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View from Cavtat Harbor toward the Hills The owner of Villa Olav & Jo  say their goodbyes Today we left Dubrovnik, fly...

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Baton Rouge - Rural Life Museum

Metal Mule - representing the Rural Life Museum of Baton Rouge Louisana
I arrived in Louisiana yesterday, did a tiny bit of wildlife refuge loitering near New Orleans, then drove north to Baton Rouge. After a tiny bit of research - I am an abysmal planner - I managed (just barely) to find the Rural life Museum. Am sooo happy I found it, as who doesn't appreciate a trip through a time portal?

Before arriving at the 'portal' there were fields of decorated hay bales I passed, no surprises, today being Halloween.

Massive campus

Spider Hay!

Sheepziz Hay!
No bull, just hay!
The hay bales really got themselves done up for Halloween.

I stopped briefly at a botanical gardens, then drove on to the museum, thoroughly enjoying the views from every acre. 

The porch of the Rural Life Museum's main building
A look just one section of the museum
Spinning wheels, great and small
Being Louisiana, I had to gird the old loins, in prep for facing the state's history of slavery. Some of it as strangely touching, such as this teeny, weeny doll, one can imagine some much loved enslaved child carrying about. Perhaps the doll's size - no more than 3 inches tall - was too keep the doll hidden from anyone who might take it, or because the limited amount of material to clothe the mite, kept it restricted in size?
The sad, tiny dolly that no doubt brightened
life for a tiny, enslaved child
Carpenter's kit? Nope, a Doctors' field operation kit 
It took like an hour to see just some of the stuff inside. So I rambled out back. I fell in love with this 'Dog Trot' house, straight out of The Yearling. The Dog Trot, built in the late 1860s, was in use by a family until the 1970s. All the houses at the RLM were moved there from other areas of Louisiana.
The Dog Trot has porches on its front and on its back
The Dog Trot has a central breezeway - the 'dog trot' separates two halves of the house
Dog Trot's kitchen
There's a small, not-actually-real cemetary which I entered to chase a few birds around. Then I headed through the cemetery gate towards a tiny white church.
View of College Grove Baptist Church
Inside are neat white pews and stained glass 'win-ders'
 The coolest bits of this little church are the arches over the alter - one on left is devil's webbed wing, vs the one on the right hand (of God no doubt) with white, feathered angel wings. Too cute!
Wilt thou sit to the dastardly left or the heavenly right? 
Super rare, Louisiana barn, made of hand split cypress 
Look inside the southern Louisiana barn
Cajun house circa 1805
Okra Plants, with several ripening pods 

This interesting old house has a garden in its front area, including - okra, which as brought by enslaved peoples to North America
'Single pen' Slave quarters circa 1840 
Fireplace w/boots, high chair, adults chair & a rickity bed

There are at least a dozen examples of buildings that housed enslaved peoples at the museum. Most were one room, i.e., single pen. Some were two roomed, and shockingly many housed poor people right into the 1970s.

The slave quarters below is from the 1830s. It was called a 'Saddlebag' type building as it had 2 single rooms, straddled on either side of a single chimney.
Double-pen - two room -Slave Quarters
In overcrowded quarters, the enslaved folks bedded down on the floor 

Inside the 'Sick House' where ailing enslaved people were nursed. Note the bed ropes,
pulled to hold the mattress rigid, so people could 'sleep tight', & wake without a sore back
Below is a Sugar House circa 1700s, that housed a row of kettles for boiling down sugar cane juice. Boiled, the juice was gradually moved along from giant kettle to a slightly smaller kettle, to another smaller kettle until the final & smallest metal pot held the nearly finished product. Gradually the last step was reached wherein crystallizing brown sugar was separated from the molasses.
The Sugar House
The first kettle

The sugar house techniques used were imported from the West Indies. 
After the 1830s, the sugar shacks were mostly replaced by factories.

A house of many uses - circa 1835
The building pictured just above, started off as slave quarters. It was then converted to a cook house for a plantation overseer. Later, in the late 1800s, post Civil War, it was used as a school house, right up into the 1930s. This well used building was brought to the museum in 1971. The poor thing deserves a break, don't you think?

You know what this is. 'Nuff said.

Totally enjoyed the Rural Life Museum. Seeing the old wood buildings makes one ponder about life when transportation meant your feet or a mule, and if you were lucky enough to have some 'learnin' you attended a one room school house. Yeah. I'd have hated it too. Nevertheless, today's Halloween, so on to tonight's adventure.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ditching that Extra Weight

Yep, I'm losing weight. No, not my waistline. I am scaling back on my camera.  Way back in the stone age of digital cameras, I got that handy camcorder for my trip to Attu, Alaska in 2000. It as a Sony camcorder that shot videos and as a side trick could take 2 pixel photos. Two pixel, can you imagine how low resolution 2 pixel photos are? Look, here's one now.
2 pixels worth of Gray-tailed Tattler, Attu, 2000
After the camcorder days, I eventually moved onto real digital point and shoot cameras but they stopped at, say, 70 mm so were scenery cameras. Finally I moved to Digital SLR cameras with changeble lens. My 'big' lens were 100-400mm. I laugh because lugging that massive camera around other people would ogle the long lens in what I always called 'large lens envy'. Camera and lens weigh in at around 7.2 bulky lbs. Ever since those telephoto capable 2 pix cam shots, I've been waiting for something with higher resolution, similar great telephoto power and as close to zero weight as possible. For the most part, those cameras have arrived.
Nikon A-900: a temporary answer to prayers

I have two. There's my wee Nikon A-900 I used on recent trips. It has great photo resolution, telephoto range to die for:  24 mm to 480 mm, and farther for digital (not true) telephoto. It is my mighty might and I'd have stuck with it but for its fatal flaw - no eye viewfinder, only a digital screen at the rear. Great unless, you know, the sun is shining. Also no way you can follow the flight of birds or racing mammals. Therefore it handicaps someone like me who does a lot a wildlife photography. Below is a goose shot with the Nikon A-900. Damn. That's some great resolution, but still...

Greylag Goose, Iceland 2017
Panasonic Lumix FZ300
Round two of searching for my perfect light weight, telephoto awesome camera is this, a Panasonic Lumix FZ300. It has pretty much everything the Nikon has, a digital screen, but has a viewfinder as well. It even bests the tiny Nikon having optical telephoto up to 600 mm. Yeah. Awesome. But, if you don't mind a little graininess, it can get digital telephoto up to 1200 mm. For my eyeballs it doesn't quite match the resolution of the Nikon, but I'm going to have to take them both out & take identical pix on both, then check their photos in a side by side comparison.

Here's some pix taken with the new Lumix.

Female American Kestrel with 'edible meat balloon' in its talons
The lumix has lots of cool features. The best is being able to set the focus for center screen auto focusing quickly when I'm catching a bird in flight. The big birdie below is my most recent 'in flight' shot. 
Dark Phase Red-tailed Hawk shot at 235mm
With this new, lighter weight camera I hope to continue getting reasonable wildlife shots, though the sharpness/resolution will undoubtedly suffer a bit. I'm hoping wee digital cameras will in resolution grow sharper even as I grow duller over time. 

Friday, June 02, 2017

Baltimore to Balti-less

clockwise L to R: James-Allen, Gloria, Juan, William, Dolores, Diane, Kirk
It's been a great week, a short one but I'll be back. No visit to Baltimore is complete without visiting my brother Juan. Kirk drove Dolores, James-Allen and I to where Juan lives, just north of the Virginia border. His wife Gloria and her sister Diane met up with us there.

Juan out soaking up soaking up some sun
Juan and Dolores, my bro & sis
Snackin' and Yakkin'

 We decided to take Juan out for lunch, so we headed off to a nearby Mexican Restaurant.

Drinks all around, feeling our oats. The
photographer, in the black shirt, is my nephew William)
 It was a fun week, and I'm happy I decided to take up on my niece Ain's birthday party invitation. I always enjoy visiting Baltimore, but I fly out tomorrow so I'm in for Balti-less (get it? Uh... never mind!).

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Baltimore by the Sea

The historic El Galeón
Today Kirk drove Dolores Bea and me to a suburban light rail station. We took the light rail to a stop, not to far from the Baltimore Harbor.

Dolores, Bea & Kirk as we hoof it to the harbor
Lunch was first on our afternoon agenda.  We had wonderful seafood for our lunches as well as a great view of the harbor & even the water taxi.

The replica ship, El Galeón was in harbor & open for touring. Bea and I decided to risk being shanghaied, and went aboard for look-see.

Bea bravely waves bye-bye
My new paper tattoo

Landbubbers Kirk & Dolores stayed on dry ground

There were some schinanagins when Bea and I had to leave the ship for a sec,  to get stickers that allowed us to board the ship.On board we discovered the historic El Galeón is a replica of the 16th - 17th century galleon that sailed out of Spain. The ship has sailed around the world and if you're adventurous enough, you can even apply to earn your sea legs on board as the ship continues to navigate the globe.
Aboard the main deck
Captain's Quarters
The red Round Building 
 Dolores and Bea had an interest in seeing the recently opened Sagamore Pendry Hotel, which I think the current 'spot to be seen' so to speak. So we decided to risk a high seas adventure and we boarded a water taxi on the Yellow Route,
A Yellow Route Water Taxi
Ready to go on the Aquatic Boat Share
Shoreside attraction
The famous National Aquarium 
Lovely Flags of Baltimore
Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park
 The trip over to the Fell's Point dock was refreshing, and we were soon scrambling ashore.

Approaching Fell's Point
The Brick facade of the Sagamore Pendry
Looking up at the Sagamore
 The Sagamore has an amazing interior with facinating artwork.

The scary Halloween-ish entrywalkway
 The long hall had interesting artwork lining it, that ran the gamut from

...having barfed up Oxford's dictionary, to...

Op-art that moved & put you spot onto the Twilight Zone. 
Ought to have video taped that last one - so cool.

Stroll through the atrium
The unnamed Sagamore Horsie statue
At the end of this inner garden is a tiny hall with another wonderful bit of op-art, and this time I filmed it. This is NOT me hoovering over a swimmer, this is on a wall as I face it.

Pendry's Pool, for guests of course, is probably the 9th wonder of the world. Myself, I'd only only have the nerve to swim in it under cover of darkness.

NOT my photo... forgive me Internet guardians
Enjoyed our tour of the Pendry Sagamore.
Some of us had a little sit down after our hotel walking 
We headed back to Fell's Landing but before boarding the Water Taxi, and a walk back to the Light Rail station. The Fell's Point Creamery is there, and solely in an effort to support local business we had ice cream. Not that our day could have been any sweeter.

Dolores handles the toughest question
 of our day - vanilla or butter pecan?