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mathematician, composer, photographer, fiddler

3 Aug 2018 | categories: Photographs, Archaelogy, Film

The Standing Stones of Stenness

Standing Stones of Stenness (2018)

Possibly the oldest henge in the British Isles – the Standing Stones of Stenness in Orkney, Scotland. The Stenness Watch Stone is visible in the distance. The Ness of Brogdar, Ring of Brogdar, Maeshowe, and Skara Brae are nearby but not visible.

Compare my photo with the following still from Powell & Pressburger’s first collaboration, The Spy in Black (1939).

Conrad Veidt with standing stones in The Spy in Black (1939)

In it Conrad Veidt is sneaking with a motorcycle between moonlit standing stones in Orkney, on his way from his U-boat near The Old Man of Hoy to a clandestine rendezvous in a house overlooking the British Grand Fleet in Scappa Flow.

Conrad Veidt pushing a motorcycle up a cliff  in The Spy in Black (1939)Conrad Veidt with motorcycle near The Old Man of Hoy in The Spy Black (2018)

Title card for The Spy in Black (1939)

I incidentally once dressed up for Halloween as one of Veidt’s earliest screen roles – the somnambulist in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).

Besides Powell & Pressburger – and of course Kubrick – the sunset at Stenness also made me think of “The Mathematician’s Nightmare” from Bertrand Russell’s Nightmares of Eminent Persons and Other Stories (1954).

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Bierstadt Lake

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Albert Bierstadt’s <i>Mount Corcoran</i> (1876)

Bierstadt Lake is perched on a moraine near the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park. After spotting the painter’s surname on a map, Vitaly Lorman and I climbed 600 feet to reach the moraine, then made our way through a dense pine forest to arrive at the lake, which instantly called to my mind Albert Bierstadt’s 1876 painting Mount Corcoran. [The lake is incidentally 7 miles from the Stanley Hotel, where in 1974 Stephen King wrote The Shining.]


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A drumlin eroding into Lake Ontario.

Chimney Bluff (2017)


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Der Himmel über Rochester

Der Himmel über Rochester (2017)


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Letchworth Lower Falls

Letworth Lower Falls (2016)


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