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.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013

It is Halloween in 2013. It rained most of the day here in Chaumont, N.Y. But we still had 118 trick or treaters. It is still raining lightly but it is warm enough I am sitting on my front porch in short sleeves.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My van and I in a Deer and car crash

My 2005 Dodge Caravan after striking a deer last night.  photo by Gary Walts

Last night a couple miles away from home I hit a deer. It was on RT 12E between Chaumont and Limerick.
It's possible that I may have not struck the creature if I did not hit the brakes. I nailed it in it's right front shoulder area. The impact was followed by the sound of all the shattered pieces being scattered across the pavement. I went back this morning and could not locate the deer. I figured it survived but I imagine it has some broken bones. It probably ran off into the brush and still may not survive. Who knows?  The damaged van parts were glass and plastic which shattered into small pieces. The way they were scattered made it difficult to locate exactly where the accident happened.

My 2005 Dodge Caravan after striking a deer last night.  photo by Gary Walts

Deer fur/hair in the wheel cover of  my 2005 Dodge Caravan after striking a deer last night.  photo by Gary Walts

Pieces of my van I picked up after crashing into a deer. The front end basically shattered into hundreds of small pieces scattered about  so as to be almost not visible whikle driving down the road.  Gary Walts photo

Right about here on RT 12E is where I hit the deer. This view is looking toward Limerick. I was driving the opposite way, headed toward Chaumont. Gary walts photo.
 Lat week I had a Deer tick attached to my neck which caused me to go to Urgent Care and get treatment to prevent Lyme Disease. Now I crashed into a deer and must get my van repaired. A couple years ago the deer ruining my garden caused me to fence in the back yard. I am not really that fond of these wild creatures. They are a nuisance.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Hillary Clinton, boys cross country, and my mother

At 1:00 today I took my mother to her cardiology doctor. She got an overall  good report on her health. She was given a

From there I drove to 2 hours to  DeRuyter to take pictures of their cross country team. After that I drove to Colgate University in Hamilton and photographed Hillary Clinton.

I just got home at 11:30PM. I drove over 300 miles. I am beat.

Tomorrow I am photographing a job for the NY teachers union.

Oh, I also drove through the heaviest, hardest hail storm I have ever experienced. I won't be surprised if I find my Dodge Caravan full of little dents tomorrow morning.
Good night.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wellesley Island Wedding and other events

This is me playing at a wedding on Wellsley Island October 13th. Though it was overcast it was close to 70 degrees, ideal for an outdoor event on the St. Lawrence River.  photo by Sarah Ellen Smith

It's been a busy month for October in the North Country. On the 6th I played at a benefit at The Norh Side Improvement league in Watertown. It was called Doug Woodstock. Doug was a friend and local musician who died recently. The event was to raise money for his two sons. The day before The Better Half and I attended a wedding as guests. That was a nice, fun event at the Tug Hill Winery.

The following weekend I photographed a wedding in Syracuse on Saturday (which I just finished editing today) then played guitar for three hours at another wedding at Wellesley Island on Sunday. This past weekend I was free of all free lance  jobs/gigs. This Saturday I have a photography job for the NY State teachers union at the fairgrounds in Watertown. I also recent played three consecutive Thursday evenings at The Channelside restaurant in Clayton. So it's been really nice and greatly improved this months cash flow.

I shot this photo at a girls swim meet in Syracuse. I was working for the Post-Standard and Syracuse Media Group. photo by Gary Walts

Monday, October 7, 2013

Photo op in a paint can

I just never know when the next photo op will be presented to me. Case in point was when I opened a can of ceiling paint.

I open this can of paint and what do  I instantly see? The photo below. 
Unexpected art found inside a can of paint

I am a chronic snap shooter. Something catches my eye and at the very least I want to see what it looks like photographed. Things do not always appear in a photograph as you might think. That's because what we see in the live World is seen in three dimensions. The photo turns it into a two dimensional reproduction. That's why it is helpful to view the World with one eye closed. Then things look more like they will appear in a photo.
Anyhow, I needed to touch up the ceiling in a bedroom at my home after a minor roof leak. I had a can of ceiling paint that had not been opened for quite some time. It's the type of paint that goes on pink and dries white. So, when I opened the can there were pink hued streaks running down the inside of the can. The interior of the can had a circle shape created from the handle mount. I instantly saw the shapes, the streaks, the colors, and grabbed my trusty iPhone and snapped away. I then cropped and tweaked it a bit with Photoshop and I present to you what caught my eye.

This is simply a cropped version of the upper photo.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Woke up to some light rain here in Chaumont NY. That after a string of sunny days and warm temps. I have been thinking about last night at the Channelside Restaurant and it probably was not Vigo Mortensen that was there. BUT, it still may have been. I did a google search for Vigo with a beard and came up with a few photos. The Beard in question last night was fuller, hair a bit longer, but the man's overall physique was in line with Mortensen. Also, it is early October which happens to be about the same time I did encounter him in Clayton a couple a years or so ago.   At any rate, I really could not put into words just how peculiar last nights situation was.

Franklin St. rental paint job

Wednesday I pretty much completed the paint on the driveway side of the house. Next I will do the front of the porch and the walls under the porch roof. Could I have done a better job? In a few respects yes. "Gee Gary, why didn't you just put siding on it?" Well, siding costs multiple thousands of dollars. Paint is my time and about $250.00 in paint and caulk.
807 Franklin St., Watertown

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Guitar Playing at Channelside Restaurant in Clayton N.Y.

A promo piece for The Channelside Restaurant in Clayton that I posted on Facebook. 

So tonight was the third Thursday I have played guitar in the dining room of The Channelside Restaurant in Clayton, N.Y.  I find it helpful to write down a critique of my performance when I play gigs, but alas, I don't always do it.  When it comes to photography assignments I have been in many situations from photographing presidents (George Bush, Bill Clinton) and other celebrities to criminals in courts, hard news situations, natural disasters, weddings, and on and on, I am supremely confidant in what ever is thrown at me. Guitar gigs are another story.  I am still working on reaching a similar level of confidence. I will get there. I just need to get out there and perform more.

How did it go tonight at The Channelside? Well first a little background. About 5 or 6 years ago I started playing a lunch time gig at Teaism in Clayton. This was my first time playing out anywhere in at least 20 years. The first day there I was a wreck, wrought with stage fright. All I was was background music. But I was terrified. Also at this time  when ever I tried to video tape myself playing I would make a mess of whatever song I was trying to record. The video camera was a an evil Cyclops that sabotoged my playing when I turned it on. However, I have pretty much overcome being distraught in those situations. I play background music at partiws, weddings and the like and I am fine with it. BUT, if someone suddenly come s near and pays close attention to me, I begin to falter. I have a tough time with such close scrutiny. (However, it is getting better, but SLOWLY). OK, with that in mind let me review the last 3 weeks at The Channelside.

Week ONE: I played two hours. I did pretty good. The owner  could not decide where exactly to put me. I started in dining room, changes places in there a couple of times and then was moved out to the deck overlooking the St. Lawrence River. It was a warm evening and my long sleeve shirt was more than I needed for comfortable playing. I was hot and my playuing suffered a bi tfrom that. But overall I would give myself 3 and a half out of 5 stars for a rating. I got a few nice comments from diners and 3 dollars in tips. Tips were totally unexpected because I had no tip jar out.

Week TWO: I played three hours, 6-9. I was in the dining room the whole evening and used a remote speaker to broadcast my music on the deck. Later I moved the remote speaker in and used it to broadcast into the bar room. I also used a music stand read through a few solos that I did not have memorized. I used to do that in the old days but in recent years have not felt confident to do that. It went well so another boost in my confidence. Also, wore a long sleeve shirt that made me way to warm, more so than the first week. Still no tip jar, but got $5.00

Week Three (tonight) I wear a short sleeve shirt and am comfortable. I am playing OK for the first 40 minutes. As I am playing Augustine Barrios' Estudio Inconcluso I notice two men standing in the dining room about 12 feet from me staring at me intently as if I somehow stopped them dead in their tracks. They were not moving, not going to a table. I fumbled in the piece. I regained my composure and finished the piece. I said Hello to them and they gave me a slight applause with no comments. One man had a beard and glasses, The other gut had glasses and sharp features, Both were well dressed, casual, but well dressed. They struck me as not being locals. The beard then asked me what I could play that was really intense and Spanish. Then asked me several other questions. All the while they both stared intensely. It was unnerving. That sat down to a table and waited for the next song. With what seemed to me like piercing eyes. I have never really felt so under a microscope in my life. They had no drinks, the waitresses did not approach them, it seemed peculiar to me. If they were gonna be there like that for the next two hours I was in trouble. So I played several "safe" pieces by Francisco Tarrega which I managed to get through. At the conclusion of each piece they did not comment. Just sat there waiting for the next one. So then i began playing Chet Atkins arrangement of Mr. Bojangles. I am doing OK with that when It suddenly occurs to me that I think the bearded guy just might be Vigo Mortensen! He  is from northern NY and his family has lived in the Clayton/Cape Vincent area. Then I hear the beard say to his companion, "One more tune and then we are out of here." By then I got my wits about me and started playing a couple of Beatles songs that I am confident with. I look up from completing Eleanor Rigby and the beard (Mortenesen?) was gone but his companion stayed to the end of the song. He started to leave and I quickly put down the guitar and stopped him to introduce myself, hoping I might discover the true identity of The Beard in so doing. He said his name was Jim ?? something, I forgot the last name. He said he & The Beard were from Buffalo and in Clayton building a dock. But the way he said it was not convincing. It seemed like something he came up with on the spot. These two were not talkers, they were reserved, reticent to say anything. I am pretty darn sure The Beard was Vigo. 
Oh, one more thing: $25.00 in tips.