This coming April will mark 27 years at my job and I’m hoping to retire once I hit 30 years. A long time ago I went to school for Advertising Art & Design and received a 2 year certificate. I was all convinced this was the career path I wanted. I worked in small ad agencies long before computers did the work and I began attending a SUNY college here in New York taking business classes.
Things changed rather abruptly when suddenly I had the opportunity to hire on the railroad. I dropped the arts like a hot potato. My passion for art in its many forms lay dormant like a bear in winter hibernation waiting for the right time to leave its slumber.
Back in the mid 2000’s I was laying i my hotel room watching TV when I saw an interview with a woman named Diana Walker. She had just written a book called “Public & Private” 20 years of photographing the Presidency. When I got back home I went to my local bookstore and purchased her book and immediately I was hooked. Then I got this crazy notion I wanted to be a photojournalist, and in 2007 that dream became a reality when I was hired by our local newspaper (A Gannett Rag) as a part time staff photographer working four days a week. To be honest I couldn’t believe they hired me. I spent about a year there when I saw the writing on the wall with layoffs. I despise being fired for something I did not do, so I resigned. Almost immediately I was handed a freelance contract and now I was working for the paper on my own terms.
I would spend the next few years shooting for the paper and small assignments for the Associated Press. On a whim I threw out an email to the PBA (Professional Bowlers Assoction) and sure enough they began having me shoot several events in the northeast for a few years. One of my favorites was an outdoor match at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. I also landed a few years of work with NYSUT (New York State United Teachers) union. I was having fun! All while working my job on the railroad.
I haven’t been doing much freelance work these days. Over the past three years I have been shooting running race photos here in New York and Vermont. I like it and it fits well into my schedule.
Recently a friend of mine purchased a multi vendor store and talked me into leasing wall space to sell some of my work. I also just opened and Etsy shop as well. I hope to slowly build both into a small business to keep me occupied after I retire.
With that said I encourage you to visit my Etsy shop, like and share it with friends and family. It is definitely a work in progress as I try to navigate the ins and outs.
For the past year now I have had this desire to paddle across Raquette lake and into the Marion river. Here I would make the flat half mile carry to Utowana lake continuing through Eagle lake and reaching Blue Mountain lake, a total distance of about 14 miles. On Sunday September 30th myself and three other friends did just that.
We arrived at Raquette lake just as the sun was rising and the fog was rolling across the surface of the lake like the stage of a rock concert, however the silence was deafening. It was a cool 39 degrees as I unstrapped my kayak from the roof of my car. Yes I brought my heavy kayak for this adventure. For some reason I have always been intimidated by the size and notorious winds of Raquette lake. The weather report for the day was calling for 8 MPH winds and I had visions of white caps dancing in my head. With that said I chose poorly and that decision would haunt me a little later in our adventure.
The water was like glass as we set out to cross Raquette lake under the watchful eye of Blue Mountain towering 14 miles in the distance. With only a small navigation snafu we reached the mouth of the Marion river in 3.30 miles according to my GPS. The Marion river was beautiful with its mirrored reflections of autumn beginning to paint the landscape. We twisted and turned up the river several miles before we reached a somewhat large beaver dam. We knew this dam would be here and that we would have to exit our boats in order to get around it. Once we got over the damn it was only another quarter mile or so to the Marion river carry.
This carry from the Marion river to Utowana lake follows the former road bed of the Marion River Railroad. It is only a half mile long and was the world’s shortest railroad. Here is where my kayak would come back to haunt me. Without gear my kayak weighs in a 52 pounds at 14 1/2 feet long. I probably had at least 8 pounds of gear stowed in the boat. So I had the pleasure of carrying 60 pounds on my shoulders for a half mile. A huge departure from my 17 pound canoe…
Once we reached the put in on Utowana lake we were about half way through our journey. In other significance this is where the wind would finally kick up as we paddled our way up through Utowana and into Eagle lake. The entrance from Eagle lake into Blue Mountain lake has two routes that go under bridges and around a small island. Entering Blue Mountain lake we would see the only other paddlers during our trip. From here it was about a mile or so to our take out spot in the hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake.
Once we were off the water and boats loaded I was ready for my long trip back home. As I approached Old Forge I had thought I might want to stop quick at Fulton Chain Craft Brewery. But I was exhausted and just wanted to get home. I made a quick stop to top off the gas tank, grabbed some coffee and kept rolling for home. Not only did I rack up another 425 miles on my car I was part of some great memories with some amazing friends. I look forward to doing it again soon somewhere in the Park.
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
Five hours of sleep, a cup of coffee and an amazing wife who got up to take me over to Grippen Park in Endicott so I can kayak the Susquehanna this morning. Almost immediately I was greeted by an eager beaver. A few “Thwacks” of his tail and had disappeared. Burnt reds and oranges were on borrowed time while the yellows seemed to be clinging to the ropes of life waiting for Mother Nature’s knockout punch. The mirror like waters of the Susquehanna reflected the darkening skies to the west assuring there would be rain on my parade.
It was very quiet for the most part except for the chorus of my paddle. Along the way I spied several bald eagles, ducks, duck hunters, geese and quite a bit of fisherman as I glided towards the river walk in downtown Owego. Luck would be on my side today because almost immediately as I arrived under the highway bridge the skies opened up. With my gear packed into the kayak I lifted it up and over the rocks onto the river walk carrying it 100 yards to the street. Standing in the rain waiting for Julie to arrive a very kind woman offered me the shelter of her front porch.
Shortly after Julie would arrive and it was time for lunch. Several friends had recommended the Owego Kitchen on Lake Street, so off we went. It was warm and inviting with a great menu. Julie and I both ordered the french onion grilled cheese and I had the farmhouse chili as well. If you are ever in the area I strongly suggest a visit.
I paddled 13.60 miles in 3:05:24 with an average speed of 4.4 MPH. When my alarm went off this morning I was seriously considering not going because of my lack of sleep. However I’m glad I chose wisely and took the opportunity.
It does not take much to persuade me to visit the Adirondacks and I had been getting the urge to kayak another small portion of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. I had been stalking the weather and foliage report for days now and according to the information I could find foliage was close to peak conditions near Old Forge. On Wednesday morning I packed up and headed north.
I rolled into Old Forge around 12:30 making my first stop at Walt’s Diner for lunch. After lunch I headed about 10 miles north to 6th Lake in Inlet, NY so I could check the launch site for the next morning. Arriving I found a gentleman sitting on a bench attempting to catch some fish, he looked familiar to me so I approached and asked “Are you David Patterson”? Turning his head replying “Yes I am”. David is a extremely talented local photographer who I have only had contact with online. It was a real pleasure to meet him in person and chat for a bit.
My goal for this trip was to kayak 6th and 7th lake in my ongoing attempt to paddle as much of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail as I can in my lifetime. I have studied the maps and in my opinion there is not the “Perfect” boat for every section of this trail. So I thought to myself heck if I do it in pieces I can use a multitude of boats depending on where I am paddling, sounds logical, right!
Returning to Old Forge I checked into my motel and went right down to Old Forge Pond to witness sunset. It truly was a beautiful evening with the crisp autumn air, setting sun and a sky that was dotted with puffy white clouds. For dinner I found myself at Stetson’s Bar in the VanAuken’s Inne across from the Thendera train station. This was a great place to kick back with some good food and a cold beer after a long day.
The morning was blanketed in a heavy fog so I decided to put off my kayaking for a little while giving the sun time to burn a lot of it off. Stepping out of my car at the 6th lake boat launch an immediate aroma of burning wood was tantalizing my senses, signaling that fall was truly here. Gazing out over the placid waters of 6th lake, I quietly pushed myself off under a palette of beautiful reds, yellows and oranges quickly noticing that I was the sole paddler that morning. A single Loon shortly passed me by and its call echoed off the mountain sides shattering the silence. Just over a mile in length 6th lake passes under 7th Lake Road and into the significantly larger 7th lake. My first order of business was to make my way towards the Payne’s Air Service dock so I could watch the intriguing frequency of float planes taking off and landing. This was extremely fun and I’m already planning ahead for next Autumn and taking a ride myself.
Hugging the shoreline, admiring all the beautiful homes dotted along the lakes edge I again found myself being the only one on the lake. As I approached the east end I could hear a motor boat in the distance and the planes taking off and landing but not one other canoe or kayak was on the water. At this point I was getting hungry and noticed a sandy beach on an island with a picnic table and thought that would be a perfect spot to take a break on my way back. Shortly after I arrived at the New York State 8th Lake campground and discovered there were quite a bit of campers getting ready for their final hurrah during the upcoming Columbus Day weekend. In order to get to 8th Lake you would have to carry your canoe or kayak through the campground approximately 1.5 miles. I decided not to do this as my kayak is a bit heavy and I didn’t have canoe/kayak wheels with me so I’ll save that for another day.
I did stop and take a break at that sandy beach and was able to absorb the shear beauty of the scenery that surrounded me. While I was there a couple arrived in their boat with two dogs. They told me they come here all the time as a place to relax and let the dogs run and swim. I was back in my kayak and the wind had begun to pick up a bit creating little chop on the lake. I was excited because this would be my first time experiencing this in my new to me kayak. I love this kayak and it performed exceptionally well. The wind would play games for a while by settling down and then it would pick up again making this a recurring theme for the rest of my time on 7th Lake.
Once I was back on the somewhat sheltered 6th Lake the waters became calm and glass like again. Getting off the water and loading my boat back onto my car I sat on that same bench I had mentioned earlier, took a few moments in order to reflect on my journey and the shear beauty of it all. The colors were amazing, the scenery spectacular and the time spent in a place I love, Priceless!
Cool and crisp as an Autumn morning should be. This morning my cars thermometer read 38 degrees as I drove the backroads to Nanticoke lake. Arriving under a blanket of fog and now 35 degree temperatures it was time to unload my canoe and hit the water. My friend Don from Ithaca who I met last summer while paddling another area lake was joining me as well on this small hidden gem near Center Lisle. The fog seemed to roll across the lake as a slight wind kept the water from being glass like. Right before the 0659 sunrise the Canadian Navy (Canadian Geese) were doing maneuvers as well as the local beavers. One beaver in particular wasn’t too fond of me being close to his lodge and thought it would be fun to try and splash me with a few “THWACKS” of his tail, he was unsuccessful! I did however slowly back away to witness the three of them playing and pushing one another around for a short while.
The sun had finally broke over the tree tops creating pockets of beautiful color along the shoreline. The color is definitely beginning to show here and it made for a nice backdrop for a beautiful setting.
At 46 acres with a maximum depth of 20 feet, sitting at 1,400 feet of elevation, Nanticoke lake was originally constructed in the 1970’s with the intention of establishing a wild, self sustaining brook trout fishery similar to those found in the Adirondacks. Unfortunately, due to low dissolved oxygen levels in the summer months, brook trout survival was extremely limited.
Notes: From the parking area to the lake is a 1/4 mile carry on a well maintained trail. Having a 17lb canoe made this extremely easy, however Don used a set of canoe wheels to wheel in his canoe into the lake.
My previous post I wrote about running this race for fun and that is exactly what I did. The whole weekend in itself was fun. Saturday my friend Sue and I drove to Long Trail Brewing in West Bridgewater Corners, VT where we met up with her cousin Kaye-Lani from North Carolina. We also met up with our friends Chris and Lori who moved recently from Endicott to New Hampshire and as an added bonus my friend Ian made the hour drive from his house as well to join us all for some beer, food and laughs.
Kaye-Lani had rented a rustic cabin retreat about 8 miles outside of Woodstock, VT. After lunch Sue, Kaye-Lani and I got to the cabin, settled in for a bit. Shortly we were off to the pre-race pasta dinner at the Suicide Six ski resort. The evening weather was absolutely perfect, returning back to our cabin we spent several hours enjoying the rest of the evening chatting before crashing for the night as we had an early start to our Sunday.
Sunrise was beautiful as we got ourselves dressed and ready for the days race. Once parked and ready to board our bus that would take us to the start is when the rain began to fall and it fell. It rained during the entire race, after the race and all the way home back to New York. The rain during the race did however feel great, kept the body temperature in check. I did have one issue as my sock was quite wet and was chaffing at the bottom of my right foot making it a little uncomfortable.
We began the race together and I ran the first two miles at 8:44 pace stopped for a brief bathroom break and then gradually got into a really comfortable groove for the rest of the race. I finished the half marathon in 1:41:25 finishing 188th out of 1,890 runners and I had a blast doing it.
Cold and completely soaked I found the Harpoon Brewery beer tent and celebrated appropriately. Afterwards we made a quick return to our cabin to wash up and some dry clothes before heading into Woodstock for lunch. We met back up with Chris and Lori at the Worthy Kitchen, the “Worthy” is completely worthy of your business.
After lunch is when we all would part ways ending a fun weekend with friends in Vermont.