Wednesday, September 30, 2009

That's Entertainment

You never know what or who'll you see on a New York subway train. On this crowded 'D' uptown train I was taking to Yankee Stadium, two men got on with a big drum and a wooden marionette. They proceeded to find an open spot and then put on an impromptu show. The drum player on the left did most of the talking as he pounded out a beat while the other guy, who calls himself, Mr. Cupcake, had the controls of the puppet and he made it dance along to the music.

A few hours later at the ballpark, the Yankees celebrated another so-called "walk-off" win ( that's 15 of that type this season) when Juan Miranda got an infield hit to drive in the winning run to beat Kansas City. And, as has been the case since April, pitcher A.J. Burnett (in blue) - the maker of the Hero shaving cream pies - did his job as he delivered his latest creation right in the face of Miranda as he was being interviewed on the field after the game. So far, Burnett has not been on the receiving end of a Hero pie. But I bet his teammates are plotting to get him before the season is over. The playoffs start next week so maybe then.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

These People Are Happy

The Yankees and their fans had a lot to cheer for after Sunday's win over the Red Sox. For the first time since 2006, the Yankees - with 100 wins - have captured the American League East Division crown. The players celebrate on the field while the fans start envisioning a World Series berth. But before that, the Yankees must play either Detroit or Minnesota in the first round of playoffs after one more week of regular season/tune-up play. If they keep winning, the Yankees could meet the Red Sox again for the right to represent the American League in the World Series.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Look Very Closely - What Do YOU See?

If you let you mind wander and attach human-like qualities to this photo of the bottom side of an electronically-charged plastic dolphin, then you might see a head and maybe a pair of hands clasped in a prayerful pose. Then the arms draped in heavy fabric ... like a long robe.

Could it be a person praying to a spirit or deity?

Or is it just a random pattern of light?

Sometimes we let our minds see what we want to see. What do you see?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

All Eyes Forward

I came across a fence where up to 60 pigeons were just hanging out. People didn't bother them because they didn't fly away when pedestrians walked past and they allowed me to get close. I like this shot because I was able to get the eyes of all four birds in the composition for their portrait. I learned the other day that to make portraits more interesting, have the subject look off in the distance and not directly at the camera. Or, don't have them smile when they look at the camera. I'll try that that approach and share the results in future posts. You can always learn something new no matter how much you think you know.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Look Out For Traffic

Last night I mentioned it's fun shooting youthful subjects because they usually aren't shy about putting on a show for the camera. But in this case, I'm sure this skater had no idea I was shooting him since I was up the street and using a tele-photo lens to capture his antics. He and a couple of other guys were boarding in the middle of busy Smith Street whenever there was a lull in the traffic flow.

I knew what I wanted to do when I walked passed them and I hoped they'd still be skating after I made it a half-block or so away and took my position next to a NYPD squad car whose occupants didn't seem interested in stopping the skaters as long as they didn't hold up any cars. While I've taken sharper images, this pose makes the picture. His body and especially his arms are in the prefect position and the lights of the oncoming car had a 12-point glare to them that gives the image an artsy look. My timing had to be perfect since I was shooting one shot at a time. But having been an avid skate -boarder back in the day, I had a feel for when he was going to take flight.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Saturday Night Out

While walking home to Brooklyn across the Manhattan Bridge, I came across this group of kids who were just hanging out.
They asked me to use their camera phone to take a few snaps and then I asked them to pose for me. The great thing about many teenagers: they are uninhibited and willing to show off if given the chance. The boy in black said he wants to be a model and they thought I might be a scout for a big-time agency.
I'm just a guy with a camera looking for interesting pictures.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Is This Too Early?

While shopping for some new sweaters for the turn of seasons next week to fall, I came across the first sign that the big consumer stores - like K-Mart - are planning ahead ... way ahead in order to get people thinking about spending money during the holiday shopping period - which, if this is any indication - has begun. But who really wants a fake tree?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Wall

Still adding to the apartment and the big clock is the last piece on the wall across from the sofas. To the right is the blow-up of the Manhattan Bridge tower which is in front of the fireplace. Once it really gets cold, I'll move the picture to make a fire to help stave off the winter chill. It's in the 40's and 50's at night around here - crispness is the word the weatherman used on channel 7 - and in some of the suburbs, the lows are in the high 30's

Time To Celebrate Again

The Yankees won for the 14th time this season in their final at-bat. This time, it was a 9th inning single by third-string catcher Francisco Cervelli who is seen here getting the winning hit against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have to go back to 1943 to find a season where they had more so-called, "walk-off" wins. That season they had 17 such victories.

Cervelli - unseen - is in the middle of that group of happy Yankees who chased him into shallow right-field before he allowed his teammates to catch him for the good natured pounding.

And right on schedule - the Keeper of the Hero Pies - pitcher A.J. Burnett was ready to give Cervelli his first pie of the season. Cervelli knew it was coming - while being interviewed on TV I'm sure he heard the fans roar when they spotting Burnett heading his way. He braced for impact and Burnett gave him a face-full of shaving cream. Cervelli would later say the pie "tasted good."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Summer's Last Licks

On my way to the subway station to head to Yankee Stadium, I couldn't ignore this scene that sums up the waining days of summer in these parts. It was a nice, sunny day - perfect for ice cream and music ... and this boy is enjoying both: savoring his treat while listening the acoustic stylings of the guitarist up-close and personal. It's suppose to rain tomorrow and the day after that and so on and so on ...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Catching Up

It's back to the photo-blog after a couple of days off in honor of those who lost their lives 9/11/01. On that night - after a rain storm almost forced the game to be called - Derek Jeter, the Yankees' shortstop and team captain, got career base hit number 2,722 off Baltimore pitcher Chris Tillman in the third-inning - to break the tie with Lou Gehrig.

This shot is after all the hoo-ha at first-base when his teammates came out of the dugout to congratulate Jeter on his accomplishment. Derek then acknowledged his family for their lifelong support and the game continued and resulted in a Yankees win. Jeter and his team can now concentrate on the post-season as they try to keep the best overall record in the Major Leagues.

Friday, September 11, 2009


It's been eight years since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan is slowly being prepared for the new Freedom Tower but it won't be completed for another five years - they hope. One politician recently called the delay a tragedy. Money battles are at the center of the foot-dragging. The new tower will be a memorial to the 3,000-plus victims who perished when the twin towers came down.

Every year since the attack, these powerful beams of lights - one for each fallen tower - are turned on the day before 9/11 and will stay illuminated until after all of the remembrances are held.

Both of these photos were taken from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. They are time exposures using a tripod. I could not hand-hold my camera and get these pictures. In order to get all of the buildings and the beams to show properly, the timer needed to be set between 5 and 15 seconds.

The beams of light are a reminder the threat of terrorism is still very real and that - despite the passage of time and the political in-fighting going on about the future of the site - we mustn't forget the people who lost their lives then and the ones who've made the ultimate sacrifice in the middle-east fighting the war against terrorism.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Almost There

It was a memorable night at New York's Yankee Stadium. Derek Jeter snapped an 0 for 12 hit-less streak with three hits. He's now tied with the legendary Lou Gehrig for most hits in team history. The game stopped - briefly - as the crowd gave Jeter a standing ovation.

One of the signs outside the stadium listed the all-time hit leaders on the Yankees.

When Jeter sets the record - maybe Friday vs Baltimore - it's expected that his teammates will come onto the field to congratulate him. There's no way the game will continue until Jeter gets a long ovation from the crowd and his team properly takes part in the big moment.

This is a photo of Jeter taken from the hi-def picture provided by the YES-TV network which - along with ESPN - was televising the game. As you can imagine, Jeter got lots of camera time after he tied the record.

And just for good measure, the moon came up behind the giant video screen in center-field while Johnny Damon, the man who followed Jeter in the lineup, was at the plate. I was lucky to look up and see the moon before it got too high in the sky and became smaller and more difficult to photograph and tell it was the moon and not just an inexplicable white dot in the sky.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Another "Walk-Off" Another Pie!

The man in the middle of the action at home plate is Nick Swisher who is arriving to a happy collection of his teammates who want to congratulate him after he hit a game-winning homer in the bottom of the 9th inning to beat Tampa Bay, 3-2, at Yankee Stadium in New York.

It's the 13th so-called "walk-off" win for the Yankees this season at the new stadium. Just amazing and a lot of fun to watch. And a celebration like this means the hero is headed for a whipped-cream pie in the face ...

... And the man in charge of preparing and delivering the pies, pitcher A.J. Burnett, was right on time with his latest creation that Swisher really enjoyed. Swisher is a happy, up-beat type of person and he's admired for those qualities by players and fans alike. So he was glad to be a part of another exciting Yankee victory. As for Derek Jeter's pursuit of the Yankees' all-time hit record ...

... Jeter had another game with no hits in four tries and is hitless in his last 12 at-bats. A fan in the left-field seats fires a camera in an attempt to record one of four more hits Jeter needs to pass Lou Gehrig's team record of 2,721 hits. If Jeter is feeling any pressure, reporters had to guess. He wasn't around to answer questioins after the game.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Capturing The Flashes

New York Yankees' shortstop Derek Jeter is relaxed and checking out the scene in the seats at Yankee Stadium after he failed to get a hit in eight at-bats as the Yanks swept a double-header from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jeter is just three hits away from tying Yankee legend Lou Gehrig for most hits in team history. Gehrig - whose career was cut short by the disease that would eventually be named after him - had 2,721 hits in a hall-of-fame career. Jeter - the Yankee team captain and the most popular player on the team - went 0 for 8 in Monday's double-header.

As you might guess, lots of people brought their camera to the games in hopes of capturing Jeter's run up to history. I tried to capture the people shooting the pictures.
Those little bright spots on the left side of Yankee Stadium are camera flashes going off as fans try to preserve what they hope will be a base-hit by Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter. It's a guessing and timing game to photograph those flashes - which look great when hundreds of people are shooting a picture at the same time. It'll get better the closer Jeter gets to making the record his own. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Just Waiting

It was a cool summer day in New York - perfect for sitting down and soaking up the sun - when it wasn't behind some clouds. As for this guy who is apparently waiting for someone to shop - he seems a little preoccupied. Like he's saying, "the beach ... or golf ... the beach ... or ..

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ready To Take A Dive

It looks like Lady Liberty is ready to ditch that hot torch and heavy ropes for the cool water slide that sits atop a passing cruise ship in the Hudson River. The last weekend of summer is here and the weather is perfect. Temps are in the high 70's with reasonable humidity.

Friday, September 4, 2009

U.S. Open Tennis And More

I'll start with the 'And More' part because the sunset was spectacular and my vantage point was from very top row of Arthur Ashe Stadium on the grounds of the National Tennis Center in New York where the U.S. Open is underway.

The Empire State Building is on the far left - I'm aiming my lens toward the west (which is a good place for the sun to set) - the tennis courts are in the borough of Queens.

Many fans climbed the steep stairs to join me in snapping shots of the colorful scene. All this was happening as James Blake was fighting for his tournament life on the court.

The Mets' new home, Citi Field, is right next to the National Tennis Center. Any shot of the grounds wouldn't be complete without a jet plane being in the shot since La Guardia airport is just to the northeast of the athletic venues.

Here's the aforementioned James Blake as he reached to return a serve. This is about as good as you can get with a tennis shot. The ball is on the racket face and you can see the face of the player. Blake advanced with a four set victory. He's not having a very good season and it wound be a big shock if he's still around this time next week. But he's a fan favorite and since this is the U.S. championship, having an American around for as long as possible would be great.

Doubles play is fun to watch. TV doesn't cover it much anymore. But most of the top ranked players still compete in doubles and - as we have here - mixed doubles. The action is fast and it's amazing how these top pros can react to the many rocket shots that fly around the court. And having trust that your partner won't hit you with a serve is important as well.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Scenes From Central Park

Central Park was as empty as this long bench near the 72nd street entrance. Actually, it was just the opposite. On another beautiful day in New York - mid 70's with little humidity - the park was teaming with activity.

I walked quite a bit and saw and heard a lot of things, but the action on the cycle, run/walk and skate paths was where I wanted to practice my panning technique. I wanted to convey movement in a still picture and finding a target and following it as I pressed the shutter button would do just that.

Speed and color was all around and after shooting many people on bicycles, this guy came along on his in-line skates (Roller Blade is a brand name of a company that makes in-line skates.) Luckily, he made the rounds in front of me several times so I got many chances to get this shot right. As he zips by, I follow him and I press the shutter button. I wanted him sharp and in focus while the background is blurred to suggest his movement. He was really moving fast and I hope the photo gives that impression.

The rock climbers were left out of the picture being painted by an artist who was only a few feet away from the rock which was about 15 feet high. But it still looked like a pretty good challenge for the free-climbers who were working on their finger holds and foot positions. More Central Park pics to come. As usual, click on the photos for larger versions.

Fall Is In The Air

I took this shot recently after a thunder shower while I was walking to the subway to go to work. It struck me at the time - it was about 85 degrees with at least 80 percent humidity - as an unusual thing to see in the heat of summer. But things change and now that September is here, the weather has changed as well here in the east, Daytime highs are in the mid-70's, very low humidity and the night time temps in some area around here are in the 40's. So this leaf and the others like it on the ground, are a welcome sight. The cooler and drier weather is very much welcome after the third wettest summer in NYC history.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

For the Bird, Dog and Cat Lovers

This cat is in its favorite front window spot in the Carroll Gardens pet store on Court Street. I don't think he's for sale because he's held down that spot ever since I moved into the area a few months ago. A sign above him warns people not to tap on the glass so as not to disturb the animals that are looking for new owners.

The dog and the bird were photographed in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. I liked the bird's regal appearance and this dog was waiting for his owner to toss a tennis ball.