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.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Day Ninety: Memorial Day

58 degrees in Chaumont, NY at 5:30am this morning.

Today is Memorial Day. Originally it was called Decoration Day and came about from the efforts of women decorating the graves of Civil War soldiers. The following poem was written by Canadian doctor & poet John McCrae (November 30, 1872 - January 28, 1918) while he was a field surgeon during World War I.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

These fellows are from American Legion Post 832 of Cape Vincent, NY. Today they will visit 14 cemetaries in the region and participate in two parades in honor of our countries war dead. In this photo they were at Cedar Grove Cemetary in Chaumont, NY, (across the street from my house). Thank you for remembering.
photos by Gary Walts

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day Eightynine: Nature All Around Us

Six AM it was 68 degrees in Chaumont, NY. Plenty of Sun this morning, low humidity, turning into a beautiful day. Both photos presented here today were taken at my home. There is an abundance of nature and wildlife photos all around us, wherever we are. One need only be armed with a camera 24/7 to be prepared for those unexpected encounters with God's creatures.
Well, yesterday I failed to post anything. I could have, (and was going to) post the photo below of the spider. I came upon the spider yesterday as I was digging up a garden bed in my back yard. But, for a number of reasons, I never got to putting it on this blog. So, I decided to save it for today. So, I am sitting at my computer editing the spider photos when I hear a sharp chirping. I look toward the front door and see the young Robin on the floor of my front porch. I quickly took his picture through the screen of the door. I would prefer to have shot him with the door open. Shooting through the screen has a degrading effect on the overall picture quality. After I took a couple of initial photos, I decided to try and get one of him with the door open. I slowly opened it and, as I thought would happen, he got spooked and flew off into the yard. So, this is what I have.
The spider photo is more of a documentary photo. I took it to show family & friends. I wanted to photograph it more, trying to "work" it into a more graphic, artsier photo. But, the creature ducked away on me and I lost him.
The Robin photo is also a documentary photo for the same reason as the spider, However, you can see that it has a graphic quality coupled with nice light that elevates to higher level than the spider photo.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day Eightyseven:

It was 58 degrees at 6:00AM in Chaumont NY this morning. The day remains cooler and grayer than recently. Today's agenda includes planting tomatoe plants, flowers and well a few other odds and ends. In our part of the world you try to get your garden in by Memorial Day. Often times if you do it earlier you run the risk of a late frost appearing and spoiling your efforts. Any later than Memorial Day and you will probably have a later harvest than you might like.

“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul” Plato

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day Eightysix: Large Family Portriat

This family portrait is of a woman and man with nine of their twelve kids. I took it for the Post-Standard newspaper at their home in Syracuse, NY.

Working for a newspaper, magazine, Associated press, or the like, one gets hired to photograph all manner of things one normally wouldn't shoot on their own. One of the challenges is photographing groups of people. The bigger the group, the more challenging it is to make an interesting photo. Simply lining them up in a row is not very interesting. When I knew I was to photograph the family presented here, I was concerned about how I was to pull it off. I arrived at their home a little early. Some of the family was not there yet. I looked around for a setting, either outside or inside. As the Dad arrived home and remaining kids straggled in the scene became a bit chaotic. A few minutes later they were waiting for intruction from me, to direct them in this group portrait. Well, I didn't know what to do, so, in these situations I just beging with a suggestion. This starts the photo session rolling. Then I keep shooting, re-arranging the folks, shoot some more, and hopefully something begins to fall into place. All the while I am trying to catch a moment when everyone has a satisfactory facial expression, or projecting some sense of wanting to be a part of the photo. Many times there are unwilling participants in the group. This particular job turned out to be great. The photo created itself! I didn't need to do anything except be prepared for the spontaneity that happened.

With nothing better to try, and to break the ice and get the photo shoot started, I suggested we try thye living room for a setting. In my mind I was thinking I would have to seat some of the kids on the floor, some satnding, create an interesting arrangement of bodies. Then work on capturing a frame where they at least all had their eyes open at the same time. Well, I didn't need to do anything motre than the suggestion. The family very spontaneously crammed all together on the couch as if it were a festive event. They were jostling about and jockeying for position, laughing and enjoying the moment. It reminded me of a group of kids trying to see how many people they could cram into a car, or a telephone booth, just for kicks. For the fun of it. Snap, snap, snap. The photo is the result of the family's love for each other taht naturally went on display for me in front of my camera. Wow!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day Eightyfive: I'm Tired

It's almost midnight. I'm dead tired. I should be in bed. My schedule has been drifting out of whack. Slipping out of my control and I do not like it. Anyhow, I snapped this photo of the moon tonight. I do hope all is well with you in your world. Good night. Gary


“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. ... I get most joy in life out of music.” Albert Einstein

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day Eightyfour: Guitar Gig Tomorrow

I'll be playing guitar at the Jefferson County Historical Society in Watertown NY tomorrow night. The event is a dinner for their members. Should be a good fit for me. (photo at left is a self portrait. The Guitar is a Guild MarkV classical made in 1982)
Last night went to bed at 10:30pm, fell right to sleep. Great. Woke up at 12:30, and my mind began to think. Not good. Thoughts about all manner of things. The many things I need to, or would like, to get accomplished in the next few months. Thoughts about how to get them done, get them paid for. Well, it was hopless getting back to sleep. So, I get up and read some more of Robinson Crusoe. It happens that I was just reaching the point where Crusoe sees a footprint on the beach. It sets him into a fit of worry because he is well aware that it is probably the footprint of a cannibal. Over the course of the next pages Crusoe tells us how this has affected his sleep. His situation happened to be the very same as mine was at the moment. The book was published in 1706. That's a long time ago and what does that tell me? That we humans today, with all of our technology, blessings, opportunities, we still have to deal with basic human emotions. Makes me wonder what keeps Osama Bin Laden awake at night.
Anyhow, I went back to sleep at 3:30 woke again at 6:30, got out of bed at 7:00. I don't like that. For one thing it left me tireder than I like all day. Guitar practice was less than ideal. Updated my Craigslist ads. They seem to generate more spam than anything. The morning mail brought a deposit for a wedding photography job. Then I went off to mow the grass at my apartment house and place a temporary patch on the roof over the back stairway. I met up with a man who paid me for a job I did the other day. I went to the grocery store. By the time all of that was done I was home by 7:30PM. At that point I fired up the grill (charcoal, of course) and made some chicken kabobs. Most excellent. I am too tired to really put much into this blog entry, but I am finishing the day with it. Now I have to ask myself, "You put in a full day, got some things accomplished,got paid for a job from the other day, ate some great food. Life is good. What do you have to worry about?"

“When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had, and never will have.” Edgar Watson Howe

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day Eightytwo: Another Dandelion

“To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.” Aaron Copland

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day Eightyone: Grilling Chicken

Eighty degrees (farenheit) in Chaumont NY at 2:45 in afternoon. What a terrific day. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts on the grill. Gonna make some sandwhiches and put them into a panini press. It's happening as I write this. Below is photo of the chicken on the grill.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day Ninety: Plug For Topsiders

Among the things I like are Sperry Topsider shoes. I have been wearing them for many years. They really are durable and comfortable. Depending of course upon the particular style, they are wearable in a variety of situations. I generally only wear them from late Spring through September or October. I wear them indoors in the Winter, but never outdoors. They are not a Winter shoe. A pair will usually lat me two to four years. I will say, however, at the end, they are beat. I wear them until they are trashed and unwearable. Now I wear other shoes durting this time also. And while a pair of my Topsiders is on the wane I buy a fresh pair for wearing when I need to look good. The older pair I wear while mowing the lawn, painting the house or working on the car. That sort of thing.

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.” Victor Hugo.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day Eighty: Spring Cleaning

Fiftyfive degrees and sunshine at 7:00am in Chaumont, NY. Today I will be playing guitar at the Riveredge resort in Alexandria Bay, NY. Got up late this morning because for no apparent reason I couldn't get to sleep last night. So I got out of bed and read some more of Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe. Very good book. First published in 1719. A few years ago I decided to start reading some of the classic novels that I am familiar with, but have never read. Haven't we all heard of Robinson Crusoe, shipwrecked on a South Sea island? But do you really know the story as written by Defoe? I am enjoying it. There is much about his soul searching and coming to terms with his life and relationship (or lack thereof) with God. The edition I am reading is 264 pages. I am at page 104. I reccomend this book.

Somewhere in a little hole in the wall a three legged mouse drinks a beer and tells his friends how he narrowly escaped with his life and a piece of the sweetest cheese he ever tasted.

Occassionally over the years I have seen evidence of mice within my domicile in Chaumont, NY. Usually it is in late fall when the temperatures are dropping and the approch of Winter is evident. So it was last year and I set out some mouse traps. I use the tried and tru spring loaded traps. Well much to my surprise when I checked the traps one of them was missing. Now once in a while a trapped mouse may drag one away a few inches, a foot at the most. I could not find this trap. I was a bit concerned about what kind of mouse would carry off the enire trap. I mean, it was NOWHERE! I searched the far, dark corners of the pantry. I looked behind the hot water heater. No sign of it. Over the next few days the remaining traps produced several dead mice.
Winter came and went and I never saw anymore evidence of mice. Good. It is Spring now, time for cleaning. I get under the stove in the kitchen to clean up the dust bunnies and lo and behold: A mouse trap with a leg in it. Evidently the poor creature got a hind leg caught, dragged the trap way across the room and when under cover of the stove, went to work chewing himself free. I know it sounds awful, but that's what happened. Unless one of his buddies chewed his leg off to set him free. That's not likely. Anyhow, I do feel bad for the critter, but he probably lives on.
Regards, Gary.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day Seventynine: Garage Lights

Well, it started out sunny and 50 degrees in Chaumont, NY, this morning. Then it became overcast. A couple of hours on guitar, need to review some music for an event tomorrow evening. I will be playing at the Riveredge Resort in Alexandria Bay, NY. They are hosting a Chamber of Commerce event called Business With A Twist. Five to seven PM. I am hoping to catch the ear of some restaurant owners / managers, maybe make some connections, or land a gig playing dinner music one or two nights a week.

This photo I made while walking the streets in Syracuse, NY. I believe it's the entrance to an underground parking garage. What caught my eye were the lights illuminated in the day time. They are probably on the same circuit as the lights inside the garage so they cannot be turned off independently. This was a photo in which I had to do a tricky crop because I couldn't quite frame it the way I would have liked. Anyhow, I got an interesting feeling about it when I was passing by.

"The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy." Sun Tzu, The Art Of War, around 500BC.
photos and text copyright Gary Walts 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day Seventyeight: Two Very Different Things

Again I will say, just carry your camera with you and you will be ready when something catches your eye. I don't know what it is about sidewalks and roads, but I see photos in them quite regularly. I do not specifically go in search of these photos, I just notice them. Usually my mind is elsewhere, I am walking to or from my car, on an errand, and suddenly, I see something. In the photo at left I was struck by the round shape within the square shape. It's also an unusaual cover, or whatever it is. It may be a steam vent. I realy do not know. Anyway, it catches my eye and then I begin to look at it through the camera. I pay attention to the cracks and lines in the sidewalk and try to work what I see into a composition. So I guess, it's about shapes, and arranging those shapes withing the confines of the picture area. They are "arranged" by camera angle and lens selection. The lens used in this case was a 17-55mm zoom. So, I zoom in and out and eventually settle on an angle. Sometimes I crop the picture later on. Thiese type of photos are my artsy ones, or personal work. It doesn'e matter a whole lot if they have widespread appeal. They just do something for me.
Now the second photo I present here is of an unusual butterfly or moth. I'm not sure which it is. I have never seen one that looks like this before. I was getting out of my car in the driveway of my home and saw the thing at rest on the pavement. I took this photo not to be artistic or to create a nature photo. I took it to document what I saw. An unusual insect. This way I can share it with family and friends, and, of course, the World via the internet. I am hoping someone sees this and can identify it. I did a quick Google search and came up empty handed. Anyway, to sum it all up, two very different things caught my eye and I photographed them for two very different reasons. I would say the greatest thing about photography is that it's a versatile medium. It's applications range from artistic to scientific, to documentary and beyond. Plus, the categories often overlap. A scientific photo can be artistic. As can a documentary photo. A documentary photo can contain scientific information. And on and on. It's quite incredible.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day Seventyseven: Two Room School

Ten o'clock at night is just not the time for me to try to make a blog entry. Anyhow, with that in mind, this is a cloud that I photographed at my mother's house in Calcium, NY. Calcium, NY? My, isn't that a peculiar name? Well, it's a little hamlet about three miles from North of Watertown, in Jefferson County. I grew up there. It was a wonderful place. Small town. Everyone knew everyone. I even went to a two room school for grades one through four. We had two teachers. One, Mrs. McManaman, taught first and second grade in one of the rooms. The other, Mrs. Carlisle, taught third and fouth grade in the second room. Now bear in mind, these were small class sizes. The first grade class was on one side of the room and the second grade on the other side of the room. The teachers would alternate instruction in a between the two grades. For instance, she might start with the the first grade with, let's say, spelling. At conclusion of that lesson she would give them a work sheet to do related to that lesson. With the first grade thus occupied, she would instruct the second gradeon a particular lesson. At the conclusion, she would give the second graders an assignment to do. As they did that task, she would go back to the first graders and give them a lesson in another subject. So the day went, back and forth between the two grades. The same thing went on in the room with the third and fourth grades. It was really something. For one thing, as you sat in the second grade you were overhearing, and paying attention to the first grade math, reading, or whatever. This was a REVIEW of all the stuff you had learned the year befor. Likewise, the firts graders happened to be exposed to the second grade lessons, and thus, got a preview of what was to come in their second year. Likewise with the third and forth garde room. As I relate this this, I cannot help but be somewhat overcome with nostalgia, and be thankful for what a wonderful life I have been given. It is unreal.

"The things I wrestle with are legion, for they are many." Gary Walts 5/17/10

Some day I will elaborate.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

day Seventysix: More Sidewalk Art

Well, the cracks and the rusty looking color in this section of sidewalk caught my eye, once again as I was walking to my car. The feet belong to me and the brown color of the shoes and the gray pants somehow fit in the overall color scheme. Or so it seems to me.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day Seventyfive: Doing It Yourself

My Maytag Jetclean Dishwasher

Now listen up. In this day and age, thanks to the internet, it's easier than ever to be a do it yourselfer. Let's go back to my Maytag dishwasher as an example. First of all, I could have called an appliance repair guy to come to the house and fix it. The fee would be at least $125.00 for parts and labor. Maybe more. I found I could buy the part on the internet for $26.00 plus shipping. The local appliance repair place wanted $66.00 for it. Well, $40.00 is more than I am willing to pay for instant gratification. I need to save cash wherever I can, after all, I am a victim of this recession in more ways than one. So, I ordered the part online and did the job myself.

Here is how I went through the process. The dishwasher would not fill with water on the rinse cycle. Sometimes it would work, sometimes not. I go to Google and search that symptom. In a few minutes I learn that the water fill valve is most likely the culprit. I down load a PDF copy of the repair manual. I read a few postings from others who had the same problem and read their stories about fixing it themselves. Sounds like I am on the right track. Most of them said it took about a half an hour. Is that all? How hard could it be?

A brief digression:

In the pre-internet days when I would have a problem I would begin by talking to everyone I knew, telling them my problem, asking them if they had any experience, or knew what to do next. Very often I would get wrong advice or mixed advice. The library would never have the books, manuals, literature related to such a problem. Then, if you did know for sure what the problem was you would have to go for an extended search looking for the replacement parts. Invariably someone would sell you the wrong part. If you called a repair person you would be at their mercy with no way of determining if they were on the level with you, or taking advantage of you. Every time I had a furnace problem, an appliance problem, a car problem, (or one time I had a problem with bats in the house), I would go through all sorts of crap trying to take care of it. Sometimes I got screwed because I didn't have the knowledge. Well, the internet has changed all of that. Hallelujah!
Anyhow, the photo left is the defective water inlet valve. There are two wires that clip to the electric connector. Simple. The hot water supply line screws onto one port. Then a rubber fill hose clamps on the other port. Then the piece is mounted to the side wall of thye washer with two screws. Simple simple. Truly a half hour to an hour job, including searching for your pliers and screwdriver, and putting the tools away afterward.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Day Seventyfour: Cliches?

First of all, I am visiting my mother and see a lot of dandelion flowers all gone to seed in her yard. I want to photograph them. But, aren't they a cliche? Have they not been photographed to death? Well, I shoot them, position one in front of the Sun. Snap, snap. A couple of hours later I am in Alexandria Bay, checking out potential venues for playing my guitar. So, I am walking around and spot these shadows on the wall. Another cliche? Is it? Shadows, red bricks. Nice light. What's a photographer to do? I shoot it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day Seventythree: David Strathairn

Well today it was sunny and pleasant in Northern NY. I mowed the grass today at two properties. Last night I played guitar at the Muskie Lounge in Alex. Bay. That went quite well. There were a few people who were impressed. Now, if I can keep them coming back for more it might turn into something.

This is a photo of David Strathairn, the actor who portrayed Edward R. Murrow in the film Good Night and Good Luck. I made the photo for USA Today. It happened that he was in town doing a gig at Fort Drum. USA Today hired me because I live about twenty miles from Fort Drum. In this day and age when a national publication needs a photo shot they very often contact newspapers in the region where the photo shoot is to take place asking for reccomendations. It is because Fort Drum has gotten lots of national and international attention in recent years that I have gotten work for quite a list of publications. Now if something were to take place in Buffalo, a four hour drive for me, those publications would first try to locate a reliable photographer in Buffalo. The days of being a staffer for a national publication and travelling all over the country and the globe are pretty much over. There is a glut of photgraphers out ther, some obviously better than others, all looking for work. Plus, with todays technology, it's a lot easier for mediocre photographers to make technically usable photos. There are many out there working that really do not have an eye for some situations. The same goes for wedding photographers. They point and shoot with little or no thought about the light, the moment, the composition, the content. Those are the things that all come together to create a good photograph. At some point I will try to delve into those items one at a time in more detail.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day Seventytwo: Lena Horne

Well, the day began at 6:00am with 45 degrees on the thermometer in Chaumont, NY. It's quite ovecast at the moment.

Lena Horne pased away May 9, 2010, 92 years old.

Lena Horne died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She was a jazz singer, actress and civil rights activist. She was 92.
She lived in a time when interracial marriages were illegal in California, so she went tp Paris and got married secretly Lennie Hayton, a musical director and composer. Click here: Lena Horne Biography for more about Lena's life.

On another note, I will be playing guitar this evening at 7:00pm at The Muskie Lounge in Alexandria Bay. It's more or less a trial thing to see how I fit with the place. I may play for only an hour, I'm quite sure it will be two hours at the most.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day Seventyone: Front Porch Beer

For a long time now my favorite beer has been Labatt Blue. Darn good beer. Prior to that It was Old Vienna. When the store near me ran out of Old Vienna I would buy Labatt Blue. Over a period of some time there seemed to be less and less OV on the shelf and more and more Labatt's. Almost without realizing it I stopped buying OV, and I now no longer see it in any stores. That's fine. I love Labatt's. In fact, for years I figured if Labatt ceased production I probably wouldn't drink beer again. Well, that's not very realistic is it? Anyhow, my celebrity brother moved back to NY after many years in the South. He likes to try out different beers. Gradually through my exposure to him, I started getting interested in other beers too. My goodness, there are a lot of beers out there and darn good ones too. Well, a couple of weeks ago I was visiting family in Cleveland, Ohio area. They turned me on to the beer pictured above: Burning River Beer, a handcrafted pale ale made by the Great Lakes Brewing Co. It's named after the Cuyahoga River that caught fire in 1969. This brew has a strong flavor, reminiscent of Guiness. Some beers are working beers. That is, you keep one close by to sip on while working on the car, or splitting your fire wood. Burning River, however, is what I call a real front porch beer! In other words, you open a beer like this and you should get away from the TV, from facebook, from any distractions. It's a worldly beer so go sit out on the front porch and savor it in the outdoor ambiance. Out there the birds are chirping, the bees are buzzing in the lilac bushes, and the neighbors lawn mower is humming in the distance down the street. Cars may pass by, and the sound of kids in the playground behind the school come whispering in now and then on the Summer breeze. I am describing what typically I hear from my front porch in Chaumont, NY. Your porch may be in a more urban setting where the sounds in the area are of kids kicking a can in the street, a distant firetruck siren, and the muffled flapping from a cloud of pigeons on the wing. Maybe your porch is an old farmhouse where the cows moo, the chickens cluck and the sputter of the neighbors tractor fades in and away as he plows the North Forty acres. My God, you go out into your own front porch atmosphere and these are your SOOTHING sounds. They are the sounds of life in YOUR neighborhood. What better place could there be to drink a front porch beer. Burning River beer: It may be brewed in Cleveland, but it's perfect for a front porch anywhere.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day Seventy: Working In The Cold

This is a photo I took of my friend and fellow photographer Chuck Wainwright. This was taken yesterday at Herkimer Community College. The photo of the guy in the beard and yellow rain coat is ME! Chuck took that photo. It was Mother's Day and the weather was horrible. Cold, windy, snow off and on. Truly the worst weather we have had in two months. Chuck and I were at the college photographing the women's and men's lacrosse national championship games. He was working for Onondaga Community College, I for the Post-Standard. We were out there for a total of six hours. The weather explains why we were so bundled up. It was a long time to be out in that cold, but I was comfortable. There are two things I do, and tell others to do to endure the cold. Wear a hat. That's number one. Knitted toques are preferred. Notice that Chuck and I each have one on. The next biggie is to dress in layers. On this day the temperature never rose above 40 degrees. (Did it?) But it was WINDY. So, I wore a turtle neck shirt, then a work shirt over that, then a lightweight vest, then a heavier fleece over that. That equals four layers over my torso, three layers over my arms. Then, because of the wind and snow, I added the large, yellow raincoat. It's just a cheapie I keep in the car at all times. It makes a terrific wind breaker and also is big enough to keep my camera tucked under it should the rain begin. Thus, I have a total of five layers. With my back to the wind I was perfectly comfortable all day. I might add that another thing that helps me in the cold is the turtle neck. I must keep my neck covered. Thus, the vest I wear and the larger fleece both zip up high around the neck too, effectively making them turtle necks. Also, remember this: Your layers need to be loose enough so as not to restrict your mobility or their effectiveness against the cold. The photo of the lacrosse game was taken by me for the Post-Standard. It was Onondaga Community College vs. Monroe Community College. OCC lost, 8-7. The following link will (at least should) take you to more photos from that game as well as the men's game. The men's team from OCC handily defeated their opposition. I believe the final score was 17-1. Anyhow, don't let the weather get in the way of your next fun time at work.

See more of Gary's lacrosse photos by clicking the following:
Take Me To Lacrosse Photos

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day Sixtyeight: Flat Tire

Rainy, grey, chilly, windy, 45 degrees in Chaumont NY. Quite a contrast compared to what we have been getting accustomed to since March. The Sun came out briefly a couple of times, once when I photographed the flat tire.

So I go out to my driveway this morning and see I have a flat tire. That's not a real big problem because I have a couple of spare tires that are like new that came off another Dodge Caravan I was driving before this one. Thankfully I didn't need to get anywhere today so I was able to take my time with it. The other photo shows the piece of metal that was stuck in the tire tread, right on the edge of the sidewall. Remember that water valve that goes to my Maytag dishwasher? There's a photo of it in yesterday's post. Well, I went to an appliance repair store near here to see if they had one of those valves in stock. I think this piece of metal came from their parking lot.

From Sun Tzu in The Art Of War:

"Just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day Sixtyseven: Hustling, Hustling

So today I spent trying to keep up the hustle. I designed and printed this piece that hopefully will draw some bodies to the Muskie Lounge next Wednesday. I also designed a similar postcard which I will mail to other cafes and restaurants that I am interested in playing. That also entailed looking up the addresses of those venues. It all eats up time. And finally, I used the same photo and worked it into a bulletin board piece with tear off phone numbers to try and hustle up some guitar students. One must keep throwing stuff out there and hope something bounces back.

Incidentally, the photo is a self portrait taken by a window in the upstairs hallway of my home in Chaumont, NY.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day Sixtysix: A Day In The Life

So today I nailed down a guitar gig at The Muskie Lounge in Alexandria Bay, N.Y. (referred to by the locals here as "the bay"). The photos presented here were snapped throughout the day. The scene above was on Route 180 somewhere around Lafargeville or Stone Mills. It just illustrates what a lovely day we had and some of the scenery that is typical here in the North Country. It was cool and breezy, but really my kind of weather.

So when I arrive at the Muskie Lounge the owner, Bruce Carhart, was involved with the NY ABC (alcoloic beverage control) board. Seems someone had a complaint about his business. Turns out it was unfounded. Anyway, while waiting for him to finish up that detail I had a Corona beer. It was perfectly chilled and tasted great. I hadn't had a Corona in a long time.

So I am enjoying this beer, Bruce is busy with the officials, and in come some guys to move out an old Coke refrigerator or cooler. Well, I just snapped a quick shot of that activity. If I were seriously interested in it I would have "worked" the activity. This is just another shot for my photographic diary. Now how does this jewelry fit in?

I'll tell you how. I went upstairs with Bruce to talk about playing guitar in his establishment. It turns out he has started importing jewelry from Indonesia and is marketing it. This was some of the items he was sorting for sales samples. It was laying about on a table and I grabbed a shot just to see what it would look like. So what's that thing in the next photo?

Well, I set up a guitar gig with Bruce. I will be playing there next Wednesday at 7:00pm. If it goes well, we might try it out for a couple of more weeks. So, that was productive. Then I get home and the last thing I really needed to get done was today was figure out why the dishwasher would not fill properly. I get on the net, do some research and find the culprit is the water inlet valve, pictured above. I had it removed in about fifteen minutes. It's a Maytag dishwasher. There are four screws that fasten the kick plate on the bottom. Easy to get to. Remove them and the water valve is mounted on the left side, easy to get at. There is a water hose attached with a clamp. Pinch the clamp with pliers, slide it back, and wiggle the hose off the valve. Slide off two wire connections. Unscrew two screws that mount the valve to the wall of the unit. Disconnect the water supply l;ine and it's all over. Easier done than said. Truly.

And the day ends watching TV: Survivor on CBS followed by The Office on AbC, accompanied with Gnarly Head old vine zinfandel wine. That is how my day went. That leaves me with two questions: Who could possibly ask for more?, and, How can one ever be bored in this life? I love it!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day Sixtyfive: Cinqo de Mayo

Today I was on a mission to visit the owner of The Muskie Lounge in Alexandria Bay, NY. I was hoping to set up a guitar playing gig. However, sometimes we start out in one direction and it leads to another. While enroute to the bay I encountered this Amish horse and buggy tied up to a gas pump at a convenience store in Depauville. Well naturally I had to photograph it. Notice the Pegasus logo on the gas pump. When the Amish man came out of the store I snapped a few more shots of him as he drove away. The man had a great white beard, but I didn't want to ruin his day by letting him see me take his photo, so I waited until his back was turned and settled on the view you see here. Now this encounter siphoned away some of time. Not a lot, but enough that it might make a diference. Frome here I stopped to see Greg Lago at Winged Bull studio. Greg knows the owner of the Muskie Lounge and I got the phone number from him. I have to back up. The phone number I had for the Muski was not in service. I also saw somnething on the net about the lounge being closed. Closed for good or for the season? I don't know. But, Greg would probably know and his place is on the way to the bay. So I stop there. No one can chew the fat better than Greg. The conversation flows and leads to coffee at The Lyric Bistro. He gives me a phone number, but now, my time is shot becuase I need to get to my first guitar student by 1:30. I abandonb the plan to catch Bruce at the Muskie and head to the music store. I get there ten minutes late only to find my student stiffed me. A no show. Well, that's how it goes. But remember, had I not gone about my business the way I did I wouldn't have these photos of the horse at the gas pump. How can I complain?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day Sixtyfour: RT 66 Sunset

I spent today in Syracuse. It rained hard, it quit raining, the Sun came out, it became overcast, the Sun returned. It did everything but snow today. On my way home I get off interstate Route 81 onto Jefferson County Route 66 and drive right into this Sunset. I pull off the road and make this photo.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day Sixtytwo: Ladybug

I photographed this ladybug crawling on a screen door at the back entrance of my home. It's not too bad considering I did not have a macro lens. I shot it with a 17-55mm zoom that has NO macro setting. It never would have worked on film, but digital, is great. The file size was such that I cropped out a huge ammount of the image to prent what you see here. Film would have been far too grainy and soft. I have a macro lens, but it's for my Minolta film cameras. This photo was taken with a Nikon that does not belong to me. I need to get a Sony digital slr to be able to use my collection of Minolta lenses.

Now, that recipe I tried yesterday. It was pretty good, but I cannot rave about it. I'm not sure I would make it again. It was good, but seemed to be lacking something. There just may have been too much spinach. I have more that I will try again tonight. I will tell you one thing: the Red Stripe beer sure was good!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day Sixtyone: Roasting Pepper

Sixty degrees at 7:00AM in Chaumont, NY. Sunshine, though the weatherman calls for rain later in the day. We shall see.
So this morning I started a small charcoal fire to roast a poblano pepper for a Mexican recipe I got from Rick Bayless. I could have done it in the broiler inside, but, I like to be outdoors. Anyhow, the pepper gets put into a food processor along with some cilantro and a Jalapeno. The recipe calls for a serrano pepper, but I didn't have one. The puree get mixed in with ground pork. Later the pork is fried with onions, spinach added with a little beer, then a pile of Jack cheese. There's obviously more to it so here is a link to Rick's recipe: Green Queso Fundido / Queso Fundido Verde I saw Rick prepare it on TV. It looked good, seemed simple, so thought I would try it today.
I am always ready to try a new recipe, any type of new food. Sometimes you get surprised with something great. Sometimes they are a bust. This one sounds good, but you never know until you bite in. I'll finish cooking & eating it later today when my celebrity brother comes over. I'll report the final verdict in the next post. Probably will not be today. One more thing, we'll be washing it down with Red Stripe beer. It's a good life no matter how many curve balls get pitched at you.

(It should go without saying the photos here were taken by yours truly, Gary Walts).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Day Sixty: Rt 481 Sunset

It's gonna be a terrific day in Chaumont, NY today, weatherwise anyway.
I was returning home from a magazine job and grabbed this sunset on Route 481 in Onondaga County, NY. I think it may have been in the Town of Clay. Not sure. I have some guitar playing events coming up, but still no regular gig. I suppose that's something I need to keep working on. That's the drudgery of business, at least a small one like mine, wearing all those "hats". Making, creating, placing ads. Making phone calls & e-mails. Returning calls & e-mails. Hopefully one puts stuff out there and one gets something back. Anyhow, catch you later. Gary