This Blog is in chronological order!
A Long Cold Winter
It has been a month and a half since my most recent rotator cuff surgery.
I'm getting so tired of having things wrong. Not that I deserve health, but I sure do wish I could have a few years in a row without anything debilitating happening.
Anyway, I got to get up to Lake Placid for a few days. Not ambulatory enough to really get out for image making to any extent, but did get a chance to stop in North Elba to commune a bit with the spectacular, seen yet again, view of the high peaks.
Angry clouds, breaking light, cold as sin. Working my camera with one arm, the left one still in the sling.
Just satisfying enough.
Mother in Law
Mom is going downhill.
She has been slipping for two years or so, descending slowly into dementia, getting physically weaker, and spending most of her time sleeping on the couch.
She still knows all of us, mostly, although she will sometimes think my wife, her daughter, is actually her sister. She sometimes confuses one of her sons with her long dead first husband.
She often thinks that she wants to go home, that her current home is not hers, but belongs to some ladies who most certainly will be back any day now.
When told she needs some help, she argues that she still gets all the meals and does all her work, when she has been on the couch since last September. Tough times for all.
A Winter Jaunt
Shoulder is feeling somewhat better, I'm out of the sling and well along in physical therapy, so took a day off to drive up into my beloved Adirondacks to make some winter images, albeit all from the roadside.
Entered the park north of Gloversville, drove up past Sacandaga area into Speculator, then north on 30 to Indian lake, Blue Mountain, Long Lake and Newcomb and spent the waning afternoon along the upper Hudson and Lake Sanford area.
I was near totally fixated on finding open streams with snowy shorelines, and was enjoying the gloomy cloudiness of the day.
I live the deep, rich colors and tones of a leaden sky day. Mysterious, eerie, foreboding.
Upper Hudson near Newcomb at left.
Four Days in New Orleans
For our daughter's spring break week, we booked a trip to New Orleans.
We booked an Airbnb in the Marigny area which is immediately northeast of the French Quarter and, as all good tourists do, we beelined for the French Quarter.
New Orleans is a fascinating mix of seediness, gentility, ugliness and beauty that grabs your attention and takes you on a roller coaster ride.
I am sure the French Quarter has changed over the years, becoming more commercial and pop-culture-ish.
We did find a great old-school jazz club, properly seedy and showcasing old style New Orleans horn jazz. We visited this club, Maison Bourbon on three of our four nights.
On the Streets
Our daytime street wanderings were a photographic feast for me.
Tourists, homeless, disabled, hustlers, vendors, charlatans, artists and musicians; you name it, they accosted us.
I was diligently practicing my street photography in which I made grab shots without expressly asking for permission.
Often shooting from waist level or similar un-aimed perspective, while I was walking, mostly without my subjects realizing I was making their picture, sometimes getting 'caught'.
View my New Orleans image gallery.
I Marigny, especially, I found unending areas of street art.
More than anywhere I have ever visited, this area was awash in it.
Not only graffiti, and not only professionally created, approved murals, but also middle ground stuff like at left.
Beautifully creative, substantial, while still seemingly purposeless. I was enthralled, and spent hours searching it out and photographing it all.
Many people consider all this an abomination and years ago I may have agreed. Now, I enjoy it, seek it out, and marvel at the ability some have to transform an environment with their muse.
I am not offended.
With my Girls
My wife is very patient with my photography. She really is.
Her only real complaint is that I tend to only make my 'artistic' images and never manage to take any typical family style vacation images.
So, on this trip, I tried my best to make a few family images. I succeeded in that I made only a few family images. Yeah.
I get so engrossed in making my image essays, seeking out and recording details to the point where I can seem like I am not with them. In fact, I lag behind so much that I am often physically not with them, usually having to sprint to catch up.
I think my problem is that I recognize that every place I visit may be the last time and feel that I must make the most of it by recording as much as I can.
I need to stay connected to family. I vow...
I am often drawn to doorways. I have photographed them most places i have visited, including Mexico, Cuba, Quebec, anywhere I found personality.
New Orleans has wonderful ones. In the French Quarter and, especially, our neighborhood of Marigny, we saw history, color, texture, material, patina and the feel of having been pushed open and shut millions of times over the years.
I think I made a hundred doorway images.
They speak to me, telling of those who entered here, who were trapped within, and who might have possibly escaped.
I feel tingling in my neck, step closer, and compose.
Messages and portents...
On the Bayou
Alligators are pretty.
We decided to do a tour of Bayou Jean Lafitte to round out our experience.
We took a chartered bus south of the French Quarter and boarded a boat and headed out to the swamps.
I am always dubious about any kind of guided tour. I am almost always pleasantly surprised.
Our captain was informative and not too goofy. He got us close to some gators in their natural environment and was even able to show us a baby.
I enjoyed the Mangrove, Bald Cyprus and Spanish Moss.
It was an afternoon spent out on the air, seeing something I might have missed if left to my own devices.
Playing with my new 100-400 Telephoto lens.
Sitting on my couch, shooting through double pane slider door glass, about 20 feet from our backyard feeder.
Have the camera and lens resting on a small beanbag on the arm of the couch. Fairly stable.
It's a cloudy day, so I have ISO set to 3200 and shutter speed at around 640th second, prefocused on the left side of the feeder tray.
Bird shows up, I snap the shutter.
Mr. Cardinal grabbed a seed, hopped to the edge and I snapped.
These should be sharper, so next time I shoot with the door open.
Again, testing with my 100-400 lens.
Wife and I played hooky from work one fine May Thursday and, among other pursuits, stopped at the Ballston Creek preserve to see the Great Blue Heron Rookery.
Our closest approach to the nearest nest was around 100 yards. The herons were mostly in their nests but we coudn't see any young yet.
The image at left is my best from this test. I have cropped out just about half of the original frame, so this image will only make about an 8X12" print because of that cropping.
I am hoping that once i get out on the water in my Hornbeck that I will be able to get closer to wildlife and, finally this year, start getting some better, clearer and closer images.
Wish me luck!
Amongst Bleeding Hearts
Ordered and received a set of Extension (Close-Up) tubes for my camera.
These are poor man's versions of a macro lens functionality, as in, they allow you to focus very closely on small subjects.
In the 45 years I have been making images, never before have I had the use of such a thing. Sigh...
I put the longer of the two, a 16mm tube, between my kit lens and the camera and went out and immersed myself with a bleeding heart plant in my side yard on a cloudy day.
Being that these have no glass in them, being just empty tubes with the proper contacts to allow exposure and focusing with my camera, it didn't hurt that I bought cheapo Chinese tubes instead of the much more expensive Fuji brand ones.
Going looking for bugs, next...
My Whitetail Friend
So, many evenings I am driving around the Slingerlands area near my home, coming and going from somewhere, almost always without my camera with me. I often see Whitetail deer in the fields in the late evening, starting about an hour before sunrise. I have seen this one doe a number of times in this one spot near road not far from Five Rivers Park. I knew her because she has distinctive markings. I would slow and stop and say hello to her in the gathering dusk.
Last night, I grabbed my new long telephoto and went out to these areas looking to see if I could find a deer when I actually had my camera. Of course this was the night that they stayed in the woods and I was having no luck until I drove by this one spot one more time before giving up. This last time she was there.
I pulled to the side of the road she was on, parked and grabbed my lens. She did not run but studied me intensely. I was expecting her tail to flash any minute and see her run into the nearby woods. She was about 50 feet from me at first and DID NOT run but went about her grazing, keeping an eye on me. I extended my zoom to 400, had the ISO at 3200 and started snapping images. I moved closer, she watched but stayed put. Then she came a tad closer, I moved towards her, she moved closer still, until she was about 25 feet from me. I snapped pictures steadily, speaking quietly, expecting her to shy away and run any second. No cars came by the whole time, no dog walkers, no cyclists. We had this patch of the world to ourselves.
She never did run. I think the previous times I had slowed and said hello in my gentle voice, she had understood I meant no harm. I finally decided I had enough, thanked her profusely and went on my way. Thanks again, Missy, for these wonderful images and the feeling that we had made some sort of connection.