Category Archives: Albany

People, places, and events in Albany and the greater Capital District.

2012 Favorites

In mid-December Mary from All Over Albany floated the idea of running a series of posts with local photographers’ favorite photos from the year. The idea was to use them while the AOA crew took their winter break, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I sent her this one as my favorite Albany-related photo, I like how it came together and shows the public side of one of Albany’s best public spaces. I also pointed some other local photographers her way, people who I thought have great work but don’t get a lot of attention for it, and since the AOA post didn’t pan out I wanted to show what they picked too.

Empire Plaza, Albany, NY
Paul Sesink Clee

Empire Plaza, Albany, NY
Paul Sesink Clee

Paul went with these two so I figure I’ll show them both, and I remember first seeing them on flickr and especially liking the bus driver photo myself. His street work is good with a lot of interesting experimentation, and check out the Everyday Disposable series.

Untitled
Daniel Meade

Daniel does a lot of instant and expired film, something I usually find gimmicky. But in his case, the images are usually stronger than the method, so instead of being mainly about the film used it adds to the final product. This one he picked of Thacher Park is a good example, it’s a great landscape no matter what was used to make it.

MAD Irish Toast Wake
Patrick Stephenson

Drinking Buddies
Patrick Stephenson

Patrick also picked two, so here you go. The first is one of the best portraits I’ve seen, and doubly interesting since we mourned the loss of the Miss Albany Diner last year. The second is a still from a short film he created, Biollante. Check it out.

D44 crossing the Hoosick River
William Gill

Will forwarded this one to me, saying:

This photo was taken this summer on Fisherman’s Lane in Schaghticoke at 3am in the middle of a thunderstorm. This is one of the last 3 locomotives remaining in the Delaware & Hudson paint scheme. With their headquarters at the base of State St in Albany and their main shops in Colonie, the D&H was railroading in the Capital District. Their first diesel locomotives were black. The lightning-stripe scheme represented the changes of the early 1960s: they no longer burned coal in steam locomotives and increasingly knew that hauling coal from PA to Albany was no longer a future. With Pennsylvanian coal out of the picture, the D&H was free to paint their locomotives in bright blue, gray, and yellow. The Delaware and Hudson was purchased by Canadian Pacific in 1991.

He posted it on his own blog too. In addition to the excellent train photos, most taken at night, he has great lifestyle/party work and knows his way around a flash.

A few other photographers I like who I referred to Mary, but haven’t heard from: James DiBianco does mainly sports and urbex, but there’s a lot of other subjects mixed in there too, the guy knows how to hustle; Andrew Wertz has a great eye for landscape and New Topographics style which I especially like; and Chris “skippmarv” who just has an insane eye for dramatic light and shadow. If any of you guys see this, I’d love to see your favorite, drop me a line.

I do regret that I didn’t single out any female photographers. I don’t see a lot of interesting work from local female photographers who don’t get a lot of exposure, but I’m pretty sure that’s my fault for not looking hard enough, I’m going to try to fix that.

Sebastien also has a 2012 favorites post up with other impressive local work, check it out.

2012 Santa Speedo Sprint

Last weekend was the 7th annual Santa Speedo Sprint hosted by ASAP. Last I checked they’d raised over $9,000, I’m sure the final total will be much more than that. A great time for a great cause.

2012 Santa Speedo Sprint, Albany NY

2012 Santa Speedo Sprint, Albany NY

2012 Santa Speedo Sprint, Albany NY

Another overcast day making for difficult photos. I usually like what on-camera flash does on cloudy days but I wasn’t very happy with my results from the day. I did like the repetition of shapes in that photo of the two backs, though. Most of my photos, including a bunch of dragged shutter bar shots, went straight to Facebook, sorry.

Congrats to ASAP and all the runners, photos or no it was a great event and went off without a hitch. Looking forward to next year!

elsewhere:
All Over Albany
Albany_Tim

earlier:
2011 Santa Speedo Sprint
2010 Santa Speedo Sprint
2009 Santa Speedo Sprint
(have I really been doing this that long?)

Sundays Downtown Update

I’ve added a few more photos to my “Sundays Downtown” project.

Broadway, Albany NY

Van Tromp Street, Albany Y

Eagle Street, Albany NY

About Sundays Downtown:

Albany is the capitol of New York State, but compared to “the city that never sleeps” it’s a bit narcoleptic. Government workers fill Pearl Street, the heart of Albany’s downtown just a couple blocks east of the capitol building, on weekdays, but largely flee to the suburbs otherwise. Students fill the bars on Friday and Saturday night, and occasional events draw crowds other evenings, but otherwise the area feels deserted. Sundays epitomize this; even Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks are closed, and most pedestrians are waiting between bus transfers to and from elsewhere.

Sundays Downtown is an ongoing series of the vacant landscape of downtown Albany on Sundays.

Though apparently Starbucks has been open on this and that Sunday, I’ll have to edit. It’s all still a work in progress. You can see what there is so far in a slideshow

Another somewhat related project, “Quiet Capitol”, is going well. I had planned to show the first set of five photos in the series at the Sunspot Cafe but if you go back a bit here you’ll see why that didn’t happen. I’m still shooting and organizing these into five photo sets, and some lucky souls got artist proofs at the Historic Albany Society’s Built event. More on that later.

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

It may not feel like winter in Albany lately, but it’s December, and that means another Santa Speedo Sprint. I’ve talked about this in 2010 and 2009, so I’ll keep this mainly photos. The latest word I have is that ASAP raised over $20,000 for the Albany Damien Center, which is fantastic.

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

This year the sprinters were especially amorous. Draw your own conclusions.

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint, Albany NY

That last one is from Lionheart Pub, where the awards and official unofficial afterparty were held. That gave its own opportunity for more photos.

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint, Albany NY

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint, Albany NY

2011 Santa Speedo Sprint, Albany NY

I split this one into two sets, here are the slideshows for the sprint itself and the aftermath. All Over Albany has their own photos (I love the third one down, killer lighting) and a good roundup; more photos from Sebastien, albany_tim, anobjectn, and MikeCNY. If you have some, drop a comment!

Five Rivers, Early Winter

Have I mentioned that Five Rivers is one of my favorite capital region places? Well it is.

Five Rivers, 11.07.2011

Early winter is a surprisingly predictable season. After an initial snowfall we usually get a week or two of mild temperatures, good for afternoon walks. The season already slings the sun low so there’s not as much worry about harsh noontime shadows, for those of us with cameras. I took the advantage of a long walk, there are plenty of trails for anyone who wants to get lost or found.

Five Rivers, 11.07.2011

Winter shoos most of the wildlife away but if you’re patient and aware you can see plenty. Walking along the field, where in the spring bobolinks and tree swallows can be found, I heard odd peeping sounds. In a nearby pond mallards were doing a strange pee-pee dance. By that I mean they were making pee-peep sounds and cavorting in the water. Cavorting? Yes, cavorting. Thank you ducks, without you I wouldn’t have noticed the heron resting on a far bank. After some patient watching he or she went into action. Lunch was spotted, the sinuous neck went into action, supreme fishing skills were employed.

Great Blue Heron, Five Rivers, 11.06.2011

Imagine just after that, a fish in this dog-sized bird’s mouth, which I can’t show you because I didn’t get the focus quite right. Watching a heron hunt is a joy of life, a moment when everything make sense and kinetic beauty illuminates the universe’s meaning. Or something.

Gall on Goldenrod, Five Rivers, 11.06.2011

Other miracles of life presented themselves, like this gall on a goldenrod stem. It’s probably home to the larva of a Goldenrod Gall Fly, which should make you feel lucky to not be a goldenrod. A shorn trunk held a truly impressive display of bracket fungus.

Bracket Fungus, Five Rivers, 11.06.2011

It’s difficult for me to positively identify the species, so if anyone can help please make yourself known. This is the most impressive display of bracket fungus I’ve seen yet, and my only wish is that the light would have been better. There’s a scrimshaw-like folk art dedicated to carving them; score the underside, and when it dries the etching is permanent.

Northern Flicker (male), Five Rivers, 11.06.2011

A Great Blue Heron wasn’t the only bird I saw, above is a male Northern Flicker. How do we know it’s a male? Well, like us (usually), only the male grows that stupendous moustache. I was extremely lucky to see him at all; for reasons unknown I paused on a section of trail, listening and waiting, and a few minutes later dozens of birds came into view, from robins to blue jays to chickadees to downy woodpeckers (or were they hairy, I still have trouble differentiating), to this guy. Flickers are a type of woodpecker but tend to stay near the ground, and I was lucky enough to see this one in full view, searching for lunch. That light stripe at the top is another bird flying by really fast. Okay, it’s just a twig in the foreground, but if I were taking better bird photos I would probably be selling them to magazines, right? (NatGeo, here’s my about page)

Five Rivers, 11.07.2011

As I was leaving, I caught this gorgeous display of an oak tree also leaving, if you get my drift. Sorry, I don’t offer refunds for pun-induced groans. The wind picked up and gave me the perfect Five Rivers goodbye, for the winter at least. I suggest you check that one out large or bigger to get the full effect, not that it equals being there by a long shot.

Five Rivers is one of many treasures in Albany’s backyard. I spent four lazy hours wandering the trails on a Sunday; you can do better, especially if you have kids. You can check out the continuing slideshow, but nothing beats being there. Go, now. I have to give props to Friends of Five Rivers who are keeping the spirit alive even as shrinking state funds threaten the DEC-owned center.

Most likely related posts:
Early Morning at Five Rivers
Five Rivers and Thacher Park
Yet More from Five Rivers

Occupy Albany

Occupy Albany, 10.22.2011

People are protesting!

Okay, I’m a little jaded, since I’ve seen many protests in Albany. But I am sympathetic with the Occupy movement, I think they have some worthwhile messages and are unfairly maligned with the “what is the point” trope. Occupy Albany, formed in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, performed their namesake. They occupied Lafayette and Academy parks, a fart away from the New York State capitol building and Albany city hall.

Occupy Albany, 10.21.2011

Occupation began on Friday, with 150-200 protesters gathering in Lafayette Park. Around 5:30pm a general assembly began, a yawn inducing spectacle for the noninvolved. The goings-on are procedural but allow everyone to be heard, which is working for the crowd sizes Occupy Albany is gathering. Assemblies last for an hour or two and decide on specific action plans; the rest of the occupation consists of… occupying.

Occupy Albany, 10.21.2011

There’s an interesting twist due to the occupation’s chosen location. Lafayette and Academy park share a contiguous parcel of public land, roughly divided by an old building which is now an Albany city school district office. Lafayette, the westernmost section, is owned by the state, while Academy, easternmost and near the intersection of State and eagle Streets, is owned by the city. An interesting jurisdictional issue for constabulary forces.

Occupy Albany, 10.21.2011

Uncertainly ensued. Being warned to vacate state property, Academy Park was solely occupied.There were reports that governor Cuomo’s office strongly encouraged the city to clear the park. This did not happen Friday night, nor Saturday. Tents went up and protesters chanted well into each night.

Occupy Albany, 10.21.2011

Day two saw fewer protesters but no less emotion. Those remaining were dedicated. I got there in time for another general assembly, and signs were piled on the ground while members were participating.

Occupy Albany, 10.22.2011

Saturday’s assembly drew 100 or so.

Occupy Albany, 10.22.2011

I’ve seen plenty of Albany protests and marches, but notable here is diversity. The media narrative seems to paint them as in or just out of college, but age ran the gamut.

Occupy Albany, 10.22.2011

Occupy Albany, 10.22.2011

The mix was ethnically diverse too, but that’s not a surprise for Albany. We’re a blender anyway.

Again the group was allowed to stay Saturday night with no interference, though there was one altercation. The entire weekend surprisingly lacked police presence. Troopers monitored Lafayette Park Friday night, but after that you’d have to squint to find an officer. Much drum beating and guitar playing ensued.

Occupy Albany, 10.22.2011

Sunday was gorgeous, warm for upstate late October, sun so welcome it had to be enjoyed lest it was the last we’d see for the year. The protest was still going strong, though numbers had diminished.

Occupy Albany, 2011.10.23

Someone was taping “1%” signs to the benches across the street, I’m not sure if this was one level of irony or multiple.

Occupy Albany, 2011.10.23

Even famed local developer Lewis A. Swyer got in the act. I’m not sure this is “other-wise interacting appropriately with the statue” but hey.

Occupy Albany, 2011.10.23

A shrine had popped up, this is the season to pray to the apple spirit after all.

Occupy Albany, 2011.10.23

But the protest ground on, it seems Occupy Albany has successfully occupied Academy Park, they were not kicked out on Sunday either.

Good luck to those camping overnight, it has been cold, I hope they are prepared. You can see a slidehow of my photos from all three days, in reverse chronological order because why not. There are also lots of other photos on flickr, try Sebastien, Kim D., albanytim, Tim Raab, dwlcx (not sure how to pronounce that), and the Occupy Albany group.

May you live in interesting times.

Lark Fest 2011

This year’s Lark Fest was September 17 and as usual, was one huge party. I’ve written about lark Fest before (a couple of times actually), and since this is obviously a month late I’ll be brief.

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY -- Ben K-N
Ben K-N

Sticking with two stages instead of three makes it a lot easier to catch more of the music, but I did like the extra smaller stage for local acts in 2009. The organizers focused more on local music overall this time, which I would like to see continue, the area has a lot to offer. The only hiccup I saw was when Severe Severe stone cold stopped playing in the middle of a song because they didn’t like the sound setup. The most notable change this year was a revised beer policy; bars were not allowed to sell alcohol directly on the sidewalk. People got drunk as usual but to my knowledge there weren’t any major incidents. The ghost of Kegs & Eggs haunts.

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY

Instead of spending most of my time trying to shoot the bands, I did a lot more candid work in the crowd, which I have talked about already; it’s a fun way to work at a big event like this.

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY

Okay, enough, just some more photos. There’s a slideshow, and Sebastien has a few photos too.

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY -- We are Jeneric
We are Jeneric

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY -- Severe Severe
Severe Severe

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY

Lark Fest 2011, Albany NY