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Photosbycate Weblog

A Photo Essay Blog

Archive for the month “October, 2011”

Walking the Walkway

Saturday,  I took an invigorating walk over the Poughkeepsie Walkway, a wide long bridge built for pedestrians only, high above the Hudson River with views north and south.  I took the Metro North train out of Grand Central and an hour and forty-five minutes later I was in Poughkeepsie.

I only encountered one frustrating thing on this excursion of mine and that was the lack of signage with directions from the train station to the entrance of the Walkway. The website said “only a four block walk.”  Now, when I got out of the train I could see the bridge way up above me and people walking too and fro so I knew it was there but where was the entrance?  I wandered around for over thirty minutes taking photos and asking the friendly locals where I could find the entrance and received numerous directions but none that got me to the entrance. When I was just about ready to turn back to the station and go home I finally saw a tiny little sign that had the Walkway logo on it and an arrow which pointed up a very long winding street, I think it was Verrazzano Street or Avenue. I followed that for about ten minutes mumbling to myself and of course taking a few photos along the way. Finally, at the end of this street I just blindly made a left onto I think North Washington Street and saw Lola’s Cafe which someone told me to look for and lo and behold there was the entrance! Hallelujah! I said, as I raced up the stairs and entered the walkway.

I realized very quickly that I was going to have a little bit of a challenge in taking photos because the side railings were very high or at least very high to my 5′ 2″ stature, and a quarter of the way was an additional fence barrier above that which obstructed the view somewhat. I knew that they must have an area that would be open for people to enjoy the full breathtaking views and I wasn’t disappointed. The middle of the bridge is the best viewing area and standing on my tip toes and at times poking my lens in between the rails I was able to take some fantastic photos of trees dressed in their autumn finery of  yellow, green, red and gold, boats sailing by and trains choo-chooing  along the narrow banks of the Hudson River. Later in the afternoon dark and light grey clouds rolled in leaving little slits in the sky where rays of sun would light up the tops of the hills. I would suggest to take a wide angle telephoto lens like an 18-270 so you can capture both the wide vistas of the Hudson including the Mid Hudson Bridge and then zoom in on the passing freight trains or boats or the lovely little houses nestled in among the trees. Actually, some of my favorite shots were taken as I was walking back over the bridge toward the train station and had an aerial view of the surrounding area which looked like a tiny toy town.

The bridge was full of happy talkative locals and visitors like myself out strolling with  their children, dogs, neighbors or riding along on their bicycles. One of the best things about this Walkway are the “ambassadors” that they have walking along and answering questions regarding the history of the Walkway, the surrounding area or just to have a nice little chat with you. I was lucky enough to meet the past Chairman of The Walkway Over the Hudson  Fred W. Schaeffer attorney, avid bike rider and one of the original planners who put forward this fantastic idea of a pedestrian walkway or bridge across the river.  The Walkway is a good reason for getting out of the house, tying on the sneakers or getting on the bike and experiencing the freedom of the great outdoors without the stress of vehicular traffic. A place to  socialize face to face outside of the internet at a leisurely pace with no particular place to go.

I hope you enjoy the images below and on my website and treat yourself to a nice long wonderful walk across the Poughkeepsie Walkway.

Stay In Focus,

Cate

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Circumnavigating Staten Island

This past Sunday (10/16) I took an unusual and very interesting boat trip sailing around Staten Island for a behind the scenes look at the working and historic side of  the New York/New Jersey Harbor.

I boarded a packed New York Water Taxi at Battery Park and set sail at 10:00am across the Hudson River toward Staten Island. The first site was Robbin’s Reef Light House one of the many historic light houses that were, back in the day essential in guiding ships into the various ports of  New York and New Jersey. This lighthouse as tiny as it is was home to the lighthouse keeper and his family. It must have been quite a challenge to live in the middle of upper New York Bay. The lighthouse keeper’s, wife Kate Walker would row her children to Staten Island to attend school every day. One heck of a commute and one heck of a mom!

We passed by the Saint George Ferry Terminal, through the Kill van Kull, the Arthur Kill, (kill or kille is Dutch for riverbed or water channel) and Fresh Kills Landfill which is soon to become a public park. We glided under the metal arches of the Bayonne and Goethals Bridges, and stopped a few minutes at the infamous Staten Island boat graveyard.

For most of the time I was positioned on the top starboard side toward the front of the boat but would wander around depending on what we were passing and where the sun was at the time. Everywhere though, from port to starboard from stern to bow one could observe and photograph the harbor’s bustling maritime traffic.  I saw the little but powerful tug boats pushing and pulling  huge tankards. Mammoth cargo ships cutting through choppy waters heading to the container terminals. Numerous small commercial and tourist boats, ferries, a  smattering of leisure craft out for a mid autumn sail, and of course lighthouses.

The industrial shore line facing the harbor from both Staten Island and New Jersey is not your typical picturesque landscape, but for those who love to photograph gritty urban industrial “stuff” like I do, this is the place to be. The Port of Elizabeth’s huge cranes sat looking like lawn chairs for giants, enormous gas tanks with spiral staircases winding around their corpulent bodies,  sprawling industrial plants with plumes of steam puffing from their tall stacks, as well as remnants of old factories, docks, boats and other terrific flotsam and jetsam, dotting the shoreline.

On our way back home we passed under the beautiful Verrazzano Narrows Bridge heading back toward Battery Park stopping for a few minutes to say hello to Lady Liberty where I got a shot of a helicopter circling her like a large pesky flying insect. I bet you didn’t know that the Statue of Liberty was also a light house. The view of lower Manhattan as seen from the middle of the river in the late afternoon sun is just spectacular and a great photo opportunity for all photographers.

This tour was provided and sponsored by the Working Harbor Committee whose mission is to “strengthen awareness of the working harbor’s history and vitality today, and its opportunities for the future.”  After viewing my photos and website, check out their website for the next Hidden Harbor Tour.

Enjoy and Stay in Focus,

Cate

http://www.photobycate.com

Back to the Bronx…..

The Botanical Gardens that is. Yesterday was just too beautiful a day not go somewhere where nature thrives and blooms and presents a photographer with  wonderful little bits of the natural world. And considering I was in the middle of an area of New York City that is quite a feat. I am talking about the last of the old growth forests taking up fifty acres in these botanical gardens and there was a Haunted Pumpkin Patch that I wanted to see too.

I knew the leaves would still be green but it was a perfect time to hike around the numerous and peaceful trails and find the spots that I know will provide incredible foliage shots upon my third visit in a few more weeks. My goal was to make my way to the Bronx River that runs through the gardens, find the water fall and scout out the area for other interesting photo ops. I found quite a few oddities such as a day-glow green scum covered pond providing great abstract shots; some wild forest fungi, polka dotted bird feathers, purple poisonous looking berries and an old shopping cart floating eerily beneath green murky waters.

I did get side tract for a little bit in the beautiful and fragrant Rose Garden but I eventually found my way to the falls and before I took any photos I sat myself down for a few cool peaceful minutes and just listened to the sound of the water as it rushed and tumbled over the rocks to the river below. Behind the falls the water was calm and smooth as glass and the reflections of the surrounding trees and rocks was spectacular and will be mind-blowing when in foliage. I stayed there for about an hour taking shot after shot and marveling at how crystal like the water looks as it pours over the edge of the land and bursts into brilliant water shards when it hits the rocks. The rest of the day was spent darting in and out of the trails to mingle with the trees and inhale the damp mossy wild smells of a forest.

When I had my fill of all things great and green I decided to head back toward the Children’s Adventure Garden and take a few shots of the whimsical pumpkin creations in the Haunted Pumpkin Patch. The place was just crawling with little ghouls and boys laughing, screaming, screeching, shrieking and crying (there is always one child that cries no matter  how much fun they are having) and it truly gave a most haunting atmosphere. The garden was filled with huge orange pumpkin sculptures of spindly legged spiders, stinging scorpions, annoying giant flies, marching caterpillars and large child sized orange toad stools.

Another terrific autumn day. Enjoy the photos below and you can see the full gallery of early fall photos from the New York Botanical Gardens on my website.

Stay in Focus,

Cate

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