Home

A New Day…

Leave a comment

6am in the rain.

The sound of raindrops on my umbrella.

The sound of tires on wet pavement.

House lights come on.

Street light go out.

The city begins to wake.

I like how the air smells,

How the light looks.

So I snap a photo.

Then hop a bus to work.

Another day begins.

N.F., ON, CA.

Leave a comment

So I’ve had the past few days off of work, on a sort of staycation to save money. But I wanted to do something out of the norm and took the #40 bus to the Falls. It picks you up in downtown Buffalo and drops you off in downtown Niagara Falls, one city block from the Rainbow Bridge. And all for the whopping price of $2 (here’s the schedule if you are interested). Anyhow, I wanted to be at the Falls as the light changed but when I arrived I was a bit too early. So I walked up the very touristy Clifton Hill and had some pizza and a truly over-priced beer. Thus satiated, and it approaching dusk, I walked the mile or so down to the overlook on the brink of the Horseshoe Falls at Table Rock Center. After negotiating my way to the perfect spot, I set up my tripod, put the camera on it, and snapped a shot. I then took the same shot every 15 or 20 minutes. These photos are the result. After the first shot, because of the light change, I had to use a slower shutter speed (which I love), and that results in the sort of smooth look the falls take on in the remaining photos.  Click any photo for a larger view. To see a series of photos from this same spot from about 2 years ago, click here.

Urban Simplicity.

Chasing Light…

Leave a comment

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.

A Poem by Edwina Gateley…

Leave a comment

 Photos taken at Buffalo Harbor 7.12.15

Let Your God Love You

Be silent.

Be still.
Alone.
Empty
Before your God.
Say nothing.
Ask nothing.
Be silent.
Be still.
Let your God look upon you.
That is all.
God knows.
God understands.
God loves you
With an enormous love,
And only wants
To look upon you
With that love.
Quiet.
Still.
Be.

Let your God
Love you.

Urban Simplicit

Stop Making Sense…a few things I saw while riding my bike today.

Leave a comment

I don’t have to prove…that I am creative.

~David Byrne

So I mentioned recently that I–like so many others–have been ill with the common cold. And because of this I have been basically doing nothing around the house…sort of self-sequestered. And because of this my spirits have been low. If there are two things that bring me down they are physical inactivity and creative inactivity…so this has been the perfect storm. Thus said, this evening I bundled up–layer upon layer–and loaded some camera gear on my bike and went out on a very cold evening for a very slow ride and a few photos. Physically I am not cured, but emotionally and spiritually I am. It is, in fact, just what the doctor may have ordered. Click any photo for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

On the waterfront…

Leave a comment

Today I went down to Buffalo’s Outer Harbor in search of the elusive snowy owl that has taken up home in Western New York. And no, I did not ride my bike the six miles each way in these frigid temperatures, I used Buffalo Car Share. To be honest, I actually contemplated it but am glad I did not…the high today was like 15F and when I got to the shore of the lake the wind was so strong that I had to lean into it and brace myself to take a photo…my hands were frozen (as I took my leather mitts off to adjust and snap the camera) and I had to remember to hold the lens cap (which is attached to the camera by a string) or the wind would whip it around and it would smack me in the side of the head. Thus said, I have to admit that it was nice to find refuge in the warmth of a car in between photos. But alas, I did not see a snowy owl…or a fox, or a coyote, or a deer, or a falcon, or an eagle (all of which live in the area). In fact, the only “animals” I did see were other photographers in search of snowy owls. But, despite the wind burning and bone chilling cold, I really enjoyed myself and was in awe of the power of Mother Nature, and was (and still am) thankful to live in proximity to such an incredible natural resource (it’s a 20 minute bike ride in nicer weather). Anyhow, click any photo for a slightly larger view.


Urban Simplicity.

The view from my handlebars on a crisp winter’s evening…

1 Comment

Urban Simplicity.

Playing with light, color, and motion…

Leave a comment


“The principle person in a picture is light.”

~Edouard Manet

So yesterday I took the metro bus to Niagara Falls. Even though I live very close to to this incredible natural wonder I rarely get there. I went with the main purpose of taking photos, and being there was sort of like being a tourist in my own backyard. The bus ride incredibly cost a mere $2.00 each way and dropped me off  just 500 feet from the Rainbow Bridge (if you are local and would like the bus schedule, here it is). I arrived in late afternoon and, after having a lunch at an inexpensive Indian restaurant, walked across the bridge and was immediately thrust into tourist-ville. I walked about a mile down to the horseshoe falls and snapped a few photos but really wanted evening photos during l’heure bleue, and also later when the falls were lit with colored spotlights. I had time to kill until the sun began to set, so I walked up the uber-touristy Clifton Hill and had a couple over-priced but really delicious Canadian beers. After the beers were drunk, the sun had begun to set, and I felt sufficiently satiated, I headed back out to the horseshoe falls area. To capture that point when the sun has set but there is still light in the sky is often what I try to do. It is, I feel, one of the most magical times of the day, but you really only have a window of about 20 or 30 minutes. It’s all about the light, it really is. And this is something that fascinates me about photography…learning how to manipulate it. There are three ways in which to manipulate light and motion using your camera. Please excuse me if you are a pro or already know this, as I feebly attempt to explain this in the most basic terms and description…because this is really for myself as I am an ongoing student. Anyhow, the three ways are this…ISO, which adjusts the camera’s sensitivity to light; a high ISO makes the camera more sensitive, allowing more light to be captured, but it also creates a lot of “noise,” or distortion in the photo, thus most often a lower ISO is desired. The other two ways are aperture, which adjusts how much light is allowed in the camera, and shutter speed which not only allows how long the shutter is open–allowing light into the camera for specific lengths of time–but also purposely blurs certain images when a slow shutter speed is used. Why, you may ask, am I boring you with this? Because this info is pertinent to these photos and why I have four of the same photo but at different camera setting and at different times of the day. The two most distinct examples of this are in the first two images below…they were shot only about a minute apart. The next one was shot after the sun had just set, and the one after that after the sun had fully set and they began to illuminate the falls. The very bottom photo is one I took as I walked back towards the bridge on my way home; it is, of course, the Skylon Tower with lights shining on the falls. And lastly (or should I say firstly), the photo above is of the American Falls as seen from the Canadian side at night. One final note…though I have been to the falls multiple times in my lifetime, when I approached the edge of the horseshoe falls I was quite literally in awe. It really is incredible to see them so close. It really reminded me that I am not in control of anything. Click any photo for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

A cold evening ride and a few things that I saw…

Leave a comment

Last evening after I left work–after rushing around a busy kitchen all day–I really needed some fresh air and the evening felt so crisp and nice I grabbed my camera and went for a brief ride. I headed down to Canalside because I wanted to see the brand new ice rink that just opened. While there I rode through the Naval Park and past the USS Croaker (pictured below), and on my way home I rode down desolate and quiet Main Street, which is currently being rehabbed to bring cars back but also inclusive to bicycles and pedestrians (second from the bottom). Anyhow, the ride was just what I needed, and I thought I’d share some of the pictures I took along the way. Click any for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

The view from my handlebars on a crisp autumn evening…

Leave a comment

Urban Simplicity.

A few things I saw while riding my bike this evening…

Leave a comment

It was chilly and blustery this evening. Really blustery. I had gotten out of work early and then abruptly invited to an impromptu bachelorette party (yup) and when it ended just as quickly as it began I found myself a few beers in and it was only 5pm. I couldn’t just go home, I thought. So despite the chill and the wind I packed up my camera gear and rode down to Canalside.With the summer season being over it was essentially empty, and it was truly beautiful. Anyhow, I took a bunch of photos at dusk and and then early dark. Theses are a few of my favorites. Click any for a somewhat larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

Moon Stalker…

Leave a comment

Okay. So first of all I have to apologize for all the moon photos. But I really couldn’t help myself. If you saw the super moon you know what I am talking about. It was just so incredibly beautiful. This is really a continuation of this post, where I went out and took photos in the moonlight while standing on the Michigan Avenue Bridge. The photos on this page were actually shot over the course of two night, all from the same vantage point of the Bird Island Pier but at different times and using different camera adjustments. The only three photos that were not facing east towards Buffalo are pretty obvious in this group…two below this text is an image of the point where Lake Erie spills into the very mouth of the Niagara river and begins it’s 25 mile trek to the Falls, and below that is the Peace Bridge, and the last photo is the sunset looking west at Canada. Sorry again if I’m boring you with so many photos…it’s so peaceful out there on the pier at night and I shot more than a hundred photos. These are just a few of my favorites. Click any for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

The Peace Bridge in the Evening…

Leave a comment

I shot these while out on a bike ride this evening. I have been in love with Buffalo’s waterfront this summer. It runs along two sides of the city and is so easily accessible by bike and is such a sanctuary. For those who are reading this from other parts of the country or world, the Peace bridge is the bridge that crosses the Niagara River from Buffalo, NY to Fort Erie, ON, connecting the United States and Canada. And this is right in my back yard. The top and bottom images were shot from the exact same location (from the lift bridge over the Black Rock Channel) but and hour apart (notice what the change of light does to the photo). The middle photo was taken when I rode about halfway out the bird Island Pier.

Urban Simplicity.

The view from my handlebars 5.28.14

Leave a comment

Allentown

Buffalo, NY

Urban Simplicity.

A couple things I saw while riding my bike today…

Leave a comment

 Well, I said I wouldn’t do any “work” today–Memorial Day–but I did. Worked in my garden, did some writing, stuff around the house, etc. So after dinner I was sort of driving myself a little nuts and thought I’d go for an evening bike ride. I of course snapped a few photos along the way. Here’s a couple of them.Click either for a slightly larger view.


Urban Simplicity.

A couple things that I saw while walking this evening…

Leave a comment

Despite the calm look of these photos it was quite wind this evening, and I shot these just before it started to rain. I had gone out for a walk as this was by far the warmest evening of the year thus far (66F).  I of course took a camera with me, and these are a couple of the things that I say; Allen Street and Days Park.

Urban Simplicity.

The View from My Handlebars and Things That can be Carried on a Bike (#578) and a few words…

Leave a comment

I had to be at my job a bit earlier that usual today. I love the early morning, but my problem is I love the night too (and it’s difficult to enjoy both, I suppose). Anyhow, I took the above photo on my short ride to work this morning just as the light was beginning to show. It was a nice way to start the busy day that was ahead of me. On the bike below is a large box of food on it’s way to a local food pantry. About halfway through my work day I rode it over to the pantry. It was a nice respite.

Urban Simplicity.

The view from my handlebars, a few thoughts on Ash Wednesday/Lent, and things to be thankful for…

Leave a comment

So there I was anxious and rushing to get home from the community center on yet another single digit evening so I could make it to the opening time of an online class that began tonight, but then I had to stop for yet another traffic light (pictured above). Why, I thought, did I hit another light? Doesn’t the Universe know I am late? The traffic light, of course, seemed especially long. But I couldn’t help notice the sunset. Incredible. Here it was something like 9F and I was straddling my bike shivering a little but looking at that incredible sunset–the same sunset that if you live in the same hemisphere as me could view along with me–it made everything ok. At least for a few minutes. And I started thinking about how today was the beginning of Lent; Ash Wednesday. Symbolically representing Jesus going into the desert and fasting for forty days. Well, I am far from fasting, though I have given a few things up. But I don’t just give things up for the sake of doing so (but if you do I am not trying to pass judgment); I like to add something, such as additional prayer, meditation, yoga, etc. And also random acts of kindness. But as I stood there straddling my bike, and my fingers grew increasingly colder and I looked at that incredible sunset, I thought that–as a spiritual practice–I really should appreciate gratitude more. Just the little things. Because I have so much to be grateful for. And at that very moment I realized how grateful I was for that sunset on this very chilly night. So I took out my iPhone and snapped a picture with shivering fingers.The traffic light seemed to take ten minutes to change (though it was probably only two), and I did make it home just in time for the online class. While I watched it I ate dinner while my two pugs sat at my side and wood stove heated the room. I was, and am, thankful for that as well. But as I rode home this evening I also realized that it was nearly 7pm and there was still light in the sky, and that each day brings a little more light as we progress towards spring. The cold darkness of winter will end soon enough. And after riding through this very cold and snowy winter, this is something to truly be thankful for. I’d love to hear what you are thankful for at this point in your lives (because there is so much).


Urban Simplicity.

Things that can be carried on a bike (#470), and on another really cold and snowy evening…

Leave a comment

A gym bag containing wet clothes, and $46 worth of groceries.

Urban Simplicity.

The view from my kitchen window at dusk on a frigid and snowy day…

Leave a comment

Urban Simplicity.

Older Entries