Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn Quilt

Autumn Quilt
Simsbury, CT

They say opposites attract. That must be the case between autumn and winter. Autumn blankets us with warm colors before the chill of winter. My entire life I've welcomed the colors of my New England autumn memories.

There was a certainty in the heralding of the annual color pageant that winter would soon follow. As a child, underneath the umbrellas of the red and orange maple trees I took comfort knowing that this was for me. Soon the trees would be barren and Thanksgiving would draw me closer to winter's doorstep.

That change in season would be marked by the arrival of the Sears Christmas catalog. From Thanksgiving on, I would mark each day by the toys I dreamed about within those pages. The passing of the colors was assuaged by the turning of catalog leaves. Both provided this child comfort and hope.

Today, I truly appreciate the gift of the natural quilt and the warmth it gave me. The falling leaves still remain in my dreams. The onset of autumn still reminds me of simple memories but awesome treasures.

This morning I sit before a lit fireplace and warmth fills me not only from the fires heat but from the glowing memory embers of my childhood autumn.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Of Rocks and Roots (Post Script)

New Card Series

At the very bottom of my email signature page lies a quotation from Viktor Frankl that reads: "When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." The idea of change frightens most but it's what life requires. We live in a dynamic world. We must adapt and renew. The choices remain within our domain. It's easy to get mired in the past. There's no need to belabor.

Artist frequently talk about their ruts. I am no exception. Right now I am working on a new card and print series: Autumn Dreams. The fact is that I am looking for tools that make the greatest visual impact without distorting my art and my message. I want something different. 

In case you've not noticed, my photography and my prose stress not only what we can see but the choices we can make. When I took the shot above and framed it in my head, many things literally clicked at the same time. This shot captured the poetry and romance placed in my head by a fellow New Englander and poet, Robert Frost.

If you are at a crossroads in your life, this image and verse are right for you. If you know someone who needs encouragement and your thoughtfulness, this makes the perfect gift.

For a limited time, I will be making a special edition 16x20 canvas gallery wrapped print ready to hang in either your home or office wall.  This print along with a complementary gift card set of eight cards will be offered to you for $275 (plus shipping handling and tax if applicable).  To insure timely receipt of orders prior to the Christmas holidays, please place your order today. You can contact me via email at  Leave me your phone number and I will contact you directly to place your order. To facilitate your order, I accept all major credit cards and PayPal.

Post Script: I enjoy Robert Frost Poetry. This picture lends itself to The Road Not Taken. It is copyrighted therefore, I cannot use it to accompany this image. Instead, I've provided my own abridged observation.

Monday, October 24, 2011

We Meet

Canadian Geese at Burr Pond
Burrville, CT

Happened to pay a visit to an old childhood swimming hole called Burr Pond in Burrville, CT. This was the first time I had ever visited it in the fall. It was completely tranquil with just a few Canadian geese taking advantage of the pond's autumnal vacancy status.

What a natural juxtaposition, we both traveled to get to that place. They traveled south but I travelled north. We both had our reasons and by fate we met.

Let me add a footnote, please; yesterday while on my way to our weekly breakfast with my father-in-law we passed a field of the same geese here in Texas. I suppose if you wait long enough we will meet anyway. Then again you might not. You run the risk of never seeing what you should if you just wait for it to come to you.

A friend I met at a recent photographic workshop explained life to me rather succinctly. You do not choose when you are born nor do you choose when you will die. However, everything between those two events called life, you get to choose. Thank you Iris for sharing that with me. Hadn't I chosen to travel north, I would never have heard your wisdom. So the journey north and south, pilgrim migrations with purpose continues.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Downstream Parabolas and Quadratic Equations

Kaaterskill Creek Cascade
Palenville, NY
Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.

There's more to photographing a cascade than meets the eye. The forces and mathematical properties of gravity do their work in the shapes of abundant natural parabolas. Yes quadratic equations come to play down a creek stream and prove their equations under the scrutiny of a slow shutter speed.

Now there's an interesting thought to ponder. We see better when we choose to slow down. There are many things in life you can't see without stopping to enjoy them. As a photographer bent on capturing nature, shutter speed and a tripod are my best friends. Time is not a hindrance but something that requires patience so that I can enjoy what life is trying to teach me. Quadratic equations unfold with just a turn of a dial and patience.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How Long?

Kaaterskill Creek After a Soaking Rain
Palenville, NY

Pat's Red Lentil Soup
Someone asked me how long I stayed in Palenville. The answer is long enough to know that Alfie Beers is running for highway superintendent, that Laurie, the BBW that lives in a "bungalow" at the bottom of Woodlane has a rescued blue heeler that wandered for days before she was captured. Might I also add long enough to be able to tell you firsthand that Pat at the Circle W General Store makes the best lentil and also butternut squash soups. That's not all, Pat bakes her to die for chocolate croissants only on Fridays and on Sundays. It might remind you for a moment of the treat made once again famous in the movie: "It's Complicated". (By the way, she's on vacation this week somewhere in Canada.) Did I also mention that Bob, a retired color lab guy twice divorced, also hangs out every morning at the general store? We became friends too and talked photography every morning as I drank my small hot latte with sprinkled cinnamon on top. (By mid-day my routine changed a bit and I stopped by for either a Tannery panini sandwich or a Circle W killer pastrami reuben.)

Let's say that I was in Palenville long enough to know: that County Waste picks up both recycling and trash bins on Thursday; that the Fernwood restaurant is just around the bend from Woodland Lane; the Catholic Church is around bend south of the junction where highways 23A and 23 meet and before you get to Pat's General Store, the "Circle W". Construction is still going on up the mountain on the way Kaaterskill Falls and the towns of Hunter, Haines Falls, and Tannersville.

This truly is a sleepy hollow where a very busy creek flows through it,changes colors from white to red after a heavy rain, and where night skies are lit by only the moon and stars and seldom else. A destination point for tourists for many years, Palenville now affords solace for an affluent few city dwellers, bikers, cyclists, and a few Woodstock hippies that never left. To me, it was and is all good. This place grants, those that make the sojourn, the luxury to take in the simple beauties and pleasure that make living worthwhile. We need places like Palenville off the beaten path with great soups and creeks to enjoy we need them as beacons that lead us to safety and the promise of comfort,warmth, and joy along the journey.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Memories My Autumns Bring

Birches Along the Way
Haines Falls, NY

Autumn Memories

Autumn speaks in terms of leaves,
In frosty morns and crispy eves,
Of bright colors orange to red,
These images engrave in my head.

Comes rain, maple and pine, soon do mix,
 A new sweet fragrance: autumnal twists.

Post rain and underneath the trees,
 Now only half full with leaves,
Children work at play and make birches swing,
Those memories my autumns bring.

Al Hernandez

Friday, October 14, 2011

Getting It Right

Kaaterskill Creek Cascade
Palenville, NY

Yesterday was just a dress rehearsal for today. This morning the light was soft and diffused. There was no need to put a neutral density filter on my camera. It was a matter of patience and composition. Mother nature, gravity, and a slow shutter speed did the work.

Think about it. Today may very well be just a dress rehearsal for tomorrow. What you learn today may very well help you master tomorrow. Regardless, live today don't worry about tomorrow. Go ahead and try new things. Keep doing it, practice what love and master it.

Go Out on a Limb

Birches Along the Way
Haines Falls, NY

"Don't be afraid to go out on a limb.
 That's where the fruit is." ---H. Jackson Browne

In graduate business school, we were taught about mitigating risks. In fact we learned to try to avoid risks by all kinds of methods and schemes to insure the safe for safe returns of our benefactors, the stockholders. In life, that same practice, leads to under achievement, anxiety, and boredom. We experience the uneasiness associated with the lack of purpose. We miss out on living and joy.

Robert Frost alludes to "the road not taken". What could be worse in life than the constant nagging and revisiting of choices and opportunities foregone? The fact is that we had no choice in being brought into this world and we will not have a choice as to when will die. We do have a choice about everything in life between those to benchmarks. Our job is to fill everything in between those milestones: birth and death. The choices we make in the space between is the key to our our happiness.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Scenic View From Katterskill Falls

On Edge: Portrait of a Photographer
Katterskill Falls
Haines Falls, NY
 I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature,
which, if we unconsciously yield to it,
 will direct us aright.
  ~Henry David Thoreau

If you are scared of heights then don't go to the top of Katterskill Falls. Being fearless is one thing, but on any given misty day, these well worn rocks could cause you to go into a 260 foot free fall. Just try not to think about it too much because it will detract from all the beauty and the breathless view you will take in. The leaves are getting brighter each day despite all of the rain this year and the hurricane. It not quite leaf peak season but close enough.

Today, it was time for shortcuts. There was no need to climb to top. It just so happens there's a short trail at the summit for the lazy and tourists. Tomorrow, however, the plan is to hike about a mile up the base of Kaaterskill Falls. (Bastion Falls is at the very bottom but I want to climb to the top and view the double cascading Kaaterskill Falls.) It's time to call it a day and get rested up for tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Morning Walk

Afternoon at Kaaterskill Creek
Palenville, NY

Took a new four legged girlfriend Maggie for a walk this morning. It was a great excuse to walk in the woods, play along the creek, and listen to the water constantly flow past. It keeps going; there's no on or off switch. The rushing water provides such soothing constant natural music. A complete symphony with its own allegro tempo that any audience human or animal would enjoy.

For years artists and naturalists young and old have walked these creek shores in search of comfort and an opportunity to find solace and refuge in nature's home. Some even tried to capture it permanently in art. Nothing man made can replicate it however. It's natures gift for us to enjoy and partake in. The broadcast is live. This is life as good as it gets with no external distractions and the noise of every day life. Tickets are not for sale, they are however free for those clever enough to pull away from other distractions.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kaaterskill Creek

Kaaterskill Creek
Palenville, NY

Just across from the Fernwood restaurant in Palenville, NY lies beautiful Kaaterskill Creek. This creek cascades from the top of Haines Falls, NY and meanders through the town of Palenville. You can't help but feel refreshed by the sounds of the rushing water over weathered rocks and boulders.

A group of us walked down the trail to the creek shore to take a firsthand glimpse of mother nature. The thought that came to mind was how refreshing that would have felt this past summer. A summer filled by nearly seventy consecutive days or 100 plus degrees heat. The brisk shower of the Kaaterskill would have felt so cool and refreshing, a natural spa.

Should you travel to the Catskills in the fall make sure you enjoy the Fernwood restaurant as well. A meal would not be complete without their famous pumpkin soup. The best things in life are truly simple pleasures; water and food Palenville offers both.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Kaaterskill Falls

View from Kaaterskill Falls
Haines Falls, NY

We had a chance today to practice our new found iPhone skills at the top of Kaaterskill Falls. If you are scared of heights this might not be the place for you. This falls drops precipitiously some 260 ft. You literally can stand on a ledge and see the water drop below. This in no place for the feint of heart or the not so sure footed.

Although the leaves have not completely peaked, the color is beginning to get brighter each day. Hopefully, this provides an opportunity to venture out there more than once this week. I truly want to take it all in.

The leaves today had that sweet autumnal smell.  Their fragrance is almost as sweet as the sugar maple these trees produce in the spring. For those who grew up in the northeast, you are all to familiar with these nostalgic fall smells. The familiar smells so sweet.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat
Palenville, NY
Finally reached my destination in Palenville, NY. I am attending a photo workshop to master iPhone photography. It is led by world renown photographer, Dan Burkholder.

No visit would be complete without viewing all of Dan's toys and gag gifts. Before they were strictly inside his house now they have crept into his yard. It's hard to believe how much Dan enjoys Halloween. He is a kid all year around. He makes life quite entertaining and  a sharp contrast from what we might be accustomed to in the corporate world.

The image above, was taken with the iPhone and processed with several iPhone apps. The handheld smartphone is truly great for creating images on the fly. In my opinion, it has replaced the common practice of doodling.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

When I Grow Up

Autumn Leaves at Gilbert
Winsted, CT

When I was in fourth grade all I could think of was growing up. It was all about when I grow up. Everything was about what I was going to do and be "when I grow up". I would spend time in our elementary school playground staring and the hill where my high school sat and I would think out loud about how great it would be there "when I grow up".

Time passed and I have grown up, but now I think about those times that I was younger and little and not so grown up, when I would think about "when I grow up".  You see now I think about how much I miss everything that was around me to enjoy when I was little and just a little boy.

A friend of mine told me that his mother told him that he didn't have to grow up. That being an adult didn't mean that we had to stop having fun and that we could still play when we grow up. So how about that we both agree that we can do both. We have to "grow up" but we can be little again whenever we want and choose to play. Raking leaves is something grown ups have to do, but playing and jumping in them is something we can all do.

This blog is dedicated to the fourth graders who attend Mrs. Jaye Antwines reading classes at the Birdville Independent School District. Thank you for following my Daily Journey. I am looking forward to sharing my blogs with you.  For the next few weeks, I will be traveling to the place where Rip Van Winkle slept and headless horsemen rode. I will be in the Catskills of New York near the towns of Hudson, Palenville, and Woodstock.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Winchester, CT
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.

Ever since I can remember, I have always found time to spend in the solitude of nature. I use the time to reflect upon where I have been and where I am going. I reflect on my life and I pause and absorb all that is happening before me and around me. I becomes we as I quickly observe animate and inanimate objects which surround me. In the woods alone I am not.

I am so looking forward to the next few weeks of communing with nature, my old friend. We have so much to catch up on; I want to listen to what my friend has to say, you might say its our nature homecoming. I want to see the leaves above and feel them below me. I want to smell their sweet autumn fragrance. Cloudy or bright skies, it wont matter to me much. What I am looking forward to most is that perfect silence of woods only interrupted by the intermittent babbling of nearby brooks and distant birds migrating south.

It's fall; time for me to catch up with my old friend. Underneath the trees and along the creek shores we will talk and reminisce. If I am lucky my friend will pose for me just a few frames and nothing more before we pick up our conversation once more.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Horses in Pasture
Canaan, CT

When I drive along Texas Highways, I tend to look only at what appears to be endless miles in front of me. The roads tend to be straight and monotonous. Driving in New England is quite different. There are many old rural roads and most cannot go straight because of all the hills and brooks and rivers they traverse. As autumn advances leaf gazers get in their cars and drive to the countryside show. They fill these roads on the weekends to sneak a peak at the free show.

The New England autumn is a live broadcast which informs its viewers of the winter to come. On all channels and frequencies it beams a spectacular colorful show by mid October and at its close, its leaves fade to the ground like fireworks on a 4th of July hot summer day. The show ends by the end of the month and we all wait for Thanksgiving, more football, and the onset of winter and the Christmas season.

I welcome autumn as much as I do spring. There is nothing subtle about each. Each boldly struts its change like a young flamboyant male. But autumn, truly puts on its best show in the Berkshires where I grew up.

In a few days, I will be back home, among maple leaves and friends approaching their autumn. It will be time to capture the glory of autumn again before my season also advances. I would like to think that I have at least forty-five more autumns in me. If I photograph them, I know I will have more.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Get Off the Trail

Amish Shed
Near Greenville, PA
Insist on yourself. Never imitate.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The best things in life may not necessarily be what are directly ahead of you. Sometimes you have to get off the trail, the road that you are accustomed to;  drive down it and see what it shows you and where it leads.

It's not been until recently, that I have begun to understand my purpose and desire to create images. This is truly one of my many dimensions. It has been true all of my life; it wasn't until I was forced off the road that I realized it.

One of my readers, Dave Lasko, has known me since I first picked up a camera in high school. He viewed my first images with quite some interest and observed my composition. He was an artist and he noticed that I framed things with relative ease. To him its no surprise that I have fallen back to enjoying photography.

It's okay to leave your comfort zone. Explore what Life has to offer. You may be very surprised about the happiness that's within your reach. Just drive off the trail for a bit and see what happens.