Friday, February 29, 2008

Dr. Seuss Day

I spent the first part of this morning at my daughters' school which was celebrating Dr. Seuss day. I had the wonderful privilege of being able to read to Katie's second grade class. I wore my very own Katz in the hat hat and brought my own supply of books for the kids to choose from.

Their first choice out of the four books I brought was "Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!" which won the vote 12 - 11. Katie got to sit next to me while I read the book and all the kids in Ms. Bajzath's class were very well behaved. They oohed and aahed as I read the book and showed them the pictures and were very impressed that I was actually in the book "Our science teacher Mr. Katz...." Not all the readers in school that day got mentioned in a book. When we finished the story I showed them the original pictures that Dr. Seuss has drawn for the book and they were fascinated by it.

Since the vote was so close I felt the need to read their second choice "Horton Hears a Who!" too. Truth be told I was just having so much fun I figured I would stick around a little longer. They continued to behave well and even helped while I read "a person is a person no matter how small!" They all piped up and said small with me.

I really enjoyed my time in Ms. Bajzath class and only had one hiccup all day. I had taken my glasses off when I started to read and when I finished they had disappeared from the table. We looked everywhere and the class helped too but they were no where to be found. I found out later that Ms. B had stolen them. She had picked them up as her own and put them on her head. Later she grabbed her other glasses and when she tried to add them to her head she found the first pair. A very real life embarrassing Seussian moment. Katie told me the whole class laughed at her.

It was truly an awesome day and one I will always remember. Ms. B even used a camera to capture a picture of Me reading with Sue who had popped in and KatieD300, 18-200mm, 55mm, f/4.8, ISO 1100, 1/100s, no flash

Dr Seuss Day begins

Happy Dr. Seuss day Wanaque School.
D300, 18-200mm, 34mm, f/4.2, ISO 720, 1/100s, No flash
D300, 18-200mm, 26mm, f/4.0, ISO 1400, 1/100s, No flash
D300, 18-200mm, 36mm, f/4.2, ISO 1250, 1/100s, No flash

Thursday Night Soccer Report

It’s that time of the week again. Being Thursday and all we played the fourth game of the second season. We are currently in fifth place with a 1-1-1 record and were playing the second place team which had a 2 – 1 record. We were blessed with the early slot tonight – 9:00 PM which actually played against us in the beginning. Nick had a previous engagement and Jeff was nursing a strained hamstring. We were supposed to playing with two subs but at game time we had exactly 8 players. Thankfully Tony and Aharon showed up just after we started to gives us a bench to go to. The nice part of having the early game was that my daughter, Kimmy, came to watch. The games are always too late for her but she had her homework done and I promised Mom she would be home by 10:15.

This was the third time we played the Wildcats this year. We tied the first game 1 - 1 and won the second 5 – 1. They had a much deeper bench this go around and had recruited a few new players. We knew we could beat them but expected a hard fought game. They did not want to lose again.

We came out pretty strong and applied a lot of pressure to them. 5 minutes in Rolfie had a beautiful pass handed to him and sprung free on the left side. He had no one in front of him and a clear shot from 12 – 13 yards out and wouldn’t you know it – just plain missed. Sometimes you wish he could hit the broadside of a barn – but no – he has to try and make it interesting. At one point – he was standing at mid-field when the ball popped out to him. No one in front of him and what does he do – pass it or take it in – no, he shoots from the half line and other than the fact that it was a perfect field goal it looked silly. I think he sometimes confuses his English football with American Football. Wes had a bunch of great shots tonight but truth be told – their keeper was fantastic. He was determined to keep the Wildcats in the game.

They applied some pressure forward on us, mainly with their two strikers pushed all the way up but we were up to the task. They had only 3 somewhat quality shots on the night – Frank had two terrific saves and everything else was wide. Mark who played with us last year likes to slip by upfront but we held the line and played defense well the entire game.

There was very little interruption from the ref except for one of their guys complaining that we were fouling all night. He tried to prove his point by running over Buyar’s leg and earned an Oscar for his beautiful dive. The ref just laughed at him and waved it off – he did a great job.

We had lots of chances but did not manage to score until the 35th minute. We had a corner from the left side and Irish Frank slid up from defense and called the ball. Rolfie slickly played it right to his head and Frankie put it in the upper corner out of reach of the keeper. Frank had a great game – helped keep the game sane on right defense and a goal to boot while Charlie handled the left side equally up to the task.

One of our issues is that we are too quiet and do not talk enough. The Wildcats pushed everyone up the last 7 minutes and at one point we had three of our guys and one of theirs in front of the goal with the ball bouncing around but not going anywhere. As Charlie said, I growled like a bear – called the ball and cleared it down the pitch. No one was camping out on my doorstep tonight! What we really needed was a second goal and it just wasn’t going to come tonight. We kept counter-attacking but between their keeper and all we weren’t able to get a shot in the net – had a few off the post but just weren’t able to get that second one in.

The great news was that it was enough. We won the game 1 – 0 and as they say – keep the other team from scoring and you can’t lose. We are guaranteed at least 4th place and quite possibly higher. Kimmy had a great time at the game. She wants to go again but will only manage that if we can get to 2nd place by playoff time.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dr. Seuss get's his day

First - some catch up - the accident last Friday in Wanaque on 287 actually involved 48 vehicles - more than 40 of them cars. The great news is that no one was seriously hurt and emergency personnel from Wanaque and the surrounding towns all responded like champs.

Second - get ready for Dr. Seuss day all across America. Dr. Seuss was born on March 2nd, 1904. In Wanaque's 2 elementary schools Dr. Seuss day is being celebrated on Friday in the Wanaque School and on Monday in the Haskell School. The librarians and the teachers have the schools decked out in Dr. Seuss story characters and drawings and the libraries are all set. Both schools look terrific. Different people will be reading to the children all day and both schools are starting reading contests. I was lucky enough to be asked to read to a class and am honored to do so. I am still deciding which story to read - so many of them are my favorites - from the classic graduation story "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" to "Horton Hears a Who!" and I just read a new one that was his last book - he never completed it so he got a little help at the end. The book is "Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!" and shows his uncompleted work and sketches as the second half of the book.

How can anyone not love a man with a love for Exclamation Points?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More Orchids

Here are a few more shots from the orchid show (made up names). Click on the pictures to see the entire gallery.

These looked almost like they were plastic and were really cool. Cake candle holders...
D300, 18-200mm, 200mm, f/9.0, 1/60s, IS0 200, Flash
A pink spotted friend
D300, 18-200mm, 56mm, f/8.0, 1/250s, IS0 200, Flash
A purple butterfly
D300, 18-200mm, 200mm, f/22.0, 1/60s, IS0 200, Flash
A portrait in red (love the white outline)
D300, 18-200mm, 170mm, f/5.6, 1/50s, IS0 200, Flash

Is it Spring Yet

So it isn't really spring yet but I am not sure how you can tell. Maybe the snow on the ground for the last few days is a clue but with all the rain we had today a lot of it has melted. I have seen a few blue birds and cardinals in the last few weeks but while we were at Botanical Gardens on Sunday I caught this fellow in a tree.
D300, 18-200mm, 200mm, f/8.0, ISO 200, 1/250s
Right next to him was this other little guy who had just finished eating some of the berries from the tree.
D300, 18-200mm, 200mm, f/9.0, ISO 200, 1/320s

Monday, February 25, 2008

Orchid Show

D300, 18-200mm, 60mm, f/20.0, ISO 200, 1/60s, Flash
D300, 18-200mm, 18mm, f/9.0, ISO 200, 1/60s, Flash
D300, 18-200mm, 18mm, f/9.0, ISO 200, 1/60s, Flash
D300, 18-200mm, 50mm, f/16.0, ISO 200, 1/60s, Flash
D300, 18-200mm, 200mm, f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/60s, Flash
D300, 18-200mm, 95mm, f/18.0, ISO 200, 1/60s, Flash
D300, 18-200mm, 36mm, f/20.0, ISO 200, 1/125s

New York Botanical Garden

The family went to the New York Botanical Garden to see the Orchid show yesterday. I highly recommend that if you have some time that you try and get there. There is so much to see and the cool part is you can actually listen to the tour on a cell phone. They give you a number to call when you get in and then you enter a code as you get to each different part of the show. The flowers are absolutely gorgeous and the smells are great.

They have a kid section of the garden where yesterday Kimmy and Katie made Boll Weevil hats and planted a soy bean that they were given to take home. During the spring and summer its a great park to walk around and enjoy the day and during the winter they do a train show with model trains and the different sites and buildings of New York City.

Trying to copy Unc

Mike - thought he could follow Unc's example only to find that the canary didn't want to stay down...
D300, 18-200mm, 75mm, f/7.1, ISO 200, 1/200s

Upon hearing what happened to the canary...

Aunt JoAnn upon hearing that Unc ate the canary too....

D300, 18-200mm, 82mm, f/5.0, 1/60s, ISO 1400

Cat who ate the Canary Part II

We spent today with My Aunt and Uncle and some family. My uncle - the younger brother of the Cat who ate the canary...

D300, 50mm, f/2.5, ISO 200, 1/125s, On-board flash

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Night Time Photography

As usual - I had trouble sleeping last night. What better way to waste some time then to come downstairs and set up the camera to shoot some night time photos out the windows. I hooked up my new corded remote - bought it from a Hong Kong ebay store and placed the camera on a pillow aiming out the window. Too lazy to set the tripod up at 1am and the pillow seemed a good choice. The remote worked like a charm, it gets rid of the vibrations that occur when you press the shutter release.

I took a bunch of photos using only moonlight and a neighbors automatic lights. All of my photos were 4 - 5 second exposures. It will be much easier in the summer when I get rid of the glare from the window I was shooting out of.
D300, 18-200mm, 18mm, f/3.5, ISO 720, 5s

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Snow Fort

Kimmy and Katie had a good day today. They both played soccer in the gym and then we went out to lunch. After lunch, though, the real fun began. We had a good amount of snow and it wasn't packed to much for them. They put on their snow gear after we got home and got their tools out of the garage. Grandpa had given them a snowball maker as well as a snow brick maker and they were out to build a fort. They stayed out until after dark and managed to get 2 layers of bricks done. (Considering that at one point they were going to construct a whole fort with at least two rooms if not more - they did pretty well).
D300, 18-200mm, 35mm, f/10.0, ISO 900, 1/250s, Flash fired

Igor - German Shepherd

Igor is a German Shepherd that I met a little more than a week ago. His owner Peg was walking him around Sunset Lake when they happened upon me. He is 18 months old and was rasied by the Monks of New Skete. They have been breeding and training German Shepherds for over 35 years. Igor was very well behaved and he and Peg were having a grand old walk.
D300, 18-200mm, 53mm, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO 200

Wanaque in the news

Wanaque had its first real snow storm yesterday and it was over by the afternoon. We were expecting a little bit more snow or sleet in the evening but no real accumulation. Lo and behold it warmed up and then cooled down and our town of Wanaque became famous again for the 22 car accident on 287 that occurred here.

You know the old sign that says "Bridge Freezes before roadway" well obviously there wasn't one here or else no one paid any attention to it. The bridge over the Wanaque River between exits 55 and 57 on the highway appears to have been covered in black ice. 2 trucks managed to hit two cars and then everyone else who tried to stop managed to get into trouble. The good news is that no one appears to be seriously hurt. The bad news, it shouldn't have happened at all. They closed Skyline Drive earlier in the day which should have been enough warning about the roadways but obviously not enough salt was deployed. Watching the news was interesting. A tow truck actually hit a fire truck as they were both responding to the scene because they had trouble on the same ice.

I hear all the emergency crews, police, firefighters, and ambulance crews did a great job. You can never say enough about the men and women who volunteer and serve in our community.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Snow in Wanaque

Wow - we had our first real decent snow fall in a long while. We ended up with 6" - 8" and the good news was that it wasn't too heavy. I worked from home today since they closed our site and got to spend time outside shoveling and snowblowing.

The girls went sledding down our next door neighbors front yard and Kimmy even tried a snowboard down it which was really cool. We are supposed to get some sleet tonight which may mean lousy roads in the morning but we had some nice family time this afternoon. The kids really liked watching My Dad is Better Than Your Dad. The show isn't great but they liked it and both kids want to do the human dart board. I almost took a picture because we were all on the couch including the dog...

Thursday Night Soccer Report

Tonight we played the Greek team Doxa. We had the late game – supposed to start at 11:19 and didn’t start until 11:24. We had everyone there so we were playing with 4 subs and we decided to be a magnanimous bunch. Doxa only had 7 players so we let them use a youngster as their goalie instead of playing a man down.

This was without a doubt our roughest game of the season. Doxa came out hard and there was a lot of fouling. I got taken out once as did many others on the team and the ref was constantly blowing his whistle. They had one yellow card for a 2 minute suspension and the ref cautioned them many more times. I asked him after the game why he didn’t give any reds and his reply…they had no subs and I wanted to keep it fun. Although he made the right calls as far as fouls not sure it was the right way to go.

We started off on a letdown when 5 minutes in they had their first goal on an excellent shot from the left side. We were not successfully passing and kept trying to go straight up the middle. They played a very well spaced game and had some great passes. It only took another 5 minutes for them to score their second goal. We let one get behind us and although he whiffed on his shot it took a slow bounce over Frank’s leg. He was pretty annoyed at the end of the game. He felt that he should have at least had that one.

We finally started to pick it up after the second goal woke us up. We started to use the sides and with our resident Irish man Frank in with Rolfie and Wes, we got the ball in front of the net. Either Wes or Frank took a shot that clanged off the past and bounced right back to Rolfie on the 6 who pounded it into the net to get one back.

The game stayed pretty close for the next 25 minutes. We were definitely the better team but we refused to run them enough. We did a good job subbing but we had a tendency to lay back and let them attack and then look for a counter. We should have spent more time running them ragged since they had no subs. They had one terrific player, who really pushed us but between a few of us we managed to contain him.

I felt very comfortable – going to the gym the last 2 weeks has definitely made a difference. I was diving around at one point making 2 stops before the ball could get to Frank on some hard shots. We were doing a good job of containing.

We had our second goal on a miscue from their keeper. We put a ball up which he caught and then stepped out of the box. It gave us a direct kick right in front of their net. They put their whole team on the wall directly in front and Rolfie, instead of shooting, layed it off to Wes on the edge of the wall where he put it in the top right corner. We were back to 2 – 2.

This is where Rolfie decided to embarrass himself. He stepped up to forward as we were playing 4 back. 3 defense and a floater and Rolfie hung out at midfield. With about 9 minutes left we put the ball to Rolfie who was all alone in front of their net. Now, as a reminder, – let’s go back three weeks when Wes passed me the ball in the same situation. What did I do, I tried to one time it in the net instead of settling it down and completely missed. So what does Rolfie do, he brings the ball down to his feet turns, I yell “nobody” so he should no he is alone and he takes a shot from maybe 12 yards out. Calling it a shot is pretty generous though, it hit the bubble 8 yards to the left of the post. He knew he blew it but that wasn’t the end. We sent another ball to him two minutes later, he is down on the right end line and starts dribbling towards the goalie. Remember, Rolfie has great foot skills and claims he can beat everyone. Instead of trying to beat the keeper he shoots from 2 yards away right into the keeper. Nick and I decided that Rolfie just can’t shoot from the right side, only from the left.

By the way, he actually had a third chance. During the yellow card 2 minute man up, I moved forward and Wes had a great pass to me on the right side which I turned and put it to Rolfie’s feet (all alone on the left side) and all he could do was lose control. I think he had a case of the yips tonight.

We ended the game tied 2 – 2 and a little beat up on a game we should have won. Tony managed not to get kicked out tonight and even Buyar behaved after his first talking to by the ref. All in all it was a good game but not a great game. We dropped from 4th to 5th with a tie and Doxa moved from 3rd to 4th due to the tie. Next week we play the Wildcats whom we have tied and beaten in the past but who are in 2nd in the standings due to their 2nd win and goal differential. It should be interesting since Paul won’t make it and it is the early game at 9:00.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

For those of you who haven't been paying attention there was a lunar eclipse tonight. This was the last one until 2010. It started around 8:45pm and went total around 10pm. The moon started to emerge from the shadow around 10:50pm. There are a couple of cool things about a lunar eclipse, you can see it without any special glasses etc and the moon doesn't go completely dark but most times turns some shade of red. This happens because the moon is reflecting sunlight and even though the earth gets between the moon and the sun, some light bends around the earth and through the atmosphere. Depending on the particles in the atmosphere that particular day determines the color of the eclipse.

I woke Kimmy up to watch it and she was very excited. It was the first one she has ever seen.

Without further ado, here are some photos:
Just passing into totality
Saturn in the lower left and Regulus above moon
short exposur - middle of totality
Eclipse almost over
D300, 70-300mm, ISO 400, all at 300mm except #2 at 125mm

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Oxymoron of the day

Today they decided to replace all of the locks on the office doors at work. When they first mentioned this a few weeks ago we were told that since most of the offices had been recently rekeyed when we moved in that we wouldn't be on the list.
Needless to say, they did all of the offices in the building today. The best part of all this though was the sign they left at each closed and locked door when they finished (most of us were at a meeting while the offices were being done). Now remember - we have to close and lock our doors when we leave at the end of the day or we are in a meeting etc.

"Your office lock has been replaced. Security will call you in the morning when your key is ready."

How do we answer our phone if it is inside the locked office?

Moon over sunset clouds

On my way home tonight I had to pull over in Bridgewater and grab a few shots of the moon over the sunset colored clouds.
D300, 70-300mm, 98mm, f/6.3, ISO 200, 1/160s

Monday, February 18, 2008

Walter Weitzner

My great uncle passed away this past Thursday. He was 87 years old. Yesterday was the funeral, and not surprisingly, I am not a fan of funerals, probably why I took the day off from the blog. Although he was my great uncle, I knew him as Uncle Walter.

When my brother and I were growing up they lived about 4 miles away in the next town over and after our grandparents we saw them the most often. My cousin Lori babysat for me at least once (my guess is that I was such a terror it was only once) and I know we stayed there a few times over night when we had to. I remember dinners at their house. If it was just myself, or my brother and I, Aunt Florence would serve us at the table with the chairs with yellow seat cushions that now sit in my own kitchen. We did many holidays there and they have spent many with us at my parents.

Uncle Walter was probably the nicest person I ever met. He never had a bad thing to say about anyone and was usually the quietest one in the room. Aunt Florence probably had something to do with that. She is still one of the only people that can shut my father up. It was funny listening to Lori's husband Mike talk about Walter and his father discussing the war. I remember, just barely, him telling stories when I was really little. I don't remember it very clearly but I do remember the feeling when I was with Uncle Walter and Aunt Florence, and that is something I will always cherish.

We went back to Lori's apartment after the cemetery and one of my father's cousins said it all, "Walter Weitzner was a saint on earth but he's a real saint now!"

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Time for a bath

I went to the other side of Sunset Lake where a river runs into the lake. As it was in the 40s and the water was moving the ice had melted in this part of the lake. The birds had congregated and these 2 decided they needed to clean up.
All shot with D300, 70-300mm VR, 300mm

Bush Flower

I stopped at Sunset Lake in Bridgewater, NJ on my way home yesterday and the red of this pine cone flower thing - no idea what it is - jumped out and demanded to be photographed.
D300, 70-300mm VR, 300mm, f/5.6, ISO 280, 1/200s, Vivid+

Friday, February 15, 2008

Soccer (Football) Report

It’s that time of week again, time for the Thursday night soccer report. We had a 9:47 game against a new team in the league from Vernona. They skipped the first season. We played with only 2 substitutes tonight since Jamie couldn’t make it and neither could Rolfie.

The game started off fine but it didn’t last that way for long. Five minutes into the game Tony got tackled, and no, I do not mean slide tackled. He took a pass on the left wing and sent it down the side towards Wes. After he release the ball a player from Verona literally two arm tackled him and sent him to the turf. He had already tripped Tony and pushed him and was on his way to a red card. Before the ref could pull a card out Tony let his temper get the best of him. He went after the other player and raised his arms. Wes separated them but it was too late. The ref gave their player a yellow card (2 minute penalty – you play a man down) and Tony got a red which meant we would play the rest of the night with only 6 field players. If Tony hadn’t gone after the other guy he probably would have had red instead of a yellow. We ribbed Tony the rest of the night since it was the quickest we had ever seen him sent to the bench and it’s usually Buyar we have to worry about.

We made the most of our two minutes of even play and Wes had a nice shot into the corner of the net for our first goal. Verona was a new team and they played like it. They were a man up on us for 38 minutes and you would never know it. They played on their heels and never really utilized their extra man. They didn’t push the attack and even though we were playing with one forward we dominated the game.

Wes scored his second goal of the night about 19 minutes in but we refused to relax. We were mostly solid on defense and managed to stay with short passes most of the night. Irish Frank wins the distinction of the man who couldn’t find the back of the net if he was standing 3 inches in front of it with no keeper. Wes set him up with a pass right in front, maybe 6 feet out with just him and the keeper, what’s Frank do? He shoots it right at the keeper. Wes, being the kind soul that he is does it a second time with the same result. In total, Frank had at least 5 clear shots in front of the net and you would think he was playing pass back with the keeper.

Nick had a nice shot from about 20 feet out – forced the keeper to actually make a save. I think he and Frank switched places since Frank put the ball into the head of one of the unsuspecting opposing players. In all almost every person on the team had a shot and missed the net or put it right into the keeper. Wes actually jammed the keeper’s hand on one shot. Not that it mattered but Wes finished off his hat trick about 30 minutes into the game, the man is a shark . Buyar tried to get into the act and put the ball in the net but it was on an indirect free kick and no one touched so it certainly didn’t count.

I must say I felt good tonight. I was fully recovered compared to last week and my work outs the last few days paid off since I didn’t feel as winded and had no trouble keeping up with the opposing players. With four minutes left in the game, I intercepted a pass in our end, carried it up, put a pass off to my Irish teammate (who wisely decided they he really had no clue where the net was – maybe he had a little too much Guiness) who fed Wes. Wes placed a nice ball on my chest which I brought down to my foot and put in the corner of the net. First goal of the season, all due to a terrific pass from Wes and my patience, unlike two weeks ago, to bring it down, look and then smash it into the corner.

We won the game 4 – 0 and Frank enjoyed the shutout. He played a great game in net and had some really great saves. Always nice to get a win under your belt and get back to 500.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bullrush in Ice

I went back to Sunset pond at lunch today to take a few shots on a clearer day. I hadn't expected it to freeze over this fast. (no blue water in the background)
D300, 18-200mm, 135mm, f/20.0, 1/125s, ISO 280

The impact of a photo

I read Newspapers! That might seem like a weird thing to state – especially in this day and age but it is appropriate.

I grew up in a house where newspapers were where you got the day’s news. We had the local paper delivered (and for a few years there I was actually a paperboy) and my father picked up the New York Times every day on the way to work. He wasn’t a big believer in having the Times delivered back then; I think he was worried that it might come too late. He read it on the train to and from the city and usually handed it off to mom when he got home. She would read it upstairs in her chair and if she missed a day they would pile up until she had an hour or two to go through them. The big day was always Sundays. My father would get up early and head down to the local stationary store that opened early and would buy the Sunday Times in all its glory. It didn’t take long for him to convince the owner to give him the first half of the paper on Saturday when he picked up that day’s paper. For those of you too young to remember, Sunday newspapers are delivered in sections, the arts and leisure sections, as well as the ads and classified are delivered between Thursday and Saturday and the shop owner had to put them all together when the news section arrived on Sunday. This worked great for my father since he and my mother would work on the New York Times Crossword puzzle. Not together I might add. Dad would get the puzzle first and do all the easy words, in pencil, and then Mom would get it either Saturday night or Sunday morning. She would do the rest of the puzzle and would usually complain about a few of Dad’s words. Always fun to watch the complaining. My father has solved this in the advent of computers and scanners – he now makes a copy of the crossword puzzle – one for him and one for mom. When I started working on them in college he would always complain that I took all of the easy words.

I always found the New York Times hard to read since I have a tendency to go from cover to cover and in a newspaper where “all the news that’s fit to print” is that can take a long time. It didn’t help that it didn’t have any comics. How can it be a real newspaper without any comics?

When I went to college the newspaper of choice was the Boston Globe and then once I was in New Jersey it became the Star Ledger. I still prefer the Globe and when we are in Boston I always get it. It is a great compromise between the New York Times and whatever the local paper might be. The only issue these days is I have almost no time to read the paper.

This leads me up to what sparked this post. I was reading Scott Kelby’s blog which sent me to a new blog – PhotoWalkPro written by Jeff Revell. He has a post from the other day about an ad campaign for a Cape Town, South Africa newspaper, The Cape Times, which is terrific. The ad campaign is titled The Day Before and focuses on images taken the day before a tragedy happened. In this case there is a photo from September 10th, 2001 of a kids soccer game in a park with the twin towers in the background, one from November 21st, 1963(JFK), one from June 15,th, 1976 (Soweto Riots in South Africa), and the last one from August 5th, 1945 (Hiroshima). The copy of the ad read, “The World can change in a day, don’t miss your daily edition of in-depth news”. The photos are terrific and have a huge impact once you understand the context. Feel free to post you comments below.

It really is a brilliant set of ads and one of the reasons I love newspapers so much. There is something to be said for holding a newspaper, the smell of newsprint although as my mom would say the newsprint I left on the hand towels), and just the joy of reading.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dreary Days

I woke up this morning to the phone ringing. The kids got the day off from school due to the weather. It wasn’t snowing out anymore just rain but the issue with being “above the 287 line” as the weather forecasters like to refer to it as, means that it hadn’t gotten above freezing. Many of the roads were still icy and Wanaque had the sanders/salters and plows out. I, of course, didn't get to stay home with them, I had work to do - but that wasn't going to be easy.

I had shoveled the driveway last night but it had sleeted some after I went to bed and we essentially had an ice rink for a driveway when I woke up, great for the kids but cars and people, not so much. Using a little bit of salt and a lot of elbow grease I managed to get the ice off the driveway and headed to work around eleven. I did manage to snap 2 photos right before I left. These were taken from my car in the driveway. That house you see in the first one isn’t usually visible. All the snow which had turned into ice was weighing the bush down so much that we had a nice view of the neighbor’s yard.

D300, 18-200mm, f/4.2, 1/250s, ISO 200, 32mm

This second picture is of our side yard.

D300, 18-200mm, f/5.0, 1/320s, ISO 200, 65mm

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Let it Snow

Wow - it hasn't been often that the weather people on TV have gotten it right recently. In the last 3 months when they said it would snow 6 inches we’ve had flurries and no accumulation. Another time it was supposed to dip into the teens and it was 45 degrees out.

It started snowing around 11 today and work was kind enough to "suggest" that we go home early and, this part is important, be careful when we did. For some reason 287 was not bad today - took only an extra 10 minutes or so of travel time today and the plows and sanders had done a good job.

My bad luck that I had a meeting tonight that wouldn’t be cancelled. Got there early and when the meeting finished at 7:30 cleaned off the car again and headed home. Kept it to 20 miles an hour and did great until I got to the last ½ a mile. You see, I live on the side of a big hill, or mountain as I like to call it. The road straight up looked plowed and the side road that splits off didn’t. I headed up the hill with my Prius and did great until I got one block from my turn. Then the car went from 15 mph down to 0 instantly. The wheels were slipping and I wasn’t sure that my little engine (really an engine and a motor) would make it. My little putt putt decided that if I just stepped on the gas and held it that it would lurch forward a few feet and then stop again. I made it to the corner and turned and then the car started going slower, if that’s possible and finally stopped for a second. The brakes worked well. Gave it the gas and got some momentum – the road flattens out for a second and got enough speed to go the three blocks to the house. The Prius has yet to fail me and I highly recommend a hybrid – although next time I may try the side street instead.

Of course – 30 minutes later the wonderful Wanaque Borough plow came through again and then I wouldn’t have had any problem. The town really does a good job of cleaning the streets nad the plow drivers will probably go through the night. A few years ago even the Mayor was driving a plow, of course they only gave him the small one, not the big one (he did get stuck on the ice and the big one had to pull him off).

This snow is supposed to turn into rain tonight and the temperature will go from today’s low of 14 to a high of 47 tomorrow. Who says we don’t have wacky weather these days?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Wacky Wanaque Weather

Can anyone explain to me the Wacky (some might say wonderful) weather we have been having recently? For the last two weeks up until yesterday it has been unseasonably warm. All the ice had melted and if I could have gotten out of work I would have gone golfing on Thursday. 60 degrees, you didn’t even need a coat. Saturday morning we had a real quick snow squall that made the grass look white and then by the afternoon it was gone again to be replaced by 40 degree weather ( even warmer in the city where we spent part of the afternoon). You can see a little bit of snow on the rock in my previous photo post from Saturday afternoon – that was all that was left at 2:45.

Now, I live at one of the higher elevations in Wanaque and we usually see a 2 – 3 degree differential between where we live and the bottom of the hill/mountain. Our flowers always bloom a week later and snow does tend to stick more. That still does not explain this Indian summer in January and February. It finally got cold yesterday and we went through two different 10 minute snow squalls but then the wind whipped up and blew most of it away. Even Doogie didn’t want to stay outside longer then he had to. He has his built in coat but all he wanted was to get his business done and get back in the house.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Backyard photo

We had a brief snow flurry yesterday and I couldn't resist this shot of a spot in our backyard.
D300, 18-200mm, 48mm, f/6.3, 1/40s, iso 200

Friday, February 8, 2008


Another photo from yesterday at Sunset Lake. The Drizzle had stopped and the sun popped out. I shot this with my new 50mm f/1.4. I love the reflection of the clouds in the water...
D300, 50mm f/1.4, ISO 200, 1/60s, f/16, shot jpeg, vivid +2 sat

Thursday Night Soccer Report

Last night was the start of the second season for our 38 and older team – really we are playing 40 and older but they have been nice enough to let a few of us youngsters play with the older guys. Our first game was against the Montville Stallions and needless to say it wasn’t pretty out there. We truly played horribly and deserved the final score of 3 – 1.

I have to start out with how disappointed I was with my play. I felt good going into the game but ended up winded and a step to slow the entire night. I can fairly say I hadn’t fully recovered game fitness since being sick over the weekend but really that is just an excuse. I was lousy. The second goal I let my mark slip past me and then he made an impossible shot off the far post, Frank barely gave him a view of it but he banged it off the post and into the net for the second goal. It didn’t help that we let him goal hang all night, but he never should have had the shot in the first place if I had followed my assignment.

Enough of me for the moment trust me there will be more, as a team we looked like a bunch of odd ducks out there. Our passing was off, we couldn’t communicate for the life of us and until the end of the game we weren’t marking our men. They had very good pressure and when you don’t communicate bad things happen – third goal was a pass from me to no one (I thought Buyar was moving forward) and resulted in a 2 on 1 which turned into a breakaway on Frank.

Frankie (our resident Irishman) played beautiful all night, and saved at least one goal for us. To think he was playing hurt too, had a slip at work and has a sprained wrist. Rolfie on the other hand was not a sight for sore eyes, maybe if you were blind. He went back to playing rugby again, had an open net and put the ball 20 feet over the net looking for a quick rugby 3. He claims it was his left foot and half volley but those are just excuses for really cocking it up. It all started with Nick getting a nice pass from Aharon and putting a low shot on the net, Wes was there for the rebound and put it right back into the goalie, where it then popped over to our aforementioned wanker who claims it was bouncing too much and it was his left foot and the moon was full and the the light got in his eyes….! He did not look good all night. He got frustrated and started shooting from 25 yards out and out of 5 shots maybe one actually made it to the front of the net….the rest were right into the defense. He went one on one a few times and just couldn’t manage it.

Wes was looking for rebounds and scored our only goal on one. We did have our chances but we had our usual suspects shooting wide or over the net. Wes had a beauty that clanked off the crossbar from 25 yards out and then put a nice cross in where I had most ignominious moment of the night. I had no chance at the ball so I tried to go over the top of the bloke in front of me – had my hands on his back and made the grunt to go with it – not my best surfacing whale imitation ever – and yes – the foul was called.

All I can hope for is that we get it back together for next week and put the team back on track, we are better than we played last night and now we have to prove it.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sunset Pond

I haven’t really had a chance to pick up the camera in the past few days and, as you can imagine, I started to get a little bit antsy. I brought the camera to work today and took a look at Google maps. There happens to be a little watering hole not far from work and with the sun shining I figured it would be a great place to see if I could get a few shots.

It was definitely strange to pick up the camera, boy did I miss it. I can’t do this 2 week layoff again.

The sun was shining and then it would hide behind the clouds and it even started to sprinkle for a few minutes. The clouds looked awesome so I took a nice wide shot with them hugging the tree line. Here’s the shot that stood out a little bit on a first pass. (I will look at the rest later – if soccer doesn’t get in the way).

D300, Tokina 12-24mm, 12mm, 1/100s, f22.0, ISO 200

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Thursday night soccer report - finally

Last Thursday was the end of the season for my Lakeland indoor team. We started the night in 7th place and ended up playing the same team as the week before, the Wildcats whom we had tied (talk about a disappointing game). The bad news about being in the bottom 2 is that you are the last game of the night. This means the game starts between 11:20 and 11:30 and ends around 12:05 to 12:15. Awfully late when you have to drag your butt to work the next day but we never let that get in the way of a good game of Football (it is an English sport you know).

What an awesome game, full of miracles and all! Rolfie finally figured out where the goal was. It took 8 games and who knows how many shots but he had 2 on the night and at least one assist. Now, I have to be honest here, he should have had another assist but I for the life of me couldn’t put the ball in the net. I got a great cross from Wes and rushed it and put it to the side of the net (not a soul around me and I still felt the need to one time it no where near the goal – must have caught Rolfie disease) and then Rolfie put a ball just out of my reach and the keeper beat me to it – should have had them both. On the other hand, no one scored while I was on defense….

Back to Rolfie, he had 2 sweet goals; the keeper didn’t have a chance. Of course, if he was honest with himself he should have had at least 2 more if not 3. He still sent one over the cross bar. Sometimes he looks like he belongs on a rugby pitch with the way he puts them through the uprights.

The final score of the game was 5 – 1, besides Rolfie’s 2, Wes had 2 and Giovanni had 1. To top it off, we kept Mark, who played with us last year off the board, which is always fun. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Nick got to have his cake to. The friend he made the week before never learnt his lesson and Nick ended up putting a ball right into him all over again.

The new season starts this week and we know that we can beat any team out there. We had a great goal differential, all due to Frank R., and kept up with every team. We just need to start hard and keep it up the whole season.

Stay tuned for more soccer highlights from the second season.