About this blog title

I cannot tell you how many times I have shown up at events with a couple of cameras around my neck, a gadget bag full of odds & ends and a lighting kit and have been asked that question. If it happened once every few years, that would be one thing. But it happens a LOT. It's like getting pulled over by the police and he's standing there with uniform, gun, flashing lights and asking him "Are you a cop?" I would love to come back with a witty reply, such as "No, I am Jesus. Don't you recognize my beard?" However, I cannot be that rude.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Perfect Summer Afternoon

After a nice time at the beach in Cape Vincent I picked a few tomatoes from our garden and enjoyed a Goose Island IPA
It was a perfect Summer afternoon here in Chaumont, NY. The temperature hit 86 degrees F, it was windy, plenty of shade in the back yard. We went swimming at Wilson's Bay in Cape Vincent. Came back home and The Better Half and grand son G splashed around in our pool while I drank a Goose Island IPA beer and played some guitar. Then  Better Halfs grand son went for a bike ride up and down our street and over to the school yard. He just learned to ride a bike this month. That was followed by grilled hamburgers and a cucumber salad for dinner. Then we sat on the front porch and sang songs. Among them were Billy Boy, The Ants Go Marching, She Will be Coming Around the Mountain, and more. Great, wonderful day.

Here is a video clip of the fire in our charcoal grill:


G after his bike ride.

I capture a bat that was flying in our in our bedroom

I captured this bat in our upstairs bathroom of our home in Chaumot, NY

The other other night I went to bed and was asleep by 11:00.  At 12:30 the Better Half says she heard something in our room. I was really out like a light. She roused me. Then I see the form of a bat flying around. That is nothing but freaky. Eventually I get downstairs and open front door. The bat is downstairs too. He sweeps around the living room and comes so close to me I duck down. Then I don't see it anymore. I think it went out the door. Well, I want to stay up for awhile to see if it did indeed get out. At 2:30 we figure it must have left. We go upstairs to bed. I open the upper bathroom door and there it is flying. I slam the door. It is in there.
 So then we wonder what to do. Was it the same bat  that I thought exited the front door, or was it a second bat? We really do not know. Now we stay up until 4:30. We decide to sleep downstairs in the living room. But I never really sleep. I want to know if there are more bats. We have no idea how it got in. It was stressful. I finally fall asleep about 6:00 am. I am awake at 8:30 and must drive to Syracuse at 9:00 for a job.
I do my job. I do a lot of google searching about bats. I get home the next day at 4:00 and start searching the bathroom for the bat. I finally find him clinging to the back side of a clothes hamper. I tilt it back. It is day light. He does not flinch. I slowly lower a plastic food container over it. He seems unaware. Then I slide a piece of card board under the container and now have the creature confined. I tape the cardboard to the container.
Earlier in the day I talked with the Jefferson County Health Dept and they encouraged me to try and capture the bat alive and take it to the veternarian's in Limerick to have it tested for rabies. So, with the Better Half at the wheel and I holding the trapped bat we drove to the vets. While on our way I made a short video of it. The animal is quite frustrated, but after I set it on the floor it calmed down and appeared to be contented. We got it to the vets and now are waiting for the test results.

Check out this video of the trapped bat and listen to the Better Half as we drive the creature to the vets:


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Photos from a North Country Garden

A Kentucky Wonder Pole Bean vine in my garden, Chaumont, NY

It was overcast and grey today, seeming as if it would rain, but that never happened. There are quite a few yellow leaves falling from the Black Walnut tree beside the garage and littering the outdoor work bench. It gives one the impression of Autumn, but that season is still a ways off.

The Better Half went to visit brother D's wife in Syracuse this afternoon. She will return tomorrow afternoon, God willing and the creek doesn't rise.

So I snapped a few shots of my garden with the iPhone 5 today. I present them here:

The garden at my home in Chaumont, NY

Monday, July 6, 2015

Conversations: A photo lesson on fore ground and back ground subject matter

We are on our way home from a visit to the Better Half's family in the Cleveland, Ohio area. While she is driving I decided to poat a photo from our visit. These are members of her family. I like this photo because it shows the interaction between people. Something we can all relate to. I also like how the photo has activity in the fore ground and the back ground. Paying attention to the relationship of the fore ground to the back ground can make your photos more interesting.

In the 2nd version of the photo I cropped out the back ground man. Notice how the "story" has changed by altering the fore ground / back ground relationship.

The photo lesson here is that an every day situation can make an interesting photo and the fore ground back ground relationship can alter what the viewer thinks or perceives about the subject matter in the photo. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The elusive Silver Fox

Silver Fox photographed in Carthage, NY, Nikon D4 with 70-200mm f2.8 lens                  photo by gary walts

Two Summers ago I was in the back yard of my home in Chaumont, NY, near dusk and an animak suddenly appeared from behgind the garage. It looked at me briefly and darted away. I had no idea what it was. After some google searc hing I determined in was a Silver Fox. I had never seen one before. It so happens that they are rare and they do not live long, two or three years. They are also unique in that they climbv trees and can be found sleeping in trees. Anyhow, yesterday I was in Carthage  playing guitar for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Carthage Area Hospital. I was finished and on my way home and decided to stop at the liquor store in Carthage. It was 7:30PM. I was about to get out of the van when a Silver Fox creaped out of the brush. I grabbed my camera and made these photos. What a beautiful, healthy looking creature.

Silver Fox photographed in Carthage, NY, Nikon D4 with 70-200mm f2.8 lens                  photo by gary walts

Saturday, June 6, 2015

NY Army National Guard Military Police training at Fort Drum NY

Military Police train at Fort Drum NY. This is simulation of a mortar attack on their detainee holding facility. 

Yesterday I spent the morning at Fort Drum, NY, home of the US Army's 10th Mountain Division. I was there photographing NY Army National Guard military police training. They were in a mock up of a small Iraq village where they were holding detainees and HVTs. HVTs are High Value Targets. Anyhow, you can see all of the pictures by viewing my photo gallery at syracuse.com

MP's at Fort Drum portray the "bad guys" during training in a mock Iraq village. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

I have problems... but they are not that big a deal

I have problems. But who doesn't? One's life is full of problems. They appear they disappear. Some linger for a long time. For years. Some are solved or resolved quickly. My current problems are not huge. In fact they all revolve around my current state of mind. My psyche. I am not doing things these past few months with the vim, vigor, and enthusiasm as I usually do. For example, I have pretty much been absent on Face Book. My ads for wedding photography and  guitar lessons on Craig's list have been almost non existent. My blog posts have almost stopped. Doing projects around the house have been slow to get off the ground. They are taking me longer to finish. Overall it's the enthusiasm for every day life that has been lacking.

There is a reason for it and I think it goes back to October 2014 to the death of my brother Thomas. When people close to us die it has an effect upon us. I am still riding the storm out in my mind. The passage of time is what helps. Distance. Life continues relentlessly for the living after an event like that occurs. Things happen to push the event backward in your mind.  For instance, my sister C in Arizona had her house vandalized a few weeks ago.  It was a very traumatic experience for her. Back in October Thomas' death was a traumatic event. I have not spoken to her specifically about this, but let us assume that Tom's death has been on her mind for all this time. Slowly taking a back seat, but still there. An event like have her house broken into and vandalized  most certainly gives her a new event to focus on. Pushing Tom further back in her mind. Her memory. Which is where it should go.

For me a good friend of mine, Larry, died on May 12th. His death now occupies my thoughts more than those thoughts of  brother Thomas. But that's not exactly a welcome thing. I would rather  have Larry still around and rather have Thomas still around. In fact, having two people close to me die in a 7 month or so period is a bummer. Add to that the store I was teaching guitar at for the past 5 years closed and with it a most pleasant chapter in my life.

But here is what I know:  Sooner or later my psyche will be back to normal. In fact it's all ready occurring because I am taking time out to write all of this and post it to this blog.

My father's death at age 56 was particularly traumatic. for those who do not know I will tell you straight out that he committed suicide. He shot himself in the head on a hot August afternoon. It took me 10 years to be able to acknowledge that and talk about it. Some 6 months or more after he died I was talking to a friend about some trouble I was having. This person knew my father and how he died. Anyway, the crux of it was this person told me I was still in shock over Dad's death. I thought that was ridiculous. Months had passed. In fact I never thought I was in shock at all. Then one afternoon I was sitting in my car and a feeling passed over me. A feeling of lightness. It suddenly seemed as if the Sun got brighter. A few minutes later another wave seemed to wash over me and I felt lighter. The day seemed brighter. Wave after wave began washing over me. I have done a lot of scuba diving in my life and I can compare it to swimming to the surface of the St. Lawrence River after being to a depth of 100 feet. At that depth it is dark. You can still see, but it's much darker that the surface. But that's what it felt like. I was rising from a great depth that I had no idea I was in. Suddenly I realized my friend was right. I had been in shock for all those many months. (Is it shock or depression?) Doesn't matter. Anyhow, I know this feeling will pass. I have been swimming in some great depths but am slowly rising to the surface.

I love you all out there. I love God. I love my family. Just the act of writing this makes me appreciate my life so much I could almost weep with joy.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

On Death and Dying: Larry Leroy

May 12th, 2015, my friend Larry Leroy dies.

Wednesday, May 20th I go out to work on my garden. I see an alert on my iPhone that Larry Leroy died. It is from a mutual friend.

I call Donny, Larry's friend of 40+ years. He says Larry died from heart attack in his truck at the post office in Theresa, NY. He had heart attack. He died Saturday May 16th.

I call John F in Syracuse. No answer. leave message that Larry passed away.

8:00 PM watching Survivor on CBS. An unknown call comes in. I not answer. Two commercials later I listen to voice mail. it is John. Please call him back about Larry.

9:30 I call John. His wife read obituary that says Larry died May 12th.

I google obituary. Larry did die on the 12th.
Rewind in time to April 4th. I text Larry, "Are you still alive?" Just a joke because I have not spoken with him in a while.

April 29th I am driving and get a call from Larry. I cannot answer. Voicemail from Larry: "Gary, I am still alive."

Larry's obituary published on Saturday the 16th. Donny thinks Larry died on 16th. I hear from Donny on the 20th. Larry is gone. Family has all ready taken care of him and his remains.

Thursday the 20th they plan to have an estate sale at his house.

I talk to John. I plan to go to Larry's house in Theresa and meet his family.

Larry Leroy, 64 years old. Viet Nam veteran. Classical guitarist. Funny man. For 4 or 5 years I met up with him every Thursday and we played guitar, worked on music. I will miss him. He was a really good man. No wife. No kids.

Larry was  born in California and his immediate family still live there.

Tomorrow I may meet up with Donny and John at Larry's house. I hope so. We can commiserate.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I photograph a wedding reception for Donald Moe Hunt in Watertown, NY

This afternoon I photographed a wedding reception for Moe Hunt's grand son. Moe is a legendary SCUBA diver from Watertown, NY. He grew up with my father. I took diving lessons from Moe many years ago and went on a lot of diving adventures with him. Today he is 83 years old. He hired me cover the party today that was held at The Paddock Club. The photo presented here is of Moe. He was seated next to a fire place. The room was quite dimly lit. I used a Nikon D4s camera with a 70-200mm f2.8 lens. I set the ISO to 10,000.  For any of you that know what I am talking about, that is quite impressive.

Legendary scuba diver Donald "Moe" Hunt at his grand son's wedding reception.             photo by Gary Walts

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Guitar concert in Sackets Harbor, NY

It is two minutes before midnight on March 21, 2015. It is 26 degrees here in Chaumont, NY. I played a some what private party for the people of Sackets Harbor this evening from 7-9:00. It was sponsored by the Sackets Harbor Historical Society. Essentially it was open to the public but they only spread the word about it locally. So that village resident might have something to do, some event within walking distance. It took place in an historic old stone building close to the marina. About 40 people attended. The room I p;ayed in was set up like a cafe. Small cloth laden tables with candles. The visitors got their drinks which ranged from coffee and tea to wine and beer. I then set about playing for 45 minutes. I offered some anecdotes and odds and ends of information between songs. They were silent and attentive during the playing of the pieces. Close scrutiny. It's the type of scene that stage fright blossoms in. But for the past year I have been exposing myself more and more to these type of situations, so I handled this one well. But here is the thing: For the past year I have put together a 45 minute set that I can get through quite handily. Tonight however, I was required to fill two hours. That's a lot of time to entertaing and hold a groups attention. But I did with plenty of songs to spare that I did not play. Over all I enjoyed it. At one point early on I broke into a slight sweat, feeling one bead of perspiration form on my forehead and roll down my face. During the second set (after a 15 minute or so break) I had a minor bit of hand shaking. This was nothing compared to years ago and even a couple years ago when my hands would shake so that I spilled wine out of my glass and I would sweat so that my hair would get wet and my eyes would burn. I almost miss that. When I was younger and did not know how to swim I had a real fear of the water. I eventually over came that and finally, this late in my life I am working to overcome stage fright. On another note the Better Half has been on vacation with her daughter No. 2 and her family in Myrtle Beach. They return tomorrow. That will be nice. It was fine having some time alone, but I got lonely. I squandered a lot of my time that I was hoping to capitalize on without the distraction of the Better Half being in my presence. But, what is one to do? Anyway, I welcome her return.

This is a panorama photo made with the iPhone5. It's the remnants of a snowbank on a Syracuse sidewalk.  Photo bt gary walts. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Knob and Tubing Wiring

This is a photo I snapped with the iPhone 5  of what's known as knob and tubing wiring. It is a system of electrical wiring that was introduced into buildings early in the electrical era. It is still found intact and being used in varying degrees in many building to this day.

Knob and tube wiring in an old home in Watertown, NY.                     iPhone photo by Gary Walts 

This photo happened because it was simply another thing that "caught my eye". I was showing a friends house to a potential tenant and noticed this knob and tube in the attick. The light was nice and soft and so I snapped it. That's all. On another note, any followers of this blog will be aware that i have not been active here for a few months. It's hard for me to explain why other than a lack of ambition, working, maybe being a bit burned out, what ever, the reasons are multiple. It's been a long, cold, tough Winter here in Northern NY and I suppose that's a part of it too. Anyhow, I wishh all of you well.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wedding Photography in Watertown and Thousand Islands Region of NY

Wedding photography by Thousand Islands area photographer Gary Walts. The following are photos from various weddings I have photographed.
From a Boldt Castle wedding in Alexandria Bay, NY
Photo from a Watertown, NY wedding
Sackets Harbor, NY
Photo from a wedding at Thompson Park in Watertown, NY
This was at a state park in Central NY
Port Leyden and Boonville, NY
Wedding in Mexico, NY
From a Mexico, NY Wedding
This photo taken at The Eiss House in Mexico, NY
Wedding reception at Wysocki's, Cicero, NY
Wedding reception at Wysocki's, Cicero, NY
Brownville, NY wedding
Sackets Harbor, NY

You can view a lot of my wedding photographs at My Face Book weddings album