I like the costumes and color. It’s a side of the culture you don’t see everyday. Most days everyone looks like part of the world. Same, western style clothes in drab color, but once a year it’s all about tradition and celebration. I missed this for so many years… missed it in that I ignored the opportunity to see the spectacle. It’s fun. The parade in Chinatown Manhattan is along narrow streets which makes for pretty intimate viewing. In Flushing Queens, there’s a lot more room to maneuver and you can get some behind the scenes shots. Either way, there’s a lot of color. The dragons are good luck.
There’s a lot to see during the Tall Ships parade up and down the Hudson River. This was back in 2000. After a while one large sailing vessel seems the same as the others. But here’s something different. That was special.
There’s a lot to see during the Tall Ships parade up and down the Hudson River. This was back in 2000. After a while one large sailing vessel seems the same as the others. But here’s something different. Not too many of the ships were positioning their crew on the yardarms. That was special.
The flagship of the Coast Guard sailing fleet is the Eagle. Maybe it’s their only sailing vessel. It’s a training ship. I like the clean graphical lines and the variety of its sails. It makes an appearance when the tall ship celebration converges in New York Harbor periodically. It’s one vessel I recognize instantly.
The millennium, century, decade, year… 2000. Well, that’s something I can say that I saw. We were out on Long Island and drove home in the afternoon, New Year’s eve. With all the hype about the computers and so forth, my wife wanted to be home rather than anywhere else. Ok, so I took the kids over to Times Square to see what was doing. I would never do this later in the evening. The crowd had been celebrating every hour as the New Year came in every time zone around the globe. Times Square was crowded but would become completely packed later. I’m not claustrophobic, but the evening crowd would be big. This view is north and the Coke sign is still there. The kids and I were able to walk around with relative ease. Oh, there was quite a crowd already. But people had not yet jockeyed for prime positions. I just wanted to be there in the center of the media universe and so that the kids could say they were there at the millennium.
At the annual 9th Avenue Festival, ostensibly it is about food. Over the years the fair has morphed from local merchants and food to professional food fair vendors and purveyors as varied as women’s underwear to sheets and pillowcases. Of course local merchants remain a part of the mix. I just didn’t know that there were so many gyro stands all run by the same parent company. This man and woman would have been more likely to be in Europe. It’s not a great shot. I grabbed the shot as is because I was too shy to ask them to pose.
I’ve shot hot air balloons before. This was one of my first encounters. Lisa had seen an advertisement for the Long Island balloon festival air show and we drove to Brookhaven Airport with the kids. Several days earlier Lisa had been exposed to poison ivy in her gardening. She had never been affected before. But now she had weeping skin lesions on her arms and was quite distressed by the itching. She had covered her arms in moist gauze. The lesions were popping out in places she had not been exposed, such as her belly. Ever the good mom, we arrived at the airport. Seeing the balloons was cool. We had to wait around until sunset for the launching. At the time I was not yet aware that balloons launched at sunrise and sunset when the winds were most favorable. Catching the inflation with hot gas now filling the balloon is one of the most dangerous times. There are no rules so the teams allow photographers/spectators to get up close. As I said it’s dramatic. But the real memory was the heroic effort by Lisa to wait with the kids and myself until sunset. The poison ivy was really itching and uncomfortable. We departed with the crowd leaving the airport. As we passed an empty barrel of ice water that had held soda earlier, Lisa plunged her arms into the ice up to her elbows to get relief. I did not get that picture, but the memory is still vivid.
This has also been a favorite shot of mine. I have thousands of images of the Southampton Indian Powwow. They sort of grow and accumulate with digital images being so easy to make. But this shot still stands out after all the others. It’s among my five star edits. Who knows what the smile means. Private joke or what?
Looking at this image I keep thinking of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. As I said the balloons launch from a park. The balloon trailers are parked side by side but far enough apart not to get entangled. From a certain perspective it looks as though everyone is on top of one another. As the balloons begin to fill in the glow of sunset light it’s a feast of photo ops. Thank goodness for memory cards with large capacities. What I didn’t realize at the time is that I would not return to see this event again.
So the balloon pilots meet to discuss the weather conditions especially the wind. The winds are most favorable in the evening and at dawn. Once the winds are determined to be within safe limits, the signal for launch is given. For about 30 minutes there is a frenzy of activity, as everyone seems to race to launch before the winds change. It makes for a lot of interesting photos.
I only got one chance to photograph the annual balloon festival in Lewiston, Maine. But since I lived in the area I could get to the venue any time the balloons launched. I had left the launch park and was driving to work along the river. I could see a balloon drifting above the trees. Yes, I wasn’t looking where I was driving. But traffic was sparse. I jumped out of the car in time to catch this image. Morning fog was lifting off the mirror calm river and the basket just about to touch down. The balloon pilots liked to do this to impress. I was duly impressed and got the shot.
Cusco is a town at relatively high altitude 11,150 ft while Machu Picchu is at 7,874 ft. Either way it’s all about effort. Walking uphill will do it every time. I did not experience the breathlessness in Cusco that I experienced on Machu Picchu. One afternoon we did help to revive a young woman who collapsed while we were on a bus tour. While we visited there was a religious festival in progress. These colorful characters marched along side religious statues. I say characters because technically I did not see them dance. Elsewhere they served guinea pig – roasted whole. This was one of the many representative costumes. The masks were somehow scary though no one appeared the least bit apprehensive. I feel fortunate that we were there on the day of the festival see the pageantry.