Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Exploring with WebUrbanist

So much to see...so little time. The people at WebUrbanist have done it again, with 'Urban Exploration Tips, Tricks & Guides'.

Especially the link to '30 Websites & Online Forums for Adventurous Urban Explorers' as the title suggests, it is a list of online resources for would-be urban explorers around the world, from urbex forums to photo sites and more, dedicated to abandoned places and vehicles worth exploring.
Gull lightship (from Derelict London)
Too many to list here, my only objection is that there are some dead-links, still heaps to observe and read about. Just do as they suggest and bookmark it.
Always remembering as WebUrbanist put it - 'Urban exploration (also known as ‘building infiltration’) is a risky sport at best and an illegal one at worst. While WebUrbanist can’t endorse breaking the law there is fortunately no law against reporting on it and some forms of urban exploration are fortunately legal, for those interested in exploring this illicit urban sport'.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Drive-by reading

Twisted Sifter's 'Picture of the Day' - a garage door painted like a giant bookcase in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Hollywood Hills.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Hold it right there

I've been neglecting Bibliophile for a while, so here are some artistic shots of everyday objects in unusual senarios.

Sound waves are seen in ethereal splashes of red, blue, green and yellow in Fabian Oefner’s ‘Dancing Colors’ series. The movement of the coloured pigments is the result of music pulsing through a speaker, which is wrapped in thin plastic and covered in powder. When the speaker is turned on, the plastic vibrates, shooting the pigment into the air.

This bizarre form is actually liquid droplet captured in motion with a high-speed flash, micro controller and a knack for precise timing. Artist León Dafónte Fernánde uses water, cream, milk or a combination, sometimes thickened with sugar gum or glucose, tinted with food colouring to get these unusual results

German photographer Markus Reugels achieves a very similar, blown-glass-like effect in his own high-speed water droplet photography. Again, the water is slightly thickened to make it just dense enough to dance in the most unexpected of ways. Reugels creates all of these various patterns by delaying the time and amount of droplets and taking the image at just the right moment.
Floto + Warner momentarily make elusive forms within coloured liquid seem three-dimensional and static. Getting these dramatic images just right is no easy task; many attempts are made to toss the fluid into the air so that it looks just right against the hills and desert of northern Nevada.
 Yes it is 'Frozen in motion' by WebUrbanist.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Shadow title

Book of Shadows: 2D shape cutouts cast silhouettes on the book’s pages, taking paper cut-outs a step further.
Off the tracks
A children’s book with an interactive twist - ‘Motion silhouette’ from its Japanese creators, Megumi Kajiwara and Tathuhiko Nijima, engages readers through pop-up pieces that require lighting to animate shadow pictures on each page.
The story changes depending on where the shadows fall on the page, and shadows move around the page, as you manipulate the light source and how you hold each page. The idea is to add elements of manual animation that are necessarily subjective – each person will hold, turn and highlight the cutouts in different ways.

‘Motion Silhouette’ is actually a sequel to another book, simply titled ‘Silhouette’, a work which similarly uses slightly less-developed pop-up pages to create a more basic multi-dimensional experience.
More images at WebUrbanist.

Mobile Thing 4. Check it out

Up to "Thing 4 - Maps and checking in"
This Thing covers the uses for the GPS function in smartphones and mobile devices that locates your position on a map, and the 'real time' tracking apps (I like the Live Traffic cameras).
One of the Discover tasks was indoor maps of cultural institutions - so i visited the Google Street View, and as I'm going through a sci-fi phase at present, I checked out the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library and particularly liked their merchandising display.
Would really like to see this style of technology for confusing places like airport terminals - get familiar with the layout prior to arriving there.

"It's not just books that can be found here!"
And "Have you considered geocaching as a library program / allowing interaction with the library as a destination (eg. British Library)?"
Yes we had considered it and unfortunately had to abandon the idea as our location was considered too close to another cache by the Site Administrators, so created a Munzee instead (currently muggled & will work on it after the building works finish).

We have our branches marked on Google maps with a widget on each branch's page, just need to do the same for the Mobile Library sites.
I do prefer the layout and options of the Google Maps app to the default iPhone one, it is interesting to see the different quirks.
Getting my head around Foursquare and 'checking in' for libraries rather than coffee shops! (though I could combine both?!)
The disadvantage of all these apps which refer to your current location, is their battery zapping power.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Decaying Detroit

Most of the images you tend to see of Detroit are of the central business district - grand buildings decaying, but this series entitled 'GooBing Detroit' a tumblr blog, uses Google Street View Time Machine to follow the fast transformation of family houses from cute and cheerful suburban residences to overgrown vacant lots.
Exeter, northern Detroit, 2009, 2011 & 2013
Much has been said about the decline of a once great city, and the seemingly diminishing chances of a revival. The metropolis has lost 25% of its population in the last decade. The city’s 78,000+ 'feral houses' - abandoned, looted, burned-out - are the stuff of legend, seeming to revert back to a wild state the way domesticated animals tend to do when left to their own devices.
These Google Street View images of Detroit from 2009 through to 2013 paint a poignant portrait of decay in the city. 
Rampant growth - Healy St, north of Hamtramck, 2009 & 2013
The Street View images are often astonishing in the rapid transition in a span of just a few short years. A stretch of houses may have cars parked in the driveways, toys on the lawn and other signs of life all around in the first image, while by the third or fourth they’re barely discernible among the overgrowth.
While these images really drive home how much Detroit has lost over the last three decades, many residents aren’t ready to give up hope, despite the fact that the city’s population has declined from a peak of 1.8 million to just 700,000. There are areas of the city that still thrive, but the question of an overall plan (either to break the city into manageable pieces or reinvigorate it as a whole) remains an open one. In the meantime, it seems to almost be an industry with urban explorers and photographers recording what is left before nature claims it back.
Remove the residents and homes rapidly deteriorate, Arndt, East Side, Detroit, 2009, 2011 & 2013
Next post more of those grand decay photos you associate with Detroit.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Crack open a dystopia

Don't judge a book by its cover, but I did pick it up because of the cover - the title scratched on a surface which looks authentically flaky, rusted and verdigrised. It it 'Ship breaker' by Paolo Bacigalupi.
He says he was inspired by the work of Robert Heinlein, and especially 'Citizen of the galaxy'.
In 'Ship breaker' it is post-peak oil, the planet's natural resources have been exhausted, global warming is an actuality. Antarctica has disappeared, the Arctic is patrolled by displaced fierce piratical Inuits, the major cities have drowned.
On America's Gulf Coast, grounded oil tankers are being broken up for their constituent parts. Here Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota to big corporations - and hopefully live to see another day.
But when he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: strip the ship for all it's worth (which is the lucky strike of a lifetime) OR rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl heir to one of the biggest corporations, and which could lead him to a better life...
Yet, even for the swanks of the big corporations, the future is not all plain sailing, even here they must fight and manoeuvre to survive in a world totally different from ours. Here the divide between the rich and the poor is deeper than ever.
There is a sequel - 'The drowned cities'.
A dystopian post-apocalyptic young adult title, with a gritty background that portrays the struggles of loyalty, integrity and ethics.

Mobile Things 3 - emails

Emails, are pretty much indispensable now-days, virtually any business requests your email when signing you up.
Like us, even our eAudio/eBook supplier sends email alerts when your loan's about to expire or your reserve becomes available.
Have had Eventbrite and other similar organisations send me email reminders
For me, I have different emails configured for my different devices, and have used the camera function for a whole variety of uses, including photographing book covers and ISBNs to order later. That is when they don't appear via Bowker's 'Bookwire' app - the app that allows you to scan ISBNs, access book records and add titles to selected lists on the go. I've also added apps that will read both barcode and QR codes on the run.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Music memories

What are the chances - two of the sites that I monitor both featuring music location posts.
There is Twisted Sifter's 'Famous album covers superimposed onto their actual locations' This is Bob Egan again, see my earlier post 'The photography of music' that one was in New York, this one is a 'Now & then' of album covers in London, England.
Firstly there was the iconic one that everyone wants to emulate - The Beatles on Abbey Road. The cover photo of the Abbey Road album was taken on 8 August 1969 outside EMI studio on Abbey Road. And here, superimposed, is the album over the modern street, from Google Street views.
Personally I'd love the excuse to actually shoot on location rather than use Google from home. As I said it is iconic and there are a multitude of takes on the original, including a number with Lego.

 Then David Bowie as Ziggy from 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' recorded in 1972, the photograph was taken outside of 23 Heddon Street, a small, block-long, dead end street in central London, just west of Carnaby Street. Apparently photographer, Brian Ward, had his studio on Heddon Street and shot stills of Bowie using black & white film. The resulting pictures were later colourised to give Bowie an alien appearance.

There's Liam & Noel Gallagher on the Oasis What's the Story, Morning Glory? album. The cover photo was taken on Berwick Street, a street featuring several popular record shops in the Soho section of London in 1995.

The Clash's self-titled The Clash, the album cover photo location is an outdoor stairway near the band's rehearsal studio in Camden ("Stables") Market in Camden Town in northern London, shot in 1977.

And, in addition to the Bob Egan post is this one from Gondwana (who don't immediately shout 'music'), but here is their link to an Interactive map which pinpoints every New York City reference in song. There are virtually a countless number of songs that refer to New York - from its neighbourhoods to familiar & famous streets - and now you can see them all on a map, and link to the song on YouTube, from Greshwin to The Killers. Apparently Paul Simon's 'Me & Julio down by the schoolyard' refers to a location between 48th & 49th Avenue. There are about 200 songs referenced.