Monuments to human ingenuity

A monument may be built to commemorate an outstanding event or achievement.
Sometimes an achievement is the monument.

A good monument gives one pause—leads one to reflect.

That’s how I feel about bridges.  They evoke in me a sense of awe while I’m traveling across or seeing one from a distance. They stir an emotional version of the question “how did they do that?”.  Each one seems a monument to the minds, determination and workmanship required.

Casting the words “monuments to ingenuity” into a search engine turned up many results, including this list (which I quote from below) of ten USA-based projects given the “Monument of the Millennium” award to honor “the civil engineering profession’s contribution to the quality of life and well-being of people and communities worldwide. . . [that] inspire generations of engineers to continually ‘get it done’ in the face of those who would say ‘it can’t be built.’”   Click here  for the complete list of ten.

One awardee

I’m happy to say I often have the pleasure to see the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, which was honored with the following words: “America’s engineers have selected San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge as one of the greatest achievements of an entire century . . . This award honors the visionary men and women who designed and built this great innovative bridge.”


What are your favorites?

Please post the names of (and links to) any engineering projects, large and small, achieved anywhere, anytime, internationally that you think stand as monuments to human ingenuity!


This post is my response to the prompt “Monument“.


Street life mosaic

I recently snapped these photos in San Francisco, California.

Mouse over photos for floating captions and click to view slide show.
(captions don’t show up on the WordPress phone app)

To see other blogger responses to “Street Life” click: here


Street life —from “Stratosphere” to “Sphinx”


Whether experienced from a thousand feet up, or at street level,
street life can seem nearly devoid of life.
Yet there’s evidence of life in the movement of cars.


  posted in response to “street life”


 Note: This photo was taken from the “Stratosphere” during a family trip to Las Vegas.
I was sharing a camera with my kids and can’t tell you for sure who took this and the following shots


Click to view the slide show, or mouse over the following for more notes:



Chrome, glass, stainless steel


Waiting at an airport escalator for someone special to arrive.

 Countless times I’ve stood on or near this escalator. This time, however, I really saw it!

Transparent and reflecting surfaces made it seem somehow magical!  Or was it the happiness in my waiting?


I wish I could think of a title that captures the fun and flair of this moving stair and how I felt awaiting someone dear.
Any ideas?

photo sequence  posted in response to “reflections”


Migratory reflections


tracking reflections  in one space, outside and in

photo sequence in response to “reflections”


Ballet of Age and Grace

Inside what one was, there is what one remains.

 . . .

response to “inside”   


Inside view

Framed inside eye-like branching.

 . . .

response to “inside”   




They’re all the same height?

Though I’ve cropped away some of the visual clues that would add more dimensional context, we just know  from experience that these lamps are all the same size and height. We take it for granted.  Yet it’s something we had to learn—and we learn as young children—how to understand our visual world with a sense of perspective.

Call it cognitive science or a beginner’s art lesson. It’s interesting either way.

The pleasure of photo challenges is how they get us to tune our seeing eye and mind to a particular prompt. I took this photograph this evening of a scene that before now, I passed without a glance. I look forward to noticing with more awareness many ways of seeing perspective.  I’m already enjoying a variety of interpretations and responses being posted by others you can find here.  


Photographic responses to abandoned.  [click to see gallery above as slide show].


image -1-image -2-




How does the mind “see” abandoned ?

 Curious to find out how others perceive the last two car images?
Any possible explanation?


[update: Interesting to see the results so far!  I only wish I would see more explanations!  I am still wondering.]

Update #2 —Interpreting the poll results (March 20, 2014):
More viewers interpret the car in image 1 as looking more abandoned.

To me, the car in  image 2 looks more abandoned. While the car in image 1 seems (spatially) to have somewhere to go forward, the car in image 2  is facing the end—an edge, line, margin, “cliff”—off the road, with nowhere to move forward.

I can only speculate why some would choose image 1. The space ahead which one person could see as positive, could also feel void and lonely, like showing up at a party where no one walks up to greet you. We can’t always explain why something moves us one way or another. It’s so interesting!!  I hope someone  else will  try to describe their thinking or feeling that accompanies their choice.]


“The Inner Landscape of Beauty”


P1430634 - Copy

“On Being” is a radio series of conversations.  While listening to this one with John O-Donohue
titled “The Inner Landscape of Beauty”, I‘m pausing here to post an audio link  for you.

There are so many conversation starters in this discussion (more than I can list): about time, nature, beauty, friendship.  What topics, thoughts or quotes stay with you after listening to this?

Wishing you could also read it? Here’s the transcript.  



Oddly scenic threesome


“What am I really looking at here?”  I felt drawn to this scene, but wasn’t sure how to capture it in a single photograph.   On separate occasions I returned, wondering where to place my perspective and attention—a process illustrated by these three.    


This week’s photo challenge invited photographers to consider ways one may tell a story,
show variations on a subject, or otherwise respond to the prompt “Threes”.  (alternate viewing arrangement below)








Update: these three photos inspired  blogger Divya Kumar to write  her poetic story The Tree that Remembers”.  It’s fascinating to see images evoking a story in the mind of an imaginative writer!


Branching awareness






Looking at, then through, while refocusing camera, perspective and attention—a process of getting through ever-branching awareness that conceals, then reveals.


This week’s photo challenge invited photographers to consider ways one may tell a story,
show variations on a subject, or otherwise respond to the prompt “Threes”.   


Responsorial #2


These images are bound together by visual elements and one word.

Want to post your  word guess in comments?  If you can’t wait, the answer link is here.  (spoiler alert: the answer to Responsorial #1 is also posted there)

To read more about this two-artist collaboration, here’s an introduction.   

Photo credit: click on any image to read its photographer’s initials: MC or MS.


Curly bark






Hidden in branches of California pepper trees: peeling bark—a quizzical blending
of soft, rugged, natural, one-of-a-kind sculptural qualities.  



This week’s photo challenge invited photographers to consider ways one may tell a story,
show variations on a subject, or otherwise respond to the prompt “Threes”.
[update: a panel of  nine curly bark images posted here]


Fallen with the rain (#3)

fallen with the rain (#3)

Treasure in the Gold Rush State


known for its gold rush days . . .
and for its golden sun . . .
only seeks its treasure now
in clouds that yet may come.


As much as I love photographing light and shadow in California, I welcomed the clouds that promised rain relief in the midst of our  California drought.

A California drought effects not only Californians.  Just read the statistics that state: “California produces nearly half of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables”.

Yet, with this treasure of land and agriculture, it relies on one treasure over all: precipitation in the form of snowfall and rainfall.

When the rain began falling last week, I bought a rain sleeve for my camera and  took photographs every day. Here is one I selected for this week’s photo challenge: Treasure

carrying its treasure on its back

Carrying its treasure on its back.


What’s it all about, Selfie?


All week wondering how to interpret this week’s challenge: Selfie . . . 

Shall I photograph pages of a book? They would need to be in motion—a blur of portraits and poems, recipes and maps, to-do lists, sketches,  interviews with every person I ever met . . . all transcribed, a silence of mirrors,  blank pages reserved for future plans.

Pages moving so fast—how can they describe one’s Self  in the title? Motion pictures flipping by—no way or place to bookmark, caption, or edit—only to marvel at the waterfall-like motion and sparkles of light-encapsulated water droplets always in the air hovering over the falling, each one seeing itself in and of, yet apart and beyond.

The history of oneself all here and me, though already gone on without me. Look at the mist.  Nothing missed. All here in the flickering.


Note: image above is a reel of Super 8 film I just unraveled from a spool last night, after finding most of the images had disappeared!
Too badI was curious to see myself and others (in motion) back then!  So different from a photograph!
A reminder how film, video tape and audio tape are not forever. 

Link:  lyrics and song as sung in the closing of the 1966 film “Alfie” (in time for Valentine’s Day).

Responsorial #1

These images are bound together by visual elements and one word. What word? Want to guess? Post it in comments. In a week I’ll post an answer link you can click on when you are ready.   [answer link is here]

To read more about this two-artist collaboration, here’s an introduction, where, hidden in the text, there’s a mystery-word hint.


Photo credit: click on any image to read its photographer’s initials: MC or MS.


Responsorial – Introduction to a new series


 —a word  (adjective, as defined at Wiktionary):

1. Of or pertaining to a response (in all senses)
2. Responsive

—an art project 


MC and I select a single word (a noun or adjective, object or concept).
One of us posts a starting photograph that somehow responds to that word.
We then take turns posting visual responses to the same word and each added image.
Result: a mosaic of photographs connected by this process.

That’s when you can enter the process by looking at all the images, guessing possible words, and posting them as comments.

Later, I post the “mystery” word along with a “guess list”.  This participatory art project series may be published later in another format.

It’s an exercise, a puzzle—as much about thought as it is about word.


To the left: the starting image of the first responsorial panel of eight photographs bound together by visual elements and a word.  

When you study the entire panel of photos it will be challenging to find a “target” word they have in common.

It’s not about finding the “right” answer; it’s about exploring the complex relationship between word and image, mind and eye. It’s about finding connections between image and word.  It’s about exploring complexity and simplicity.

To see, think and guess,

click image on right:



 . . .

response to “juxtaposition”   


Rural Route Plantings


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