Monthly Archives: June 2014

My Kayak Photography

By Vladimir Brezina

Vlad in action

Vlad in action (photo by Johna)

I am often asked how I take my kayaking photos. What camera do I use? Am I not worried that water will damage it? And how do I manage to keep those pesky water drops off the lens?

So, here’s a brief answer.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts, Take Two

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Contrasts.

Spot the kayak in these photos—

At the bottom of the food chain 1
At the bottom of the food chain 2
At the bottom of the food chain 3
At the bottom of the food chain 4
At the bottom of the food chain 5

The first set of Contrasts was here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Contrasts.

Beauties and beasts—

Beauty and the beast 1
Beauty and the beast 2
Beauty and the beast 3

Seen at the 2013 Coney Island Mermaid Parade, the 2011 Carnegie Hill Halloween Spooktakular, and the 2012 Spooktakular, respectively.

Another set of Contrasts is here.

Where Are the Whales?

By Vladimir Brezina

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Last Sunday, the current was predicted to ebb through the morning, then flood in the afternoon. Perfect for a paddle south, through New York Harbor out to sea!

But then where, exactly? Round Staten Island? Or to Sandy Hook? But we’d been there just two weeks before

This summer, we’ve been hearing a lot about whales. By all accounts, whales have been positively frolicking about, just outside the harbor. A whale-watching boat, the American Princess, has reported sightings almost every day. And many of these sightings, of feeding humpbacks as well as pods of bottlenose dolphins, have been off the Rockaways, just a mile or two from shore.

So that’s where we decided to paddle on Sunday.

In the event, we didn’t see any whales. (The American Princess didn’t either, that day.) Perhaps fortunately, neither did we see any of the great white sharks that (we read later) were present in that same area at the same time…

But it was a great ocean paddle nevertheless. Here are a few photos—

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Halsey: The Unstoppable

By Johna Till Johnson

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Admiral Halsey in a WWII poster (from Naval History & Heritage Command)

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There are no extraordinary men, just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with.

—Admiral William (“Bull”) Frederick Halsey, Jr.

This sketch is one of several inspired by the book, The Admirals: The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea, by Walter R. Borneman. It’s about Admirals Halsey, Nimitz, King, and Leahy, each of whom played critical roles in World War II, and were the only admirals to earn five stars in all of American history. (For the other sketches in the series, see Triptych: Three Admirals.)

More than that, the book is about leadership, character, and how a flawed individual can rise to greatness—not in spite of, but often even precisely because of, those flaws.

Halsey was a pugnacious fighter, wisecracking and hotheaded, whose passion was winning the game (or battle). His courage and determination helped re-energize and inspire a Navy demoralized and depleted by the hideous surprise of Pearl Harbor. Yet his appetite for the fight paradoxically cost him participation in some of the defining battles of the Pacific, and could have cost the war. But anything he did, he did wholeheartedly—and there was never any question of stopping him.

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Shine On, Happy Summer!

By Vladimir Brezina

The Summer Solstice occurred this morning, so we in the Northern Hemisphere are now officially into Summer. Happy Summer, everyone!

(Or, of course, to those in the Southern Hemisphere, Happy Winter!)

And, very appropriately for the occasion, Ailsa’s photo challenge this week is Shine

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(Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts, 2011. Story and more photos here.)

Travel Theme: Shine

By Vladimir Brezina

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

Moonshine, inside and out—

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