October 31, 2010

Fall snaps #2

I've been walking around with my new Lumix LX5 camera testing it out. So far it's a pretty cool little point and shoot camera. Much lighter than the big SLRs I've been lugging around for the past few years taking street snaps. Here are some shots taken this week.

When you don't have a mirror handy...use a shadow.

Light on rooftops reflected in a hood.
While walking in Chelsea I saw this vivid shadow of a tree against a brick wall. Late afternoon sunlight in the fall is so beautiful.

October 30, 2010

Back from Vancouver

I've been in Vancouver. I took a flight on Cathay Pacific. By far the best airline I've ever flown on. (Apologies to friends for making you hear this again.) When you step onto the plane a very nice looking Asian flight attendant greets you wearing what looks like a stewardess uniform from the 1960s. Hair pulled back into a bun with a tight fitting red skirt and jacket. She hands you a customs form and a menu which says the following (remember, this is coach):


Seasonal fruit

Chicken with black bean sauce, steamed jasmine rice, carrots and broccoli


Braised beef with shitake mushroom sauce, spinach mashed potatoes, green peas and carrots


Ziti pasta with Asiago cheese, asparagus, eggplant and red bell peppers

Apple cheese cake

English bay oatmeal raisin cookie

Beer and Wine

Tea and Coffee

When I flew Delta a few months ago I got a shitty bag of pretzels and a Coke.

I had a lovely time with my friend Amber and her family. We took a ride on the Sea to Sky Highway up to Squamish. Beautiful country up there... looked like photos I've seen of Alaska. I may post more later.

Me on some sort of lookout thing.
Walking through the woods I saw this huge leaf on a rock. I didn't put it there, though something tells me some other nerdy photographer did. A bit too perfect for a chance landing.
Clouds hovering on a distant mountain.
Pulling into a parking space at a beautiful Vancouver park, a family of crazy raccoons started begging at the car door. We couldn't get out. Didn't help that Amber tossed them a few almonds.

October 18, 2010

Spring has sprung, Fall has fell

Some of my friends have expressed interest in going to see the fall leaves and apple picking. Sounds great doesn't it? Each year I have the strong desire to do this, though rarely get around to actually doing it. After a few minutes of deep pondering I put the whole idea into perspective: Get up at 6:00am and head to rental car company, rent car for $118, drive 3 hours in traffic, pay $12 in tolls, get lost, finally find orchard, walk around looking for a tree with apples left on it. Two hours later, pay $26 for apples, 2 jars of apple butter, and a gallon of cider. Drive back to city in bumper to bumper traffic, pay $12 in tolls, fill car with $32 of gas, drop off car at rental place, take subway home. Holy shit, that sounds fun!
Or, there's a second option: Go to the Union Square Farmers Market on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat and get all the apples you need for $1.25 a lb from a variety of orchards. Hmmm....I can't decide.

I saw this in the recent New Yorker.

The other night a "nor'easter" came through NYC and brought on some weird weather. I snapped this cloud hovering over the Empire State Building.

October 14, 2010

Two odd events

This might be a bit hard to explain. Today I went up to the Bronx to explore. I got as far as 241st Street and got bored. I hopped on a downtown #1 train and decided to ride it all the way down to the South Ferry stop to ride the Staten Island Ferry (I got on at the furthest north stop and took it all the way to the furthest south and last stop). On the subway ride I sat across from a kid who was an "old soul" and appeared to be about 35 though he was probably around 18. He just looked old, had a 5 o'clock shadow and dressed like an older person--a polo shirt and navy blue, loose fitting uniform pants. But, he carried a book bag and an iPod. Anyway, as we were riding he would continually make these show-your-teeth grimaces, like you might make if you were trying to take off a very tight lid of a jar. Then he would interlock his fingers and squeeze them together, "wringing" his hands I guess you might say, until his fingers momentarily turned white. A gesture like he was trying to grind spices in his palm. Then (it gets weirder), he would shift his eyes back and forth to make sure no one was watching, pull his shirt up slightly exposing bare skin, grab the little rolls of flab around his belly and pinch them between his thumb and index finger like a little clamp and he'd grimace again showing his teeth. As he went through this ritual he constantly kept looking to see if anyone was watching. I had sunglasses on and I assumed he thought I was sleeping.
I was glad he sat across from me. Long trips like that can be boring and I sat there in utter amazement, thoroughly entertained. Thank you, old boy.

Waiting for the 1 train at 168th. Very watercolor-like tones.
Walking through a flock of pigeons in Central Park. (click on it)
A huge old tree backlit, up on the hill at The Cloisters.
Tonight I went to some photo event on 18th Street. Lots of beer and wine but unlike in the years prior at this event, the food sucked. It's put on by stock photography agencies trying to get publishers to buy their photos. I sneak in with friends from Conde Nast.
Checking in, a woman with a fake left arm made small talk with me. Her arm had a mannequin looking hand on it with a "Terminator"/robotic elbow. I didn't stare but I wanted to. After the event as I was getting on the uptown A train I passed a guy missing his right leg. I didn't stare but I wanted to.

October 12, 2010

More random snaps

Looking down from the subway platform in the Bronx.
I find this ladder shadow very interesting. No one who walked by noticed.
Chubby corner. Flipping her bag and chatting. Odd timing here.

October 11, 2010

Interesting snaps... to me at least

Walking through Central Park I found this accordion player set up near the boat pond. I gave him a few bucks, listened to him play and took a few snaps. One of my favorite spots in the city to grab a beer and watch people on a nice day.I think I shot this on 7th Ave. Not because I like the photo but because it seems like a very strange job to stand there on the sidewalk all day with a haircut sign on your back.
I snapped this photo of an old woman working a carnival game at the Perry County Fair in Pennsylvania not long ago (with my trusty 35mm point and shoot camera). It was late and we talked briefly about working carnivals and fairs. I felt sad, thinking it might be time for her to retire. She seemed worn and fragile and done with all of it.

October 10, 2010

Zombies, Nuts and Coney Island

On any given subway ride downtown you'll see at least a few musicians playing on the subway. Some are good, some not so great. This guy was intense. He attempted to sing and play reggae music on a guitar that was completely out of tune. I gave him a dollar and snapped 3 photos. He didn't move, he just stared at me with those crazy zombie eyes. A few months ago while shooting at City Island I saw a Jeep with a set of metallic balls hanging off the trailer hitch. I actually didn't think it was funny, I thought it was the stupidest thing I'd ever seen. I Googled "trailer hitch testicles" and found them under the name Bumper Nuts where they stated "Slap these on your vehicle and show the world who owns the road." Or, what I think it says: "I'm a moronic imbecile who actually paid for fake nuts to go on my car. Did I mention I was also the star of my high school football team in 1981 and play online poker?"
This week I was walking along the Upper West Side and saw this guy with a set of those stupid balls hanging on the back of his wheelchair. Now I've seen everything.
A happy couple enjoying one of the last weekends at Coney Island.
Running through the runoff water of the public showers at Coney Island.

October 8, 2010

Pathetic Pete

After receiving literally hundreds of requests (okay, two) to put something up to replace the "bloated deer" photo, here it is, New York's most miserable clown.

While walking through Times Square the other day I saw this smug-looking clown just sitting there among the throngs of tourists. I asked him if he would mind if I took a photo. He stared at me for a moment looking annoyed and then mumbled, "Gimme a dolla'." I said, "What?" He repeated in a loud and nasty tone, "Gimme a dolla'." I handed him a dollar. I pointed my camera at him and he just sat there frowning and wouldn't even look at me. Annoyed, I said, "Hey, clown, look this way. Smile or something." Frustrated and a bit curious, I sat across from him and made small talk by asking him his name. In a heavy Brooklyn accent he said, "Pete, Pete the Painter," as he pointed to his tie which had his name on it. It was like pulling teeth trying to talk to this clown. Finally he warmed up a bit and told me that he was 71 years old and a retired house painter. His dream is to be a stand up comedian like Henny Youngman. Then he pulled off about ten stale old one-liners, one after another. I tried to laugh but could barely fake a smile. He sucked. He told me he comes out here a few times a week and sits around waiting for someone to ask to take his photo. "Some days I only make about 12 dollars and other days as much as 25 or 30 bucks. I'm retired, I need the money." I reached in my pocket and gave him another $2 (big spender). Not exactly the clown you want to hire for your kids 12th birthday party. Well, unless you want all the kids to commit a mass suicide.

October 4, 2010

"Some venison with your latte, Sir?"

Last weekend while in Virginia I went to the local Starbucks close to my sister's condo. As I pulled in, I noticed a dead deer lying near the entrance. This wasn't a fresh kill, it had been sitting there for awhile. I got my morning coffee and drove away. About 1/2 mile down the road I wondered why I hadn't taken a photo of this odd scene. The next day I got up and drove back to Starbucks. The deer was still in the same place and even more bloated than the day before. I got my normal grande decaf and walked out to the street. Coffee in one hand, Canon in the other. Immediately the smell hit me and I noticed it was covered with flies and beginning to decompose. I took my photos and noticed traffic slowing as passengers stared. I could almost hear their conversations just by looking at them: "What's that man doing? He must be crazy...."

October 3, 2010

PRS Experience

My great friend and local guitar legend Mike Ault invited me to this year's PRS Experience at the Paul Reed Smith guitar factory outside Annapolis Maryland. I had forgotten how much I love musicians and taking photographs of them. I spent the whole day walking around shooting and listening to incredible music all day. To say I had great time would be a huge understatement.

Davey Knowles of Back Door Slam
Mike Ault
David Grissom (Storyville, Mellencamp, Dixie Chicks)
"Newbie" Kristen Capolino
The Italian Andrea Braido

October 1, 2010

Cameras, Dogs and Jesus

I've gone off the deep end regarding purchasing point-and-shoot cameras. A few short years ago many of these were considered good quality expensive cameras. Now, you walk into any thrift store and pick them up for about $5 and some for as little as $1.50. I might do a self-published book with photos taken with these cameras. The collection continually grows as I'm becoming a camera hoarder. I love them all. Walking through Times Square the other day I saw this dog waiting for its owner. So focused.
At a thrift store the other day I noticed Jesus in the trash can. I fished him out and found that his legs and arms were broken off. What does one do with a broken Jesus? You can't let the American flag touch the ground but you can throw away Jesus? There should be a Jesus recycling center. I felt I was committing a sin by leaving him there.
In an infrequently traveled corridor of Penn Station people come and sprawl out on the floor to loiter and sleep. This guy was snoring like a freight train. It echoed in the empty room.