Friday, July 27, 2007

OSCON / Portland, OR

Right now, I'm in the Portland, OR airport with lots of time on my hands. The trip to OSCON was good. There were many of great sessions, and the keynotes were excellent this year.

Of course, I found plenty of time to photowalk around downtown Portland. I love Steel Bridge. It is an example of industrial beauty brought to perfection:

Steel Bridge under Clouds

Portland has a lot of great bridges. I also found some time to visit the Oregon brewer's Festival, for my annual mug of Russian River Brewery's Pliny the Elder. It's as great as it is unobtainable on the east coast.

Click on the image to visit my Zooomr set from Portland.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sunset House & Croton Dam

On Saturday, the boys and I went to the Croton-Harmon station, then to Memphis Mae's for lunch, and then we stopped at the Croton Dam on the way home. I got some great shots during this outing. As always, click though to zooomr for more:

Reserved

Lunch

Back in our hometown, later in the day:
Sunset House

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Beyond the Dream at Halle Ravine

Beyond the Dream

We went to Halle Ravine today. It's a former Nature Conservancy site that was transferred to the Pound Ridge Land Conservancy a few years ago. It's a magical place. Good thing so few people read my blog (as far as I can tell), otherwise the place might get trampled.

Everyone had a great time. We saw: A Crane (it was it a Heron?), some large light colored raptor (it was making a lot of noise, and then I finally saw it flying, must have had a 3.5 foot wingspan), a Northern Ringneck Snake, some giant moth I have yet to identify, some Lingzhi, and a lot of other neat stuff.

The weather was wonderful too. Click through below for larger sizes and more images from today. It was a great day to have a camera.

Northern Ringneck Snake

Unkown Moth

Lingzhi

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Asian Festival

Today we all went to the Asian Festival at the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden.

We saw, listened to, and met Kumar Das. He was playing tablas along with Ananda Chanda on sitar. The music was so fabulous to see and hear it from five feet away. And meeting them was great; they were so nice. Below is a closeup of Kumar on the higher pitched of the two tablas. Click through for a couple more shots of the outing.

Peace Beat

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Fireworks!

The boys and I went to the 2007 Westchester County New York Independence Day Celebration at the Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla. We took the train, which was a great idea I got from my sister-in-law, but we should have a taken a later train. We arrived at Valhalla station at about 7:00 and went immediatly to the pizza place across the Taconic State Parkway. After we ate, we headed over to the plaza, a five minute walk.

We went looking for a place to plant ourselves in the sea of people that were in the field closest to the dam. After a short maze like walk through there, I realized that there was no room for more.

We went all the way to the back of that sea of people, and behind the first row of cars. There was a green way full of people there. We found a space between a Honda and a Volkswagen and settled in.

About 20 minutes later, with a lot of light left in the day, I figured we were too close to the noise (for the boys), and the view was too limited by the cars. The boys agreed, so we packed up an went waaaay back, until we found some open lawn. We parked there on the neat sheet and began our long wait until the fireworks start at about 21:15.

The long walk, the long wait, and the slight chill were all worth it though. The show was great, and the boys loved it.

I got some nice pictures. Click through the for a few more on zooomr:







And here is my video of the finale:

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Stamford Museum and Nature Center

The family and I went to the
Stamford Museum and nature Center
today.







We had a good time, except for their no photography policy. See below for the message I sent to them regarding this policy:




Hello -

I'm writing to to inform you of my displeasure with you no photography policy in the museum. My family and I just returned from an otherwise wonderful first time trip to the Stamford Museum and nature Center.

We first looked at the geese and ducks in the pond, and then we saw Eddie the Otter. We then explored the farm area. It was all delightful.

Next we entered the museum building through the front door near the NY Central steam engine model. It is a very nice model. We then went around the corner past the docent at the desk and into the room with the telescopes. As I was preparing to take a wide shot of the telescopes with my camera, the docent informed me that photography was not allowed.

I acknowledged this, put my camera away in my backpack, and proceeded to view the objects on display, including the Hubble transparencies.

A few minutes later, i asked the docent to explain the purpose of the no photography policy. She began to explain that many of the items on display actually belong to NASA. I interrupted her to point out that NASA was a public institution payed for by US taxpayers. She then said that she does not make the rules. I replied that I understood that, but that she should understand the purpose of the rules she is enforcing. I then said that photography of the items on display can only serve to promote the Museum. I explained that if I was allowed to take photographs, I would have told my photographer friends that it is a great place to go and shoot, and that now I would be sure to tell them not to go.

I can only assume that the items the docent referred to as being owned by NASA were the Hubble transparencies. If I am not mistaken, all of the images displayed at the Museum are freely available at http://hubblesite.org/ or other NASA websites at resolutions far exceeding what you have on display.

I do not believe the is any logical way to justify your no photography policy and that you should re-evaluate that policy.

For more information on this debate, I refer you to the following article by noted blogger and photographer, Thomas Hawk:

http://thomashawk.com/2004/08/editorial-on-camera-policies-in.html




UPDATE:

I heard from the museum today (2007/07/02) with some good news. It seems that the docent was not telling the whole story. It was just one particular exhibit that the no photography policy applied to, and not the museum as a whole. The next exhibit "The Motorcycle: Italian Style" will be open to non-flash photography. I replied, and applauded their quick response and open attitude. I suggested that they educate their staff more thoroughly on this topic, and that they ask future exhibit participants with no photography policies to re-examine those policies.