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Tag Archives: Friends

The science of being in the right place at the right time

20131102-LEF_4189Walter and I have a rather scientific formula developed for making sure we are in the right locations at the right time. We start heading for one place based on the weather forecast and if the weather doesn’t look like predicted, we take off for some place else. Sitting in the hotel near Portland last night, seeing the 100% chance of rain forecasts for most of Oregon, Walter was mapping how long it would take to get anywhere from Redwoods National Park in California (5 hours+) to Idaho (even longer) to Crater Lake (4 hours) to Mt. Rainer in Washington state. None of those made any sense since we had to be back to the Portland airport tomorrow evening.

So we planned on working the rain by going to waterfalls in the central part of the state. As we drove south, the sky was beautiful and clear so we veered off and headed for the coast again. I’ve heard people in many places say if you don’t like the weather wait 10 minutes and it will change. Oregon in November must be where that saying originated. At one point while shooting on the coast, I was shooting crashing waves in pure sunshine and went back to the car to grab a cable release and by the time I made the five minute walk, rain and hail pelted down. It wouldn’t have been that bad, but I left a camera and 70-200mm lens on my tripod down by the rocks and it was getting soaked. I scrambled back down the hill and when I got to my dripping camera the sun came back out and the rain was gone. I dried everything off and it works fine but I didn’t leave anything uncovered again.

The weather on the coast was great, other than the quick hailstorm, and we started by getting to Thor’s Well at high tide. Thor’s Well is a unique hole in the coastal rocks where the surf surges into the hole at high tide and spurts out at low. The surf today was especially rough and there were several nearby places where the water would shoot into the air as the waves crashed into the shore. We watched as large waves crashed over where we needed to be standing to shoot Thor’s Well and quickly realized today wasn’t the right day, we’d get our clothes wet at best, which wasn’t a big problem, but we had a very good possibility of drenching our camera or getting washed out to sea. We shot the crashing waves for a while and made another last minute decision and go farther south to the dunes while the tide went out and come back for the last light of the day.

The dunes made for some nice photos and when we got back to Thor’s Well the water wasn’t flowing in, only shooting out. There were still plenty of great shots to be had, just not the classic photo of Thor sucking the water into the earth.

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Off on a photo adventure to Oregon

20131101-LEF_3834I went on another crazy photo adventure today with fellow photographer Walter Choroszewski. Walter got us a deal on a flight, and suggested we spend the weekend in Oregon. Walter hadn’t been in Oregon before and wanted to check another state off his list. He still needs Wisconsin and North Dakota and we both need Hawaii to make it 50 for each of us.

We caught a flight this morning from Newark and were in Portland before noon. We have been watching the weather forecast and it looked like today might be our only day with sunshine, a frequent Oregon problem this time of year. We went straight for the coast to the typical ocean town of Seaside and then headed south.

Cannon Beach is one of the iconic photo spots on the Oregon coast and we discovered why. There is a rock formation in the water known as the haystack and it is spectacular. The light was great, nothing like being on the west coast as the sun gets low. I think my favorite shots are of Walter as the sun comes across his face, maybe I’ll score the dust jacket of his next book.

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Seeing the real Vermont inside an old barn

20130815-LEF_107820130815-LEF_1227I had the pleasure today of shooting in a great, old barn owned by my friend Molly. I’ve been wanting to shoot the barn since Molly told me about it last fall during my Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop. The barn is packed with character, as is Molly, and there are thousands of photos that could be made in it. The large, hand-hewn beams are amazing and the sunlight purges in through gaps in the walls making everything look cool. We found a dead dragonfly wrapped up in an old cobweb, it made for a photo that is creepy looking and nearly mystical.

After spending lots of time in the barn, we traipsed down to an old truck in her woods. The former milk delivery truck is surround by tall ferns and trees. It is a unique truck and the rust makes it look all the better.  I love the detail shots of the rust and they will only get better over time. Molly has been photographing the barn and truck for quite a while and know that she has something special.

I can’t think of a better morning that seeing the true Vermont in an old barn and then sitting on a hillside having lunch. Thanks Molly.

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Surviving the Mt. Tom death march

I used to be in fairly decent physical shape. It has only been seven years since I did a 30-day bicycle ride from San Francisco to Somerville, NJ. So when Lisa Lacasse asked me if I wanted to do a sunrise shoot from Mt. Tom in Woodstock, Vt. I didn’t think anything about it. I even asked if she wanted to invite her photographer friend Derek MacDonald to join us. The full moon would be setting, so there should be some great photos.

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An afternoon along the canal

Old tools are visible inside a building along the D&R canal

I spent the afternoon with my good friend and photographer Nat Clymer wandering along the D&R Canal in East Millstone and Somerset, N.J. Nat lives nears the canal and knows the history and most of the people along it. There are several old buildings in various places along the canal that served as houses or vantage points while the canal was in operation many years ago. In fact, Nat used to have his office in an old canal house in Kingston.

A canal house is reflected in the water.

The houses are pretty neat but they have a major flaw, they are near the water and when the big floods came from Hurricane Irene last year and Floyd in 1999, many flooded up to the second floor. Most have been repaired but a few need tons of work.

Nat and I stopped a couple of the canal houses to look around. Nat has photographed the canal and the people around it for years and is preparing for a show in the fall and gathering some fresh scenic shots and I was just hanging out, making some photos and enjoying his company. I liked the reflection of one canal house in the water, so I spent some time working on a shot of it. The colors turned out pretty good.

Across the street from the canal at Blackwells Mill is an old studio that was used by an artist Nat knew. The man dies a few years ago but Nat has several of his paintings. The building got hit pretty hard by the flood and the man’s sister hasn’t been able to restore it. His tools are still hanging in a window as ivy creeps up the side of the building. It a classic look at Americana and I hope it stays for a long time.

Near the studio was a solitary tiger lily with the sun shining on it. Almost everything behind it was in dark shadows so I framed the shot so only the flower was illuminated. It looks like it is growing out of the darkness.

A tiger lily grabs the sunlight.

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What’s good: A beautiful wedding

Wendy and Scott wedding in the barn.

There’s nothing like a wedding in a barn and this was a good one. My brother-in-law Scott Milligan got married to Wendy Schroff in a barn where they live outside Stroudsburg, Pa. The wedding was nice and the location was really cool. It took a lot of work to make the old barn ready for a wedding and it was worth the effort. More photos on Facebook.

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What’s good: Heading to Alaska

Walter Choroszewski makes travel changes after our flight was delayed at Newark Airport.

The adventure has begun. I’m off to Alaska with friend and photographer Walter Choroszewski. We’re starting off a little shaky, our flight from Newark to Seattle was delayed two hours, meaning we’re going to miss our connection to Fairbanks. Instead, we’re going to Anchorage, arriving at 1 a.m. and then catching a 6 a.m. flight to Fairbanks. That means catching a few hours of sleep in the Anchorage airport, so tomorrow’s post will be groggy, but it will be from Alaska!

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What’s good: Love is in the air

Bill and Lynda love Manhattan.

At the wedding reception of my niece Emily, my sister Lynda and her husband Bill, felt the love in the air with the Manhattan skyline in the background.

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What’s good: Emily’s wedding

Nathaniel and Emily head off to the reception in a 1968 Checker cab.

My dear niece Emily is now happily married to Nathaniel Hare after a great wedding day.

The beautiful bride.

The ceremony was a beautiful affair in lower Manhattan. After the nuptials, the happy couple headed out to the reception in a classic 1968 yellow Checker cab.

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What’s good: Remembering an old friend

A print of Boomer hangs in The Hungry Hound.

Down at The Hungry Hound, the pet boutique owned by Robin’s sister Penny in downtown Somerville, there is a very large photo of my old buddy Boomer. Boomer was a Bernese Mountain Dog who was a great friend, he always met me at the door, loved attention but wasn’t needy. He’d hang around me for a while then head off to another room to snooze by himself. I could take Boomer anywhere and not worry about him running off, he’d come when he was called and never wander very far. He had a great smile and would always make me laugh. Boomer got cancer when he was way too young and was gone within a month. He can still make me cry, but I still have his smile to keep me smiling.

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What’s good: A friend finds happiness

Kitta beams while walking down the isle with husband Bardo.

Robin and I went to a special wedding of Robin’s former co-worker Kitta McPherson. Kitta’s first husband, Walter, died five years ago after being hospitalized for nine months after gastric bypass surgery. Walter was a special person, a gentle giant, who left a major hole in the life of Kitta and their three children. It took a long time for Kitta to function normally and her friends, even her, worried that she wouldn’t ever flash her happy smile again. So it was a special honor to be among the few friends who gathered to share the start of her new life and happiness with new husband Bardo.

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What’s good: Climbing to the pinnacle

A view of Promfret, Vermont.

Ducky on a trail.

Our Woodstock, Vermont neighbor, Ducky, took me this morning to some land her family has in Promfret, Vermont. We headed out at 5:30 a.m. to catch the early light of the day. Promfret is an area of Vermont that is still unspoiled. Development through the years has been minimal and people are proud of the land and fight to keep it pristine.

Ducky’s father bought the land in the 1950’s when it was mostly pasture. As the years have gone by, many of the pastures have gone to wooded areas. We hiked for several hours and up some pretty steep hills. We got to what she calls The Pinnacle, the top of a hill that has a great view over the Pomfret. It is a spectacular view and a special place.

Fog climbs up through the hills.

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What’s good: Riding for a cause

The sun sets while drivng home.

Today was Day 2 of the Coast The Coast bicycle ride to raise money for MS. It was again scheduled to be 85 miles. After riding 85 yesterday, I didn’t think I had the strength to make it that far again today. Teammates Kathy, Stephanie and I latched on to a pack of 20 riders from Team Trane in the morning and used the power of the pack to pull along at an 18 MPH pace. Using the same energy, I’d be going about 15, but there is strength in a pack. We were rolling along until we got to a rest stop. They took too long of a break, so the three of us headed out and thought we’d go a little slower until they caught up and then we’d fly again. They didn’t catch up by the time we got to the next rest stop and we pulled in. It wasn’t long until I saw Team Trane flying past the rest stop, so I yelled at Kathy and Stephanie and we took off to catch them. Stephanie sprinted and caught up. We were in a town and I had them in my sights but I couldn’t reel them in. Kathy got held up by car traffic at a stop sign, so she was behind me. I spent way too much energy trying to catch them and just when I thought I was there the Trane left town and really took off. I used much more energy trying to catch them than I would have saved being in the pack. It wasn’t long before we got to the lunch break and I thought I was done. I could barely get food and eat it. Fortunately, I ate the right things at lunch and got my energy back. I really thought I was done.

Just as we were ready to leave, I looked out the window and heavy rain was falling. Team Trane was lollygagging again, so we headed out to brave the rain. It was pretty hard for 10 minutes but let up and was intermittent for a couple of hours. Besides being cold and uncomfortable, rain makes the roads slick and it makes things stick to the tires. At mile 55, I felt my rear tire get soft. The other two were ahead of me and I pulled over to fix the flat. I found a good chunk of sea shell stuck in the tire, it took me longer than normal to change the tire but was soon on my way. That stretch of road was named Flat Alley but the support crews because of all shell pieces caught in tires. I heard one guy had five flats.

I spent most of the afternoon pedaling alone at a steady pace. MS does a great job of organizing the event, they paint arrows on the street so you know where to turn. I wasn’t paying attention and missed a turn. I realized it a couple of miles later when the road came to a dead end at the ocean. Not what I needed. I pedaled back but didn’t see any other cyclists and the road was too wide to see the small painted arrows. Finally I saw a cyclist make a turn about a quarter mile ahead of me so i got back on track and got in a few extra miles and rolled into to Cape May.

It was a great weekend, mainly because I was able to raise over $600 for MS thanks to the generosity of my friends. Thank you all. Next year I aiming for $1,000, so be ready.

On the way home, I realized I didn’t take any pictures all day, I guess I was too wet and tired. While driving up I-2t87, the sun gave me one peek for the day, so I pulled out my point-and-shoot and made a couple of shots over the steering wheel. Much better quality than yesterday’s iPhone shots. Time/speed report

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What’s good: Friends on the beach

Marilyn, Brian, Kathy and Stephanie on Long Beach Island.

The cool part of the ride was that Marilyn Dillon and Brian Horton invited the team to stay at their Long Beach Island home, which sure beat sleeping on a gymnasium floor with tons of smelly riders.

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What’s good: 85 miles, Day 1

Stephanie, Kathy and Loren after finishing Day 1.

Somehow I thought it would be a good idea to ride my bike 170 miles in two days to raise money to fight MS. Thanks to the help of my friends, I raised over $600. The not-so-good idea was not getting into great shape before attempting the ride. I made it through the first day, but it wasn’t pretty. The last 20 miles was tough, but I got through with the help of teammates Kathy and Stephanie. Tomorrow is another day.

Here’s my time and speed report.

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