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Look Familiar?

I happened upon Newsweek’s college guide at a newstand today, and did a double take.  Here is the cover (alas, I can’t find a bigger version online):


You can see a larger, but cropped, version of this photo here.  I looked very quickly, but oddly, I didn’t see any mention of Williams in the issue itself.  Moreover, I couldn’t even find any text informing curious readers about the location of the cover photo …


Bird’s Eye View

View from Bing

I’ve never thought to try out Bing until yesterday, when I was linked to it, but Microsoft’s Google-killer has at least one thing that Google Maps lacks: Satellite photos from the side. It’s a very neat feature, and I strongly suggest rotating the images (from when Baxter was still standing) to all three views towards the north, west, and south. If you look up your home address, you might much more detail than available in this image.


Pot of Gold

Pot of Gold

Special thanks to “Nuts” for finding this beautiful photo by Akemi Ueda ’11. On the link, Akemi says:

After moving into my room for the summer, I got to see this amazing double rainbow from the fourth floor of Morgan. Awesome end to the day.

And an awesome photo, Akemi. Hope you are having a great summer!


Public Affairs has a Flickr account

While browsing photos on Flickr tagged with “Williams College,” I came across an account for the Williams College Public Affairs office. Wow! They seem to have posted their professional photos that they took for College publications. For instance, there are many pictures from Commencement 2009. Also notable is this great collection of photos of music professor David Kechley beaming, while posing with different instruments. An example:

This is a great step forward for Williams embracing technology. If they put all of their excellent, professional-quality campus photos online, it will be a treasure of a viewbook for anyone looking for pictures of Williams. An example of this kind of thing: the Library of Congress.


What did you do over Spring Break?

One of the odd things about Eph Planet is that you can, for no particularly good reason, find out what numerous alumni are doing over vacation. Vacation posts have piled up in the feed over the last week, so here are some quick links (quite a few of these links go to pretty pictures):

Your humble blogger, employed in the financial industry, hasn’t had a chance to go anywhere yet, but if Barney Frank is all right with it, I’ll be taking some time off to go see my nephew and 3 week old niece for a few days.

Happy spring, everyone. Feel free to share/link your travels in the comments below.


Spring Street Demolition

From the Images Cinema blog:

The Hopkins Funeral Home is being demolished today. Also on the list to be demolished this week, the former Subway / Purple Pub building. hopkins

If anyone will be taking pictures of the Purple Cow in its last days of existence or during demolition, please post in this thread.


Kevin Koernig ’05 and his little friend

Picture of the day comes from this article about a baby giraffe born this Monday at Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, MA:


(h/t aparent)


Shots from one window (2)

Here is one of my favorite pictures from Williams, along with the other pictures that I took from the same window as a winter study project. (This was what I did for the actual assignment, unlike the other two of these posts, which I did after the class ended.)

Here is another, very different (and not as nice) view of the same:

Williams students are certainly fortunate to have such nice views out their dorm windows. I certainly appreciated it.


Shots from one window (1)

During Winter Study 2006, I took a photography class with Professor Silva, and one of our assignments was to take multiple pictures of the same scene in different conditions. This is the first of several posts where I will show the fruits of these labors.

Compare this snowy scene to the sunny scene just two (!) days later:

As they say, if you don’t like the weather in New England, wait 10 minutes. Here are two more views of the same scene:


Williams photos: Spring Street at night

Spring Street, all decked out for the holidays. I took this picture as a time exposure, with the camera sitting on the ground on the little island there. Now I have a tripod.


Williams photos: Reading on the quad

One of the nicest things to do at Williams is to be outside. If you must study (and everyone must), try to do it outside, or at least with a view of the outside. I had a couple of cognitive science classes held under a tree near the spot where I took this photo, and though it caused one of my classmates to flinch periodically when bits of tree fell on her head, it was a nice atmosphere. (I do not recall anything about the content of the classes thusly held.)


Williams photos – Winter in Williamstown

I am happy to give David a break. Here is a nice photo of Williamstown in the snow. I took it a few years ago, but I am sure it looks about the same now.

(I will be posting a few of these pictures. You have seen them here before, if you have been reading EphBlog long enough, but it is the only content that I have to offer.)


EphBlog set on Flickr

Thanks to EphBlog readers’ generosity, I have a Flickr Pro account. One of the purposes of this gift was to make my pictures easier for EphBlog readers to browse and enjoy. I recently realized that I had not made all of my EphBlog photos into a “set.” (A set makes it easy to look at a group of photos without having to do a lot of back-and-forth clicking, as is necessary with simply tagging them.) I have now done so: EphBlog photo set. It should include all the pictures I posted on EphBlog over the years. A few are missing, but not many (I am adding them as I find missing ones). So if you’d like to reminisce back and take a look at those pictures, there they all are. Browse, and enjoy.

By the way: In my opinion, the best way to ensure that the Flickr sidebar contains a good sampling of Williams photos would be to require that the pictures are from six different Flickr accounts. Then you won’t get five blurry running pictures, five underexposed dance pictures, or (gasp!) five fall foliage pictures.


Wintry Light

As winter approaches, one of the things I remember most from my time in Williamstown is the mesmerizing, ever-changing play of the light on the campus buildings and the Purple Valley mountains.

(copyright Dread Pirate Ruth; linked to her flickr stream)



(copyright Ledges; linked to her flickr stream)


Sign on the ’62 Center (a/k/a on EB as Trump’s Pompadour)










(copyright stenz; linked to his flickr stream)

One of my favorites from the williamscollege flickr pool.


Vintage Chapin Hall

Postcard of Chapin Hall, circa 1910

This is a postcard of Chapin Hall, dating back to about 1915. Constructed in 1911-12 and named in honor of Grace Chapin, the wife of Alfred Chapin of the Class of 1869, the building was originally called “Grace Hall.”  

Until I saw this photograph, I missed out on a lot of the ways this building shares features and motifs with both Stetson and the Williams/Sage pair (I seem to remember that Chapin was constructed first among that “neighborhood” group). 

I am experimenting with posting pictures (thanks to help from Ronit, Diana, and others), so please bear with me. My goal is to pull up from time to time and post some of the photographs from the “williamscollege” flickr pool that rarely come up on the EphBlog sidebar.


Walk Me Home

It is autumn, the time of year when I am most in love with the world, happiest to live in the northeast, and most prone to daydreaming.  I walk and imagine that, once upon a time, this was the season when communities gathered in the town square to celebrate the harvest over spiced drinks, firelight and dancing, fueled by the special vigor that only an impending potentially deadly winter can generate.

Last year was the most beautiful autumn of my remembered life:  it began for me with a visit to Ann Arbor when its leaves began to change, a return to be outdoors for class three days a week in Ithaca, and then home to catch New York’s peak during Thanksgiving (I took a very long walk in the golden parks).  I anticipated the season again eagerly this year, when I live on Cornell’s campus.  Fall came earlier this year and it seems unlikely that New York will be as beautiful when I come home, but I am hoping against reason that I am wrong (can anyone there please let me know?  Are the maples yellow now or bare?)  I have been looking forward to Thanksgiving since September. Some of my most sacred rituals of the year are getting a haircut and walking my neighborhood the morning before, the dinner with my extended family at grandpa’s, and a football game in the park with high school buddies I see that day only the day after.

This season I have enjoyed a daily walk across the prime parts of Cornell’s famous campus.  Today, I invite you along.

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Tech Questions About Photographs

I know there’s a tech thread, but I thought it would be helpful to consolidate tech questions and answers about pictures in a separate thread. I’ve been thinking about it because of the trouble I had with the medal pictures yesterday.

Here are my questions:

1) When we switch to a new blogging program, will the link to flickr that displays photographs tagged  “williamscollege” still work? If not, can we set up a similar system for automatically displaying pictures from the pool on a sidebar or in the banner area?

2) I opened up the pool and noticed that there are lots of photographs that are rarely, if ever, posted, while others seem to loop around with frequency. The newest postings tend to be displayed the most often, which makes sense, but the display rate among the older ones is quite inconsistent. Does anyone understand how the application works and how to make it work better? Or should we try something else?

3) Would it work better, or be better for some reason, if EphBlog had its own flickr pro account (unlimited picture storage for $25/year – but I’m not sure people would upload their pictures to it so that extra step might doom it)?

4) Is there a primer on posting photographs within EphBlog threads for a very non-techy person like me (preferably mac/Safari/iPhoto sensitive instructions)? No use answering that if the primer won’t work with the new blogging program we are going to start using; I’d rather wait and get answers that wokr with the new program. Does the picture have to be at the start of a thread or is there a way to slice in a photo by placing it in a comment instead of a main thread opening post? How do I control size? And how can I vary text size so that I can put in an appropriately-sized caption? How do I place the photo “below the fold” on a thread posting?

[And, although it is not particularly relevant to pictures except as it applies to captions,  would someone please tell me how to block quote?]

If others have questions about photographs and this blog, I hope they will add them here.

Thanks in advance to my rescuers.


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

(L to R) Dick Swart '56, Chris Gondek '90

Dick Swart, ’56 and Chris Gondek ’90, Portland, OR November 8, 2008


Literally, Once In A Lifetime: The Ghost Orchid

The one blooming ghost orchid we found in Floridas Fakahatchee Strand.

Am I the first Williams graduate ever to see this ultra-rare bloom in person?  The ghost orchid, while perhaps not as rare as the most obscure of plants (some species are down to numbers in the dozens), it sits at that ultra-sexy nexus of rare and alluring.  It is considered by many to be the most sought-after orchid in the country, world famous for its elusiveness and ethereal beauty.

About a month ago, near the end of my work at the Fairchild Tropical Garden in Coral Gables, FL, I took advantage of my closeness to some of the (very friendly) botany graduate students there to combine forces with one of them.  Brett, a tropical botany Ph.D. candidate at Florida International University, had been seeking the orchid as a hobby for five years.  He knew where to look; I had a good camera and closeup photography knowledge.  We set out one Saturday morning for the Fakahatchee Strand, the only place in the country where the orchid grows (the only other habitat in the world is in Cuba).  I have heard that the world’s estimated population is 2,000, but the locations of only a couple hundred are known.  Their locations are not made public, to discourage poaching, and only 5-10% bloom every year.  Since an unblooming ghost orchid occupies a surface area about the size and color of a single sycamore leaf in a dense jungle, the odds of finding one are infinitesimal.

For the full story and sights from this small but famous swamp natural preserve, read on.

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Picture of the Day

We hope you have noticed the recent addition to the EphBlog sidebar – the pictures are randomly drawn from over 2000 Williams-related photos on Flickr. Clicking through on these pictures will take you not only to some excellent photography, but snippets of life like the following from “stenz”:


Chadbourne on the Williams College campus. My senior year, my friends and I lived on the top floor of the house.

I first kissed my wife here after watching a really awful movie (Event Horizon), which she will never let me live down. I kept a different schedule than my friends (up late and at the art studio and then slept in until lunch), so I was usually gone while crazy things were happening, but I was there in the morning when everyone else was in class. That meant I usually was the one who got in trouble with the cleaning person and forced to clean up things I wasn’t part of – but I figured it was just karmic retribution for other events in the past for which I surely had been a terrible person.

Some notable clean-up events I can recall were after an apple war (someone was nice and left out a bowl of apples, which my suite mates were less nice about [w]hen throwing around the house), another was a jar of spinach dip going into my toilet, a few brooms and such being thrown out windows or awful pictures off of the internet being hidden in various places, and then the big one was after nationals a bunch of drunk xc guys absolutely destroyed my room and finalized it by coating it all with Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion – the room never really recovered from that one.

If you have Williams-related photos you’d like to share, we encourage you to contribute them (tagged with “williamscollege“) to Flickr.


Thanks for your generosity

A few months ago, Jonathan Landsman posted a nice tribute and request for donations to thank me for all of my Photo IDs and other Williams photos. Jonathan’s idea was to give me a “pro” account at flickr so that I could upload all of my pictures and have more flexibility in organizing and storing them, and possibly also allow me to get other photography equipment. Thanks to readers’ generous gifts, I now have a pro account and enough money to renew this account in the future (it is $25 a year).

I have been working on uploading all of my Williams photos to flickr. When I upload them, I can give them tags, which describe what is in them. Here are some that might interest you (you may have seen some of the photos before if you are a frequent EphBlog reader):
EphBlog, Williams, Track, Student Center, Williams-Mystic, Photography winter study class. Here is a list of all my tags.

I am working on uploading all of my Williams pictures. Some of the categories are woefully incomplete right now, especially the running ones — I have hundreds of running pictures, of which only a tiny fraction are on flickr. I think I have put up all of my EphBlog pictures and scenic pictures of Williamstown, which you can access from the links above.

What to do with the rest of the money? I was planning to pool it with some of my own in order to buy myself a camera — the camera I have been using belonged to my parents and I knew I was going to have to give it back to them this vacation. But then for Christmas, they gave me a wicked awesome camera all my own. So now I don’t need a camera. And I received 3 GB of memory cards, so that should be enough. Thus, I am planning to use the rest of the money to buy:

1. A tripod. As in this picture of the Congo church, readers pitied me for lying on the ground to take nighttime pictures, and suggested EphBlog could provide me with a tripod. This may occur.

2. More years of being a pro on flickr. If I fail to renew my pro account, I can only see my most recent 200 pictures. This would be sad. I will probably pay flickr $25 a year from now on, and it makes sense for this money to come from EphBlog for a few years after I graduate, as long as I keep posting pictures of Williams and occasionally link from EphBlog to those pictures.

I’ll let you know when I have a full set of photos up, and when I spend more of the money. Thanks again, everyone.


First Snow

Friday brought the first real snow of the school year, and although it didn’t stick much on campus, the snow did stick at the higher elevations of the Dome and the Greylock Massif. Here are two photographs, the first of the Dome and second of the Greylock Massif.



The photograph of the Greylock Massif shows a particularly nice detail of the view from Paresky: the mountains and Congregational Church’s roof line echo each other almost perfectly when seen from the second-floor balcony, from which I took this photograph.


Williamstown from Mt. Prospect

Here’s a photograph I took earlier this week of the Village Beautiful from the summit of Mt. Prospect. The trees have been a bit slow to turn because of the recent mild weather, but the view was still fantastic.


Williams College Photos

Williams College Admissions

I was in Williamstown recently (the same weekend that Dave was giving his talk, except that I missed it to make it to a wedding). My wife, Katie Davis ’00, lead a discussion group at a teacher conference. While she did that, I wandered around campus taking photos.

Here is a link to my Williams College Flickr Set. I don’t know that any of them are anything new compared to the excellent work that Diana Davis ’07 has been providing us, but for those interested in such things, there you go.

I have about 1000 photos, literally, that I took that day and it is taking me some time to weed through them and find ones worth adding to the set – so it may grow over time as I try to squeeze in time to review them. I have been adding my memories/thoughts on various shots, please feel free to add any of your own as well.


A perfect viewbook picture


I am interspersing this one in the middle of all the construction pictures, because really Williams is beautiful; the construction does little to diminish that. Here are some students relaxing on the Science Quad on a beautiful fall day.



One of my favorite sights around campus these days.


Ephblog’s Gift to Diana Davis

Happy birthday, Diana! Just over two weeks ago, I posted a call here for donations towards a gift from Ephblog to Diana Davis ’07, whose awesome pictures have embellished this site for years. I asked people to make donations towards converting Diana’s free photo site with flickr into an unlimited pro account, which costs $25/year.

In total, contributions to Diana totaling $140 came in. Thanks to your generosity, we have enough to give Diana her first year of Flickr and make a substantial additional contribution to her “get a camera” fund (after borrowing her parent’s for her college years, Diana’s decided it’s time to get her own). The $115 leftover after purchasing her pro account will help her towards a good camera, or a nice accessory for it (get a good case too, Diana!). I’m sure she’ll let us know.


A Thank You for Diana Davis

Did you love pictures postings like this one of Pine Cobble, from our very own Diana Davis ’07?


Or this one of a little slice of semesterly life?


For many months, Diana’s taken and shared with us pictures both of the beautiful and the memorable mundane, snapshots not plashy enough for the alumni review or calendar but which capture real Williams in an invaluable way. And she made a game out of it for us.

Would you like to show your thanks for the years of weekly Friday photo ID posts we’ve all enjoyed?

Recently I asked Diana why she hadn’t added any photos to her flickr account in ages. She told me she had reached her limit: on flickr, a site for storing, sorting, and sharing maximum-quality digital photos, you can have a free account with a usage limit, like hers. If you do, you can use nearly all the site’s features, but only for 200 photos. Now, well all know Diana has many, many more than 200 photos.

My chat with Diana and wish to see more of her work gave me what I think is the perfect idea for how we can thank her. A yearly “pro” account on flickr is $25, and I think we should buy her a year to let her sort and share her work. She has “many gigabytes” of pictures that she wants to share but no way to store the high quality files, nor tag them so people in the pictures could easily see all the pictures of them or their friends. Flickr will let her do this, in fact it is probably the leading service for this purpose, and she already has work there.

If you are interested in chipping in any amount of money to get Diana the gift of a flickr account from all of us, please read the rest of this post. She, by the way, has no idea (until she sees this message) that we’re doing this). Let’s get a lot of us together on this and really show her our appreciation.

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Custodians shovel gym roof

An anonymous person with an east-facing window in Morgan gave me the following picture and commentary to post.


Bright and early on Sunday morning, Williams custodians were viewed shoveling snow and chipping ice off of the roof of Lasell Gymnasium. Surprised at being photographed in this endeavor, they cheerily greeted the camera-wielding student peering out at them from a window in Morgan East. Williams custodians always seem to be in the best of spirits.

There are five more photos, all by the same student, in the extended entry.

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