Birds taking flight

I was walking around along the waterfront in Tarrytown, NY. As I was approaching this tree I noticed that it was full of small birds (I have no idea what they were). I was still quite a distance away when they took off en masse. I was lucky that I had already raised my camera in anticipation of taking a picture and was able to get something.

I quite like it. It something about the mass of birds, the fact that they’re blurred combined with the delicate branches with their red berries that appeals to me. There’s something oriental about it.

Taken with a Sony A6000 and Canon 50mm f1.4 LTM (I think).

Harley checks out the Henry Villard Monument

One of the more impressive sculptures in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. It’s called The End of the Day’s Work

Henry Villard (born Ferdinand Heinrich Gustav Hilgard) grew up in a well-to-do family in Bavaria. He was a rebellious child, which his father tried to curb by sending him to military school. Then in 1853 and without his parents’ knowledge, he immigrated to the United States. To conceal his identity he changed his name to Villard. In the next few years he took a series of jobs at newspapers as he slowly made his way west. He got as far as Colorado and then took a job with a couple of New York papers following Abraham Lincoln’s campaign and eventual election. After the Civil War he took a series of correspondent jobs in Europe. Because he was fluent in German and English, he was hired as a negotiator of German interests in American railroad securities.

He acquired some German clients and traveled back to the United States. He went to Portland, Oregon, in 1874 and impressed with the natural wealth and transportation, he convinced his clients to invest in building a railroad. That railroad (with Henry Villard as president) eventually became the Northern Pacific Railway. Like many financiers, his interests changed and varied. He acquired the New York Evening Post and The Nation newspapers in 1881. He helped inventor, Thomas Edison merge his companies in the Edison General Electric Company, which became General Electric.

In later life, Villard became involved in philanthropic interests, giving large amounts of money to the University of Oregon, Harvard, Columbia, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History.

Villard’s monument was executed by Vienna-born sculptor Karl Bittner in 1904. Although trained in classical styles, Bittner began to drift toward more modern forms. The Villard Monument was sculpted in 1904, and it exhibits the beginnings of forms that, decades later, would evolve into Art Deco and Moderne. The monument depics a man with a sledgehammer (perhaps a reference to Villard’s position as president of the Northern Pacific Railway) looking towards the stars. (Stories in Stone New York. A field guide to New York City area Cemeteries and their residents by Douglas Keister).

The rear of the monument reads:

HENRY VILLARD

BORN

HEINRICH HILGARD

AT SPEIER

RHENISH BAVARIA

APRIL 10TH 1835

DIED AT

THORNWOOD DOBBS FERRY

ON HUDSON

NOVEMBER 12TH 1900

IN VIEW OF THIS SPOT

JOURNALIST

CIVIL WAR CORRESPONDENT

SOMETIME SECRETARY

OF THE

AMERICAN SOCIAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATION

EARLY PROMOTER OF CIVIL SERVICE REFORM

COMPLETOR OF THE

NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD

FINANCIER

GENEROUS FRIEND

TO LEARNING SCIENCE AND THE ARTS

TO SUFFERING HUMANITY

HIS BOUNTY WAS BOUNDLESS

AS THE SEA

HIS LOVE AS DEEP

Taken with a Sony A6000 and Canon 50mm f1.4 LTM (I think).