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.
After three weekends that featured trips to Storm King, Trenton and a few others. We finally hit our stride when visiting Woodstock for the very first time. For this trip I followed a friends advice, ditching the filters and allowing the areas true colors do the work for me.
Growing up in Queens I didn’t have many opportunities to visit farms or hang around with horses. The closest I ever got to a horse was when my Dad took me to the racetrack or the local O.T.B. (Off Track Betting) to collect debts from degenerate gamblers. As an adult I find myself visiting farms throughout New Jersey and upstate New York on a fairly regular basis. These little weekend getaways serve as somewhat of a detox from the pressures of city life and the stress and anxiety that often plagues its inhabitants. Fresh air, farm fresh food and a much-needed escape from the monotony of city life. I’ll take it.
Each year, Labor Day weekend comes and goes without much movement around here. The urge to go somewhere for the extended three-day weekend is often outweighed by the thought of getting caught up in the “Get outta Dodge” type traffic that seems to accompany any holiday travel. This year my wife seemed a bit more determined to do something out of the norm. Or as she put it. “Something we don’t usually do most every weekend.” As per usual, I was up for anything. (That is “Just about anything.”)
As the links and ideas began to fill my email. I began to realize just how much she wanted to do something different. We had missed some opportunities due to traffic, long lines and just a lack of any intense interest. Knowing full well my lack of flexibility and patience played a major role in these decisions and… for lack of a better word, indecision. I was willing to do anything to make her happy. To say I cringed when she sent me a link to an upcoming County fare would be an understatement for the ages. The thought of driving for two hours in order to see a cover band perform a mix of Country favorites and Eagles covers amongst the smell of fried dough and cotton candy, somehow does not appeal to me. It wasn’t until she mapped out the trip and mentioned the pig racing schedule, that I realized this was something bigger than me. So off we went.
As we arrived, all the cliques quickly fell in to place. The array of deep-fried everything that could put a lesser man into a diabetic coma. The rabid obesity and of course the cover band deep in the belly of a rousing chorus of “I got friends in low places. My mind was transplanted to that part in “Apocalypse Now” narration where (Martin Sheen) Capt. Willard says”I wanted a mission. And for my sins, they gave me one.” I was there to have fun… And dammit, whether it at my expense or someone else. I was going to have fun. For lack of a better term. Finding my way to the cow, pig and goat stables made me feel happier than a pig in shit. After some “me time” with the cows, we settled in for the pig races before heading home. I’m just glad my wife had a chance to do something different.
Last week as we travelled the winding roads and peeks that the colorful canvas of New York’s upstate beautiful landscape. Stopping often to enjoy the orchards and farms that served as the areas fuel for our bellies as well as a chance to stop to stretch our legs and breathe the mountain air. Though Autumn’s colors were still in their infancy. The browns, oranges and greens were more than us city dwellers had seen in a long time. As my wife loaded up on fresh veggies, fruit, apple cider and those delicious donuts. I took my lens to the skies and shot what I could while battling the harsh mid day sun. As we settled in at home that night and looked through the images I shot.
My better half seemed unimpressed with the skies lack of pop. “Plenty of blue, but where’s the contrast? Where’s the pop?” “Where’s the Drama?”While I agreed, I felt the need to defend myself, noting. “There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.” While my defense was just enough to keep me from having my came confiscated. It made me think aloud, “Why am I not using my filters?” Soon after, I dug feverishly through the containers of photo gear I rarely use and found a small assortment of filters that have gone unused for over a decade. Amongst them I found a polarizer I purchased at University Place while living in NYC in 1994. The next day, like magic, the clouds came out and danced with delight. Not having the time to drive upstate. I headed downstairs and took what you see below. Not bad, considering I hadn’t used a filter since I was a young sex machine in the 1990’s. Perhaps it’s time to start using them more often while attempting a return to my old (yet younger) self.
I’ve always been intrigued with dusty old things. The older the better. If it’s run down, rusted or sitting abandoned in an open field somewhere. It’s character, stories and history draw me in, inviting me to explore and uncover.
On our first trip to Blooming Hill Farm a few weeks ago. We immediately noticed this particular truck in distance. Driven by hunger, a little lack of balance and not being sure how to get close enough to inspect without dredging through the crops. We kept a respectful distance. On our return, my curiosity peaked and a sense of determination got me from point A to B without stomping the yard or losing my ever vanishing sense of balance.
As I grew closer I began to feel the trucks rich history and purpose. It had most likely served decades hauling vegetables from the farm to markets and restaurants throughout the tristate area. As I opened the cabins squeaky cabin door to capture the rusted steering wheel and eroded seats I imagined the many drivers who navigated that truck down dark and dusty roads on the way to the highway and it’s intended destination. And while my wife will often lurk close by wondering just what it is that draws me to things of this nature. She understands and perhaps shares that wanderlust.