Photosbycate Weblog

A Photo Essay Blog

Author Archive

In the Wake of Juno

So we didn’t have the catastrophic blizzard that was predicted but, we still had a pretty cool snow storm AND a snow day!!! Nothing like having a day off from work and spending it outside with my camera. Looking out my window, the ground was all covered in smooth white snow and the chunk-shush sounds of people digging their cars out of the drifts and, the whir and whirl of the snow blowers were the only sounds to be heard on this cold winter morning. I notice too, that my little red fire-hydrant had a big red friend.

I gulped down my coffee and gobbled my toast then proceeded to apply layers of clothing from head to toe. When done, I waddled outside with my camera and spent the next three hours bounding around in the snow taking photos of my neighborhood transformed by winter’s frosty breath, into an Urban Winter Wonderland.

Since there was so much white I went out of my way to find bright contrasting colors whether that be cars, berries or pipes. Anything that had color and was sticking out of a snow bank or mound was captured. I looked for repeating patterns and abstract angles and even a took a double reflection selfie.

Thank you Winter Storm Juno, I had a wonderful day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Gallant Gantries

This past Sunday I had no real plans, no photographic theme in mind, I just needed to get out of the apartment and take some photos. After two buses and two trains, I found myself rambling along Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City heading towards Gantry Plaza State Park. This truly is my favorite type of day; me, myself and I walking camera in hand and shooting whatever “we” please.

The most dominant and interesting building on the Boulevard is the historic 1894 Gothic Church of St. Mary, whose red brick tower and white-tipped spire ascended toward the sky. Turning on 49th Avenue toward the waterfront and the famous old gantries that the park received its appellation from, I kept my eyes open for the unusual and unique subjects that make up my urban portfolio. My favorites from this walk being a craggy splintered hole through blue painted strand board, a tiny empty bottle of Bacardi Rum tucked into a broken rusted pipe, and a brick wall dotted with small white drainage spouts. So urban picturesque! 

By the time I arrived at the park the sun had taken a nap behind the cloud cover turning the sky a striking blue grey that imparted more drama to the wide angle shots. In a few hours though, the sun awoke and pushed aside some of the clouds and exposed a nice wide expanse of blue sky streaked with white.

It was cold and windy and the little bit of snow that had fallen last Friday was now crusty with ice and very slippery. I was hoping for icicles hanging from the giant thick iron nuts and bolts that are the skeletons of the gantries but, no such luck. Still, I was able to create images sandwiching my subjects between great open sky and fine lacy snow.

It being a cold January day, there was nary a soul about the water’s edge and that was just fine with me. I loved the austerity of this cold winter’s day, as it accentuated all the sharp angles and smooth curves of the piers jutting out from the parks shore, enhancing the bold industrial past of the Gantries and the lofty apartment buildings behind them. The seagulls were out sunning themselves on the pylons or surfing through the air as I walked out on the piers to admire the Manhattan skyline and turn my own face towards the warming solar rays.

Below my feet were tiny dark purple winter berries and spiked brown plants buried in the snow as well as the paw print of a big ole puddy-dawg! Thick tufts of dried blonde grasses swaying in the wind lined the inside of red rusted rail tracks; another reminder of the bygone days when the Long Island Rail Road ran cars right down to the water’s edge to receive cargo off loaded from ships via the Gallant Gantries.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Ice, so very nice.

Last November when I was photographing in the Mitsubishi Wetlands at the Bronx Botanical Gardens, I made a mental note to go back on a cold winter’s day when the wetlands would be covered in ice. This past Saturday the temperature was in the low thirties, not a cold as I would have liked for what I wanted to photograph but, good enough.

The pond was beautiful! It had an opaque frosty rime that had just started to melt with the morning sun, exposing patches of clear, cold blue water beneath it. Golden brown leaves, blown into the pond on warmer days were now imprisoned in the ice along with the dried wetland grasses. The tiny water fall that separates the upper and lower ponds pushed the water out causing thin layers of ice to fracture like a broken mirror. Below the ice and water were bright emerald green aquatic plants kept from freezing by an aeration system that pushed up bubbles of oxygen that bobbed and popped around the ice and leaves creating terrific abstract patterns. In another part of the pond thick dark cracks appeared in the ice and looked like frozen bolts of lighting.

I knew it was too warm for the falls at the Bronx River to freeze over but, I had to go there just to listen to the water rushing over the rocks and drink in the peace and serenity that surrounds me whenever I am near water. The river behind the falls was smooth as glass and reflecting the surrounding trees and I reveled in the fact, as I photographed, that I was the only one standing out there on the edge of the rocks over looking the falls.

On my way back walking through the Thain Forest trail, I spotted a large puddle, which had frozen solid, in the middle of a grove of trees and although both my fingers and toes were blue from being out in the cold all day, I stayed for a little while longer to capture this icy moment in time.

Tis, the freezin season!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Getting My Goat

We had a gorgeous first day of the new year; clear blue skies and around thirty degrees, just right for January. I was on a quest to get images of goats and/or sheep for this year’s Chinese New Year card, that I will send to my sister-in-law Tracy who is from Chengdu China, now living in New Jersey with my brother Patrick and adorable handsome nephew William Yu. So, where else would I find these country creatures? Right smack dab in the middle of Manhattan’s Central Park. – the Children’s Zoo in particular.

I entered the park at 60th and Fifth Avenue and was quickly absorbed into the hundreds of tourists milling about and like me, taking photos of the most popular sites in the park, like the pond which had a thin layer of shimmering ice floating atop of it. Along the shore of the pond were beautiful opalescent green headed ducks (males) and their golden brown mates (females), preening and paddling around and I captured a cute demure couple, The Mallards – Mark & Millie, who posed willingly for me. OK, I just happen to get a lucky shot of them when they stopped cleaning their feathers for a nano second.

I strolled around the pond capturing reflections, a few street musicians, and especially the horse-drawn carriages that are a huge part of Central Park history and culture and are not being abused and that for some insane reason our Mayor is trying to make extinct! before making my way to the zoo.

Once in the Children’s Zoo I made a bee line for the corral that houses the sheep and goats and other barn yard animals. Despite the cold the children were out in force squealing with delight when an animal would poke its head out of the fencing to lick their hands in hopes of getting a treat. The goats were not shy and therefore easy to photograph but, the sheep were enveloped in a thick woolly coat making it hard to tell which end was front or back. I could barely make out their eyes so dense and curly was the wool and just covered in hay.  I thought of removing all of the annoying pieces of straw sticking up every which way in post processing but, then I thought “what the hey” (Get it, hay – hey? A little New Year humor here, lighten up will ya!) Anyway, I thought it better to show the sheep as they were. There was a very lonely looking cow that I talked to for a few minutes and photographed her beautiful natural shape while she stood warming herself in the sun and then patted her silky smooth nose as I said goodbye. Besides the goats, cow and sheep there was what looked like a giant Jack Rabbit. This was an Argentine Patagonian Cavy sitting very royally allowing the visitors a brief audience with him or her. Not something you see everyday in Manhattan, well maybe royalty but, not Cavies, then again I’m sure I’ve sat next to a few on the subway.

Enjoy these New Year images.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Year Book

The Year Book 

One minute to Midnight on the Eve of a New Year

My mind flips over a dozen pages still Sharp and Clear.

As I view Life’s Images of all that has taken place

I reflect on the Wins with Triumph and Grace

With a Wince I see Failures and I quickly turn

Determined to remember Lessons Learned

Closing the book I make no Promises, I make no Deals

I gather up all my Self-Confidence, dig in my heels

In my hands I hold a New Book with pages Clean and White

And Bravely walk Straight into the Dawning Light

 Wishing You All A Happy, Healthy and Most Wonderful New Year

Love Ya,

Cate

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas in New York

Christmas in New York

Walk along New York City’s Fifth Avenue with me.

Bundle up, on this Wintery Cold Christmas Eve.

Streets are decorated in Diamonds, Silver and Gold.

Pyramids of brown Chestnuts and Pretzels  warmed under a bulb?

Skaters swirl and pirouette; they really let loose.

Beneath a towering Rockefeller Center Blue Spruce.

Huge Trains and Colossal Christmas Ornaments,

Giant Wooden Soldiers; sentinels on the pavement.

The Urban delights of this City’s Season,

May you enjoy them and with good reason.

It’s Christmas, It’s Christmas, and so have a Ball!

A Very Merry Christmas, to You All!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rain or Shine was the Event so, Off We Went

We bought our tickets ahead of time so no returns, and boarded our train despite the rain. Cold Spring’s Holiday Candle Light tour was planned for this day along with Claudia’s “29th” natal day. It rained and rained and rained, it even poured, then it rained some more.  The candle lights were snuffed by the wet but, we duly registered at the town hall where we met and picked up a map and a ticket for the open house tour.

At the doors of each house we donned little blue paper booties because our feet were wet and we would not mess up the floors. The hospitality was warm and friendly and we were thankful to be dry. A quartet Christmas Caroling entertained us on the porch which brought a tear to my eye. Then we sallied forth back out into the rain. It rained as we went from house to house, it rained as we sat eating brunch, it continued to rain as we splashed up towards the holiday craft-fair at the church. There were not many people there at this holiday fair and can you guess why? Need I say it again? Haven’t your heard? I won’t even say that four letter word. The shops were full of gifts for the season and we saw no reason not buy a trinket or two since the waterworks outside were coming down in buckets, we thought well f–k it.

Despite this sodden tale of wet and woe we really had fun as we always do wherever we go, because that’s what friends are for and I really need say no more!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

 

Abstracts and Addictions

I just cannot take a nice long walk on a Sunday afternoon or any afternoon for that matter, without taking a photo; it’s an addiction. As I walk, arms swinging, humming a tune and happy just being outside, my eyes begin “seeing” and before I know it I’m pulling my iPhone from my pocket. What aroused my addiction this day was a slight change in direction and walking along 19th Avenue. I normally do not walk along this road because, it is very desolate and inhabited only by sleeping tractor trailers taking a break from a long days haul.  It didn’t take too long before I noticed that there really was not much to the scenery so,  I popped on the fish-eye lens just to see what kind of abstractions I could create.  The sky was a quilt of clouds and intermittent sun , any surrounding trees were bare with gnarled branches; perfect backdrop to the mundane subject matter. I concentrated on brightly colored vehicles that would pop out of the scene including cars and buses in the mix if they had some sort of personality.

I captured a handful of images and satisfied put the phone back in my pocket and continued my walk to Astoria Park; my original destination. On my way back home the sky which had turned grey was now back-lit by the sun which cast an opalescent sheen to the East River highlighting the cat-like arch and swerve of the Hell Gate Bridge.  I slid the phone from my pocket. I needed another hit.

The tide was out enabling me to scramble down among the craggy rocks and get a “down-under” perspective for these images.  I kept to the river bank shooting north then south until I came to the end of the park where I put my phone back in my pocket, temporarily quelling my habit until, the next time I’m out walking the streets of Astoria Queens in search of another photographic phix.”

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

They’re Gritty, They’re Grimey…They’re “Dirtaaaay”

Enough of the pretty flowers, leaves and other things, time to get back down to the street level schmutz. The day after Thanksgiving was cold with biting winds as I prowled beneath the tracks of the N & #7 trains at Queesboro Plaza; the mass transit hub of Long Island City Queens, capturing the urban grungescape. Since it was so cold and the sun was playing  hide and seek behind thick grey clouds I stayed pretty much near the train tracks (mostly to make a quick get-a-way back home when I could no longer feel my fingers and toes) and I ambled only a few blocks in any direction.

There was some construction going on and once again my photographic endeavors were challenged by chain link fencing and plywood walls forcing me to search until I found an opening or chink in the perimeter no matter how small. The plywood walls had diamond-shaped viewing cutouts but, they were covered with a dirty, smudgy plastic and although at first disappointed, I found they added an interesting effect to the images. The chain-link fencing was much smaller than normal and I had an eye-crossing time trying to focus through the spaces. At times I just gave up and used the fencing as an abstract pattern fronting the image.

I left in any normal grain or noise in the images and used an HDR program which, added additional grain and this combination helped me attain that “dirtay” look.

Enjoy the this urban stroll but, put on warm coat.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 304 other followers

%d bloggers like this: