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Two photos; two evenings

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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.

The view from my handlebars…

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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…

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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

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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 few of the beautiful animals I saw at the zoo yesterday…

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Urban Simplicity

A few things I saw while riding my bike yesterday…

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Urban Simplicity

A photo and a few words…

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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 few more.

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Here’s a few more photos of my ongoing “Waterfront Series.” These were taken the evening before last. Click any for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

On the waterfront (bis)…

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Okay. So sorry about the multiple pictures of Buffalo’s waterfront. I have posted from this same vantage point on numerous times prior. But I just find it so fascinating. Every time I go there for a couple beers (there’s a beautiful outdoor bar) and to take photos I see something different even if looking at the same scene as before. I shot these a couple evenings ago. I really like them all but the most dramatic, I think, is the one pictured above. I saw this when I first arrived…this crazy turbulent low-lying cloud just sort of rolling across the lake and above us. And rolling is a good description because I later found that it is actually called a “roll cloud” (or Arcus cloud). Shortly thereafter there was lightening and rain; this cloud was a sort of precursor. Anyhow, and I apologize in advance, but there will likely be more waterfront photos before the summer is finished…

Urban Simplicity.

N.Y.C. 6.26.15

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Urban Simplicity.

After the rain…

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Urban Simplicity.

Lady Liberty, an Uncredited Quote, and a Few Other Things…

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So I had the day off of work yesterday and felt like taking a few photos. I’ve been meaning to go to the observation deck at city hall for a while so that’s what I did. The view really is spectacular. In the rear of the building there is an incredible vista of Lake Erie and the Canadian shoreline, to the north I could clearly see the roof to my house, and to the east a spectacular view of our city and another of my favorite buildings…the Liberty Building, which is pictured above, below, and a closeup in the very bottom photo. The photo directly above and below are the view as you walk out onto the observation deck. There is an inspirational quote etched into the glass (click the below image for a larger view). I was surprised to see that the quote was uncredited. I had to Google the words to find her. The words are from the gospel song, Remind Me Dear Lord, written by singer/songwriter Dottie Rambo and popularized by singer/songwriter Alison Krauss. Anyhow, as I was exiting the building and unlocking my bike a guy approached me. I could see that he worked at city hall because of his name tage. He asked me if I were taking photos, to which I said I was. And at first I thought he was going to warn me or something. But as it turns out he just wanted to tell me to go to the Common Council room to take photos of the stained glass windows. I didn’t know it was open to the public, but he assured me it was. And to my surprise I went back in and up to the thirteenth floor and pulled on the large wooden door and it opened. Anyhow, the building truly is beautiful, and these are likely mre photos than you care to see. But feel free to click any for a slightly larger view. They are in no particular order. To see a few evening shots of city hall, click here.

Urban Simplicity.

Photos from a Vigil…

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Tonight a few hundred people gathered in Delaware Park to remember the very short life and tragic death of Maksym Sugorovskiy. I rode my bike. It was a beautiful night. But I couldn’t help but think how incredible it was that all these people–mostly strangers, including myself–gathered in remembrance of this innocent child. I took a few photos because despite the crowd of people the park looked so lovely and peaceful. It in itself looked sort of innocent.


Urban Simplicity.

On the waterfront (bis)…photos and words

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So a couple things first. These photos were taken over a two day period. The night shots were taken on one evening, and the daytime shots were taken on another (today). And they are in no particular order. As usual, on a day off when the weather is nice (or even if it is not nice) I was drawn to Buffalo’s waterfront, specifically the Canalside area the last few days. The reason I highlight this is that this area has gone through such a resurgence it is almost unbelievable. Just a few years ago this was like an industrial and desolate wasteland, and now it is (and quite literally was today) a carnival. A little more than ten years ago I remember riding my bike down to this area and being somewhat concerned for my safety in broad daylight. I said a few sentences ago that the photos were in no particular order but that is only partly true. I purposely chose the above photo to be first as a juxtaposition…a tilt-a-whirl in the spot that was once a destitute area. And just below is pictured the new bicycle and pedestrian water taxi, which takes one to the Outer Harbor and Times Nature Preserve. For one dollar and a 10 minute ride your distance is shortened by 6 or 8 miles. This is where the picture of the deer is from…beautiful and totally wild deer 5 minutes from downtown. There’s also a photo of our lighthouse (from both sides of the river) which was built in 1833, the SS Littlerock, and or course the newest public art in that area; Plensa’s Silent Poets. Anyhow, I feel truly blessed to have this beautiful public space a mere 10 or 15 minute bike ride from my front door.

Urban Simplicity.

The sun also sets…

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These photos were taken over the course of two days. And they are from one of my favorite spots…the beautiful Buffalo waterfront. The weather has been so incredibly nice this past week, and I have been working way too much, so whenever I’ve had the chance I have been heading to the water. I bring my camera and sometimes a journal or a book…and simply decompress. And it doesn’t hurt that there’s an outdoor bar with some of my favorite local beers on tap 🙂  Anyhow, I’ve taken a bunch of photos of the harbor this past week and these are a few of my favorites.

Urban Simplicity.

Flowers in the morning, and a few words…

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Like many of us, I have a stressful job. Some days offer more stress than others. Wednesdays are one of my more stressful days of the week. Today was/is Wednesday. But today (at my place of employment) was a special Wednesday (no need for explanation here, it just was), which made it even more stressful. I knew this when I went in this morning; I knew this when I woke this morning; I knew this as I left my house this morning. And then I saw these flowers growing (blooming) in my neighbor’s front yard. These same flowers come back every year. These same flowers buried just beneath the ground’s surface survived one of the harshest winters on record. But here they are. They are tightly closed in the morning, still dripping with dew. But in the evening they are fully opened reaching for the sun. They look–to me–so pure and innocent in the morning. Anyhow, before I left for work this morning I snapped a few photos of them. It was a sort of meditation for me, focusing on them in the early hours. My day was still crazy and hectic and stressful, but this took the sting out of it. At least a little bit.

Urban Simplicity.

A few things I saw while riding my bike today…

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Urban Simplicity.

The lake at sunset (words and pictures)

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I stood on the shore of the lake at sunset.

And beheld its beauty.

The sun set and the moon rose.

A cycle that the lake has known from the very beginning.

It was cold while the wind swept over me.

I had come to find solace; a reprieve from my daily life.

And I did.

I was on the farthest end of the lake in Buffalo.

Was this the same wind that also blew through Toledo, Cleveland, and Erie?

Seagulls seemingly hung in the air as they glided into it.

I tried to imagine this place before the European explorers.

Proud Iroquoians plying the water in canoes.

Living near the lake’s shore.

And what must the first Europeans have thought?

Surely they were in awe.

Just as I am still.

As the original natives were.

Reverence.

But did they feel this wind.

This same wind.

As it washed over me like a baptism.

Washing away my worries.

They must have; how could they not?

It is said that God whispers in the wind.

And tonight She was.

Urban Simplicity.

A quote and a picture…

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“Every raindrop falls with precision.”

~R.H. Peat

From his poem. “Perfection.” (read it here)

Urban Simplicity.

A few things I saw while riding my bike recently…

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Urban Simplicity.

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