I carry a camera if it’s possible. That means my heavy Nikon SLR and zoom lens. It can sometimes be awkward and a bit of a burden. On the Five Borough Bike Tour, we were in Queens riding along the bay toward Flushing Meadow and the World’s Fair site. I recall the saying, “Did your mother know that you wore that out today?” It goes along with, “If you’re going out, wear clean underwear.” The sun was high and bright. The old bike shorts were stretched and a bit worn by wear. It’s not PC, but it’s priceless. No names please.
Ethereal. Don’t ask how I got this shot. Maybe the ghost just jumped onto the image sensor. Sometimes I don’t have any idea what the camera did to produce the image capture and especially what I have in this photo. It was one of the Village Halloween Parades. Mist, motion blur, halogen lighting, and a ghostly figure to the left are all that I see. How it came together is spooky. My best guess, rear curtain sync flash with a depleted charge on the battery.
I respond in this post to a comment about dangers of flying in a helicopter. The story expands in the gallery of my other blog. The primary slide in this sequence is the early preparation. Balloons have to be filled with some very hot gas. Fortunately I have not seen any accidents. Then you go up into the air with no way to steer except by the direction and whim of the prevailing winds. The launch is determined by the winds, which really can’t be much more than a breeze, less than 10mph. Otherwise there is danger in flight control and landing problems. What comes to mind in the second photo is Dorothy in the ‘Wizard of Oz.’ After the balloon goes up….
On the topic of apples, I thought I might add to the earlier post today about the subject. What comes to mind is related to apple picking, art, and apples. Halloween was last week. My son picked his apple when he was much younger. And, I pulled Rene Magritte’s surrealist painting from memory and complements of the internet. Having sourced the images, there’s not much to add.
These are the bird in flight images that I can recall from recent years. I keep a database. In response to Galen Leed’s excellent work/blog, I will admit that this is about all I have on the subject. The last photo is of humans, my daughter and myself, who wish we could fly. (Shhh… my daughter shouldn’t know that I posted her picture here – camera shy.) I’ll post a story about the African photos. Bear Mountain and Nyack New York are on my other blog (Imaged Event – see sidebar). My knowledge of birds is limited. We were at a surprise birthday party in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. The guests of honor have a home on the lake and a pontoon boat. At the end of the afternoon, I climbed aboard for a spin around the lake. As we rounded a small island on the lake, a heron was startled. I happened to have my camera in hand. Serendipity. I got about four frames and hoped that the exposure and focus were sufficient.
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I could be/probably am wrong on the identification here. We came upon this guy at a watering hole. Hippos lay in and among the waterlillies while several species of bird including storks were all around. Idyllic. This heron had caught a fish. It was too large to swallow. Other birds offered assistance, which was ignored. For quite a few minutes the struggle continued until the fish was turned properly and swallowed whole.
Zanzibar, Africa. I won’t begin to tell you what species of birds are in this photo. The word ‘tern’ comes to mind. My daughter and I were walking along the beach as the tide came in behind us. These little guys flew past as I panned and shot. Later we had to backtrack through the high tide and breaking waves. The uneven surface and slippery rocks made it a bit treacherous. I couldn’t swim while holding my camera up and free of the sea. We made it back in time for lunch.
I love the internet. A couple of clicks and – gotcha – the identity of the lilac breasted roller. At least my picture seems to match up. These little guys are all over on the Serengeti. They flit and swoop. Early one morning just before we departed to Zanzibar, our driver was rolling across the savannah. He stopped short of these birds swooping in for a landing. It was a slow morning to find any of the bigger game animals. But any subject will do when you’ve never been there before.
My cousin Amy and I were stopped at the roadside up on Bear Mountain. She was taking some shots with her macro lens. While I waited several raptors flew overhead taking advantage of the updrafts. This one swirled overhead as I swung my camera upward. I admit the backlighting obscures the detail, but it does have a nice effect here.
Here’s something my daughter thought up. She did it at Christmas one year. When things are slow and we need to add to the memory card, I, or she, will jump. Obviously, Lisa took the picture. It was the same morning as that we came upon the lilac breasted rollers. So then, everything from the posts above just fits together.
Technical: Just jump. But my daughter first had a point and shoot Nikon that would sequence like a jittery slow motion movie. It was hilarious. Now, with the motor drive, just fire off a burst. In the playback, it’s like a herky-jerky movie. Good fun. And your, family and friends will like it also.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
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?
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?