Friday, December 31, 2010

A Salute to You on New Year's Eve!


I hope you have had a healthy, happy and prosperous 2010 and that the new year will bring more of the same.  Or better!

Thank you for visiting this blog in the six months it has been around.  Please come back next year and see more of Hartford.

Here you see Marquis de Lafayette saluting the Connecticut State Capitol.  You saw them in the summer and fall, too.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jack Likes to Shovel Snow

My neighbor Jack is almost 80.  That's right.  80.  He still plows his driveway and shovels his sidewalk.  Jack lives on a corner, so his sidewalk is twice as long as others.

Jack jogs daily.  He competes in road races and is looking forward to this summer's races when he can compete in the class for 80-and-up instead of the kids 70-79 years old.

Jack is outside daily in every season, planting and pruning, mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, painting his house and doing anything else he can think of to stay busy and break a sweat.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Elizabeth Park after the snow

The blizzard is over.  In Hartford, it wasn't as bad as the forecasters predicted.  The snow was only 8 - 10 inches, but the wind continued to blow so there are drifts.

It was much worse south of Hartford.  New York City received 29 inches of snow.  Most people in Hartford stayed home on Monday, so the roads were surprisingly empty.  I had fun.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Hartford finally got some meaningful snow on Sunday.  It is a blizzard, with winds gusting up to 35 miles per hour.  A snowfall of 12 to 20 inches is predicted before the storm ends on Monday afternoon.

I expect to be running around on Monday seeing what pictures I can make.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mark Twain

The first volume of Mark Twain's three volume autobiography -- published one hundred years after his death in 1910 -- is a best seller.   Would you have guessed that a dense 760 page autobiography by a man who died a century ago would be #3 on the New York Times' Hardcover Nonfiction bestseller list?  Not me.

Mark Twain was a long-time resident of Hartford.

Yesterday's Hartford Courant ran a good story about the Twain autobiography, which the history- or literary-minded among you might enjoy.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Party

Long-time friends. 
Egg nog. 
Hors d'oeuvres.
Cheese and crackers. 

Christmas carols.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Traditional New England Christmas

The owners of this beautiful and classic New England house in Farmington have the Christmas spirit.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A New Record

This might not be interesting to those who visit just for photography, so you can come back tomorrow, OK?

Last night at the XL Center in Hartford, the UConn women's basketball team won their 89th straight game, 93-62 over Florida State.  That is two straight undefeated seasons and national championships (39 games each) and the first 11 games this year. 

The previous record for any college basketball team -- men or women -- was 88 consecutive wins back in the 1970s at UCLA coached by the legendary coach John Wooden.  Tuesday night put the UConn women's team at the top. 

UConn is led by senior Maya Moore, who scored 41 points in this game, her career high.

The game was sold out so I couldn't go.  The photos are taken off the television screen, so credits go to ESPN2.

Holiday season photos resume tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Plays, Ballets, Concerts and More

If you can't find some entertainment during the Christmas season, you're not trying.

The Elbow Room posts the playbills in its entry.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Nothing very profound to say.  I just liked the dark red of the candles and the shimmering light on the reindeer.  Seen at Crate & Barrel.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Miss Porter's

Miss Porter's is a private school for girls.  It is on Main Street in Farmington.  This was three weeks ago.  They might have pulled the dead flowers out by now.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy is one famous Miss Porter's alumna.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Decorations

I think the owner of this New Britain house has Christmas decorations on his lawn all year long.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Weekend Reflections: The Stilts Building

This downtown office building is called the Stilts Building, for obvious reasons.

Why did they build it on stilts?  I really don't know.

For more Weekend Reflections, go visit James' blog, Newtown Area Photo, by clicking here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

UConn Health Center

The University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington is one of the three major hospitals in the Capitol Region, along with Hartford Hospital and St. Francis Hospital.

Hartford and St. Francis are private and UConn is state-funded.  Hartford and St. Francis are in urban neighborhoods and UConn is suburban.  They seem to have a fierce rivalry. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bow Ties

A display of shirts and bow ties at Stackpole Moore Tryon, a fine clothier on Trumbull Street in the center of downtown Hartford.

Did I mention that Hartford is a bit conservative?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Out-of-Town: Village Lights

Last week I was in Columbus, Ohio, for a couple of days.  On Sunday night, Village Lights took place in German Village, a historic in-town neighborhood south of the downtown.  The streets were lined with luminaria, and thousands of people from central Ohio strolled the neighborhood from 6 to 10 p.m.  Restaurants and stores were crowded.  Neighbors vied for attention with their holiday lighting displays.

One gentleman has a bright red house.  The inside is also painted bright red, from the floor to the two-story high ceiling.  Every year he has 8 - 9 friends help him install a 19-foot tree in his dining room.  The tree was covered completely with lights and ornaments, and the dining room was decorated festively.  It was a sight to behold in the Christmas season!

On the night of Village Lights, the house was open to passers-by, who lined up 20-deep to walk through it.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Crate & Barrel has a happy firefighter manning a fire engine in the Blueback Square window display.  He looks like he is enjoying his work.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Holiday Shopping

This is the view just inside the front door of L-C-R, a store offering high quality dinnerware, furniture and other household goods.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hartford Stage Company

Hartford Stage Company began in an old grocery store warehouse in 1963.  It is now housed on Church Street in downtown Hartford in a building designed by Robert Venturi.

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is playing now, as it does most Decembers.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekend Reflection: Nutcracker Suite

Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite is a holiday staple here in Hartford.  Is it popular where you are?

Hartford productions of the Nutcracker tend to be a lot tamer than the Black Swan ballet with Natalie Portman that is getting so much buzz.  I'm OK with that.

This window display is at Stackpole Moore Tryon, a clothier in Hartford.

If you like reflection photographs, go to Newtown Area Photo every Friday.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Carolers

These carolers are spending the holiday season at Lux Bond & Green, a fine jeweler in West Hartford Center.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Max's Oyster Bar

I love this restaurant.  The fish is always fresh, the vegetables are colorful and tasty, plates are artfully presented, service is usually attentive, the place is full and spirits are high.

In an earlier post I mentioned that the Max Restaurant Group operates about a dozen restaurants in the Connecticut River Valley.  They are all different but they are consistently good.

I sound like a shill, don't I?  Hey.  I like what I like!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Another Modern Stone Wall

This impressive stone wall was erected about a decade ago.  By contrast with the homely hand-made stone walls shown two days ago, this wall was erected by professional masons who labored over it for a couple of months.

Now, I don't want to come across as too opinionated here, but I have never understood the logic of this asymmetric and wavy wall.  It stands in front of a very large and formal 100-year old house made of the same stone.  They certainly could use a wall for sound protection; the house is on a busy street with heavy traffic.  But, THIS wall?

I must lack imagination.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Modern Stone Wall

This stone wall is on display at Real Art Ways through March 20, 2011.  The artist's statement explains that in his stonewalls, minimalism, conceptualism and environmental art all find their common ground.
He says that he is interested in the New England stonewall as a metaphor; a metaphor for the conquest of the wild . . .  a metaphor for our democracy which was founded on labor, migration, individual determinaton, and communal vision . . . a metaphor for a sense of place; a metaphor for New England itself.

The artist?  I expected a nice traditional New England name like Caleb Loring or Jebidiah Applethwaite.

Nope.  Olu Oguibe.  I must become more open-minded.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Stone Walls

The drive into Hill-Stead (featured yesterday) is lined with stone walls.

Stone walls are an iconic feature of the New England countryside.  This part of the country is very rocky.  Before farmers could hope to tease crops from the land, they first had to do the back-breaking work of removing the rocks.  What did they do with all of those rocks?  Why, they built walls.

Tomorrow you will see a different kind of stone wall.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hill-Stead Museum

Theodate Pope was an architect at a time when few women had careers and even fewer were architects.  Working with the prominent architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, she oversaw the building of Hill-Stead, this beautiful house on 250 acres in Farmington, Connecticut.  It was originally a retirement home for her wealthy, art collector parents.  Later Ms. Pope and her husband lived there.

When Theodate Pope died in 1946, her will provided that the house should become a museum, maintained forever exactly as it had been when she lived there.

The house displays four Monet and three Degas paintings, as well as Mary Cassatt, Manet and other valuable paintings, just as they had been displayed while Ms. Pope and her parents lived there.

Friday, December 3, 2010

UConn 80, USF 54

The Connecticut women's basketball team played in Tampa last night, beating South Florida by a score of 80 to 54.  This was their 85th consecutive win.  It is the longest winning streak in women's college basketball history (two consecutive undefeated seasons and wins in the first seven games this year).

There were more UConn fans than USF fans, even though the game was at USF.  Many retirees support the team and southwest Florida is teeming with Connecticut retirees in the winter.

Maya Moore is the star, averaging 26 points per game.  Last night she had 14 points, which is good for most players but not for her.  At the next game she plays, her 9th point will make her UConn's all-time leading scorer, and she will still have about 30 more games to play before she graduates.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dry grasses

On a suburban road in a heavily wooded community on Avon Mountain.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Fields

I thought this was a good illustration of a field on a New England farm at a special Time:  in the early winter, after the harvest and before the snows come.

December's theme for City Daily Photo participants is Time.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hiding in Plain Sight

This is another beautiful house that has been largely unnoticed by passers-by during the summer because of the grand old trees that obscure the summertime view.

Now that the leaves have fallen, we can see this house's beauty until May, when the trees will leaf out again.

Monday, November 29, 2010

We can finally see it!

I could give you a long list of reasons why I hate the arrival of winter.  It is getting cold.  The trees are bare.  Did I mention it is cold?  And the ice, snow and slush aren't even here yet.

But, one of the good things is that, with most of the leaves gone, we can now actually see some of the beautiful houses that have been hidden by foliage during the summer. 

This is a pretty house in Sunset Farm, a quiet, private, forested community that is right off a busy main street in West Hartford, yet little noticed by passers-by.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Another pair to choose from

Thanks for your comments yesterday.  I learn about photography by listening to your thoughts.

Further up Mountain Spring Road in Farmington from the house shown yesterday is a beautiful white colonial house.  (There are many beautiful houses on this street.)

In the top photo, I wanted to show the whole house and its fence, since the entire house and its setting are wonderful.

Then again, the part that is really special and distinctive for colonial-era houses in this area is the entry way, i.e., the pediment, the double door and the gate.

Which would you have chosen to show?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Barney House: Pick One

The Barney House was originally owned by the family of a former governor of Connecticut.  More recently it was a conference center for the University of Connecticut.  About ten years ago it was sold and I believe it is now back in private hands.

Which of these three photos would you show?

The top photo emphasizes the house's elegant setting and its grandeur.

The middle photo was cropped to show only the central part of the first photo, in an attempt at a more "artistic"  presentation.

The bottom photo is a different picture, showing the great dane that came running up to scare me away.  This was intended to add some life.

So, if you were showing only one photo today, which would you show?  Or would you have run away from the dog?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Weekend Reflections: Well Dressed Men

It must be very disturbing for these two gentlemen.  They were dressed for the holiday parties, and then some cars drove right through them!

This is the window display at the Jos. Bank store on Lasalle Street in West Hartford Center.

You can see more Weekend Reflections on Newtown Area Photo every Friday.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell gained his reputation as illustrator of many covers for the Saturday Evening Post.  During World War II he produced many paintings that were distributed as prints supporting the war effort.  His Four Freedoms series was among his most famous; millions of prints were distributed.  This is Freedom from Want, from 1943.  The others were Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion and Freedom from Fear.

Frame Dimensions in West Hartford Center let me move this print into a spot where I wanted it.  I have had things framed there for years.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving today with family and friends.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hartford Stage Company

The stage of the Hartford Stage Company is usually off limits to photography.  But, recently the theater completed an extensive renovation and expansion, and they invited the public to visit (and take pictures). 

This picture shows actors during a rehearsal.  Regrettably, I didn't see the performance and it wasn't clear to me whether they were rehearsing the current show or an upcoming one.  So, I can't shed any light on what was going on.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bradley International Airport

Bradley International Airport (BDL) is the airport midway between Hartford, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts.  When you look on the Arrivals or Departures screens, look for "Hartford."  BDL serves passengers from Connecticut, western Massachusetts and even southern Vermont and eastern New York.  Southwest Airlines and Delta are the main carriers using this terminal.

With Thanksgiving week travel underway, the terminal today will be much busier than the scene here.  Why, someone viewing the same scene today might even see a tall photographer passing through!