I’ve posted a collection of waterfall photographs from Ithaca and surrounding Tompkins County on a new gallery page. I’ll tweak the collection as time goes on and I indulge my infatuation with these very photogenic subjects.
A gift basket from Rich and Naomi contained several fun and whimsical items including this flowering tea pot. A dried and compressed ball of tea and flowers is placed in the hand-blown glass teapot. Hot water is poured over it and it unfolds into a flower arrangement and brews the tea at the same time. You get a little blooming drama, a flower arrangement, and some brewed tea, all in the same experience. Way cool.
Lori’s brother, Rich, visited for a few days and we seized the opportunity to indulge in some intensive touristing.
Let’s start with food. We visited our old favorite, the Ithaca Bakery, but also had some pleasant new experiences. In Hammondsport, we had a very nice lunch at The Village Tavern. Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca was recommended to us neighbors Bill and Anne some time ago and we seized this opportunity to give it a try. Fabulous! It’s a beautiful restaurant at a beautiful location and the food was superb. We will, no doubt, be going back. Bill and Anne also recommended Cayuga Lake Creamery in Interlaken. We’re reasonably sure the ice cream there is excellent but we’ll have to do numerous visits and extensive sampling to confirm our impressions. We want to be thorough. We also dined at one of our perennial favorites, The Heights Cafe and Grill–they always come through with great meals.
We visited two museums. The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport was primarily about Glenn Curtiss and his seminal contributions to American aviation. Numerous models, reproductions, and original aircraft and motorcycles taught us how fast the development pace was and how amazingly prolific Glenn Curtiss was in moving things along. The museum also includes a lot of other unrelated items, some of which were probably donated by enthusiastic locals without regard to relevance to the primary purpose of the museum.
We also visited Cornell’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. The building itself, by I. M. Pei, is quite interesting and the museum’s collection is diverse. The admission is either free or $30, depending on whether you park legally or get nailed with a parking fine. We opted to pump the meter with quarters rather than provoke the zealous and efficient parking authorities. (By the way, the Morgan Garden is a gem, worthy of some time spent in quiet contemplation. There is a fascinating description of its design and installation on the designer’s Web site.)
For moseying, we spent time at the F. R. Newman Arboretum at Cornell, enjoying the rich fall colors. The next day we went to Taughannock Falls State Park and strolled along the beautiful and easy gorge trail to Taughannock Falls. It was a beautiful walk on a perfect fall day.
It was great to use Rich’s visit as a pretext to be tourists and tour guides. We look forward to future visits.
Our friend Stella gave us a beautiful old alabaster bowl as a house-warming gift during her recent visit. It was in a very nice older box which is a keeper as well. The alabaster has a translucent, almost luminescent quality when viewed in the right light. This photographic interpretation plays with that quality by making the bowl appear to glow.
The explanation for how this image was lit is left as an exercise for the reader.
Thanks, Stella, for the thoughtful and distinctive gift.
We’ve been in our new home since late June and continue to chip away at odds and ends. We don’t have anything major outstanding aside from landscaping which we’ll work on gradually over the next few years. We’ll also build a front-entrance porch and steps to replace the temporary once the ground settles a little more next summer.
I shot a few interior pictures of our house featuring our bamboo floor to send off to the manufacturer, Cali Bamboo, to see if we can win one of their monthly prizes. I also shot a couple exterior shots of the house in case our builder, Matt Ness, can use them for his promotional efforts. We’ve been waiting for grass to grow and it has, sort of. We have a healthy crop of weeds competing with the grass but we’ll work on that over the next couple summer seasons.
Several years ago we became acquainted with the distinctive work of Ithaca potter Momoko Takeshita Keane and acquired one of her whimsical hand-built vases. This weekend we saw that she was, as usual, participating in the annual Ithaca Art Trail so we stopped in to see the work she has evolved since we last visited her studio. We were quite taken by the wood-fired hand-built pieces she has been making that are inspired by the concept of birth or unfolding of life such as in sea urchins.
We couldn’t resist: we bought this work with its entrancing intricate curves and textures and the beautiful blend of pastel earth-tone colors.
Momoko was born in Kyoto and studied pottery in Japan until she accompanied her family to Ithaca several years ago. Her Japanese roots are manifested in her creative wrapping of the piece for its journey home with us.
Photographing The Pottery Piece
The work was placed on a piece of white tile board (inexpensively available from any home center) and lit from above by a soft box placed forward of the piece and slightly angled toward the camera to enable the gray gradient of the background. An accent light at low power and with 20° grid was placed behind and camera right. It’s a simple and effective way to create diffuse light on the subject and get a smooth gradient background at the same time.