Thanks to our son Scott, Kathy & I were alerted to a somewhat rare aircraft viewing opportunity. An Antonov AR-124 cargo aircraft, currently the largest production aircraft in the skies, had come to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) to deliver some aircraft parts. It was due to depart this afternoon at 3:40PM.
CLT has had an “Airport Overlook” for years, overlooking the center runway, providing views of the terminal and many of the arriving and departing aircraft. The airport is currently adding a fourth parallel runway, so the overlook has been temporarily relocated to a spot a little farther away. Not really a big deal, although I had to crop out a lot of foreground construction clutter, thus the 1:2 aspect ratio. Although it isn’t a bad aspect ratio for the subject matter anyway.
Other than the Air Force Reserve C-17s and the Lufthansa A-340s, and of course the occasional visit from Air Force One, this is about the largest plane we see in lil’ ole Charlotte. It was pretty impressive!
One evening a few weeks ago, Kathy & I were sitting at the kitchen table after dinner, likely finishing some wine before venturing off the do the dishes. The sun had recently set, and the sky was crystal clear. As we sat there, one of us (I’ll give Kathy the credit) said something about how interesting our neighbor’s tree looked against the sky. I sat there, looked at it and at some point said “I’m going to get my camera.”
It took me just a few minutes to drag out the camera and tripod, attach the L-bracket and set it up on the patio. There was no wind, so I didn’t have to worry about movement, and I made a couple dozen frames. They aren’t technically perfect – I could have used a little more depth of field – but they do have a bit of a zen-like look to them.
It’s another lesson in being willing to make a photograph when it presents itself, even if it is right outside our window.
A quote sometimes attributed to Mark Twain but likely incorrectly, according to quoteinvestigator.com. Also the title of a book published in 1995.
I had an opportunity this past week to attend a day of The President’s Cup, a golf tournament here in Charlotte at the Quail Hollow Club. My brother, his son and a long-time family friend came to town from Ohio for the tournament and invited me to come along. I welcomed the opportunity to hang out with my brother for a few hours.
I don’t consider golf to be much of an in-person spectator sport, as it is difficult to really stay involved in the action on an 18-hole golf course. You either have to camp out at one hole and watch the players come by (which is a lot like watching a Formula One race where you can only see one corner of a 2-mile track) or you have to pick a group or groups to follow around the course. The advantage of the first option is that if you get to a good spot early you can stay there all day. The downside of moving around is that you have to either watch the less popular players or be prepared to look from the back of a crowd of people who were there before you. Neither choice is ideal.
I played some golf years ago but gave it up because (a) I stunk at it and (b) it can get pretty expensive. Buying the equipment just gets you the gear, but then you have to pay every time you play (unless you live near where I grew up in Sharon, PA where they have what at one time was the only free golf course in the country.) A decent set of clubs can cost more than a good camera, and I know that it is possible to spend as much on one club as a good tripod and ball head. The choice is pretty clear to me, and I’ve managed to make more decent photographs than I ever made good golf shots!
Quail Hollow is a beautiful golf course, and I was fortunate enough to have volunteered there during the early days of the Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) Championship, which was before the sport became as commercialized as it is today. In the early days, the tournament course was largely as it normally exists, with a few grandstands and hospitality areas. But for the most part the course was still the course, with lots of green grass, long views and a chance to sit in the shade and watch the players go by with little difficulty. It was a completely different story this time. There were huge grandstands, big hospitality structures where people could watch the tournament on television in air conditioned comfort, all with a great tax deduction for the corporate hosts. To even catch a glimpse of the first tee you had to be in the grandstand there or watching with binoculars from well down the fairway. And that assumes you had gotten there early enough to be able to see the fairway!
My cost of admission, which was not cheap, just got me in the gate. If I wanted to sit in any of the “premium” locations I needed to cough up even more money. There were a few “free” grandstands that were full long before we got there. And when I wanted something to eat, sheesh! I know it is usual at any sporting event, but $3 bottled water, $10 wraps and $11 beers can add up quick. And that doesn’t include the souvenirs. Shirts were selling for $80 and up, hats for $35 and up, and on and on.
There aren’t many things about golf that appeal to me any more, but what I always enjoyed most was the quiet solitude of a beautiful course early in the morning. A little dew on the grass, the sound of sprinklers and mowers in the distance and the occasional bird chirp. Instead, there was the chanting of team support of USA…USA…USA, strange outbursts of things like “mashed potatoes” and other sounds. It was kind of like plunking an amusement park down in the middle of a wildlife refuge! Add to that the (to me) exorbitant cost of attendance, the huge crowds and the 95 degree day with tropical humidity, and it was a good thing I went with people I enjoyed being with!
I’ve been feeling incredibly lazy and uninspired lately. Must be the heat. I thought I would break the posting drought with a few more photos from our last outing. We’ve got a couple more things planned over the next few weeks, hopefully to cooler and photogenic places.
One of the items on our agenda for our time in Charlotte was a photography show titled ‘Annemarie Schwarzenbach: Departure without Destination’ at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. (link)
Schwarzenbach was a Swiss writer, journalist and photographer with an interesting history. Her lifestyle would probably fit in pretty well today, but between that and her anti-Fascist campaigning made her an outcast forced her into exile. As a result she spent much of her time traveling the world, writing and photographing. Her work as a journalist, coupled with her upper-class background and her status as the wife of French diplomat Claude Clarac granted her extraordinary freedom of travel for the period.
The Bechtler exhibit represents work from her travels throughout the world, including the southeastern US in 1936-1938 and features archival material, film, and 200 photographs drawn from the approximately 7,000 photographs in the Schwarzenbach’s estate, which is held in the Swiss Literary Archives in Bern, Switzerland.
I had never heard of Schwarzenbach before learning about this show, and found it to a fascinating look at the world of her time. The show runs through 7/31/22.
Earlier this week, Kathy & I celebrated the ’44th anniversary of her 21st birthday” with a couple of nights in The Big City (Charlotte) with some jazz, dinners with friends, an art museum and lots of walking around. We had a great time, I took a few photos and we are now back on our diets for a few more weeks! 😉