Friday, December 30, 2016

Past and Present Pleasure as an Antidote to Gloom

This Christmas card is by Eric Rohman, one of the foremost designers of vintage Swedish movie posters, from the mid-1930s. Dark clouds of history were rising and the world was threatened by depression, hunger, threats of dictators and war.  The card was intended to show light shining through the gloom.  The color scheme of blue and yellow, the colors of the Swedish flag, elicited a patriotic sentiment.  There are beams of light shining up from the church and down from the stars, emphasizing vertical dimension and giving depth: the arc of the horizon suggests the Earth in a starry universe surrounded by pillars of stability.   We felt the card evoked a feeling of hope during hard times, a message reassuring in this and the coming year.  The inscription is in Swedish and means "Good Yule."

Some of the pleasures of the holidays include Christmas meal above and elaborate toy train setup at the National Botanic Garden below.  This boy could not contain his delight.

Meadow Colors December 2016

Houston Meadows
Wissahickon Valley
Fairmount Park
Philadelphia, PA

More info on Friends of the Wissahickon website.

December Skies, 2016

 Sky looking southwest from Washington DC at sunset.
The end of an empire?....

The area over the Potomac is a flight way; planes fly down that corridor every 2-3 minutes.

December morning sky looking south near Philadelphia.

December trees form fine etching lines against the sky.

National Gallery East Wing Open Dec 2016

The sky above the National Gallery on Constitution Mall in Washington.
Yes, it is a grey December day.
Also, security and communications were already going up a month before inauguration day.

Below, serene art inside the East Wing:  painting by Franz Kline on the wall.

 Movie in the wonderful theater in the East Wing.
This is an unforgettable film:

Thursday, December 15, 2016

December, 2016: Beginning of Winter

The leaves came down and trees are bare.
The election happened and the world is dark.

Monday, October 31, 2016


We made a pilgrimage to central Germany, (in an area between Hanover, Kassel, Goettingen and Bielefeld) to the factory and museum of Tecta.  It is a small German company dedicated to celebrating, preserving and producing Bauhaus chairs and furniture.

These Walter Gropius 'cantilever' chairs are just some of what Tecta offers.

Tecta Kragstuhl Museum

Kragstuhl apparently means 'cantilever chair' in German. 
Here is a museum devoted to the history and celebration of modern chair design, especially Bauhaus steel tubing approaches.
It is housed on the Tecta campus in buildings designed by Peter and Alison Smithson.

Apparently, the cantilever approach was derived from bicycle steel tubing by Bauhaus designers.  It was adapted to the wooden frame on the right by Gropius.

And who knows, you might run into Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Wassily Kandinsky at the Tecta Kragstuhlmuseum !

Chairs by Gerrit Rietveld, with an original from his design shop on the left.

Amsterdam by Boat

We were lucky to be taken on a ride through Amsterdam canals by a friend.
Many of the houses from the 1600's don't look that different.

Good weather on a late September weekend brought out the party spirit, in locals above and tourists below.

And there is modern architecture to look at, contemporary above and classic 'Amsterdamse School' from the early 1900's below.

Cortina d'Ampezzo

Cortina was the site of the 1956 Winter Olympics and has attracts winter skiers.
It is northeastern Italy in the Dolomite mountains.
There is also summer hiking.
In 2016, we are able to do a short 60 km hike over 4 days.
We hope to return and do more on the long distance Alta Via Dolomiti.

Cortina to Rifugio Croda di Lago

Cortina d'Ampezzo is about 1,200 meters of altitude.
It is an easy walk up to Lago d'Aial at 1,400 meters and a nice rest stop.

Above, sedges in a little bog.
Most of the path is through spruce-fir forest.

Rifugio Croda da Lago at 2,050 meters.

4 Forclettas and 1 Pass

This was a day of 4 Forclettas (little passes with pathways)  and 1 Pass (with road).
We were hiking east to west just south of Cortina on the Dolomite High Path.
Images below were between Forcletta Ambrizzola and Forcletta Giau, at about 2,200 m.

This is after leaving Passo Giau and heading to Forcletta Nuvolau.
Rifugio Nuvolau is visible in the right of the photo - on top of cliff.

After going through Forcletta Nuvolau at 2,400 m, we finally see  endpoint Rifugio Lagazuoi.
It is the little dot on the top of the first peak in the center left of this photo, under "k" in peak.


Rifugio Lagazuoi is at 2,754 meters on a peak above Passo Falzarego.  It is serviced by a cable car funivia and a foot path.  No roads.  
Below, looking north at the road, the Pass and up to Rifugio Lagazuoi at the top.

From Lagazuoi looking southeast, the direction from which we came.

Closer view to the southeast, showing Cinque Torri bottom left and Nuvolau to the right.

A trail runner at sunset.