Archive for the ‘Smokestacks’ Category

Jones Island in the rain.

Most of the pictures I took here were from inside the car since the weather ranged from light rain to heavy downpour and back the whole time we were there, providing a thick gray filter for my shots. After a while, the routine was window down, shoot shoot shoot, window up. Wipe down camera. Mop inside of car. Rinse. Repeat.

20150410_9607

This is a very bleak part of Milwaukee with little traffic but for trucks. Jones Island began as a marshy island between two rivers and has been gradually transformed to the (working) harbor/pier area of the city. “The land is heavily industrialized and only contains a couple of mature trees,” according to one account I read and I can offer a big “You betcha” to that one.

20150410_9632

Going all medieval on you for the next shot. I am not sure if this is THE Baxter Grain Elevator or A Baxter grain elevator, since Mr. Baxter, the designer, actually did a stint in Milwaukee for 12 years before taking his talents as Grain Elevator Maven off to Buffalo, New York. Either way, you need only crop the silos and you are left with an evil fortress located somewhere in the Austrian Alps: Schloss Bösen.

20150410_9608

And the ever-so-famous “Bridge to Nowhere,” currently undergoing major repairs.

20150410_9640

Skipped the “window down” step on this last one and proceeded directly to “shoot shoot shoot.”

20150410_9612

Two images

20150308_8866

20150308_8865

“I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam.”  Annie Dillard

   

 

Wrapping up our look at the plant in Cambria, Wisconsin:

20150216_8775

I know: same but different. I hoped you might excuse that repetition, based on the slightly different framing. All that yellow and brown…yum…plus several elements visible in one shot but not the other. I needed seconds.

20150216_8784

And finally, some relative simplicity to be plucked from all the chaos and movement of the shots from a couple of days ago. No crazy mazes of wires or pipes or steam:

20150216_8778

20150216_8779

20150216_8768

20150216_8797

Three images from the ethanol plant in Cambria

After so much narrative yesterday, I’ll stick with pictures today.

20150216_8800

20150216_8801

20150216_8771

How DOES one answer a stranger who asks why you are taking so many pictures of his facility? I still can’t think of a good short answer to that question.

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.

20150216_8794 

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.

20150216_8786

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.

20150216_8743

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.

20150216_8759

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.

20150216_8667

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.

20150216_8726

20150216_8658

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…

20150216_8632

…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.

20150216_8715

20150216_8651

20150216_8635

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…

Three images which pretty much cry out to be viewed full-sized.

Just saying.

“Beauty, like supreme dominion
Is but supported by opinion”

Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack

industrial love song

“Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,
Needs not the painted flourish of your praise:
Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye,
Not utter’d by base sale of chapmen’s tongues”

William Shakespeare, Love’s Labors Lost

20141221_6792

“Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them.”

David Hume, Essays Moral and Political

20141221_6810

“I just love me some smokestacks.”

Wabi Sabi, WordPress