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, August 30, 2011

Night Sky

August is about to end. It was a beautiful day here in Chaumont, NY. The past few mornings have been cool, starting out under 60 degrees F. I had to go to the doctors this morning. The visit was a follow up to my previous visit a couple of weeks ago. I had to have a Dr. fill out a form with my "vitals" for the insurance plan offered by the Post-Standard. Overall the Doc was pleased with all of my tests. He says I am an all around healthy guy. Thank you dear God.

This Winter will be the 4th one in which we will use a wood stove to help heat our house. When I installed the stove I discovered the side porch had some serious decay and rot in the roof and roof trusses, frame work etc. Well, my brother Rocket Ron rebuilt it. Mostly. The finishing features were left for me to do. But then calamity struck. My job hours were cut and $$$ became tight. So it has been better than 2 1/2 years since, and today I finally got around to working on it. I made some good progress and consequently feel good about how the day went.

The evening arrived. I sat out on the front porch and played through some of my classical guitar repertoire. It was, and is, a simply gorgeous night. Warm, peaceful, and the sky ablaze with stars. Suddenly I was struck with trying to make a photo of the stars. I set the camera to a 30 sec., f2.8 exposure, ISO 2500 and laid it on a table in the back yard, pointed at the sky, and released the shutter. This was the resulting photo:

Gee, I liked the results. That prompted me to experiment some more. Eventually I began to hand hold the camera and move it around (while pointed at the sky), with various shutter speeds ranging from 10 to 30 seconds. The brightest stars (planets?)made for some interesting streaking patterns. I quickly selected the following as one of the more interesting, abstract results:

So this is how it goes with me. My life is a splendid mixture of routine and spontaneity. When I got up this morning I had no idea that I would spend the evening photographing the night sky. And when I did photograph the night sky I had no idea that it would lead to the experimentation and the end results. I am reminded once again what the great Spanish artist Picasso said: "Inspiration exists, but it must find you working."
Each day unfolds with me rising from my bed. I start the coffee brewing. I brush my teeth and wash my face. I pour the coffee and go to my guitar. That is routine that is as solid as Sears. The guitar is like the photography. I start out playing or reading through a new piece, or maybe practice a scale. I begin the act of doing. Then at some point I often take an unexpected turn to some other piece of music, or suddenly discover a new approach to a problematic musical phrase, or what ever. Do you get my point? I am a far better photographer than guitarist, but both persuits lead to moments of inspiration, reverie, and an acknowlegement of God.

So having a routine is good. It gets you working at something on a regular basis. It is then the act of doing this routine that opens the door to inspiration, enlightenment, achievement. I am simply blown away at how great life and living is.

Friday, August 26, 2011

No More Teaism?

This photo of me was taken by Kris Marsala while I was playing at the recent Arts Festival in Watertown, NY. Thanks for the photo Kris.
For the past three Summers I have been playing guitar during the Wwednesday or Thursday lunch hour at Teaism in Clayton, NY. Alas, I guess it has come to an end. This Summer the culinary artist and driving force behind Teaism, Karen Lago, has taken a job that has evidently left her with too little time to maintain the business.
It's truly sad for me. Playing there once a week has been one of the greatest pleasures I've had. It was like a refuge. A place for me to escape from my own hectic life and hassels. It was a place where I could try out new pieces of music and fumble them up without worrying about it. I would sip on wine, play my music, and it was simply wonderful. It's going to be hard to find a way to replace that in my life. Or will it? We shall see.

"Young people can learn from my example that something can come from nothing. What I have become is the result of my hard efforts." -Franz Joseph Haydn

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Guy Pyke Missing Twelve Years

This is a photo I took of my mother and may father's cousin, Guy Pyke from Syracuse, NY. It was taken in April, 1999 at my mother's house in the hamlet of calcium, NY. I just happened to stop in to see my mom that day and naturally took a snap of the two. The odd thing is that when Guy drove away that afternoon he was never seen again. His family has been wondering and searching for him for twelve years now.

I came upon this photo a couple of days ago while digging around in my completely unorganized digital archives.

THis past Saturday I played guitar at a wedding in the Victorian garden at the Jefferson County Historical Society in Watertown, NY. I arrived an hour and a half early. Set up a small sound system (the Fishman Solo Amp), and began playing as the guests started arriving. It went very well, the bride & her family seemed to be pleased. So life is good.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What A Wonderful Life

This morning I leave the house early, 6:30AM. It was 70 degrees there (Chaumont, NY). I went off to make a feature photo for the Post-Standard. Among the photos I made ws this one of a deer in a meadow on Route 3, Sandy Creek. From there I drove to Pulaski where I am currently sitting and have transmitted this photo. It is simply a glorious morning and I am reminded once again what a wonderful life I hve been blessed with.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gary Walts Plays At Fashion Show

“Parasols, Petticoats & Pantaloons”
3rd Annual Victorian Garden Fashion Show Luncheon
On Thursday, August 18th the Jefferson County Historical Society presents the “Parasols, Petticoats & Pantaloons” starting at noon. The Victorian Garden and grounds is bursting with the life of colorful annuals and perennials thanks to hundreds of hours of care by volunteers and staff. All are invited to enjoy this hidden treasure of Washington Street and encouraged to bring friends and family along.

Fashions for the show will be presented by Bev and Company of Sackets Harbor and modeled by some close friends in the community. The Black River Valley Club will cater the lunch, delivering on their reputation for quality presentation and attention to detail. Garden music will be provided by the elegant talent of Gary Walts and his classic guitar. Wine and summer drinks will also be included. Classic and stylish fashions and accessories from the JCHS collection will also be on display.

The Fashion Show Luncheon donation is $35 (Members) and $40 (Non-Members). For information and reservations contact the JCHS at 782-3491.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sun & Rain

It was 60 degrees at 6:30am in Chaumont NY. A cool day. I played guitar at Teaism in Clayton, then had a late lunch at Bella's in that same village. From there it was guitar lessons at Musicology. Another Thursday.

This photo was taken yesterday. It was late in the day so the Sun was low, near the horizon. The sky was clear and then, a cloud burst from directly overhead came down. It rained hard as the Sun blazed. I was a block from my house and wanting to take a photo. All I could do was point the camera aimlessly toward the Sun through the windshield of my car and release the shutter. The rain stopped as suddenly as it started. This was all I could get.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Day Of Guitar

Last Thursday I had a nice day pretty much devoted to the guitar. I did my usual morning pracrice and was supposed to play the lunch hour at Teaism in Clayton, NY. However, I had a car break down so the Better Half & I are sharing a car for a couple of weeks. So, I missed Teaism. But I had some guitar lessons in the afternoon. A 10 year old girl arrived for her first lesson with me. That was at 3:00. Then I had two more. My last one I canceled because I had to arrive in Clayton at 6:00PM to play for a private party.
The party was a small affair that began with cocktails on the second floor veranda of the Key Bank building overlooking the St. Lawrence River. At 7:30 a boat from The Clayton Antique Boat Museum arrived to take the party to Pic-Nic Point State Park for a dinner in the gazebo. The boat is called The Zipper. A fantastic wooden dream that runs like a Swiss watch, taking the waves and swells like a Cadiliac. We had a great meal of roast beef, turkey, potato salad with an oil & vinegar type dressing as opposed to mayo, some terrific horseradish sauce, wine, beer, and a whole lot more. The booze flowed, the guitar sang and the conversation caried on until quarter of eleven. At that time we all retreated to the boat to head back to the mainland. A few minutes into the cruise and the boat stopped. The party decided to go for a late night swim in the St. Lawrence. The evening was rather and still. No wind to speak of. The wtaer was like glass. When the boat shut off it's engine there was dead silence save for the sound of couple of loons in the distance. I sat with a new found friend in the bow of the boat and watched the stars. The sky was perfectly clear with many shooting stars. All in all it was a most magical evening. I was also paid well for my role as musician. Not just monetarily, but with food, wine, and comraderie as well.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Childhood Photo

It was a nice day today in Chaumont, NY. Windy. Warm. Actually hot. 85 degrees when I left the house around noon. But sitting in the back yard in the shade with the breeze blowing, it was simply grand.

The photo here is one of me. I don't know how old I was because the photo was not dated. I'm guessing anywhere from 4 to 6 years old. I present it here because I just came upon it today. You see, this year marks the 25th year I have been working as a photographer for the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, NY. They put together a 25th anniversary event for their employees. We honorees were asked to give the organizers a photo of ourselves when we were a kid as well as a recent one. So I visited my Mother this morning and this was the photo I decided to use. Then, I decided it would be fun to place in this blog. The comment in the cartoon bubble was added just for the blog.