Monthly Archives: August 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea, Take Two

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Sea.

Where the sea meets the land is where it’s at. But you never know what you’ll get. It can be

too wimpy—

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too scary—

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or just right!

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The first Sea post was here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Sea.

On the broad windswept beaches of England’s North Sea coast, the presence of the sea really forces itself upon your attention…

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(Norfolk, England, August 2001)

A second Sea post is here.

Ederle Swim 2013

By Vladimir Brezina

Under the Verrazano Narrows BridgeOn Sunday a week ago, August 18th, I found myself once more in my kayak accompanying a long-distance swimmer through New York Harbor.

It was the day of this year’s Ederle Swim, a 17.5 -mile open-water swim from Manhattan to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, organized by NYC Swim. This year’s swim was in fact the centennial swim, since the first successful swim over that course, after a number of failed attempts, occurred a hundred years ago almost to the day, on August 28th, 1913.

My swimmer this year was Barbara Held, from San Diego, California. Having completed her Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming—the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, the Catalina Channel, and the English Channel—Barbara was looking for new challenges!

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The Cardboard Kayak Race

By Johna Till Johnson 

Every now and then something comes along that’s just a sheer delight from start to finish.

Yesterday, it was this video of the 2013 City of Water Day’s First Annual Cardboard Kayak Race.  It features practically all of my favorite things: kayaking, engineering, competition (the thrill of victory and the cold splash of defeat), creativity, ingenuity, and whimsy. All on a beautiful summer’s day in New York!

The event was hosted by the Metropolitan Water Alliance, a not-for-profit that, in its own words, “works to transform the New York and New Jersey Harbor and Waterways to make them cleaner and more accessible, a vibrant place to play, learn and work with great parks, great jobs and great transportation for all.”

The Cardboard Kayak Race is exactly what it sounds like: Teams of competitors are each given identical materials from which they construct, and then race, cardboard kayaks. Starting materials include:

  • 10 5×5 squares of cardboard
  • 10 rolls of packing tape
  • 3 rolls of gaffer tape, and
  • a box knife

The video is long (though well worth watching—it will leave you laughing with joy!). But  if you’re pressed for time, here are some highlights:

  • The first 12 minutes feature various shots of boat construction
  • At 12:00, judging commences. You’ll meet the teams, which include the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, the NYC Watertrail Village Community Boathouse, the High School of Math, Science, and Engineering Alumni, El Centro (from Staten Island), the North Brooklyn Boathouse, the Stevens Institute of Technology, the Stuyvesant High School Village Community Boathouse, and the US Coast Guard Marine Inspectors.
  • There’s a great comment at 17:30 where the judge asks the Coast Guard team, “Which do you think is the front part of the boat?”, then adds, “I don’t want to confuse you with technical questions!”
  • The race begins at 18:18
  • There’s a nail-biter of a finish at 19:15
  • Disastrous and heartbreaking collision at 19:50
  • Dramatic capsize at 20:46

It’s all wonderful fun, and well worth the watch!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus, Take Two

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Focus.

Isolating the main subject in sharp focus against a blurry background is often the beginning of a powerful photograph. But it’s easy to then lose sight of the fact that the blurry background is still there and can make or break the photo, no less than the main subject. It’s helpful to forget that the photo is of something and see it instead, for a moment, just as a two-dimensional plane of abstract shapes and colors…

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The first Focus post was here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Focus.

Got to focus on what’s most important…

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Thunderstorm over the Gulf of Mexico, St. Pete Beach, Florida, August 2013. More photos are here.

A second Focus post is here.

Travel Theme: Play

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Play.

Blow your horn
... And sing out loud!

From the 2013 Coney Island Mermaid Parade.