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New Years Day (two photos)…

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 It has been cold outside. Really cold. In the teens and single digits Fahrenheit. Snowy, too. Anyhow, after doing a bunch of errands today I bundled up and grabbed a camera and tripod and went for a brief but contemplative walk (which ended with beers at a bar). Anyhow, these are a couple pics of the neighborhood in which I live. In the top photo I am standing on the north east corner of Allen and Elmwood looking west down Allen. And the bottom photo is Days Park. Click either for a slightly larger view. 

Urban Simplicity.

Street Art…a few things I saw while riding my bike today.

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I feel truly blessed in that all of this free street art is within a few blocks radius of my front door.

Urban Simplicity.

The View from My Handlebars on a Clear but Frigid Evening…

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The corner of Allen and Elmwood on a very cold night. I was on my way home from the community center after a steam and swim. The air on my face was cold–really cold–and my fingers were freezing (I really need to get better gloves). I was feeling slightly stressed because of the self-inflicted nonsense that is often happening in my head. And I looked up and saw that full moon directly above. How could I not snap its picture. Anyhow, I thought I’d share.

Urban Simplicity.

A few things I saw while walking home from work on a really cold night…

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Urban Simplicity

Hot Colors, Cold Night…my neighborhood in the pouring rain

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So I haven’t posted much in the last few days–or a week–for a few reasons. The first is that my life has seemed to get increasingly busier (am I the only one that feels this way?). And the second reason is that I’ve had a mild lens malfunction on my camera as of late. From my very first post on this blog (ok, second post), I’ve made the commitment to have at least one photo with each post. And as I’ve gradually made the transition from 35mm (of years ago) to my little point-and-shoot cameras, and now to my entree level dslr, I’ve become somewhat spoiled. Spoiled when I can’t get my camera(s) to capture what actually I see in front of me. Thus was the issue with my malfunctioning lens. Anyhow, I recently purchased (it just arrived today, actually) a refurbished lens and was hellbent on testing it even though it was raining. So tonight, being slightly fortified with a couple glasses of wine–and armed with my camera, three lenses, a tripod, and an umbrella–I went out in the pouring rain and took a few photos. Here are four of them. Click any for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

Allentown on a Thursday evening…

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Though it’s not officially autumn yet it certainly feels like it today. It felt good. It was also the first day since last spring that I wore a light jacket. Many of you know–either by being a local or from reading this blog previously–that the Allentown that I mention in the the title of this post does not refer to the city of Allentown, Pennsylvania but rather to the neighborhood by the same name in the city in which I live, Buffalo, NY. Allentown, is small without doubt, something like 10 city blocks, but it’s culture is international. It is a village within a city, really. And it is both commercial and residential. The main thoroughfares–Allen Street and Elmwood Avenue, which intersect–are mostly (but not entirely) commercial, while most of the streets leading off of or intertwine to are mostly residential. It is a nice mix and I feel blessed to call this my home. I went out to purchase a bottle of wine this evening (which I am currently enjoying), and I brought along a camera and tripod (big surprise). And in the two city blocks walk to the liquor store (which is pictured here), I passed the following sights. A young woman playing a piano (when I asked her why she was playing her piano outside she stated simply that she liked to make beautiful music…and it was), multiple bars and restaurants (some of which are known for hosting international musicians, and some that…umm, well, let’s just say have reputations of their own, click here and here). I also passed a poetry reading and a mural dedicated to the late Spain Rodriguez (among other street art). As I took photos a few people came up to talk to me (this happens often), and one of the people was a guy about my age or maybe a little older who seemed a bit tipsy. He was an artist, he said, and had work hanging in galleries in Buffalo, New York City, and Rome. But still, he added, he liked to call this neighborhood home. I don’t know if he was telling the truth or stretching it. But what I do know is that all of this is within a 3 minute walk from my front door. And this is what I thought about on my brief walk home while the first chilly air of the season brushed across my face.

Urban Simplicity.

On a balmy evening…

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I’m not sure what area of the world you are reading this but in Western New York it has been hot and humid this past week. In a word…balmy. I actually have the weekend off of work but have been doing some rehab on my house and spent the better part of the day yesterday and today squatting on rafters next to an uninsulated roof. It was, to say the least, very sauna-like temperatures (only a lot dirtier). Anyhow, this evening it cooled a bit and I felt I needed to get out and get some air. So I went for a short walk around my neighborhood, snapped a few photos, and then stopped for a couple beers in an air conditioned bar. I used a long shutter speed for these photos and it enhanced the red-orange hue of the night-time lighting, which I thought captured the balminess well. Click any photo for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

A couple things I saw while riding home this evening…

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Two things three photos. Kleinhans Music Hall, and First Presbyterian Church. Both are located at Symphony Circle on the edge of Allentown, Buffalo, NY.

Urban Simplicity.

Allentown at Night.

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If you’ve been to this blog before then you know a few things about me. One is that I live in Buffalo, New York, and another is that I reside in Allentown, which feels–to me–like a village within the city. You also likely know that I really enjoy my neighborhood. Often eclectic, somewhat grimy at times, always interesting, some have compared it to Buffalo’s version of Greenwich Village (ok, a really small version of it). At any rate, I left work this evening after facing a stove for most of the day and found it was a beautiful evening. Not wanting to go straight home (the cool air felt so good), and  having my camera with me, I snapped a few shots of my neighborhood. 

Urban Simplicity.

The View from My Handlebars on a Cool Spring Evening…

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Despite a light rain, it was–after spending a hot and bustling day in the kitchen–a lovely evening to be on a bike.

Urban Simplicity.

Ma Ville la Nuit…

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I was going to write something today about the mass shooting in Connecticut yesterday. But I can’t. It would seem trite. No words will do. Last night I had work to do at home (some reading and writing) but I couldn’t. I couldn’t think. I had to get out of the house. So I grabbed a couple cameras and a rickety half-broken tripod and went for a long solitary walk on a crisp and starless night. It soothed me a little to view my neighborhood through a lens…sort of disconnecting myself from reality. Somewhat how I still feel today. My heart, thoughts, and prayers go out to those families in Connecticut.

If you are a Western New Yorker (or an ex-pat) you’ll likely recognize these images, but if you are not from the area the pictures are from top to bottom:

Allen Street
Day’s Park
Kleinhans Music Hall
Arlington Park
First Presbyterian Church
Another view of Allen Street
And the “Old Pink” 

Urban Simplicity

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#413)

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 Photo taken in front of Allentown Music, which ironically is no longer located in Allentown.

A new soft-shell acoustic guitar case (for my son) and a birthday gift (to me) from my sisters.

Urban Simplicity.

A Few Test Photos…and a few words, too

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I just purchased an inexpensive used camera from someone off craigslist today. I now have three cameras and none cost more than $99US. This is not meant to be a braggart’s statement, but just to reinforce that one does not need a $500 camera to take good pictures. Anyhow, and this is interesting, I think, how they all function differently and that they are each better at some tasks than others (obvious, right?). The smallest of the three, a little palm-sized point-and-shoot takes the best close ups…yup, that’s right, most of the close up pictures of flowers on this blog were taken with a camera that is small enough to be hidden within the two palms of my hands. The new used one I purchased today seems to have the best zoom qualities, which will be interesting. All the pictures in this post were taken with that camera. The seagulls above, for example, were likely 1/2 mile in the sky, as was the church steeple below (I love that one). The one below that is of the Bubble Man of Allen Street; he was a half block away and 3 floors up. The fat pregnant stray cat below…well, how could I not take a picture of her if my camera was already in my hand. And the bottom picture is a silhouette of Allentown at dusk with pink sky in the background, the last scene I saw before entering my house. I like this camera.

Urban Simplicity.

Playing with Light (again)

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These are photos I took a couple nights ago, just a block from my house on Buffalo‘s lower west side. I took them with an inexpensive little point-and-shoot camera; proof that you don’t need an expensive camera to take interesting photos (though I wouldn’t mind if I had one…but their price is prohibitive at present). Sunset and sunrise are some of the most magical parts of the day I think…and the light that it brings–from an extreme angle–makes it even more so. As beautiful as these photos are, though, the thing that freaks me out is the lack of snow for this time of year…this is the land of lake effect snow after all; it’s rare that it is this warm and snow-less this time of year (makes me wonder if we are going to get pummeled in January). Anyhow, as I was taking the photos of the sun setting over Lake Erie, the title of one of my favorite books came to mind…The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway. The title of the book, of course, was a play on the first paragraph in Ecclesiastes:  

The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.
Ecclesiastes 1:5

This may be the case, but the real question to me is when will the snow come. Nonetheless, I’m enjoying the mild weather (it’s great from bike riding). Enjoy the photos; click either for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

>Full Moon over Allen Street (denuo)

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>

On my way home from work tonight I was so taken by the moon I had to snap a few photos of it. I posted a photo of this a month ago from this same spot (at the last full moon…that photo was better; more dramatic, click here to see it). And though this image does not do it justice, the moon was/is incredible tonight. It amazes me to think that everyone on this side of the globe can see that same white orb up in the sky at the same time. And while I was there snapping pictures a car pulls up, and the window rolls down…”Do you want me to be in the picture?” the drunk (driver) asks me as he flashes me the peace sign with his fingers. No thanks, I respond. “Why not?” Ummm…I’m just taking pictures of the moon, I tell him. “Com’on…take my picture,” he pleaded. There’s something really weird, I think, about a grown man you don’t know nearly begging you to take his photo. And as I thought that I put my camera in my pocket, hopped on my bike and pedaled away. The trees below were directly behind me, ilumminated by the moon (and street lights) on Days Park. To read more about Allen Street, click here or here.

Full Moon over Allen Street (denuo)

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On my way home from work tonight I was so taken by the moon I had to snap a few photos of it. I posted a photo of this a month ago from this same spot (at the last full moon…that photo was better; more dramatic, click here to see it). And though this image does not do it justice, the moon was/is incredible tonight. It amazes me to think that everyone on this side of the globe can see that same white orb up in the sky at the same time. And while I was there snapping pictures a car pulls up, and the window rolls down…”Do you want me to be in the picture?” the drunk (driver) asks me as he flashes me the peace sign with his fingers. No thanks, I respond. “Why not?” Ummm…I’m just taking pictures of the moon, I tell him. “Com’on…take my picture,” he pleaded. There’s something really weird, I think, about a grown man you don’t know nearly begging you to take his photo. And as I thought that I put my camera in my pocket, hopped on my bike and pedaled away. The trees below were directly behind me, ilumminated by the moon (and street lights) on Days Park. To read more about Allen Street, click here or here.