Posts Tagged new york

Bye, bye, bin Laden

Supposedly, the death of Osama bin Laden will be one of those events where we remember exactly where we were when we heard the news. I was checking Facebook when I saw a post that said bin Laden had been killed.

How many of us thought we’d see bin Laden’s demise? He seemed the uncatchable criminal, but now he’s gone. The War on Terror isn’t over. Others will take on his role, but al Qaeda has been decapitated. But for now, we can celebrate Public Enemy No. 1′s departure.

Thank you to our servicemen and women, including intelligence operatives, around the world. This is your victory! Thank you.

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My name in lights

Hanging Leaf

I was Featured Artist at Prairie Museum of Art and History, Colby, Kan., in March and April. My Artist Reception was April 16. Hubby shot this video of me talking about my pictures. Video is just under 15 minutes.

That exhibit opened the door for another opportunity. I was one of the artists who showed in First Annual Art Walk April 22, also in Colby. Colby Community College‘s Alpha Rho Tau Chapter (Art Club) hosted the event. Hubby had to work, so I shot my own video. This one is under two minutes.

Hanging Leaf is the only picture I didn’t have in the first video. I told its story earlier in this post.

Thank you, museum and art club, for inviting me.

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Craft fair season

Saturday is the first craft fair at which I’m exhibiting this season. In preparation, I’ve been matting and framing some new pictures over the last few days. I am so grateful for my mat cutter.

Now I have to decide what to title these pictures, which is often difficult. Thankfully, it’s not as difficult as deciding which pictures to print! These pictures are all from Boston or New York City. Of course, I can’t miss the opportunity to tell you a little about them.

Col. William Prescott statue in front of Bunker Hill Monument

Col. William Prescott was field commander at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He built fortifications on Breed’s Hill (lower and closer to Boston Harbor than Bunker Hill and is alleged to have said one of the American Revolution’s most famous quotes: “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.” His statue stands in front of the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, Mass.

I think this title will be “Don’t Fire Until You See the Whites of Their Eyes” but that may be too long.

This one is simple to title: “Paul Revere’s Ride”. Ride was immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1860 poem The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. Old North Church steeple is visible in background. Statue is in Paul Revere Mall. No, that isn’t a place to shop!

Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges

These are the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges in New York Harbor. They are two of New York City’s numerous suspension bridges. I haven’t decided on a title, but perhaps I’ll use “In Suspense”.

Brooklyn Bridge detail

This one is simple: “Brooklyn Bridge”. The Roebling family’s masterpiece is still an American icon. Note the date in the cornerstone: 1875. This is not the date the bridge opened, but only the date the Brooklyn Tower was completed. New York Tower was finished two months later. Bridge didn’t open until May 24, 1883.

Lady Liberty

A person can’t cruise around New York Harbor without taking pictures of Lady Liberty. Even though Hubby calls her “Our Lady of Perpetual Torch”, I’m titling this picture “Lady Liberty.” Her full name is “Liberty Enlightening the World”, a very imposing name. But she’s one very imposing lady. She couldn’t buy shoes in a store because she wears size 879.

New York skyline

Titling this photo of Manhattan’s skyline was easy. Hubby said, “It looks like a rhapsody in blue.” We are both fans of George Gershwin’s music, so this picture is “Rhapsody in Blue”. United Airlines used the composition as its theme song. It’s also part of the score for Woody Allen’s Manhattan.

Bank of America Tower and Conde´ Nast Building at dusk

New York City is a great financial and publishing center. Both are represented in this photo. Bank of America Tower is at center, while the Conde´ Nast Building is at right. Conde´ Nast was built green, one of the pioneers in environmentally-conscious construction. In 2003, a 358-foot tower was added to carry the broadcast load that the antennae on the Twin Towers had done before 9/11. Conde´ Nast publishes numerous lifestyle magazines, such as Bon Appetit and Vogue. Bank of America Tower was built 10 years after Conde´Nast Building and just recently was named LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum status, which is a kind of super-green construction.

Thank God for Without it, I’d have no idea which skyscraper was which. I also have no idea what to title this.

people on Top of the Rock observation deck

I took the skyscraper photos from Rockefeller Center’s observation deck, called “Top of the Rock“. I rarely consciously think, “I want to take unique shots.” But in a place where thousands have stood before me, I wanted to take shots that others might not take. I’d rather not see all my shots under someone else’s name.

The above is one such conscious decision. Top of the Rock has three observation decks. These folks were on the bottom while I was on the top, about 850 feet high, with only antennae behind me. (No, I am not afraid of heights.) Shooting people in front of objects is a good way to show the relative size of something. We look so insignificant compared to the magnificent skyscrapers all around. Thank God that He sees us as more significant than anything on earth.

Maybe this one’s title is “On Top of New York”.

Empire State Building

This is another conscious decision to take something a casual tourist might not take. Unfortunately, I have seen a near-duplicate of this image elsewhere, although I can’t find it now.

Rockefeller Center was built during the Art Deco period and these arches show that art movement’s influence. I love Art Deco. I wish our tight schedule had allowed me to wander around the building, but it didn’t.

I have no idea what to title this one, either.

Now that these are all matted and framed, I just have to sell them. Wish me luck and send up prayers. The latter are by far the most effective.

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Ghosts of 9/11

Last weekend I watched lots of 9/11 retrospectives. I was fascinated by the stories the programs were telling, but yet I could only tolerate watching a certain amount before I had to turn away. Even now, nine years afterward, the events of that day are hard to comprehend. How could anyone be so evil, so cavalier with their lives and the lives of strangers? What kind of collective dementia causes such actions? I do not understand and I don’t want to understand.

I want to remember.

When Dad and I saw Ground Zero in January, I was shocked at the strength of my emotional response. After all, that horrible September Tuesday was nearly nine years past. But I felt the helpless rage and shock all over again. The sense of violation was very great. And I was nowhere near the Twin Towers, the Pentagon or that field in Shanksville, Pa. So far as I can tell, no one I know was directly affected by the atrocity committed on that day.

But every American was attacked that day.

When I began to process the above image, I was quite startled to see the ghostly skyscraper above the World Trade Center site. I hadn’t seen it when I shot it. Some have said they see faces in those clouds. Maybe. Whatever you see, the entire image is saying “Remember!”

Eleven Tears

Eleven American Express employees were killed in the World Financial Center across the street from the Twin Towers. I had no idea before I saw their lovely memorial in the WFC. The company memorialized their loss with this pool, Eleven Tears. The Brazilian crystal hangs from 11 wires. It has 11 facets. The pool has 11 sides, each side with an employee’s name inscribed, along with a quote in the pool itself. Water falls from the second-story ceiling into the pool, signifying the tears shed on that day.

Only the hard-hearted can look upon that huge tear-shaped crystal and not be moved.


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Fallin’, American Falls is free fallin’

Seneca Casino (left) and Comfort Inn The Pointe (right)

Comfort Inn The Pointe in Niagara Falls, N.Y., advertises that it’s “ideally located at the entrance of Niagara Falls State Park.” This is no exaggeration. In the image above, I am standing in the gate to Niagara Reservation, the state park in which Niagara Falls lies. I arose early enough that the streetlights were still lit.

From the gate, it’s a short walk to the Falls.

Niagara River rapids

First you see the turbulent Niagara River. Its rapids are probably Class IV: Very difficult. “Demands expert boatman and excellent boat and good quality equipment.” In reality, they may as well be Class VI: Unrunnable; i.e., “You will die here.” Anyone trying to run those rapids will almost certainly go over the Falls. The Falls are most definitely unrunnable. Daredevils or would-be suicides face a $10,000 fine, plus rescue costs.

Seven-year-old Roger Woodward was swept over the Falls when his neighbor’s boat capsized and lived, but his miraculous escape is not an example to be followed.

footbridge to Goat Island

This footbridge crosses to Little Green Island, then to Goat Island. For some reason I cannot understand, I didn’t cross that bridge when I came to it. I stood on it, but didn’t cross to the other side. As a consequence, I missed out on Bridal Veil Falls and the view of Horseshoe Falls from the American side.

Disgusting, but life goes on. I guess that gives me something to look forward to should I ever visit Niagara Falls again.

in front of the Falls

Soon the skyline across the river comes into view. And, yes, Virginia, I did visit Niagara Falls!

The river disappears

Of course, I knew perfectly well that the Niagara River would vanish, but the actual sight was disconcerting. I thought of Enoch in the Bible:

And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. (Genesis 5:24, King James Version)

This river WAS NOT.

Niagara Falls

Then, finally, the main attraction: The awesome spectacle of one of God’s wondrous works. Because of the early hour, no one was present when I first began shooting. I had that glorious sight all to myself and I reveled in the solitude amid the roar of Niagara.

Solitude didn’t last long.

tourists at American Falls railing

No one was using these viewing machines, but cameras and video cameras were everywhere.

tourist taking pictures with camera phone

I cannot imagine using only a camera phone for such glorious scenery. If that’s all you’ve got, I guess you have to live with it, but I’d croak if that’s all I had.

Dad at the railing

Dad (third from left) joined me after awhile. I was amazed how many tourists had appeared. What must this scene be like in the summer?

Maid of the Mist boats in drydock

Fewer attractions are open in the winter. The Maid of the Mist boats are unable to navigate the river because they are iced in. Yet still the Falls draw people.

American Falls and Niagara Falls, Ontario

Dad was getting anxious to leave. Boston was still many miles away. So I very reluctantly said good-bye to Niagara. We ate an excellent breakfast at the hotel and were on the road again.

I shot some video of Niagara River and Niagara Falls:

Here’s my slide show of Niagara Falls, New York:

Click on the link in the slide show to order any of them or go to the gallery on my website.

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Canadian ice and lights

Table Rock Ice Castle

Behind Horseshoe Falls are other beautiful photographic opportunities. Table Rock Complex, located across Niagara River Parkway from Horseshoe Falls in Queen Victoria Park is continually sprayed with mist. It looked like something out of a fantasy — an ice castle.

frozen handrail

Anyone who would brave this slanted skating rink is crazy. It was a solid sheet of ice, stairs, handrail, posts and all.

Don't tread on me

The sign states the obvious: “Walkway is not maintained during the winter season.” If I’d been carrying a measuring tape, I would have loved to know how thick this ice was — both on the walk and the tree. The reflection of the lights above was beautiful and acted as a DANGER! sign.

Minolta Tower and Marriott Hotel

Fallsview Boulevard above Queen Victoria Falls is full of hotels and towers and Casino Niagara, all beautifully lit. Konica Minolta Tower started as the Seagram Tower, but has changed names six times. Supposedly Seagram built it to resemble one of their whiskey bottles.

Tower stands 525 feet above the falls and is said to offer spectacular views. The night was late, so we passed on a visit to the tower. Maybe someday…

After I’d shot about as much as my freezing fingers could stand, we turned toward the Rainbow Bridge and New York.

Crossing into Canada had been easy. The customs officer had only asked us whether we had firearms, which we didn’t.

Returning to the United States: Not so easy.

The Niagara Falls bridges together are the second-busiest crossings between the US and Canada. Thankfully, winter traffic is much less than during the rest of the year.

Homeland Security now requires a passport for travel between the US and countries in North America and the Caribbean.

Dad has a passport.

I don’t.

The prices for expedited passport services were outrageous, far more than I could afford. (Too bad I didn’t know a person can do that herself with the State Department — without extra fees.)

After much online research, I discovered that Niagara Falls seemed to have a loophole. A birth certificate and driver’s license would get me back into the USA. I obtained my birth certificate, then held my breath as we approached the Border Patrol station.

We received quite a grilling: Where were we from? How were we related? Why were we traveling? How long had we been in Canada? Yada, yada, yada.

The Border Patrol officer did not seem to be convinced by any of our answers.

Then he asked, “Were there any really cool things you saw on your way here?”

I went blank for a horrible moment.

Then inspiration came.

“There was this really cool rest area in Iowa…”

Suddenly the officer smiled and started giving us travel tips. Then he let us through. Whew!

Here’s my slide show from Niagara Falls, Canada:

To order, click on the gallery link in the slide show or go here.

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Freezing at Niagara Falls, Canada

Speed limit 25 mph

You know you are in Canada when you have to read the interior numbers on the speedometer. 40 kph seems like crawling, especially when 40 on our signs means 40 mph. 40 kph is just under 25 mph.

During the height of summer, I doubt that cars even reach that speed limit. When we were there, hardly anyone else was on the road. Parking lots were empty. What a deal!

Dad next to an ice-encrusted monument

Niagara Falls does a wonderful job of keeping the roads and walks clear. They spread ice melt frequently and every bit of it is necessary. At the time I snapped this picture, we could hardly stand upright. I felt as if I were learning to walk again. We had to cruise from one handhold to another instead of walking unaided.

I wish I knew what this monument commemorated. I thought I’d be able to discern that from the photo, but I can’t read it. Usually, I can find anything on Google, but this answer eludes me. If anyone can tell me, I’d appreciate it.

Just after I snapped the above picture, someone drove by and spread ice melt.

The walk shortly became passable and we were free to enjoy.

our first view of Horseshoe Falls

This is the first view we had of the Falls. It was more beautiful than I had remembered. I had visited in November 1985, but those memories had faded.

Niagara Parks trains spotlights on the Falls at night. Every so often, they change colors.

purple falls

Here the Falls are in purple.

green spotlight

They changed the lights to green. Skywheel is toward the left of picture. Rainbow Bridge that connects Niagara Falls, N.Y., to Niagara Falls, Ontario, is toward the right.

Niagara Falls in green spotlight

Here are the Falls with that green spotlight.

And now in white.

I like the simplicity of the white best, but the colors are fun too.

Niagara Falls with rainbow section

The mist covers everything and light shining on it produces wonderful prismatic effects like this one. I wasn’t lucky enough to see a full rainbow.

I feel blessed to have gotten these pictures. I have rarely — if ever — shot in such adverse conditions. Dad was carrying my tripod and we got separated somehow. I had to shoot all these low-light pictures with my elbows on the fence. Amazingly, that steadied my hands enough for clear pictures. Because of the constant rain of mist, I wrapped my camera in gallon storage bags held on by rubber bands. Only the lens was exposed. I wore my down parka, Gore-Tex Thinsulate pants and hiking boots with several layers underneath. That was comfortable. My fingers were anything but. I was wearing Thinsulate convertible gloves, but I had to expose my fingers to shoot.

Brrrrr! This was worse than night football in the rain, but, oh, was it FUN! I’d do it again tomorrow. Can we go? Can we? Huh? Huh?

Here’s my slide show from Niagara Falls, Canada:

To order, click on the gallery link in the slide show or go here.

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