A Day in The Life

It’s Saturday! One of the two days a week I get to find local adventures. Not only that but it’s another super warm day and its still February. The snow has melted and I’m itching to go. But wait, it’s also tax season and although I already took my paperwork to my tax guy, I just got 2 new items needed for this year’s taxes.

First stop the gas station. Boy there sure is a lot of traffic today. Finally with a full tank I make it to Stoughton MA where I drop off the new paperwork. It’s way later than I expected.

I dash out of his office  with minimal chit chat. Back in the car I’m headed to Hanover/Norwell MA to get a passport photo taken and pick up some prints of my whale and also of a photo I sold recently.

Baby Whale Breach

Yup I’ve been a published photographer for awhile now but never been paid. (I’m not bragging, just thrilled)

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Miami Dade Sun Sentinel

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Boston Globe

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Boston Globe

Back in January I was contacted by a marketing firm to purchase the rights to one of my photos.  I was thrilled and even happier when they agreed to pay me for it. I happened to think that I should print a copy for my portfolio.  Since I signed the rights away I’m not sure I can show it here. A bank in Seattle is planning to enlarge it to wall size to decorate their lobby…or so they say. I am supposed to be notified once it’s done. I think there may be a trip back to Seattle in my future.

On the way Joe called. He’s just moved back to the north country from Sunny Florida. He wasn’t having any better luck than I was getting out of the house. We’d loosely planned to get together for a photo shoot.  We decided it just wasn’t meant to be. Another day, another time.

When I arrived at the photo processing lab the owner who takes all of the passport photos was tied up so I picked up my prints and ran down the street to a photo store to ask about filters.

That took about an hour but was very educational. By this time lunch was way over due. I made a quick stop at Wendy’s and returned for the passport mug shot…I mean photo. I guess you aren’t allowed to smile any more. I was smiling in my old photo but they told me no smiling this time.

That’s very hard because I know these guys and they always make me laugh. I ended up looking like I  had just sucked a lemon but no smile!

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I still had to do some grocery shopping and I had not taken 1 picture. Where did the day go?

So now you know why I never seem to have any time except when I go on vacation. Maybe tomorrow will be the day for the next local adventure. I hope so or you may be bored with another post like this.

They Call It Moonglow

Moonglow. Not a super moon.

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At the 40th Anniversary Balloon Festival it was 3 tethered balloons glowing  in the dark. The photo that resulted is one of my favorites . The Boston Globe newspaper liked it too as it was featured “above the fold” in one of the Sunday editions.

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The “Moonglow” was my main reason for attending the Festival this year. As much as I like the photo from 2012, I felt that I could do better. I wanted another try. This year they planned on more than 3 balloons. Moonglow was going to be at the airport. It was scheduled for 8 pm Saturday night.

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There was also a 5 pm launch but as we arrived at the airport we learned that the 5 pm launch had been grounded due to high wind gusts. Disappointing but not a disaster. After all we had loads of pictures from Friday evening’s launch.

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We set up our lawn chairs and settled in to wait. The breeze was pretty stiff and it began to get chilly but we hung in there. We were hoping that if the balloons were tethered maybe they’d still be able to pull off the Moonglow.

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Alas, it was not to be. About 7:30 the chase teams began to pack up. They moved the baskets to the tarmac and lined them up. To a rousing sound track they sent propane flames skyward but no balloons.

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The Festival was over for us.

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There was a final launch scheduled for dawn on Sunday but we had no plans to attend that one.

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So I will leave you with a few more photos from Friday night

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And the promise that I will try again another year to capture that perfect “moonglow” picture.

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“Would you like to fly in my beautiful balloon????”

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They came in Waves

2 years ago we thought the show was pretty good but this year the launch far out-shown anything from 2012.

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I don’t know how many balloons made it up but they launched in waves. You watched them drift overhead and turned to follow them out of sight only to turn around to more balloons lifting into the air. We heard the goal was to get 80 balloons in the air. I think they made it.

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Music filled the air providing a sound track to the spectacle. Each balloon was unique. Bright colored traditional balloons rose side by side with whimsical animals and even a sci-fi Icon.

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Yes , there was even an 85 ft, 600 lb black balloon that struck fear in the hearts of the rebel alliance. Darth Vader himself rose from the ground to the strains of the Star Wars Overture. Darth was definitely the celebrity  of the day. Sadly he remained tethered and we never got to see him soar.

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Once of my favorite images was when a brightly colored balloon seemed to rise over Darth Vader ‘s helmet like a tiny moon. Several looked like they might not clear his 85 ft. height.

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Right next to us was large black and white balloon that turned out to be a giant Panda!

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As the balloon inflated children romped in its shadow.  What a thrill to be so close to the behemoth as it inflated!

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I was too close and then I wanted to zoom in on a more distant balloon. I was juggling lenses every few shots! Now I know why the photography team all hand at least 2 cameras around  their necks. Maybe next time I’ll have that extra camera too.

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Balloons over the Adirondacks

Yesterday was the first day of the Adirondack Hot Air Balloon Festival. Opening festivities were planned for Crandall Park in Glens Falls, NY. But then the rains came and the wind gusts started…up to 10 miles per hour according to the weather reports. So they held the block party but no balloons in the air.

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Maybe today will be better.

New Jersey and New Mexico

New Jersey…YES

I debated about New Jersey but in the end I had to say yes. My experience with New Jersey isn’t the typical vacation experience but I think I was there enough for it to qualify as a YES state.

I had an uncle that lived in New Jersey and I went to visit him  several times. He lived in Clifton Park and we’d sit on his enclosed porch and look across the Hudson River at the skyline of New York City.

When a friend got married in New Jersey, another friend  & I took the opportunity to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty located in upper New York Bay. The state border of New York and New Jersey runs through the bay’s midpoint.  The original islands remain New York territory despite their location on the New Jersey side of the state line. The ferry we took to the islands left from the New Jersey side.

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Another reason I felt I had spent enough time in the state to cross it off  is Atlantic City. In the years I was affiliated with the Arthur Murray Franchised Dance Studios I spent many trips attending dance competitions which were always held in one of the casinos in Atlantic City.

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Not much of a gambler I spent any “down time” walking the boardwalk.

Of course we aren’t counting flying into airports. I have made the flight into Newark airport many times most recently on the return trip from Alaska. But changing planes in an airport doesn’t count. 🙂

Recently New Jersey has had more than its share of trouble. The coast was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Boardwalks and arcades were rebuilt in time for the summer season only to be destroyed all over again by a raging fire, the cause of which is attributed to corroded wiring because of the water damage from the hurricane. But, like a phoenix I have no doubt New Jersey will rise again from the ashes.

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I am certain that I will visit the state again. It is close enough to Massachusetts that it can be a weekend get away and there are still more things that interest me in the state.

New Mexico …NO

This is a state I keep flirting with. There is so much that I want to see and do there but I prefer to use my timeshare  and that’s the problem. New Mexico is a pretty big state and there is only one timeshare exchange and it’s located in Santa Fe.

There’s a huge hot air balloon festival every year in Albuquerque and I’d love to take that in. balloon festival 201

But Roswell is way to the south of Albuquerque and how can I go to New Mexico and not explore Roswell, the heart of the UFO phenomenon?

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Even farther south is Carlsbad Caverns National Park. That’s been on my must visit bucket list from day one! the pictures I’ve seen of these caves are amazing. I’ve visited caves before including Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota but each cave is different.

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A 2.5 hour drive from Santa Fe will get me to New Mexico’s land of Fire and Ice. The Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano are located in the west-central, Zuni Mountain range of New Mexico, where NM State Hwy 53 crosses the North American Continental Divide. This cave and it’s neighboring volcano sound really interesting too.

I also heard about an amazing railroad trip. I thought it took you through the Chihuahua Mountains crossing into Mexico and Texas but I may be confused because when I tried to find it again struck out. But I did find The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad which was originally constructed in 1880 as part of the San Juan Extension of the Denver & Rio Grande Western.

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Needless to say, I need to take that train ride too.

I’ve gone on a bit more than I wanted to. But the tally now is 11 visited/ 20 to go.