Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Once Upon a Time . . .

A couple of years ago, once upon a time, some friends and I challenged each other to a year of daily posts--one or more photos that were taken on that day.  No archieval safety nets for us.  Although it was fun, it was pretty agonizing.

I mention that to say this :  this is the 4th day since my last post, and I was feeling pretty sluggish and annoyed with myself that I hadn't taken any photos worth mentioning in  four whole days.  So in desperation, just before it got too dark to make a photo without flash, I grabbed my SLR and tried to get some images of this flower.  Wasn't working.  Then I remembered my trusty point-and-shoot, which can do amazing macro work. 

So in spite of the fact that I can't hold that little, itty-bitty camera as still as I'd like to, and the light was fading at amazing speed, and there was just a wee tiny breeze, I think these images are okay.  Not great, not tack sharp, but nice enough to show off the flower.

I know, I know, you're thinking that there are four almost identical images, and what the heck was I thinking, posting all four of them, when one would have been just fine, thank you very much.  Well.  I just felt like it!  I think that each slightly different angle is interesting.  And it's my blog, and I can post what I want.  (actually the main reason there are 4 images here is that I couldn't decide which I liked the best)

So there ya go...

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I finally saw a vanity plate that wasn't moving along the thruway at 65 mph.  This one was in a parking lot, but do you think there were any others among the gazillion cars parked there?  Oh no!  What's with the drivers in NY???

The other day I posted a story about my golf experience while in college. It occured to me that since I'm using this blog as a sort of journal, and will be making a book out of it at the end of the year, I should try and post a few more remembrances "for the record".  Someday, maybe, just maybe, my children/grandchildren will pick up one of the "blog books" and browse through it.  They might learn something about me that they didn't already know.

Not that my life was particularly interesting or noteworthy, but there have been a few funky instances that I don't usually talk about, primarily because I don't usually think about them on a daily basis. 

So when I was trying to remember some of those situations, this was one of the first things that came to my mind.

Within months of beginning college, one of the soda machines began acting weird, as in, we could hear the bottle of soda begin to drop down inside the machine, but it never reached the opening where we could get it.  So the machine kept eating our money.  One day I decided to explore the situation and see what was preventing the bottle from reaching its destination.

That involved putting my hand inside the machine, reaching up to where the bottles were and trying to guide the bottle through its route to see why it was getting stuck.  Well, I found the bottles and was able to keep my hand on it as it began its descent.  Until . . . my thumb became wedged between something below my hand and the entire stack of bottles above my hand. 

So there I was, with my hand stuck and my arm inside the dumb soda machine all the way up to my elbow.  Hmmmm . . . what to do now, I wondered.  Finally someone came along and saw my predicament and went to find the dorm mother.  In the meantime, my finger was getting flatter and flatter by the minute because of all the weight on it.  Dorm mother = nowhere to be found.  Dorm mother = the only one with the key to the soda machine. (Now remember, this was back in the day when there was no such thing as cell phones & computers) Someone was dispatched to try and locate her downtown. 

By this time there were about a dozen other students gathered around the machine watching the progress (or non-progress in this case) of the frosh-with-her-hand-stuck-in-the-soda-machine-chuckle-chuckle.  Meanwhile, my thumb was beginning to seriously throb.  My boyfriend was outside the door pacing and worried sick.

By the time the dorm mother arrived, I was more than ready to get out of there.  (ok, ok,  I hear you laughing again.  STOP IT ! ! ! )  When she walked in, the first thing she said was, "I was wondering when something like this was going to happen".  When I heard that, it occured to me that I had done her a favor.  I had fulfilled her expectations and she didn't ever have to worry about that again.  Sure enough, it never happened again, at least not during the 4 years I was there.

So, she opened the machine, released my poor thumb and warned me never to do that again.  Seriously ? ?  Did I really need to be warned?,  but you know how "mothers" are.  My thumb recovered nicely, and I even  managed to laugh about it.  But ever since then, if a soda machine ate my money, I walked away, wishing it well.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

So It Was Time For a Change

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

And People Think Golf is Fun Because....?

Back in the day when I was in college, my major was Physical Education.  One of the required courses was g..., g..., gol..., golf.  ugh!  Now...I had never played golf, but my gut reaction was that I didn't like the game. 

When registering for the last semester courses in my senior year, Golf was looming over my head.  I had put it off as long as I could.  No golf, no graduation!!!  I implored my advisor, "please, please...I don't want to take that course, I'll do anything, anything--write a paper, take two other courses in its place, pay you".  I pleaded.  I begged.  I whined.  I almost cried.

All to no avail.  It was, "take the course or don't graduate". 

So on the first day at the golf course, I approaced the tee-off spot (see, I don't even know what it's called), started shaking, placed my rubber tee on the spot, took the stance, almost cried, prayed that the rest of my class would stop watching me,  and swung.  I connected!  It was a thing of beauty.  It felt awesome.  I followed through just like you're supposed to.  "Well, that wasn't so bad", I thought.  Until I looked down.  Right where I put the tee sat the ball and right where the ball should have gone went the tee.  As my classmates laughed, I died a thousand deaths. (I can hear you laughing too.  STOP IT!)

Since that course I have never set foot on a golf course.

Except, of course, for minature golf--at which I am equally bad. 

Jessica, Lauren, Jacob and I went golfing today.  It was actually fun.  I'm glad it's over.

I'm still wondering, people think golf is fun because.........?

Monday, July 18, 2011


This past weekend I attended the annual NECCC weekend at the University of MA in Amherst, MA.  (NECCC stands for New England Camera Club Council).  This is an amazing weekend when about 1,100 photographer, from beginners to pros, gather together to attend various workshops and classes.  As if that weren't good enough, you don't have to clean house, wipe runny noses, run errands, answer the phone (oops you can tell I started attending this weekend back in the days before cell phones), cook, clean the table or wash the dishes.  Could it get any better?

Anyway, the sessions begin early Friday afternoon and continue until noon on Sunday.  There has always been a featured speaker on Sat. night in the auditorium, along with awards, kudos to those who plan the event, and the dispersion of door prizes.  This year, however, the auditorium wasn't available, so the council planned a mini-balloon festival. 

The balloons were tethered, but it was still an awesome photo op, and they continued using the flames to keep the balloons inflated durning dusk and into darkness, which was very cool.  I've only been to one Balloon Festival, but I never had the chance to see them being inflated at dusk.  It was a really nice alternative to a Featured Speaker. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday's Post

I've reached a new low.  Did you get a look at the title for this post???  I just couldn't quite get the creative juices flowing for an interesting title.

Anyway, this morning I had plans to meet a friend for breakfast, so we thought we'd try the diner at the Riverlink Park.  While I was waiting for her, I took a few more photos of this bridge (the one I photographed with HDR a few days ago), but I only had my point and shoot with me.  So in an attempt to be creative, I put the camera down on the ground to get a low perspective. 

When we got down to the diner, it was closed--never open for breakfast.  That will teach me to take a photo of the store hours next time so I can remember (for longer than 30 seconds) when a place is open.  Anyway, we found somewhere else to eat and had a good visit.

So, a few weeks ago I posted a photo of my new (to me) car. 
The vanity plates arrived today.  Here ya go!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Out of Character

Yesterday I went hiking with two other friends.  We were in the Lake George area where there are a lot of outlet stores.  On the way to the hike I spied a clothing store that I particularly like, so I asked the others if they would mind stopping there after the hike.  No problem!

Practically everything in the store was on sale--big time, woot, woot! I found a few things I wanted and when I was getting ready to pay for my items, I noticed a jewely rack.  I saw these earrings and decided to get them.  They are totally out of character for me.  I don't usually wear such flashy jewelry, but there's just something about them that I love.

It's kind of scary stepping out of the box like that, but kind of invigorating too. 

When I was in Hawaii this past winter, I worked for a photo company (that shall remain nameless on the internet by their request/command).  Each day we would go into a school and photograph the kids for yearbook pics/IDs/spring memories.  At the end of each photography season (in this case, the spring season), we employees are encouraged to submit a sampling of our work to the Portrait Excellence Competition. 

We choose a school where we think we did a good job, then the computer generates a random collection of 25 images for submission.  That's so tenuous.  In any given 25 images, someone isn't smiling the best, someone's hair wasn't groomed properly, someone's hand position isn't "just right", someone's shoelace isn't get the point.

The 25 images are then submitted to the national judges.  Awards are then made. 

The only reason I made a submission is because my supervisors kind of told me I had to.  I don't usually feel too good about my work, and I certainly don't think my work is good enough to enter into a national competition.

When I got home today, there was a pkg for me from one of my supervisors.  The first thing I noticed was a bundle of checks that I didn't even know I was supposed to get but were issued to me after I returned to NY.  Hip, hip, hooray--I want to buy a new tripod and they will certainly help.

The second thing I noticed was a photo that was taken of us workers at one of the last proms we photographed. I forgot to get it before I returned to NY.  Another hip, hip, hooray--a great memory.

And the third thing I noticed was my Portrait Excellence Award!!!!  Oh.    My.    Gosh!!  At first I thought it was a joke, but then I realized it was real.  I am so PSYCHED!!!  It's amazing what even a small amount of affirmation can do for your perception of your work. 

I just want to say, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.  I'm still pinching myself!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wow, It Was Hot

About two weeks ago, we set the date for today's hike.  It's understood that we go rain or shine, unless, of course, there are thunderstorms forecast. 

Well, there was no rain in the forecast, but there was the prediction of hot, humid weather.  So we drove up north and started the hike.  Approximately 5 miles RT--fairly short for us, but steeper than we've done this year. 

One of the things I have to say about today is, Wow it was hot!!!  &  humid!!!  Did I mention that it was hot?  The trail was pretty intense, but not the worst we've ever done. 

It was pretty hazy, but practically all of Lake George is visible from this 2, 646 ft. high summit. The trailhead was part way up the mountain, so the walking ascent was only 1,046 ft.  But really, it was hot!

I managed to find a rock to set my camera on so that we could take a group photo. 

Bev, Linda & Jane
 Unfortunately this tower was closed, so we weren't able to see the view from the top.

I think the only reason I hike with these ladies is because we stop for dinner someplace wonderful every time we finish a hike.  This time we went to Panera and I got my favorite meal--Asian Sesame Chicken Salad and iced green tea.  So, so yummy.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Bike Ride, or, 9 on the 9th

I had plans to meet a group of bicyclists this morning at a bike path I've never been to before.  I wound up not being able to find where they were, but I found another access to the bike path, so I went out on my own. 

Although I didn't like the long drive to get there, the new path was a nice change from the paths I usually ride on.  Many more photos ops along this route, and it was a beautiful day.

As I was getting ready to start tonight's post, I remembered that I forgot to do my "5 on the 5th" this month, so you're getting "9 on the 9th".  I guess it was serendipity that I was able to take so many pics today.

An old railroad station

View from the train station

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Abandoned Quarry

A friend and I took a roadtrip today to visit an historical abandoned quarry in MA. He sent me a link to check it out online a few days ago, and when I saw the posted images, I was hooked and couldn't wait to get there.

We started out bright and early this morning.  It was a great ride and we didn't even get very lost finding the quarry--we only had to ask directions once at a cute little country store.

We arrived, signed in, and began walking up the path. We were a little under-whelmed.  Actually, that's an under-statement--we were very under-whelmed. It wasn't anything like we had anticipated. We decided that if things improved we would say the trip was Steve's idea, but if things didn't get any better, we'd say it was my idea.

I was okay with that.

So we persevered.  We walked the loop around the quarry--the walk/hike being very pleasureable-- occasionally stopping to photograph the random equipment dotting the trail.  We were still under-whelmed, so I decided to concentrate on shooting for HDR.

Camera exposure.

Camera exposure


The consensus:  the trip was my idea.

After meandering  through the quarry, we found a nifty place to have lunch. So even though the trip was a near bust we had a very good time and I'm not totally unhappy with the results. 

Monday, July 04, 2011


I actually got a lot accomplished today.  Laundry, a short visit with my daughter, a medium-long bike ride before it got too hot, bills paid, and I watched a movie.  Okay, so not everything I did was super-productive, but, hey, it's a holiday and I didn't have any deadlines to meet.

But this afternoon I began getting a little restless.  As the sun was getting lower in the sky, the light was getting more and more beautiful and I wanted to get out and do some photography.  Desperation was setting in though.  Where to go and what to photograph?--that was the predicament.

So I headed over to Riverlink Park in Amsterdam.  I didn't really expect much, but it's someplace I haven't been in a long time.  Reality met my expectations.  Although it was still a beautiful day, and it was a nice place to spend a little time, I was not at all inspired--


on the bridge crossing the railroad tracks. 
A little hdr.

And a little shooting through chain link.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Where I'm From

I found this little exercise on another blog that I follow, "She". 
Check it out--her blog is listed on the right sidebar of my blog.

She got the template from another blog
(I'll leave the address at the end of my post). It's a writing exercise to
describe "where you're from".  I found it kind of tricky and it took me
quite a while to finish it because I have a difficult time working in the abstract.

I hope you enjoy this, and don't be afraid to get the
template and try it yourself.


I am from city streets and elevated trains,
from NY pizza and Italian bakeries.

I am from often silent and lonesome, dimly lit, 
sometimes echoing hallways, hallways with many doors
leading to apartments, staircases and elevators.

I am from the privet hedges, green grasses, & landscaped yards,
the window boxes, roses & grasses growing up tenaciously
through sidewalk cracks.

I am from fresh Mozzarella cheese, summer Sundays at the lake,
from Frank and Florence and Uncle Johnny.

I am from weekly spaghetti dinners and open-faced
grilled cheese sandwiches as a special treat.

From don't talk to strangers, look before you cross
the street and be home before dark.

I am from going to Sunday School at the Methodist Church around the corner,
Jesus died for my sins, salvation is given to those who seek it. 
From being the minority white girl in a primarily "colored" church.
From not even knowing how to read the hymns in the hymn book.

From one set of grandparents who were deaf mutes
and lived in Washington, DC most of my life,
and another set of grandparents I never knew because
they lived in Maine and died before I was born.

From English heritage on one side by way of Canada and
Italian heritage on the other side, long walks around city streets with friends,
hanging out at the park listening to quartets of guys singing on the
street corners, getting my ears pierced when I was 16
before it was really "in", riding the public bus to school and spending
an occasional summer Saturday afternoon riding the Staten Island Ferry.

(address for template:

Friday, July 01, 2011

A Beautiful Friday

Today was one of those days.  You know, the kind that just flows along without any unexpected happenings, the kind that leaves you feeling totally content and appreciative of the
blessings that come your way.

It began with sunny, blue skies and a weather report that said,
"low humidity" and "no rain today". 
Then breakfast at the country store with some friends followed by
a little puttering around the house.

 Then, finally, a bike ride.
I say finally because, with all the rain and a crazy schedule,
I haven't been able to get out for a ride in quite a while.

I went on the bike path again, but in a different direction. 
Gotta mix it up to keep from getting bored.

I passed the Yankee Hill Lock and on my way back, detoured to see if
there were any photo ops.  It's a pretty tame area--one I've photogrphed many times
before, so it's difficult for me to get too inspired. 

This is the historical general store for the canal stop. 
It's just the building, nothing for sale inside now.

The next image is the general store from the inside looking out.

Later in the afternoon I made an appearance at a birtday party for Lauren. 
She's turning 7. 
It was another one of those, "oh my gosh, how did that happen,
wasn't she born just a few months ago?" occasions.

All the little girls got these funky sunglasses. 
A few stray pairs were left behind and Mace and his girlfriend
were happy enough to pose with their new "shades" for me.

So, all-in-all, it was a beautiful Friday.