This afternoon while walking on a stretch of Route 9 highway. I had a straight up “Stand By Me” moment. You know, the moment where they’re walking on the train tracks and come upon the bridge. Well, in my case it wasn’t train tracks or the fear of an oncoming train bearing down on me. As I passed the cemetery gates and the overpass looking down on the train yard. I suddenly came to a dead end. The rocky, gravely road I had been walking on for miles ceased to exist at what seemed like the final leg of my journey home.
Stopped in my tracks. I looked at my limited options. Already bloodied and still bleeding from a fall about a half mile back. I wiped my sun beaten brow and began to contemplate my narrow choices. Option 1; Walk just a matter of feet (Maybe a hundred or so) on the shoulder of a very busy shoulder of the road that turned onto 9 South and the Pulaski Bridge and proceed to what is known as “The Circle of Death. Option 2; Walk back about a half mile and cross at the next available signal. Having recently watched as car after car mindlessly broke for the shoulder (unfortunately for them, towards a tragic accident and in to the waiting sirens or the local police.) and how dangerous that spot tends to be. I began limping back towards the traffic light in the not so close distance. As I limped towards my destination I spotted a small break in the concrete medium and waited for my chance to bolt towards it. Lucky for me, I made it across without being hit or causing any collisions. Before long I was home wiping the blood from my leg. If there’s anything to be learned from my experience. It would be to dress appropriately. Sandals and shorts are not recommended when walking the highways or exploring local junkyard’s or industrial complexes. Two, take the high road. Life is too precious to have it end foolishly.
Earlier today I missed an opportunity to attend a free Lightroom workshop at B&H due to my inability to deal with the freezing temperatures. A deal was brokered between myself and Mother Nature that clearly stated “If you are continuously thrown snow, ice, slush and 20 degree temperatures at me on a weekly basis.” “I will no longer treat you like a like lady and refuse to continue spitting in to your wind gusts.” I’m sick of it and I will fight cabin fever by cranking up the heat while dancing around in a swim suit and skuba gear. “Fuck you winter, I’m done.” The end.
Below is a picture I took of my bedroom window. If you look close and long enough, you can see icicle aliens fornicating somewhere in the heart of Antartica. Enjoy.
We were headed to our new bagel hideout when we made the turn just before the designated u-turn that would have put us on track for breakfast. As we rounded the long path that took us past the industrial park and back on to our preferred route. I realized we had hit an unexpected jackpot. That slight misstep allowed us access to some key views of the Pulaski Skyway and the bridge that is currently being worked on. So with camera in hand I hit the car seats eject button and composed a few shots. Within minutes I was back in the car and we were back on track for some fresh bagels and coffee. While there was a time when getting lost might lead me to self doubt and criticism. I’ve learned that it often leads to treasure and unexpected fun. It makes me proud knowing I have absolutely no sense of direction.
As the sun began to set, I grabbed my camera and headed downstairs for a relaxing moment up on the closure. Since moving here, I’ve grown so comfortable with exploring some of the off limits areas of my surroundings. So much so, that I imagined myself bringing a chair and a cooler up to their to watch the traffic go by as the sun sets. While construction on the Pulaski Skyway has been going on long before we moved here. As of this week, it’s intensified to include work that often extends to the morning hours. Quickly, I’ve come to realize that my backyard paradise might soon come to an end. Thinking back, not so long ago, when I first walked up that ramp. The anxiousness, my gelatin legs and that lack of balance I felt. It’s hard to imagine how comfortable I’ve become up there. While as my first trips had me wondering how soon the flashing lights would be upon me or if those circling helicopters were reporting on my whereabouts. I’ve become more and more at ease there. So imagine my surprise when I didn’t hear the truck rolling up on me until it was just inches away. My first thought was “Thank God, it’s not the Police.” That truck just happened to belong to someone with the construction team. Perhaps a foreman. “You know this is off limits and you are trespassing.” He was firm but not like most of the very angry and confrontational people I’ve come across in the past. I apologized, showed him some I.D. and explained how I couldn’t help but be enticed by the beauty of the sunset. I promised to leave, thanked him for understanding and promised not to return. I’m going to miss taking my trips up there, but I feel lucky to have had the chance to get some memorable photos from it. In the meantime, I have my sights set on some new areas to explore and photograph. I can’t wait to get started. Until then. Be good, be safe, be mindful.
I’ve lived in New Jersey for twelve years now and in that time, done my share of driving. Wherever my travels take me, be it far or near. I always find myself feeling enamored with the factories, railroads and industrial sculptures that feel somewhat out of reach to a driver speeding down the interstate. Whether I’m driving alone or with a sidekick. The thought of pulling over or taking the next exit to seek out the adventures that often tease me to look deeper. That said, the thought is often just that. The facts that I’m usually on my way to something and driving at speeds that will most likely warrant a summons often postpone my urges to explore. Add to that, the areas that intrigue me the most are off limits and often patrolled by very suspicious security and or folks who call 911 as if it came with a free pizza.
So after moving to an area that was essentially surrounded by the same things that have intrigued me for years. I decided to take it upon myself to seek out those elusive treasures on foot. The risk of going out with a camera and photograph what is basically private property definitely has it’s risks. I learned this early on when I was innocently out shooting for a portfolio titled “Left Behind”. During that time I was confronted, chased by security guards and even detained by police as a possible terrorist suspect. Despite the possibilities of arrest and possible bodily harm. I find the rewards far outweigh the risks. It’s something I’ve been drawn since my pre – K days when my Father would bring me to the junk yards that lay just beyond Shea Stadium.
Till tis day, I find myself drawn to explore the factories, railroads and industrial centers more and more. And while I’d never recommend trespassing or breaking the law. I whole heartedly support following and documenting the things you love. Get out there, find it and document it. The world is yours.
Last night I added a KIDS section to Damion Photo which includes studio and location shots taken at local parks and beaches. Working with children and families has been one of the most rewarding parts of my photography life. Something I hope to dive head first back into in the coming months. I’m currently booking Spring sessions which include visiting clients homes where kids seem most comfortable. I also plan to continue taking advantage of Hoboken’s Parks and beautiful Hudson River view. There will be many updates and additions in the coming days, weeks and months. Come visit and watch for the coming updates. Yours Truly, The Photo Geek