For those that haven’t visited Tokyo before (and maybe for some that have), the image of the city is a dense metropolitan space with high rise buildings and grand structures. There is also a lot of smaller building with offices and housing. However, the city is also pretty industrial. The bay has been a center for commerce for centuries and much heavy industry grew up along the waterfront and has continued to prosper. Haneda Airport is a short ride from Tokyo’s heart and is very convenient. It is also surrounded by industry. When in the terminal and looking across the airfield, you get a clear idea of the amount of industry so close to the city. This isn’t a one off either. Head south out of the city and you lots of similar industrial spaces.
We went to a bunch of villages in East Anglia that were picturesque but one was almost too much to be real. I have been to Lavenham before – I went in the early 90s when visiting a friend who was living in the area at the time – but I have to admit I didn’t recall much about it and when we got there, I wondered how I could have forgotten. It seems that the entire village is made up of buildings that were constructed by a film set designer.
Half timbered building abound. They are all really old but well maintained. Multiple colors are used to decorate the walls which I assume are probably made of some vintage materials. Building construction in those days used to use a lot of straw mixed with “binding agents” of a less than delightful origin. You don’t know that once they are done and I assume any more modern repairs make use of more pleasant ingredients. The age of the buildings also shows in the way that there doesn’t appear to be a right angle in the place. Everything is at odd angles. It really is something special.
It is not hard to understand why tourists will visit the place. It is just what someone from overseas would imagine an English village to be. I certainly won’t so easily forget it this time. Not sure how I did before!
While you are not allowed inside most of the buildings at Bodie, you can walk right up to the windows to take a look inside. This is one of those times when photography can really help. The windows are not cleaned so there is a layer of dust and grime on them. With bright sunlight above, it is hard to get a good view of the inside. However, a wide angle lens pressed right up against the glass, possibly including a spare hand to cover a particular reflection, means that you get a far clearer view. A little tweaking of the contrast in Lightroom and the interior shots look far better than what you recall seeing.
Consequently, I was able to see a lot more of what was inside some of the buildings when we got home. Whether it was disused beds decaying, ceilings coming apart or the interior of a schoolroom, you could see a lot of what was left behind. Some of the buildings showed a great deal of what had been there before. The dining and pool tables in the hotel, the exercise equipment at the Oddfellows Hall or the shelves in the shop all told a story of a life long gone.
Part of our schedule while staying at Mammoth Lakes was to visit Bodie. If you are not familiar with it, Bodie is a ghost town not far from the Nevada line. It was once a mining town and quite a booming (and hairy) place but the demise of the mining left the town devoid of a reason to be. Much of the town was lost to fire but a significant number of buildings remain in pretty much the condition they were when their occupants left. This includes a fair number of interior fixtures and fittings in place.
The Park Service is careful to protect what there is so most of the buildings are closed up. You can look through the windows and there is a tour of the stamping mill. Bar a few places, everything is constructed from wood. The environment has had some effect on them but they are still mostly in good shape. You can see which ones were better constructed at the time. They certainly hold their shape well while some are either collapsing or at least pretty askew.
A few brick structures are around. The bigger ones still seem to be hanging in there while some of the smaller ones have collapsed. Not sure whether this was a result of age or maybe the odd tremor has taken a toll. While the big brick buildings make some sense based on their usage, I was interested in the smaller ones. Was this a status symbol in old Bodie to have a brick structure? I imagine shipping in the materials was a bit harder than for a lumber house and whether the skilled labor was around, I have no idea.
Getting to Bodie requires a trek of about 16 miles from the highway. The last three are on a rough track which can be pretty rough in parts. If you have something suited to rough roads this will be no problem but a regular car takes a bit of a pounding. Fine if it is a rental but a bit more troublesome if it is your own! However, take it easy and it is worth the effort.
This is a piece that will probably lead to me having another go at something. In this case, these pictures were all taken with my phone. It was an opportunistic thing but I shall make the effort to go back with some more camera options at some point before too long. Oakland is one of those cities that has been around for quite a while so it has some interesting architecture mixed in amongst the more boring city center buildings. A short walk from the office at lunchtime takes you passed a few of them.
There is a great art deco feel about some of the buildings. The intricacy of the carvings and the colors of the stone make for some great looking places. Also, a couple of the theaters are really old school and they just look great. Very close to the office is a split where Broadway and Telegraph go their separate ways. The difference in angle is not substantial and you can be a few blocks further up and they really haven’t diverged much. Consequently, Oakland has its own version of the building fitting in to a tiny plot. New York may be famous for this but I think Oakland’s version is even more extreme. See what you think. Now to come back with more time and better lens options…