The dandelion has the botanical name Taraxacum. Is it a weed? Is it a wildflower? Is it an ingredient in a salad? Is it a healing plant? Is it tea? It could be all of these but to me it is a signal that spring has sprung.
Edenton is located in the north east corner of North Carolina on the Albemarle Sound near the Outer Banks. Highway 32 is a typical North Carolina country road. There’s not much on it other then cotton and tobacco fields, old tobacco barns, farm houses and an occasional church.
After a kayaking trip at Merchants Mill Pond State Park, I decide to go to Edenton for dinner before heading back to Raleigh. While driving I noticed an old white house with a large magnolia tree out front. The magnolia was so large you could tell it was planted a long time ago. The house and tree looked like they were stuck in time. Across the street were 2 tobacco barns. I was drawn to stop because both looked abandoned and I love the texture of old buildings. Old buildings and houses seem to have so much to say without saying anything at all. They remind me of the portraits of old people. Through all the wrinkles and marks, you know they have a lot of stories to tell and share but you can only imagine.
Photography of fog, on the beach in Margate, NJ., Christmas Day. The rain finally stopped and the fog rolled in. It was so thick I couldn’t see the edge of the ocean while standing on the bulkhead or see more then a few feet in front of me while walking. Sometimes Wally would run off and couldn’t be seen. I was glad he always comes back.
December 22nd is the Winter Solstice. The southernmost passage of Dowth is aligned to the setting sun of the winter solstice and the light of the low sun moves along the left side of the passage, then into the circular chamber, where three stones are lit up by the sun.
I’ve always wanted to see the Neolithic passage tombs in Ireland. I’ve seen pictures and have read about the complex of passage tombs which consist of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. Newgrange is Ireland’s most famous prehistoric site. As with most of the passage tombs in County Meath, Ireland, archeologists believe that it was built around 3200 B.C., which means that Newgrange predates the construction of Stonehenge in England and the Pyramids in Egypt.
As I said, I always wanted to visit. On one of my trips with my parents, we were passing by the exit on the way to Dublin. My father was driving so I reminded him that the exit to Newgrange is coming up. Tell me again what this Newgrange thing is and why do you want to go, he said. I told him what it was and that is is about 5000 years old, older then the pyramids. I guess he was a bit tired from all the driving and visiting because he passed right by the exit. I asked him why he didn’t stop. His reply was, “It’s been there for the past 5000 years it will be there the next time”. Fortunately it was there the next time but the next time things changed. Now you are not able to go and explore on your own. You have to take a bus to the location from the visitor center and take a tour. I prefer to do things on my own so we passed by Newgrange and went to Dowth.
Dowth, or the “Fairy Mound of Darkness”, dates from about 2500-2000 BC and is the 2nd oldest behind Newgrange. What I liked most is that it is less developed as a tourist attraction so I could explore on my own.
I had the opportunity to photograph in one of the largest Satellite Dish Manufacturing Companies. It is the only high volume producer of metal and sheet molded compound antennas in the world. They make their own resin, stamp, press, and paint their metal and composite products all under one roof.
The plant was very large, loud and hot. I photographed in the middle of the summer during the heat wave. It was well in the 90’s outside so you can imagine what it was inside. I guess there’s no way to air-condition a building over 700,00 square feet. Anyway, it didn’t matter to me. I love photographing in large industrial plants. There are so many textures, shapes and forms. I also enjoy having the opportunity to experience something that others don’t event think about. I had no idea that satellite dishes where manufactured so close to where I live, how they were made or how many dishes were made in a single day. The dishes in the photo below were all made that day and were just painted. The ones along the wall on the left are on the paint line.
Giant rolls of sheet metal are fed into a machine and stamped into shape. Although there is a lot of automation, actual workers are still needed for every step of the process. It takes about 250 employees to manufacture all the satellite dishes. At this step there are people feeding the metal, monitoring the process, taking them off the belt and packaging them into bins to go to the next step. I’m not sure of how many people were around me or what everyone was doing. I do know that no-one was sitting around.
Another stamping machine adheres screen and resin to the mold. They come down with such force it can be dangerous. Luckily, there are safety measures in place. There are little sensors that will shut the machine down if someone or something is in the way or too close. When I was shooting the machine kept shutting down and had to be reset. No-one could figure out what was happening at first. After a while of testing and trying to figure it out the mystery was solved. It was my lights. Apparently and somehow they were tripping the safety sensor. Whoops. Good thing it was no big deal and we all had a good laugh.
The top part of the press is one of the most important pieces. I had to get as close as I could to actually be able to see it. It was a bit scary. All I could think about was this thing coming down on me and turning me into a satellite dish. That wouldn’t be fun. I know there are a lot of safety measures in place but the thought still crossed my mind. Its kind of like when you are scuba diving 80 feet below the surface and all you can think about is the theme song to Jaws.
Just to give you a little perspective on the size. Here is the full machine. This is just one. There is another next to it and many others of different types and sizes.
Yellowstone in September turned out to be the best time to visit. After Labor Day kids are back in school and people are back to work leaving the park pretty quiet. I was able to take it all in without being stuck in the long lines of RV’s I’ve heard about. (I hope I didn’t give away my best kept secret.)
I hope you enjoyed the 4th of July as much as I did. My typical 4th of July is spent on the beach during the day and then watching the fireworks being launched over the ocean. It’s one of the best ways to see fireworks in my opinion. This year I stayed home an enjoyed the local celebration. I’m glad I did, it was one big party.