The weather provided perfect lighting for photography last weekend in Cooperstown, New York. Beautiful landscapes, flowers and Otsego Lake provide great subjects. This time of year the popular summer tourist attraction is relatively devoid of crowds. With just the small Canon EOS-M (mirror less) camera, I was able to enjoy the day without lugging around the usual 30 pounds of camera gear and still get some great shots.
Feeling a bit embarrassed and sore today as I write this blog entry. With forced hot air heat and no humidifier, it tends to get a little dry in my bedroom on the second floor. About 4:30am I got out of bed to get a drink of water in the downstairs kitchen, the good filtered water from the refrigerator dispenser. Still half asleep, my disabled left arm reached for the handrail as my right foot missed the top step on the back staircase. The stairs are rather narrow, steep and (thankfully) carpeted. My arm never quite got a hold of the handrail as I began traveling down the fourteen steps laterally, bouncing my left buttock and right scapula alternately off each stair until I reached the bottom. My first planking experience was sort of surreal. My mind whirled as my naked body hurled towards the bottom of the staircase. Was this the end? What a dull way to go! I could have at least put some clothes on. I left my phone in the bedroom, how can I call for help? Then that 70′s commercial started playing in my mind, “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”
Thankfully, the worry was for naught. A little soreness, some carpet burns and this blog entry are all that remain to remind me never to do that again!
Three members of the Amsterdam Photography Club went on a snowshoeing photo adventure today in a gated land preserve near Johnstown, New York. The beautiful preserve provided many photo ops and the weather was perfect for our four-hour hike. My legs reminded me that I should be doing this kind of thing more often! Our gracious host provided the land and some pizzas and coconut water to recover from the strenuous hike. It was well worth the trip!
This year my blog went through some changes. The Grove Street Grumble became The Grove Street Photographer. The Buddhists helped me discover that I had more to be thankful for than to grumble about. While the statistics showed people really liked my grumbling posts, there was also a number of people who did not. One reporter for the Gazette even described my writing style as acerbic. While I still have a few acerbic posts now and then, for the most part I have tried to focus on what I can do well, photography.
Sixty posts were added to the Grove Street Photographer blog in 2012. The blog had 33,000 views from 95 countries. May 29, 2012 saw the highest number of views in one day with 1,134 people viewing the post Celebrating Buddhas Birthday.
Other popular posts viewed in 2012 included two from 2011. In the number two spot is A New York State of Death followed by Photo Restoration in the third place. The fourth and fifth places go to my 2012 acerbic posts The Many Faces of Michael Chiara and Letter to the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors.
The 2012 post with the largest number of comments was another acerbic post Mayor Proposes Two Condoms for the City of Amsterdam.
What I took from these statistics was that people would rather look at my photos than read about my political views and I’m good with that. The local papers use talented journalists who are very good at covering local politics. When it comes to photography, I have the edge.
See you next year!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
The World Peace and Health Organization, led by Buddhist Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi and his Monks, put on a very elaborate Holiday celebration this evening at the Goddess of Mercy Temple on Grove Street. Accompanied by the most recent class of Buddhist students, the public received two solid hours of entertainment followed by refreshments. The celebration was a blend of eastern and western cultural traditions. There was a Chinese Dragon, Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer and Santa accompanied by an elf passing out candy. There was caroling and Chinese Opera, dance and Tai Chi. There was even an American Marine singing in Chinese! The event ended with the audience joining in on stage for a last dance Gangnam style. Words just cannot adequately express the cavalcade of entertainment, so here are the pictures.
Today is December 21, 2012, the day the world was to end but didn’t. I thought it would be right today to post photos from another significant date this month, the twelfth day of the twelfth month of the year two thousand twelve.
The Photo Center at 404 River Street in Troy, New York 12180, is sponsoring a juried photography show From January 18 to February 17, 2013. The show will feature a slice of life from submitted photographs taken on 12/12/12. The show is open to all photographers and digital submissions are due by 6PM on Wednesday, January 2, 2013. You may submit up to four photos along with a $30 fee payable to the Photo Center.
With that in mind and my new Canon EOS-M camera, I took some photos. The camera is smaller than my iPhone 4S in length and height but packs a powerful APS-C sensor. It is very good in low light and all the following photos were taken with existing light. My day took me from Church Street to Price Chopper, Schenectady library, Morette’s King Steak House and then to a meeting of the Schenectady Photographic Society. This group is one of the oldest continuously running camera clubs in the United States. It has been in existence for over eighty years!
The first photo taken at 12 midnight from my house on Grove is followed by the Church Street photos taken at noon.
Yesterday I attended a special celebration in Auriesville, NY with my second family, the Buddhists. They were celebrating the completion of a pagoda-like structure on top of their headquarters building, a former Jesuit dormitory. The structure serves as a roof and observation deck covering what was once an open elevator shaft. Buddhist leader, Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi dubbed the roof Noah’s Ark. Like the biblical story, it protects residents from violent storms and flooding. It also symbolically represents the Guang Huan Mi Zong health dharma protecting the world from the flood of suffering and disease. The Buddhists were also celebrating the birthday of one of the Chinese students studying the health dharma.
Going with the Ark theme, I decided to photograph the three kittens that found a home with the Buddhists. A male and two female siblings who seem to be the progeny of a Lilac Point Siamese and a Yellow Tabby. A gorgeous sunset followed as if on cue to start the celebration.
I talked with old friends and met several new Buddhist Monks that recently joined the group. It was a very enjoyable evening with my always hospitable friends.
Last week my Dad, Frank Skrocki turned eighty-three years old. I drove down to Hudson, NY to visit with him yesterday. We talked about our lives, gardening and cooking. We identified a flowering vine that spread to his yard. He told me about the curious praying mantis that clung to his siding for a couple of days and the different garlic varieties he grew this year. We didn’t talk much about Hudson except for the rooster he heard crowing the day before. The city he knew is gone, replaced by one that is now foreign to him. We took a walk around the block and we were both surprised by changes. We discovered a farmer’s market just a couple hundred feet from his house, the new Democratic headquarters he never knew was just half a block away.
The changes to Hudson are not the kind that most people lament. They are positive changes that brought commerce, people and life back to this once dead river town; but my Dad misses the old days when he still knew all the stores on Warren Street and a lot of the residents by name. Today he barely knows the name of his next door neighbor and I know this is not an isolated situation. It is our changing culture that put most of us in the same situation. I like the changes in Hudson and still have hope that Amsterdam can see the same kind of positive change.
Here are a few sights from Hudson, New York.
This week I had the opportunity to photograph a waterfalls in Hamilton County, New York at the base of the Adirondacks. Tennant Creek Falls, more popularly known as Hope Falls is just off of Route 30 north of the Sacandaga. Arriving at the parking area near the trailhead, you are greeted with a plethora of signs to keep you off adjacent private property and advising you to vote Republican. The hike to the falls along the Tennant Creek is relatively short, but the right of way does cut through private property. Signs remind you not to wander off the established trail. My photographer friend Linda Buckman was kind enough to invite me on this hike to a beautiful, serene and relatively untouched part of upstate New York. The day was overcast with a 50% chance of rain. Starting out early Tuesday morning we were able to beat the rain and get some wonderful photos.
Kudos to Ed Smathers for giving a presentation on waterfall photography at last month’s meeting of the Amsterdam Photography Club at the Coffee Beanery. I was able to use some of the techniques Ed spoke about to get my waterfall images.