Photosbycate Weblog

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Archive for the category “Travel”

The Melting

It is  hard to believe, with temperatures back in the single digits that just two measly days ago, I was walking in the sun, with my hood down, my gloves off and my feet too warm in my boots.  Sunday was 45 degrees, a major heat wave here in the Big Apple, and I walked the streets of Astoria and the shores of the East River capturing this beautiful day mirrored in pools of water created by the melting snows. I squished through ankle-deep slush, clambered over pyramids of plowed urban snow, slipped on slick sidewalks, peeked into a thawing grotto of garbage and was baptized by a sprinkle of melt water from a sloping roof top.

When I arrived at Shore Boulevard and the East River I expected an icy cold gust to knocked me down but, there was not a breeze nor a breath of wind. As I walked along the shore line with the sun lightly toasting my face one would have thought it was a spring day in April, if not for the all the white stuff on the ground.

The river was calm and smooth like a mirror in between mats of frosty ice floes gliding along with the currents and providing me with incredible reflections. The rocks along the shore were capped with thick snow and being buffeted by pieces of ice that had broken away from a larger moving piece. At one point an enormous ice flow slid by and I could hear the crunch and crack of ice as it scrapped along the edges of the rocky shore taking any free-flowing flotsam & jetsam with it.

There were mallards bobbing between the ice and the seagulls were swirling around and around, they too enjoying  this taste of the coming Vernal Equinox. I stayed on the river promenade taking image after image of the elegant Triboro and Hell Gates bridges, the scene augmented by the sky and a tug boat or two.

Ah, to wander in the unwonted warmth of a later winter’s day.

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Sshin-Nyen Haoww! (Happy New Year)

In this year of the Wooden Goat

I wish You All Much Success and Health

Be Surrounded by Good Friends and Wealth

May this be a Year of Happiness too

Enjoying Peace and Harmony all the Year through

ài

Cate

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A January Riparian Jaunt

Not being sure what I wanted to shoot this past Saturday, I sat on the N train pondering as it headed towards Manhattan and it wasn’t until I was at 59th Street & Lexington Avenue that I made my decision to head South – to the Seaport.  I got off the N and transferred to the # 4 which took me to Fulton Street where I exited and walked down towards the East River. Walking along lower Manhattan’s narrow streets, icy cold winds were blowing off the river and I was having second thoughts about spending the day by the waterside.

Although around 14 degrees, there was no ice hanging from the rigging and masts of the port’s three most famous ships: The Wave Tree, The Peking and the light house ship Ambrose, which I was hoping for. There was a bit of snow here and there and the only ice was from the drainage pipes leading down from the FDR Drive above me. The bright side? It was a beautiful January day with only a few hardy tourists and I basically had the Seaport to my self.

The seaport has been a NYC historic go to destination for me since I was a young girl. My older sister Bridgett and her then boyfriend, now husband of 45 years Jack, would take my brother and I to the seaport on warm summer afternoons. The first time we went was back in the mid 1960’s and I still get excited when I see the masts swaying in the wind and listen to the aged ship’s bones creaking with the movement of the water.  The paint is peeling and the rust is growing redder and thicker around their bows and the sterns but, these maritime relics of the past can still excite the children of today just the same as they did in the past and I never tire of taking their “portraits.”

I walked along the river under the FDR; a great place to view and photograph the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and get some terrific grunge and rust too. Little stars of light danced on the water and seagulls flew into the scene at just the right moment and the sun kept me from freezing solid. I was having a good day and before I left the seaport I wandered up to Pier 6 to watch the helicopters filled with excited tourists, and capture them as they took off and landed from the heliport.

Enjoy!

 

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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.

 

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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!

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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.

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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

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!

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iPhoning Around

This afternoon while taking a walk along the East River in good old Astoria Park, the sun was shining and the sky was blue with streaks of thin white cloud and the river was calm and reflecting like a mirror. I quickly pulled my iPhone out of my pocket, knowing that I had only a short window of time when the tide would change and the rare smoothness of the waters would wipe away the gorgeous reflections of the Hell Gate and the Triboro bridges that span this great river.

A few weeks ago as I rode the Metro North Railroad up to the Botanical Gardens I turned in my seat and faced the window. I attached the fish eye lens to the iPhone and waited as the train pulled out of the tunnel beneath Grand Central Station. As the train barreled along  I held the iPhone up close to the window and captured a series of photos as we streaked through Harlem toward the Bronx and over the Harlem River Lift Bridge. I’d forgotten about them until today, when I reviewed my photos from this afternoon.

Enjoy this little eclectic group of images that I pulled from my pocket.

 

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The Last of the Autumn Wine

Tis November and autumn’s colors have peaked with multi-hued brilliance, allowing the trees to settle down for a sleep and a snore until spring elbows them awake to leaf once more.

I ventured into the wetlands at the Bronx Botanical Gardens this past Saturday and, what a little bit of Eden this is.  A meadow turned red and brown with flora of purple, gold and yellow. Two ponds, mirror smooth connected by a low water fall rimmed with native grasses, frilly ferns and picture perfect Pitcher Plants.

Along the many garden paths to follow there is the Meadow Path where stands a grove of River Birch trees and a huge grey boulder split in half. A short walk along the Woodland Path is the Rock Garden; a wellspring of alpine flowers, woodland plants and a cascading waterfall.

I spent the afternoon walking around capturing the light and color of this small oasis of nature in New York City.

Enjoy a sip of the fall vintage.

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