short block up the hill from these cable cars is the proported origin of Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Cafeexternal link. Irish Coffee is simple to make. Just mix 1.5 oz. Irish whiskey with 1 tsp. sugar and six oz. of coffee. Then float cold cream on top but don't mix it in. At the Buena Vista Cafe you'll pay $US 6.50 apiece for this drink.

Now that you know how to make an Irish Coffee, why not kick back and make one tonight. Have a sip and toast the Cable Cars.

add a comment

Place to water dog
(27 of 30) (5298 views)

(2007) Hyde Park, London, England
Photo posted Monday, May 28, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

From this picture it is clear that the English know how to give water to a dog. As any sane person knows, you just fill a bowl with cool tap water and man's-best-friend will lap it down joyfully.

We here in the States have grown accustomed to drinking water in flavors. Not only that, but we now look to water for vitamins as well. But wait, that ain't all. Now too comes flavored water for dogs external link in mouth watering tastes such as chicken, liver, and lamb.

What happened to the happy dog that would slaver over a simple bowl of water from the tap? Dogs have not changed. Dogs now are pretty much like the dogs we knew ten years ago. What changed, of course, is people like you and me. We changed.

We are no longer content to buy bread in a bakery (boulangerie) and cheese in a cheese store (fromagerie). Instead we look for everything pre-created to be as convenient as possible in a supermarket (supermarché). Is it any wonder then that the convenience and desire for creature comforts would rub off onto our dogs?

add a comment

Old axle pokes out at low tide
(28 of 30) (5299 views)

(2007) San Francisco, California
Photo posted Tuesday May 29, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

All that is left of a car long ago dumped in the bay is its axle. Normally it would remain invisible, but this day's minus tide exposed the rusty axle for a while.

On the road to zero footprint consumerism the automobile lags far behind. Tires are being recycled into playground paths. Tennis shoes are being recycled into basketball court floors. Aluminum cans are being recycled into aluminum cans. But automobiles are still junked, crushed, and only partly recycled. And along the road, each car will consume almost a thousand gallons of gas per year.

The Tesla external link electric car can travel 200 miles on a charge and only takes a few hours to charge. If you buy one they give you a solar cell for the top of your garage or carport that provides fifty miles of electricity per day. If you only commuted twenty-five miles per day, you would only consume time and road surface.

By far the best way to travel is by rail. In Europe large cities have extensive underground rail. In London and Paris, the underground rail stations are only a few blocks from anywhere in town. In San Francisco, the cost of putting rail underground has grown so expensive that only one new mile is currently planned. The longer we wait to put rail underground, the more expensive the task grows. Because there is no circumstance that will make the task cheaper in the future, all cities should bite the bullet and put all rail underground now. Why in the world should we wait for the cost to double before acting?

add a comment

Lamp on wood post nestled in tree
(29 of 30) (5274 views)

(2007) Monterey, California
Photo posted Wednesday May 30, 2007
© 2007 Bryan Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

One way to illuminate a woody path is to attach a lamp to a wooden post and nestle it into a tree. Far from fooling anyone, however, this attempt at concealment is weak at best, and ugly to boot.

Along other paths the lamp itself adds to the impression of beauty. A good street light should be, after all, not just a source of light but a sculpture that illuminates. Instead, most streetlights are not only pure utility but suck huge amounts of electricity.

Stick a 500 watt lamp in a street light and plunk it on an aluminum pole and plant that poll on a street corner. Count up the street corners in a small town and you quickly consume hundreds of ugly kilowatts just illuminating empty streets all night. Could we save electrify by detecting movement and only lighting up when a car or person was present? Or what if pedestrians had to carry their own lights, much like cars are required to have headlights for nighttime travel? Or what if LED bulbs could be used in streetlights?

Many questions today, and no bright light of answers.

add a comment

(2007) Jouarres on Canal du Midi, France, E.U.

(30 of 30) (5439 views)

Photo posted Tuesday, May 1, 2007
© 2007 Terry Costales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Dog observes photographer

I was walking back to the boat and looked down a side street. In the photo you might think it's a doorway but it is actually a window several feet above the street. I saw this large dog looking out and originally it was looking the other way. I focused on him, got the picture framed then made that universal kissy noise that all, including the French, make to call their dogs. It worked. He whipped his head around and I got that great curious look.
add a comment
home contact topic guide top 25 photos video writing blogs upload terms privacy