Monday, December 21, 2015

Smoke Art

I recently took a tutorial class to learn how to photograph smoke.  It was so fun.  The class was small so everyone had a chance to practice, and it turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be.

It's five days before Christmas.  I finally finished all the handmade gifts I started, all the events at church are over, I don't have any appointments or meetings I got things set up and practiced. Yay for a Day at Home once in a while!

It worked!~!  I'm so psyched.  Now the only thing left to do is practice the editing part so that I can made the smoke different colors.  But until then, this is what ya get. 

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Victorian Stroll 2015

Today was the annual Victorian Stroll in Troy.  It's the only one in the area (that I know of) that takes place during daylight hours, so it's perfect for taking photos.  And this year was glorious because the temperature was pretty tolerable with no wind.

It was very crowded, probably because the weather was so nice.  

I met up with a new friend, Cindy, and we spent hours just walking around looking for photo ops.

This percussion band, named Troy Samba (at least that's what I think the name was on their shirts) went above and beyond to provide great performances throughout the afternoon.  There were probably 20-25 members all together.

2015 Tiny Miss Uncle Sam and one of the drummers were getting it on together.  

Santa was performing as usual but his elf didn't seem to be there this year.  It's always fun to take pics of someone posing with Santa.

So many people were walking around in period-correct garb, and every one of them was more than willing to pose for a photo.  

It was a fun afternoon, and next year's event is already on my calendar.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

An Afternoon in Ft. Hunter

The Capital Region Photography Meetup group held a field trip to, of all places, the Schoharie Crossing, a mere 7 minutes from my house.  That's almost unheard of.  Usually I have to travel an hour or more to join one of their field trips. 

Now....I've been to the Schoharie Crossing and the surrounding areas many, many times, and right now it's not very attractive because it's just past the peak of Fall color, so I was really wondering what in the world these people were going to photograph.

But I went anyway, cause spending time outdoors for any reason is better than sitting on my couch all day.  Well, because I was the only one who knew the area, I became the tour guide.  They all had a great time...this location is completely new to them, so they were inspired.  And then I got inspired.

We went to the boat launch, where it just so happened there was a fishing tournament taking place, so there were a good number of boats in the water (photo op) and when we got there the boats began coming in with their catches (photo op).  The fella in this first pic saw me with the camera and joyfully asked if I wanted to take his picture (photo op).  When I said yes, he posed...and he even followed my prompting to move over a little so I could get a better shot.  He said if I posted the pic, I should be sure to caption it "the Fishing Hairdresser".  Yup, he's a hairdresser by trade.  So funny. 

I saw a tractor in the recently plowed field on the other side of the parking lot (photo op) and did my best to get something interesting.

This is the old aqueduct (falling to wrack and ruin, sadly) with one of the fishing boats nearby. 
(photo op)

We then went to the Yankee Hill Canal location were we started fooling around with alternative shooting (more photo ops):  using a slow shutter speed while zooming, moving the camera, and panning.  The other folks enjoyed it.  This is one of my favorites that I took.

 And then there was an old, old, very large tree with this gnarly bark (yup, you guessed it, another photo op).  Couldn't resist it.

We ended the day by going to the Garden Bug where the folks had a great time photographing the pumpkins and gourds and purchasing pies and gifts from the great gift shop there.  It was a really good afternoon.

Friday, September 11, 2015

9/11 Stair Climb 2015

Today is the 14th anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers in NYC.  Utica hosted its first annual Stair Climb in honor of that tragedy.  A tall office building in Utica was the venue for the event.  The responders included fire fighters, EMTs and law enforcement personnel.  Registration was required, and the hope was that there would be 343 volunteers to represent the 343 responders who perished that day.  

Each volunteer was encouraged to wear full gear.  Each wore a lanyard with an ID card of a fallen responder (there were about 200 volunteers, so many wore two IDs so that all the responders who perished would be represented), and each climbed the stairs in the office building as many times as necessary to simulate the 110 stories of the Twin Tower buildings.  

The event was scheduled to begin at 8:35 am, the time when the first tower was struck.  Before that there was a group photo session.  Even though I got a little lost once I got off the thruway (what a surprise), I got there in time to grab a few shots of the assembled group.  Just before they broke up, someone told them all to look up.  I'm guessing someone was on an upper floor getting a shot.  

While they were queuing for their turn (they entered the building in three groups spaced apart), I wandered around taking photos.  It was so fun talking to all the personnel, and finding out where they were from.  Everyone was super-cooperative and happy to have their photos made.  

The group below came from Odessa, Texas just for this event.

The two in the next image are in different fire departments, but they attend the same training classes.  The guy is 17, the girl a little younger.  Yay for volunteers!!

After deleting the obviously bad photos, I still had almost 100 that I like.  No way could I post them all, so I just randomly chose some for this post.

This was a truly moving tribute to the tragedy of 9/11.  I'm not going to say I can't wait till next year because that would be rushing time.  But I will say that the event is on my radar and my plan is, God willing, to attend again.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Deck

For the first time in many weeks I didn't have to rush out of the house first thing in the morning.  Although it's going to get pretty hot later today, right now it's a beautiful 70 degrees so I decided to do my devotional on my back deck.  

Winter will be here before we blink a few times so I want to enjoy the balmy weather as much as possible while it lasts.  I'd probably be in the hammock but it's too tricky to read, write and drink coffee while supine.  So for now, the deck it is!

Sunday, September 06, 2015

It's Been a While

I knew it had been a while since I posted to the blog, but when I checked the date of the last entry, I was totally surprised.  Wow.

See, the thing is, I recently purchased a data phone.  I get email and facebook notices on the phone, so I often scroll through them quickly and then say to myself, "there, you're done" and then I don't think about getting on the computer.  

I've been pretty busy this summer--really...can it be over already?  Didn't summer just begin a couple of weeks ago??  (sad face)

Anyway, I've been doing some hiking with my hiking friends and with my grandchildren.  I made this stream image on one of the hikes.

August is racing season at the Saratoga Race Track and I managed to get there a couple of times for the early morning workouts.  It's not as exciting as the actual races, nor as colorful, but there are more photo ops because there are more horses on the track for longer periods of time...  It's a great way to spend a morning.

Then one day my photo buddy, Trish, and I went to Renssealear to photograph some artwork on the columns of the overpasses.  Looking across the river you can see the cityscape of downtown Albany.  

So altogether it's been a busy and fun summer.  I hate to see it end.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Hammock

It was a picture-perfect day today.  The weather made everyone happy.  Clear blue sky, warm temps, low humidity.  We've been so blessed in this part of the country with rain and cooler temps, unlike some places that are Parched and Hot.

Anyway, I spent the morning inside puttering around and getting ready to attend a church picnic at one of the homes.  After hanging at the picnic for a few hours,  I arrived home around 6:30.  The sun was low in the sky, the breeze was blowing and the temps were cooling a little.  

I heard the hammock calling my name.  And I had a few pages in a book left to finish--a Perfect Combination.  So I indulged myself and took a little while to enjoy the day.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fieldtrip top Hudson, NY

My good friend and photo buddy, Trish, and I took a road trip to Hudson, NY today.  After a very slow start (nail in tire/a stop at Sears/a long, protracted conversation with hubby about buying new tires/tires changed and balanced/getting lost on the way to Hudson/searching for quarters for the parking meter/finding a place to eat) we finally got out of the car with cameras in hand and began our photo shoot.

Hudson is a sweet little town filled with an abundance of photo ops.   We spent some time walking up and down the main road when I (serendipitously, I might add) remembered that we had only put enough money in the parking meter for two hours (in my defense~~the meters only take enough quarters for two hours at a time).  In light of my extreme reluctance to paying a parking ticket, we turned around and hustled back to the car.

It was really hot today, so instead of continuing our walk, we drove to the next destination which was the waterfront.  It was a bust, so we drove to the train station.  Then we left.  But we put some icing on the photo field trip by stopping at a Stewarts and treating ourselves to a yummy ice cream cone.

It was a GREAT day.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

First Mohawks Game of 2015

Last night was beautiful cool, dry and sunny weather (following 2-3 days of rain which was sorely needed), ushering in the first 2015 home game of the Amsterdam Mohawks Baseball Team.

I got to the field very early because I was already in town and didn't want to go home and then right back out again.  So I dragged along my knitting bag and my camera to occupy myself until my friend arrived and the game began.  

Pregame warm-up

Pregame Mohawks

Unbeknownst to me, the Amsterdam Middle School (now known as the Lynch Literacy Academy~~since I don't know when, but what's up with that name?) band was going to play for the opening ceremony.  The granddaughter is in that band so I was excited to see her and hear the band again.  (she's the one whose music is touching the other girl's leg)

Pregame performance

Then the game began.  I always challenge myself to capture the ball right at the bat or near the catcher's glove.  I think I nailed it in this image.  Woot, woot.

We left at the end of the 7th inning.  The Mohawks were way ahead, so I'm guessing they won. 

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

With A Little Help From My Friends
Last Saturday I attended a 60th Anniversary Party.  It’s difficult for me to process that Number (60) in relation to people being married that long–but how Awesome is that??  I fully intended to be a guest and I even entertained the thought of not bringing Any camera to the event (so you can see where my head is lately).  I don’t own a data phone so I wouldn’t have even had that for photos.  But, alas, as God ordained, I received a phone call LATE the night before the event from the hostess (the Daughter of the Anniversary Couple) imploring me to take pics at the event because she had totally forgotten that   Wee.   Little.    Detail.
Hahaha, how could I refuse?  The couple and I have been friends for 43 years and I Love Her Dearly, so of course I said “yes”, but in my head/heart I was muttering.  Well, it turned out fine and, of course, I had a great time.  So, during the event, which was basically dinner at a venue (Turf Tavern in Scotia–which, btw, I HIGHLY recommend), a few speeches from anyone willing to hold the mic, and some great dessert, I took a few shots of The Couple with various people, etc.  As the event was winding down I announced that everyone had to get their photo taken as a keepsake for The Couple and they should meet me right outside the door as they were leaving.  Amazingly, everyone was super-agreeable.
The thing is, it’s been so long since I did an “event” that I was way too serious and the first few photos were just “for the record”.  But then, I Got A Little Help From My nutty Friends.  And, of course, those photos are my favorites of all the ones I took that night, except, maybe, the photo of the couple Cutting the Cake.

In the following photo, we were having a very intense discussion about whether the women should pull their dresses up a Little on their legs.  One said, Absolutely Not, while at the same time her 80-something-year-old-mother was cooperating.  Too funny.  I think this is my All Time Favorite of the night.  Check it out.  All the men are looking at the camera and All the Women are looking at each other.  What a hoot.

And here's the Anniversary Couple.  What a testimony to Hanging in There through good and bad times.  I Love Them.

Monday, May 25, 2015

2015 Hagaman Memorial Day Parade

In our rural upstate NY area, many of the small towns sponsor Memorial Day parades.  They aren't super-well attended, nor are they blockbuster parades, but they still show home-town patriotic pride. My granddaughter belongs to her middle school band, and they were scheduled to march in the Hagaman parade this year.   

In all the years I've photographed my kids performing in marching bands, it never fails to surprise me that they are always on the other side from where I'm standing.  This year was no different.  The granddaughter was on the other side and the rows were so close together I couldn't even get a group shot of her.  The parade made a loop around the street and I got there in time to see them coming back in the other direction.  Even though I was on the right side that time, they went by so fast and so tight I still couldn't get a photo.  Oh well, maybe next time.

I did get one of the band as it approached though.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good they are.

While I was waiting for the parade to start, I did my usual people-watching.

Hubby did his usual ride through on his motorcycle.  The dog did his usual back-seat driving. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Super Heroes

Ray and Joan Kroc.  McDonald's.  Super Heroes.  5K.  Philanthropy. Families.

What do all these have in common?  Well, Ray and Joan Kroc were the founders of McDonald's.  They were great philanthropists and they felt strongly about promoting families.  In addition to starting and supporting the Ronald McDonald houses, they contributed funds to several other charities, one of which is the Salvation Army.

Ray died in the 1980s and Joan died in 2003.  When Joan died she bequeathed a huge sum of money to the Salvation Army.  The Army disbursed the funds throughout their four regions in the United States with the intent to build family-oriented community/sports centers.

Following is a quote from one of the Salvation Army sites.

"From the very beginning, The Salvation Army envisioned this as a long-term project – that it could take up to 10 or 15 years to have all of the centers open and operational   No other U.S. charity – faith-based or otherwise – has ever undertaken such a sweeping fundraising or construction effort with the potential to impact millions of people".

There's a Kroc Center in Oahu. This past Saturday they hosted their first Super-Hero Run. There were two categories: a 5K for adults or anyone wishing to participate, and a much shorter run for keiki (children), divided into age groups.

Leah and her friend from church registered to participate. I, of course, went to take photos.

It was easy to be at the finish line because at the beginning of the race it was also the starting line.  While waiting for Leah and her friend, I got some shots of other people going through the finish line. I saw this couple running together, took some pics, and then they impetuously kissed.  How great is that!!!

This little guy ran in the 5K portion of the race.  I don't remember where he placed, but it doesn't matter.  The only problem I had was that I couldn't  clap/cheer and take photos at the same time.  The photos won out, but I was cheering in my mind.

Now, this little guy...he ran in the keiki portion.  I had to crop this image but his mom is in the original, just to the right.  She was smiling big-time.  And look at his expression!  This is just too cute, I'm getting goose-bumps just posting this.

Anyway, it was a sweet morning.  There were about 300 registered participants, and I'm guessing the event will be at least twice as large next year.