2019 – The Year in Review

I still haven’t found a focus for my photography so it continues to be quite opportunistic. Rather than being passionate about a particular subject I tend to always carry a camera with me. Most of my photographs arise because I see something interesting while doing something else. However, as noted in last year’s post I did go out a number of times anticipating that I would find something to shoot. These included: Walks around Mount Kisco, NY; Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, NY (a few times); The Bronx Zoo (with two of our grandchildren. I haven’t been there for years. Great fun); Irvington, NY; New Hartford, CT.; Downing Park, Newburgh, NY; Cold Spring, NY; Wiccopee Reservoir, NY; Garrison’s Landing, NY; Fishkill, NY; Kingston, NY; Lyndhurst, Tarrytown, NY; Along Route 6 in Lake Mahopac, NY; and to close the year Geneva, Switzerland and Paris France.

I also started a new project with a friend of mine. We share an interest in military history, particularly the American Revolutionary War. Luckily Revolutionary War sites abound in the Lower Hudson Valley (where we live) so each week we’ve been visiting one. In 2019 we visited the site of a skirmish in Dobbs Ferry NY; Verplanck’s Point where Washington’s army crossed the Hudson on its way to Yorktown, Virginia; the site of a Revolutionary War Tavern in Peekskill, NY; Revolutionary War graves in Chappaqua, NY; The ruins of Fort Montgomery, NY; Sites in Yorktown Heights, NY associated with the Battle of Pines Bridge; Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh, NY; The Stockade District in Kingston, NY; Knox’s Headquarters in New Windsor, NY; Sites related to Sybil Ludington in Carmel, NY and Patterson, NY; The Supply Depot in Fishkill, NY. These visits generated a lot of photographs. My intent is to make a photobook out of them.

My wife is an avid gardener. She loves to grow roses, particularly David Austin roses. This year she’s increased her collection and I’ve photographed each one. Once again my intent is to make a photobook out of them. Although these two books exist in intent only, I have managed to create two photobooks in 2019. Out of frustration that the New England Air Museum didn’t have a book on their exhibits I decided to do my own. I also did a second photobook of pictures taken around the lake where we live. I don’t print much and when I do it’s usually no larger than 8×10. This year I tested the waters with a couple of larger prints: 18×12. I rather like them and would like to do some more. Now if only I could find somewhere to put them.

In 2016 I made a New Years Resolution that I would try to 1) limit my old camera purchases; 2) use the cameras that I have more often. In 2019 I didn’t do very well on the camera acquisition front continuing to get my hands on both cameras and lenses. On using old cameras I did better than I had in the past – meeting my goal, for the first time, of using 12 film cameras per year (the equivalent of one per month).

I added quite a few items to my photography library including: Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury by Carolyn Burke; 50 Paths to Creative Photography: Style & Technique by Michael Freeman; Doisneau by Jean Claude Gautrand; Joyce Tenneson: A Life in Photography: 1968-2008 by Joyce Tenneson; In the Realm of Nature by Elliot Porter; Clarence H. White and His World : The Art &Craft of Photography, 1895-1925; Alfred Stieglitz: Taking Pictures, Making Painters by Phyllis Rose; The North American Indian by Edward S. Curtis; and “Die Schöpfung” (The Creation) by Ernst Haas.

I continue to update this site, which now has 3,101 posts since I started it. About 521 posts were added in 2019.

All things considered it’s been a full year with much to be thankful for.

Happy New Year.

A visit to Fishkill – Overview

We recently visited the site of the of the Revolutionary War Fishkill Supply Depot. Today all that survives is the Van Wyck Homestead, originally a farmhouse which served as a headquarters for military operations and the largest single burial ground of the Revolutionary War. Afterwards we had lunch at the Dutchess Beercafe in Fishkill, followed by a quick walk around Main Street, Fishkill and a final stop at the Rombout Rural Cemetery.

2018 – The Year in Review

In the past I’ve included a lengthy section detailing places we’ve visited; friends who’ve visited us; events we’ve attended etc. However, this site is devoted to photography and this type of content isn’t photography related so I’ve decided to no longer include this section.

My photography continues to be rather opportunistic i.e. I always carry a camera with me and most of my photographs arise because I see something interesting while doing something else. Nonetheless I did go on a number of excursions where I anticipated that I would find “photo ops”. These included: A walk around Croton-on-Hudson; A visit to Las Vegas (first time for me); A walk around Carmel, NY; A foggy morning walk around our neighborhood; Muscoot Farm with the Grandkids; A few hours in NY City; A walk around Rockwood Hall; Some old buildings in Poughkeepsie, NY; Another visit to the Northgate ruins near Cold Spring, NY; A walk to the river through Ossining, NY; A visit to Stuarts Farm; Greater Newburgh Symphony at Boscobel; Beacon Flea Market, Bannerman’s Island and the Strawberry Festival; A walk around Yorktown NY; Hudson Valley Hot air Balloon festival. Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum; A walk around Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown; A quick look at the former Belevdere Mansion; A walk around Mahopac, NY; Military re-enactment day at scenic Boscobel; Another visit to the Chuang Yen Monastery near Cold Spring, NY; Peekskill Harvest Festival; A walk around Glynwood Farm Center; A walk around Brewster, NY; In and around the Peekskill Brewery. All things considered a pretty busy year.

I made a 2017 New Years Resolution that I would try to 1) limit my old camera purchases; 2) use the cameras that I have more often. In 2018 I didn’t do particularly well. I acquired 17 (actually 24 if you count the bag of old point and shoot cameras that a friend gave to me) old cameras and two lenses in 2018. On using old cameras I didn’t do too well either – using only three rather than the twelve (i.e. one per month that I aim for).

I added quite a few items to my photography library including: Andreas Feininger: Photographer by Andreas Feininger (1986-10-03); Photographic seeing. Feininger, Andreas; Believing Is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography. Morris, Errol; Minor White: Manifestations of the Spirit. Martineau, Paul; The Art of Landscape Photography. Hoddinott, Ross; Aaron Siskind: Another Photographic Reality. Mora, Gilles; The Black Trilogy. Mora, Giles; Sergio Larrain:Valparaiso. Sire, Agnes; Joel Meyerowitz: Where I Find Myself: A Lifetime Retrospective (An Elephant Book). Meyerowitz, Joel; Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography by David Ulrich; Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous by Christopher Bonanos; The Ansco Automatic Reflex Guide by David Anderson.

I continue to update this site, which now has 2,579 posts since I started it. About 518 posts were added in 2018. To focus some attention to some of the more interesting (in my opinion) posts I’ve added a series of portfolios: Street; Portraits; Abstract; Landscapes; Black and White. More will follow.

I’ve also started to contribute to another site: 35mmc. So far I’ve done three posts in the “Five Frames with a ….” series, each one on a different camera: Bell and Howell Focus Free; Kodak Retina IIc; Vivitar 35es.

All things considered it’s been a full year with much to be thankful for.

Happy New Year.

2017 – The Year in Review

Since it continued over into 2017 I guess Tim and Carmen’s New Years Eve party was technically the first event of the year. We also invited friends over for our Wedding Anniversary on January 10. Ken came on a flying visit from Bangkok. It was great to see him again.

In February we were invited to a birthday celebration for our friend, Germain. I believe it was her 95th birthday and she’s still going strong. I went into New York City for lunch with an old friend and colleague, Tom Franklin.

March saw us at a garden club get together in honor of Kate and Muriel, a concert featuring Happy Traum at the Tompkins Corners Cultural Center and a presentation to the garden club on local birds given by a speaker from the Audobon Society. For Eirah’s birthday we went into New York City for dinner at NY’s only revolving restaurant: “The View” – 47 floors up at the Marriott Marquis followed by a performance of “The Book of Mormon”.

In April we visited Locust Grove the former home of Samuel Morse. An old friend, Marieke came to New York and we were able to get together for lunch at “The Boathouse” in Central Park. For Easter Sunday lunch we went to the amazing Mohonk Mountain House. The month ended with Eirah organizing a celebration of my birthday at our lake house to which she invited a number of our friends.

We spent just about all of May in Geneva, Switzerland with our young daughter and her family. We couldn’t figure out what to do with our dog so we just took him with us. Part way through the visit Eirah went to Amman, Jordan to stay with our older daughter. She had a great time visiting Petra and the Dead Sea and spending more time with additional grandkids.

The Garden Club’s Annual garden tour and lunch took place in June. It’s always great to see how others have organized their gardens. It’s remarkable how the views of the lake vary so much from property to property. We went into New York City again for a birthday celebration for former colleague and friend, Shannon at her spectacular new apartment. Sadly our friends George and Gloria moved down to South Carolina. We had a goodbye lunch with them at “Il Laghetto” on the lake in Mahopac. The sadness of their departure was somewhat offset by the arrival of our friends and neighbors Ken and Doreen who returned from an assignment in Bangkok

July was a busy month with the New York Airshow at Stewart airport near Newburgh (with Ken and Gustavo); July 4th fireworks on the Ossining Waterfront; a visit to our lake house from Menchie and Chita; a twilight, lakeside party at Kate and Terry’s. We also went to the 46th Annual Putnam County 4-H fair. Our friend Carmen came for lunch. We spent a pleasant evening sitting outside with friends eating and listening to music in Peekskill.

In August we took our friend Paul to dinner at “The Riverview” restaurant in Cold Spring. We also went to the Hudson Valley Ribfest in New Paltz with Ken and Doreen and to Stonecrop Gardens with Olga and Gustavo. After a bit of “antiquing” in Rhinebeck we went with Ken and Doreen to the Dutchess County Fair. For me the highlight of the month was a visit to the New England Air Museum. So many gorgeous old aircraft.

September saw Eirah take off on a trip to Los Angeles to meet up with some of her brothers (who live there) and some visiting relatives from the Philippines. She managed to visit the Getty museum. We also managed to get to a couple of arts/crafts shows: The Lyndhurst Castle Crafts Fair in Tarrytown and the Armonk Art Show. Old friends Tony and Safiya invited us to lunch at their house in Paramus, NJ where we were pleased to see our old friend Robert Cohen and his lovely wife, Rachel.

In October we attended “A rewarding cultural & culinary experience tonight at the Putnam Valley Library. ‘Taste Korea: Korean Cuisine’ presented by the Korean Spirit & Culture Promotion Project.”, which included insights into preparing and cooking well known Korean dishes as well as a sumptuous Korean meal. We went for a pleasant walk (including dogs) with friends Susan and Stephen at the Rockefeller trails.

Our younger daughter came to visit in Briarcliff Manor in November. We went into New York City for lunch with her and other friends at Brasserie Ruhlmann in Rockefeller Center. She was doing PR work for a company that was exhibiting at Christies so we were able to see the spectacular (and extremely expensive – very little went for less than $1 million) artwork on display. We were also able the see the Da Vinci, “Salvator Mundi”, which eventually sold for $450 million. Other highlights included a visit from Tim and Carmen who came for dinner at the lake; a performance of “Miss Saigon” on Broadway and Thanksgiving lunch at “Equus” at the Castle Hotel and Spa in Tarrytown.

December started off badly. Eirah was involved in a very serious car accident on December 1. The car was ‘totaled’ but thankfully the BMW’s safety features did their job and she escaped with major and painful bruises, but no broken bones or other injuries. She’d recovered enough by mid-month to attend the annual garden club Christmas party. On Christmas day we went for lunch at Jean-Georges in Pound Ridge. This was followed by a Boxing Day party at friend Marcia’s in Hastings-on-Hudson. The year concluded as it started with a New Year’s Eve party at Tim and Carmen’s.

My photography is somewhat opportunistic i.e. I always carry a camera with me and most of my photographs arise because I see something interesting while doing something else. Nonetheless I did go on a number of excursions where I anticipated that I would find “photo ops”. These included: The Peekskill Waterfront; The Friends Meeting House in Yorktown; A Couple of visits to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery; Woodlawn Cemetery (particularly interesting); The New Croton Dam; The Ossining Waterfront; The Depot restoration in Hopewell Junction and the Dutchess Rail Trail; Croton Point Park; Fort Montgomery; Mystery Point preserve; Verplanck Point/Kings Ferry; A garden club hike to the nearby Kings Chamber; Geneva (lots including lakeside, old town, parc des bastions, carouge, augustins, saleve, troinex, pinchat, veryrier); Oscawana park and Oscawana Island; New York Airshow; Connecticut Aircraft Museum; Ossining 4th July Fireworks; Croton-on-Hudson; Putnam County 4-H fair and Veterans Memorial Park; Pleasantville; Hudson Valley Ribfest; Muscoot Farm; Rhinebeck and the Dutchess Count Fair; Doodletown; Hollowbrook Trail; Teatown Lake; Pelton Pond; White Pond; Granite Knolls; Lasdon Park and Arboretum; the North County Trailway.

I made a 2017 New Years Resolution that I would try to 1) limit my old camera purchases; 2) use the cameras that I have more often. I was partially successful. I bought 11 old cameras and one vintage lens in 2017 (less than in 2016 but more than in 2015). I also bought one recent generation digital camera: a Sony A77II to replace my 7 year old Sony A500. On using old cameras I did better. In 2017 I used 10 different film cameras and would probably have used a couple more if it hadn’t been for the mishaps in December.

I added quite a few items to my photography library including: American Witness. The art and life of Robert Frank by R.J. Smith; Karsh, a Biography in Images; Focus – Michael Gross’s book on fashion photographers; The Univex Story by Cynthia A. Repinski; Taschen 20th Century Photography; David DuChemin’s The Soul of the Camera: The Photographer’s Place in Picture-Making; Photography – A Critical Introduction by Liz Wells; Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits by Linda Gordon; Ansel Adams – Autobiography; Ansel Adams – The Camera, The Negative, The Print. Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife by Pamela Bannos.

All things considered it’s been a full year with much to be thankful for.

Happy New Year.

Picture above taken with an iphone 5s at Tim and Carmen’s New Year’s Eve party.

2016 – The Year in Review

The year got off to a sad start with our friend Dandy’s funeral. He passed away at the end of December, 2015. Soon afterwards it was our wedding anniversary, which we celebrated with a meal at La Cremaillere. February saw us in New York City for a performance of ‘Something Rotten’. My wife’s birthday is in March so we went into the city again – this time to see ‘The King and I’.

April was a very busy month. Our friend Ken returned from Bangkok and stayed at the house in Briarcliff Manor for a few weeks. A visit to the Orchid Show at the NY Botanical Garden was a particular highlight (we went with friends Ken, Menchie and Chita). Other events included a meal at the Hudson Room in Peekskill with friends Roxana, Olga and Gustavo; a piano recital at Our Lady of Restoration Chapel, Cold Spring, NY; a meetup at the Fig and Olive in New York City with my brother-in-law; two nieces and one nephew. My brother-in-law stayed with us for a few days and we took him to Chuang Yen Monastery, Boscobel and Springwood: the FDR Mansion in Hyde park. The month concluded with my birthday celebration: ‘Man of La Mancha’ at the Westchester Broadway Theatre with friends Ken and Roxana.

My wife made her annual pilgrimage to Europe in May to visit and assist children and grand children. This time she went to Switzerland, France and the UK. As usual I stayed home looking after the animals and the houses.

June saw us down in Hastings-on-Hudson for a garden party at our friend Marcia’s house. We also paid a quick visit to nearby Stonecrop Gardens and participated in the Roaring Brook Lake (RBL) annual Garden Tour.

Our older daughter and her family (husband and three children) came to stay in July/August. We also had a visit from old friends Menchie and Chita. We took them to see a Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival performance of ‘As You Like It’ at picturesque Boscobel

Friends Marcia and Grace came to visit in August, as did the de la Piedras and some of their relatives. We also visited the remarkable Untermeyr Gardens in Yonkers.

September took us to Staatsburg for a visit to the Mills Mansion. We also hosted a meeting (about 30 participants) of the RBL Garden Club at our house (one of the monthly meetings that we regularly attend); had a very pleasant evening by the lake at our neighbors Kate and Terry. Old friend and colleagues Tony and Safiye also came to visit.

Highlights of October include dinner with may wife’s dance mate and her husband at Chatterbox 54 in Briarcliff Manor and Latin Night at the Tompkins Corners Cultural Center.

November was another busy month with a fundraiser at Whitby Castle in Rye; A dinner cruise on the Hudson (with the de la Piedras); a trip into New York City to see Spamilton (with Roxana and her mother); and a visit from our younger daughter with whom we went to the “Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest” exhibit at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City followed by a performance of ‘On your feet’. Thanksgiving was spent with a very congenial group at our friend Paul’s.

In December both of our son-in-laws were in town. One came to stay at the lke and we went to nearby Char Steakhouse for dinner. We went to see the other in New York City for lunch at Brasserie Ruhlmann. The year concluded with the annual Garden Club Christmas Party and yet another trip into NYC to see “The Front Page” with Nathan Lane.

We finished off the year with a party at my wife’s friend Carmen’s house.

On the photography front, I continue to get out a lot and take pictures. This year I ended up keeping over 2,000 (and probably deleted twice as many). I continue to maintain this blog, which now has more that 1,500 posts with more than 500 being added in 2016 (average 43 per month). I gave the blog a new look in September and since then have been updating the header image every month. I also reconfigured my workspace to make it a bit more pleasant and framed a few pictures to put on the walls.

Disk space was getting tighter and tighter so I did a major cleanup and deleted a large number of older photographs. However, the writing was on the wall: no matter how much I deleted I was still going to run out of space soon. The only answer was more disk space so I acquired a 2Tb drive and moved all of my image files to it, reconfiguring Lightroom as I went.

My photography library continues to grow. This year I added books on John Cohen, Robert Capa (whose grave I unexpectedly came across in a local cemetery), Diane Arbus, William Eggleston, Irving Penn, William Henry Fox Talbot, Edward Steichen, Josef Sudek, and Saul Leiter as well as books by Art Wolfe, Freeman Patterson and Beaumont Newhall’s wonderful ‘History of Photography’.

I’ve also added a few vintage cameras to my camera collection, but not too many. Last year I said that I wanted to use these film cameras more but I’m afraid I haven’t been very successful with this resolution. This is clearly one to carry over into 2017.

My trusty Sony RX100 model one went belly up on Christmas Day. This would normally have been a cause for great consternation. It wasn’t because I’d already been considering an upgrade but had managed to talk myself out of it because of the cost. The demise of of the RX100 m1 gave me all the excuse I needed to get an RX100 m3. It arrived yesterday and my initial impressions of it are very positive. It’s actually the first completely new camera I’ve bought in six years.