Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Flushing out some "7scapes"

...from a photographer's notebook

Detail from "7scape No.3"    ©2014 Steve Ember   See it full-size here

Rather listen? Here's a podcast I produced this year (2016).

A s I mentioned in another post, when I was a kid, my Dad thought he could get the New York City Subway out of my system by taking me on one of the longest rides possible from midtown Manhattan, the BMT line to Coney Island.

What I said then bears repeating: Nice try, Dad!

By my teen years, I had acquired a fascination with the IRT No.7 train, then called the Flushing/Corona line.

What made this particular line so intriguing? 
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Monday, July 7, 2014

What might a Vertiginous Dreamscape and an Alpine cloudscape have in common?

     ...from a photographer's notebook

Vertiginous Dreamscape No.2    ©2014 Steve Ember
Well, let's see...they both contain some deep blue, lots of textures, and they both might keep you from having a second drink at a gallery reception if you have fear of heights...

But, in this case, I'm pleased, and honored, to say that my abstract "Vertiginous Dreamscape No.2" and my alpine landscape "Matterhorn Above the Clouds" were both selected for inclusion in the Maryland Federation of Art's MD Art @ College Park show.

Ann Shafer, Associate Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Baltimore Museum of Art, was the juror for this exhibit, which will be on view through August 2 at The Art Gallery, University of Maryland, College Park.
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Friday, July 4, 2014

Bunny Beats Last Bass Drum

           ...from a photographer's notebook

Detail from "Anybody Seen My Drum?" - Tribeca Moment No.11

Sometimes, “enough is bloody well enough,” according to an unidentified spokesperson representing the vigilante group Tribeca Citizens Against Noise Pollution.

After several weeks of complaints to the NYPD over a rhythmic low frequency thumping in the neighborhood at 3 AM, irate citizens, determining the racket was not coming from a disco or underground sewer gas explosions, focused their attention on a short stretch of White Street between Church St and Broadway.

Surveillance equipment recorded the unlikely sight of the Energizer Bunny beating a large bass drum as he walked repeatedly up and down the deserted street, from Church to Broadway.

When police detectives assigned to the case dismissed the video as “some kinda geeky YouTube hoax,”  TCANP vigilantes apparently took matters into their own hands.

On the afternoon of June 23, a visiting photographer, looking upward at architectural detail along White St, captured the grisly sight of the bunny hanging from a sign pole, drum beater still clutched in his left paw.

No trace was found of the bass drum, but area merchants reported anonymous notes slipped under their doors warning them not to sell Energizer-brand batteries.

©2014 Steve Ember

If you'd like to see the full image, including the Photo Note Card design click here.

My growing series of "Tribeca Moments," as well as other NYC images can be found in my New York City folder on Foto-Community.

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She lifts her lamp beside the golden door...

               ...from a photographer's notebook

A large cruise ship glides past the Statue of Liberty in New York's harbor.
Here's a podcast I produced the following year from this article.

It’s July Fourth, and I’m thinking back to a moment just last week in New York…

A hot summer day in late June…the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

After exploring some inviting neighborhood streets with the cameras, I headed for this broad promenade running along the East River, with its dramatic views of Lower Manhattan and New York’s great harbor, including of course the Statue of Liberty.

A Brooklyn Heights Bouquet

So much to take in… 

Visitors and locals strolling the promenade or relaxing on benches…the constant parade of ferries and sailboats…the bold gantries at Red Hook…the towers of Lower Manhattan…the view upriver to the Brooklyn Bridge…

Several tree-lined walkways connect the Promenade with the street grid of Brooklyn Heights.  Hmm…a shade break from the broiling afternoon sun might be appealing about now…

An ice cream truck at the top of the hill made me super-glad I had taken this particular walkway. Small vanilla cone and a long bottle of chilled water…ahhh!

After savoring my nice cold treats and watching some kids playing in the pocket park, I was ready for some further baking in the sun.

Turns out, I headed back down to the promenade at just the right moment, for there in the harbor was a huge cruise ship, complete with water cannon salute, about to sail past the Statue of Liberty on her way out to sea.

Carnival Splendor approaches Statue of Liberty. Governors Island is in the foreground

Conditions weren’t the best for getting my photos - the position of the afternoon sun, and the atmospheric haze over the harbor on this steamy summer afternoon were a bit challenging, as I aimed my 400 or so millimeters of image-stabilized glass at the Carnival Splendor as she approached Lady Liberty, but I’m so glad I got back there at the right moment.

The next few minutes were actively occupied in following the ship as she traversed the channel between Governors Island and the Statue.

As the sleek form of this huge modern cruise ship (she was built in 2008) approached Lady Liberty on her outbound course, one could imagine all the less glamorous ocean craft chugging their way in the opposite direction in the late 1800s and the early years of the 20th century, past the Statue on their way to Ellis Island, hopeful immigrants pressed together on their decks, weeping happily at the sight of the Lady with the Torch, who welcomed them to a new life of opportunity, liberty, freedom from oppression…

From last June's helicopter shoot...

If the Lady could speak, the stories she would tell…

That summer afternoon on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade also held some special meaning for a couple of other reasons…

Independence Day was approaching and the Statue, a gift from the people of France, was to mark the 100th anniversary of American Independence. A multitude of difficulties delayed things until 1886 (you can listen to the story here), but wasn’t Lady Liberty worth the wait…

And there was the fact that, as one of my last projects for VOA (more on that some other time), I had narrated and produced a series of travelogue programs for English learners called “This Is America,” which included one on Lady Liberty. An honor for that series, at the New York Festivals Awards Gala, was actually the impetus for returning to New York for this celebratory week.

Best wishes for a happy Independence Day weekend!

©2014 Steve Ember

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