Monday, October 29, 2007

Autumn Spectrum

No car. Traveling limited by foot. I have to work within the confines of the city, especially when shooting fall scenes. I enjoy autumn photography that emphasizes nature over man. The less man-made objects in an image the better.

Usually this means that a few leaves end up representing the season instead of grand mountains and forests ablaze with color. But I do end up with shots that others overlook.

[More fall images can be found at my website, . Check under HEADLINKS or use this direct link to the page.]

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Do you see the problem in the following image?

No? OK, let’s take a second look with a couple of special marks.

Red arrow: Sewage treatment plant.

Green arrow: Proposed site for new hotel.

Still don’t see the problem? Then one more image:

Soup’s on!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Vision Of A Clown

Irrational. Completely irrational.

Who would ever seriously consider putting an upscale hotel next to a sewage treatment plant? Did they think the letters P.U. were only an abbreviation for public utility?

And besides that, why did the City of Plattsburgh go ahead and prepare the lakeside lot before a firm deal was in place to build the hotel-conference center?

Mucho bucks were spent to have the area cleaned up. Also, the ground was compacted to support the new structure and even a parking lot was installed, complete with fancy lampposts. But still no hotel: it remains a pipe dream. (Well, at least the empty parking lot gives seagulls a place to hang out.)

What caused this madness? The story heard on the street (OK, it was actually heard in a back alley) is that supernatural intervention triggered the inexplicable inanity.

One sunny afternoon a former city leader was down by the lake, drinking away on a twelve pack of Neutron Bomb Malt Liquor he had purchased with a city credit card. Suddenly a vision rose up in front of him: a circus clown 902 feet tall. The city leader dropped his can (and also his bladder).

With a raspy ethereal voice the Great Clown boomed: “In my name build a hotel here.”

And with the pop of a clown hammer the vision disappeared.

If anything is going to motivate someone to make rash decisions, it has to be a 902-foot-tall clown.

Incredible, you say? Can’t be true? Well, there are those who say that if you stand at the right spot in the parking lot built for the nonexistent hotel, you can see the Great Clown, even snap a photo of it.

Of course, photos can be faked. And as for those who see the towering clown, maybe history repeats itself a la the Oracle of Delphi. But instead of inhaling intoxicating gas from beneath the earth, they’ve been breathing a surfeit of fecal miasma from the sewage treatment plant.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Enough Already!

This image was taken on October 2nd, four weeks before Halloween. They’re already trying to get people into the materialistic feeding frenzy of the so-called holiday season.

It used to be the Xmas crap didn’t start up until after Thanksgiving. Now some stores have to beat out Halloween. If you notice in the image, you can see part of a Halloween display on the left side; it isn’t as prominently located as the Xmas lawn ornaments. It won’t be long before they start pumping holiday “music” through the PA systems. You won’t be able to escape the same sugary tunes ad nauseam.

And people wonder why I hate Xmas so much.

(Note to morons: No, I’m not Jewish. If you don’t like my anti-Xmas comments, move to the North Pole.)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Macro: Near-Far

My compact digital camera allows close focusing on a small object with the wide-angle setting. I can set up some interesting shots with extreme perspective distortions between foreground and background objects.

This fallen berry is keeping an eye on the firehouse on Cornelia Street.

It’s so easy to enhance the beauty of Clinton Street. Just smash a beer bottle against a signpost. Instant art.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Can It!

Sometimes I like to photograph crushed aluminum cans in the street. Why? Because it’s a free country – or so I’ve been told.

I’m near the Post Office when I notice a crumpled cylinder in the gutter. The parking spot is free but when I get ready to shoot, a car pulls in. So I walk away for a while and wait for another chance.

When I come back another car has pulled into the spot but not as close to the curb as the first one. It’s a busy time of day for the Post Office, so I decide I might as well get the shot now.

I crouch to get the shot, my camera aimed straight down. Suddenly a woman appears – the owner of the car – and she pointedly asks me what I’m doing.

I’m sick of this routine. OK, if you’re curious or even concerned, how about inquiring with a civilized tone instead of challenging me like a criminal? Better yet, why don’t you say nothing and watch what I’m doing? If it turns out I’m doing something wrong, then call the cops.

This woman sees me crouch down with a camera behind her car and she immediately assumes I’m committing a transgression against her precious vehicle. What does she think I’m up to? Does she have something to hide? Is there a terrorist nuke strapped underneath her car?

Some people act stupid when they see a photographer. In their narrow minds human + camera = problem. But take away the human presence and they don’t think twice about being surveilled by a not so obvious camera, a spy eye without the immediate physical presence of its operator.

Wake up. You’re being watched, recorded. Sometimes this is necessary to prevent or cut down on crime. In some cases it’s Big Brother.

I’m not your problem. At least I operate out in the open. It’s what you don’t see that sees you that you should worry about.

Monday, October 08, 2007

State Fair: Milking Some Downtime

Afternoon in the dairy building at the New York State Fair. Peaceful, like an indoor pasture. Siesta time for both animal and human.

A dairy farmer works odd hours, long days on the homestead. And those days get odder and longer when it’s time to go to the fair and display livestock. Grooming, feeding and cleaning. Hoping that this year a ribbon might be won.

Hurry up and wait. Transport your prized cows to the fair, making sure to get set up in time. Then wait for the competition. Catch some rest when you can. Learn how to nap in a folding chair and ignore the city folk walking through, gawking. After all, most of them don’t think about all the effort to maintain a herd, trying to live on a narrow profit margin. City people probably think that milk is just made in a factory by a machine. But your sore back says otherwise.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I’m A Skateboarder…

…and I can do whatever I want. I can set up a ramp and fly across Protection Alley. The Monopole building makes a blind spot and so I can’t see oncoming traffic when I sail into the street, but so what! I’ve got the right of way because I’m a skateboarder!

Clinton Or Weed Street?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Google This!

As I have mentioned before I’ve been hassled on a number of occasions for taking photographs, even though I was within my rights. Some people think that their property is completely off-limits to any imaging.

I respect someone’s right to privacy. I would be annoyed if someone was pressing his camera against my bedroom window, trespassing on my property, sticking his lens where it doesn’t belong. But the times I’ve been confronted I was standing on public property, in no way peering into someone’s home.

While I get challenged, people overlook the fact that I’m not the problem. If you have concerns about privacy issues, look elsewhere.

Here are a couple of images I recorded from Google Earth that show places here in Plattsburgh where I’ve been confronted for taking photographs.

See that green marker arrow, provided free of charge by Google? That’s the area where I was taking a photograph of a tree one day. The owner of the house that happened to be behind the tree followed me downtown in his pick-up truck, stopping me to find out why I was taking shots of his private dwelling. I had to tell him twice that I wasn’t interested in his house. Nice aerial view of his house in this Google Earth image, huh? All I had to do was type in the street address and there’s the shot.

And here’s another Google Earth image, showing from above the place where a business owner prevented me from taking a photograph of a empty plastic chair on the sidewalk outside his eatery. Hey, does it look like the eatery’s roof should be fixed, that it’s sagging? Can’t tell; the resolution isn’t fine enough.

But there are probably other skyview images out there not available to the public, images so fine they can reveal every detail of your wife’s areolas when she’s sunbathing topless in your backyard.

Now excuse me. I have to make a phone call while the government listens in on my conversation.