I have returned to New York, at least for a few months, and particularly the mid-Hudson Valley. I’m excited for the opportunities ahead of me, and I appreciate the warm messages welcoming me back that so many people sent. I’ve been all over the place, mentally and physically the past few years, and it feels good to have so many people excited for my time here. I’m ready to really take things to the next level.
A couple years ago, while pulled over to take a picture of a building that I thought was interesting, a neighbor came up, and was initially upset, and asked me what I was doing. I told him that I thought it looked like an interesting place with an interesting story, and he said to me something along the lines of “Every place up and down this road has a story”. Although I’m not sure why that meant I shouldn’t photograph that building, he was totally right. He ended up understanding my interests, and we left on friendly terms, and I never really forgot what he said. Every place has a story…and hopefully these photos from around Ulster County in New York will help draw attention to the stories of these places, and maybe, in their own little way, tell the stories of these place.
I grew up in Tillson, New York, which is a hamlet of the town of Rosendale. I identified with Tillson more than Rosendale, but as an adult, I realize how much of my childhood was in the village of Rosendale, and I really enjoy visiting it, and photographing it. In its own way, it’s hard to believe, but Rosendale feels like home.
Thank you to Christine DeBoer at the Wallkill Valley Land Trust for allowing me to take photos from the trestle, which is still an active construction zone. The rails are completed, but the planking still needs to be done.
Read about the history of Saint Peter’s at http://stpeter.editme.com/history
Most of the good photographers I am aware of who have photographed around the greater Mid-Hudson Valley have focused on the Shawangunk Mountains, the Catskills, and the Hudson River. I enjoy and respect a lot of their work, but it’s just normally not my thing to focus on those places. That said, the river and the Shawangunks are beautiful, and I do get attracted to both of them at times! I just can’t help it. Hopefully I have successfully put my own spin on those places sometimes.
I’ve wanted to get good photos of the falls in High Falls, New York for a couple years, and it wasn’t until earlier this year that I realized that you could walk right down a path to the bottom of the falls. On my winter week long trip to Ulster County I was able to stop by and grab a few shots, almost fall in the water a few times, and drop my lens cap in the Rondout Creek.
August 30, 2012:
While sitting on the couch in my friend’s living room a couple of days ago, out of the corner of me eye, I noticed a leaf falling from a tree in the front yard. When I had arrived in the Hudson Valley at the end of March, most of the trees were still bare. It was then that I realized how much time I have spent in the region this year. About three years ago, when I first had the idea, coming to photograph the Hudson Valley for a few months felt like nothing but a pipe dream…a fun conversation with some friends who had also moved out. Now I keep thinking to myself, “I did it! I really did it.” And you know what? It was awesome.
I turned down roads I had driven past countless times in my past (or ridden past when I was too young to drive) and just looked around to see what was there. I visited friends of my parents who have lived in and loved the area for as long, if not longer, than I have been alive. I got to spend time with some of my closest friends. I became friends with my friend’s fiance whom I hadn’t known well before. I made new friends. I left and spent a week with relatives on Cape Cod. I hiked. I was welcomed into places not typically open to the public. I watched the seasons change at Perrine’s Bridge. I took control of an airplane. I was interviewed for a website article. I was featured in a newspaper. I shot lots of photos. I received compliments from current residents, past residents, lovers of the area, and people who have never been here. Some compliments came from friends, some from those I recently met, and some from people who found me online who I probably never will meet. I left the Hudson Valley for a month. I came back.
I appreciated every “like” on Facebook, every comment, every time another Facebook page shared my photos, and every email. Plus of course, every in-person compliment. I gained confidence as never before, and it was all thanks to the encouragement of others.
I changed my inner dialog and my outer dialog and I comfortably call myself a photographer. Yes, I still have another job, and may never depend on photography for all of my income, and that is just fine. That is not my goal. I am still a photographer.
With this newfound confidence, I will embark tomorrow on a long slow journey to California, visiting friends, family, and strangers along the way. I am excited. I will spend October through March, at least, with a home base in San Diego. I have friends there, which is good, and I even have a fan from Facebook ready to show me around. After that, who knows where I will go next. I have some ideas, but am far from making any decisions. Wherever I am, I will continue to share my perspective on the world around me through my photos.
Thank you to everyone for following my journeys so far, and sending feedback. Thank you in advance for continuing to do so. I’m glad I became a photographer, and I love sharing the experience with you.
Although I often refer to the area I grew up in in New York (and have spent many months this year) as “The Hudson Valley”, when I think of it I think much more about the mountains than the Hudson River in which it was named for. I guess that’s because I’m from the “Mid-Hudson Valley”. I do have a spot in my heart for the river, but the Catskill Mountains and Shawangunks are really what I think make the area so beautiful and so special.
It feels like everywhere I look, the mountains are there. And that’s a good thing!
Many months ago now I took a photo of the outside of the old Elmendorf House in Hurley, New York, and posted it on Facebook and my website. (You can see it on my website by clicking here)
Through the power of the internet, Jim, the owner of Elmendorf found my photos and we began to chat a bit, and he was kind enough to show me around and let me take a couple more photos inside and out. I am happy to have Jim as a new friend in the area.
While I do not plan to focus purely on any specific type of photography, I am more and more drawn to scenes that include things that humans have created or influenced, and often time I like to photograph the intersection of human influence and nature. I also generally try to find beauty in everything I see, even things many people pass by easily, and portray that in my photos. With that said, here are some random scenes from around the greater Hudson Valley that reflect those interests. I hope you can see the beauty I have found.
I took the Labyrinth trail at Mohonk Mountain House to the Skytop Tower, with a friend of mine. It is probably the 4th time in my life I’ve done it, but the first time in nine years. It winds under rocks, between rocks, up ladders between rocks, and is inevitably more tight and tiring than I felt it was the last time. But, it was fun, and it was worth it to get this first shot.