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.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Legendary North Country SCUBA diver Moe Hunt passes away

Moe Hunt was a legendary figure in northern NY. He was a scuba diver, scuba instructor, commercial diver. He grew up with my father on the north side neighborhood of Watertown, NY. From the time I was 18 until my early thirties Moe and I became and remained close friends. He was a profound influence in my life. The following are some quick notes about him that I jotted down a couple days ago. They are notes, not finished, polished memoirs. I also am linking to his obituary that appeared in the Waterown Daily Times.

Moe Hunt, legendary North Country scuba diver. I snapped this photo of him a few years. He was probably 80 or 81 years old. He was a great man. 

So here are some quick notes / thoughts I had about Moe:

 I spent a lot of time with Moe over the years. Moe always encouraged me to go after my dreams, to do what ever I wanted. When Was 18 I didn’t know how to swim and was basically afraid of the water.  I used to tell people I was afraid of the deep end of the bath tub. Moe helped me confront that fear and overcome it. Over the next many years we went scuba diving together a countless number of times. Every spring as the ice started to break up he and I would make a dive, usually in Clayton. I often helped him out with his diving classes. I went with him on many commercial dive jobs. Off the job Moe was a great guy and a lot of fun. On the job though, he was a different person. He was all business. He worked hard and had zero patience with the people working for him. Those were the times when I saw just how rugged and tough he was. Diving for long hours n cold water, lugging heavy equipment to a job site, often through the woods to a remote power dam. 

When a logging truck in Port Leyden area tipped over into the river and wiped out a bridge Moe was called in to salvage it. He worked around the clock with little or no sleep. I mean that. We started in the morning and at 3:00am he was still at it, in and out of the water, cutting metal, attaching cables to the wreckage and on and on. His stamina, drive and endurance put much younger men to shame. He took his work seriously. On such occasions he was often blunt, direct and rude to those working for him. Those of us close to him took it in stride. But one particular day he barked at me when I was not in the mood for it and I flipped him the bird and told him where to go. He was startled by that. Later he he told me what I already knew, that I wasn’t to take it personally. He said that every time he was underwater his life was in danger and he was very aware of it. That’s why he didn’t fool around and wouldn’t tolerate any carelessness. 

Off the job he was a kind and humorous man. He always had a joke ready for any situation. We were at the famers market a couple years ago when Moe stopped to talk to a soldier in uniform. His last name was Smith. After telling the soldier about his military experience in the Korean War and some other small talk Moe asked him, “Do you know why there are so many Smith’s in the phone book?” The soldier shook his head and said ”No.”  Moe replied, “Because they all have telephones.”

Moe liked to eat and he picked up every tab at every eatery we ever attended.  After he “retired” I would often meet Moe somewhere to eat. Like most of us he had some favorite TV shows. One day when I called to ask him if he would like to go out and eat somewhere he said, “ No problem, but I can’t go until after I watch Judge Judy.”  

One of my favorite quotes from Moe was “ You have got to go out and make it happen.”  I heard that first when I  was a young kid fresh out of school and didn’t know how to make anything happen.  No matter what it was I was thinking about he said “You can do it.” You can’t wait for other people, you have to “Go out there and make it happen,”  And that’s what I have done ever since. 

I retire. Gary Walts says farewell to the Post-Standard & Syracuse.com

Well, after almost 32 years I have decide to retire from The Post-Standard newspaper and their web site Syracuse.com.  In recent years the company has changed their business model and in the course of it has been going through a series of changes. Recently the company offered an incentive for employees with 25+ years of service to retire. The offer was custom tailored to my situation, so, I accepted. A month earlier it was the furthest thing from my mind. I am very busy. I love music and the guitar. I teach guitar and like to play gigs. My first love is photography so I will continue to do that, photographing what I choose as opposed to fulfilling assignments. I am also a land lord with a couple of rental properties. I live in an old house and welcome the time to finish up a number of projects and improvements to it. Here is a link to some of the photos I've made over the years for the company. It is a mere fraction of the number of subjects and situations I have covered.

Myself and some fellow Post-Standard photographers. Left to right are Dennis Nett, Ellen Black, Steve Cannerrelli, myself (Gary Walts) ad Mike Greenlar.  Ellen, Stev, and I accepted a buy out offer from the company. Photo was snapped on the roof top of ouroffces at 220 South Warren St., Syracuse, NY