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Archive for October, 2011

Bear Mountain Fall

It was not a particularly good year for the fall leaves. I did not come away with a brilliant fall foliage image on my foray to Bear Mountain. I got some reflections and some details. The dock has been a favorite subject for many years. This year the muted colors lent a greater sense of serenity. A few weeks later I got an image with snow covered autumn leaves, the subject in another post.

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Occupy Wall Street. There is a complaint that the 99% doesn’t include enough minorities. Well, there is some dispute. But, no matter, there are endless characters represented. My son says he has seen this man elsewhere. He is one of a kind and a first for me. The Confederate tattoo man, that is.

The important consideration is that the group is inclusive, not exclusive, even for characters.

Wedding, Bear Mountain

How’s this for an abrupt change of subject, which my family accuses me about doing for years? In mid sentence an idea will cause me to switch the conversation. The confusion that follows frustrates me because isn’t it obvious that my wife/family can read my mind. She says she does (read my {empty} mind) all the time. Maybe it’s the other way around? Well, see the post of 10/29 to get my meaning. Even better the posts’ order cannot be altered. Well, the last place I expected to encounter a wedding party was at Bear Montain top. When you think about it, this is really not so unusual. It’s just that among the rocks and in the stiff breeze, there is so much that can go bad. I got to photograph this party. Hey, I think my view and perspective were better than the hired photographer. But that’s just my opinion. Go ahead and hire me for your wedding and I’ll blow it. By the way, I was there for fall leaves and color. But, these were the best shots of the day. See my other blog for more pictures of the day.

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Multiple Cerebral Aneurysms

Imagine a balloon stretched to the utmost and ready to burst. Brain blood vessels develop these little balloons called aneurysms. Unfortunately many of these do rupture and the result is a very sick patient. Coma and death may follow. Surgery of intracranial aneurysms is very delicate. If the aneurysm ruptures intra-operatively, death from the ensuing hemorrhage is possible. It’s technically demanding because there can be no error. This is “really brain surgery.” The anatomy is familiar but disorienting. The surgery is done upside down and sideways. The images demonstrate the exposure of the brain, blood vessels, nerves, and aneurysms. I thought I could run the operative video, but no. To the uninitiated, this was a particular technical challenge because of the presence of two aneurysms positioned on right and left brain vessels.

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Halloween Greenwich Village

Soho on Spring Street just above Canal Street. It’s soon to be Halloween. There is a group that arrives early each year to begin preparations. I have been to a handful of parades and they have been prepping each time. They start off by body painting a base color. As in, get half naked on the street in front of a bunch of paparazzi. There is quite a crowd that gathers. Later on in the actual parade they go by so quickly most of the crowd probably doesn’t realize that it’s just body paint. But this is an advantage of being in the staging area. Oh, and there are a lot of other interesting characters as well. Did I mention they estimate about a million people are there. Really.

Chinese New Year

Chinatown, New York. Downtown Manhattan on Mott Street. It’s a narrow twisty street with police barriers to hold back the crowd. You have to  get there early to have a good camera spot. Any event worth going in New York always has a big crowd. My gear has always been safe. Waiting is an issue because you’re standing around and bored. So, you get some good shots of the crowd. The local merchants sell cardboard tubes that I call poppers. They explode, no gunpowder, and spray confetti into the air. Kids are so much fun. The pure joy here is contagious.

ECAC Men’s Hockey Finals 2011

Atlantic City, New Jersey. The ECAC Men’s Hockey finals were in May 2011. I have a friend Alex who is a Yale Alumnus. His team did win the whole thing. Horray! Sports photography is difficult in fluorescent lighting. Worse the light is not too bright. So the action is often blurred by slow shutter speed. You can compensate by increasing the ISO but then there is noise on the image. Everything is a compromise. Now, with all that, the ticket folks took one look at the gear in my camera bag and immediately said, “No go.” It’s a college hockey game for goodness sake! So Alex and I trudged all the way back to the parking lot, dropped off the Nikon and walked back with the Canon G11. Yeah, they let me bring that back in. So for the weekend and all the games, I used the G11. Surprisingly, with just a bit of luck, I got some decent shots. It wasn’t professional, just for fun. Here you can see Cornell and Dartmouth playing. The puck is right there bouncing along toward the crease. Cornell is quite a physically imposing team and did win. Yale is also a smaller team, but quicker.

Anyway the object is to catch the action and the puck. Not bad, also, because we were up in the stands and I couldn’t be down near the glass. But the glass would have been another problem.

Occupy St Louis

While I was in St Louis this past weekend, right behind the statehouse, in a park celebrating the Cardinals baseball team in the World Series, lo and behold, Occupy St Louis. It was a much smaller gathering than New York. But they were just as earnest and committed. I read that there are protests now organized in many other cities. In fact I passed one off US-84 in Hartford Ct recently.



Occupy Wall St

I have posted the gallery to my other blog site. I have a lot of hope for this movement. It is a grass roots effort to change the way business is done in America. No longer can the politicians say that they speak for the “American people.” Don’t they understand that, “We speak for ourselves.” I have never been fond of anyone telling me what I think. Perhaps it’s time that they (politicians) listen and respond, “I hear what you’re are saying.” Today’s New York Times has a graphic/poll that indicates 84% of the US disapproves of Congress’s work. Look at the faces, they are indeed the 99%, a true cross cultural diversity. Congress would be fired if the means existed.



St Louis Arch


This is a pretty classic shot of the St Louis Gateway Arch. I have seen it lit up at night and that is impressive as well. Everyone who visits stand beneath the Arch where an effective photo is near to impossible. Wide angle lenses cannot take in the whole view or they distort things. I am happy enough to have driven around behind the statehouse. I would have gone by this shot never seeing it in the rear view mirror had it not been for the red tinted fountain in honor of the Cardinals being in the World Series. Go Cards! In the gallery you will find the outtakes. These are good images that show a different perspective yet again and make my argument that you don’t need to see the whole arch to know it’s there.

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Lobster Shack

Bailey’s Island, Maine. There is a lobster shack off the side of the road. It is the only road in and out so you can’t miss this shack. The shack sits partly over the water. There is no shoulder on the road. So you have to make it a point to stop somewhere before or afterward. Lobster buoys are unique to each fisherman, like a license plate. When there is a storm or for many other reasons, buoys are lost. Here is a collection. I have never seen anyone around or about the shack. I have other images in fog. I never tire of taking pictures in all weather conditions. My belief is that someone kindly made this photo op to attract tourists passing by. It works.

Westside Sunset

Manhattan, New York. Looking to the east the tall buildings in midtown act as a classic backdrop for the evening sun. The large tower with the pyramidal top is Worldwide Plaza, site of the old Madison Square Garden. It is part of an entire city block that was excavated during construction. The hole in the ground was so deep, I recall the old children’s saying about ‘digging to China.’ Truly, it was a big hole in the ground. It was so big that all the rats left the site to plague the surrounding neighborhood during construction. Someone once wrote that when you look at the sunset, don’t forget to look back in the other direction. Or, maybe I just knew to do this.

Hudson River Sunset

Hudson River, Manhattan, New York. Living on the Westside for so many years, the skyline has changed. There used to be a view of the Empire State Building, World Trade Center, and even the Hudson River. New high-rise skyscrapers have gone up to obscure the view of the landmark buildings. The view of the new WTC tower is blocked by a large black glass building touted as MIMA, the middle of Manhattan. Looking to the west we still have some spectacular sunsets over the Hudson River. Someone once joked all the industrial pollution from the New Jersey side made this possible. Well, not every night, but often enough, there is a pretty intense evening glow. Once again this is a slide shot handheld.

Sunset Hawaii

Diamondhead, Oahu, Hawaii. There have been two national meetings I attended in Hawaii in the ’80’s. My story is this. You fly over the Pacific Ocean for hours and then you get to this little tiny dot in the middle of all that water. If the navigation system was off by a fraction of a degree, you’re just staring at a lot of water with no place to land. Or, to put it another way, if you fly at 35,000 feet and look down at an ocean liner which is a mere dot on the water. You might then understand that I did not have Hawaii on my short list of travel destinations. You could try saying, “ticked to Tahiti” three times fast also. Anyway, here we are at the Sheraton Waikiki. The view is toward Diamondhead and the sunset is spectacular. What more can one say.


Westhampton, Long Island. At the beach, as the sun set behind, this view east caught the moon rising. Somehow, the soft texture of the waves blurred by motion and a slow shutter speed works here. This is a slide image. The camera settings are unrecorded. I’m sure I did not have a tripod. Handheld about 1/30 sec or even as much as 1/8 sec, I am surprised at the quality of the shot. The rule is that one should not go slower than 1/30. And, the shutter should be faster if it’s a telephoto lens. To catch a really sharp frame a shutter of 1/125 second or faster is preferred. No matter, this handheld shot with the camera on auto, in the waning light, just came out and has been one of my favorites. By the way, shooting the moon, which is lit by the sun, is always tricky. The exposure for the moon is somewhere about 1/125 at f8. With digital, adjust depending on the detail, use a tripod, and zoom up to 400mm in order to get a properly exposed image of the moon. Of course none of this was in play for this slide. The moon is overexposed but the amber glow is great.

Lighthouse Fog

Lubec, Maine. Looking across a narrow body of water from Maine – bay or river, you are actually looking at Canada. Lighthouses look just a little different there. It’s Campobello Island, famous mainly as a retreat of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Fog is tricky thing to photograph. Surprising to me is the amount of detail retained in the image. This was a slide taken many years ago during the same memorable bicycle trip. It’s early morning, just as the sun is beginning to burn away the fog. The soft pastels of color and the detail of the lighthouse are an event not easily recreated.

Reflection Redux

This post follows up on the post of 9/26/11 in which tomatoes play the central role. My wife bought oranges yesterday. I can tell you that they don’t stack easily and I insisted on stacking them away from the wall of the kitchen counter. The slide show illustrates an early effort to balance an orange. With more time, a bit of motion blur might be fun to experiment with, as the orange tumbles off the other two.


Way off topic

There are things that you just can’t make up. The following email was sent to the New York Times. It is not easy to submit a complaint to Google or to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Google directed me to our government. I was completely dismayed to find this official looking NY State website (read the fine print) trying to sell me car insurance. The slideshow will give you screen shots of my search results. David says that the site perfectly draws you into their advertising and gets listed at the top of Google search, the dream goal of all marketing.  Good for advertisers, not the consumer! Or, do people just not pay attention?



Grand Manan Island sits off the coast of Maine. We were on our memorable bike tour through Maine that began in Lubec. Riding on the ferry, I saw this most beautiful girl. At least at the time she seemed that way. Her skin was so clear. It’s been more than twenty years since that trip. I wonder…. Anyway, this is one of my first attempts at street photography, albeit on a boat. With slide film and with or without autofocus, this is not an easy shot to just grab. Still, I was fortunate. Nowadays, one simply lifts the camera to hip level and presses the shutter release. The camera is set to autofocus and auto-exposure. The main issue is in holding the camera level. Go wide angle and crop later. Or sometimes, the angled horizon give the photo a bit of an edge.

Still Life

The craft fairs provide so much material for photographing. I start by saying that I have no interest in stealing design or artistic ideas. Someone recently objected saying that many of the ideas were copied in China and shipped back cheaply. That’s unfortunate. Camden, Maine – summer 2006 – I was visiting again and this glassware was just a grab shot. Great lighting, good blur of the background, and nice composition make this shot a favorite still life. One might ask whether I planned or did anything special to set this shot up. I didn’t. I don’t. The image was just there and I took the picture. Instinct and experience play an unconscious role. You can walk around all day and miss shots like this. So in the end it’s just walking around with the camera ready to go and visualizing as you march along. I’m not a big planner.

Wedding Photography

I hope that the bride’s mother in law will not mind me discussing this shot. It was a hot sunny July day in Gloucester, Massachusetts. I should have used fill flash. But this shot has charm. My secret wish, if I quit my day job – pretty unlikely, is to be a wedding photographer. So far Susan has been a great supporter. I have shot extras for her two children’s three weddings. Don’t ask. Anyway it was a great day. Brides are always so happy. And, no, I won’t quit my day job. But, if you’re in need of a wedding photographer….

Kiss the Bride

This just seemed to be the next best thing to juxtapose with the wedding shot. Halloween in New York City is a free for all. Yes, it’s Halloween night, October 31. No matter what day of the week, October 31 is the day for the parade. Kids show up but this is definitely for adults. The bride motif is quite popular. Why waste a perfectly serviceable wedding dress if it can be worn again. I presume that the model is a man but who knows?

Sailboat, Rockland

Rockland, Maine. There is a long jetty that protrudes into the harbor. At the end is a lighthouse. We were visiting some very close friends and had made the long walk over the rock jetty. There was a sailboat exhibition. So, many of the shots were of the boats and lighthouse. Inside there were glass bricks and the sailboat just sailed into my picture. How convenient was that?

Rorschach Fall Reflection

Rorschach Test. Ashburnham, Massachusetts. In response to some comments on Runaround Pond, I posted this photo. Some years ago we visited Alex and Maryanne at their home. The lake was still in the early morning. The water reflection of the leaves was almost perfect. This was a slide capture. Turning the slide on its side I got a real abstraction. Otherwise the vertical capture is not as riveting. I could also tweak this in photoshop but the overall abstraction does not require perfection.