For several years now my wife has wanted to try her hand at curling and with the excitement of the upcoming Winter Olympics we decided to give it a go.
I found a place about an hour from home that had a “Learn to Curl” session so I registered us along with our friends Bill and Jamie. Watching curling on TV made it look really easy. We quickly found out there was a little more to it. For me it was getting used to the feel of the ice at first. Then the slipperiness of your one foot that had the teflon under it so it would glide.
We had a really fun time with curling and plan to return for more lessons and hopefully get a little better at it each time.
Finished with exploring Henderson lake I reloaded all my gear into and onto my car and began the slow journey from New York to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Making a quick stop in Ticonderoga for fuel and food before crossing at Crown Point. There is no highway that runs west to east in Vermont so the 158 miles to my destination was slow but the scenery more than makes up for it. Leaving the Champlain Valley my favorite section of this adventure is on route 17 as you cross the Green Mountains and descend into the Mad River Valley. There are six hairpin turns I believe on this section of road.
I would spend the next several days visiting with friends and doing what I enjoy most. Roaming around Vermont and New Hampshire taking in their beauty. Over the past several years I have visited the town of Newport, VT and Newport has really grown on me. Nestled along the US/Canadian border, Newport sits at the southern end of Lake Memphremagog. Lake Memphremagog stretches 32 miles to the southeastern Quebec city of Magog. I hope to someday kayak parts of this lake which oddly enough is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. After a long day and as we were 200 hundred yards or so from the house my friends truck would lose its brakes to a ruptured brake line. All I can say is thank goodness it happened close to home.
On our way to Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch State Park we are climbing route 112 which is also called the Kanc (Kancamagus Highway) cresting near Beaver Pond we noticed smoke along the Kinsman Range. It appeared that a small forest fire had started and personnel were on the scene. Continuing on to Cannon Mountain we would take the tram to the summit. As the tram car climbed the winds increased quite considerabley and the temperatures dropped as well. At the top we made our way to the tower, a viewing platform where on a clear day you can see for over one hundred miles. The fog and clouds were rolling over the mountain tops playing a game of hide and seek with the sun.
Afterwards we stopped to check out the “The Basin”. The Basin is a 20 foot diameter granite hole at the base of a beautiful waterfall. Some say it had been eroded 15,000 years ago while the North American ice sheet was melting. Over time The Basin has been smoothed small stones and sand, whirled around by the Pemigewasset River.
Stopping in North Woodstock, NH at the Woodstock Station Inn & Brewery for lunch it was so sunny and warm at this point we chose to sit outside. I sampled some of their beers with my favorite being the 4,000 footer IPA. For lunch I would knock down their adult grilled cheese sandwich with a side of chili.
Heading back west over the Kanc we noticed there was a lot more smoke than earlier this morning. A helicopter was also on he scene making water drops on the mountain side. We would spend the next 90 minutes watching and photographing the efforts of all involved. I’ve never witnessed a forest fire of this size about (5 acres) at the time up close. Looking at the sheer rock cliffs one could see the firefighters trying to advance. The aggressive sound of their chainsaws cutting timber in efforts to battle the blaze could be heard echoing down below. The heat from the fire was causing slides and I could see trees falling. According to news reports that I have read there is speculation the fire was caused by a meteor strike which is unconfirmed at this time. As a note this section of the White Mountain National Forest is also part of the Appalachian Trail.
The next afternoon I would begin my long trek back home taking me 6.5 hours. The traffic on route 4 across Vermont was horrible and slow going. I was glad to be home!
This past weekend we traveled to Long Island to visit my sister who had been in the hospital, celebrate my brothers birthday and just spend some time with family. It was a nice weekend despite some medical issues my sister is experiencing.
With that said on Friday August 18th Julie, myself and the boys along with their cousin visited the Fire Island National Seashore and the Fire Island lighthouse. The weather was overcast and humid but a nice breeze kept things somewhat tolerable. In all the years I had lived and visited Long Island I never took the time to climb the 182 steps to the top of the light. This has been on my list of things to do for quite sometime now and finally I got it done!
Julie and I hope to return in the near future and do some more exploration along the seashore.
Last night at the Patchogue Theater on Long Island we had the opportunity to see for the first time one of my most favorite actors, singers and dancers perform on stage, Tony Danza. The show had a Rat Pack sort of vibe to it. He sang some classic Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and so forth. It was like we had been briefly transported to 1960’s Vegas. He told funny stories of growing up in Brooklyn and summers on Long Island in Patchogue as well.
Tony just has this charm about him that while you were seated in the audience you felt like you were family. He was funny, he tapped danced brilliantly and his voice utterly amazed. One of my favorites is a song Tony covers written in 1952 by Alan Brandt and Bob Hyames, That’s All. Tony also recently performed at the USO 75th Anniversary Armed Forces Gala & Gold Medal Dinner in New York back in December of 2016.
Perhaps best known for his starring roles on two of television’s most cherished and long-running series, “Taxi” and “Who’s The Boss,” Danza has also established himself as a Broadway star and a cabaret song and dance man. Danza most recently received rave reviews for his performance in the Broadway musical comedy, Honeymoon In Vegas. He has also starred on Broadway in the “The Producers,” “A View from the Bridge”, and opposite Kevin Spacey in “The Iceman Cometh.” Tony debuted his latest cabaret act, “Standards & Stories,” last year to a sold out audience at the world famous Carlyle Hotel in New York City, with The New York Times calling him “a live wire who tap-dances, plays the ukulele, tells stories and radiates irresistible charm.”
Growing up I had the Atlantic Ocean less than twenty miles away and the Long Island Sound a mile away and I’ve never been a beach person. However living so close to these beautiful waters the one thing that has always intrigued me are “Lighthouses”. There is something very romantic yet mysterious about a lighthouse and their keepers.
This past summer we had the opportunity to visit the Upper Peninsula of Michigan along Lake Superior. We found ourselves at Whitefish Point 73 miles northwest of Sault Ste. Marie, MI and the impressive Soo Locks. At Whitefish Point you have the Great Lakes Ship Wreck Museum and the extremely cool Whitefish Point Light Station.
At this point in our trip I was having a camera crisis of Biblical proportion. I had run out of film for one of my cameras and ordered more. The camera shop in New York City did not ship my order promptly and I never received the film. No biggie I thought to myself I have my digital camera so I’m all set. We get all the way to the Soo Locks and I’m just as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. Grabing my camera from the camera bag I turn it on, I compose my very first image of the largest lake freighter to sail the Great Lakes entering the locks. I depress the shutter release and the earth suddenly has come to a screeching halt. There it was in digital text, the dreaded Canon Error 33 message, my shutter had failed! East has now become west, up was now down and to say I was pissed is the understatement of the 21st century. Two cameras and none were functioning. If I had to submit to a blood pressure test at this point they would have admitted me. I resorted to using my cell phone and we eventually we went to lunch. After lunch I calmed down just a tiny bit but was still steaming. Getting ready to leave Sault Ste. Marie and thinking desperate times require desperate measures. As a last ditch effort I ran into one of the gift shops hoping the camera Gods would be merciful on me. Sure enough sitting on the counter of the gift shop was a Polaroid disposable camera. I Forked over the $8.00 feeling like I had just won a major award and literally ran out the door. We were now on our way to Whitefish Point. http://www.shipwreckmuseum.com
I have been going through some older photographs that I myself have made and others in my personal collection. I discovered these two images from 2011 I believe because I never dated the negative sleeve. You have my son Max and my nephew Nicholas goofing around in their grandparents backyard.
I made the images with one of my medium format “Toy” cameras, a Holga “Holgawood” (Yellow Brick Road) 120N on Fujifilm Reala 100.
October 2016 I spent a couple days kayaking in the Adirondacks under amazing Autumn skies. While on 7th lake I discovered Payne’s Air Service and was immediately intrigued. I’m not really a big fan of video and I think this was literally the fifth time using the video feature on my DSLR camera, but gave it a go. I only took a few very short clips. I asked my son if he would take them to school for me and merge them together.
The video is a bit bumpy most likely due to the motion of my kayak, however I think it represents the uniqueness of the Adirondacks.
Reaching to silence my alarm it was time for my Sunday long run. A quick check of the weather and I said forget it. I just wasn’t feeling it and longed to go back to bed. As I pulled the covers up I noticed the the days light peeking from behind the shades of our bedroom. I got backup and peered out the window and thought to myself this might be one heck of a sunrise. I quickly threw on some clothes, grabbed my cameras and was in the car. The windshield completely frosted over I was driving down the road with my head hung out the window just like a dog.
My initial thought was to head over to Hospital Hill in Binghamton and photograph downtown Binghamton as the sunlight illuminated it. I took a few sample images and was not thrilled. I wandered around the old buildings and noticed the light slowly creeping up over the tire tracks frozen in a dusting of snow near “The Castle” and immediately knew that this would be my shot. I fluttered around looking for my vision, patiently waiting for Mother Nature to set up her easel and begin to paint.
Jack Frost was nipping at more than my nose at this point, realizing I had left my parka in the car. No time to go back and get it as the show was about to start. The soft glow of red and orange highlighted the exterior while the widows appeared illuminated as if there was life inside this lifeless soul.
I made my first visit to the Windy City back in July. My wife and sons have already spent time here before so this was unchartered territory for me. We were staying with family in one of the suburbs of Chicago and rode the Metra into the city the several days we were there. We navigated the city by either walking or riding the subway which is affectionately knows as the “L”. Riding the “L” opened up a whole new perspective on photography for me. I instantly fell in love with the intricate infrastructure cramped between towering buildings, parking garages and everyday life below. The photographic possibilities are endless and all you need is time.
Prior to my arrival in Chicago I had done absolutely no research on this gem so I was totally in the dark as to the “Prime” locations in which to photograph. The day I made the most of my images started off bright and sunny with weather conditions crumbling like an old building as the day progressed. I believe I have created several images that convey mood, as most of these were grab shots. I particularly like the ones where I was shooting out the front window as we rode the “L”. I shot color slide film but really liked them even more converted to black & white.
The other day I had mentioned to my wife how we need to return so I can spend a good 3-4 days photographing the “L” now that I have done my research.
Here you’ll find a link to an image from Lake & Wells on the Chicago “L”. It was photographed from either a parking garage or rooftop. However it gives you the perspective of its complexity. I love it! https://flic.kr/p/rUyXih
I’m a huge fan of Bicentennial barns painted by Scott Hagan “http://barnartist.com” of Ohio. From 1997 to September 2002, the Ohio Bicentennial Committee commissioned artist Scott Hagan of Belmont County to paint a barn in each county with the committee’s logo and colors. Nearly 2,000 barn owners volunteered their barns to be painted. In the end, Hagan painted 101 barns freehand, including one in each county. One was destroyed by a tornado shortly after its painting and was replaced. The barn painting program was conceived as a cost-effective way to advertise: each barn cost $1,500 to paint, about $500 less than the rent for a billboard. The painted barns celebrated the state’s 200th anniversary in 2003. By 2013, many of the painted barns had faded or been repainted or torn down. Hagan went on to paint barn advertisements across the country.
Between 2004-2006 16 barns were painted with the Madison County Bicentennial Logo by Hagan. In 2006 Madison County celebrated its Bicentennial. There are 15 barns one in each of the Counties towns and the city of Oneida. Bicentennial barns give people the chance to witness the work of a master and curator of a lost American art form.
On August 20th while traveling in Madison County I had the the opportunity to photograph 4 of the 16 barns. My plan is to photograph the remaining barns over the next year or so.