Thursday, April 30, 2009

Friday "My Town Shoot Out" - Architecture

“Cites need old buildings so badly it is probably impossible for vigorous streets and districts to grow without them. By old buildings I mean not museum-piece old buildings, not old buildings in an excellent and expensive state of rehabilitation - although these make fine ingredients - but also a good lot of plain, ordinary, low-value buildings, including some rundown old buildings.” - Jane Jacobs from her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

This week's assignment comes from Jen. Great subject, Jen.

I did not have a lot of time, and with the exception of one photo, I stuck to the older structures. Also, since I have not done a filtered photo assignment in awhile, I thought I would give you some extra eye candy. I did not filter one photo because I did not want to lose the detail in the ladder.

Crisfield is a small water town. We do not have big fancy buildings, but we have some old ones with a lot of history. And some of our churches go way back to the 1800's. We did churches several weeks ago, so I included just a few here because they are so historic.

We have some beautiful historical homes in Crisfield. I three that are no longer private residencies. I mostly pointed my camera at the small quaint homes that were likely once the homes of the successful wartermen and businessmen who gave Crisfield the title, "Seafood Capitol of the World." Enjoy!

This was the childhood home of Governor J. Millard Tawes. Construction began in 1887. The home is now owned by the Crisfield Heritage Foundation. It is available for weddings and other special events. Visit the foundation for more on its history.

I wish I had a date on this building. No one was at the shop when I took this photo, but I know it is a very old building with a lot of history. That does not sound very exciting, so I hope the filtered photo will add a little spice. Remember to click on photos to enlarge. If anyone wants to send me flowers call Barb. Hint, hint.

Immanuel United Methodist Church.

Many of the older homes have ornate work, indicating they once belonged to successful people.

My Fair Lady Bread and Breakfast, built in 1900. If you are coming to Crisfield, call ahead and make reservations. It is a beautiful place. They were also voted the 2008-2009 winner for the best Bed and Breakfast by an Internet site.

I love all this detail.

Condos on the bay. The new with the old. Great view from up there.

Bradshaw Funeral Home. I did a closeup of one section. This is gorgeous place.

The old Armory. I love the "castle" look.

All three of the above photos are of Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church, built in 1892.

A lot of the older homes have stained glass windows.

The history of the bay still lives in the old buildings.

Built in 1900, this used to be the Federal Office Building. The 1st floor housed the U.S Post Office and the 2nd floor was the U.S. Customs House for the Port of Crisfield. I am sure those were some exciting days.

I am not sure how long MeTompkin has been around, but the building, near the bay, is historic. MeTompkin works crabs and oysters. Oh, they have been around a long time, I am just not sure how long. I need to learn my history. Tim, I will trade you photography lessons for history lessons.

The above three photos are of the old Crisfield Bank.

I just liked this!

This is my friend's house. I think it is so different. It is a two-story all stone house. I honed in on one corner.

Remember when small towns had furniture stores?

A detail from the outside of Crisfield Masonic Lodge. The inside of the building is just beautiful.

The Baptist Church is doing a little sprucing up. I did not filter this photo.

St. Paul's Church, built in 1908, is just outside of Crisfield, in Marion. I saw it today for the first time when I was headed to an assignment. I had to stop and shoot it.

"Buildings, too, are children of Earth and Sun." - Frank Lloyd Wright


Next week's assignment comes from Gigi in Brunswick, Georgia. She spelled it all out in detail: "For next weeks May 8th Friday's Shoot Out what about Gardens, you know, Vegetable Garden, Flower Garden, Butterfly Garden, Botanical Garden, Zen Garden, hey even the Olive Garden! Your own, your mama's, your neighbors, the city's. Garden supplies, Garden tools, Garden ornaments, Garden furniture. Remember "No Rules" your own interpretation!"

That sounds like fun, Gigi. if anyone has any questions about our Friday shoot outs, shoot me an email. All are welcome!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Somerset County Arts Council

"Painting is easy for those that do not know how, but very difficult for those that do!" ~ Edgar Degas


The Somerset County Arts Council holds an annual art exhibit for our younger students each year, exhibiting their art for one month. I am a member of the council, and today I was visiting with Earlene Colburne, the executive director, and thought I would snap a few shots of the artwork and building.

I love to watch kids paint or work on art projects. There are no rules in "kid world" when it comes to art. And they are all talented in their own ways. Alas, as they grow older, the majority of them put down their crayons and brushes forever.

I wish art were not an elective course. There is no telling how many great artists the world has lost to other lines of work. People who retain their natural art skills as they age will always have their art, no matter where they are in life. Art is always something you can pull out of your back pocket and play with. It is therapeutic and good for the soul.

Thanks to the Somerset Arts Council for giving the children a place in the limelight.


Chairs from the old Crisfield theater.

This is Earlene, hard at work. After she got off the phone, I gave her a little Q&A:

What is your pet peeve?

We always have something that needs to be done, so I guess my pet peeve is calling people to fix or do things, and not having them call back.

What is your favorite article of clothing?

Tee shirts in the summer and sweaters in the winter.

What is your favorite color?


What is your favorite piece of jewelry?

A diamond heart necklace my husband gave me a few years ago on Christmas.

Who is your favorite artist?

Claude Monet.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

The Outer Banks of North Carolina.

What is the one thing you could not live without?


I am with you on that last one, Earlene!


This is Katie, keeper of the artwork. Katie refused an interview.

This is Mama Girl. Her art was featured in the gallery a few months ago.

One of Mama Girl's pieces.

This is Earlene with my husband. My husband is a folk/outsider artist (his style is typical of the way a child would paint), and he exhibited his Vietnam War art at the gallery last November(in honor of Veteran's Day). My husband paints both Vietnam War paintings and serene paintings of life around our bay. Below are examples of each. My husband was a USMC door gunner in Nam, and received the Purple Heart.



Thanks to everyone who helps keep the council going!

The Somerset County Arts Council has monthly exhibits that range from fine art to kiddie art. They also hold an annual Just Folks Festival on the Crisfield City dock every July 4. All are welcome and admission is Free! Free is good.

If you would like to exhibit or join the council call: 410.968.2787.

Mailing address is:

26430 Burton Avenue
Crisfield, Maryland 21817

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." - Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ospreys in Crisfield, Maryland

"I think he'll be to Rome
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
By sovereignty of nature."
- Shakespeare: Act 4 Scene 5 of Coriolanus

The ospreys have returned to Crisfield, and are busy making their nests.

I captured these ospreys fighting over a nest in the bay while we were out on our boat. Ospreys usually return to the same nest every year. You only see two ospreys in the photos, but there were actually two pairs fighting over the nest. One pair was trying to guard their fish, which it appears fell apart and dropping into the bay. You will have to blow up the photos to see the details.

Besides the channel markers shown in the photo, there are many man-made nesting platforms around Crisfield; a delight to tourists and locals, especially when they can see the babies.

Fish make up 99 percent of the Osprey's diet. Prey is first sighted when the Osprey is 10–40 metres (32–130 ft) above the water, after which the bird hovers momentarily then plunges feet first into the water. It is able to dive to a depth of one metre (3.3 ft). The angle of entry into the water varies with the nature of the prey; steeper, slower dives are used when pursuing deeper, slow-moving fish, while long, quick dives are used for faster surface fish. After catching the fish considerable effort is needed to get airborne again. As it rises back into flight the fish is turned head-forward to reduce drag.

Generally, Ospreys reach sexual maturity and begin breeding around the age of three to four years, though in some regions with high Osprey densities, such as Crisfield and other areas around the Chesapeake Bay, they may not start breeding until five to seven years old, and there may be a shortage of suitable tall structures. That is why we have so many man-made platforms.

Ospreys usually mate for life.

Interesting facts:

The Roman writer Pliny the Elder reported that parent Ospreys made their young fly up to the sun as a test, and dispatch any that failed.

Another odd legend regarding this fish-eating bird of prey, derived from the writings of Albertus Magnus and recorded in Holinshed's Chronicles, was that it had one webbed foot and one taloned foot.

The Irish poet William Butler Yeats used a grey wandering Osprey as a representation of sorrow in The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems.

The Osprey is depicted as a white eagle in heraldry, and more recently has become a symbol of positive responses to nature, and as such has been featured on more than 50 postage stamps.

"Soon as the sun, great ruler of the year,
Bends to our northern clime his bright career,
And from the caves of ocean calls from sleep
The finny shoals and myriads of the deep;
When freezing tempests back to Greenland ride,
And day and night the equal hours divide,
True to the season, o'er our sea-beat shore,
The sailing osprey high is seen to soar,
With broad unmoving wing, and circling slow,
Marks each loose straggler in the deep below;
Sweeps down like lightning! plunges with a roar!
And bears his struggling victim to the shore."
- Alexander Wilson (1766-1813)

Visit us in Crisfield, and be sure and bring your binoculars and cameras!

Osprey facts from Wikipedia.