Sunday, October 28, 2012

Abstract Sculpture

This magnificent piece of abstract sculpture brought me home to Sea Cliff, from Austin, Texas where I was just this morning. It is the starboard wing of an Embraer 175 aircraft. Fortunately the airlines (Go jetBlue!) allowed passengers to change their flights with no charge, so I was able to get home before the storm hits. It feels so good to be here, instead of away, with a hurricane on the way. If you have ever wondered what those little upright "wings" are, they are called "winglets" and they make the wings of airplanes more efficient. I will spare you the technical reasons, unless someone requests it... :-)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The LBJ Ranch

Ginger and Ron wanted me to see the LBJ Ranch, so we drove for two hours or so, west of Austin out to the ranch. We stopped at Enchanted Rock along the way, and I showed you that a day or so ago. The ranch is beautiful - it is in what is known as "The Texas Hill Country." What was striking is how modest Lyndon B. Johnson's home was. It was not a mansion at all, but a very cozy home which had been in his family for years. The fields are grasses and these beautiful Live Oak trees here lining the driveway. Small wild deer and a large heard of prize cattle are everywhere. And this is the cemetery where he and Lady Bird Johnson are buried. Their stones are the larger ones, right over the center of this wrought iron gate.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Head of the Colorado

Austin has a very active rowing community and this weekend there is a big regatta. Boats are here from Dallas, and Oklahoma, and who knows where else. I have never seen so many racing shells all in one place - there are nearly at least a hundred boats - singles, doubles, quads, and even some eights. They are stacked on the lawn down by the river like cordwood! It is an astounding sight to see! I did a lot of photographs of the boats, but then went down to one of the docks as women in singles were coming in from a practice. I love that all of the boats in this photograph have their oars in exactly the same position! Believe it or not, the regatta is called "Pumpkin Head of the Colorado." Very cool name!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Enchanted Rock

Today we went to Enchanted Rock, about a two hour drive west of Austin. It is a huge formation of pink granite that rises approximately 425 feet above the surrounding terrain to elevation of 1,825 feet above sea level. What is really fun is that we are allowed to climb it, and climb it we did, shooting photographs all the way. You can see to forever in all directions from here. This is the summit, and there are pockets in the rock that have collected bits of soil over the years, and this pocket has enough material to grow not only grasses, but several trees, one of which unfortunately has died. A lot of people hike to the summit - it is not that difficult a climb. I love that I have captured a line of people standing on the summit, in the distance. Folklore of local Tonkawa, Apache and Comanche tribes ascribes magical and spiritual powers to the rock, thus the name "Enchanted Rock." It reminds me of Uluru, also known as "Ayers Rock" in Australia, which I climbed and photographed years ago.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Architecture Week..

Here I go again, off on a tangent into my industrial architecture phase. Went to a really cool coffee shop this morning, and had a wicked good Cafe Mocha and a bagel. On the way back to the car, spotted these buildings and smokestack. It is a metals recycling facility. It was cloudy for a bit and I did a few exposures, just in case. Then the sun came out, and the light was perfect for this subject, so I shot a number of variations. I have no idea why I am so in love with structures like this, but they have such interesting textures and colors. Please click on it to see more detail in a larger image.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Austin BBQ!

Once again, I have just had the BEST barbeque in Austin, Texas! It is at "The Iron Works" on Red River Street. I have been dreaming about coming back here since I was here three years ago! It is that good! I came down here to spend a week with my friends Ginger and Ron, and this is where we ate dinner tonight - I demanded it! It is a low key place that was originally The F.Weigl Iron Works, and evidence of its origins are everywhere. What a treat! What I love is the evidence of the building's former use, based on the shape of it, as well as the brilliant red color.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Buried Treasure

Long time friends of ours across town needed to replace some retaining walls behing their house. They live on a pretty steep hill, and the old wood retaining wall was rotting. So the construction crew had to move a LOT of dirt around. In the process they uncovered all kinds of old stuff, including this rusted trowel. What a beautiful object! I love the he texture and the muted colors. I tried putting it on different backgrounds, and liked this concrete the best - because it adds to the muted color scheme and it has a rough finish.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


How about that. I know the name of at least one flower. These Marigolds grow in a garden down the street from our house. It is fun to have Fall arrive, and suddenly there are these brilliant bursts of color here and there. I took a lot of different views of this scene, some more subtle than others. But I think that the first one, which is probably the most dramatic, trumps some of the more subtle ones that I took. I think I will post two different ones, and you can tell me which shot you like best. My favorite is the one on top of the page. The second photograph is more "layered" and more subtle, I think.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Almost a Cyborg

This is my friend Glenn, and he is a brilliant guy. He is a computer programmer by trade, and a photographer with a good eye, and an inveterate tinkerer. His latest project is a "Heads Up Display" on a pair of glasses. The object is to present data from a mini LCD screen on a beamsplitter mirror. The result is that you could be flying a plane, for instance, and looking out the windscreen, and have the numbers like airspeed and heading displayed in the glasses, while still looking through them. HUD's are an important part of all modern jet fighter aircraft. So Glenn wanted to show me his prototype glasses. I got to try them on, and then when he put them on, I knew I had a photograph!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall Comes to Sea Cliff

I am SUCH an observant person! I notice everything! Well, except this. I was driving over to get pizza tonight and the color of these trees jumped out at me from the side of the road. This is the first color I have seen in Sea Cliff so far. But here is the crazy part - I go down this street almost every day on my bike! And I never noticed the color before. It must be because I have my nose to the grindstone when I am hammering away on my bike. I need to stop and smell the roses more.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Architectural Treasure

I had to go over to St. Ignatius Retreat House for a meeting tonight. I have photographed this building every time I go there, and although I don't always post a photograph, this building is so amazing that I can't help myself from photographing it. I looked more closely to see what other views there were. All the other photographs were distant views of the building and all the chimneys. This is the front door of the building, showing one of the marble columns, and the delicate ironwork on the glass door. By the way, that door is SO heavy, it takes a lot of strength to get it open.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Had This Idea...

So I was sitting on my bench at the park by the water, and I was thinking that I need to come up with a different way of looking at things, to come up with other ways of seeing. Then I noticed this weed by the fence, so I went over to see what I could do with it as a close-up. I was thinking in terms of much closer, but then realized I wanted to show more of the weed, and then I noticed that the harbor would make a nice background. Kind of a landscape of the harbor, once again, but seen differently.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

If You Want to Ride in the Kayak...

I love the body language in this photo! And I love that this dad is safety-oriented. On the water, wear a life jacket. It is so easy to think "I don't have to worry, I know how to swim..." Doesn't matter - wear a life jacket. I have often thought while on a sailboat that I didn't need a life jacket - neither Ken nor I were wearing jackets during our sail in Charleston. But it was relatively calm. My fear is that in higher wind conditions, if one of us went overboard, there is the possibility of cracking our heads on the boat, and being temporarily incapacitated. That would be dumb.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Cradle

I have been to this place a billion times. Well, OK, just a million. But only during the day. This is the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City. I spent a lot of time in the building before the museum first opened, photographing a number of the airplanes and exhibits. You can see, in the upper right part of the building, a biplane suspended while in a turn. Tonight there was an FAA Safety Seminar for pilots that was held there, and I decided to attend. I was stunned to drive up to the building and see it like this, at night, all lit up. Oh, and what made it particularly beautiful was that all the pavement was wet from rainstorms, making this image so much more spectacular.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

One Hundred Four Miles Per Hour!

I am getting all kinds of free rides lately, it seems. Today my friend Ken came over from Connecticut with his forty-foot offshore powerboat. I should give you a bit of history. For years he designed next generation turbine engines for aircraft, and he is a "motorhead" and a crackerjack mechanic and engineer. He has owned boats since he was a kid. Back in 1976 he brought a Boston Whaler over here to Long Island, and took a bunch of us into New York Harbor for OpSail. Anyhow, today he came with his son and took me out for a ride in Long Island Sound. His lets his son do most of the driving - he's content to be the co-pilot. The water was relatively calm today, so his son gradually increased the speed from 40 miles an hour, until we were clocking along at ONE HUNDRED FOUR MILES PER HOUR! Wow! Yikes! Surprisingly it was a fairly gentle ride - nothing like I would have expected from a high-powered ocean racing machine. It was VERY cool to be going that fast.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Cat and the Hat

I walked through the living room and seeing this scene tickled me to no end. I had put my L.L.Bean "Mad Bomber Hat" on the couch for some reason, and here was one of the cats sitting next to it. At first glance, with both of them being in the shadows, it looked like two of the same thing. This image cracks me up! Especially because the cat seems to be wondering who this is sitting next to her.

Friday, October 12, 2012


This is hardly a significant photograph, but I just have to show it to you. I went cycling yesterday under impossibly blue skies from the horizon to the zenith. When I stopped to rest at the end of my ride at the harbor, I was just marveling at how clear and blue the sky was. Just drinking in the color was a sublime experience. So that's why I am simply showing the sky to you, instead of giving you a more complex photograph.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Moss That's Not Moss

I guess I already told you this, that Spanish Moss is not moss. You can re-read the blog post back on October 4th. This Spanish Moss is everywhere down in Charleston, and I can't stop photographing it. Wide shots and close up shots - I have a bazillion variations on the same subject, but it is so different from the flora up here in Yankee-land that I can't help myself. These are Live Oak trees, and these particular ones are at Middleton Place plantation. Pretty soon I will run out of photographs from down there, and I will get back to normal. Oh wait, then I will be off to Austin, Texas.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I thought I would have a change of pace, before I showed you more trees, or architecture, or whatever else I shot lots of pictures of. I told you it would be Charleston week again... Anyhow, we went to Middleton Place, one of the plantations just outside the city. This plantation did have some farm animals which were interesting to see. Here's the not very obvious thing about taking this photo - we were taking a tour in an old horse drawn wagon, bouncing our way around the property when we went by this goat. I took about 5 pictures and only one of them was in focus. How's that for a greenhorn move? At least I got one good shot.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Defenders of Fort Moultrie, 1776

This is a photograph taken in White Point Garden, down by the waterfront in Charleston. I was looking for an interesting photograph of the Live Oak trees that dominate the park, and then I saw this view. This is a statue commemorating the soldiers who defended Fort Moultrie in 1776, near the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Nine warships attacked the unfinished fort, but the cannonballs bounced of the soft palmetto logs. Four hundred men fought a day-long battle with the warships which ended with the damaged British ships being driven from the area. This victory galvanized the Patriots' cause for independence. The thing I love about this photograph are the two long, twisted branches from over my head that reach out toward the statue.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Charleston Week

I guess it is strange to call this week "Charleston Week" because it was Charleston Week last week. Oh well. I still have a whole bunch of what I think are interesting photographs from the trip. We saw a lot of beautiful architecture and because of my interest in that subject, I will be showing you some interesting homes. This is a photograph of a home, but to me, the subject is actually light and shadow. Shadows of all the tree branches on the house. It feels like a different way of looking, for me. Does this seem like a different kind of photograph for you? Please click on it to see it in more detail.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I was so impressed today with with this young boy, who I saw sitting in the pew in front of us, while waiting for Mass to begin. He had turned his pew into a desk, and was writing with great concentration. I was impressed that instead of sitting there squirming around, he found something useful to occupy his time. Later, I was able to see that the purple sheet of paper said "Children's Worship Bulletin" on the top. How cool is that idea - something for kids to do. His dad said there were puzzles, and when you put all the answers together, there was a lesson in the answer. So I love all of that, and the bright red hair! What a cute kid!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The White Pig

One of the pleasures of Charleston is walking the streets. There are architectural treasures everywhere from entire houses to small details. Window boxes are everywhere and they are so well cared for, that it is astounding. I will have to show you a house or two, but I thought I would start with this window box and window. I photographed about half a dozen "ordinary" window boxes, then I saw this one. It was the white pig that grabbed my attention at first, but then I loved that the plantings were non-symmetrical - it makes the picture far more interesting, in my opinion.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter at the entrance to Charleston harbor was where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. What is interesting about these 6.4 inch (100 Pounder) Parrott guns is that in the 1890's, they wanted to strengthen one wall of the fort, so they filled in the casemates with sand, with these guns still in place, completely burying them. In 1959 The site was excavated, revealing these guns. Had they not been covered, they most likely would have been cut up for scrap. I love the architecture of forts, with the multiple brick arches. It is really wonderful, and extremely rare, to see this many guns in one of these forts.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Spanish Moss Week

I still have a ton of photographs from Charleston, so I will be posting some for the next week, I think. Spanish Moss makes me nuts, it is so beautiful! There were a number of places where the moss was on the trees - I have showed you one scene already, and here is another. I have trouble putting into words the feeling that I get from this, but it feels mystical, or haunting and seems to conjure up ghosts. It is interesting that "spanish moss" is neither Spanish OR moss - it is not related to either moss or lichens. It is an "air plant" which absorbs nutrients (especially calcium) and water from the air and rainfall. I won't really post Spanish moss photos all week, but I do have a bunch of them. You might want to click on this to see it in a larger size.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Interview

What an amazing day today! I received a call last week that ABC Eyewitness News in New York wanted to interview me for a story about my Zero G flight and the Senior Wish program. Today this very cool van with a satellite dish on the roof pulled up to the house. It was fun talking with Tim, the reporter, and Steve, the cameraman. We "talked shop" for a while before the interview. They had video done before the flight, and from cameras in the plane during the flight, and they put it all together with parts of my interview, and it was broadcast at 5:30 today! Wow, what a thrill! An amazing day indeed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Middleton Place

We went to visit one of the plantations that are in the Charleston area. Middleton Place has magnificent gardens, a mansion, and farm animals. Unfortunately the main mansion, and this structure, called the "North Flanker" were burned to the ground by Union troops just two months before the end of the Civil War. This fragment of a wall is all that is left of a building that was a large library. And of course I love ruins. What really made the photo for me were the tree branches covered in Spanish Moss. The moss lends such a mystical feeling to the landscape, I think.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Captains Courageous

So my friend Ken has been sailing since he was a young boy. I didn't come to sailing until after I started working on Long Island. We had a Lightning sailboat for about 6 years, and sometimes I miss being out on the water. For about 5 years Ken had a magnificent 32-foot Sabre sailing yacht, but I never got to sail on it. He has salt water in his veins, so now he has access to a J 22 sloop, and we took the boat out on Charleston Harbor the other day. We started out with gentle breezes at the beginning, but then the wind picked up, and then we were rewarded with a great sail. I was amazed at how long it took me to feel comfortable again at the helm when the wind picked up. But it gradually came back, and it was a great day on the water.