architecture

Black and White: My First Love. Images 70-76

Downward Spiral     Downward Spiral, Genesee Lighthouse, Rochester, NY

Genesee Lighthouse, BW     Genesee Lighthouse, BW

Sodus Point Lighthouse, BW     Sodus Point Lighthouse. BW

Watkins Glen, BW     Watkins Glen, BW

Buttermilk Falls, BW     Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca, NY, BW

High Falls, BW     High Falls, Rochester, NY, BW

Close Up Flower, BW      Flower in Close Up, BW

When I began taking my own pictures, it was in High School at West Irondequoit High School, during my Junior Year.  My father was an amateur photographer and I had always wanted to give it a try.  When I saw that my high school offered Photography A, B, C and D as art electives, I jumped at the chance (mostly because I cannot draw for beans).  Of course, back in the old days (1988 to 1990), when I was taking HS Photo classes, it was all on black and white film.  I borrowed my mother’s 35 mm Camera, a Fujica, as I did not have a camera of my own yet (I would get my Canon AE-1 until graduation from HS; a gift from my Dad).

We started the class with learning how the camera worked; F-stops, shutter speed, film speed, focus, different lenses, etc…  (BORING!!!!!).  We learned all the basics as well as how to take the exposed film off the roll in a darkroom or in “the bag” and doing all the processing of the film in the can with all the chemicals.  Then we learned how to make the prints in the darkroom and process all the prints; developer, stop bath, fixer, stop bath.  I found myself spending hours in the darkroom, playing around with different ways to expose the image on the paper.  I would spend extra time after school and during study halls in the darkroom, or walking around the school with my camera, finding subject matter relating to the present project we were working on.  I loved it!

The Black and White Image was beautiful to me.  Stripped down; Basic.  More like an Impression; more artistic than it’s color counterpart.  Sometimes surreal; sometimes dramatic.  I loved playing with contrast to make it more interesting; to get the image to “pop” off the paper.  I was actually disappointed when we switched to color somewhere during Photo D.  I felt like I was losing the art of it all and my photos seemed more pedestrian; just like everyone else’s.  I felt like the color robbed all the creativity.

I have since learned to love the color image just as much as the monochrome image.  For quite a while, just because of ease, i took exclusively color images.  Black and White film was hard to find, and getting the film processed was more expensive.

Then, AHHHHHHHHH; Digital came around!!!   Now every shot I take is both color and black and white.

Take a look at more of my Black and White Images at the below websites.  I have an entire album devoted to Black and White on the Instaprints.com site.

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.viewbug.com/member/justinconnor

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

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Lighthouses: A Beacon With Meaning. images 63-69

Cape Cod Light     Cape Cod Light

Chatham Light at Twilight     Chatham Lighthouse at Twilight

Chatham Light at Noon     Chatham Light at Noon

Highland Light, Cape Cod     Highland Light, Cape Cod

Genesee Lighthouse     Genesee Lighthouse

Sodus Lighthouse, Pier     Sodus Lighthouse, Pier

Sodus Point Light     Sodus Point Lighthouse

My wife has always been drawn to Lighthouses.  She wasn’t able to really express what it was about the Lighthouse that she was drawn to, but she always felt a gravitational pull towards them.  We spent our honeymoon in Maine and this was the first time I had an opportunity to photograph a Lighthouse.   We visited several and found lots of great Lighthouse knick knacks that we started decorating our homes with.  Gradually, over the years, between my photographs and paintings my mother did as well as the knick knacks we have acquired, we have an entire bathroom devoted to Lighthouses.  It was this bathroom that finally led to an answer as to why she was a Lighthouse fetish.

Her brother came over to our house one day, and, of course, had to use the bathroom.  He came out of the bathroom completely shocked!  He then explained that he has a bathroom in his house that is also devoted to Lighthouses.  He and my wife began talking about how they both have been drawn to Lighthouses for years now and he was able to tell us a story as to why he thinks they share this fascination.

Their maternal grandfather died off the shore of Long Island, near Montauk.  He was a passenger on a ferry.  The ferry was carrying more than it’s capacity that day, and a freak storm struck, capsizing the ferry.  Many people drowned that day, swimming in the frigid waters, trying to reach shore, using the Beacon of the Montauk Light as their guide.  That Beacon was the last thing their grandfather saw.  They never knew their grandfather, as this all happened before their mother and father had even met.  But, nonetheless, they are drawn to the light just like their grandfather was that fateful day.

For my wife, the beacon of a lighthouse is a call to home.   It is that sign of a safe haven.  Her true north.  So I have developed a love of photographing lighthouses.  My Maine Lighthouse pictures are all in a box somewhere.  They were taken over 20 years ago on a Canon AE-1, a film camera.  one of these days i will find the negatives and get them into digital format.  For now, I will continue to take a picture of every Lighhouse I come across.  Next summer will be Cape Cod again and I would love to get some shots of the several Lighthouse on the cape that I haven’t gotten to yet.  I hope soon to be able to travel back to the West Coast and shoot all the Oregon and Washington Lighthouses.

For more of my Lighthouse Pictures visit my sites:

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.viewbug.com/member/justinconnor

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

Cape Cod; Our Favorite Family Vacation Spot. Images 23-27

Chatham Light at DawnChatham Lighthouse at Dawn, Chatham, MA

Chatham Light at NoonChatham Lighthouse at Noon, Chatham, MA

Chatham Light in AfternoonChatham Lighthouse in Afternoon, Chatham, MA

Chatham Light at DuskChatham Lighthouse at Sunset, Chatham, MA

Chatham Light at NightChatham Lighthouse at Night, Chatham, MA

Until the summer of 2012, we had never been to Cape Cod.  My wife and I had travelled to Boston in the past and we Honeymooned along the coast of Maine, but we had never been to the Cape.  My wife and I fell in love with Maine on our Honeymoon and have been back there a second time to revisit some of the amazing places we enjoyed.  My wife and I had our greatest vacation as a couple when we spent a week in Hawaii on the island of Maui.  That.  Was.  Pure.  Bliss.  We eventually plan on going back to Hawaii with the kids as soon as we can!!

During the summer of 2012, we got the chance to go to Cape Cod.  Our kids were 8 and 5 at the time, the perfect ages for a trip to the cape.  Our dear friends, who have adopted us as their children and our kids as their grandkids suggested we rent a house on the cape for a week.  They had been to the cape numerous times when their own kids were young, around the same ages as our kids, and couldn’t wait to experience it again through the eyes of our boys.  One of their daughter and her husband also joined us for the trip.

We didn’t really know what to expect except beaches and seafood.  We were not disappointed!  We arrived at the house in Chatham in the mid afternoon and got settled in the house, then took the quick 5 min drive right into the town of Chatham.  We parked and walked around.  What a great little town; great restaurants, quaint little shops, a penny candy store that my boys did not want to leave.  We then drove to Lighthouse Beach.  My wife has always been drawn to Lighthouses and I have developed a great appreciation for them as well.  Lighthouse Beach is absolutely gorgeous!!  One of our favorite beaches on the cape.  It is directly across the street from the lighthouse in the photographs above.  Every time we visited the beach during that week, I took a picture of it, resulting in the shots above.

From that first day, we were sold.  The boys loves it and it felt like home right away.  They swam and played in the ocean for the first time (despite the frigid water temps).  They learned how to boogie board.  We all learned how to play Pro Kadima (a beach game with big wooden paddles and a small rubber ball).  We hunted for shells, built sand castles, explored sand dunes, discovered Provincetown, went wine tasting (the wine was actually not bad…no Sonoma wine, but not bad!!).  We travelled up and down the cape, visiting the towns and eating great seafood.  I took pictures of numerous lighthouses as well.  I even woke up one morning at 5:00 so i could drive to Lighthouse Beach and take sunrise pictures.  We spent some time at the Chatham Fish Pier, watching the seals scrounge for scraps falling off the fishing boats offloading their catch.

On the drive home, both my boys asked when we were going to go back.  That is the sign of a good family vacation.  After a full week together, we didn’t want it to end and couldn’t wait to go back.  Our friends felt the same way, and we booked a different house, this time in Orleans, for the following year.

The trip during the summer of 2013 was just as amazing (maybe even better).  This time, Our Sister In Law and our Niece and Nephew came along.  Our boys were in 7th Heaven having their older cousins at their mercy for a hole week!!!  We explored some different beaches, including Skaket Beach and Rock Harbor Beach on the bay side and Nauset Beach on the ocean side.  Nauset quickly became our favorite beach on the cape!!!  We all had a great time, ate Lobster, and relaxed for a week.  One Giant Happy Family!!  We went on a whale watch and i got some great shots there too.

We didn’t go this past summer (2014), but it is looking like we are all in for summer 2015!!!  I cant wait to get back there and find some more great spots for photography.

If you want to see more shots from Cape Cod, visit my sites below!!

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.viewbug.com/member/justinconnor

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

High Falls in Rochester, NY; My Hometown. Images 17 and 18

Rochester, High Falls, 2High Falls, Rochester, NY

Rochester, High Falls, 1High Falls, Rochester, NY

Rochester, NY is my home town.   I was born and raised here; as was my wife.   It ain’t glamorous, but it is a great place to live and to raise a family.  Rochester has had it’s share of ups and downs.  It has been the murder capital of NY state in the past.  It has a lot of poverty and homelessness.  It is (or at least was) considered the Imaging Capital of the World for a time with huge companies such as Kodak and Xerox and Bausch + Lomb calling it home.   Bausch + Lomb is still around, although it has been bought by a larger corporation now.  Xerox is still around, but has seen better days and struggles constantly with lots of lay offs.  Kodak is essentially dead now; just a name now with a rich history and no future.  It is really sad to see all those building downtown gradually emptying out.

Rochester has thrived in the past as the Flour City with huge Flour Mills harnessing the power of the Mighty Genesee River and the Falls pictured in the above images.  George Eastman and his company, Kodak, really put it on the map.  Kodak once employed 145,000 people; today it employs only about 8,500.  An Epic Collapse; mostly due to bad decisions and underestimating the digital revolution as a passing fad.

I was, like Kodak, a film holdout.  I resisted the urge to go digital for a long time.  I considered myself a purist and tried to convince myself that the quality was better with film.  It was true, for a short time.  When digital photography started, the resolution was low and blown up images looked pixelated.  but with todays digital cameras, even cell phone cameras, the quality and resolution is incredible.

I am glad I changed for many reasons.  Nowadays, I wouldn’t even know where to buy film.  Digital allows you to take tons of images, immediately review them, discard the bad ones and keep the good ones, then immediately retake the shot over and over until you get it right!  With film, you had to take several shots of the same subject with different shutter speeds and F-stops, and hope that one of them turned out good.  For every roll of film, you might come out with 2-3 quality images.

But I digress.  Back to Rochester.  I choose to see Rochester in a different light.  it has it’s downside, for sure, but there is so much that Rochester does right.  Rochester and Monroe County are a great place to raise a family.  The school districts, at least the ones in the suburbs, are phenomenal.  There are amazing museums throughout the area.  There are great Minor League Sports teams with rich histories.  It is on Lake Ontario for those who love boating.  It is close to the Finger Lakes which has great wineries and beautiful scenery and all the boating and swimming that is available on those lakes.  It is close to Canada.  There are great restaurants and bars here in Rochester and Monroe County.  There are great festivals and events every year such as the Lilac Festival, the Jazz Festival, and the Park Ave and Corn Hill Festivals.

And, Rochester is the home of Wegman’s!!!   If you have never been to Wegman’s, you are missing out.  It is a grocery store chain, family owned, THAT HAS EVERYTHING!!!  When I lived in Sonoma, CA, we used to have to go to three different grocery stores to get everything we needed.  Wegman’s has it all, under one roof, at the best price, with amazing service.  Rochester has so many awesome things; Abbott’s Frozen Custard, Nick Tahoe’s Garbage Plates, Zweigle’s Hot Dogs, Genesee Beer…the list goes on and on and on.  I love living in Rochester and I am proud to call myself a Rochesterian!

The pictures above were taken of High Falls on the Genesee River and the Skyline of Rochester, from a pedestrian bridge in the Brown’s Race/High Falls area of downtown Rochester, NY during the late spring.  The first image has been tweaked and enhanced, the second image is the raw image.

Thanks for reading.  Come and visit Rochester!!  Grab a garbage plate, and abbott’s cone, walk the pier at the lake, then check out Wegman’s!!

Visit my sites below.  Many of the images were taken in and around Rochester and Monroe County.

http://www.justin-connor.instaprints.com

http://www.twenty20.com/justinconnor

http://www.judd-connor.fineartamerica.com

http://www.viewbug.com/member/justinconnor