Happy Valentine's Day
GREETINGS FROM MONTAUK . . .
The latest & greatest images, excursions, missions, musings, projects, products . . . from Ric & the Hat Trick.
To some who have seen my photos, this news may come as a shock but it is not always sunny in Montauk. However, not unlike the fog I’ve often found myself in while assembling and arranging the ‘remix’ of my website, there is actually quite a lot of interest and beauty residing within all that sturm-&-drang
So it was Sunday. Even as I was gaining clarity on the website with the help of a crack crew of experts I’d reached out to for the site’s beta review, while also rushing to pack up the car with all the studio gear for some corporate portraits in the City, I still found it a must to quickly cruise to the Lighthouse and document the Icon adrift in a sea of mist and fog.
Working on a deep-channel update of a website is not for the faint of heart. However, it can be done. Indeed, the platforms available online these days offer a clear path as long as you stick to it & have faith while adrift in what at first appears to be a total whiteout of nothingness. But that’s why lighthouses exist -- to help wayward sailors steer clear of rocky shoals. So it was that a select group of friends were able to help guide me in the right direction to the safe shores of website launch.
It was in that spirit that I chose to squeeze in some adventure time out at the easternmost point of Long Island. Was it comfy/cozy? Absolutely not but it provided some beautiful contrasting imagery to the normal views and was totally worth the trip.
You can see a few more images from this jaunt over on my Instagram gallery -- please 'follow' me while you're there. And if you would like to see a few examples of the type of projects I’m working on this week in the City just click on over to my "Business Pros" gallery.
Meanwhile, the haze is lifting and the official launch of the site is coming into view.
With the Website Remix beta-launched, remainig kinks being massaged; with resultant drama building and tension mounting . . . there was no better time for a photo mission. A quick check of the forecast Thurs night informed me that it would be a clear sunrise on Friday. Accordingly, I took the long way home to my favorite coffee shop. The skies did not disappoint (they rarely do) and there was a true tequila sunrise as I edged down to Old Montauk Highway before heading east. Though the real-feel temps were again in the slap-your-face teens, I still encountered others. On the northern side, a young Japanese man with his sister and father (I’m guessing) thought it exciting that I was there to photograph (I would’ve photographed them but I was equipped for landscape only). He was very enthusiastic to be there himself and I mentioned he should come again on New Year’s Day as he would have many fellow Japanese to celebrate with. Meanwhile, on the other side of the lighthouse I arrived just ahead of a young photographer there to document the same setting as I. And why not? It was a stunning, crystaline sunrise with a red-fringed horizon. In addition to this, I’d wanted to swing by the southern side in order to check the Montauk Totem People’s rock tower dwellings at waters edge -- their architecture is incredible and they added a fantastical textural and spatial contrast to the sea and sky. After about 45 minutes it was time to head on to the coffee shop . . . and back to the grindstone. Admittedly, it takes some effort to drag myself out of bed at 5am, but why it takes such effort remains a mystery: this particular dawn patrol resulted in the Twin Towers image shown here. "But wait! There's more!!" To see this and the other six keeper images I'm really happy about please check out my gallery over at Instagram
It was a morning of frosty temps this morning as I took a longer path than usual to the coffee shop. The frigid air was fortifying and rejuvenating. Long, slow rollers gently washed ashore on the beach below the bluffs. It was necessary to stroll slowly as I am about to “go live” with the Website Remix. Thus, I needed the mental time and space to review whether there were any remaining “i” that needed dotting, any wandering “t” that remained uncrossed. There were no distractions other than one other solitary stroller with dog, who seemed as intent on solitary thoughts as I. There was only the inspiring view from on top the ever-eroding bluff. But I knew I need not be concerned. Fortunately, I was under the gaze and protection of one of Montauk’s Ancient Temple of Guardians!
THE FAR HORIZON
Winter Adventrures in Montauk
I am here. I am freezing. BUT that was all the more reason to walk to my favorite coffeeshop -- heck, New Year's Day was 9 degrees. Today's 18 makes it feel like summer! Along the path today, I was reminded of some of my town's best features. For instance, did you know that Montauk's beach has an ever-changing art show where you can find some of the finest sculpture anywhere? It of course has a fantastic running track (who could guess I'd have company today?!); and it is one of the best cathedrals I've ever had the privilege to be in, complete with several mini-chapels for solitude and reflection (I only paused for a moment today -- too much to do). Not bad. At any rate, back to work: the new website is ALMOST complete. Just some last noodling to do. Stay tuned!
Adventures in Website ReDesign:
the PlaceHolder Frame 1 . . .
Wait. What?! This is an outrage. Who you callin' a “Place Holder”?! Do I LOOK like a “Place Holder” to you?!?! -- and be very careful how you answer that question.
What a crock -- he keeps mumbling and blathering and shouting on and on with this baloney about “Finally! I’ve got a handle on my new website!” and, “I’m on a roll!” and “Gotta switch to the blog . . . gotta switch to the blog!” It’s all just an excuse for him not going out there, doing his job, and shoveling the damn snow!
If he doesn’t start soon we’ll starve to death in here! I doubt that I need to remind anyone that we suffered a direct hit from this Cyclone Bomb -- or whatever silly nomenclature they’ve come up with to describe this crap . We are buried. We are trapped! If I step out there I’ll be LOST . . . gone . . . disappeared . . . never to be seen again until the thaw when my frozen corpse would be uncovered like some neanderthal who didn’t know any better. Next thing you know, I’ll be stuck in some museum lab, poked and prodded for all of my secrets; flayed & displayed on some slab for all the world to see.
All so that HE can work on a silly . . . “website” . . . a “BLOG.” Who cares?! Stop taking my picture. I am NOT a “PlaceHolder!!!” At least turn on the tv so I can watch some football. And put a log on that fire, ya Bozo. I am a bear in his winter coat and even I’m cold in here! Jeezus.
I bet her Highness the CAT is doing just fine. Lazy, arrogant ingrate. SHE gets whatever she wants. Ridiculous. This is probably all just part of her ongoing plot to get rid of me. How did I end up HERE?!
. . . And not a moment too soon.
While I had spent most, if not all of the past 15 years worth of New Years in Montauk, on Dec 31st of 2016, a month into my conversion as a full-time Montauk resident, I had what I thought was an original idea: I’d get up early & see the sun come up out at the famous lighthouse. Having had too many successive disasters early on, I had never been much of a New Year’s Eve reveler; and spending such an evening jammed into Times Square in Manhattan had held as much appeal as having my fingernails slowly pulled off. Yet, despite those many previous ‘alternative’ and quiet Holidays spent in Montauk, it had never occurred to me to flip it around & see the sunrise. What with our perpetually mind-boggling culture’s overemphasis on ‘partying’ and alcohol, it had never entered my mind. That I’d be any but one of a handful of ‘crazies’ to get up at that hour & head out to the point was even further from my consciousness. Silly, naive me. Last year, the place was packed. This year, with the sub-freezing temps, it wasn’t quite as crowded but almost.
In case anyone is wondering, it wasn’t just a bunch of drunks who’d stayed up all night. The interesting surprise was that about 80% of the crowd were Japanese -- of all ages, from babies to the aged. I have no idea how far they’d come but they’d certainly traveled some distance as there aren’t that many Japanese Montaukers. And I thought “what a pleasant and positive cultural tradition.” I should make it my own tradition. So, this year, with so much to put happily into the rearview mirror of “last year”; with Liz accompanying me for the first time for this new adventure; with the interesting new and exciting developments and discoveries that had been popping up to the surface it was an awesome, if frigid, experience.
What a surreal one it was. There was a bank of departing clouds on the eastern horizon so the sun was hidden at first. However, the light popping up from behind the clouds was magnificently colorful in a Maxfield Parrish sort of palette. It provided an extremely unusual color to the rippling ocean. The temp was a brisk 9 degree Fahrenheit and therefore, the waves that were blowing into the beach moved in a slushy, slurry slow motion. Out past the point, the wind was whipping up quite a chop but what was extra eye-opening were the plumes of steam that were rising off the ocean further out like mini volcanoes. It seemed like a scene depicted on the imagined surfaces of alien planets in the Star Wars spinoff ROGUE ONE that Liz & I had just watched.
There was only one way to attempt to convey the scene and that was with a panorama photograph. More to come on that subject soon but, in the meantime, the scene recorded was what I immediately knew it would become: the first image for the new version of my website. Making this shift was not a New Year’s Resolution (a practice that for MANY reasons I studiously avoid) but rather the latest expression of a new direction that’s been in the works for a few months. And I can’t wait to tell more.
Meanwhile, Happy and Healthy New Year!
It has always struck me as humorously ironic that Montauk is referred to as the End. Like some medieval pontiff that insisted the sun and the planets must revolve around the Earth, Montauk must have been given its moniker by some Manhattan-centric denizen who believed the Earth revolved around the Big Apple. The truth is that a New York day begins on the easternmost point of Long Island at the famous George Washington-commissioned lighthouse.
Metaphorically-speaking though, I do like the echoes from thoughts passed down through the millenia: that the End is merely the Beginning. That works especially well for me today and what better way to commemorate that than with the first images recorded with my new FIFTY (yes, count'em) megapixel Canon 5DSr. Not only is the quality of each image stunning but these photos can be output to a very large size and that is a very attractive option to have in the toolkit.
And so as the weather turned auspiciously inviting, it seemed perfectly appropriate to rise early, drive East, and follow the path to the ocean's edge in order to document a beautiful new day just as the sun was rising gloriously over the horizon.
Of course, I couldn't resist exposing a panorama as well (with gratitude for the wave that crashed in right on cue).
Somehow I shall have to find a way to carry on . . .
There is an ancient (I believe) Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times." And so here we are. Climate change. ISIS/ISIL/DASH/WTC (Whatever They're Called). Boko Haram. Economic upheaval. Neo-Nazis. Racism. Bigotry. Mexican Drug Cartels. Trump and Cruz. The crises and the loud mouths get our attention. They sell more advertising dollars than whatever little positive news might be out there. And given how little attention is paid by the media to positive news (other than cat videos), it would be understandable to simply duck, cover and despair.
However, there are voices talking (not shouting); there are conversations taking place in peace; there is constructive dialogue going on that speaks to a different tune than the one blaring out of our speakers every day. These conversations affirm that there is constructive work being done. One of the voices serving as a focal beacon for this good news is that of Krista Tippett.
Via her books and her radio program/podcast called "On Being", she is spreading a different message that is a soothing balm for the ears and mind. Last nite, it was a treat to see her in person and hear her speak in the incredible space that is the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
A friend asked how did I learn of her. It was by total accident - no surprise since even an institution like NPR tends to bury these types of programs on the fringe. But I awoke earlier than usual one Sunday morning, turned to WNYC and there she was. Now, I tune in as regularly as I can and if I miss a broadcast there is always the podcast. She seeks out and conducts interviews with an incredibly wide array of people from around the world: religious leaders of all faiths, physicists, poets, philosophers, what have you. All people with particularly inspiring insights and experiences to relate which leave one feeling "maybe things aren't quite so bad after all." It is NOT all touchy-feely-goody-goody. Serious and challenging issues of living life in today's complicated world are addressed. But they are tackled with calm and intelligence and are enlivened by wise experience.
So, if you're looking for an alternative to all of the sturm and drang out there, I encourage you to check out her work. If you want a particulary good example to start with, the latest program, an interview with poet/philosopher David Whyte, would be an outstanding place to start. Then, as she says, join in on the conversation.