elevator watching

elevator watching, photo by gsgeorge.

Geoff writes: Renaissance Center elevator, holding at the 72nd floor for fireworks spectators. They passed out 3D glasses for whatever reason. Maybe the future was so bright it needed to be in 3D? See this bigger in his Detroit slideshow and also check out the Independence Day slideshow from the Absolute Michigan pool.

Wikipedia says that Independence Day alias Fourth of July alias The Glorious Fourth alias The Fourth is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Of the signing of the Declaration, John Adams wrote to Abigail:

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

Thomas Jefferson, served with Adams on the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence and observed that a groups of people from great nations to town councils will always have disagreements. He nonetheless spent much of his life serving the cause of creating an enduring nation. He made a point that I think could serve governments who are locked in petty disagreements while our country and citizenry face serious threats at home and abroad, economically and environmentally that require action immediately:

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.

Hope you all get out and have fun, and if you have a chance to talk to an elected official at a parade, let them know what you’re looking for. And whether you have that chance or not, take some time to work to make the world become what you think it should.

The Cutting Room Floor

November 19, 2009

God and Automobiles

God and Automobiles, photo by g. s. george.

Yesterday on Absolute Michigan we featured Generation Y Michigan, a project of Michigan Radio that is probing why young adults leave Michigan (or buck the trend and choose to stay). While poking around, I found an engaging feature by Colleen Hill of Pixelgawker that features the photography of Geoff George (a regular on Michigan in Pictures). It’s titled Editors and Image Makers: On Photographing Detroit, Part 1 and begins:

One of the most important jobs in the media, that of the editor, often goes unseen. A well-edited film is seamless in its delivery. There are no awkward cuts or pauses, and the plot transcends time and distance effortlessly. Recently Detroit has been a prime topic of interest both in the national media and in film. With the copious number of photographs and footage of the city circulating the Internet and television, I can’t help but wonder, what is the edited version of Detroit that resides in the minds of the most of Americans? What are the parts left behind on the cutting room floor?

Read on for a lot more! About the photo above, Geoff writes:

This is the memorable and ironic view that greets every motorist traveling south on I-75 towards downtown. Thousands of these motorists are surely suburban GM workers on their way to work every day, and the irony of this chance alignment is hopefully not lost on them. In the background, the Renaissance Center, Detroit’s tallest building and GM World Headquarters. In the foreground, St. Josaphat, a 105-year old still-functioning relic from Detroit’s heyday. Detroit is the Motor City, but the sins committed here cannot be forgotten or forgiven–from the hundreds of murders every year to the construction of a freeway system that divided and destroyed vibrant and working neighborhoods. Hopefully this image will one day have different associations.

For me, it is a powerful view that is quintessentially Detroit. I’m sure it’s been photographed hundreds of times, but the balance and contrast between Detroit’s largest and most infamous glass skyscraper, a struggling community church, and the freeway that cut a swath across the city and acted as a runway for white flighters provides me with endless fascination. I hope you will find it equally stimulating.

You can see a whole lot more in Geoff’s the city on the strait: detroit set (slideshow).

the core at night

the core at night, photo by g. s. george.

When not vanquishing evil, it appears Spiderman likes to indulge in a little photography.

You can (and should) see Geoff’s photo bigger in the Detroit Nighthawks group slideshow.

72nd floor / 2008 fireworks

72nd floor / 2008 fireworks, photo by g. s. george.

Geoff took this from the 72nd floor of the Renaissance Center during the Detroit River Days fireworks (formerly Detroit International Freedom Festival). He explains that we’re looking down onto the Detroit River, Hart Plaza and Jefferson Avenue. The entrance to the Detroit-Windsor tunnel is seen at the very bottom. In the distance, the Ambassador Bridge spans the Strait of Detroit. Windsor, Ontario Canada can be seen behind the fireworks at far left.

Geoff is obviously one of the many photographers who have a deep love for Michigan’s largest city. Introducing his the city on the strait: detroit set (slideshow) he writes:

a city without bounds, connected to the world and to its vast country by an aquamarine strait nestled between five of the world’s largest freshwater lakes. its capital, industry, and population developed so rapidly that it imploded under the pressure of social strife, and today Detroit stands as a living urban document of the capabilities–and failures–of the American people. But the city chugs along, and its million-odd residents continue to embrace the city’s many cultural and historical vestiges–those links to the past that may, one day, be used to revitalize and reignite the city’s vibrancy and industrial prowess. already signs of that reemergence have appeared, and its only a matter of time before these majestic structures, occupied and abandoned, end up as a pile of rubble or an icon.

Michigan in Pictures has some more Detroit Freedom Festival fireworks pics (from 2006).

Copper Harbor Fireworks, with Northern Lights

July 4th, 2006 by aragirn

This morning I looked at fireworks photos from this year’s Independence Day fireworks displays at Sylvan Lake, Muskegon, Schoolcraft, Detroit, Traverse City, Lansing, Bay City, Jackson, Wyandotte, Lost Lake Woods, Rockford, Ann Arbor, Flint, West Branch, Kensington Park, Detroit and even my hometown of Leland. They came in classic red, white and blueunderstated yellow, even black & white. There were photos of the crowd, the fireworks barge, photos from who knows where and even one in my inbox from Saginaw. Had I had the link for the Michigan Fireworks page, I could have driven around to some of them!

In the end, I thought it best  to wait until next year to allow folks to upload their photos from July 4, 2007 (and the 3rd, or whenever your town celebrates) and look to last year.

When I did, I realized that there’s nothing that can compare to watching the July 4th fireworks celebration at Copper Harbor, Michigan and having the Northern Lights come out.

The David Stott Building - Lego VersionThe David Stott Building - Actual Version

David Stott Building, Detroit by DecoJim & The Stott by detroitsky

On David Stott Building at MOC Pages, Jim Garrett writes:

This MOC represents the David Stott building, an Art Deco skyscraper that was built in Detroit during 1929 at 1150 Griswold Street. The design of the original building appears to have been influenced by Eliel Saarinen’s 2nd place entry in the 1922 Chicago Tribune building design contest. The David Stott was designed by architects Donaldson and Meier. The building is named after a Detroit businessman who owned a mill and was a boardmember of several other companies. The building remains one of Detroit’s 10 tallest skyscrapers to this day.

Follow that link to MOC Pages for all the details on Jim’s nearly 8′ tall, 54 lb. creation and check out Jim’s Lego Architecture set for more views of this and other skyscrapers.

Wikipedia’s page on the 37-story David Stott is pretty sparse, as is the Stott @ Skyscraper Page. Emporis says the Stott is Detroit’s 13th tallest building. Model D rates the structure #7 on its Top 10 Downtown Buildings of Detroit article and says that the height seems almost exaggerated to be well over 500 feet tall, because of how thin the tower appears and how the setbacks which begin on the buildings 23rd floor, seem to gracefully go on forever.

Here’s a Google map of the location of the David Stott Building (1150 Griswold – at the corner of Griswold & State). Geoff George has a photo of the David Stott mapped as well. You can get more views of the David Stott Building on Flickr.

Michigan Christmas Wishes

December 25, 2006

Fishtown Christmas

Fishtown Christmas, photo by farlane.

I’m wishing for…

blue skies
more snow
the time and wisdom to get out and play in all that snow
a bit more snow
and, if it’s not too terribly much trouble, peace on earth.

Hope the season, the year, your life or the fat guy in the red suit brings you what you’re wanting, needing and hoping for.

place of the sauk

place of the sauk, photo by gsgeorge.

Today’s post springs from a critique by Lawrence Drouillard of a photo of Saginaw that we posted this spring


Now, I happen to like that photo quite a lot, but it’s certainly not a photo that shouts “move yourself or your business to Saginaw or just drop by for a visit” as a photo like this one by Geoffrey George does. (view larger). Since the other picture is the first thing that pops up on a search for “saginaw michigan photo”, we probably better address that.

The Saginaw Library details the history of Saginaw and says that there is archaeological evidence Paleo-Indian nomads in the Saginaw Valley from 12,000 years ago (some of the most valuable archaeological sites in Michigan are in the area). Woodland cultures including the mound-building Hopewell Indians settled along the Saginaw River. According to the library, name Saginaw is derived from an Ojibway term “O-Sag-e-non” or “Sag-in-a-we” that means “to flow out” and probably refers to the outflow of the Saginaw River into the Saginaw Bay. However, there are also those who believe that Saginaw is derived from Sagina’we’, signifying ‘the country or place of the Sauk’.

The library’s history goes on to explain how the American Fur Company established a trading post on the west side of the Saginaw River after the War of 1812, and how Saginaw City was founded by Norman Little in 1836. Both the article and Wikipedia’s entry on Saginaw, Michigan detail how Saginaw’s easy access to waterways served to fuel growth as Michigan’s massive white pine forests were felled and shipped around the nation in the 1800s. Soon after the close of the lumbering era, a new industry: the auto industry.

In Saginaw, the Jackson, Wilcox and Church Company produced carriages to be drawn by horses, and later produced components used in motor vehicles. This was eventually acquired by General Motors and formed the basis for its Steering Gear division. Additionally, General Motors established foundries and other manufacturing facilities in Saginaw. The early development of automotive production within Saginaw would set the course for the future economic circumstances of the City. (click for photo from the early automotive industry in Saginaw)

Modern day Saginaw has faced major challenges due to manufacturing job loss, but community leaders are actively seeking new industries through initiatives such as those listed on The Saginaw Valley. You will also want to explore the area through the Saginaw Chamber of Commerce, the Saginaw Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau and the City of Saginaw, Michigan.

You can see where this picture was taken (along with many more) on the Flickr photo map of Saginaw, MI and also see more photos from the past and modern day in the Saginaw, Michigan group on Flickr. Please also feel free to add your own thoughts on Saginaw or links to more information in the comments!

Lay aside your cloak, O Birch-tree!
Lay aside your white-skin wrapper,
For the Summer-time is coming,
And the sun is warm in heaven,
And you need no white-skin wrapper!”
Thus aloud cried Hiawatha
In the solitary forest,
By the rushing Taquamenaw

~from The Song of Hiawatha

photo by Allan M

Tahquamenon Falls, U.P. Michigan
Tahquamenon Falls, U.P. Michigan, photo by by Bluejacket.

Blue Jacket, who took the above photo of Michigan’s largest waterfall in May of 2005, writes:
Located in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, these are the upper falls. This is the land of Longfellow’s Hiawatha. Hiawatha built his canoe “by the rushing Tahquamenaw”. The amber color is caused by tanin leached from the Cedar, Spruce & Hemlock in the swamps drained by the river.

Upper Falls
Tahquamenon Falls – Upper Falls, photo by heidigoseek.

Heidi’s pic from September of 2005 seems evocative of the solitary forest.

Upper Falls
Upper Falls, photo by jamierytlewski.

Upper Falls is one of a set of pics of the Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls taken in February of 2005 by Jamie Rytlewski.

The DNR has a page for Tahquamenon Falls State Park but Exploring the North’s page seems a lot more welcoming and says:

The Upper Falls is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. It has a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. A maximum flow of more than 50,000 gallons of water per second has been recorded cascading over its precipice.

Upper Tahquamenon Falls
Upper Tahquamenon Falls, photo by gsgeorge.

In dry times, as Geoffrey George writes, the water can be little more than a trickle.

Here’s a link to more Tahquamenon Falls photos & information from Michigan in Pictures (also see the waterfall tag).


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