Sunday, May 23, 2010

Only Surviving Images of the Scarritt Home

The Reverend Nathan Scarritt owned a home in Westport (still standing) where he resided until the Civil War threatened the peace of that small burg... he then moved to property he owned in what is now the Historic Northeast part of Kansas City where he built a log cabin. His property then was outside the city limits of the young town and in the early 1870's he desired a better place to live and commissioned the building of a home at what is now the Northeast corner of Sunrise Drive and Gladstone Boulevard. Behind the home down the hill was a pond and springs dotting the area across from the home (still exist) were used by the family to keep butter and some other perishables cool. The picture above is an architects watercolor painting of what the finished house would look like... it's dated June 20th, 1872. Below is the only known photograph of the house dated somewhere in the 1870s. Only one mantelpiece was salvaged from the mansion and it is currently in the Scarritt/Royster home, built 1897, just two blocks west of this site. The name of the architect is in the lower right corner but can't be read.... need CSI to do their thing.
Looks like the carriage house is in the rear attached to the main building and there appears to be a hot house on the side. It's impossible to say for sure which way the home faced... although, IF that is present day Gladstone Boulevard in the foreground the house faced either west or north... I'd bet on west...

There are no visible remains of this home now.... it would be fun to do amateur archeology on the site but I think the present occupants of the three homes there now would probably object.

Friday, May 21, 2010

"Kiosk" of French Derivation for Scenic Byway Application

The information kiosks for the Cliff Drive Scenic Byway are up and informing. Located at the west entrance to the Drive, The Paseo Gateway, and at the entrance adjacent to the Kansas City Museum they display information about the City Beautiful Movement which created our early system of Parks and Boulevards and also a little history of the area. There are three informational sides and a fourth with a cork billboard for residents to post notices....The word "kiosk" which I always thought was Russian because all their words are weird is actually an amalgam of French (kiosque) Turkish (kosk) and Persian (kus)... all meaning "pavillion."
I think they are finely designed and match their surroundings nicely.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

God Was Doing Frank Gehry Before Frank Gehry Did Frank Gehry

The architect known for the Disney Theatre loves petals in metal..... and I like his work. But, it's been done before... organically. I posted a picture yesterday of a bud. That shot was taken early yesterday morning. Today it's a full fledged rose bloom with a tenant.
Talk about quick..... built in 1 1/2 days and new tenant right upon completion.
These were taken with the 105mm Micro Nikkor with and without the TC17E extender. The extender allows me to get the same magnification from further back thus allowing minimal intrusion on the critter. Tripod used in these shots.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Of Trees and Wildflowers and Leaves Oh My

You've probably guessed that I love nature.... the part that doesn't tear up your house but just looks pretty. These first three shots were taken in my back yard... the Japanese Maple is very happy this year and the rose is just waiting for one more warm day.

My favorite tree in Kessler Park and the view the tree has of downtown. A couple more years and the skyline will only be seen in winter.

The bluff above and moss below.
Couldn't find the name below....

Below, invasive and evil Bush Honeysuckle tries to make amends with pretty and fragrant blossoms. Above, Multiflora Rose....

Virginia Bluebells above Daisy Fleabane below.

The roadsides have never been greener.... above/ below, Columbine.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Les Fleurs du Jour

Acquired a new lens this week so HAD to test it. Nikon 105mm macro. Sharpest lens I have ever owned. Headed out to Kauffman Gardens for some closeup work. The Gardens right now are at their peak of Spring beauty. 4801 Rockhill Road diagonal from the Nelson Gallery.... free. Technical info as we go along.All photos were opened in Photoshop.... no intensification of color was done. Vignetting was applied in a lot of the shots to provide more emphasis to the feature flower.
Those with relatively shallow depth of field (focus) were shot at f5.6 to f8... others that are deeper in focus were shot at f16.... none were shot with smaller aperture although the lens will stop down to f32.

All images were shot with available light; no flash used.
Tripods are not allowed in the garden (something I approve of) so in doing macro photography hand held a fast shutter speed is essential. Many of the close up flower shots were made at ISO 800 or 1000 to enable a shutter speed from 1/500th all the way up to 1/4000th. The lens has image stabilization built in but even that is not useful at higher magnifications.

With any warmer weather the roses will go crazy.... probably peak in the next 10 days.
Lady bug hiding.

This lens will go 1:1 on its own without any extension tubes.... however you end up very close to your subject to get that ratio. (Merely means that the object you're photographing is the same size on the image as it is in real life.) For insects I will probably use a Nikon extension... the TC-1.7 E... so I'm further back. Although most insects don't really care....

This lens also has a gorgeous "bokeh" which refers to the manner in which the lens renders the out-of-focus background. Very smooth and accurate colors with a gentle blur.
In addition to vignetting I burn in portions of the photo to emphasize the main subject. As in photojournalism though I don't remove or artificially add anything to the images so they are what you would see if you were standing beside me.

All shots were taken with a Nikon D3 and the 105mm. Not using zoom once in a while makes you think a little harder and it's healthy.

All of the plants have their names nearby so you don't have to guess what they are like you do on this blog.