Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Street Oddities ...

A few odds and ends regarding the Streets Of Omaha ...

I started writing this and it got larger and larger and larger and larger, so this will be Street Oddities, Part One. :)

For this item, I'm claiming "Fair Use" of some copyrighted map sections, for illustrative purposes and for review. I also expose what appear to be a few obvious (and not so obvious) copyright traps. :)


Street Necrology is a favorite topic of those "forgotten" sites, and a good example is Chicago's Ogden Avenue, which is a fairly major thoroughfare, a portion of which was closed and earthed-over some decades ago. The map of the Gold Coast area shows the northeast tail end of Ogden Avenue as well as evidence that it once continued southwest through the neighborhood.

Well, Omaha has its own Ogden Avenue in a sense, and that is ...

Mayfield Avenue appears in two places on the map and in real life. First, from 72nd. Street just south of the intersection of 72nd. and Burt, northeast to the intersection of 69th. and Western Avenue.

Second, from Franklin Street, just west of 66th., northeast to the intersection of 66th. and Blondo Street.

On a current map, there's no obvious connection between these two sections of Mayfield Avenue.

Looking at the aerial view, however, there's evidence that the two sections of Mayfield were indeed once connected. The path through the neighborhood is obvious. (Compare this aerial view with that of the former right-of-way of Ogden Avenue above.)

The former right-of-way can be clearly observed as a greenspace which cuts a diagonal swath through the blocks between Western and Franklin.

The age of the trees in the right-of-way indicate that this closure was most likely 30 years ago or so.

A few sections retain their original paving, and some remnants of the former curbs still exist.

The section between Western and Lafayette, looking southwest from Lafayette Avenue, is the most obvious, and the path of the once-street is clearly evident.

Where the names have no streets ...

This one does indeed appear on many maps of Omaha. In particular, it appears on maps sourced from Navteq and some from Mapquest. I've seen it on Yahoo Maps, the Garmin GPS, and a hardcopy fold-up map at Barnes And Noble.

The only problem is that the street does not exist!

According to several maps, Querulous Street runs westward from Park Wild Avenue to 10th. Street, between Pierce Street and Forest Avenue.

What does exist between Pierce and Forest is an un-named alley, which does not appear on other maps. It does not appear on the latest Google Maps, credited to Tele Atlas:

If you program your Garmin to take you to 802 Querulous St ...

... it will give you turn-by-turn directions to get there!

This is Querulous Street!

The alley to the left of the white foursquare is what they claim to be Querulous St., viewed looking east from 10th.

Here's another view of the alleged Querulous Street, looking west, uphill from Park Wild Avenue.

But wait, there's more!

A half-block remnant of a closed section of 9th. Street does run slightly northward from what would be Querulous Street.

Looking south from Pierce, we can clearly see the former right of way of 9th. St. south from Pierce to, uh, Querulous Street.

So, what's the real "Rest Of The Story" behind Querulous Street?

My guess is that it's a copyright trap. Yes? No?

Class? :)

This one is either a poorly-cloaked copyright trap, or else a typographical error. Again, there's no such street, but it appears on the Navteq maps.

Obvious copyright trap! Not only is there no such street, there's no room for such a street! Lillian dead-ends toward a sharp embankment leading down to the Harrison-Giles interchange.

An appropriately-named copyright trap!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Under a blood-red sky ...

"Redscale" is a technique which was accidentally discovered by users of color sheet film, when film was loaded improperly with the substrate (acetate) side facing the lens.

(As an aside, for some reason, at least on the monitor I'm testing on, most of these images look REALLY bad on the previews, but normal when opened with a mouse click. I'm going to go ahead and publish this, but to get a good view of most of the photos, you may have to open them.)

The result is that the red-sensitive layer of the film, the layer usually closest to the substrate, is well-exposed, the green-sensitive layer, normally in the middle, is underexposed, and the blue-sensitive layer gets very little exposure.

As expected, the images have a strong red cast, with oranges and yellows in the highlights, very few blues and greens except for an occasional bright green peeking through.

Redscale has become trendy in some circles, being seen as somewhat artsy, and is embraced as part of the lo-fi (low fidelity) genre of photography. Lo-fi can best be described as a shift away from technical perfection in a photograph.

Special "redscale film" is available commercially for several dollars per roll, but in actuality, all this happens to be is regular 35mm color film wound backwards into a 35mm cartridge.

Total slop shot from the breakfast table in the restaurant, looking out:

All red except for the yellow light bulbs ...

The more pleasing results seem to occur when there's enough exposure to tickle the green-sensitive layer of the film, resulting in more yellow. Fans of this technique say to overexpose by one stop to compensate for the lack of exposure of the blue-sensitive layer.

If I try this again (BIG if!) I'll overexpose a bit more.

Green stoplights are sometimes bright enough to shine through and appear as green in the redscale image:

Just for fun, I tried creating a B&W image from one of the redscale shots, using only the red channel.

The result was not unlike the look and feel of many of the urban scenes I took back in my late teens, when I was first getting into photography, using Kodak Tri-X, such as this example, shot in the late 1960s, not to admit to my real age. :)

Redscale is one of those things I'm glad I tried once, but I really don't see much of a practical use for it.

Technical information: Canon QL17 GIII, Kroger (Ferrania) el-cheapo house-brand 200 color film. (All except last B&W.)