Friday, September 30, 2011

Saying Goodbye

This is somewhat of a random post.  I went driving around this afternoon to find some photo ops.  I decided to go to the Guy Park Manor that was so seriously damaged when hurricane Irene hit.  It's the first time I attempted to get on the property, and although I've seen other pictures of it, it was so sad to see it in person.  One wing of the historical building was almost destroyed when the waters rose, but good news!!  reconstruction has already begun.


When I was walking back to my car, I heard a train approaching and I decided to try and get some motion images.  I didn't have my tripod, so I had to hand-hold the camer on a slow shutter speed.  The stationary items are not sharp, but it was still fun.  


And now to the "Saying Goodbye" part.  For many weeks we, the residents of Glen, have known that our local store would be closing.  Well, not actually closing...  The people running the cafe didn't own the bldg, and after several years of struggling to make a go of the business, they decided to close and direct their efforts in a different direction. 

As their last "hurrah" they announced their final Thursday night dinner with this sign.  Tim's sense of humor is notrious.





They had to vacate the store by noon today.  On my way home from my mini-road trip at about 1 pm, I saw the new proprietors painting the outside of the bldg using a bucket-loader.  At about 7 pm I went out for a walk, and unbelievably, the bldg is completely painted.  I didn't have my camera, otherwise I would have posted a pic of the store with its new look, at least the outside. 

New look or not, we sadly say Goodbye to Tim and his crew.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

People-Watching

I attended my granddaughter's soccer game yesterday morning.  She does a great job and it's fun watching her.


While I was waiting for the game to begin, I did some people watching.  Usually there isn't too much out of the ordinary at small town soccer games, but yesterday a few people caught my eye.  This girl is dressed for winter.  It was 71 degrees and she was wearing Ughs (or wanna-be ughs), jeans and a heavy hoodie.  I broke into a sweat just looking at her.


I come from redneck country.  The moms and other females that attend soccer/little league games wear things like:  jeans, cut-offs, sweatshirts, t-shirts, sneakers, sandals.  This soccer game was a mere 15 miles from my home turf, but I guess the dress code is a little different.  Cap, stylin' raincoat, skinny jeans and designer wellies.  Cracked me up!


By the way, granddaughter's team won.  Woot, woot!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sure Sign of Fall, Part II

I stopped at an awesome gift shop on my way home today.  I know the owner.  I had carte blanche to take pictures around the grounds.  Fall is definitely on the way.  Sigh.




But before I stopped at the gift shop, I went to the site of the Chalmer Building again.  More of it has been demolished. I don't feel any less sad . . .

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sure Sign of Fall

I forced myself to go out for a walk today, and I took my camera with me which I don't usually do.  I'm pretty bored with taking photos in my little town, which is really just an intersection, but I thought there just might be a chance that I'd see something interesting. 

I saw a caterpillar on the shoulder of the road, you know, the brown furry kind that seems to be a sure sign of Fall.  I put my foot in its path and it climbed up on my shoe, so I sat down on the side of the road and spent a few minutes "working the subject".  I wonder what the passing drivers thought when they passed me?  Oh well.  


I saw this bumper sticker on a car parked in a driveway along my route.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Doomed

When Tropical Storm Irene hit upstate NY, I was in Alaska.  Everyone at the workshop was keeping in touch with family and friends to see what was happening back East.  Several of our bridges are out, and several homes have been condemned, but my local area wasn't affected anywhere near as badly as others surrounding us. 

I never went out to take photos after my return to NY.  I felt a little self-conscious about taking photos of the destruction of the homes I had seen, but today I decided to go out and see if I could get close to some of the bridges near me.

I walked down to the next set of barracades on this road, but didn't go near the bridge.  Considering it was Sunday afternoon and there wasn't a soul in sight, I probably could have approached the bridge, but I knew of another place I thought I could get closer to.


The locks at this bridge are damaged pretty seriously.



Then I went over to the site of the old Chalmers Bldg.  I've been there several times before, and once had the nerve to step into the entrance.  I was alone that time and didn't have the courage to go farther inside, which I regret now.  Anyway, I guess that all the efforts to save the building and restore it have come to naught, since, as you can see, it's being demolished.  Well . . . maybe you can't see, since part of it isn't there anymore.  The area in the foreground with all the red brick on the ground used to be a beautiful, historic building . . . sigh. 

 



There's obviously more than one kind of destruction--nature and manmade.  Nature can't be controlled, but I sure hope that in this case, the manmade destruction is the wisest thing to do.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Annual Dog Walk

Today was the 4th (I think, or maybe 5th) annual county SPCA Dog Walk.  The event was raising money to build a much-much-needed new shelter.  There were vendors, demonstrations and food.  Oh...and of course, lots of dogs. 

My friend talked me into being a vendor to photograph pet portraits.  I HATE doing this kind of thing.  I usually stand around for the 4-5 hours of the event, trying to look upbeat, but being bored and angry with myself for being sucked into doing yet another "show".  I won't even consider something like this unless I can be in a booth next to someone I know, just so I can be sure of having someone to talk to during the long, lonely hours that I'm there.

Well, for this event the booth fee was zero $s, I was next to my friend, I love dogs, and it was for the benefit of a great organization.  So I caved and said I'd do it. 

Contrary to my expectations of doom, I actually had a good time in spite of the fact that except for my camera, almost every piece of equipment I had with me (computer, printer, media card adapter, strobe light, and light meter) malfunctioned in some way. 

I muddled through and tried to stay calm and managed to get some acceptable images.  They certainly won't go down in "doggie-portrait-hall-of-fame", but the people had eyes only for the faces of their adorable pets and they were fairly satisfied with the results.  And except for my technological nightmare, so was I.





Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stockade Art Show

I was in town this morning to do some errands and I stopped at a friend's house to have a quick lunch and chat.  While I was there I received a surprise call on my cell phone, from a friend I haven't seen in a very long time.  She was heading to the Stockade Art show in Schenectady and was calling to see if I wanted to join her.

So off I went to meet up with her.  What a great visit we had.  It was a beautiful day--perfect for this type of event.  Of course we had our cameras with us.  After spending time looking at all the wonderful art, we walked along some side streets and took photos of some of the fun front doors and other decorative details we saw.





Some of the homes nearer the river were hit hard by the floods caused by Irene, but on the whole the Stockade fared pretty well.  I'm sure that the Art Show today was a celebration of sorts considering how devastating the flood could have been.

It was a blessing to be able to spend this wonderful day with two great friends.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Alaska Zoo

My roommate and I arrived in Alaska the day before the workshop was scheduled to begin.  We did that as a safety net, you know, just in case there was an issue with our flights.  That way we were guaranteed to be at the motel in time for the first session on Sat. afternoon.

So that left us with all day Sat. to do some exploring.  We decided to go to the zoo.  I felt it was a good choice, just to hedge the bets in case we didn't see any animals in Denali.  So off we went.  Again, my expectations exceeded the reality, but it was still a nice way to spend the day. 


This particular zoo was one of the least photographer friendly zoos I have ever been at.  Most of the time we were shooting through plexiglass and/or wire mesh enclosures.  But I managed to get a few interesting shots.

It was overcast and cool that day, so the animals were reasonably active, which makes any zoo experience a little more fun.  






Another fun plate.  What's your guess?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

My Expectations

A year ago, when I reserved my space in the Denali Photo Workshop, I had some very vague ideas of what it would be like in the park.  I didn't know anyone who had been there, so these ideas were based on my imagination.  To say that my imagination was off-base would be an understatement. 

My expectations were way too high in one area, but not high enough in some other areas. 

There's one (1) road in.  Period.  Getting out requires travel on the same road.  It's 90 miles to the interior where we stayed, and it takes about 4 . 5 hours.  I'm not saying that it's not beautiful (sometimes totally breath-taking), but it is a loooong drive. 

The naturalist guides / drivers were great - - personable, funny, friendly and extremely knowledgeable.  But . . . . . . the best they could do was guess at where the animals might be based on activity observed in the previous days. 

Along with information about the animals we received a plethora of facts concerning the flora and fauna.  It's Fall in Alaska now and the colors are changing.  In the 4 days we were inside the park, we saw the colors change dramatically - - it was beautiful.  There weren't many flowers still in bloom, but I managed to get this one.


This mooose was way far away on a hill.  I usually didn't try to photograph the animals when they were so far away because I didn't have a long enough lens and I'm doubting its critical sharpness.  But I figured I should come home with at least a few images of wildlife and not just scenics.


This was the only bear that was close enough for me to bother photographing and even so, it's not sharp.  Sigh.


I think I need to start saving my pennies to buy that pro-series lens I almost purchased this past July.  Kind of like "closing the barn door after the horses escape" if you get my drift . . .

Monday, September 05, 2011

Get off the Tracks???

On the way into Denali Park, we gathered at the train station to await our bus.  We had some time before departure, so most of us wandered around looking for some photo ops.  Never one to waste the opportunity to photograph train tracks, I looked around to see if anyone was watching and then I stealthily (but boldly) stepped onto the tracks to get some down & dirty shots.  I was tempted to lay down on the tracks, but then decided against that since I'm not as agile as I once was and I wouldn't have been able to get up quickly if some "train person" saw me and told me to vacate my spot. (as if I wouldn't be visible to the entire crowd of people gathered there anyway). 

Well, I got busted!  I did manage to get a few photos before I noticed this rail nazi waving for me to get off the tracks, which I obediently, if not regretfully, did as soon as I was convinced that he was really waving at me for me to move.  Now, you have to understand that there are only two trains a day and one had just left--so really . . . what were the odds that I'd be smooshed by a train right then??  


Well, we got on the bus and began our loooonngggg journey to the entrance to Denali Park.  Oh my goodness - - Alaska is so big.  On the way, we were able to see many views of Mt. McKinley and even though we were shooting from a moving bus, the images aren't too bad.  The kicker is that the mountain is only visible about 100 days/year, but the chances of seeing it with blue sky and in it's entirety are even slimmer.  So we were really blessed that we could see it like this.  And any photographer who has a clue knows that you have to get the shot when it presents itself no matter what the situation, because surely there will not be a repeat performance.



Now, you all know how I feel about funky vanity plates.  Hawaii is replete with them and I have a blast photographing them there.  NY, not so much.  As a matter of fact, it's pretty darned boring in NY.  But Alaska, ahhh, such fun.  I wonder, does that say something about New Yorkers??? 

Anyway, this plate was on a tour van--I love it. Looks like the way they'd say it in Hawaii.  Maybe Hawaii and Alaska are more similar that we think--after all, they're only separated by about 120 degrees in the middle of winter.  

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Just a Couple

I arrived in Albany this afternoon from my adventure in Denali Park in Alaska.  Here are just a couple of images from my trip.