Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Frozen bay

I have posted a photo of Irondequoit Bay before, but this time we are looking at the lower bay, with a view to the North. Also the bay is now covered in ice, although I am sure it is not too thick yet. During the winter there are people who drive their cars on the ice, and sometimes the ice is not sufficient to support the weight. Not something I care to experience.

On the horizon you can see the Irondequoit Bay Bridge, a long strut bridge of almost a half mile in length. When this bridge was completed in 1967 it provided a shortened means of travel between Irondequoit (and Rochester) and Webster on Route 104.

As I shot this photo I looked over the reeds and was surprised to see what I think is a red tail hawk on the ice, tearing at it's pray which appears to have been a duck moments ago.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A bit more sensible

More Christmas lights, this time not so over the top. It is amazing the range of work people put into this tradition. Some just throw a few lights on a bush but others take the time to do something planned and classic.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let's go nuts!

No, this is not our house, but someone pretty close by. They obviously put a lot of time and energy (including electricity) into their Christmas light display. Some people get a little carried a way, but it is really neat to see live. The photo does not do it justice.

Click the photo for a bigger image.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Star of Bethlehem

Although yet to fully bloom, this flower is know as Star of Bethlehem for it's star shaped blossoms. It is native to Southern Europe and Northern Africa but also grown as an ornamental in gardens. I saw this example at a florist and loved the bright green color contrasted to the developing white flowers.

Friday, December 11, 2009


The calendar tells us that winter will not start for a few weeks but, around here, winter weather arrives early and stays later than the solstice. Some area schools were closed and driving was challenging. It seems we all have to learn how to drive in snow each year.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mystery photo take 3

OK, another mystery photo. What do you think this is? Your comments are welcome!

First snow of 2009

Snow comes to Bartell Lane... the first cover of 2009. But it will not be the last. This was the view out my front door this morning after a bit of snow overnight.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Black Friday

The day after Thanksgiving is when the Christmas rush begins. Shopping kicks into high gear and the Malls and Big Box stores have their big sales. Parking is at a premium and in some cases, take a lot of patience just to find a spot to leave your car.

So why do they call it Black Friday? My wife had a suggestion... it's the day the retailers get out of the red and back in the black.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What does this mean?

You see this kind of stuff a lot on bridges and concrete walls. Graffiti has been with us for a long time and much of it is really trash... but some is obviously done by someone with some artistic talent and sense of design. But I never see a message or know what it means.

So I did some research and found out there is world-wide interest in the art form. There are many web pages devoted to this form of expression. That it is closely related to breaking (don't say breakdancing if you are cool!). And also sometimes associated with identifying gang turf.

This railroad overpass has several examples of the art form, and although many see the graffiti as vandalism or an eyesore, to me it adds a visual element to an otherwise drab structure.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bird food

I am not sure what kind of tree this is, or what those berries are but it is late fall, the fruit is still on the branch and I bet these bright red orbs will provide sustenance to the birds during the cold winter season. Those birds that stay through the winter often have a hard time finding food, and trees like this must aid their survival.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Deep freeze

Last night it was in the 20's and we woke to see lots of frost. It almost looked like snow it was so white. On close inspection you can really see the tiny ice crystals (click the photo for an enlarged view). It will get up into the 50's today so the frost will not last long.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Drive in the dark

We are now loosing 2 - 3 minutes of daylight every 24 hours. It doesn't seem like much at first but then you think in 10 days that is about a half hour... in 20 days it is nearly a full hour. I now find my drive home from work a drive in the dark. And soon my drive in will be the same.

This presents new challenges because my photo opportunities are generally morning drive in, and drive home. Sure photos can be made without daylight but it does put limits on what is possible.

I look forward to returning to longer days, but that will not be for a while.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Empty branches

Not so many posts ago I wrote of the arrival of autumn, and now nearly all the trees have discarded their fall colors and have only empty branches. Those energy producing leaves are gone, and the tree is transitioned to a state of quiet until spring resolves to return.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mystery photo take 2

So maybe this will become a regular feature. But then again, these are not too hard either. So what is this? Care to guess?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

Today it's Halloween and what is spookier than taking photos in a cemetery? These old graves are occupied by people who were dead long before I was born... and I was born a long time ago.

You wonder if the residents are remembered by anyone, and wonder if anyone will remember us in 100 years. It is kinda sobering. A hundred years in not much time in the overall scheme of things.

And what makes this even creepier is the name on the large monument.

Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mystery photo

Seems like a break from autumn foliage is in order, well kind of. I am sure you can see there are some leaves with those telltale colors in this photo too, but this is a different point of view. What exactly it is I will let you guess.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Color revealed

Every autumn in the Northeast we are treated to bright color foliage. The reds, oranges and yellows can be spectacular both as wide vista and as close-up.

But what to me is amazing is those colors have actually been there all summer and only revealed in the fall. During the summer the tree generates chlorophyll, the pigment that enables photosynthesis, and this is what provides the energy needed to grow and live. When autumn descends the days get shorter, triggering the tree to stop making chlorophyll. The green color recedes and the masked colors are revealed. The tree transitions into dormancy and the leaves eventually drop, protecting the tree from winter winds and snow.

Amazing, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Bay

We have had some great skies lately, and here is another example.

This is a view of Irondequoit Bay from the bay bridge approach looking north. If you look closely on the horizon and beyond the line of houses you can see a slim bit of Lake Ontario, the last in the chain of the Great Lakes.

I live just off Bay Road which follows the bay on the east side. Unfortunately I do not have a view of the bay from my house but it is quite close.

They tell me that until the last ice age Irondequoit Bay was the outlet for the Genesee River, which now is located a number of miles to the west. These days the bay is a small boat harbor and a great spot for sailing and water skiing.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Leno Tree

Jay Leno is well known for the contrasting streak of hair on his head. Our maple tree has one section that turns bright orange weeks before the rest of the tree changes color. It always makes me think of Leno.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal

I always think of that old song as I pass over the Erie Canal on my way to work. Low Bridge, Everybody Down!

The office park where I work is adjacent to the canal. In this photo we are looking toward Buffalo, with Albany at our back. The canal is mostly used for pleasure boating now but back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s it is what made cities like Rochester, the metro area in which I live.

Soon the canal will be mostly drained for the winter. It will then be refilled in the spring as it has been for well over 100 years.

This day we have dark clouds and good sun, my favorite combination. The mirror-like reflection of the canal is the bonus!

Monday, October 12, 2009

First frost

This morning we woke to see frost on the rooftops. The first frost of the season.

This historic single room school house is about a mile from my home. It is now preserved as a museum and a reminder of simpler times. The school children that used this building surely did not arrive on school buses carrying iPods or cell phones. I wonder, were any less happy than the students of today?

At any rate, there is frost on the roof that contrasts with the brilliant color of a wonderful Maple tree.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

And then there was fall

The seasons come and go so quickly. Suddenly there is a snap in the air, a cool crispness that tells us that summer is done and autumn is at hand. The trees take on a warmer tone as though the yellows, oranges and reds will delay the cold, but of course it does not.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Landscapes that come to you

Great landscape photos often feature majestic mountains, splashing streams and rivers, or dramatic ocean views. Capturing images of those panoramic scenes requires being in the right place and under the right light conditions.

Traveling to those locations takes planning, time and luck. But there is another type of landscape that comes to you! You still need dramatic lighting and some luck, but travel is not really necessary.

In my mind, clouds can be the perfect landscape. A little imagination is necessary but it is not hard to think of those billowy vapors as puffy mounds of snow, or great white summits. Gazing up to the heights requires much less effort than climbing a real mountain, but the view is still inspiring.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Painted pumpkin

Yes it is that time of year again.

But something new. For all the years I had a jack-o-lantern we carved a face and then lit a candle inside. This face is cute but it somehow seems to be a cheat. No personal creativity here. Just a silk screen or some kind of stencil. Why bother with a real pumpkin?

I remember the fun of cutting the top out and digging out the creepy gooey seeds. Then carving triangles for eyes and nose, and a smile with three teeth.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The sun breaks through

There are days when the sky is so dark it looks almost black. Then, sometimes, the sun breaks through and creates this great photo opportunity for just a few minutes... sometimes just a few seconds. I love this look. Bright sun on the foreground, dark sky behind.

Of course the problem is it comes and goes so fast. Most of the time so fast that you cannot photograph it. But when you get lucky it is an interesting effect.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Boarded up

Here is a house that has seen better days. At least one family lived there, children played in the yard, gardens were planted, siding was painted. Someone was proud of the house and took care of it. Now it sits idle with windows boarded up. This is on a nice suburban road and other cared for and occupied homes are near by.

So what is the story? Why is it boarded up? Why is this house no longer a home? A mystery.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

By chance

My rule for these posts is that the picture has to be shot the day of, or the day before I post. That means no old photos. So there is always a sense of, what am I going to find to shoot today!

Many of these photos are shot from my car on the way to work. This morning I was waiting for a light to change and quickly saw an opportunity, but once the camera was on and ready, the traffic started moving and I pressed the shutter as I started up. This was the result. Of course it could be looked at as a wasted opportunity, or major case of camera shake. But, by chance I think the image is pretty curious. What is the image of? It does not matter. I like the cool color, the ethereal shading and the smooth contours. All a product of chance.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Old barn

Where I live 25 or 30 years ago it was mostly small family owned farms. Each grew hay or corn or some other crop. Each had a barn for perhaps some livestock or the farm equipment.

Today the Town of Webster doesn't have many farms left. The land to too valuable and is sold for suburban homes. Of course I live in one of those suburban homes. And where my house stands there used to be crops growing.

Now we get our fruits and vegetables from Florida or California. Fresh strawberries in December? No problem. In fact now that international movement of goods is so prevalent our food can come from South America or who knows where else.

It is not completely fair to say there are no farms in Webster because there are some. And one thing that is still grown around here is apples... and they are good apples too.

So here is an old barn that has seen better days. Looks like at some point someone had the idea to add all those windows to make the barn usable for something other than its original use.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tortured Trees

I have driven past these trees hundreds of times and I always wonder what happened to them? Why do they look that way? Is this species of tree supposed to look like that?

When I stopped to take the photo a Cocker Spaniel was walking by and I asked him “what is on the trunk of those trees?” Being an intelligent canine he responded “Bark, Bark”.

Realizing that was not exactly what I was looking for I said “Yes, but what is wrong with the tree bark?” The response was “Ruff, Ruff”.

I wasn’t getting anywhere so I politely thanked him and he went on his way.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A matter of perspective

Dramatic sky. When you look closely you realize that those lines are a vapor trails created by a high flying jet aircraft, military jets on training runs no doubt. There are some dark wide lines, and if you look closely, there is a bright thin line.

I imagine that inside that jet it is noisy, hectic and fast.

But from my perspective, down on earth, I experience silence and the slow, graceful formation of tightly formed lines and arcs that gradually defuse and become wider and fuzzier.

So it is me and the pilot, both with different perspectives, experiencing the same thing in very different ways. It makes me realize that what I see and feel is not necessarily the same as others around me. And when I understand this, it helps me accept those who's perspective is different than my own.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Go straight

A recent story on NPR quoted Bob Dylan as saying "I think it would be good if you're looking for directions and you heard my voice saying something like, take a left at the next street. No, a right. You know what? Just go straight."

The story was about the possibility of Dylan recording directions for car navigation system, but you know, I think he might have been talking about something else.

Maybe he is talking about politics... let's not worry so much about right and left, let's just get things straight.

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Apparently this tree had some major pruning. Perhaps storm damage, or lightning, or some other tragedy… and the tree surgeons had to chop the top off. But persistence and determination seem to have prevailed.

I guess loosing your head is no reason to give up. It may not be pretty, but life goes on. And new growth is possible.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Blue to black

Blue sky. Bright puffy clouds. What a day!

But wait... what's that? A black cloud?

It tells of a change in the weather. An end to pleasant outdoor enjoyment. A storm approaching. Better run for cover.

Well on this day the storm never came. The breeze overcame the foreshadowed rain and sent the black cloud away. Sunshine won out and the day remained beautiful.

So it goes to show you, bad signs do not necessarily mean bad times.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bow Power!

How cute!

Yes, the symbol favored by pirates and troubled youth that dress only in black is made cute with the addition of a bow. The old skull and bones.

I found this pasted on the back of a SUV in the mall parking lot.

It is interesting to see the sky and clouds in the window reflection... and there is my camera, also in reflection.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cheap shot

What a pretty flower!

Sure, but for some reason pictures of flowers always seem so obvious, easy and cliche. But with my new admision of color, not a bad candidate for photo ops.

Anyway, here is the nice hydrangea blosom from my backyard.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Shrubs on parade

Yeah, I know… color?

My approach to blog design is under revision. Black and white is so moody and understated. That was the feeling I was going for. But I am finding giving up color is giving up too much… sometimes. So yes, I will still use black and white, but where it is appropriate and fitting you will see more color.

Anyway, here is a boarder of shrubs that, to my eyes, seem to be marching in formation. Because they display such lovely green radiance and eye-popping mulch, using color only makes sense!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another cookie

This one is morning sun, yesterday's post was evening sun.

The early morning sunlight pattern on my backyard lawn. I love trees and we are fortunate to have some great mature tress in our yard.

Well this is post 20 for me. My aim was to post something every day, and with a few exceptions, that is what I have done. No great thoughts here. No great photos here. Certainly no "art" here, but it is kinda fun. And I think this process of pushing myself to take photos and write someting everyday has been sucsessful. So maybe I will continue. For now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


A funny name for a funny thing. A cucoloris is often just refered to as a cookie, or sometimes a gobo. Many times when out on a shoot we would pull out our cookie and get these strange looks. “Do you have a problem with termites” they ask?

The cookie is mounted on a stand and placed between a light and a background to breakup the light and create a natural pattern. Most people think you are crazy until they see the effect which looks surprisingly natural.

And here is a bit of proof. This photo shows the action of real tree branches and leaves on the sunlight falling on my back porch shade. And it does look like a cucoloris.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Criminal Offense

There are few things that irritate me more than people who casually throw their garbage out a car window. I have been known to lay on the horn at the sight of someone discarding a cigarette butt while waiting for a red light. Or how about the criminal that empties their ashtray in the parking lot?

We all share this world. We don't need to share our garbage. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Moon in the trees

There's a moon stuck in the trees! It's that big ball that glides over the sky every night, obliquely lit as a slim crescent.

Ever wonder why it appears to be such a perfect round ? I do.

Hidden color

We have had a lot of rain this summer, but not many rainbows. Actually, this is the first I have seen this year. And it was spectacular... photos do not really do them justice.

It is amazing to me that drops of water can break light into its chromatic components. Rain acting as a lens or prism revealing color from where there is apparently none. But that should not be a surprise because white light is actually light of all colors mixed together. Maybe there is a thought there... do not look only for the homogeneous whole, look for the color hiding inside.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Step right up

I find interest in the most mundane and everyday things. Angles and textures catch my eye, even though I see them every day. These are the steps I climb and the door I open to enter my work place. The rail needs paint and the concrete is crumbling, but to me it adds character and is a familiar greeting at the beginning of my workday.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Self Checkout?

What the heck does that mean? Sounds like you need a mirror for that.

Well at Wegman's that now means that you can be your own cashier. Maybe next we can stock the shelves.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The modern landscape

A sign of the times. Used to be once we were out of the city our horizons were defined by a tree line, and maybe an occasional building or utility pole. Now days the cell tower has spouted up, looking like a tree transplanted from Mars or some strange space colony. At least we can now text our friends and let them know we are going to Wegman's.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hi, It's me!

I was going to say, "me and a my shadow" but clearly there is no me, only my shadow. Anyway just wanted to say "Hi!".

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Foggy morning

The drive in today was a foggy one. I kept hoping the sun would break trough and there would be some spectacular streams of light on the horizon. No luck on that, yet the dreamy world of fog brought new interest to my morning commute.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Everybody needs a home

Some houses are big and extravagent, some are small and prosaic. Of course which is which is a matter of perspective. But everyone needs a home, and not everyone has one. So be thankful if you are one of the lucky ones, no matter what your house is like.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Unnatual light

The bane of the modern office worker. Kinda green and that faint buzz. Sure it is energy efficient, but it is a sorry substitute for natural light.

In my many years of work I have been lucky to have occupied a few offices that have a window to the outside world, but I have spent a lot more time under floresent bulbs.