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.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Legendary North Country SCUBA diver Moe Hunt passes away

Moe Hunt was a legendary figure in northern NY. He was a scuba diver, scuba instructor, commercial diver. He grew up with my father on the north side neighborhood of Watertown, NY. From the time I was 18 until my early thirties Moe and I became and remained close friends. He was a profound influence in my life. The following are some quick notes about him that I jotted down a couple days ago. They are notes, not finished, polished memoirs. I also am linking to his obituary that appeared in the Waterown Daily Times.

Moe Hunt, legendary North Country scuba diver. I snapped this photo of him a few years. He was probably 80 or 81 years old. He was a great man. 

So here are some quick notes / thoughts I had about Moe:

 I spent a lot of time with Moe over the years. Moe always encouraged me to go after my dreams, to do what ever I wanted. When Was 18 I didn’t know how to swim and was basically afraid of the water.  I used to tell people I was afraid of the deep end of the bath tub. Moe helped me confront that fear and overcome it. Over the next many years we went scuba diving together a countless number of times. Every spring as the ice started to break up he and I would make a dive, usually in Clayton. I often helped him out with his diving classes. I went with him on many commercial dive jobs. Off the job Moe was a great guy and a lot of fun. On the job though, he was a different person. He was all business. He worked hard and had zero patience with the people working for him. Those were the times when I saw just how rugged and tough he was. Diving for long hours n cold water, lugging heavy equipment to a job site, often through the woods to a remote power dam. 

When a logging truck in Port Leyden area tipped over into the river and wiped out a bridge Moe was called in to salvage it. He worked around the clock with little or no sleep. I mean that. We started in the morning and at 3:00am he was still at it, in and out of the water, cutting metal, attaching cables to the wreckage and on and on. His stamina, drive and endurance put much younger men to shame. He took his work seriously. On such occasions he was often blunt, direct and rude to those working for him. Those of us close to him took it in stride. But one particular day he barked at me when I was not in the mood for it and I flipped him the bird and told him where to go. He was startled by that. Later he he told me what I already knew, that I wasn’t to take it personally. He said that every time he was underwater his life was in danger and he was very aware of it. That’s why he didn’t fool around and wouldn’t tolerate any carelessness. 

Off the job he was a kind and humorous man. He always had a joke ready for any situation. We were at the famers market a couple years ago when Moe stopped to talk to a soldier in uniform. His last name was Smith. After telling the soldier about his military experience in the Korean War and some other small talk Moe asked him, “Do you know why there are so many Smith’s in the phone book?” The soldier shook his head and said ”No.”  Moe replied, “Because they all have telephones.”

Moe liked to eat and he picked up every tab at every eatery we ever attended.  After he “retired” I would often meet Moe somewhere to eat. Like most of us he had some favorite TV shows. One day when I called to ask him if he would like to go out and eat somewhere he said, “ No problem, but I can’t go until after I watch Judge Judy.”  

One of my favorite quotes from Moe was “ You have got to go out and make it happen.”  I heard that first when I  was a young kid fresh out of school and didn’t know how to make anything happen.  No matter what it was I was thinking about he said “You can do it.” You can’t wait for other people, you have to “Go out there and make it happen,”  And that’s what I have done ever since. 

I retire. Gary Walts says farewell to the Post-Standard & Syracuse.com

Well, after almost 32 years I have decide to retire from The Post-Standard newspaper and their web site Syracuse.com.  In recent years the company has changed their business model and in the course of it has been going through a series of changes. Recently the company offered an incentive for employees with 25+ years of service to retire. The offer was custom tailored to my situation, so, I accepted. A month earlier it was the furthest thing from my mind. I am very busy. I love music and the guitar. I teach guitar and like to play gigs. My first love is photography so I will continue to do that, photographing what I choose as opposed to fulfilling assignments. I am also a land lord with a coulee of rental properties. I live in an old house and welcome the time to finish up number of projects and improvements to it. Here is a link to some of the photos I've made over the years for the company. It is a mere fraction of the number of subjects and situation I have covered.

Myself and some fellow Post-Standard photographers. Left to right are Dennis Nett, Ellen Black, Steve Cannerrelli, myself (Gary Walts) ad Mike Greenlar.  Ellen, Stev, and I accepted a buy out offer from the company. Photo was snapped on the roof top of ouroffces at 220 South Warren St., Syracuse, NY

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Red Wing Blackbird song video

The Red Wing Blackbird song is my favorite of the birds in our area.
Red-winged blackbird at Krings Point State Park    photo by Gary Walts
While the arrival of the Robin is a harbinger of spring here in northern NY, the Red Wing's song is the audio equivalent to me.
Actually, the bird is called a Red-winged Blackbird. I made this video at Kring Point State Park in Alexandria Bay. It is the closest I have ever gotten to one of these birds. I made the video with a Nikon D7000 camera. I didn't have a tripod with me so it was hand held, not easy to do with a telephoto lens. The lens was a Nikon 70-200mm f2.8.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Life is complicated - Sunflower photo

Life is complicated. But, you all ready knew that. Here is a sunflower I photographed in the backyard of my home in Chaumont, NY.

Life is complicated - Sunflower photo

Life is complicated. But, you all ready knew that. Here is a sunflower I photographed in the backyard of my home in Chaumont, NY.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tom and Jerry drinks at the Crystal Restaurant, Waterown NY 13601

The Christmas season in northern NY wouldn't be complete with out a visit to the Crystal Restaurant in Watertown for Tom and Jerry's. A week or so ago my Celebrity Brother and our Better  Halves stopped in for a couple. Here are a few photos from that event. All were made with an iPhone 5.

My Celebrity Brother, right, and I enjoying a Tom and Jerry at The Crystal Restaurant, Watertown, NY 13601

Tom and Jerry at The Crystal Restaurant, Watertown, NY 13601

The Crystal Restaurant, Watertown, NY 13601

Window display at The Crystal Restaurant, Watertown, NY 13601

Window display at The Crystal Restaurant, Watertown, NY 13601

The Crystal Restaurant, Watertown, NY 13601

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Snow in Chaumont today

It snowed for the first time here in Chaumont, NY.  Well, the first time for the 2015-16 Winter season. Snapped this photo with my iPhone.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Beautiful November Day in Chaumont, NY

It is a stunningly beautiful day here in Chaumont, NY. 70 degrees, blue sky and no wind. I began to harvest dried out Kentucky Wonder Pole beans from my garden. They have been hit with a frost and the plants are all dead. The un harvested beans are dried out on the dead vines. The pods are brittle and papery. The beans inside are nicely dried out for storage or used now for bean soup or what ever.

It is also a great day for the Better Half who is driving to visiter her sister S near Cleveland, Ohio. She will be gone for a week leaving me to my own devices.

Dried out Kentucky Wonder pole beans on the trellis in my garden.     iPhone 5 photo by Gary Walts

Dried out Kentucky Wonder pole beans on the trellis in my garden.     iPhone 5 photo by Gary Walts

Maple tree in the side yard of our home in Chaumont, NY     iPhone 5 photo by Gary Walts

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2011 Kia Sedona van big engine oil leak

It is 240 miles from my home in Chaumont, NY to Niagara Falls, NY. I was driving there this past Sunday in my 2011 Kia Sedona van. I stopped at McDonald's in Central Square and noticed oil drops in the parking lot trailing the path of the van. Hmmm? I checked the oil level and it looked ok. By the time I reached Batavia the oil light started blinking. I became alarmed, pulled off at next exit and checked the oil. There was NONE showing on the dip stick. I didn't know what was happening, but, long story short I bought some oil and topped it off. I saw a steady drip of oil under the van. I made it to Niagara Falls and bought 20 more quarts of oil. For the drive home I stopped every 30 miles or so and topped off the oil. In the end I went through 24 quarts of oil to get it safely home. The alternative would have been a tow truck bill of probably 2 or 300 bucks.
My 2011 Kia Sedona van that leaked oil from the engine oil pressure switch

A google search told me the problem was the engine oil pressure switch. That was confirmed at FX Caprara Kia dealership. I had them repair it. The part was $15.00 and 4 hours of labor for a bill of $370.00 including tax and more oil. I cannot tell you the stress that failure caused me. By the way, the van has 73,000 miles on it.

My 2011 Kia Sedona van that leaked oil from the engine oil pressure switch

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Small church in Croghan NY and snow in the North Country

It snowed in the North Country today, drove through some in Carthage, Ny, but much more fell and stayed on the ground in Central NY. I was driving through Croghan NY today on RT 812 when I came upon this small church where 812 meets Texas Rd.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Autumn Maple leaf with rain drops

This is a photo I snapped with the iPhone 5 of a maple leaf with rain drops. It was on the back steps of my Clay St., Watertown NY rental property.
Maple leaf in Autumn, Cly St., Watertown, NY  iPhone photo by Gary Walts