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
Max had to abandon his Mets hat and camouflage himself in order not to be thrown overboard by crazy Red Sox fans… Actually he is really trying to annoy his Yankee loving family members. Let’s Go Mets!!!!!!!!!
I’m not sure if any of you know this but I am a postcard junkie. I have a major addiction to postcards both new and old with the later being my favorite. There is just something about sending and receiving postcards that I truly enjoy. Maybe it’s that mystique of what I might find in my mailbox or that surprise in yours. Whatever it might be I truly enjoy it.
Some of you who are reading this may have been a recipient of one of my postcards from when I/we travel, a friendly hello or just a simple thank you. Yes I know what you are thinking I have to buy stamps and find a Post Office or mailbox when “I can just post a picture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever is the new fad today”. I’ll be honest, I love your pictures, however I love even more when you take the time to send me something tan·gi·ble “That may be touched, real actual; evident.” Something that years from now I can look back on and re-visit your life, journey, event or day.
One of my favorite stories is of recent, about a woman from our running community, a friend who lives a good distance from our area. While on social media prior to the Christmas holiday I was raving about the local coffee shop and their “Christmas Blend” coffee roast. Katie chimed in with “We are serious coffee drinkers ” asking if I might ship her some, so I did. After a week went by and I heard nothing of her receiving my package. I sent her a message asking if it had arrived and her response to me was “I sent you an old fashioned thank you card in the mail”. It was a handmade card, I was elated!
Lately I have been recieving postcards from all around the globe. Have you ever heard of the Postcrossing project? I have been a member now for just over two years and I love it. I get to send postcards around the world and even better I receive them from around the world as well. Furthermore I have the added benefit of all different types of stamps from across the globe. Exciting, yes I know!
My friends I hope that you have a happy 2015 and who knows maybe one of my postcards will make it to your mailbox.
A little information about the “Postcrossing Project” in hopes it might peak your interest. http://www.postcrossing.com
The goal of this project is to allow people to receive postcards from all over the world, for free. Well, almost free! The main idea is that: if you send a postcard, you will receive one back from a random Postcrosser from somewhere in the world.
Why? Because, like the founder, there are lots of people who like to receive real mail.
The element of surprise of receiving postcards from different places in the world (many of which you probably have never heard of) can turn your mailbox into a box of surprises – and who wouldn’t like that?
How does it work?
First, the short version:
request an address from the website
mail the postcard to the address
wait to receive a postcard
register the received postcard in the system
The first step is to request to send a postcard. The website will display (and send you an email) with the address of another member and a Postcard ID (e.g.: US-786). You then mail a postcard to that member.
The member receives the postcard and registers it using the Postcard ID that is on the postcard. At this point, you are eligible to receive a postcard from another user. You are now in line for the next person that requests to send a postcard. Where the postcard comes from is a surprise!
You can have up to 5 postcards traveling at any single time. Every time one of the postcards you send is registered, you can request another address. The number of postcards allowed to travel at any single time goes up the more postcards you send!
Today’s trip down memory lane takes place on Sunday September 19th 2010 in Cleveland Ohio. My wife is from Ohio and she is a Cleveland Browns fan. Yes I said she is a Cleveland Browns fan, I know right!
In 2007 our oldest son Michael decided he wanted to play youth football here where we live. My wife and I were a little nervous but extremely excited. During his time playing football we wound up becoming very good friends with another family, as a matter of fact a very wonderful family. This is where it gets interesting, they’re also Cleveland Browns fans. I know what your thinking because I thought the same thing myself. How is it possible that 350 miles east of Cleveland Ohio in the small town of Endwell, NY was there more than one Browns fan. I thought I’d have better odds in Vegas!
Over the course of a few years our friends “The Wagstaff’s” had been traveling at least once a season to Cleveland to watch a game. On the side lines of our sons game one afternoon we thought wouldn’t it be fun for us all to travel to Cleveland for a game. Finally on September 19th 2010 piled into two cars we caravanned to Cleveland for the Browns Vs. Chiefs game. Yes the Browns lost, only by two points and not that it was any shocker.
I thought that I would take this opportunity and post this for “Throwback Thursday” as the Cleveland Browns are 6-3 and sit atop of the AFC North. Yes sports fans I said the Cleveland Browns sit on top of the AFC North! I can just hear the Squealer, I mean Steeler fans cringe! Maybe you should throw in the towel now?
I am a New York Jets fan and I too have suffered year after year with defeat. Over the course of our 20 year history my wife’s beloved “Brownie’s” have slowly begin to grow on me. I find myself becoming a bigger fan season after season. I think I have this deep affection for the underdog. Its been exciting to watch Cleveland native “Brian Hoyer” under center. Johnny Football “Johnny Manziel” was all the rage during the draft, however “Hoyer” appears to be the man leading the Browns “HOPEFULLY” to their first playoff appearance since 2002.
It’s Sunday November 2nd 2014 as you wake I am standing on Staten Island freezing to death waiting for the start of the New York City Marathon. It will be my first marathon and I am both excited and nervous. So here we go!
It has been a week since our family traveled to the City of Brotherly Love in order to take in some sights and I could run the Philadelphia Rock N Roll half marathon. http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/usa
My day started a little earlier on Saturday the 14th. I was up and out the door for a early 4.25 run before we packed up the family truxster and made our way south. Arriving in Philly our first stop was the Pennsylvania Convention Center where I could pick up my race packet for Sunday. Now I have never been to Philly and had no clue what I was doing or where to park. Frustrated I parked in the first parking garage I could find, right smack in the middle of Chinatown. The streets were closed due to the “Chinatown Autumn Festival”. Walking from the parking garage to the convention center was entertaining to say the least. We walked by a Peking Duck restaurant and the boys noticed all the cooked foul in the window complete with heads attached. Like a bolt of lighting the boys went into reciting the ending scene from that Christmas classic “Christmas Story”. I was one proud dad! Moving on we came across a part of the festival where Max screams from out of nowhere “Holy Crap they really dance in dragon costumes” After telling him he shouldn’t use the word crap because I never do we decided to stay for a few minutes and watch.
Finally made it to the convention center which is right next to the Reading Terminal Market http://www.readingterminalmarket.org. The place was mobbed with runners but surprisingly enough we were in and out in about 30 minutes. Hungry we went to the Terminal Market for lunch. Julie and Max split off to find what they want to eat as do Michael and I. The place is a mad house, your mind is going at 100 MPH with all the food choices. Honestly I was overwhelmed. Michael wanted pickles “His favorite food” and a ham sub. Me I had no clue. I settled on pickled beets and sausage and rice. Rice was gross and the sausage was ok. Julie and Max enjoyed their brick oven pizza. Finished with lunch it was time to check out a few sights.
Our first stop was the B Free Franklin Post Office “Free Franklin Post Office & Museum is the only Colonial-themed post office operated by the United States Postal Service. It is a living portrayal of a bygone Colonial lifestyle, and it is the only active post office in the United States that does not fly the American flag (because there was not yet one in 1775 when Benjamin Franklin was appointed Postmaster General). The postmark “B. Free Franklin” is still used to cancel stamps. The museum on the second floor features displays of postal history and memorabilia”
Right next door is Franklin’s Print Shop. “Years before his little kite-flying escapade, young Benjamin Franklin was making quite a name for himself as a printer. Progressing from apprentice to master printer, he took over publication of The Pennsylvania Gazette, and it soon became the most successful newspaper in the colonies.”
An 18th century print shop is recreated here on the site of his original property. Independence National Historical Park (INHP) rangers give demonstrations of the labor-intensive process of turning out a daily newspaper. Leather daubers stuffed with cotton are used to apply the ink. Then it’s onto the hand-operated 18th century printing press. The final product hangs from the drying racks along the ceiling. Typesetting desks and the tiny little letters and numbers are also displayed. Before 1770, colonies mailed newspapers to England but not to other colonies. Franklin realized that sharing information was essential if the colonies were to unite. When he was appointed assistant postmaster general he introduced the practice of mailing newspapers throughout the colonies to improve communication. Newspaper delivery through the postal service typically took two to four days, a rate similar to today.
Next we made our way to Independence Hall. Independence Hall was fascinating to say the least. “After the Revolutionary War, the fledgling nation was in chaos and bordering on collapse. Each state had its own monetary system and trade laws. There was no centralized system of defense. Yet many were wary of a strong central government. Debates were bitter but the checks and balances provided by three branches of government alleviated concerns. In 1787, the US Constitution was adopted.”
“They risked everything — “their lives, their fortune and their sacred honor.” During the blistering summer of 1776, 56 courageous men gathered at the Pennsylvania State House and defied the King of England. Eleven years later, representatives from 12 states gathered to shape the U.S. Constitution, finally creating one unified nation.
The guided tour of Independence Hall, led by National Park rangers, begins in the courtroom where lawyers from opposing sides shared tables and law books.
George Washington’s “rising sun” chair dominates the Assembly Room which is arranged as it was during the Constitutional Convention. In the adjacent West Wing, the original inkstand used to sign the Declaration and an original draft of the Constitution are displayed.”
Next was the Liberty Bell. Now years ago Julie was a Park Ranger and actually worked at the Liberty Bell. It was so awesome to see this piece of American History in person! “The Liberty Bell has a new home, and it is as powerful and dramatic as the Bell itself. Throughout the expansive, light-filled Center, larger-than-life historic documents and graphic images explore the facts and the myths surrounding the Bell.
X-rays give an insider’s view, literally, of the Bell’s crack and inner-workings. In quiet alcoves, a short History Channel film, available in English and eight other languages, traces how abolitionists, suffragists and other groups adopted the Bell as its symbol of freedom.
Other exhibits show how the Bell’s image was used on everything from ice cream molds to wind chimes. Keep your camera handy. Soaring glass walls offer dramatic and powerful views of both the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, just a few steps away.”
“The bell now called the Liberty Bell was cast in the Whitechapel Foundry in the East End of London and sent to the building currently known as Independence Hall, then the Pennsylvania State House, in 1753.
It was an impressive looking object, 12 feet in circumference around the lip with a 44-pound clapper. Inscribed at the top was part of a Biblical verse from Leviticus, “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof.”
Unfortunately, the clapper cracked the bell on its first use. A couple of local artisans, John Pass and John Stow, recast the bell twice, once adding more copper to make it less brittle and then adding silver to sweeten its tone. No one was quite satisfied, but it was put in the tower of the State House anyway.”
Getting late now we had dinner plans with my friend Josh. We were meeting at the Hard Rock right back near the Terminal Market.
After dinner it was getting late so Julie and I decided it was time to make our way to the hotel. I needed some rest for the big day!
My alarm went off at 0530 Sunday morning. Time to get up, get dressed and focus on the day’s task. Thats right the Philadelphia Rock N Roll half marathon!
Making my way to the lobby of the hotel to one of the 18 waiting taxi cabs that were taking runners to the start line. Four people to a cab and $5.00 per person was a deal. Julie and the boys would sleep in a bit and make their way to the finish to grab a spot to watch me come in. The morning was beautiful. Sunny, a bit cool perfect weather for running. I’ll tell you I was a bit intimidated by all the people. 22,000 runners were there to compete. 0800 sharp and the first corral is off and the race begins. I was in corral 13 and crossed the starting line around 0830. Quickly I began to pass other runners and was liking how wide the streets were compared to the Boilermaker in Utica. Moving right along to cheering crowds, school cheerleaders and of course bands playing at about one mile increments made this race so much fun. And who cannot resist the energy of “Eye of the Tiger” blaring in the city that Rocky Balboa made somewhat famous. I felt like I was back in the 1980’s briefly. Approaching mile 9 I was feeling good, my pace and breathing were spot on. Grabbing my last black cherry Cliff Shot I am focused on the finish. Mile 12 only 1.1 miles left and I am home. I crossed the finish line in 1:36:03 placing 1,025 out of 18,074 finishers. I was ecstatic to say the least. I ran hard and I loved every minute of it!