Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 31 of 365

I spent about 11 hours painting the basement and putting it together. Once done -- and the cats were allowed back in -- they made themselves right at home.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 30 of 365

Today's photo is from where I sat -- section 109, row 7, seat 14 at Newark's Prudential Center for a Penguins-Devils matchup. The Pens took a quick 2-0 lead on goals 20 seconds apart in the first period. Sidney Crosby scored the second with a nifty top-shelf wrist shot. The Devils cut it to 2-1before the end of the first 20 minutes, and the teams played a scoreless second period.

Pittsburgh got it to 3-1 in the third before the Devils got another back on a power play goal. Then, with about a minute remaining and trailing by a goal, the Devils pulled their goalie to get an extra skater during a faceoff in the Penguins' zone. With 30.1 seconds left on the clock, Jamie Langenbrunner skated around the net and stuffed one through Marc-Andre Fleury's pads. Then in overtime, Langenbrunner received a perfect pass from Zach Parise and had a clear shot into an open net with 1:00 remaining for the winner, his second OT clincher in as many nights.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 29 of 365

From the back label: The Namyslow Brewery is over 600 years old, dating back to 1321. The word Zamkowe means "castle" named after the brewery's 14th century gothic castle. To this day, Zamkowe is known as the "Beer of Knights."

"Container ship delivery," Staten Island, July 2007

The Ballpark at St. George sits right next to the Staten Island Ferry terminal, providing sweeping views of Upper New York Bay on a summer afternoon. On a clear day, the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan stand out (though, sadly, that view is not as spectacular as it once was.

During day games in particular, the traffic on the water provides a moving backdrop to the game -- as with this container ship just beyond the right-center field wall.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 28 of 365

It wasn't a full-on ice storm like we've had in the past, but after two or three inches of snow fell, it turned to rain ... and then froze. However, it continued to fall, so I had to wrap myself up and go out to shovel the four inches of heavy snow and slush before it froze into mounds and sheets of ice.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 27 of 365

The back door of a small apartment building near the train station.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 26 of 365

Each night on my way to work, I pass through the Hoboken train station going against the grain of commuters spewing from the PATH tunnels and rushing to catch their above-ground trains to points west in New Jersey. (The Hobokenites stroll out into the streets through a different exit, so I don't have the pleasure of dodging them.) Tonight, I took just a few moments to pause for a couple of pictures, but if I allow myself some more time, I know I can improve upon where I stand and the composition of these two shots. And therein lies another benefit to this photo-a-day project: For those images I have in my head to take, or those I see in my daily travels, I can experiment with different angles and views and discover new ways of looking at the subjects until I get it just right.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 25 of 365

There are plenty of Chelsea Market photos I've taken in the three years I've worked in the building, but there will always be more. Tonight, as I headed to the Manhattan Fruit Exchange, I snapped a couple of shots, including this curious fellow at the well.

"Running to first," New Jersey, August 2006

When shooting minor league baseball games at night, I tend to get most of my shots during the first few innings, when the late light of a summer day still allows for fast shutter speeds. But on this one night a few years ago, I decided to slow down the shutter speed as night fell and experiment with some blurred-motion action shots. This one of Hagerstown Suns third baseman Leivi Ventura was one of the best, along with one of Lakewood BlueClaws third baseman Welinson Baez.

"The man in red," Chicago, August 2007

I first looked over the railing into the oblong stairwell at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art and took a photo of the concentric shapes descending to the koi pond. A moment later, a man in a red T-shirt appeared from beneath one of the levels, and I had an even better photo. Then I simply changed everything but the visitor to black and white for a more arty effect -- as befits the MCA.

It's a popular shot.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 24 of 365

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed this lock attached to a lone pole nestled among some border shrubbery at a corner where driveway meets sidewalk. There's no corresponding pole opposite this one, no gate, no chain. Whatever this lock was once used for, it is no longer needed.

"Elephant's memory," California, April 2006

All of you keepers
and wanna be sleepers
Wake up there's a message so
I saw the elephant and I looked him in the eye

-- "Elephant's Memory," Martin Sexton

"Lone Cypress, Pebble Beach," California, September 2005

The Lone Cypress on the craggy rocks of northern California. It's the iconic image of the picturesque 17-Mile Drive and the Pebble Beach golf course.

"Spotlight on nature," New York, December 2006

Shots like these are why I love botanical gardens. If you're there under the right conditions, the light can do wonderful things with the blooms.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 23 of 365

At 8th Ave. and 15th St., on my way to work.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day 22 of 365

Went to an interesting new concert venue in Manhattan: City Winery. It's like a bigger Joe's Pub; you reserve your seat, order a bottle (and perhaps some meats and cheeses) and enjoy the show.

Also took three videos.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 21 of 365

We moved to Clifton in May 2007, and from the first day we exited Route 3 I noticed this old Sam Goody sign rising above a small shopping center. The store itself, however, was empty. It had also housed a Payless Shoes and another small business, but all three were empty. And sometime between Sunday afternoon and this afternoon, the building finally came down.

The other building in the center houses a Mandee and Stop & Shop, but that structure is also getting a makeover. The Stop & Shop closed temporarily just after New Year's Day for renovations and the Mandee is moving to a new building on Route 3, so the entire complex is getting redone.

Thankfully, today had the clear blue skies I was waiting for and I thought to drive by, because the sign might not be there much longer. I wanted a blue sky and late-afternoon sun because I kept seeing this sign in my imagination as a long-forgotten placard in a remote stretch of desert, bleached and faded by the sun.

Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 20 of 365: Inauguration Day

A glorious new day in America. Change is good and it can only get better from here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 19 of 365

It's been three weeks, yet our Christmas tree remains on the curb. Not sure what the deal is with that. I figured they would've picked it up at some point in the last 21 days. But as long as the snow is on it, the wind shouldn't blow it down the street -- as it has before -- then it's not that big a deal.

"Impaired technology," Lincoln Tunnel, December 2008

I tend to prefer a well-composed photo for my daily challenges, but in this case, I went with the more amusing -- if not artistically appealing -- image of a GPS system gone awry.

In this case, I have a better sense of direction than this impaired technology -- or at least I have the ability to think outside the box and know to avoid Times Square on a December Saturday.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 18 of 365

I drove into work for the first time since mid-November and it was a breeze. Thirty minutes, door to desk, on account of a clear path into the Lincoln Tunnel, no traffic in the city and a parking space one block from my office.

I figured I'd have more time to snap a photo or two at the tunnel, but I only managed three, and none came out quite like I wanted. This one was the closest, though, and it reminds me of a long exposure I took on New Year's Eve 1999, when I secured my SLR and tripod to the passenger seat of my '86 Volvo and held the cable release in my hand as I approached a Garden State Parkway toll plaza. The multi-second exposure produced some cool effects.

And this look back has produced more remorse that I haven't scanned more film frames into my computer. Must get back to that.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 17 of 365

One and done.

I see the neon signs in this restaurant every night when I emerge from the PATH across Sixth Avenue, and this nocturnal glow is one of the reasons I bought a more portable digital camera. It's these images that I pass on a day-to-day basis that I want to be able to capture. So I saved this particular shot for a day when I hadn't yet grabbed another image to use and I knew I'd be holed up in my office for the day's remaining hours.

"Postgame at the Grotto," Indiana, October 2006

Win or lose, many fans make their way to the Grotto after a Notre Dame football game. They light candles, meditate and pray. After particularly hectic days, I liked to pass by this spot even if it wasn't on my way back to the dorm and sit for a moment on the benches there. Always a quiet place, people seemed to be extra sensitive to their voices when darkness fell. I particularly enjoyed it in fall, when the air was fragrant with the pungent fragrance of expired leaves, but I'll take it in any season.

{I realize I've become lazy with the one-photo-a-day resolution, but that's just a matter of organization. I've continued to take the photos; I just haven't had time to sit down and post them all. I went out on a brief shooting expedition on Thursday and need to sort through the images, so I hope to do that Sunday or Monday and get caught up. I've done a little of that today, posting five images for the reolution and various challenges, but I'm still a few days behind.}

"Under it," Florida, March 2008

I sat down at field level a few feet from the warning track, only a chain-link fence between me and left field. Shortly after I settled in, Juan Pierre, Andre Ethier and Delwyn Young arrived to run some sprints near the track before calling it a day and crossing the outfield to get back to the Dodgers' clubhouse. The berm had emptied out a bit from earlier in the game, and so I sat alone, with no one invading my space. Those around me were quiet enough so that when Pierre, Ethier and Young ran past, I could hear their grunts. When they walked back to the foul line for another set, I could hear their conversation. In between, it was nothing but the crack of the bat, the slap of the ball in the left fielder's mitt, and the echo of the public-address announcer calling another batter to the plate.

"Gold and Grand Tetons," Wyoming, May 2006

While I've certainly taken my share of macro and closeup flower photos, I tend to prefer blooms as an accent to the scene rather than a bulb of color dominating the frame. Those shots certainly have their use, and I continue to shoot them, but my personal preference is to try to work the bulbs into a more wide-reaching image. So that's why I knelt on the ground on a breeze May afternoon outside Grand Teton National Park to position these low-lying flowers just right.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 16 of 365

The Linden refineries as seen from the New Jersey Turnpike. Was riding with Dave as we headed into the city to meet our wives for our second annual Christmas gift of gorge: a fancy dinner out in New York. Yeah, dinner for four at a place like Craftsteak (this year's choice) comes out to much more than we would spend on a boxed and wrapped gift, but the hours together and the experience of the food make it worth every penny.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 15 of 365

As winter arrived in force this week, I drove up the road to Paterson to see the Great Falls in suspended animation. As I had hoped, snow and ice clung to the rocks as the still free-flowing sections of the Passaic River cascaded over the cliff. The bright afternoon sunshine prevented exposures that were too long (even with a neutral-density filter allowing for a few more hundredths of a second to be added on), but I managed to blur the falls enough to satisfy me, given the conditions.

It was a cold, frigid day, and so I toyed with the idea of taking a 20-minute ride east, back to Edgewater, where we used to live, to see if the Hudson River had any chunks of ice floating on it. Several years ago, when I could see the river from our apartment, sizeable icebergs littered the waterway between New Jersey and Manhattan. But thinking (correctly) that it hadn't been cold enough for enough days, I scrapped the idea. Had I taken the drive, however, I would've arrived on River Road within minutes of the US Airways jet's emergency landing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 14 of 365

I'm a sucker for nostalgia. After buying a box of recent-issue baseball cards on a trip to Target last week, I allowed myself to browse eBay and led myself into an impulse buy. For pretty much the same price it would have cost back in their respective years, I purchased boxes of Topps cards from 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990.

I didn't really need that many (540 cards per box), but I've amused myself quite often as I've slowly opened the packs to see the cardboard-mounted images of long-forgotten players. There have been rookie cards of current managers, cards of coaches and former players I never remembered during their active years and images of the hilarious styles of the late 80s -- uniforms, mustaches, hairdos and, with surprising frequency, large, nerd-worthy glasses.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 13 of 365

Harry has a ritual every night, just as we do. When we head up to brush our teeth -- and nine days out of 10, he knows exactly when that is -- he bolts up the stairs and heads straight for the bathroom. Once there, he hops up onto the sink and begins meowing until we turn on the water for him. And he's not satisfied until we pour some water from the cup, letting him lap up the stream as a cap to his night. He's as regular with this stunt as we are, meaning we have to incorporate it into our morning routine as well as our evening one.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 12 of 365

Spent 2 1/2 hours on trains getting to work tonight -- a trip that usually takes one hour, door-to-door. Switches on the tracks that move trains from one set of rails to another froze outside Secaucus, delaying us indefinitely somewhere in the swamps of Jersey. I managed to get a lot done -- I napped, I read The New Yorker, I tried to get a few photographs. None of them proved to be keepers, except for this one, settling though it may be.

"Athlete in action," New Jersey, February 2006

College football ended last week and baseball doesn't pick up again for another month. My outdoor runs are sporadic at best right now because of temperatures that dip into the 20s, so any athletic thoughts I have right now involve college basketball.

Only 32 days until pitchers and catchers report...

"Rest stop," Colorado, May 2006

Just before taking this picture, I eagerly looked at the long open road ahead of me. The flat Colorado plateau provided no places to hide -- no speed traps. I checked the mirror, and the route from whence we came was likewise devoid of witnesses.

And with that, I gunned the Sebring up to 100 mph, just for a moment. Truth be told, I panicked a moment when I looked in the rear-view mirror and thought I saw the flashing lights of a patrol car back in the distance. As I slowed, I realized that it was merely the sun glinting off a car. It also occurred to me that the car was so far behind us that there's no way a patrolman behind the wheel could accurately determine our speed (or at least have it hold up in traffic court).

But then the setting sun heightened the golden light and shadows on the landscape and I had to pull over for a brief rest. I walked out to the middle of the road for a few pictures, including this one, before we continued our trip across the lonely landscape toward the sun.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 11 of 365

Shot this from the moving train between Clifton and Passaic. Was just playing around (and taking a picture of this poster) and got lucky with it. That's what happens with digital -- you can experiment and simply delete the throwaways, rather than wasting a frame of film and not knowing the result until you've paid for developing.

"Circle of light," New York, December 2006

In 2006, Dutch designer Tord Boontje erected a light show in Union Square Park during the holidays. I took dozens of photos, because no two were the same. The circle created by the light would scatter whenever someone walked across it, as if the light were a solid object able to be knocked out of the way by the feet of New Yorkers passing through.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Day 10 of 365

I'm going with this one as the photo of the day because, with Casey as the subject, it's a departure from what I've been posting. I don't think she'll mind. She did know I was taking the photo.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Day 9 of 365

I've become a big fan of interior bar/restaurant photos, a snapshot of that moment at a public gathering place. When I see these kinds of photos taken by others, I want to be there to have a drink. When I take them myself, I enjoy looking at them later and remembering the warmth brought on by a pint and the friendship there on a cold winter night.

It occurred to me as I took this shot that this photo-a-day project will also provide visual entries in a diary of my daily life. If I don't feel like writing about what I did that day, the photograph should give me some idea. And so on this night, we rode out to Brooklyn to see Milk at Cobble Hill Cinemas, then met up with one of Casey's friends at Abilene at 9 p.m. Until another co-worker arrived, Kate was the only person at the gathering we knew, but we soon started chatting with others until, faster than we realized, it was time to bundle up and head back to the trains for our two-river trek back home.

"Little Bighorn National Cemetery," Montana, May 2006

The white (x 2)tombstone of one of Custer's Indian scouts at the Little Bighorn National Cemetery at the national park of the same name in Montana.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Day 8 of 365

With no particular idea in my head as to what I'd photograph today, I headed home from some afternoon errands and found the road took me up to Garret Mountain, a county park here in Passaic County not far from our house.

I love heading up there in the late afternoon as the sun sets. The view from the lookout at the top faces east, so you see I-80 and Paterson below you, northeastern New Jersey and New York City off in the distance. All is bathed in the soft, orange light of dusk.

I drive up to the "mountain" often. During the warmer months, I'll run the loop road -- a perfect two miles -- and I've found my way up there at this late time of day a couple of times since we moved to the area. The late-afternoon dusk is prime feeding time for the deer up there, and they tend to like this one particular clearing that motorists pass shortly after entering the park and following the one-way loop road. I knew they'd be there, but I didn't bother looking for them and first noticed the cars pulled over at the side of the road. There were a lot of them, and three or four cars sat there for a while watching them before moving on to the slow, quiet ends to our own afternoons.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Day 7 of 365

My plan was to get some shots in Penn Station as I switched from the train to the subway on my way to work, but with some minutes to kill while switching trains in Secaucus, I pulled out the camera and turned it on the on/off ramp for the New Jersey Turnpike and the platform while I waited for the 5:25 to pull into the station.

I actually had a hard time choosing which of the nine photos to use as The One For Today, but I settled on this one because I couldn't tell it was a keeper on the LCD display after I took it. It wasn't until I got it on the computer and cropped out some dead space (and the vertical dividing line of a lamp post) on the left that I saw its potential. So I tagged it with the honor of Day 7.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Day 6 of 365

As I walked to work last night and spotted the red-and-green top of the Empire State Building, it occurred to me that it was the first night I'd seen the city's tallest spire bathed in the colors of the season. And that's when I remembered why it was still red and green -- it was Twelfth Night. A few houses in our neighborhood have also kept their holiday lights on through today (I unplugged ours on Sunday), but next year, I think, I'll leave them lit through the sixth.

Having already decided to use an image of my train ticket for yesterday's photo, I saved my shot of the holiday-adorned ESB for Epiphany itself. That proved to be a fortuitous decision. The light rain gave the streets a reflective sheen, yet the skies were clear enough for a good look at the tower 18 blocks and a couple of avenues away.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Day 5 of 365

Like many of my countrymen and women, I was back on the train today, returning to the office after a two-week break. My ride into New York (via Hoboken) was at 5 p.m., though, so I got to ease into it after a full day of running errands and tying up some things around the house. Except for the Christmas lights. Most of those remain on the arches and posts of the front porch and over the arch over the gate leading to the back patio. If the rain holds off tomorrow, I'll get to those. Maybe.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Day 4 of 365

So it took just four days before I resorted to a picture of one of the cats for the day's image. That's what happens when I spend the day 1.) Reading the Sunday Times, 2.) Hitting Stop & Shop, Target and Whole Foods with the wife, and 3.) Taking down Christmas lights. I found little interest in taking any photos at the stores, but had I realized while filling up that the $1.39 per gallon I paid at Lukoil was the lowest since July 2003 (yes, I keep track), I would've documented that.

"Waiting in Hoboken," New Jersey, July 2008

I would have loved to used any number of signs for a shoppe, grille or other such establishment that harkens to days of olde with the extraneous "E" in its name. But I found this shot of the waiting room at the Hoboken train terminal first and felt it fit the bill.

From the days of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad to today's New Jersey Transit and PATH commuters, the station at Hoboken has served bustling New Jerseyans on their way to and from New York and to the far reaches of the Garden State. With the original and ornate Penn Station now sunk in the swamps of Jersey, going through Hoboken makes for a much more aesthetically pleasing trip each afternoon.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

"Berlin Wall, 53rd St., Manhattan," December 2008

When it stood until 1990, the Berlin Wall stood to disconnect one side of the city from the other. And now, the wall itself has been disconnected and scattered about the world. I first saw a section -- just one panel, or maybe two -- at the local Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, N.J., and spent a couple of bucks on a small chunk of it. It's in a tiny Ziploc bag somewhere, probably a box either in my parents' house or somewhere in ours.

Day 3 of 365

New Yorkers love to exaggerate. "The World's Most Famous Arena." Have they asked the Romans if they've heard of it?

Friday, January 02, 2009

"Ninth Ward, post-K," New Orleans, January 2007

For this week's theme of disorder, I kept singing the chorus of Warren Zevon's "Disorder in the House," which got me thinking of homes. And that led to New Orleans. The thing about this photo is that it's not just one ruined home; it's two. The second roof on the right side of the house is not part of the original building; it's from a home around the corner that was planted on top of the lower house as the flood waters finally receded. Talk about disorder.

This is the fourth photo of a post-Katrina New Orleans I've used to represent a photo challenge (and more remain). It remains a somber sight and a reminder of the incompetence of leadership during the months that turned into years after the storm.

I post this while watching this year's Sugar Bowl, which was the reason I was in New Orleans in January 2007, when I watched Brady Quinn and Jeff Samardzija in their final game for Notre Dame. It was a good few days nonetheless.