In which our intrepid hero returns to the Rust Belt along the Ohio River…
The city where I grew up, El Paso, Texas, had industry of a sort, but mostly of the resource-processing kind, such as the city’s numerous refineries (oil, copper, etc.). I think the first time I ever encountered America’s stereotypical industrial economy was the first time I visited Cleveland, Ohio, circa 1989. I was driving on one of the Interstates in the metro area and there was a certain point where, if I looked south, all I could see, it seemed, was a vista full of smokestacks belching fumes. That was my welcome to industry. Of course, by then Cleveland had already been a rust belt city for some time, so I could only image what it might have been like in, say, the 1950s. Still, even in the 21st century, Cleveland still operates as an industrial city, both in the old sense (polymers, automobiles, etc.) as well as in the newer sense (information technology, biotechnology, etc.).
In contrast, the cities and towns along the Ohio River have been less able to weather the storm.
In which our intrepid hero experiences his first ever car chase…
Ohio, it turns out, is not a particularly sunny state. Ohio’s major cities average only between 63 and 77 days of sunshine (defined as 30% or less cloud cover) per year. More than half of the days in Ohio have at least 80% cloud cover. Chicago has more clear days than Columbus (which falls somewhere in the middle of Ohio’s range); Boston has several weeks worth of more clear days; Dallas has nearly twice the number of clear days as Columbus; and Las Vegas has three times the number of clear days as Columbus. I was unable to find out how 2013 compared to the average for Ohio, but it seems to me, based on my excursions in 2013, that either 2013 was a particularly cloudy year for Ohio or I must have had been particularly unlucky in the days I was able to drive, because when I look back at the photographs I took in 2013, it seems like it was cloudy on almost every excursion.
In which our intrepid hero uncovers a little Lost City…
My opinions about mobile homes and travel trailers is decidedly mixed. While I like the idea of being a hermit crab, going around with your house on your back, taking all of your conveniences with you, I find that the practical reality is less than the ideal. Because of little things like plumbing and electricity, you aren’t really free but still tethered to campgrounds, and having to deal with things like hooking up sewage, etc., does not appeal to my lazy nature. Although I admit that they seem to be great for cooking meth in.
In which our intrepid hero finds himself homeward bound as a long day winds down…
This blog is all about journeys and explorations. Most visibly, it is about me exploring different parts of Ohio and recording what I see. It is also about me exploring photography itself and trying to become a better photographer, despite my inherent limitations (such as considerable impatience). I have been trying to educate myself on cameras, on photography, and, more recently, on post-processing and HDR. From the vantage point of this writing, in early February 2014, some six months after these photographs were taken, I have seen improvement on my part and I hope there will be more.
Landscape photographers like to refer to the early morning or the time around sunset as “golden hours,” because the light is a soft, warm light that lends itself to attractive photographs, and because the dynamic range of light at those hours is close to what cameras can naturally reproduce. An alien anthropologist who studied Earth only through its landscape photography might be forgiven for thinking that Earth was a planet of perpetual sunset.
In which our intrepid hero explores a town under shadow…
One of the more prominent rust belt towns along the Ohio River is Steubenville. Most Americans had never heard of this town until 2012. That year, a horrifying news story emerged from Steubenville. A group of high school students, including members of Steubenville High School’s vaunted football team, sexually assaulted a teenaged girl at a party. Steubenville adults were nowhere to be seen, it seems, as groups of students drank heavily at various parties around town. The victim, already drunk, left one party to go to another, accompanied by a handful of football players. There she drank even more and became incapacitated. After a while, the group left the party to go to a third, and then to someone’s home. In the car, one of the assailants removed the victim’s shirt and sexually assaulted her, while others took pictures of the assault. At the house, the assailants took off the rest of her clothes, then two of them sexually assaulted her again. Once again, the whole incident was caught in pictures.
What followed was as shameful as the initial assault.