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.

DSC_0002 cropped small
DSC_0016 cropped small

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:

DSC_0265 cropped small

… and in 2011 at 34th Street:

DSC_0110 cropped small 2

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—

dsc_0499-cropped-small-2
DSC_0126 cropped small 3
DSC_0297 cropped small
DSC_0556 cropped small 2

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:

IMGP8650 cropped small

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.

Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twist

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Twist.

A twist of twisted lemon, anyone?

DSC_0012 cropped small

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—

DSC_0127 cropped small
IMGP1386 cropped small
Red rust
Yellow garbage barge
Orange rust
Black barge
Blue rust
DSC_0797 cropped small

A Paddle to the Norwalk Islands

By Vladimir Brezina

IMGP0310 cropped small

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.

Continue reading

What a Difference Just a Few Miles Make…

By Vladimir Brezina

Same paddle, same day, morning—

IMGP0407 cropped small
IMGP0432 cropped small
IMGP0520 cropped small

and evening—

IMGP0745 cropped small
IMGP0811 cropped small
IMGP0827 cropped small

More photos coming as soon as I can process them…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Work of Art.

With its cunningly laid-out landscapes and waterscapes, NYC’s Central Park is, of course, not a work of Nature, but of Art.

DSC_0219 cropped small

And it inspires people to create Works of Art of their own…

Ice sculptures!
DSC_0126 cropped small
The pink umbrella
DSC_0076 cropped small

This last, too, was a photoshoot in the park…

Travel Theme: Blossom

By Vladimir Brezina

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

Blossoms are intricate things…

DSC_0094 cropped small
DSC_0127 cropped small 2
DSC_0089 cropped small 2
DSC_0014 cropped small
DSC_0065 cropped small 3
DSC_0025 cropped small 2
DSC_0113 cropped small

Travel Theme: Rivers

By Vladimir Brezina

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

Kayaking around Manhattan revolves (so to speak) around three rivers: the Hudson River, the East River, and the Harlem River. (Two and a half of them are not really rivers, but we won’t let that distract us here.)

And so, when we fly back to NYC, we always try to sit by the window. It’s such a pleasure to see these rivers spread out below, and to recognize all the bridges and piers, the islands and bays that we’ve come to know so intimately from kayak level.

From the air (click on any image to expand)…

DSC_0557 cropped small 2

… and from kayak level

Typical summertime conditions ;-)

1. East River: Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg Bridges

Downtown vista

2. East River: Moody Downtown vista

From the air…

DSC_0552 cropped small 2

… and from kayak level

... as we launch down the Hudson

3. Hudson River: The new World Trade Center ahead

From the air…

DSC_0556 cropped small 2

… and from kayak level

We pass Chelsea Piers

4. Hudson River: Chelsea Piers and the Empire State Building

IMGP4507 cropped small

5. Hudson River: Summertime evening on the river

One of the classic views

6: East River: Midtown Manhattan vista

From the air…

DSC_0563 cropped small 2

… and from kayak level

White mulberries!

7: Harlem River: White mulberries!

IMGP1124 cropped small

8. Harlem River: Under the RFK Bridge in falling snow

Nocturne: the George Washington Bridge

9. Hudson River: George Washington Bridge nocturne