A Fall Walk

For the longest time the leaves stayed green, the temperatures were above average and people wondered if it was actually fall. Then, it seemed as if overnight, the leaves began to burst into magnificent colors of gold, orange and red.
It was at that point I knew the leaves were at peak, so I took my camera and went to photograph the fall foliage.

There’s many parks in the area I live, but the one I chose is special. It’s a place I’ve enjoyed my entire life, although I don’t exactly remember the first time I fell in love with it. Maybe it was the architecture, or the statues, or the carousel. Maybe it was its history, or its beauty or its serenity. Maybe it’s the memories that live inside the park. Or maybe it’s a combination of all the above. Whatever it is, I love this park. And it never ceases to amaze me no matter how many times I’ve been there there’s always something new to see, a new adventure to go on.

Carousel IIII entered by the carousel, a magical beauty constructed in the early 1900s. It has twenty-eight individually hand carved horses which were made by Lithuanian born Marcus Charles Illions. Walking around the cobblestone path that lines the way, I looked through the windows and saw all the horses. They appear to be running with their legs raised high or kicked out, ready to take another step. I think they’re majestic works of art with details so ornate I can’t help but marvel at them. Of all the carousels Illions constructed during his lifetime this is the only two-row carousel left still in working order.

A few steps away from the carousel is a stream of water that runs into a larger pond A Fall Viewwhere ducks like to gather. There’s benches around the edge as well as trees and shrubs. By this time of year most of the trees had shed their leaves. They now covered the ground with the colors of a rustic blanket shielding the green grass. The dried leaves crunched under my feet as I walked around the pond and when the breeze blew it carried with it the scent of fall.

The pond is surrounded by history. On one side stands the Canfield Casino and on the other, almost up on a hill, is The Spirit of Life. I never knew what the Canfield Casino was or understood its history until a couple of years ago. It was once a place to gamble, but today it stands as a historic landmark and a popular place for weddings. Even before I knew exactly what the building was, I was always fascinated by its architecture.

Final.jpgThe Spirit of Life and Spencer Task Memorial was constructed in the early 1900s. This bronze statue overlooks her reflecting pool as she has done since the day she was built. Sometimes, in the summer, mother ducks and babies can be found swimming in the pool. Over the years I’ve photographed her on a number of occasions with many different cameras. On this trip to the park, I found yet another way I wanted to photograph her. In my mind the flowers, small trees and reflecting pool framed her well.

I left the lower area of the park, walked up a hill and entered the woods. As soon as the path curved I saw a tree with all its leaves, bright with shades of red and orange. Limbs and branches reached toward the sky, arched over the path, and created a canopy of color. The path itself was scattered with fallen leaves and acorns. Squirrels and chipmunks rustled through the leaves looking for food to store before the approaching winter. My feet, once again, made the leaves crunch with each step. I paused once or twice to kick at a pile of leaves, making them fly up in the air and twist in the wind and they floated effortlessly to the ground. It made me feel like a kid again. I’m not sure what it is about fall, or any season, but certain things, no matter how old you become, make you feel like a kid.

Continuing along the path, I walked through the woods and above the lower level of the park. A fountain with a small stream connected to it ran below. There’s multiple fountains and sculptures set around the park. Soon the path began to descend and curve back around. As the wind blew it pushed the fallen leaves across the ground, bringing with it the crispness of fall. Before long, I was back at the carousel where I’d started, looking at the horses once more.

Throughout the park paths weave their way past trees and shrubs and benches. They take you by ponds and through the woods. Not only do they lead you through nature, but also history. There’s many historic things I didn’t mention about this place, but there’s simply so much to it. As I said in the beginning, I’m always finding something new. To this day I’m constantly learning about the park with which I fell in love.

To see more photos please visit my website by clicking here.

Advertisements

A Summer of Photos

Over the summer I traveled, photographed a ton of concerts and documented the places I visited. Some places I had never been before while others I knew well. Some bands I had never heard of before or seen live while others were close to my heart.

It’s almost hard to believe that summer is over. Especially since the calendar says fall, but the temperatures are screaming summer (or at least spring). Now that we’re officially a week into fall (and heading for October, pumpkins, apple pie, bonfires, hot cocoa, warm sweaters, ect.) I’ve decided to post some of my favorite photos from the summer. (And this was not the easiest of tasks. Not every band I photographed or every place I went is represented in the photos below, so feel free to check out my website. The link is posted at the bottom.)

I hope you all had a great summer!

Enjoy the photos!

MuteMath

MuteMath at House of Blues Boston

Birdbath in the Garden

Emily Dickinson’s House – Amherst, MA

A Painter's Tools

Thomas Cole’s House/Studio – Catskills, NY

Mountain View

Catskills, NY

Switchfoot

Switchfoot at House of Blues Boston

Driftwood

Hampton Beach, NH

Switchfoot

Switchfoot at Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom

Fuel

Fuel at Upstate Concert Hall

Door

George Eastman’s House – Rochester, NY

Stolen Rhodes

Stolen Rhodes at Sticky Lips Juke Joint

Parkway Drive

Parkway Drive at Upstate Concert Hall

Heavenly

Ocean City, NJ

To see more photos please check out my site by clicking here.

 

A Visit to The George Eastman House

George Eastman's HouseFor someone who likes photography and old cameras, visiting the George Eastman House is a welcomed opportunity. It’s not only the house that George Eastman (the maker of Kodak) built and lived in during his lifetime, but also a gallery and museum surrounded by many beautiful gardens.

From the outside the stone walls of the house appear gorgeous. The house itself is a work of art. At the front of the house there’s a patio, or sitting area, with two chairs. The door leads into a large foyer with a grand staircase straight ahead.

Inside the house it appears as if time has stood still. Some of the paintings, and I believe fixtures, are exact replicas, but everything is still as it would’ve been if Eastman himself was still living. From the crystal chandlers to the dishes to the bedrooms to the clothing hanging in the closet and the bathroom products sitting in the medicine cabinet, a tour through the house feels like stepping into the past.

The gardens on the property are full of flowers as well as lush, green grass and bushes. Some have stone, or slate, paths while others have paths laid in brick. One garden had lattice with grape vines growing. Another had a small pond in the center with fish and lily pads.

At the back of the house sits the gallery which is currently showing the work of Eugene Richards. It’s titled: Eugene Richards: The Run-On Time. His work explores large, complex social topics. While the photos are engaging, some may be difficult and uncomfortable to look at. Still, this exhibition is worth seeing.

Besides the gallery, the museum is also the home of many old cameras. They’re all gathered in one room and placed in multiply glass cases. They range from wooden cameras with wet plates to the camera of the 90s and, I believe, early digital. Along with the cameras are pictures lining the walls. In the same room are color and black and white photographs by famous photographers.

Whether it’s photography, cameras, a beautiful garden to walk through or even a little bit of history, I believe there’s something for everyone here.

To see more photos please check out my site by clicking here.

Something About the Ocean

The sound of crashing waves echoed through the night. The ocean churned, rushing for the shore and touching the sand before being pulled back out to sea. It kept up it’s constant rhythmic breathing all through the night and into the early morning.

HeavenlyAs the sun rose the ocean waves continued to crash. In the light of day the rolling, tossing sea could be seen. The water curled, crashed, whitewash spraying as it advanced toward the shore. And the ocean never stopped breathing. No matter the time of day the soothing sound of the ocean could be heard.

The hotel sat on the boardwalk, facing the ocean. Every night I fell asleep to the crashing waves and every morning I woke to them. The salty sea air blew in through the open screen door and some mornings I was torn between staying in bed and getting up. But the ocean always called me, pulled me, and I wanted nothing more then to be down on that beach before it became crowed with the day’s beach-goers. So, really, there was never a choice to be made.

Every morning I walked the beach with my camera. I took pictures and collected shells. The water was so rough that it was difficult to find one that wasn’t broken, but even the broken and chipped ones were beautiful. I walked under the pier, continued along the shoreline and dragged by toes in my water that would rush up and over my feet. There were only a few times where I walked in deep. (Once I walked in up to my knees and a wave came and pushed water up my shorts. I laughed, not really caring, and knowing Sand, Shells and Stonesthat my pockets were already full of sand from the shells I had picked up.)

There was a place on that beach where it seemed all the shells would wash up. Some were broken, some were shattered, some were in one piece. I had never seen anything like it, but where there should be sand there was a stretch of shells. They laid on the beach like a blanket. There was no way around them so I had to walk on them. I didn’t mind. I was looking for shells. Plus, the way the sun was bouncing off the surface made the shells look like they were glistening.

One day, I went down with my camera, but instead of walking along the water’s edge like all the other mornings, I climbed into a lifeguard stand and simply watch and listened. There’s something about the ocean. Time stops. The crashing waves wash away all worries, if only for a moment. Waves barrel and rush toward the shore, keeping the sound of rhythmic breathing. The smell of saltwater and the gentle sea breeze while the sun warms your skin is wonderful. It pulls me, like two opposite ends of a magnet coming together. Much like the ocean always find the shore, I can’t resist the ocean. There’s something about the ocean and I wonder, even though I’ve written about it many times, if there’s any words to truly do it justice.

And I can’t forget about the boardwalk with it’s many shops and eateries. I love the soft pretzels and how their always warm, the funnel cake and all its confectionery sugar and I think I found one of the best pizza places the boardwalk has to offer. One place I always go is the taffy shop. I’ve tried a lot of different taffy in my lifetime, but Ocean City, NJ has Evening Wavesthe best. (They also have really good chocolate.) There’s also two arcades and two or three amusement parks, one which has been around since 1929. For shopping, there’s even more stores in town which are worth exploring.

The ocean is one of my favorite places in the world. To me, the ocean is many things – feisty, calming, dangerous, strong, beautiful, alive. It’s one of the places I want to go to find peace. The reasons are almost indescribable, but it’s natural, like the rushing of waves to the shore. I also believe the ocean is one of the purest places on earth.

To see more pictures from Ocean City, NJ please check out my photo page by clicking here.

Pictorial History

Photographs of old buildings that were once busy factories, populated schools, adored homes and so much more hang on the wall. These buildings now sit abandoned, left to decay and be taken over by nature. Some of them are partially collapsed while others have been demolished since the photos were taken and now there’s nothing left but an empty lot or the looks of what used to be the foundation.

These are the Hudson Valley Ruins, a photography exhibit currently on display at the New York State Museum. (And I do recommend going to see this instillation.)

The photos are beautiful. From an artistic standpoint I loved the use of lighting, attention to detail, the textures and angles at which the pictures were taken. They capture the essence of the buildings – still beautiful with it’s boarded up doors, partially collapsed walls, broken windows, torn wallpaper, peeling paint and overall abandonment.

Each photo leads to a sense of wonder and, possibly, nostalgia. As I stood in the museum looking at these photos I found myself envisioning what they looked like in their prime – busy, bustling schools and factories, lavish homes.

Historically the photos capture a place that once was a prominent and important piece of the past. These buildings once produced goods, educated children and housed families among other things. Some of the buildings were repurposed before being abandoned while others were forgotten long ago.

I think that’s the sad thing about these places. While still beautiful in their own way, they’ve been forgotten and left to the forces of nature to destroy what once was grand. A lack of care has turned these buildings into so-called “eye sores.” I don’t believe they’re ugly sights to be seen. Instead, I think they’re interesting pieces of history. They’re meant to be preserved as best as possible so we can learn from them.

Any photograph, if we look closely enough, can be a learning tool. Every picture tells a story. They depict specifics about a person – their clothing, their personality, their inner being. Pictures capture a lifestyle. Photographs freeze the horror and/or the beauty of a moment. They’re a window to the past and hope for the future.

It’s said, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Maybe the saying is a bit cliched, but I believe there’s truth in those words. We can learn a lot from a photograph, if we’re willing to listen, look carefully with our eyes.

California: Surfing and Music

It was the perfect day on the beach – full of surfing and music.

SwitchfootAfter breakfast, I made my way down to the ocean where the surfing events were taking place. (I wasn’t part these events. At least not in the sense of actually surfing. No, these guys, even the kids, could surf circles around me.) I surveyed the crowd, picked out the surfers and finally found a good place to set up camp. (And by camp I mean a good place to stand and take pictures.)

The sun warmed the back of my neck and bare shoulders as I watched the surfers ride the waves. (Not always all the way to shore. Sometimes they took a spill.) I raised my camera constantly to captures some action shoots, silently yelling at myself for not bringing a longer lens, but was still happy with the pictures I ended up with. There were times I was so captivated and focused on what I was doing that I didn’t realize how far I was wading out into the ocean. Well, I didn’t realize until the next wave came and sent water up my shorts.

I followed the surfers out of the water, along the beach, and finally found where they wereSwitchfoot all standing. As much as I enjoy a good action shot, I love candid pictures. These are the moments that can’t be made or recreated. I believe candid moments capture the soul.

It’s the same with music. When I photograph an artist, I feel like I’m capturing a moment that shows how in touch they are with the music they’re playing. I’ve photographed a lot of bands over the years and Switchfoot has always been one of my favorites. When I watch them live, they seem to have the music running through them. They believe in the songs they play and the words they sing. For me, not only does it make for a great show, but great photos as well.

Switchfoot put on one heck of a show. Actually, I should say shows. First there was Auction Night where they played a short set after raising money for local charities. There were multiple items people could bid on and win with the six charities splitting the money. The guys played a tight set, including three songs from their new album, Where The Light Shines Through.

Switchfoot at the Switchfoot Bro-AmThen there’s (what I like to call) beach day. This is a day full of surfing and music. I’ve already mentioned the surfing portion, but the music is equally as entertaining. Once again, the guys played three songs off their new album, which was released that week – “Float,” “Where the Light Shines Through,” and “Live It Well.”

During the show they brought several children up on stage from an area school and let them sing “The World You Want.” They were part of VH1 Save the Music, which brings music back into schools.

Over all the band preformed a tight set with Jon making his way through the crowd. In order to get back on stage he laid back as if getting ready to crowd surf and let the crowd Switchfoot at the Switchfoot Bro-Amraise him. Drew did what he does best on stage – shred. Tim showed off his bass skills. (Especially during “Float,” which is a very bass heavy song.) Chad kept the beat going and Jerome played some very lovely piano parts.

I captured so many great moments with my camera and was thrilled to be right in the thick of it and part of this amazing event. So, yes, a day on the beach with surfing, music and my camera – perfect.

To view more surfing pictures please click here.

To view Auction Night picture please click here.

To view beach day concert pictures please click here.

Being a Concert Photographer

There’s a certain energy that takes over the atmosphere of a venue during a live show. It’s different in each place and with each performance, but it still exists. The crowd feeds off the energy of the band and vice verses.

When I listen to music, it absorbs me. The notes carry me away as the melody wraps around me. And live shows, well, I love the feeling of the bass as it vibrates through the speakers and snakes along the floor. It’s an interesting and wonderful sensation to have the beat of the drums and bass weave their way through my body until it feels as though the music matches my own heartbeat.

As I stand there, now part of the melody, the performers take my breath away. Most of the bands I’ve had the opportunity to see live have produced an energy like no other. I can tell simply by watching that they can feel the music and believe in the words they are singing. And that makes me believe in the songs that much more too.

On the nights when I’m working a show, the whole atmosphere takes me over. (And I use the word “work” lightly, since I love what I do and it never feels like work.) I’m in front of the barricade bar, wedged between the bar and the stage, an entire group of people behind me while the band is inches from my face. I raise my camera, the lens now acting as my eyes, and capture the moments. I capture the songs, the notes and the emotion in a single frame.

Even when I’m standing stage-side, my adrenaline is still pumping. I’m standing in the mist of security, band members, tour managers (although I can rarely pick them out), maybe one or two other photographers, sound equipment and instruments. It’s a different view from standing in the crowd, a view I would never give up.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way because I love my job.

If you would like to take a look at some of my photos you may do so by visiting my website.