Monthly Archives: May 2014

Weekly Photo Challenge & Travel Theme: Split-Second Story in the Big City

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Split-Second Story, and Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge is Cities.

A perfect conjunction!

For yesterday and today were days of Manhattanhenge, that urban astronomical phenomenon in which the sun appears, for a brief moment just at sunset, at the ends of the cross-streets of Manhattan’s street grid.

Of course, the sun has to be visible at sunset. Yesterday was cloudy. Today was more promising. So I joined the Manhattanhenge-watching crowd—smaller than usual this year because of the uncertain weather—at 57th Street and Park Avenue. As we waited, a rain shower moved in. (Now I know how astronomers must feel, waiting nervously for that once-in-a-century conjunction or eclipse, only to have clouds move in at the last minute…)

But just at the moment of sunset, the sun appeared through the mist!  I got a few photos.

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But the visibility was not ideal, and in addition I realized only too late that at the end of 57th Street there is a big building, across the Hudson in New Jersey, that blocks the view! As another photographer standing next to me remarked, Jersey always screws things up…

The spectacle was much more impressive last year at 42nd Street:

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… and in 2011 at 34th Street:

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But there’s always another chance—Manhattanhenge repeats on July 11th and 12th!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-Second Story

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Split-Second Story.

What are the stories here? We can only guess—

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Another Split-Second Story is here.

So There I Was… In Maine

By Johna Till Johnson

Freshly Pressed on the WordPress.com home page!

Every good kayaking story starts with “So there I was,” according to Carl Ladd (of Osprey Sea Kayak fame). In keeping with that adage, here goes:

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Setting off along the Maine coast

So there I was, bobbing up and down on the frigid waves crashing into the rocky coastline of Maine’s Sheepscot Bay.  The swells were substantial—four to six feet, big enough to rip someone from her kayak and deposit her and the boat on separate rocks.

That exact thing had recently happened, in fact, to another paddler.

Fortunately neither she nor her boat sustained damage, but it was a strikingly close call. One moment she was riding the surf, high over our heads, after a larger-than-usual wave broke suddenly. The next moment she was struggling in the water, and we all winced as we heard the hollow sound of her fiberglass boat crunch into the rocky shore.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Twist

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Twist.

A twist of twisted lemon, anyone?

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Yes, it’s a citrus fruit: Buddha’s Hand.

Travel Theme: Metal

By Vladimir Brezina

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

A few close encounters with New York Harbor metal—

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Red rust
Yellow garbage barge
Orange rust
Black barge
Blue rust
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A Paddle to the Norwalk Islands

By Vladimir Brezina

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Last weekend was sunny and warm: It could already have been early summer. It turned out to be the perfect weekend for our long-planned paddle to the Norwalk Islands with our kayaking friends Alex and Jean, who are also fellow bloggers at 2 Geeks @ 3 Knots (check out their lovely blog!).

Johna and I left, early on Saturday morning, from Manhattan’s Pier 40 as usual.  We joined up with Alex and Jean at their base in Horseshoe Harbor in Larchmont, about half-way into the trip. We made it to the Norwalk Islands comfortably before sunset, and camped on Shea Island. On Sunday, we retraced, more or less, our route. Altogether, over the two days, we paddled about 84 nautical miles (97 land miles).

Here’s the story in photos.

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What a Difference Just a Few Miles Make…

By Vladimir Brezina

Same paddle, same day, morning—

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and evening—

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More photos coming as soon as I can process them…