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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Year of My Life & World On Facebook

For about 23 years I had what I thought was a secure job at the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, NY. Then the economy crashed and my hours were cut to 16 a week, That's TWO DAYS! A week! That was in January of '09. It was more than a year before I suddenly realized I sould be on facebook. So in March of 2010 I opened my facebook account and proclaimed that I was going to post a photo a day for an entire year. Well, that was easier said than done. It is now the end of March 2011. A year has pased aand for the most part I have succeeded. I missed a a day here and there, but posted several photos on other days so that in the end I have uploaded more than 365 photos.

That brings me to tomorrow. March 31rst is the deadline for the annual Light Work grant applications. So, procrastinator that I am I am finishing my application today. Winning applicants recieve a $2,000.00 grant. I have applied for the grant many times over the years. I have gotten an exhibition and a special award of $300.00, but have never been awarded "The Grant."

The photos posted here are the ones that accompany my grant application. They have been culled from my facebook postings of the last 12 months. That is why I have included the dates & facebook logo with each photo. The represent a small part of my life and world shared on facebook.

For more info about Light Work, visit them on the web at:

Light Work : An artist-run, non-profit photography and digital ...Light Work is an artist-run, non-profit photography and digital media center ... AVENUE SYRACUSE, NY 13244 PHONE: (315) 443-1300 EMAIL: INFO@LIGHTWORK. ...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Quick message

It is driving me crazy that I have been neglecting this blog. I have had so much I could place here, but have had no time. Things have been hectic. I don't know how I can be so busy and so broke at the same time. Anyhow, as soon as I get the apartment finished & rented I can get back to sort of normalcy.

A quote today from Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Halleluja: Looks like a postedphoto

Now I'm too tired to write about it. ... till tomorrow, Love you all.

Appears something is wrong

My photos are not appearing on this bog. For about 3 days I am having trouble. The pix seem to upload. The code for them is in the html, but nothing displays on the blog. Today the photos are strangely distorted in the preview, but still do not appear in the blog. Sorry about this . Hopefully it is corrected soon so I can post something worthwhile.


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Liz Taylor Died Today

So Elizabeth Taylor died at age 79. My favorite movie of hers was one she wasn't in: Night of the Iguana. I've only seen the film once and it starred Richard Burton. A great film. I've been meaning to buy a copy for my collection and to view it a couple more times. I associate Richard Burton with her so much that I actually had a false memory that she was in the film with him. Funny how memory plays tricks on us. Hmm...
Liz taylor, photo NOT by Gary Walts

I love this quote:
When people say, 'She's got everything', I've got one answer - I haven't had tomorrow.

Elizabeth Taylor

I'd love to give somebody credit for this photo of her, but I don't know who took it it. I found it splashing around on FaceBook. I'll credit myself for the time being.

Now for me. I'm so busy I can't get anything done. Or, put another way, I'm so busy I don't have time to do anything. What I really want is a good beer or a nice, fat glass of red wine. But, I GAVE IT ALL UP FOR LENT! What in the World could a Sinner like me have been thinking? Lent is only forty days, how hard could it be? But, in that time the World could be inundated with water (remember Noah & the Flood?) and nary a drop of beer or wine would there be should I not be one of those drowned.

It's after 10:00pm, I am going to go play a little guitar.  I have a list a mile long that needs attention tomorrow, but some can be brushed off a while, others are more pressing. Like the fuel oil bill for my apartment house. It is dangerously low and my tenants have the heat included with their rent. It is currently $3.99 a gallon, which is horrible. Last year I paid $3.49 a gallon. The year before that it was hovering around $2.00 - 2.50 a gallon. Time to raise the rents I guess.  I have to pay the past due ammount and buy some more TOMORROW. Liz taylor hasn't had a tomorrow. I have them every day and a lot of them suck. Well, the ones that make me pay the oil companies do. Gas at $3.69 a gallon. I've spent a $100.00 on gas in two days, driving all over the place for USA Today and the Post-Standard. 
What kills me are the people that say "Well, gas is still cheaper than a gallon of milk." How would they feel if they were drinking 15 gallons of milk a day just to be able to do their job? The farmer's must be getting rich. The oil companies should buy up the farms and make even more $$$  .....  I don't know. The guitar is what keeps me sane. It's a therapy. It's a challenge. There are some things about it I want to master, the biggest of them being my insecurity playing for people. It's gotten a lot better. I used to shake with fear at performing. Now I can't get enough of it, but when I do perform, I'm never satisfied with how it goes. There's something to it that I need to master, and I suppose it's about ME being in control of MYSELF. I think. I'll know it when I finally get there.
Enough ramble.
Good night.
Gary Walts
Slowly going insane. In a perfect world it would be guitar & wine with no strings attached.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Days are going by & I am too busy to post anything here. Too busy also means too tired.  This photo of my neice and her baby taken at my mother's house this past Sunday.  She was visiting from Philadelphia, PA.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It was 32 degrees with Sunshine here in Chaumont, NY this morning. It is supposed to be warm today, and that could mean a simple 45 degrees for this region (which is ten miles from thye Canadian border). Anyhow, the birds are chirping and it is pleasant.

Another wall photo. What caught my eye here? The shapes. The soft light. It's rather abstract.
I am an outdoors kind of guy. I love being outside, however, this morning I am stuck inside editing a photo shoot that I did last night for the NY state teacher's union. It's just not quite nice enogh for me to take my laptop outdoor to do the work. Later this afdternoon I am teaching guitar.

My mother appears to be recovering from her latest round of health issues. A large part of that is due to my daughter's selfless dedication to her grandmother. As an adolescent my daughter was nothing but trouble. It's taken her a lot of years to come around and today she is someone I am truly proud of. I must say she has blossomed in spite of the fact that I have been a less than ideal father.

It is peculiar how life unfolds, the comings and goings of everyone. The chance meetings and encounters and intertwining of lives and events. How one's fortunes (both monetary and otherwise) rise and fall. Build ups and let downs. I would love to sit here and flesh out my thoughts on this digital noetbook, but I NEED TO EDIT LAST NIGHT'S PHOTOS. I'm on deadline here!

You can't go to the store and buy a good ear and rhythm.  Les Paul

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dirty Dishes

Usually we put our dirty dishes into the dishwasher right away. However, last night we had some chicken wings while watching TV. The better Half headed upstairs to bed befor me. Then I got too tired to do anything other than place these dishes in the sink and run some water over them so that certian left over matter would not harden onto the surface. I go to be
In the morning I got up and was making the coffee when I noticed a certain beauty and graphic quality to the dishes in the sink. So, foggy eyed, I go get a camera & proceed to snap away.

So what makes this picture work? Well, there are some repeating graphic shapes that adds to the composition. I always see my photographs as a collection of shapes. It is how these shapes are arranged within the frame that makes up the composition. It matters not to me what the shapes are filled in with. In this case the shapes contain the sink, water, and a couple of dishes, and various colors.

Another thing that helps a photograph is texture. The overall texture in this photo is that of softness. The water is murky, subduing the pattern on the plate, muting and softening the colors and the edges.

A third thing that helps thios photo is the light. Light is MOST crucial. Without light we have NO photograph. It just happens that the early morning light was coming in a window and bouncing off the walls near the sink, creating a soft delicate light. No hard edges here. So, we have soft light, soft colors, soft textures, interesting shapes.  All of these things coming together and working together to make a reasonably good photo of of a most mundane subject. 

This is how I go about my day, viewing the world around me as a bunch of inter-related shapes and how the light plays upon them.

Now go ahead and photograph your dirty dishes.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just Some Notes:

The Sun is out here in Chaumont, NY. It's just 30 degrees at 11:45AM. Spring is arriving, slowly, but arriving. I am still reading the Mark Twain biography written by Ron Powers.  A good, good book. The bridge on my favorite guitar is lifting up and needs to be repaired. I hope to take care of that withinn a month or so. My mother has had a few health problems the last few weeks. We had a family meeting with her last night to try to figure out how to help her get through these things and remain living in her home. The wood pile that has been feeding my wood stove all Winter is almost depleted. This year we burned much more wood than the previous 2 years. The apartment is till torn up. Hopefully Tuesday  Wedenesday I will be close to finishing it up. I am putting a new floor, toilet, and sink in the bathroom. I have a couple of jobs to photograph in Syracuse this evening. My cars need some maintenance that I have been putting off for several reasons.
Yesterdays photo just screams out for some text. It is a scene in Syracuse, NY, so today I just added Syracuse in the lower black area of the photo.

Gene Autry was the most. It may sound like a joke - Go and have a look in my bedroom, It's covered with Gene Autry posters. He was my first musical influence.
Ringo Starr


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday morning. Grey and 30 degrees here in Chaumont, NY. At last I have gotten some good guitar practice in. The apartment on Clay St is slowly coming together. I'm off to teach guitar today at Musicology in Watertown.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Decayed Pumpkin

I saw a Robin yesterday. That's a sure sign of Spring here in northern NY. I grabbed a camera and ran outdoors to photograph it. I push the shutter release and nothing happens. ??? I got an error message. (This is a Nikon D7000). So I fiddle around trying to figure out the problem and in the mean time the bird flies away. Well, I remove the SD card and reinsert it and it began to work. Then I spotted this pumpkin, way beyond it's prime. It had been buried beneath the snow for months and reappeared just in the last day or so. It looked interesting so I snapped a photo of it. That's why it is here today.
Other than that things have been hectic between trying to get my vacant5 apartment ready, Mom's health issues, my job, the guitar lessons, my deteriorating sleep and guitar practice schedule. I feel like everything is in a state of chaos. Once the apartment is done & rented I'm sure I'll get back on schedule. At least I hope so.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

It is grey, windy, and cold here in Chaumont, NY on this Ash Wednesday. It is the start of lent. I am giving up wine and beer for lent. I really like that stuff, so I'll miss it, at least for the first couple of days.

I have a bust day ahead of me and a vacant apartment that is still not ready to be rented.

Guitar practice has been suffering lately. I'm almost discouraged.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gas Price Rises

So the price of gasoline at the Nice n Easy store in Chaumont, NY has risen another 4 cents a gallon. That's an 18 cent rise in a week's time. Makes me sick.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What I Did Today

My 78 year old mother reads a card made by one of her grand children as she recuperates in hospital.
Today is day 368 of this blog. I figured after one year I would quit putting the number in the title. We will see.
So I got up at 7:00AM. Got the wood fire going in the stove, started up the coffee and went to my guitar where I got in less than an hour of practice. It is a Saturday with no wedding to photogrpah, but I had two guitar lessons scheduled. One at 11:00 and one at Noon. I charge them each $25.00  for the hour. The music store, Musicology, gets a cut of that. ($1.50 per head). Well, before the lessons my celebrity brother needed a lift to the car rental agency, He wanted to be there by 10:00. So I drove him there. Then I went to the Samaritan Hospital in Watertown to visit my mother. She was taken there this past Monday night at midnight.

Cast iron drain pipe I busted out with hammer.
I do my guitar lessons and then go to my apartment house on Clay Street where I have a vacant unit that really needs some bathroom improvements. I spent some time there working on that. I also visited my son who lives just a few blocks away  to borrow his sledge hammer. You see, I absent mindedly left mine at home, 12 miles way. I needed one to finish removing the old cast iron drain pipe that fed the upper bathroom to the city sewer system. Cast iron is brittle and it only takes a whack or two with a 12 pound sledge hammer to break it apart and make the removal manageable. It will be replaced with CPV plastic drain pipe. (Which I will install).

More demolition and old drain removal
in apartment my Clay St apartment 3.
After that was accomplished my celeb bro & I checked in at our Mother's house, made sure everything was OK, got her mail, and the like. Then it was back to the apartment for some more puttering around. As long as the bathtub, sink & toilet are removed from the bathroom I am going to install a new floor. So I cut some plywood for sub-flooring. After that I decided enough was enough and headed home. Got there at 7:00pm. I proceeded to feed myself. I was starving. Got showered up. My Sweet Heart gets  home around 10:00. We watch a little TV, I drink some nice Merlot. She heads upstairs to bed, I pop a photo up on FaceBook, write this blog entry, and call it a day. As I wrap this up it is closing in on midnight.

My family is large. My life is full. My job is incredible, My love is photography, My passion is music, my friends are as varied as my interests. For all of it's ups & downs, I so much love my life. I thank Thee Lord, I thank Thee.  And World, I love you.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Price of Gas

From Tuesday to Friday of this week gasoline went from $3.55 to $3.69 a gallon
On Tuesday of this week the price of gas in Chaumont NY was $3.55/gallon. Pretty much the same price all over Jefferson County. On Thursday I bought gas in preparation for Friday morning (today) because I would need to leave home early in the morning to work for the Post-Standard. The price was $3.65/gallon! Overnight the price of gas at this store jumped 10 cents a gallon! I don't believe a fuel truck delivered fresh gas to them overnight at a higher price. What the hell is this all about? I snap a picture of the price. This morning I head out to go to work and what do I see? The price of gas at the SAME place has risen 4 more cents, to $3.69/gallon. This is a complete outrage. There is no call for this.

How would it be if you you went to the grocery store one morning & forgot to buy eggs at $1.00/doz. So the next morning you go to pick them up and they are $1.25. And they are the same eggs that were in the cooler the night before. Suppose the next day they went up 5 more cents. A week later they are up to $1.69 a dozen. Wouldn't that signal something to you? Now, if it were happening at only one store chain. Fine. Shift your shopping from store A to store B. But how would you feel if you went from store, to store, to store, and everyone of them was selling eggs at the same inflated price, even though there had been no new delivery of eggs?

How can the gasoline sellers get away with this? This is a big scam that is going to once again undermine the recent gains in the economy.

Now we might accept the price gouging , oh, Im sorry, the price fixing, no, I mean price fluctuations in eggs because we might only but a dozen a week. Or, we could live without eggs all together if we had to. But when gasoline goes up 5, 10, 15, to 50 or 60 cents a gallon or more, we feel it because we must buy it in volume. We must buy it 10 gallons or so at a time. If eggs were the mainstay of our diet and we had to buy 20 dozen a week to survive we would be in trouble. It would be like the potato famine that hit Ireland a long time ago. As it is, we can live without eggs so we stop buying them to pay for the increase in the price of gas. Oh, let's not forget home heating oil.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

One Year Ago My Blog Began

One year ago today I started this blog. I wasn't sure what I would do with it or how it would eveolve. I was optomistic that I could post something every day. Well, turns out I couldn't. Or, I didn't. I put up 271 posts. What has happened is that other more pressing matters get in the way. Even now as I write this I have other matters that I should be focusing on. I need to get a hair cut. I need to visit my mothyer in the hospital, especially since she may be going home today. I have a vacant apartment that I need to work on. I have the bathroom tore up and am in the midddle of replacing the toilet & drain. This afternoon I have some guitar lessons. This day is absolutely full.

So,  a year later I am still hustling, trying to line up freelance photo work and music gigs.

It was a mere 2 degrees this morning in Chaumont, NY.

I need to bring wood in for the stove, then I'll probably skip the haircut, go visit my mother, put a couple hours in at the apartment, teach guitar, be back home around 7:00pm.

It appears my mother will remain in the hospital for another day or two. She is weak, unable to walk about without assistance. She is 78 years old.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 365: A Year Gone By

So today is day 365 of my blog as well as the days I have been on Facebook. I shoulod celebrate. Review. I am tired, full of desire, but don't have it in me. I have been working on my vacant apartment. That has left me tired. I simply do not have the money to hire the work that needs to be done. I am replacving the old, cast iron drain pipes in the bathroom. That stuff is heavy & difficult to remove. I got home in time to get cleaned up & watch Survivor on CBS. Now it's about 10:00pm and I am so tired I cannot give this any more effort. Good night.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 364: Snow Street Shot

I am completely burned out. Long day. My mother is in the hospital. Went there last night at midnight. It was scary for awhile, but she will be fine. I have an apartment that still needs my attention (& I really need to get it rented & get some cash flow from it).  I had a brutal day photographing baslketball and on and on. I'll try to elaborate tomorrow.