Labor Day Weekend 2020

Hiking with our neighbors at Kelly Hollow

Britt and I have spent the lions share of our free time over the past several months working on our house. As a result, there has been very little downtime and (for all of the other painfully obvious pandemic related reasons as well) socializing has been almost nonexistent. We are lucky enough to have met a few of our neighbors (more than we ever knew living in NYC), and they are all cool. We took a break from the work around the house on Labor Day and went for a hike at nearby Kelly Hollow with our backyard neighbors and brought our respective dogs along to socialize.

When I say “backyard” I mean, we literally own properties that abut each other at the rear property lines. During this hike, we hatched a plan to make a trail between our two houses. This is awesome for me, because as a kid my best friend lived in the house right behind mine. During the summers I had perpetual splinters in my knees from climbing over the cedar fence in our backyard to go hangout at my friend’s house.

It is a little bit of a different scenario here. But the novelty of it is not lost on me. In the week since Labor Day, Britt has been busy raking a trail up through the woods. On Sunday, she met our neighbors at the half way mark, where they had also been clearing a trail from their end. Pretty awesome, in my opinion. Like a mini version of the golden spike!

Here are a couple more snaps from our Labor Day weekend in the Catskills:

Britt building some planters from scrap wood.

Hanging out at the fire pit.

Some of the leaves were already changing on Labor Day weekend.

One more from the Kelly Hollow Loop.

AM Fawg

I decided to take a week off from running because I was having some ankle issues. I have replaced the runs with walks in the evenings and mornings. This particular morning, our mountain was socked in with fog. It felt like I was in Narnia or something. The dew was so thick in the grass that Lola was totally soaked afterward, as were my shoes. I toted my camera along with us to grab a couple shots of the nebulous hillside. Oh yeah, and a family of wild turkeys.

Blue Hour in the Catskills (Part 3)

I’ve been doing some evening rides. Not always staying out until blue hour, but I did on Tuesday. Blue hour rides can be kind of sketchy because of all the deer that are out that time of night. But I can take it easy on the throttle around here since the traffic situation is basically non-existent. I usually do on backroads anyway, since I’m still learning all of the routes up here. Saw plenty of deer Tuesday night, but no close calls.

I like this set a lot because even though I put a super warm wash on them, the blue hour vibe still comes through pretty strong (in my opinion anyway). These were all shot on my Fujifilm X100S. It is a nice lightweight piece with good glass and a long enough strap that I can sling it cross body and shoot from the saddle. Since I have to use my right hand for the shutter, I usually just pull the clutch and snap a couple of quick ones while the throttle is closed. Anyway, here is some stuff I saw Thursday evening.

Catskills Moths

Every morning there is a residual selection of moths grouped around the porch light that is left burning all night. I have been cataloguing them in crappy cell phone photos for several weeks. The other morning I finally got out a real camera and snapped these. There are a couple of shots in this set that appear to be duplicate species. But I liked each of these images for different reasons. Perhaps others will as well.

Blue Hour in the Catskills (Part 2)

Continuing with installment No. 2 of this series, here are some photos from Friday night. I’m pretty sure this is the last set I will post of images shot around the yard (don’t hold me to that). The top two photos in this post are my favorite from this set. In the top photo, I really like the contrast of the warm bokeh from the pathway lights next to the ethereal cool tones of the dandelion seeds.

I like the photo below for the super shallow depth of field. Normally I think it would be overkill on an image where the subject is so close. But when shooting after nightfall, there aren’t a lot of options other than to have the aperture wide open. It this case, it almost creates the sensation of being submerged in water. Further, I shot all of these at a much higher ISO that I would normally ever use. The resulting effect is a grainy look (often referred to as “noise”). Aside from photos shot on film, I’m generally not a fan of noise in my images. In this case, I feel like the texture actually adds something to the overall vibe of these images.

Blue Hour in the Catskills (Part 1)

People rave about photos taken during golden hour (also called “magic hour”) and for a good reason. They are beautiful. It is almost impossible to take a bad photo in golden hour light. And when you see a really good one, you can feel the warmth from it pouring straight into your soul.  The time of day that seems to take a back seat to golden hour in terms of photog popularity, is that of blue hour. I think that part of what makes both of these types of photos special (as is true with any really good photo) is the emotional reaction that they evoke in the viewer. Seeing a golden hour photo that has been done right, is like being wrapped in a fleece blanket that just came out of the dryer. For blue hour photos, the sensation is typically much different. Similar to the project I gave myself in April, I’m going to spend the month of June practicing blue light photography here in the Catskills. I won’t be posting every day, but hopefully a couple of times per week, depending on if I get anything worth sharing.

The shots in this post are a few that I took the other night. None of them are amazing, but I feel like they set the tone nicely. Here goes!

Britt and Lola

The Subjects of this Post Hiking Through the Snow.

This is the final entry for my series about stuff that I brought with me into isolation. I saved the best for last. Even though Britt and Lola are not gear, they have certainly been the factor during all of this craziness that have made things bearable. Britt and I joked at the outset of this adventure that it would either make or break our relationship. I’m happy to report that she hasn’t dumped me yet. Transitioning from the inflatable mattress to a real one certainly aided the cause. In all seriousness, this has been an experience in team building like we have never had with each other. I don’t often publicly share many details about our personal life, but I would be remiss to finish this series without nodding to Britt as the amazing partner that she is.

Burton Glove Liners

Burton glove liners are awesome.  As a person who prefers mittens over fingered gloves when participating in winter sports, I have found these glove liners to be nearly essential on very cold days. It enables one to remove the mitten while on a ski lift in order to shoot off a quick gram or two without getting frostbitten fingers. I also keep one of the heavier weight pairs (seen above) in my jacket pockets to use as commuter gloves. Back in the days of riding the subway, they kept my paws toasty and enabled me to be a strap hanger without having any actual skin contact with the strap. Both index fingers and thumbs are outfitted with touchscreen friendly material. Seeing how it has been snowing almost every day since we have been in the Catskills, I’m really glad to have brought these with me. A wintertime must-have, in my book.

Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor 1980-1983 by Tim Lawrence

I first discovered this book from the Benji B. radio show on BBC Radio 1. I guess the author, Tim Lawrence and crew put together an LP compilation of the music that is part of the subject matter in this book. Benji played a bunch of tracks from the compilation (which were awesome) and talked up the book enough that I had to check it out. I still haven’t finished “Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor 1980-1983” yet. But I’m enjoying every chapter. If you are a sucker for NYC’s cultural history like I am, I would definitely recommend this book, whether you are a music fan or not.

Muji House Slippers

Some of Japan’s Finest Slippers, Together with the Author’s Veiny Scarred up Ankles.

First of all, everything Muji is awesome. Britt got us matching pairs of these for like $4 each. I was never the type to wear slippers around the house until these ones came along. They were one of the last items to go into the duffel when we were packing to get out of dodge. Man, am I glad I brought ’em.