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Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

Chicago Eyebrows

Here’s an informative article in the New York Times about the Smithsonian Photography Initiative.

Of particular interest within the Smithsonian’s project is the series of articles called Click! Photography Changes Everything written by “one hundred experts in their fields to explore the ways photography has changed a broad spectrum of disciplines—from anthropology to astrophysics, from media to medicine, from philosophy to sports.”

Check it out! 

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Jenn at Come Along Farm

Jenn is my niece. She models for me when she’s home from college.  She’s here on spring break so I decided to interview her.

1 – Who is Jenn and what does she do?

I’m a 22-year old student at Lock Haven University double-majoring in Biology and Chemistry because I want to go to pharmacy school. I play basketball and run when I’m not studying. On breaks I model for my aunt, the photographer, and work in the pharmacy department of CVS.

Life is boring right now but when summer comes it’ll pick up.

2 – How often and how far do you run?

I try to run as much as I can during the week. Lately three days, but I’d like to run everyday. I can run further on treadmills because of the slow pace. When it’s nice out I run along the Susquehanna River.

3 – Name three great things about living in Lock Haven and three bad things.

Oh my goodness, I don’t think there is one great thing. (Laughs.) No, there are great things. Like the scenery. That’s it.

Three bad things: 1 – Small town. Nowhere to go and nothing to do.  That makes it sound terrible. (Laughs.)  2 -Wal-Mart is the only place to go for anything. Well not for anything, but…most things. I went to Wal-Mart one time and the guy that was ringing me up, I guess he was my age, he said hi and I said hi back, and I was just being polite, and he started going off on this tangent about how he plays this video game on the computer about dragons, and how you really gamble your money with it, and that’s what he uses his paychecks for. He went on for five minutes. It was crazy. 3 – The train goes through the town five times everyday, and the engineer feels the need to be louder at night with his whistle, or whatever it’s called.  It rattles everything!

4 – What’s on your iPod?

Lots of Beatles. I like to play “Good Day Sunshine” when I’m driving. Jay-Z, Counting Crows, The Doors, Paramore. I like upbeat things when I run. I also have Britney’s latest album, I think it’s called “Blackout,” and some Kelly Clarkson.

5 – Do you collect anything?

I picked up a bunch of seashells in Florida last summer. That’s it.

6 – Tell us about your trip to Florida last summer and what you did.

I went with my family and friends on a treasure hunt. I won’t reveal where. We had a picnic on the beach with three full coolers of food. We walked it all off with our metal detectors. I’m such a beach bum. I woke up early on the last day just so I could get a few extra hours of sun on the beach. The beach was very private and I’m used to the New Jersey beaches which are always packed. We’re going again this year and I’m really looking forward to it. 

One night we had dinner and played Sequence Dice and everyone was really competitive.  The teams were really funny – Mike & Neil were the best.

7 – What’s your oldest memory?

My friends and I would play with Barbie dolls and we would give them really high-pitched voices. When I went to preschool I was nervous because I thought girls should have really high-pitched voices and I thought my voice was too low. My mom stayed with me on the playground while the other kids started class.

8 – What’s your favorite meal?

Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato fries, corn on the cob, cranberry sauce, cornbread, any kind of pickles, black cherry soda and pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream. And an omelet with mushrooms, bacon, spinach and salsa. I love to eat! (Laughs).

9 – Are you single?

I’m not married.

10 – The James Lipton rundown:

• Favorite word? Petunia.
• Least favorite word? A tie between “folks” and “y’all.”
• What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? The outdoors.
• What turns you off? Loud people in small places.
• Favorite curse word? Sh**.
• What sound or noise do you love? The swoosh of a basketball net.
• What sound or noise do you hate? Scraping metal of any kind. Like a colander in the sink.
• What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? A baker.
• What profession would you not like to do? Inspector at a conveyer belt.
• If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Finally!”

You can see more of Jenn at my photoblog, www.durhamtownship.com.  

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Falling Snow

I found this interesting chart about snowfall totals in the Philadelphia area. It seems the earlier we have our first snowfall, the higher the season snowfall total. 

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be working out this year.  Our first snowfall was in early December but we’ve barely seen an inch of snow since then. Today will help – we’re expecting five inches of snow in Upper Bucks County.  Schools are closed, roads are a mess – but it’s a sight for the sore eyes of this photographer!

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Moon Over Lake Nockamixon

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Palisades Gallery for my show opening last night – what a great time!  I didn’t get a chance to talk with everyone because it was so well-attended, so if I missed you, please forgive me.   Send me a note and let’s catch up!

Special thanks to those who came from quite a distance – especially the Hofmann boys! – and to my good friend, Moe Telsichs, for the flowers.  

Hope you caught the full lunar eclipse on the way home – it was gorgeous.

Here’s the statement that accompanies the 24 images in my show:

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Between 1982 and 1997, America converted over 25 million acres of rural land — primarily farmland, pastures and ranches — into subdivisions, malls, workplaces, roads, parking lots, et al. That’s about equal to the combined land mass of Maine and New Hampshire.

We’ve been developing 2 million acres of rural land per year for the last 20 years.

If the trend continues, America will develop an additional 85 million acres of countryside by 2050. That’s about equal to the combined land mass of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Virginia.

WHAT DO WE GAIN AND WHAT DO WE LOSE?

We gain infrastructure, homes, roads, shops, schools, parking spaces, hotels, resorts and jobs.

We lose wetlands, woodlands, hundreds of species of plants and wildlife, clean water, the ability to grow our own food, and as recent studies have shown, our mental & physical health, and our sense of well-being.

I want my photographs to help Americans question the worth of our land above & beyond its monetary value.

How much is an open horizon worth to us?

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Show Postcard

Two weeks!  Yikes!  I can’t believe I’ve been away that long.

I took a break from writing to prepare for a show of my prints that opens Wednesday, February 20th (tomorrow!) from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Palisades High School Gallery.   I’m very honored to participate in the ongoing “Community Art Series” organized by Cathy Beck and Kim DeNato, the school’s art teachers.

The show features 24 images all taken within the last 18 months. Most appear on my photoblog at www.durhamtownship.com.  Even if you’ve seen the images on the web, it’s quite a different experience to view them in print — the level of detail really brings them to life!

Hope you’ll stop by and say hello!  

Palisades High School Gallery

Route 412 & Church Hill Road

Kintnersville, Pennsylvania 18930

February 20 – April 2, 2008

Opening reception:  Wednesday, February 20, 2008, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. 

(Gathering afterwards at the Ferndale Inn, Route 611 & Church Hill Road, Ferndale, PA)

Closing party: Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

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Lady Walking a Mule

Decades-Old Photograph Helps Solve Mystery of New York Man’s Drowning 15 Years Later

Saturday , February 02, 2008

by STEPHANIE REITZ, Associated Press Writer

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. —

A treasured old photograph, a police investigator’s long-shot appeal to the public and a retiree’s sharp memory have combined to solve a 15-year-old drowning mystery.

State police in Somers, N.Y., tried for years to identify a body found in the Titicus Reservoir on June 13, 1993, carrying 38 pounds of rocks in a backpack. The man left no clues to his name and matched no local missing-persons reports.

The only lead was a black-and-white snapshot found on the body that showed a grandfatherly man holding a small boy in the crook of his arm, both wearing attire from the 1950s or early 1960s.

Police assumed the toddler was the drowning victim, but years of investigation produced only dead ends. Then, with a few remarkable coincidences last month, Andrew Bookless got back his name.

Bookless was eventually identified through dental records — though only after police seeking to identify the little boy wrongly guessed a vintage light fixture in the picture may have been in western Massachusetts.

When they circulated the photo in the Berkshires, retired teacher Terry Yacubich, who had moved to Pittsfield from Bellport, N.Y., recognized a building behind the man and little boy as one she had known from her days on Long Island.

Bookless’ family, it turned out, once lived in the very spot the picture was taken.

“I’m not psychic or anything like that, but I think maybe Andrew worked through me to finally get some closure,” Yacubich said.

Bookless disappeared from his family’s lives years before that June day when police found him dead at 31. The snapshot was intact in a glass frame and close to his heart under layers of winter clothing.

Troopers searched for years to find someone who recognized the older man or features in the photo’s background.

Investigator Joe Fiebich sent the picture to The Berkshire Eagle newspaper in January after learning the vintage street light in the background was similar to those installed throughout western Massachusetts decades ago.

It turned out they were common on Long Island’s south shore, too.

But it wasn’t the light fixture that grabbed Yacubich’s attention when she saw the newspaper last weekend. She spotted the church auditorium in the village where she’d lived for 47 years.

“The moment I saw that picture, I knew exactly where it was,” said Yacubich, 59, who had attended decades’ worth of first Communion parties, church socials and funerals there.

Yacubich contacted friend Donald Mullins, a retired Suffolk County, N.Y., police detective and code enforcement officer in Bellport, a village in the town of Brookhaven. He trekked to the church’s neighborhood and quickly found the spot: the front corner of a now-empty residential lot.

“I stood on that very spot and said, `This is it. This is exactly it,”‘ Mullins said.

He tracked the land’s ownership history in town deeds until he found that the Bookless family had a house there before it was destroyed in a fire.

The Westchester County, N.Y., medical examiner’s office confirmed Bookless’ identity Jan. 25, and it was released this week after his four older siblings were notified.

They told police the man in the picture was Bookless’ grandfather and that his parents, John and Marianna Bookless, had died in 1994 and 2004. Police said Bookless’ family had him declared dead after his mother’s death.

Fiebich traveled Thursday to Long Island to speak to Bookless’ family in hopes of determining whether the death was accidental or suicide. Investigators believe Bookless fell through the ice in the winter of 1992-93, months before his body was found with the rock-laden pack strapped on his back.

New York State Police Senior Investigator Patrick Bosley, one of several troopers who reviewed the case over the years, tried unsuccessfully in the mid-1990s to have it featured on television’s “Unsolved Mysteries.”

“It was obvious to us all along that the picture was the best piece of information we had,” Bosley said. “It was clear that evidently the older gentleman was someone very close to him — his father or grandfather, a favorite uncle, someone he cared a lot about.”

Bookless’ family said he often would disappear for months, part of the reason his mother did not report him missing until 1999 even though she had not heard from him in several years, police said.

They said Bookless’ body was buried in New York as an unidentified person, but that his siblings would be able to move it if they wish.

“For me, the best end of the story would be to see that Andrew rests in peace,” Yacubich said.

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More than One Way

Scandanavians say, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.”

If you’re not out taking photos in the rain, snow, ice, wind and cold air, why?  More than likely it’s because of your clothing (or lack thereof).   Here are a few items I’ve put to the test for the last five years — and that have helped convince me winter is the most beautiful and fascinating season to take pictures.   

A Great Down Parka – Preferably with a hood and plenty of pockets, and in bright red or orange so the hunters don’t get ya.

High-Quality Layers – Staying warm is all about retaining body heat, and layers of silk or synthetic silk make all the difference, especially for your legs, because your parka isn’t that long.

Socks – I’m crazy about Smart Wool hiking socks. They’re cozy as can be, not the least bit itchy and they last for years.

Boots – I love my UGG Adirondacks so much I wish I could wear them in summer! I’ve walked through ankle-deep water in my UGGS and my feet stayed totally dry.  They’re pricey but worth every penny for their comfort, warmth and superb quality.

Hat – 15% of your blood volume is in your head. 30% of your body heat is lost through your head when it’s bare.  Keep it warm! I’m partial to brims and ear flaps.

Gloves – A photographer needs dexterity and it’s challenging to find gloves that are warm, waterproof and thin enough to work with. I’ve found that archery gloves are excellent for this purpose.

Now imagine all the winter gear that’s available for your camera!

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