Tag Archives: photography as therapy

Christmas Day…a few photos and a few words.

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
― Dr. Seuss

So a couple things. Firstly, yes I know that these pics are a week late. I’ve been busy. Between two jobs I’m on a two week stretch without a day off. What a way to start the new year, right? But on the other hand, working this hard during the holidays is a good test for me…a sort of personal challenge to keep my spirits up (or maybe it’s just a diversion). Anyhow, all of these were taken on Christmas. The photo above (sorry, that one was actually shot on Christmas Eve Day) was taken as I unlocked my bike at a coffee shop. The car was parked right up to my bike and as I looked up the cross shone in the sunlight…perfect and appropriate, I thought. So I took it’s photo. The next four photos below were taken on the way to my sister’s house for a family gathering on Christmas. I was actually in a car (yes, it’s true…car share) and I took a detour to Buffalo’s outer harbor for a bit of peace along the way. I love it there any time of year. And the last photo below–the moon, of course–is the first Christmas full moon since 1977. It took it’s photo, with a glass of wine in hand, from my front yard when I arrived home in the evening.

The view from my handlebars. A few photos and a few words.

So a couple things. Firstly, I haven’t been taking as many photos these last few months because of a few reasons, but mostly because at my not-so-new job I don’t always have a secure place to store my camera so I don’t always carry it with me. But there are other reasons as well. And as a person that needs some sort of creative output on a daily basis to survive (no joke), photography is a form of therapy for me. I woke today to a rather bleak morning. It was Sunday, grey, and the fourth Sunday of Advent. And as I lay in bed I wasn’t sure if I was motivated enough to get up, shower, and head to church. But I did, and am glad that I did for so many reasons. I brought my camera and the air felt crisp and clean as I pedaled; it felt good. But between the grayness and the holidays I was feeling a bit melancholy. So as I pedaled I whispered to the Universe…”Show me your beauty, I really need it.” And she did. Sometimes it’s the everyday things; things you see or do each day, but when viewed with a different view, can bring light into your life. It did for me today. And yes, the picture below is a rare selfie. I passed a mirror on my travels and I saw my own reflection and thought it looked sort of cool in a mirror outside. The mirror is at a sharp and narrow corner and is there so drivers can see if another car is approaching. Anyhow, it’s proof that I do actually take many of my photos from my bike. 

Urban Simplicity.

Thoughts on gratitude…

Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”

~Psalm 139:7-8

In Your Midst

There is so much,

just so much to be grateful for.

But some days I don’t see it.

Mind-made problems cover me in fog.

Asleep.

Mind narrows.

Heart hardens.

My world becomes small.

Some days,

even in your midst,

I don’t see you.

But I catch glimpses.

The veil is lifted.

However slightly,

and briefly.

And then I remember.

I am humbled,

and tears well.

In gratitude.

Beauty overwhelms.

I have everything.

You are closer to me than I can imagine,

closer than my very breath.

There is so much to be grateful for.

In the midst of everything.

In the midst of you.

Every day; every hour.

Each second.

Right now, in fact.

All I have to do is look.

Urban Simplicity

Thoughts on gratitude…

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”
~Psalm 139:7-8

In Your Midst 
There is so much,
just so much to be grateful for.
But some days I don’t see it.
Or more importantly,
feel it.
Mind-made problems cover me in fog.
Asleep.
Mind narrows.
Heart hardens.
Self-centers. 
World becomes small.
Some days,
even in your midst,
I don’t see you.
But I catch glimpses.
The veil is lifted.
However slightly,
and briefly.
And then I remember.
I am humbled,
and tears well.
In gratitude.
Beauty overwhelms.
I have everything.
You are closer to me than I can imagine,
closer than my very breath.
There is so much to be grateful for.
In the midst of everything.
In the midst of you.
Every day; every hour.
Each second.
Right now, in fact.
All I have to do is look.

Urban Simplicity

Aren’t you embarrassed by that little thing? A few words and a few photos.

So a couple things. Firstly, I likely got your attention enough to click this link by the silly heading. But more on that in a minute.

I was in NYC the last few days. Just a short get away. I always love the energy of that beautiful city. I shot nearly 200 photos in three days, and it could have been many more if I didn’t refrain myself.

Anyhow, in an effort to travel light, or at least lighter, I recently purchased a small travel tripod for my camera. It is nice; it’s heavy duty but really easy to carry as I walked around all day. But the drawback is that it only extends to about 18 inches. So I tried to find something to set it on…a garbage can, mailbox, anything so long as it is steady. But if nothing was available I’d simply sit on the ground; this wasn’t the first nor the last time I’ve done that. Anyhow, I was doing just that when taking the photo of McSorley’s Ale House (below). After stopping in for a couple beers (they are always 2-for-one) I wanted a photo of the place but there was nothing to set my teeny tripod on. So I sat down on the curb. And as I was taking photos a women walked past. She stopped for a moment, looked as if she were going to keep walking, but then questioned, “Why are you sitting on the ground?” Motioning to the camera, I explained to her that I needed the camera steady for a night shot but my tripod was small and there was nothing to set it on directly opposite my subject. She sort of smirked a bit, and before continuing on her way, she replied, “But aren’t you embarrassed by that little thing?” I laughed out loud, sitting on the curb. So did she as she walked away.

And then a bit later, after walking over the Washington Square Park, I thought I’d take a picture of the arch (bottom photo). I did find a few things to set the tripod on but I wanted a shot off to the side. So I went over to the edge of the common area and sat on the ground. And now I started to feel a bit self-conscious…maybe I shouldn’t be sitting on the ground taking photos.

It was unseasonably warm, but because of the time of year it was dark even though it wasn’t very late, and the park was relatively crowded. And when I looked to my left there was a man in black tights and cowboy boots doing sun salutations. All I could do was smile and go back to my photo-taking. This was, after all, Greenwich Village…magnet to every eccentric on the planet. It was ok to be taking photos while I sat on the ground, and my teeny tripod was just fine. Click any photo for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

Aren’t you embarrassed by that little thing? A few words and a few photos.

So a couple things. Firstly, I likely got your attention enough to click this link by the silly heading. But more on that in a minute.

I was in NYC the last few days. Just a short get away. I always love the energy of that beautiful city. I shot nearly 200 photos in three days, and it could have been many more if I didn’t refrain myself.  

Anyhow, in an effort to travel light, or at least lighter, I recently purchased a small travel tripod for my camera. It is nice; it’s heavy duty but really easy to carry as I walked around all day. But the drawback is that it only extends to about 18 inches. So I tried to find something to set it on…a garbage can, mailbox, anything so long as it is steady. But if nothing was available I’d simply sit on the ground; this wasn’t the first nor the last time I’ve done that. Anyhow, I was doing just that when taking the photo of McSorley’s Ale House (below). After stopping in for a couple beers (they are always 2-for-one) I wanted a photo of the place but there was nothing to set my teeny tripod on. So I sat down on the curb. And as I was taking photos a women walked past. She stopped for a moment, looked as if she were going to keep walking, but then questioned, “Why are you sitting on the ground?” Motioning to the camera, I explained to her that I needed the camera steady for a night shot but my tripod was small and there was nothing to set it on directly opposite my subject. She sort of smirked a bit, and before continuing on her way, she replied, “But aren’t you embarrassed by that little thing?” I laughed out loud, sitting on the curb. So did she as she walked away.

And then a bit later, after walking over the Washington Square Park, I thought I’d take a picture of the arch (bottom photo). I did find a few things to set the tripod on but I wanted a shot off to the side. So I went over to the edge of the common area and sat on the ground. And now I started to feel a bit self-conscious…maybe I shouldn’t be sitting on the ground taking photos.

It was unseasonably warm, but because of the time of year it was dark even though it wasn’t very late, and the park was relatively crowded. And when I looked to my left there was a man in black tights and cowboy boots doing sun salutations. All I could do was smile and go back to my photo-taking. This was, after all, Greenwich Village…magnet to every eccentric on the planet. It was ok to be taking photos while I sat on the ground, and my teeny tripod was just fine. Click any photo for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

Two photos; two evenings

I suppose this post could easily be filed under “shameless self-promotion,” but hey, someone has do do it. Anyhow, if you happen to be in the Western New York area there are two events this week where my photos will serve as the backdrop.

The first is this Thursday (11/5) at Burchfield Penny Arts Center. There is a performance hosted by Haiku for Buffalo and the Buffalo Architecture Foundation. It’s a free event and open to all. The above photo (of Kleinhans Music Hall) will serve as a backdrop for at last part of the show. Here is a link with information about the performance(s).

The next night, Friday (11/6) there will be a book opening at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. My photo of one of my favorite watering holes is featured as the book cover (pictured below). The editors and some of the writers will be present. Here is a link with additional information about the book and the event. Hope to see you there…

Urban Simplicity.

Two photos; two evenings

I suppose this post could easily be filed under “shameless self-promotion,” but hey, someone has do do it. Anyhow, if you happen to be in the Western New York area there are two events this week where my photos will serve as the backdrop.

The first is this Thursday (11/5) at Burchfield Penny Arts Center. There is a performance hosted by Haiku for Buffalo and the Buffalo Architecture Foundation. It’s a free event and open to all. The above photo (of Kleinhans Music Hall) will serve as a backdrop for at least part of the show. Here is a link with information about the performance(s).

The next night, Friday (11/6) there will be a book opening at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. My photo of one of my favorite watering holes is featured as the book cover (pictured below). The editors and some of the writers will be present. Here is a link with additional information about the book and the event. Hope to see you there…

Urban Simplicity.

The view from my handlebars…

Some years ago I worked with a waiter who was from France, and he told me one of the things he noticed straight away about Buffalo was its trees…how even some of our busier streets have such beautiful and grand trees. The weather has been so incredibly idyllic and autumnal these last few weeks I have been in awe of the magnificent colors of the trees. And–as I’ve said on numerous occasions–one tends to see more when they are on a bike or foot. Anyhow, the above photo and the first two below were taken this evening on my way home from my second job (they were all taken on Linwood Avenue, which has a great two-way bike lane), and the bottom photo was taken in the morning on my way to my first job (Elmwood Avenue). This evening I was in fact so taken by the colors that I was looking up and almost ran into the rear of a parked car. Click any photo for a slightly larger image.

Urban Simplicity.

The view from my handlebars…

Some years ago I worked with a waiter who was from France, and he told me one of the things he noticed straight away about Buffalo was its trees…how even some of our busier streets have such beautiful and grand trees. The weather has been so incredibly idyllic and autumnal these last few weeks I have been in awe of the magnificent colors of the trees. And–as I’ve said on numerous occasions–one tends to see more when they are on a bike or foot. Anyhow, the above photo and the first two below were taken this evening on my way home from my second job (they were all taken on Linwood Avenue, which has a great two-way bike lane), and the bottom photo was taken in the morning on my way to my first job (Elmwood Avenue). This evening I was in fact so taken by the colors that I was looking up and almost ran into the rear of a parked car. Click any photo for a slightly larger image.

Urban Simplicity.

Chasing Light…

So as many of you know I have been voluntarily car-free for a few years now. It does have it’s hardships now and again (I’d be fibbing if I said otherwise) but the good far outweighs the negative (as is with most things in life). This said, one of the things I love about being on a bike is seeing all that is around me and in all weather conditions. And two of my favorite times to shoot photos are dawn and dusk. I am up at dawn a few times a week for work but usually do not have time to take photos, thus most of them are shot at dusk. The French have a phrase for these times of day…l’heure bleue (the blue hour) because of the distinctive blue hue the sky often takes and the way colors are enhanced. A camera has three ways in which one can manipulate how much light enters it and for how long, this is called the “exposure triangle.” There is also, of course, post-upload software to help enhance photos. But with the camera itself, and the software, nothing can compare to what natural light offers to a photo. And with this in mind–when I have the intention of going out to take photos in the evening–I usually time it…I check the sunset time and head out with enough time to set up my camera and have a beer or glass of wine. The thing is I often under-shoot the time, meaning I cut myself short and have to hurry. Sometimes I think I must look like a crazy person; the waterfront is about 2 or 3 miles from my house and I can only imagine the sight of me…a middle aged guy on a bike pedaling as fast as he can while looking at the sky. The perfect light only lasts minutes, sometimes seconds; one minute can drastically change a photo’s look. This is why I think of it as “chasing light.”

Urban Simplicity.

Chasing Light…

So as many of you know I have been voluntarily car-free for a few years now. It does have it’s hardships now and again (I’d be fibbing if I said otherwise) but the good far outweighs the negative (as is with most things in life). This said, one of the things I love about being on a bike is seeing all that is around me and in all weather conditions. And two of my favorite times to shoot photos are dawn and dusk. I am up at dawn a few times a week for work but usually do not have time to take photos, thus most of them are shot at dusk. The French have a phrase for these times of day…l’heure bleue (the blue hour) because of the distinctive blue hue the sky often takes and the way colors are enhanced. A camera has three ways in which one can manipulate how much light enters it and for how long, this is called the “exposure triangle.” There is also, of course, post-upload software to help enhance photos. But with the camera itself, and the software, nothing can compare to what natural light offers to a photo. And with this in mind–when I have the intention of going out to take photos in the evening–I usually time it…I check the sunset time and head out with enough time to set up my camera and have a beer or glass of wine. The thing is I often under-shoot the time, meaning I cut myself short and have to hurry. Sometimes I think I must look like a crazy person; the waterfront is about 2 or 3 miles from my house and I can only imagine the sight of me…a middle aged guy on a bike pedaling as fast as he can while looking at the sky. The perfect light only lasts minutes, sometimes seconds; one minute can drastically change a photo’s look. This is why I think of it as “chasing light.”

Urban Simplicity.

Sister Autumn

Sister Autumn

Sometimes you arrive so gradually

That I barley notice

There’s a slight shift

Balmy days

Give way to cool nights

Warm breezes

To chilly winds

Early nights announce you

But I don’t listen

You deceive me

Flowers still bloom

There are leaves on trees

But here you are

As if the door was left ajar

And you slipped in

Quietly

And sat down

With just a whisper

But now that I look

I see you

And I smile

Warm days and chilly nights

You are my favorite

But you know this

Your embrace

With freshness in the air

Is all-encompassing

And it comforts me

I hug you with all my senses

And I don’t want to release you

Because it’s your brother

Winter

Whom I’ve begun to dread

And he’s just behind you

For him

There is preparation

But for now

I solely embrace you

Sister Autumn

With your incredible beauty in decay

Signaling another cycle

Another year’s end

A reminder

But for now

Your embrace is enough

It fills me

And I overflow

Urban Simplicity

Sister Autumn

Sister Autumn 
Sometimes you arrive so gradually
That I barley notice
There’s a slight shift
Balmy days
Give way to cool nights
Warm breezes
To chilly winds
Early nights announce you
But I don’t listen
You deceive me
Flowers still bloom
There are leaves on trees
But here you are
As if the door was left ajar
And you slipped in
Quietly
And sat down
With just a whisper
But now that I look
I see you
And I smile
Warm days and chilly nights
You are my favorite
But you know this
Your embrace
With freshness in the air
Is all-encompassing
And it comforts me
I hug you with all my senses
And I don’t want to release you
Because it’s your brother
Winter
Whom I’ve begun to dread
And he’s just behind you
For him
There is preparation
But for now
I solely embrace you
Sister Autumn
With your incredible beauty in decay
Signaling another cycle
Another year’s end
A reminder
But for now
Your embrace is enough
It fills me
And I overflow

Urban Simplicity

A photo and a few words…

Between Storms

Crash!

Kaboom!

This is how I was awakened predawn.

It was a thunderstorm.

Lightening lit up the room like a strobe.

Boom boom, in rapid succession.

But slowly in subsided.

So did the rain.

I rode my bike to work that morning.

The handlebar lamp barely piercing the darkness.

Clouds rumbled in the distance.

In the far flung edges of my world.

Out over the Great Lakes.

The angels are bowling, I thought to myself.

As I pedaled.

That’s what my mother would tell me when I was a child.

Flashes of light lit my way.

Followed by rolling thunder.

There was absolutely no breeze.

The air hung heavy.

Everything dripped.

The sky was alive.

After locking up my bike,

I stood there.

Looking at the sky.

Taking it in.

The sound of thunder.

Getting closer.

The flashes of light.

More frequent.

And then the rain came.

I was between storms.

A photo and a few words…

Between Storms 

Crash!

Kaboom!
This is how I was awakened predawn.
It was a thunderstorm.
Lightening lit up the room like a strobe.
Boom boom, in rapid succession.
But slowly it subsided.
So did the rain.
I rode my bike to work that morning.
The handlebar lamp barely piercing the darkness.
Clouds rumbled in the distance.
In the far flung edges of my world.
Out over the Great Lakes.
The angels are bowling, I thought to myself.
As I pedaled.
That’s what my mother would tell me when I was a child.
Flashes of light lit my way.
Followed by rolling thunder.
There was absolutely no breeze.
The air hung heavy.
Everything dripped.
The sky was alive.
After locking up my bike,
I stood there.
Looking at the sky.
Taking it in.
The sound of thunder.
Getting closer.
The flashes of light.
More frequent.
And then the rain came.
I was between storms.