Normandy Village, Inside and Out

My messy sabbatical desk in the Normandy, sitting next to some enormous (if leaky) windows, was home base for a glorious eight months. I’m glad I paused to take a picture of it as it was (rather than in perhaps a more photogenic state.)

Messy Sabbatical Desk

Heading out from the Normandy Village, the crazy brick patterns, tiny windows hidden under the eaves, and trees sprouting from the concrete give way to the mid-twentieth-century architecture of Berkeley instantly. Exiting means stepping through some kind of spacetime membrane back to reality.

Exit Normandy Village

This Is the Laser

The laboratories of physical scientists across the planet have pulsed laser systems like this one, and many look quite similar: a collection of squat boxes covering optics, electronics, and beampaths. Above or below the surface of the table are additional boxes of electronics driving the lasers and detectors. This particular system is special to me for two reasons: (1) most modern laser tables don’t have rad wood grain paneling, and (2) this was the instrument I used during my sabbatical at Berkeley Lab last spring. Lots of good data emerged from its photomultiplier tube.

This Is the Laser

Spectroscopy Lab

After spending my entire adult life as a laboratory scientist, the web of gas lines and vacuum pumps and electrical cable seems normal. I do understand, rationally, that all of this looks overwhelming. There’s so much purpose and productivity behind the network, however, that it’s worth the sophistication.

Spectroscopy Lab

Uprooted

In the woods of Hermon, New York, Uprooted played a show to celebrate the release of their new CD. The band’s name stems from its origins: all of its members are transplants to the North Country from across the US. Fitting, then, that the show took place in a home with many handcrafted wood details and structures. The audience stretched far back under the balcony where I hid to take this shot.

Uprooted

Shipping Container House

Photographing landscapes and structures (and being the son of civil engineers), I’ve become a bit of an architecture fanboy. The trend towards building with shipping containers, whether a do-it-yourself effort or a pre-fab corporate approach, seems particularly exciting. This weekend, I encountered this in-construction house built from three forty-foot intermodal containers. The owners added sloped roof, a permanent foundation, and windows and doors outside, but they liked the shipping container aesthetic and plan to keep all of the original paint and labeling outside. I find that look charmingly authentic.

Shipping Container House I

Inside, however, there’s little hint of the structure’s more exotic origins. Though, like the exterior, the interior is still under construction, there’s a straightforward home inside the three long shipping containers worth of space.

Shipping Container House II

Mohonk: Ready for the Show

Mohonk Mountain House’s parlor is far grander than the name might imply. After dinner, it’s the site of live entertainment. That could be a comedian, or a string quartet, or a band, or an animal trainer. The consistent variety could almost be called old-fashioned—matching the tone of the room.

Mohonk: Ready for the Show

Inside the Century

The Century is a classic of early-twentieth-century Art Deco styling, but I also appreciate the somewhat understated courtyard that it presents. There’s such great texture in the brick, and the setting looks almost boring until the lovely structures in the windows and their frames become apparent.

Inside the Century

Indoor Ring with Hay

When the weather outside is frightful (pardon the cliché), an indoor ring is good for two very important duties: (1) keeping the hay dry to feed the horses and (2) riding. This photograph has symmetry highlighted by the very bright windows; when a very bright light source shines through a lens (and it’s particularly noticeable with this prime lens), it creates an image of itself on the inverse side of the center of the image. In this particular case, that inverted image appears over the pony, indicating that the pony is across the inversion point from the window.

Indoor Ring with Hay

VW Bus Interior

The VW Bus is an icon of mid-twentieth-century America, and the surviving examples dotting the West Coast (like this one in Seattle) recall those times. (Given their current emissions issues, that’s perhaps a time for which Volkswagen is a bit nostalgic themselves.)

So much of this interior—the wheel, the gauges, the radio—look to be stock that the subtle additions stand out. The nav/cell holder suction-cupped to the windshield is pretty subtle, but the plastic demon/ghost/goober on the dash is an ethereal addition.

VW Bus Interior