Author Archives: Jerry Skrocki

About Jerry Skrocki

I am a freelance Graphic Designer and Photographer. I retired in 2002 from my job as NYS Correction Lieutenant. I am a single gay man, a Veteran of the US Army who owns his own home in the city of Amsterdam, New York. I often volunteer my time and photos for a few choice charitable organizations. I specialize in photo restoration, image editing and fine art prints.

American Pharoah


Tonight was the Travers Stakes race at Saratoga Racecourse and Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah did not win. He really didn’t have to because just appearing at this year’s Saratoga meet caused a major frenzy that really boosted track attendance. This blogger was not among the 50,000 people in attendance at the Traver’s Stakes. I did the next best thing and went to the Friday track warm-ups, which broke a record with over 15,000 people who came for just a glimpse of the horse that won the Triple Crown.

Saratoga Racecourse didn’t open for visitors until 7am on Friday and my friend and I arrived about 6:30am. We took a trip across the street to the Oklahoma Track where we got some great shots of the horses practicing in the morning fog at sunrise. Once we actually arrived at Saratoga’s main track where one can usually enjoy a leisure breakfast while watching the thoroughbreds warm up, we saw the very large crowd of people waiting for a glimpse of racing royalty. There was no room at the rail, people were planted in prime positions and would not move. My friend and I were shooting with cameras held high overhead to try and get some photos when a very gracious woman named Karen offered to trade her place when American Pharoah entered the track in exchange for one of my images.

The Triple Crown winning thoroughbred entered the track at 8:45am as promised escorted by a safety horse. They made one stop in front of the winner’s circle and one quick lap around the track before exiting promptly. People were frantically snapping photos on their cell phones and digital cameras. It was over in what seemed like seconds as the hoard of people now moved en masse to the parking areas where it took my friend and I about 40 minutes to get to Union Avenue. Despite the inconvenience, the opportunity was immensely enjoyed resulting in the following images. These images were shot with the FujiFilm X-T1 and the Fujinon XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens. Most of the images were shot at 1/1000 sec, f/5.6 at IS0 640. Continuous, wide area tracking autofocus was used with continuous high speed frames (8 frames/sec). Please do not copy or reproduce my images, they are my intellectual property and quite a bit of effort was spent creating them.

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Categories: Amsterdam Photography Club, Entertainment, Friends of Sanford Stud Farm, History, Outdoors, Photography | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

The Carnival is in Town!


“There has not been a carnival in the Town of Amsterdam in over 43 years!” exclaimed one local resident as he walked through the gate of the Carnival at Polar Plaza sponsored by the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm.  “It is larger than it looks from the road!’ was also heard among the many people in attendance. The professional midway put on by Gillette Shows is clean, safe and every child receives a prize on the many games of chance. The rides are amazing and fun. The carnival also sells pizza, hot dogs, fried dough, cotton candy as well as the decadent deep fried oreo cookies!

A portion of the proceeds from the carnival rides benefit the not-for-profit local organization Friends of Sanford Stud Farm. It is a fun event so please come, have a good time while helping the FSSF restore a national monument to local thoroughbred racing history. FSSF has an information table at the carnival entrance where they are selling raffle tickets to win a $1,000 cash prize and tickets for a takeout chicken dinner held in September.  Stop by and say hello!

The carnival is open Saturday August 15th from 1pm to 10pm and Sunday August 16th from 1pm to 6pm!

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Entertainment, Family, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , ,

Auger Falls


At the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Hamilton County, New York is Auger Falls (Latitude 43,4673 Longitude -74,2465). Just north of the intersection of Routes 30 and 8 near Wells you will find a dirt road with 2 parking areas. Trails are marked by DEC and there is a sign in log at the falls end of the trail. A short walk through a wooded area takes you to a lookout over the falls. A walk along the waterway yields fantastic views of Adirondack scenery.  A FujiFilm X-T1 camera was used to create these images.

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Categories: Amsterdam Photography Club, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , ,

Roosevelt Dime at Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park


On Saturday, August 8, 2015, the Riverlink Park Summer Concert Series presented Roosevelt Dime.

Brooklyn-based Roosevelt Dime takes listeners on a journey through the whole of American roots music…from Americana and Memphis soul to “Mardi-Gras”—a bedrock of New Orleans rhythms that brings driving, melodic banjo, fat-back blues guitar, pure honky-tonk harmonies, and deliciously dirty vocals along for the ride. It makes for a groove so inspired The New York Times has called Roosevelt Dime “a perpetual crowd pleaser.”

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Entertainment, Music, Outdoors | Tags: , , , ,

Amsterdam’s Farmers’ Markets


The Farmers’ Markets in Amsterdam New York offer a variety of unique, quality products. Located both on Main and Church Streets, these markets supply fresh locally grown produce as well as handcrafted items.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Business, Outdoors | Tags: , ,

Schoharie County Sunshine Fair


2015 marks the 139th year of the Schoharie County Sunshine Fair, running from August 1st through August 8th on South Grand Street in Cobleskill, New York. The following photos were taken on opening day with a FujiFilm X-T1 mirrorless camera.

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Categories: Celebration, Entertainment, History, Outdoors, Photography | Tags: ,

Triskele at Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park


Triskele, an all female Celtic band from Albany NY. They are known for their stunning harmonies, singing the Gaelic language and for their Irish wit. These ladies perform traditional, original and some modern Celtic/Irish music. Triskele not only revitalizes the Gaelic language, but weaves history and traditions about growing up in Ireland lending a deeper appreciation of aural history. Most importantly, they’re fun!

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Entertainment, Music, Outdoors | Tags: , , , ,

Thoroughbred Racing at Saratoga


One of the best places to visit in New York State during the summer is the Saratoga Race Course. It is a time honored tradition for many and recently for me through photography and the not-for-profit organization, the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm. FSSF was established to preserve the thoroughbred racing legacy of the Sanford family, whose local Amsterdam farm Hurricana, bred, trained and raced thoroughbred horses for competition at Saratoga. Although most of the original farm is now commercial space, the group would like to save the remaining buildings to create a park where tourists could stop and learn about our rich history in thoroughbred racing.

I first photographed the Saratoga Race Course in the ’80s and several times last season, including the newly established Sanford Exhibit at the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Breakfast at the track is a great way to see the thoroughbreds warm up without the crowds and the cost of admission. Trackside parking for breakfast opens at 6:45am and although you pay the parking fee ($12 weekdays, $15 weekends), the money is refunded if you exit the parking area by 10am.

The following photos were taken Saturday, July 25, 2015, at the 101st running of the Sanford Stakes. The trophy was presented by Landine (Sanford) Manigault and her son Pierre to horse #11 Uncle Vinny, trainer T. Pletcher, jockey J. Velasquez .

The #4 horse, Magna Light actually came in 1st place was was knocked down to 3rd after a formal complaint and controversial technical disqualification. Sanford descendant Landine Manigault felt badly for the owners and trainers of the disqualified Magna Light and asked me to take a photo with one of Magna Light’s owners to signify their win anyway.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Entertainment, Friends of Sanford Stud Farm, historic preservation, History, Outdoors | Tags: , , , ,

DATMOD Dress Rehearsal


On Tuesday I wrote about the Drums Along the Mohawk Outdoor Drama that will take place the first two weekends in August at Gelston Castle Estate in upstate New York. Last evening I was invited by Producer Kyle Jenks to photograph a few of the actors in costume. The rehearsals take place at the United Methodist Church on Golf Course Road in Amsterdam. Pastor Carl Chamberlin has graciously opened the doors of his church to the cast as well as other community groups interested in the Arts.

The costumes really brought the drama to life and the grounds of the United Methodist Church are very similar to those of the Gelston Castle Estate where the drama will be performed in August. As the actors put on their costumes, they immediately became the characters from the novel.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Art, Entertainment, History, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , ,

Drums Along the Mohawk


The City of Amsterdam, New York is rich with history and wouldn’t exist if it were not for the life sustaining waters of the Mohawk River that flows through it.  The history of the Mohawk Valley is the basis of many Revolutionary War stories. One of the best is Drums Along the Mohawk written by Walter D. Edmonds in 1936. The story describes the journey of a young couple, Gilbert and Lana Martin, trying to exist and raise a family in the Mohawk Valley among the horrific battles between the British soldiers, American soldiers and the Seneca Indians.

Local Director Kyle Jenks has taken this story and produced an adaptation featuring local actors in the beautiful outdoor setting of Gelston Castle Estate, 980 Robinson Road, Mohawk, New York. The period piece will take place the first two weekends in August with a performance both on Saturday and Sunday starting at 5pm. Each two act performance is two hours long with a brief intermission between each act. Details about tickets and directions can be found on the production’s website. You can also find them on Facebook.

Drums Along the Mohawk Outdoor Drama

As a precursor to the full production, there will be a portrayal of the wedding of lead characters Gilbert and Lana Martin (played by Dave De Fazio and Ness Stark) on Saturday, July 25, 2015 at the Palatine Church in Palatine Bridge, NY, followed by a reception at the Nellis Tavern in St Johnsville, NY.

Although the story is fiction, it is based on actual events that took place in our area. This event should please both our local history buffs and lovers of theater. Combined with the beauty of the Mohawk Valley, this outdoor drama has all the elements to make for an enjoyable event.

Producer/Director Kyle Jenks describes the outdoor drama on WCSS this morning.

Producer/Director Kyle Jenks describes the outdoor drama on WCSS this morning with Dan Weaver.

Ness Stark and David De Fazio rehearse a romantic scene as Lana and Gilbert Martin.

Ness Stark and David De Fazio rehearse a romantic scene as Lana and Gilbert Martin.

John Reheuser goes over his lines as Colonel Cox.

John Reheuser goes over his lines as Colonel Cox.

Kyle Jenks , Jon Fremante, Lisa Kruger and John Reheuser.

Kyle Jenks , Jon Fremante, Lisa Kruger and John Reheuser.

Asst Director/Stage Manager Melody Kruger, Jon Fremante, John Reheuser.

Asst Director/Stage Manager Melody Kruger, Jon Fremante, John Reheuser.

Setting the scene.

Setting the scene.

Jon Fremante and David De Fazio rehearse a fight scene.

Jon Fremante and David De Fazio rehearse a fight scene.

Ness Stark and David De Fazio.

Ness Stark and David De Fazio.

Kyle Jenks

Kyle Jenks

Motivational group hug.

Motivational group hug.

Photo courtesy of Kyle Jenks and used with permission of the Copyright holder.

Actors in period costume. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Jenks and used with permission of the Copyright holder.)

Categories: Amsterdam | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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