With each day that passes, the neurological disorder I was diagnosed with reminds me that it is here to stay and make certain aspects of my life quite difficult. Adjusting and learning to approach things differently have been keys to moving forward. As much as the physical aspects of Fahrs progress. I can’t help but feel grateful that my upper body and even more importantly, my mind remain strong. Unfortunately though, the mind and body are not quite in sync. Which, at times can get me into a bit of trouble. Case in point, last weekends road trip. Just a week after getting a new, much needed walker, my wife and I planned a road trip that would figuratively and literally knock me on my ass.
After an amazing breakfast at Anacortes, Washington’s Dad’s Diner. We hit the road and continued on to Deception Bridge / Pass / Stae Park in Oak Harbor, making a number of stops along the way. Now,the fact that I rarely leave the apartment without a walker hasn’t had any effect on my wanting to hike, climb fences or wade waist deep in a river. Which, for better or worse, can get me in a bit of trouble. Add to it the insistence on carrying a photo bag loaded with lenses and other gear. (Perfect for someone battling with balance and stabilty issues.)
While there, I faced down my fears of heights and walking across bridges while nearly giving myself and my wife heart attacks. The goal, though entirely my wife, was to completely exhaust myself, which I did. During the long drive home, we stopped at farms and vegetable stands where we rebooted with coffee, ice cream and apples.
By the time we made it to the ferry, I started to feel the days actvities catching up with me. I was tired, dog tired. By the time we reached home, was flat out exhausted. Still, the long time need to put everyhing away in it’s proper place before even thinking of rest, overcame me and as I was putting something irrelevant away, I fell back on an old suitcase prop I haven’t used in years. The suitcase broke my fall before sending my head crashing into the wall. There were a lot of four letter ords shouted before being rescued by my wife and breaking out in mutual laughter over how I never accept me limits or learn my lesson about knowing when to leave things be. Until the next time.
– The PhotoGeek
As the dusk began to fall over the warm, sunny Tacoma sky and we continued to explore the industrial area just across the Tacoma Bridge. My wife kept asking “Do you smell that?” “It smells like shit.” After checking the bottom of my shoes and my tighty whities. I confidently replied “That’s horse shit.” Quickly and visibly puzzled, she cocked her head before asking “How do you know the difference between the smell of dog shit and horse shit?” Knowing an answer was required. I quickly replied “I grew up in New York City.” Despite that lingering smell and the questions of it’s origins. I really enjoyed my time under and around Tacoma Bridge.
After a delicious breakfast at Heyday, we ventured down the steep hills towards Lake Washington. I had brought my new Canon 70-200 f4 USM lens with me in the hopes of finding the right spot to fire off some test shots. I recall owning a 70-200 lens years ago but don’t recall it ever being so noticeably heavy. Quickly, we found a spot under the bridge. I proceeded to remove the already mounted lens and camera body from out mini coopers trunk. At first feel, you would think I was moving a centuries old pace of art from the auction house to the high bidders home or gallery. Truth be told, I was more focused on convincing my wife that I hadn’t let my clumsiness get the best of me. Overall, I enjoyed the way the lens handled and the results were rewarding. I really enjoy the focal range it provides and the fact that I can use it without a tripod. Still, I’m looking forward to using it on one and testing it on some local sporting events. Until then, go big or go home.
While it’s true that much of what I photograph and want to photograph can often be found on the “off-limits” section of the map. There are times when an opportunity presents itself and I’m left to freely explore and photograph the things that spark my imagination. Such was the case during a weekend trip to Hudson New York’s Basilica Farm & Flea. As if the areas architecture wasn’t enough to jump from the driver’s seat. Turning on to S. Front Street and historically eye-popping visuals. I knew the long drive to Hudson was about to produce many rewards. And while the Farm & Flea provided plenty of eye-catching merchandise. The adjacant train yard was, at least for me, the real thrill.
Prior to moving to the Journal Square area of Jersey City. I had little to no knowledge of the area with the glaring exception of beautiful views of the former American Can Company we would often view from Rt. 9 and or The Pulaski Bridge. As we passed the yet to be renovated towers. We’d often comment, better yet drool about the possibilities of someday moving in to an old run down factory or industrial complex. Little did we know at the time that those run down, abandoned beauties would be reborn as loft condos.
Upon starting our four year process of searching for a home. We saw a number of properties in and around Jersey City before deciding against moving to the area. Then, all of the sudden, thanks to the wisdom and hindsight of our trusted realtor. We gave the area one last shot. On the day we came to see the very first unit the market offered us. We were both convinced that this was the place we wanted to be. This was the kind of home we always imagined but never thought we would find. And while it took some months and the loss of two units we had our hearts set on. We sealed the deal on one we both loved and still feel very happy to be in.
While the neighborhood took time getting used to. Exploring the surrounding areas has been an amazing adventure. In areas I once tip toed around for fear of trespassing or being interrogated. I know walk boldly. The neighborhood has evolved and changed for the better.The area has become quite colorful and artful with new murals being created in some of the most unexpected places and access to anywhere else I’d like to go is literally at our fingertips.
Aside from all those pretty good reasons to be positive. My neighbors and the residents here are pretty damn nice. See friends, families and pets in riding the elevators or roaming the halls daily only reassures me moved to the right place.
As the weather warms I plan to extend my walks, exploring more corners of the area and stop being so weary about those helicopters that seem to appear any time I get to close to a bridge or railroad. Wish me luck.
Below are a few extras I took as we headed back to the train.
When friends and family got wind I was heading to Japan for the holidays. The overwhelmingly predominant response was “Take lots of pictures.” Understandingly so, considering most of the people I know see me as a photographer, or at least, someone who is constantly inspired by it. As I began to pack for the trip. I thought to myself, “Maybe just a few really good pictures would help me enjoy my trip a lot more.” The thought of reaching for my camera at every turn doesn’t resonate with me as much as it might have in the past. While documenting every family moment, meal and visit is perfectly fine. I thought about the moments and exchanges I might be missing while fumbling for my camera and the perfect setting.
So with my first week here I’ve had my share of opportunities to take hundreds, if not thousands of pictures I’d spend countless hours reviewing. I’ve decided to keep my shooting to a minimal. Something that is pretty easy when you constantly find yourself in good company.
And while I do find myself wandering off at times or wanting to jump from my chosen mode of transportation. I’ve kept it pretty low key. Arriving in Hakone, perhaps one of my favorite areas of Japan. I allowed myself some time to indulge myself by putting my camera to use. I honestly feel that going on without writing about what a very special place Hakone is, might be criminal. However, I feel that perhaps that’s best for another time and maybe, place. For now, a few pictures and a very Merry Christmas.
It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since we visited Harlem. Having spent so many past weekends and holidays eating, exploring and searching for a home in the area. It’s hard to imagine. Perhaps the eventual move to Jersey City or our ever-changing tastes and appetites can be blamed. Getting soft in my old age and not venturing as far uptown as I used can also be sited. As in most case, all set habits fall to the wayside when it comes to seeking out good food. In this particular case, Moroccan brunch at La Shuck. While it had been over a decade when I would dine with neighborhood friends at the local Hell’s Kitchen Moroccan joint on 46th St. The scents, color and taste kept my memories and taste buds longing for a return. While not the the whole story. I couldn’t go without mentioning what a great experience eat brunch at La Shuk was. Everything from the food to the design to the people made us want to linger long enough to savor each bite while plotting a quick return.
As we headed out with our belly’s full and a need to “walk it off”. We headed towards the East River before eventually walking downtown. Unlike most of the times I’ve visited the area. The sky was overcast and the temperature was just cool enough to warrant wearing a jacket. Perfect being that I never really had the opportunity to photograph much due to harsh mid day sun. As my taste buds expand and my ever-growing need to get away from the everyday build. I hope to spend most of my weekends exploring as Winter continues to show itself. Thanks to my wife for insisting it was due time for a new winter coat.
We were all set to head out for a day in Toms River with my Dad when our plans were suddenly changed due to some post shoulder surgery crankiness my Pop was experiencing. Not having a solid backup plan. We decided to make the most of our early morning and head to Brooklyn in search for the perfect slice. With lessons from my last trip over the bridge learned. I headed out in better spirit and a lot less tension. The day itself is somewhat of a blur. A long walk through a number of Brooklyn neighborhoods. Followed by a panic free walk over the bridge back into Manhattan for some delicious congee on the Bowery and a lot more walking. Overall, a long rewarding day that left us exhausted and fulfilled. You really can’t ask for more.
One morning last week there came an authoritative knock on my door. On the other side of the door was a Viking helmet adorned neighbor blowing a horn declaring a day of action. Knowing the call of a Viking and the failure to properly follow Viking code full well. I followed him down to where the bikes, horses and Viking ships are docked. It had been a couple of years since I’d been on a a bike. (My last one, as well as every bike I’ve ever know has been stolen at one point or another.) Knowing full well my history as well as my recent battles with gravity. Said friend let me take a spin around the safely enclosed garage to help me get familiar. After a few twists, turns, crashes and fall downs. I was granted my own Viking helmet and we were off. And while our buildings surroundings aren’t very bike or hike friendly. A sturdy mountain bike and a seasoned leader more than get the job done.
After a short ride down the hill and a slight turn to the right. It seemed that we hit pay dirt. For that road led to all the things I love and enjoy both exploring and photographing. Trains, factories, train yards… You name it. The only thing missing was a junk yard with featuring an unchained rabid guard dog. I felt like a kid again. We hadn’t even made it half way to the end and I was already making reservations to return. After a few stops to take in the sites atop the railroad cars We took the road all the way to Secaucas before hitting what seemed to be the river of deceit.
After a break and a survey of the land we had discovered, conquered and thoroughly photographed. We headed back on the rocky path that brought us there. As time had passed I had become more and more comfortable with the slightly oversized bike. So much so that my buddy gave me his official thumbs up. Half way back, the days heat, coupled with my lack of balance began to take their toll. Like a good soldier, I kept the pace. Assuring myself that, once we get passed this rocky strip of road and onto solid pavement, I’m home free. Then, as soon as I hit solid ground. Every ounce of strength I had left gave out and I hit the pavement like a hundred and forty pound sack of wet bricks. Aside from a few bumps, bruises and damaged ego. I was fine. Though I ended up walking the bike the rest of the way home. The trip and the overall experience, as well as the opportunity to earn my very own Viking helmet, were more than worth the spilt blood. That weekend I returned, on foot of course, and did some more exploring as a solo act. I really love that the area we chose to live in offers such a diverse and colorful landscape.