CHRISTMAS CARDS PAST

In preparing for a recent craft show appearance I came across this Christmas card which I made and sent eight years ago.  You people probably think this kind of thing is easy:  It’s not!  This one took an hour of negotiation and a bucket of fish before he’d cooperate.  And he insisted on retaining an interest in the image.

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The original was made in Chincoteague.  I’ve always liked the image and I thought why should they disappear after one use.  So, I printed and framed it and I’m enjoying it on my wall for the holidays.  This also made me take a look at other past cards in the file, and I found that they, too, deserved another moment of fame.

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A few years ago two friends from the yacht club were speculating one night (over wine, of course) about having a view of the club under a full moon.  It is reckless to say such things in the presence of a pixel machinist.  Things happen.

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This was, admittedly, over the top but I think it was used that year sans Santa.  The moon shot was from a summer beach; the sheen from yet another.  I had photographed the tree in 2001 at Pittsburgh’s Winter Garden, and it enjoyed a life in many other alien scenes.  Perhaps the strangest was on the Holyoke Avenue jetty during a snow storm.  One friend, showing her confidence in us, asked Barbara if we had actually run an extension cord out on the jetty.  Of course we did.  🙂

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But it also had a more tender moment standing by the old shack along the causeway onto Long Beach Island.  Sadly, both the shack and the tree left with Sandy.

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That wreath around the heron’s neck has also had other assignments.  On a winter trip to the Catskills I found it floating in this stream.

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In yet another year it served as a frame for my Box Hill home.

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And here, decorating a race course marker under a guiding cormorant on the sailing grounds.

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A couple of years ago I experimented with photographing the Milky Way. The LBI beach is not a dark sky location but I had fun and produced a couple of creditable images.  Then, come December, this image fell into my head and stayed there.

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I once sent this picture to a friend, claiming it was evidence that Santa spent his summers at Beach Haven.  In the original he was surrounded by his pots of tomato plants.  She replied, “Oh, yeah, where’s the Christmas Tree?”  Wrong question as the revised picture showed.

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I don’t always mess with the pixels.  Here is a scene in a hallway of the Melk Abbey in Austria.  I hope they had floor polishers, and that the nuns didn’t have to do that floor.

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I’ve always loved this winter scene with its pictures of my family on the window seat at Box Hill.  Lots of eye-filling memories here.  Even some of those pictures had served as past Christmas cards, dating back to the last century.  Of the girls on the left, Maddy’s now out of college, and Gretchen will finish in 2017.  How did that all happen?

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Finally, in recent years I’ve been sending out a montage of my year’s work and art and fun with photography.  Here it is for 2016.  You can see the thumbnails better in a larger version by clicking here.

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Where would I be without my family and friends?

So, Merry Christmas and love to you,

and to all friends, Happy Holidays,

and “To All A Good Night”.

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THE TORRENTS OF MAY

No, this isn’t a romance novel.  It’s just spring in Greene County, New York.  That’s the Catskills but after several posts about the area over the years I felt the need for a new kind of title.

I recently revisited the area along with several photographers from the South Jersey Camera Club and the Cranbury Digital Camera Club.  We enjoyed plenty of violently rushing water and falls; hence the title but we also enjoyed lots of fresh spring greenery.

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The streams were running heavy, producing foamy cascades on their way to the Hudson River Valley, overwhelming former mountain trolls such as this one.

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A special target for us on every trip is Kaaterskill Falls which drops 260′ in two sections making it one of the largest falls in New York State.  The first drop of 167′ leads to a swimmable pool  in a large rock amphitheater which I’ve not yet visited as it’s tough to get there.  This spring, however, saw me finally at the top of the falls, accessible after a short hike to the trail head down Laurel Creek Road off of Lake Road above Tannersville.  I walked down there a few years ago but there was no trail head then.

We arrived at Spruce Creek, the top image below, which drains the eastern escarpment and feeds the falls.  A pivot to the right reveals the lip of the first fall (167′) in the image on the left.  This has been a spot for injuries and deaths of people slipping and going over.  It was scary to one whose knees quickly become jelly in such situations.  On the right below is 71′ high Bastion Falls just below Kaaterskill, and another step-down of Spruce Creek.  Spruce Creek continues on a wild ride along Route 23A and joins another creek to become Kaaterskill Creek.  We see it at bottom,  photographed in the rain as it heads for a bridge crossing on Route 32 south of Palenville, almost 4 miles from Bastion Falls.

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There had been so much rain added to the normal runoff of spring that small falls … mini-falls … burst from the rock faces along the roads.  Here was such a scene just up the road from Bastion Falls.  The scene was about 5′ in height.

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We also usually visit an old, deteriorating inn, the Cold Spring Resort, located on Spruce Street south of Tannersville.  Members of our group have researched its history and turned up an ad for the property for 1902.  It is said that it has been closed for about fifty years.  Brave colleagues entered a ground floor pantry and found dishes piled up, ready for service, and a couple jugs of muscatel.  Laundry machines had been sitting on the front porch for a couple of years but they disappeared during the weekend.  The end is in sight.  Each year we find some other part of it that has collapsed and we wonder when it will totally disappear.  This inside corner has given up since my last visit here a couple of years ago.

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Amongst and between all of the falls and old inns there is the dramatic vista here and there, the kind of thing that drew artists and vacationers to the Catskills Resorts in their heyday.

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We were a little early for spring flowers but the lilacs bloomed in profusion and filled the air with their fragrance.

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There is a gallery of these and more related images.  Click here.

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BACK IN THE CATSKILLS AGAIN

A panoramic view of the lake along South Road by Glen Brook Farm at Roundtop, NY,  a favorite shooting location for our three-season visits to the Catskills.  If you click on the above image you can see it full size.

I recently spent a fun weekend with fellow photographers in the vicinity of Round Top, NY, staying at the Glen Falls House as a base, and venturing into surrounding areas, chasing the light.  The group included shooters from the South Jersey Camera Club, the Cranbury Digital Camera Club, and the Ocean County Camera Club.  As in the past the locations were pre-scouted and the group led by SJCC photographer Denise Bush.  Having been up there in several previous seasons I tried to find new scenes or perspectives as did others.   Looking at some of their creative-eye results I am frequently left wondering “Why didn’t I see that?”  But, that’s part of what makes it interesting.  Click here for some additional images in one of my galleries.

The Glen Brook Farm lake (the pano above) has frequently been a first stop.  It’s a beautiful spot with birches and willows and — viola — the Catskill mountains.  Here are two scenes on which my mind’s eye focused. 

Another place we visit is the All Souls Church.  Because of a blah sky and too much contrast between the church and the sky this image will be useful as a Gothic novel cover.

 Another favorite spot is the mountain-top mansion of Frederick Church, a principal figure in the Hudson River school of landscape painters.  The mansion, called Olana, is named for a fortress-treasure house in ancient Greater Persia (modern-day Armenia), and incorporates Persian, Moorish, and Victorian architecture themes.  The different view this visit: the Coreopsis in the meadow below the house. 

Off then to other pretty scenes.  Below is Bastion Falls which I had only previously photographed from Route 23 which passes it between Palenville and Haines Falls.  This time we climbed down into the path of the water under a Route 23 bridge.  There wasn’t much water flowing so we could do this and it provided a great perspective.

In another field which beckons us every trip I walked out and into a grove of birch trees.  The scene below was captured by moving my camera vertically with a  1/3 second shutter speed.  I then converted it to black and white.

 At Bastion Falls I found the sight and sound of the falls so restful that I recorded a minute of it.  It helps me recapture the feel of the moment.  Please enjoy some of it.

THE CATSKILLS IN THE SPRING – 05/20/10

Bridal Veil Falls

 Above is a scene from my recent (fourth) Catskills trip.  It’s called Bridal Veil Falls and it’s located behind the Glen Falls House (Round Top, NY) where we stay during the weekend trips.  I’ve photographed these at the top but never worked up the enthusiasm to climb down the steep, tripping-root-filled path and cross the rock filled stream bed (my tripod and I are in the stream for this shot)  particularly when the path has been icy.  But, it was time to do it. 

Our weekend  was organized and led by fellow blogger  Denise Bush, who keeps finding new vistas as well as taking us back to favorite spots to be seen again in different light.    

Willow Lake

 Here’s a tranquil shot of a lake bounded by willows and birches and by the Catskill range in the background (not seen in this image).  I was looking on this trip for something other than the streams and waterfalls, and I liked this place. 

After you’ve photographed a particular scene it always pays to look behind you to see what else might be there.  That’s how I captured the scene below, which is the creek continuing on from Artists’ Falls, with the old mill bathed in leaf-green soft light.  For more images from the weekend click here.

The stream and mill below Artists' Falls.

NOT ENOUGH SNOW? OFF TO THE CATSKILLS 3/12/10

Last weekend I joined fifteen other photographers from three New Jersey clubs for two days of shooting around Roundtop Mountain in the Catskills.   Here’s a view of five of the group risking life and limb on snowy and icy slopes, trying to capture the perfect image.

This is the same area we visited last winter and spring, and several of the photographers were repeats from those weekends.  The weather was beautiful; we visited several new sites; and we had fun!

It’s hard not to find beautiful scenes what with running streams, rocks, trees and snow.  The scene below was made late in the afternoon and exploited the motion of the water and the splashes of warm light.

And now for something completely different….a Buddhist retreat with the pagoda, three temples, each complete with recorded chanting, joss sticks, and fresh fruit offerings.  Enchanting!

Below we have a covered bridge over the Artists’ Falls, mostly covered with ice and snow.  The group picture above was taken on the other, down-falls side of the bridge.

Finally, the mountains.  Several more images from the weekend can be seen at my gallery.  Click here.

A SPRING WEEKEND OF PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE CATSKILLS

Over the weekend a dozen photographers (including eight from our South Jersey Camera Club) gathered at the Glen Falls House in Round Top,  NY where we had visited and photographed last February.  Big difference in three months, from -1 degrees F, frozen cascades and icy trails to mid-sixties and wildflowers in bloom.  Here’s a before and after set.

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Some gloom from cloud cover and showers (better light for some pictures) but we were prepared.  Here are some snapshots of the weekend.  You can see nine more studies by  clicking here.

Here’s an old mountain troll at the trailhead leading to Diamond Notch Falls.P1020002 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_MG_1334This was the reward after an up-hill mile of a slippery and rock-strewn trail.  I made the trail hike in February but never got down to below the falls for this view because of the ice, although others did.  I made it this time and it was grand.

 

 

 

 

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Here are some of the wildflowers seen elsewhere on the mountain.  I’m told these are Forget-Me-Nots.

 

 

 

 

 

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This is at the base of a section of the Kaaterskill Falls.  The young school-girls were frolicking dangerously from rock to rock but they did add scale to the falls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are nine additional images in my gallery.  Click here.

Where’s Bergie Been?

I’ve enjoyed some great photographic experiences recently.  We spent Christmas in Williamsburg and enjoyed everything from the fifes and drums in torchlight on the Palace green, to linen, crystal and silver in the Regency Room of the Williamsburg Inn, to an organ recital at Bruton Parish Church, to just bopping in and out of the 18th century.  Below are the drummers, and more of our visit can be seen here.   What they’ve accomplished at Colonial Williamsburg over the years is just splendid.  How remarkable was the vision and foresight of Reverend Goodwin who conceived of the restoration, and John D. Rockefeller whom Goodwin persuaded to underwrite the project which began in 1927.  For a capsule of the background click here.

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After Christmas I went down to see Longwood Gardens’ Christmas display which was, as usual, stunning.  Rockefeller’s work with Colonial Williamsburg was something I think of as enlightened capitalism.  So is Longwood Gardens, created by Pierre S. duPont and opened to the public in 1946.  Because of the duPont beneficence we are able to enjoy such beauty as most of us could not otherwise enjoy. For a few of those images click here.

The cranberry pool in the main conservatory.

In late January a group of us from the Camera Club spent a colllllld weekend in the northern catskills, enjoying and capturing sunrise on the mountain faces and slippery walks along ice-filled creeks and the temperature hovering around 0 degrees F.  Check out the results.

Creek behind the Glen Falls House.

In between these weekends there were also visits to the Reading Terminal Market, along the Delaware River, and some derelict houses near the Cohansey River.  You can see samples of those here.