Monochrome Mondays

Summer is progressing here. Long lazy days where you don’t want to move around too much. Just find a shady spot somewhere and watch the world go by. Here in the big city there are lots of places, and lots of things to look at of course. Since we moved to Queens I have one favorite spot called the Anable Basin, or as some call it, the Eleventh Street Basin in Long Island City. It is an artificial inlet built in the 1860’s for industrial use. When much of that industry dried up, the area went through a period of decline before being re-purposed in the 1990’s as Gantry Plaza State Park. The park as a whole offers a lot of activities and people watching, as well as an amazing view across the river to Manhattan. But tucked away on the side of the park, runs the basin. As I have said here before, I love old buildings, and things like a ship wharf or an old brick building have a natural appeal for me. I love sitting there under the trees reading or people watching and imagining what the same view must have looked like 100 years ago. Which is just something your mind seems to do on a long lazy day in the shade.

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Home

Home is a unique word. As adults most of us have a home. An actual current home we live in. Often though we talk about other homes from our past. The home we were raised in. The home we lived in after breaking out on our own for the first time. The home we move into with our significant others. The home we spend our final days. The word evokes so much, both good and bad. Earlier tonight, I was looking at this photo I took a few weeks ago on a ferry trip from Brooklyn to Rockaway Beach. The photographer half of me took it because the scene was so inspiring on a beautiful day. The other half of me, the emotional half realized that it was my home in so many ways.

Other than 4 years off for good behavior attending college in Massachusetts, this photo represents all my ‘homes’. On the right of this photo is Brooklyn, where I was born. It also shows Queens, where my wife and I have happily lived for over two years now. On the left is New Jersey, where I grew up and spent all my youth. In the middle of course is Manhattan, where I spent my most crucial years of development. It is where I began taking up photography. It is where I dived deeper into the rich diversity of music that was there for the taking. It is where I met Jennifer, the person who has changed my life the most in so many incredible ways. It is where I learned who I am, though of course that process is ever evolving. Finally, surrounding it all is water, which connects me with my spiritual home of Ireland. Those of you familiar with my posts know that water plays a crucial role in my photography. That ebb and flow feels like life itself, and for me that is a crucial realization. My physical home may change, but for now as I ride the most meager ferry, or sip a beer on a beach, the crucial ingredient to all of them has been a connection to the water. Lakes feed the rivers, which flow to the sea, which carry you away towards home…

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Monochrome Mondays

Just like in any big city, there is a lot of interesting architecture scattered around. Not just the big flashy skyscrapers, but churches, apartment buildings, and even transit buildings. The other night I went to Coney Island. For the first time I took notice of the old front of the Coney Island subway station. After years of decay and decline by the 1980’s plans eventually went in place to restore it. That included keeping the original facade to the building. The station itself was renovated nicely, with a good design and accomodating. What I love the most though is that wonderful facade with a string of lights over its entryway. It gives an air of being a theater almost. Well worth going to Coney Island for. I hear there is other ‘stuff’ at Coney Island too! 😄

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Monochrome Mondays

I’ve always been a fan of optical illusions. Those subtle little works of art that play little tricks on the viewers eyes. They can be fun games to play with people. I’m sure everyone at some point has played the ‘is it a vase, or is it a silhouette of two people game’. Or stared at photos to reveal a hidden object after a period of time. Or tried proving that objects that are further away appear smaller (just like Father Ted once exasperatingly tried to do!). Here’s a list of some of the classic ones-http://https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_optical_illusions

Artists such as MC Escher, Salvador Dali, and Marcel Duchamp utilized various types of optical illusions as well in their work. As I said in my recent post Terra Firma, sometimes in the moments before you take a photo, you get a sense of where you are going with the shot. You know what you are after, and you just hope the technique and decisions you choose are the right ones. I remember when I saw this scene for the first time I had the vaguest sense of it being an optical illusion of sorts in the way the archway fades up towards the distance. What do you think? What are your favorite illusions?

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Monochrome Mondays

There are days (or evenings) when the most routine things look unique. Scenes you see day in and day out. But then you just look at them in a new way and think, that’s kind of cool! That happened the other night getting off the subway. Maybe it was the time of day and the shadows that were set against the sun. That is one of my favorite things about monochrome photography. It really highlights shadows. I couldn’t actually decide on just one photo so  for the first time here on Monochrome Mondays I’m sharing more than one photo!

Happy Memorial Day as well. Thank you to all who have served.

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Monochrome Mondays

Well after a week off for a business trip to Las Vegas, Monochrome Mondays is back again. I’ll have to make this one shorter than normal in its description, owing to the fact that I came into about 200 emails in my absence. Not to mention the remnants of a raging cold which kept me home almost the entire weekend. On Friday as I made my way home early in the morning-by monorail, subway, then taxi, the closer I came to our neighborhood, the more I could not wait to see the first signs that I was really home. Coming up out of the subway not feeling well, tired and bedraggled, bags straining at their seams I caught my first sure sign that I was almost home. Like most places in New York City, one only has to look up to know where you are. It is no different in my neighborhood, and in any direction I can see distinctive buildings, smokestacks or water towers to guide me. But coming up out of that subway the other day and while wearily hailing a cab to take me the rest of the way, I saw the slightest glimpse of the Queensboro 59th Street Bridge. And that’s when I knew I was home for sure!

Queensboro 59th Street Bridge

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Monochrome Mondays

Well today is May 1st and spring is well and truly here. Which of course means that summer is not too far behind. Which also means it will soon be time to go to places like the one shown in this photo-Coney Island. Though much has changed there over the years, for a lot of people, those two words signal the start of yet another summer of the beach, boardwalk, amusements the Cyclone (and for baseball fans, the Cyclones), Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, freak shows, and lots of people watching. There is something so unique about Coney Island. When you get off the usually long subway ride out there, you just get a feeling of letting it all go,  and all the worries and problems disappear. Pictured is the famous Parachute Jump ride, which has sadly been long shut down to the public. But the unique structure still stands towering above the area, a reminder that whenever you see it in the distance, good times are near.

Coney Island

A heads up for everyone, due to a business trip to Las Vegas next week, Monochrome Mondays will return on May 15th!

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