Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Shippensburg Community Fair

It's Fair Week here in Shippensburg, and like all summer fairs in farming country, the Shippensburg Community Fair emphasizes four things - cows...



and food provided by every church and volunteer organization in the area.

There are also garden produce and home goods, but those areas were still closed when I was there at lunchtime. So I'm going back after supper tonight so I can get shots in the Home Goods buildings and shots of the rides all lit up. So there'll be a Part 2 to this post. Stay tuned!

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Missed Anniversary

Yesterday was the 42nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing but I forgot about it, so I'm playing catch-up today. Above is a shot of Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon, and below is archival footage of those first steps.

And the perfect music for celebrating humanity's first venture onto a new planetary body - Isao Tomita's 1974 synthesizer realization of Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune. Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Potpourri - A Butterfly, Mandela's Birthday, and the 405

I got this macro shot of an Eastern Comma butterfly along the Dykeman Walking Trail on the way to work yesterday.

Happy Birthday Tata! Today is Madiba's (Nelson Mandela) 93rd birthday. Let's have a party!

And in honor of the disaster that never happened - i.e. "Carmageddon" - here's a short (3 min.) movie that achieved legend status on the Internet back in 2000: 405 - The Movie. Enjoy!

Photo © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, July 15, 2011

Castles in the Air

Photo © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Despite the heat and humidity I took a walk down to the Dykeman Wetlands Park and Walking Trail. The air was full of butterflies and dragonflies, and some even sat still long enough to a picture or two. No macros here (I couldn't get close enough), so all shots are via the zoom, mostly set at a focal length of 400mm. And since the light was so bright and contrasty I used my circular polarizer filter, so the colors are a bit more intense.

Meadowhawk dragonfly

Cabbage White butterfly

Blue Dasher dragonfly

Common Whitetail dragonfly

Tortoiseshell butterfly

Calico Pennant dragonfly

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Monday, July 04, 2011

An Annual Event

"... and amber waves of grain." (Okay it's still green, but it'll be amber grain in a couple of weeks.)

Yes, faithful readers, it's that fateful day again. For those of you fairly new to this blog, I have a particularly loud bee in my bonnet, and I let it out for a spin every U.S. Independence Day (aka Fourth of July). That bee is - we need a new national anthem.

I don't like "The Star Spangled Banner". It's a chest-thumping, militaristic poem about a particular battle early in our history, set to a British drinking tune, which explains why it's so hard to sing - you have to be drunk to sing it, and that rise up to the high note (... o'er the laaaaand of the freeeeee...) was where they raised their flagons high in the pub and spilled beer all over themselves. It doesn't say anything about the country, the people, and what the country is all about. All it's about is barely winning one battle. And as the character Belize says in Tony Kushner's Angels in America: "The white cracker who wrote the National Anthem knew what he was doing. He set the word free to a note so high nobody could reach it." (Yes, Francis Scott Key, the "poet" who composed the lyrics, was pro South, pro slavery, from a slave-holding family from Carroll County, MD.)

My suggestion for a new national anthem is "America the Beautiful". The words were written by Katharine Lee Bates, an English professor at Wellesley College, in 1893 after a trip from Boston to Colorado Springs. The music was composed by Samuel A. Ward, a church organist and choirmaster. Unlike "The Star Spangled Banner", "America the Beautiful" is meant to be sung in a reverent and respectful manner and actually praises America for its beauty and principles. Let's face it, it's just a much more pleasant song, both lyrically and musically, than the current national anthem.
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassion'd stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.
America! America!
God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.
O beautiful for heroes prov'd
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country lov'd,
And mercy more than life.
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine.
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.
Here's a beautiful orchestral/choral setting:

Of course, those of you in the audience who know me well know that my own favorite setting of "America the Beautiful" is the one by the late, great, never-to-be-forgotten Ray Charles. And in my never very humble opinion, instead of starting sports events off with wannabe superstars butchering an already botched piece of music, they ought to use those giant video screens in every arena and stadium and play one of the many videos of Brother Ray singing this song. Like this one:

Happy Fourth everybody!

Photo and text © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Deck Perspective

It was too hot and humid to go on much of a hike today (I had today off), so I got these macro shots of the back deck emphasizing perspective. Oddly enough, given the movement of the grain and all in this wood, these didn't work well at all in black & white. Oh well...

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger