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.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 210: Scenic With Tree

So it;s been 210 days since I began this blog.I thought it would be easier than it is to simply put up a fresh photo each day and some brief commentary. The biggest problem is the time factor. I never have enough of it. At the moment I am in my car, parked on a street in Syracuse, NY, waiting to photograph the Goo Goo Dolls at the Civic Center.
It is 74 degrees here and I am quite uncomfortable sitting in my car working on this entry. It rained a lot in Northern NY today. That's no surprise. We have had tons of rain. Anyhow, I was driving to Syracuse and passed by the tree scene that you see here. It catches my eye every time I pass it. Well, today there was some yellow color in the leaves and I thought today I should take a picture of it. But I thought I didn't haver time to stop. I drove past it. About a mile later down the road I stopped, did a U-tyrn, went back and made this picture. I realized I was more lazy thyan pressed for time. The "no time to stop" was just an excuse. So, I am happy to have made a fresh photo for today's blog entry. This leads me to todays quote:

"Discipline is the bridge between thought and achievement." Christopher Parkening

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 209:

Overcast and 50 degrees here in Chaumont NY at 9:00am. I am off to Plattsburg soon to photograph a woman who spoke with president John F. Kennedy back in th 60's. She is now 84 years old. There is an audio recording of her meeting with Kennedy in the presidential archives. Should be interesting.
The following link is to an interesting story about the 33 miners trapped in Chile for the past 35 days. In credible. I do hope they all get back to the surface alive. But their story will make an incredible book and/or movie. More later.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 208: Cooking With Beer & Love

So today it's Sunday? Where did Saturday go? Well, actually it went well. I spent a couple of hours at my friend Tom Bintz's home on Pillar Point. He has a guest with him for a few day. He was a film and photography major back in hid college days. So, over a few beers we had some good conversation about life, art, promoting your work, inspiration, and other good things. Most enjoyable.
The beer was Thousand Islands Pale Ale from the Sackets Harbor Brewing Co., Sacket Harbor, NY. A fine beer indeed. My first time drinking it.

So that brings me to Sunday. Well today I finally got down into the basement to take apart the pipe that runs from my furnace to the chimney. I needed to clean it out. You see, it tends to get rusty inside and then the rust flakes off and gathers on the bottom of the pipe. If ignored the debris will build up to where it affects the draft and cause the furnace to short cycle. Never mind why this happens, that's too much to get into right now. But anyhow, one of the elbows rusted apart at the joint & I had to replace it. Lucky for me the local;l hardware store is open on Sunday's until 3:00. So off I go. Then it occurred to me, I may as well stop at the local grocer and get a beef roast to slow cook in the crock pot. That can take place while I'm doing other chores. By the way, the Better Half is off for the day visiting one of her daughters so this will be a nice surprise for her to come home to. So here is the deal: I had so9me fresh produce from a local farm market and the crockpot idea seemed a good way to use the stuff. I placed small red potatoes on the bottom, added the beef roast, then sliced up fresh carrots, onions, garlic, and tomatoes tossed them in. Added spices, some water and there it was. In a few hours, great eats!.

Now here are a coup-le of my secrets about cooking. I cook with Love & with Beer. What I mean is I do not cook unless I want to. Not because I have to. There in lies the problem with many women in relationships. It seems the are REQUIRED to cook. That is terrible. I do not want my better half to cook ever, unless she is truly into it and wants to do it. Now of course things are different if you have kids. They must be fed, and fed on a schedule. It's also important for the family to eat as a group. But we are at a point in life where we are not obligated to eat at any set time. I would NEVER demand that she prepare my meals. And vice verso. The idea is to enjoy cooking. Most of the time I cook for me and the bonus is that I am also cooking for her. In other owrds, I simply cook with Love in my heart. It is what I want to do and it is what I want to share. I don't ever want to eat a meal if somebody felt coerced into preparing it. Do you get it? I am cooking with Love, and as best as I can tell thye Better half does the same.
Now, about the beer. When I cook, I like to drink beer. There's nothing better when it comes to peeling onions, washing potatoes, chopping carrots, and the like, than to do so while slugging a couple of beers. Suddenly it becomes festive. I think the problem many women have is that they do not drink while cooking. Break out the wine or the beer and dive in to the work. Enjoy it. If your better half walks in pour them a glass. Cheers! While you are at it you can always throw a splash of wine or beer into your recipe. It will never screw it up. You see that photo of the beef roast in the crock pot? I just put that together an hour or so ago with the great company of two of those Thousand Island beers. I loved it. Now, after posting this I am going back down to the basement and finish my furnace pipe cleaning job. Life is good. Thank you Lord.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 206: Puffballs

A week or so ago a couple of puffballs appeared in my yard over by the wood pile. I have not seen one in quite few years. I was excited becaue these things are edible. I have not eaten one since I was a teenager. However, when I opened it up it was allready permeated with brown streaks inside. You don't want that. The inside should be firm, solid white. A week later two more appeared, but they are not round like the puffballs I am familiar with. In fact, it may not be puffballs at all. Or, perhaps they are a varity of puffball, or maybe puffballs sometimes sprout with an odd shape such as the one in the lower photo. It's too bad it is unfamiliar looking to me, because I would love to slice it up and fry it with some butter & garlic.
You can see how different these two fungi appear, but the size of the odd shaped one makes me think it is a form of puffball. The round one in the upper photo was about the same size as the one in the lower photo. If anyone out there sees this post and can enlighten me I would love it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 204: Love Is Magical

Quite a bit of rain here in Chaumont, NY today. Had lunch at Andy's Caribbean Cafe with the artist Tom Bintz. We had curry goat. Quite good, but a tad pricey. The photo here was taken at Wilson's Bay in Cape Vincent, NY. I'm pretty sure these girls were under age drinkers. But that was about five years ago, so by now they should be legal.

So I say, Love is magical. Here's why. For the past two weeks I have played my guitar at one of our local farmers markets. The vendors all gave me a variety of produce as a show of appreciation. So, two weeks in a row I bring home a number of apples. I put them on the counter. Then, after a cuple of days, quite by magic, with no prompting from me, an apple pie appears in place of the apples. Well, my Better Half doesn't really care much for pies or deserts, but just because the apples are there, and she knows I like her apple pie, she takes it upon herself to make one. For me. And that's wonderful. I love it. And if she never made a pie I would love it. That's magic.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 203: A couple More Double exposures

Well, actually they are once again, six exposures each. Now again, I am not sure I really like these two images, but I find them interesting enough to share here and to keep experimenting.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 202: Multiple Exposures

Sunny and 50 degrees here in Chaumont, NY.
I have always been intrigued by multiple exposures. When I was a kid nobody had professional cameras and it was easy for people to accidentally make a multiple exposure. And of course they would be upset because a picture of their kid sitting on Santa's lap would be accidentally exposed over a picture of the kid with the Easter Bunny. Two precious moments taken months apart, ruined. Well, after seeing an accidental multiple exposure for the first time I was captivated. The strange, dreamy, fading in and out of two images on one piece of film. I loved it. So, I remember on some very few occasions when I could take some photos with my Dad's camera, I deliberately made double exposures. Of course he would see the results when the pictures came back and that would make him less likely to let me use the camera. I was wasting film.

Finally a day came when I got a good 35mm camera, an slr. It was a Minolta SRT-101. Great camera, but no way to make multiple exposures. Well, turns out there was a way, but not sanctioned by the camera makers. If you pushed in the clutch button on the bottom of the camera and held the film rewind lever stationary you could cock the shutter without advancing the film. This method was less than ideal. It required some dexterity and care to pull it off. Usually the two exposures would be off register by varying degrees. Eventually camera makers realized that some people wanted to make multiple exposures deliberately. So they incorporated that ability into their products. I only just recently realized that the camera I am using for most of my work, a digital Nikon D300 has the ability to make multiple exposures. Great! Now I can experiment and see the results immediately. The two photo presented here each consist of six exposures. I don't know that they are terrific pictures, but I am happy with these preliminary results.

Need a wedding photographer in the 13601 zip code area? Call me, Gary Walts 315-649-4174. Check out my wedding photography album on FaceBook at

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 201: High School Senior Photos

So this morning I played guitar at the Watertown Saturday Farmer's Market, located at the fair grounds. It was chilly. 55 degrees. I don't think I can comfortably play for any length of time if it is any cooler than that. The playing went well. The vendors gave me a selection of produce as well as some beef and eggs. I also got some pretty good tips. This afternoon I spent a couple of hours photographing a pretty young lady for her senior high school pictures. She changed outfits three or four times and we shot in as many locations.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 199: Faded Glory

So it was about 50 degrees this morning in Chaumont, NY. There was some sunshine. As the day progressed it became overcast and by the afternoon we had a lot of heavy rain.

Great guitar practice the past few days. Sometimes one goes throuhg a period where one sees distinct progress with the intrument. But those times give way to periods where one wonders why you are playing so poorly. Andres Segovia said that your progress pictured on a graph would show peaks of progress followed by lows. So it's a few steps forward followed by a step backward. Then it's forward some more, & a slight back slide. I can see that with my experience with the instrument.

The photo here was taken in Syracuse, NY. It was a street of Geddes St. I do not remember the street name. I do remember Geddes St though. Geddes Street is pretty much a run down, poverty stricken street. Consequently, the adjacent streets are also on the poorer side. So, as is usual with me, I was driving from point A to point B and saw this photo. It was the flag in the window that caught my eye. It was one of those paper flags that appear in newspapers from time to time, usually around the Fourth of July. Folks feel patriotic and put them in their windows or on their doors. Then, like old sodliers, they slowly fade away.

What makes this photo work?

When you like a photo ( or any piece of work from music to architechture) it is a good idea to try and understand why you like it. What is going on that attracts you. In this photo we first of all have a color photo. But the colors are muted, subdued. They are cool in nature, contributing to the overall mood of the photo. The message is of fading prosperity. Clearly the flag has seen better days. The red stripes have faded. The shrubbery outside the home has lost it's leaves and the stems are of a similar red. Not a vibrant red. There is a curtain in the window that is also of a faded red color. The cool, bluish Autumn light is accented by the cool, bluish siding on the house. The colors are all working together to add to the moverall mood of the photo. It suggests a home that was cared for by it's owners but who have aged. The occupants are probably like the shrubbery: In the Autumn of their life. The flag in their window has also seen better days. Every element in the photo works to reinforce the theme. Are you with me? Do you get it? You see, sometimes we do not immediately recognize why something catches our eye, or, put another way, grabs our attention. In your growth as an artist is is a good idea to try to pin down exactly what it is that moves you. Then you can be more articulate in saying what you have to say through your art.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 197: Primary Day

Sunny and pleasant in Chaumont, NY today. It is also primary day, when voters select candidates for election in November. I am a registered independent, therefor, here in NY state, I cannot participate in any of the primaries. I mlive in NY's 23rd congressional district. Voters in the republican primary will choose between Doug Hoffman and Matt Doheny. Not that what I write hear will have any bearing on anything, if I coulod vote I would cast mine for Hoffman. Anyhow, the polls close at 9:00pm and because of that I will be in the Syracuse area this evening covering one of the local primarys.

This is a painting titled View of Horse Island, held by it's creator, Tom Bintz, also known as Captain Honk. It's a mixed media piece. It consists of a background painted on a section of the hull of an old wooden boat. He then has glued on a variety of odds and ends and scraps of things to create a busy nautical scene. I like this piece a lot.

You can learn more about Bintz and his art by clicking: Tom Bintz

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 196: A Brick Wall

There's a story behind every photo. Isn't there? I mean, some are better stories than others, but however small, or mundane, there is a reason (& thereby a story)for them all. This photo came about today. I was stopped at a red light, just as it turned green I noticed this scene. There is a car behind me. I grab my camera QUICKLY!! point it out the window and fire off two frames. Now, I really was in no particular hurry, so I could have parked nearby and walked back to the scene and really work it for a few minutes. But I look at what I snapped and figured I could live with it. There is a lot I like about the photo: the texture of the wall and the pole. The shapes, how the frame divided up by the telephone pole, the shadow cast by the vent protruding through the wall. Shapes and textures. That is what this photo is all about. The texture comes from the light, the arrangement of the shapes comes from the photographers composition.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 195: Red Pepper

This photo came about as most of them do. I was in the process of doing something and suddenly I stop and see I must make a photograph. In this case I was preparing some breakfast, cutting up some tomatoes, oninos and red pepper to fry with some eggs. I cut a section of the pepper out, set the remainder on the counter. When I looked back at it I was compelled to photograph it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 193: Edward LaBrie & Market Gig

It was sunny and nice today. For various reasons I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. It was 2:00am before I finally sank into dreamland. Then I was up at 7:00am. It is now 10:00pm and I have an hour drive home ahead of me. It is tempting to blow off the blog again. Surprisingly I am not feeling sleepy. Tomorrow morning I am playing guitar at the Saturday farmer's Market in Watertown, NY. I'll get there around 9:00, play for a couple of hours, and then I have some photography assignment to shoot for the Post-Standard in the Syracuse region. The gig at the farmer's market was turned on to me by friend & fellow guitarist Steve Lester. He has been playing there for most of the Summer. It is a barter arrangement. The vendors pack a basket full of their produce in exchange for the music. That's OK with me. I look at it as a couple hours of GOOD practice playing my repertoire and getting exposure that may lead to other, paying gigs.
The photo presented here is from my Farm Family Series. The man is Edward LaBrie, eldest son of Mary & Edward LaBrie. The owned and ran a dairy farm in Jefferson County since 1954. I spent some time with them off and on for a few years. Sporadic at first, then frequently for three years or so. Edward was a nice guy, a soldier I believe in World War II or the Korean War. I cannot recall at the moment. Anyhow, He and his sister Shirley went fishing in a small boat on Lake Ontario one afternoon and were never seen again. Newspaper reports tell of them landing on an island and getting some gasoline. That was the last anyone ever saw of them. That person also noted that they were both barefoot. Anyhow, I was looking for a different photo in my digital archives when I came upon this one. It has never been published so I thought I would share it here. The original photo was made with a Minolta camera on Kodak Tri-X film. A good twenty years ago.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 191: Big Sky Over lake Ontario

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Who can doubt God when you see the sky painted like this? This photo was made while driving home from a visit to my friend, Tom Bintz, as known as Captain Honk. He's an interesting man, difficult to get to know and understand. Maybe that's the artist in him. He lives in a small waterfront cottage on Pillar Point, Lake Ontario, Jefferson County, NY. There's not much to say about this photo, just that I spotted it and took the time to photograph it. It's more than a snap shot, though. I snapped it with a couple of different lenses, some views showing a wide sky and the earth below it. In this, and really all photo opportunities, one has to figure out what it is that catches one eye and then capture it in the photo. The sky was one thing, and a wide panoramic view would indeed be a photo of the sky. But it wasn't tryuly the sky that I was attracted to it was the clouds in the forfront, tinged with color from the setting Sun. So this is really a photo of clouds in the sky as opposed to a photo of the sky. Do I make any sense? Well, that's what I mean about identifying just what it is you are attracted to and wish to photograph.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 186: Good Days, Not So Good days

Sometimes you just get tired and burned out. That's how I feel at the moment. My life is and has been blessed. Today however, I am not happy with my photo shoots. I had to photograph a football game. It started at 7:00pm. Fine, there should be light for about an hour. However, just before the game started it became heavily overcast. Almost dark. Within no time I was shooting at ISO 1200. I also could have used a longer lens. I was using a 70-210 zoom with a 1.4 extender, making the widest aperture f4. Near the end of the second quarter the lens quit focusing on the Nikon D300 body. But it would focus on the D2H (which isn't a very good camera). So the light sucked, my lens selection was crummy, and overall I just did a poor job. Contrast that with the guitar playing I did yesterday at Teaism. That went real well. I played most satisfactorily in my opinion, and believe me, I am a HARSH critic of my guitar playing. I was happy and upbeat after that. Tonight, as it is 11:00PM and I just finished editing the football photos, I am less than upbeat. I also have another shoot, ( a different subject) that must be edited, but I am out of time. Tomorrow I shoot a wedding at Pratt's Falls in Manlius, NY. Now that job MUST be done well. So you have youir good days, and you have your less than good ones. Good night.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 185: About Playing Guitar

It is now dark at 6:00am in Chaumont, NY. The Sun is also setting earlier, so the days are visibly shorter than a month ago. We've also been having temperatures near 90 degrees and higher.

Today I played my usual lunch hour at Teaism in Clayton NY. I played for better than two hours and it went very well. I played well, the people responded nicely. For sure it is the only place in the Thousand Islands region where you can have a great lunch accompanied by live music. Classical guitar at that!
A few days ago I put up a post about how to play guitar. The bottom line is practice. Repitition. An old Chinese proverb says that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. That's how it is with music. Or painting, whether it be painting an art piece on canvas or painting a house. Or a piece of sculpture. Or re-building a car engine. So, with the guitar let's say you want to accompany yourself singing a song. You need to learn or read the lyricas, then strum the chords, changing from one chord to the next as required by the lyrics. It starts out slow. Especially if you have never played before. That is why you must learn to change chords. Then you learn another song with maybe some newer chords. Then you might want to make it more interesting by finger picking the chords, or interjecting a bass run or scale passage between the chords. So, just like your first chord change, you learn the cale, or the riff, or whatever. You learn it slowly. Pick up thye most dificult, complex, virtuosic piece of music and pick any ONE note from it, anywhere in the composition. You most likely can play it. So then you go from that to the next note or chord. You play that. Then you go to the next. You memorize the piece one note at a time until you have the first beat down. Then the first measure. Then it becomes a phrase in the piece, (4, 8, 12 measuers, whatever). Long complex pieces are ;learned and mastered that way. Some take weeks, months, or years to learn and master. It depends on your ability. But it still all goes back to day one when you played a C chord for the first time. A good teacher will guide you along so you use your time most efficiently.