Contra Dancing

Contra Dancing

Friday night was a busy night. Laura wanted to go to her favorite restaurant, the Lazy Goat, and I wanted to go dancing. We did both.

Many years ago Laura and I were very active with the Harvest Moon Folk Society, which sponsored a contra dance once a month.  We started dancing with them when they were just getting started at the Stone Center at McPherson Park, moved with them when they started at Slater Hall, and continued  when they finally found their home at the River Falls Lodge up near Jones Gap.  For whatever reason, we stopped going to the dances.  Perhaps it was because River Falls was a bit further away, or perhaps it was just because we got out of the habit. Regardless, it’s been probably twelve years since we’ve been to a dance.

Which brings us to the present day… Continue reading “Contra Dancing”

Slave Songs of the United States

This past week one of the ETV channels was rerunning an episode of History Detectives. This particular episode had been produced to air during Black History Month, and featured stories about African American history. It originally aired in 2008, and I remember seeing it once before.

In the first segment investigator Wes Cowan visited Avery Clayton, president of the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum in Culver City, California. Clayton had found an old song book from 1867 entitled “Slave Songs of the United States,” and wanted to know if it might be the first collection of slave spirituals. The rest of the segment involved Cowan’s investigations into the origins of this collection.

Given my interest in old hymnals, this segment really caught my attention. There were other connections, as well – the investigations took them to Cal State Dominguez Hills, where Laura did her undergrad work, and to the sea islands of South Carolina. Continue reading “Slave Songs of the United States”

Fun with Anaglyphs – Part 4

anaglyph still life

In the previous parts of this series I looked at ways of creating anaglyphs with Photoshop, both from old stereoscopic images and from a set of two images shot with a hand held camera. But what if you’ve already got a photograph and want to “fake” a 3D image? Well, I think I’ve worked out a method of doing that, too.

So far I haven’t found any tutorials online for creating fake anaglyphs in Photoshop. I did find Jim Long, who has done an excellent job of converting 2D images into 3D cyan-red anaglyphs. Jim as quite the gallery not just photographs, but also of classical art rendered both as stereoscopic images and as anaglyphs. Here’s his version of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa:

I don’t know what process Jim is using, but he manages to maintain color on the images very well. He also has a link to a supplier of 3D glasses with one of the most extensive inventories I’ve seen. Continue reading “Fun with Anaglyphs – Part 4”

Fun with Anaglyphs – Part 1

Civil War. First Black Regiment, South Carolina 1st, Massachusetts 54th.  "Glory Regiment"

This week I was looking for some resources on the South Carolina Digital Library ( when I saw that they have a new collection online. The collection is from the USC library, and is a collection of stereoscopic images of South Carolina.

The images were taken with a twin lens stereographic camera during and just after the Civil War. Most of these are of the Charleston area, and many show the devastation of the war, with ruined buildings seeming to be a favorite topic.

These images were meant to be viewed with a stereograph viewer, similar to the one seen below:


The image card would be placed in the holder, and the off-set images merged into a 3D view in the viewer. When I was growing up we had one of these antiques and a collection of cards, and I loved looking through them. Continue reading “Fun with Anaglyphs – Part 1”

Wolfram Tones

WolframTones- An Experiment in a New Kind of Music.png by RndConnections on Aviary

I’ve not had much chance to play around with Wolfram Alpha. I know it’s an amazing computational engine, and can solve math and many other types of problems. I just haven’t had much need for it, although I can see that it would be a fantastic tool for students. I have, however, spent a few minutes looking at Wolfram Tones. It’s a pretty cool online music composition toy that can kill a bit of time.

The tonal patterns are based on a computational formula developed by Stephen Wolfram in the 1980’s. As such, they tend to be fairly random. There is a degree of control over the sound, however. You can pick a style from a list as follows: Continue reading “Wolfram Tones”

Rethinking Panoramio

Last post I was singing the praises of Panoramio for location-based photo sharing.  I’ve uploaded a bunch of photos, and had 250 approved for Google Earth.  I was quite flattered.  The selected photos included some of my best shots, and covered the entire US, from Florida to Maine, to Washington State. …and as of this … Continue reading Rethinking Panoramio