Warm weather is finally returning to the North Country, and “drone weather” with it.
Today’s image falls into the category “How have I not posted this already?” This image of a supermoon aligning with the Route 11 principal axis of Canton, New York has been used in the table of contents of St. Lawrence University’s magazine, as well as in several blog posts. In spite of that, I’ve apparently (according to Flickr’s camera roll feature) never shared it to Decaseconds.
I’ve often commented to curious colleagues that the benefit of drone photography is the ability to get images from that “impossible” space: lower than a helicopter or other light aircraft might dare fly, but higher than a photographer could reach with a cherry picker. Those are views that can only be had from building height, and so a drone let’s one (metaphorically) put a temporary building wherever they’d like, at least for photographic purposes.
I’m evidently not obeying that rule here, nearly 400 feet above St. Lawrence University’s sylvan campus. It’s from this height where the taper of from larger halls down to smaller dorms and townhouses, and then ultimately to wooded space at the eastern edge of campus, is visible.
Somewhere over America on my transcontinental flight, I spent a lot of time pointing my eyes out the window. (Even calling it staring would probably imply too much attention and effort.) Among the low hills and fields of the whole of North America, I saw this town poking out from amid the rural surroundings. In abusing vignetting effects, the “this is my SimCity!” vibe is transformed to some Cold-War-paranoia-inducing, spy-plane-esque, “Soviet bombers over the heartland” effect. (And in my continuing efforts to document the gradient between urban and rural, this is a new approach.)
Spring is late to the North Country, and though the snow is gone and the homes have (mostly) survived, plant life hasn’t yet surpassed the “first hints of green grass” level. There’s nonetheless a certain crunchy, dusty beauty to the sunset now—one that is nicely offset by the glossy reflections from window panes.
On those special nights, when ice crystals align correctly in the atmosphere, atmospheric optics get a bit crazy and a sun pillar like the one here appears.
Though, to be honest, even the Rayleigh scattering that makes the sky blue is crazy to begin with. The strange behavior of light and matter (thanks, Richard Feynman!) never ceases to amaze me.
I’ve always been fascinated by the American colloquialism of calling any feed store an elevator. (Though Canton does have a larger grain elevator of its own, as well.) When the sunset sky is at its most glorious, reality highlights the hyperutilitarian aesthetic of a working building: it has to be painted some color, so it might as well be post-war pastels.
David Lynch brings an edge of dark menace to his films; I can still remember the first time I saw Blue Velvet and felt the crisp edge of real and unreal disintegrating. In particular, the director’s visions of Small Town America and the underbelly of that beast (in Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, particularly) felt notable in “downtown” Canton last week. With the sky aflame and neon lights in every window, the scene was about 15 minutes away from some Lynch-level insanity.