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, October 31, 2010

Day 243: Happy Halloween

I carved this Jack-O-Lantern in October 2007. It is part of an animation short film that I have yet to complete. I was hoping to have it finished in time for this Halloween. Didn't make it. But, the work is in progress, so I'll share it whenever, Halloween or not. In the meantime I hope you like my orange friend.
It was 34 degrees at 6:30AM in Chaumont NY this Halloween morning. I am shooting a couple of jobs in the Syracuse area for the Post-Standard. While enrout, on interstate Route 81 I encountered snow at the Mexico exit. Just grabbed a quick snap through the car windshield. This is the first snow I have seen this year. There has been some snow in the North Country this year, just not when and where I have been.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 239: What Caught My Eye Today

It has been most pleasant these last couple of days in Chaumont, NY. Sunshine and in the sixties today. It is Wednesday, the day we put our trash out on the street for the village to collect. It is one of the services we get in exchange for paying our property taxes. So, about 8:00am I open the front door to take the trash out and immediately my eyes zero in on a small leaf speckled with rain drops on the front porch.

I go back in and get a camera and begin to make some snaps of it. I worked it a bit.; By that I mean that I took a few shots varying the exposures, a little underexposed, a little overexposed. The rain drops and the light are what first attracted my attention. After the first few exposures I began to change my angle of view, getting down low, including the homes across the street in the background. So it is that I "worked" the subject. I probably gave it ten minutes. By then the light had changed and the leaf was in shadow. This is pretty typical of how I go about photographing something that catches my eye. Much different than going to a job and being paid to make a picture that satisfies certain criteria with subject matter the client needs photographed.

Ultimately, I think this is my favorite from the whole shoot:

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

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 238:

It was windy and warm in Chaumont, NY today. The photo presented here is from my archives, taken in the 1980's. I was driving along interstate route 11 in St. Lawrence County, NY, the heart of the North Country, and saw these two kids trying to lure a calf back to it's shed with the bottle of milk. What a terrific subject to stumble upon.

So, I remain out of sorts. Have been for about twentytwo months. That's how long it has been since my job hours were cut and I have had to adjust to a new routine, I've had to put all of my energy into surviving a huge income loss. I've had to be innovative and try to replace that lost income. By April of 2010 I had settled into a groove of sorts. Then the company I work for increased my hours by four a week. That's better than a sharp stick in the eye, but it came with a schedule change. Something new to adjust to. So now, six moths later, I find I have not settled into this new routine. That's what I mean by being out of sorts. The biggest problem is working a later shift one or two days in the week. The 2:30 to 11:00 shift. On those days I usually do not get to bed befor midnight or 12:30. Consequently, the next day I sleep a little later, or, if I don't, I end up going though the day with less sleep than I reqire to operate at 100%. Sooner or later I will adjust or just make some other changes. Through it all, I try to put in two hours of guitar practice
every day. For the most part I have been able to do that, however, there are a lot more days whenit is less than satisfactory to me. I attribute this to the latest upheaval with my job schedule change 6 months ago.
Speaking of guitar, Im am still trying to nail down a regular gig. I know of some players who are playing two or three nights a week, generally two to for hour gigs. Four hours is a long gig, will really tire one out. I have done it. That's a long time to play a guitar. In an ideal world I would get one or two nights a week from about 5:00 to 8:00 in a nice restaurant or cafe while folks were having dinner. That would keep my repertoire practiced and bring in some extra bucks. The lesson here is keep on hustling.

"Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art." -Frederic Chopin

The above quote by Chopin reinforces what I have said many times: The big secret to playing the guitar is constant repitition, playing over & over all of those notes and chords. From one note, to a phrase, to an entire song or composition. Play it over & over until it becomes simple. Render the complex to simplicity.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 237: Blurry Trees Multiple Exposure

What did I do today? Well, some pretty good guitar practice, mostly on the Beatles tune All My Loving arranged by Joe Washington. As most of his arrangements go It is one of the easier ones. I am currently polishing it up and trying to commit it solidly to memory so that when I can perform it with confidence. I want to be so familiar with the piece that nerves, (you know, stage fright) or other distractions do not cause a serious melt down. Later in the day I drove to Syracuse and photographed a couple of jobs for the Post-Standard. One was a high school play rehearsal, the other was a volley ball championship. The photo here is a multiple exposure of trees along the highway, made while the car was in motion, causing some blurring. A total of six exposures. Made with a Nikon D300 digital slr.

Ludwig van Beethoven - "To play without passion is inexcusable!"

I might say the same thing about living.

Need a wedding photographer in northern or central New York area? Call Gary Walts 315-649-4174, or visit www.garywalts.com

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 233: All My Loving

The morning started out rainy here in Chaumont, NY. Now, at 11:00AM the Sun is out.
Good guitar practice this morning. In a perfect world I would still be practicing, however, among the hats I wear is a landlord hat. Thus, I must go to one of my vacant apartments and finish tidying it up for some new tenants that I must meet there tomorrow.
I have been working on a fairly simple solo guitar arrangement of the Beatles song, All My Loving. Well, it's simple, and not so simple. The arrangement is by Australian guitarist Joe Washington, from his book The Beatles For Classical Guitar. This is a great book, but none of the solos are easy. Some are simple, but, NOT easy. Most I would consider difficult. All My Loving is simple enough to memorize, and most of the chords are simple enough to execute. The difficult part is in playing the piece cleanly and Legato (that is, smoothly and evenly). For me, the most work has involved the last few bars of the ending. There are four chords that I hav had to practice seperately, over and over. I usually practice such fragments 100 times during a practice session. Usually I repeat the part in groups of five or ten times, make a note of it with hash marks, and go on until I reach 100 repititions. Very often I will make these marks in the margins of the music along with the date the practice took place on. Sometimes I use a piece of scrap paper, or a blank page in the music book or sheet.

The four chords at the end of the piece require ( at least for me), extra practice until they are played effortlessly and cleanly, with all notes ringing clear, and sounding evenly. That takes some work. Extra effort in such places can make a real difference in performance of the piece.

Incidentally, you can see from the photograph that my Joe Washington Beatles book is quite beat up. I've had it for 20 plus years. It has been out of print for a long time. A Google search turns up like new copies for sale at $250.00. That's right, two hundred fifty dollars.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 232: Night Shot At SU

There is a reason why I took this picture and later today, or more likely, this evening, I'll try to find time to tell it.
An old Chinese proverb says it is better to be three hours early thn one minute late. Well I try to follow that principle when it comes to photography jobs. Often times when I am to cover a specific event I find that I can make interesting pictures before the event begins. A good example is parades. I always show up early for parades and begin making photographs before the parade and continue shooting through the parade. So last night I was to photograph a candle light vigil at Syracuse University for the Post-Standard . It was to take place at 8:00PM. Fine. I get there at 7:00. I meet and chat with a couple of the organizers. Well, as I hung around a bit it soon became apparent that there were no photos to be made prior to the event. So I just walked around the campus trying to kill some time until I saw some activity. In situations like this I just start looking through the camera and taking some snaps, just out of boredom. It was dark. So that made it interesting to try some night exposures. I love night photography. The world is different then. I made numerous shots of the scene presented here and settled on this one to post. My whole reason for shooting it was to kill time, to experiment and practice some night time exposures. Is the photo worth anything? I don't know. In the old days it would be tough to find a place to publish such photos. Thanks to the inernet I can at least share it here. Potentially with the World.

So this is one of photos I made at the event. The vigil was sponsored by the Remembrance Scholars for the 35 SU students that were killed in Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, December 21, 1988. The event is part of Remembrance Week at the school. There's more at
Flight 103 Victims official home page.

"To me...music exists to elevate us as far as possible above everyday life." ~Gabriel Faure, (12 May 1845 – 4 November 1924) was a French composer, organist, pianist and teacher.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 230: Front Porch View

45 degrees this morninbg in Chaumont, NY. I am out of sorts this morning. Guitar practice was less than satisfactory. Well, one has good days and bad days regarding everything one does.
Late yesterday afternnon, I guess around 5;00, I sat out on the front porch having a beer. The light was nice. I cannot shut my eyes off, so, much as I wanted to just sit, I had to get up and make a few snaps of the scene befor me. The first photo here is what the street looks like from a standing position on my front porch.
The second photo is simply a cropped version of the first one. I cropped out the cars.

This view was shot from the chair I was sitting in, my original angle of view.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 229: Talcott Falls

It was 45 degrees ant 7:00am in Cahumont, NY this morning. Cloudy. We have had faily visiting from Ohio for the past three days, consequently, my guitar practice has been on hold as well as other things. Yesterday I took them to see Talcott Falls which is located on US RT 11 in the Town of Adams, NY. The photo presented here was hand held mwith a shutter speed of about 1/10th of a second. One should use a tripod for this type of work. Because I was with others, I just made a quick snapshot for them. Taking time to work the scene with a tripod would have been too boring for the company with me.

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

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 226: Depauville Hotel

The Depauville Hotel in Depauville, NY. It is situated six miles from my home in Chaumont which is also half way to the St. Lawrence riverside community of Clayton. Thursday nights the Bartender is one Gino Cappuccetti, a young musician. Members of his jazz band Queen August set up there on those evenings and host an informal open mic event. And I mean informal. If you are in the area, drop in and jump in to play or sing with the band and any number of others who might be there. It is North Country at it's finest.

Photos here were taken by Gary Walts. (Who else?)

"Nothing pleases me more than to go into a room and come out with a piece of music." - Paul McCartney (1942- )

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 225: Trapped Miners Rescued

It is a great day in Chile and in the World. The trapped miners in Chile are being recued, pulled one at a time from over 2,000 feet underground where they have been trapped for seventy days. It is such a thrill, and such a blessing from God. The day I heard about their predicament I was so unnerved by it I cringed.

I felt much better about their situation after reading this article about a tyoical day in the trapped miners lives. Click on Daily Life Of Trapped Miners
However, I still was deeply concerned about them, and prayed that they would make it out alive. I don't think I could have mentally survived their ordeal.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 223: Amish And Others

Where did yesterday go? Who knows. As always I am busy, busy, busy. The variations on a tree were made with shutter speeds of about 1/30th of a second. I simple zoomed the lens in & out at various, fairly quick, speeds. On the swirly photos I just rotated the camer in my hands at various speeds and settled on the ones presented in the blog to share. It's wonderful i this digital age to be able to experiment so freely and not worry about the expense of film and processing.

The photos presented here today were taken at DeKalb Junction, NY, back in the 1980's. I would have to look up the date to tell you exactly. There used to be cattle auctions there once a week. The Amish folk were there as well as the other local farmers. I was back there a few months ago and the cattle autions no longer take place. Well, maybe they do somewhere else in the area, I don't know. Anyway, the Amish and the other farmers located in remote places like Dekalb Junction are what define the North Country region of New York State.

"... Just as Jesus created wine from water, we humans are capable on transmuting emotion into music..." Carlos Santana

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 220: Editing Wedding Photos

Things are still crazy and chaotic in my life it seems. My work schedule is what I am referring to. I have spent most of yesterday editing wedding photos. I stopped to go to Musicology where I gave some guitar lessons. Back home at 7:00PM. This morning I put in some guitar practice befor going back to the wedding edit. I am near done. However, I must stop again because I have to go to Syracuse to work a late shift for the Post-Standard. Basically I am on the clock from 2:30-11:00pm. I pretty much dislike that, only because it keeps me up too late at night. Connsequently I sleep in later than I like the next morning. It just throws my off. Anyhow, Saturday I will once again work the late shift for the Post. While all this is happening I have anaprtment that is vacant that I need to get rented as soon as possible, just for the sake of the cash flow. October is a monthn with a lot of bills. Taxes, water bills, My car needs a NY State inspection, and the list goes on. I truly wonder how some people manage to get bored.
Well, that's it for now. I have to get out of here in a half an hour.
Regards, Gary

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 218: Chikadee

It rained some more today in Chaumont, NY. Hard at times. Now I am a real outdoors kind of guy so I don't like having as much rain as we have had this past Summer. However, on this day I wasn't too concerned about the rain. IN fact, I'm glad it was raining. You see, on some days one must take care of the mundane stuff, such as paying bills, sending out invoices, catching up on e-mail, and that sort of thing. Well, I have a backlog of that sort of thing and today's rain made me feel a lot better about staying inside and getting those things done.

At one point, in need of a diversion, I check out FaceBook and a comment from my daughter prompted me to give her a call. While on the phone with her the Sun broke out and things looked magical. Well I wanted to dash outdoors, but I was on the phone. So, trying not to be to rude, I steered the conversation as gracefully as I could to get off the phone and get outside into that magical light. Well, it clouded over again by the time I got out there. Some squirrels in the yard caught my eye. I hyate squirrels, but that is a story for another day. As I was watching them I noticed some Chikadees feeding on the dead Sunflowers in my back yard. I really like birds. Hate squirrels, love birds. Anyway, I grabbed a camera and grabbed this photo. In a few minutes the rain started again so I went inside and tried to finish taking care of business.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 216: Flooding & Fishman Solo Amp

So it has been about a week since I last posted something here. I have been suffering from the common cold. The first one I have had in about two years. Now that is not why I have been inactive here, because I have been very active in other arenas. But the cold has dragged me down enough to lower my level of ambition. Add to that a crazy schedule that reduced my required amount of sleep. Something must give, so I guess I let this go.
Last Wednesday I had a guitar gig at the Clipper Inn in Clayton NY. The restaurant has two dining rooms and a bar / lounge room. I was hoping to play in the dining room(s), but it didn't work out. So I was in the lounge. The event was a dinner to raise funds for the North Country Arts Council . The place was packed.
By all accounts the evening was a success for the arts council. The only problem I had was that the folks in the dining rooms could not hear me play. It's just the way the restaurant is laid out. Now, where I was in the lounge the playing was great. Many people there from about 5:30 to 7:30. Some people dined in the lounges, a great many relaxed and had a few drinks while waiting for a table in one of the dining room. At times it was so crowded and noisy I almost couldn't hear myself play. In these situations I use a Fishman Solo Amp for amplification. It has 220 watts of power in a compact, extremely portable, user friendly design. I cannot praise this thing enough. I highly recommend it. It was unfortunate that the dining room folks could not hear me. In fact, a friend of mine was there and never heard me play, never even knew I was there until I told her a couple of days later.

The next day, Thursday, we had rain. Lots of rain. I am and have been sick of rain. I forget just now how I spent the day, but I remember how the evening went. My cold was peaking. I was tired. I had to get up at 5:00am the next morning, so I went to bed by 10:00. Well, I began to cough. So I got up and read for awhile. Tried to go to sleep and began to cough again. Lom story short: I eneded up getting about four hours of fitful sleep. In the morning I managed to get to my first photo job at 6:30AM. From there I went in search of weather photos. There had been reports of flooding and roads getting washed out. The photo below was taken in Altmar, NY.
Other flooding photos can be viewed at The Post-Standard web site by clicking on www.syracuse.com .