Archive for the ‘Clouds’ Category

Winona, Minnesota. Bridge over the Mississippi River.

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I have more. LOTS more. We anchored our (rented) houseboat on a nearby sandbar  for a day and half, during which time I was able to capture the bridge in sunlight, fog, dusk, full-on night and a raging midnight thunderstorm. Very cool.

This bridge post is an offering to the gods since I am having some bridgework of my own done today (Tuesday) that for sure involves a Sawzall and direct access to my savings account.

Or “Wabi Sabi and Johnny Law go Head to Head.”

Four images.

Five miles from the UWGP ethanol plant in Friesland is Cambria, a village of fewer than 800 souls, but look what they have! Another ethanol plant! This one is far larger than the ones in Stanley or in Friesland.

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There are actually two big plants here (I believe they produce more than ethanol) and they are separated only by the width of a street. A public street! Giddy with excitement, Wabi Sabi forced her long-suffering driver to circle the plants and make three swings down the street to the dead end and back, pausing repeatedly so that she could jump out and shoot both sides. On the second pass, two men with clipboards and hardhats stared us down.

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On the third, the plant Security and Environmental Safety officer stopped us to inquire just what exactly were we doing taking all those pictures, what with terrorism concerns and this being an ethanol plant and all?

However, as soon as the windows were lowered and he caught a glimpse of just whom he was dealing with, Mr. Security immediately changed his tune.

Wabi Sabi talks smack but can only strike fear into the hearts of people 14 years of age or younger. As soon as I began to babble something like “Oh this is so beautiful” and “I take a lot of industrial photographs,” I knew in my true heart that I sounded like Wabi Sabi: Confused Uber-Dork. I could sense that the security officer was suddenly thinking with great tenderness of the cooling cup of coffee he’d left on his desk and thinking that maybe if he nuked it and grabbed up some of those chocolate cookies in the lounge, the morning would not be a total waste after all. Smiles and nods all around.

“Any questions I can answer for you?”

“Nope.” Because, how do you tell someone that you really don’t care how many tons of corn are processed in their plant each day? That all you really care about is steam and cooling towers and ginormous vats? Far be it from me to hurt the poor man’s feelings.

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I related this story to a friend of mine who said “Why didn’t you say ‘Why, yes I do'” and then quiz him about the number of security officers employed at the plant, whether they were armed and, if so, with what sorts of weapons and if there was possibly ever a time between shifts that the plant was unguarded?

There are reasons that some of my friends are never asked along on photo shoots.

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I had considered calling this series “When Worlds Collide,” but both wind power and ethanol are clean energy sources so they’re on the same team. The best title came from my friend Jean who quipped “Rock, Vapor, Scissors.” Wish I’d thought of that first.

Friesland, Wisconsin. On a recent trip to Madison, the official Wabi Sabi staff car took a meandering path, questing after smokestacks and vapor clouds…and scored big time.

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This is the United Wisconsin Grain Producers ethanol plant (UWGP) located smack in the middle of rolling prairie…and smack in the middle of a pretty huge wind farm as well.

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Now…in my head I know that these are both good things, but in my heart/gut/lizard brain, it just LOOKS wrong. Or oppositional. Or menacing…

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…as though a giant four-year-old set up a LEGOLAND scene and decided to include all the pieces whether they belonged together or not.

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Upon leaving this site, more smoke and vapors were spotted off in the distance. “Oh,” said Wabi Sabi naively. “It won’t be another ethanol plant, but let’s go check it out anyway.” 

To be continued…

Variation on yesterday’s shot:

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