It’s no secret that I love what I do for a living. Whether it’s catching a new show in town, checking out the latest art installation, or attending local events in any number of charming hamlets and villages scattered across this gorgeous playground we call home, there is always something stimulating and picturesque calling to me. Although Memorial Day is lurking, the action has already begun in earnest, and with another birthday hovering over me (May 25—feel free to send cash), I rely more and more these days on taking photographs, in an effort to recall what I did “just the other day.” Honestly, I’ve never been the sharpest tool in the shed, but the years are catching up, and lately, I can’t recall what I had for breakfast more often than not. “Happens to the best of us,” my pals of a certain age declare. “You’re not exactly young anymore,” they add, sprinkling salt on the wound. Sigh. As a result, my efforts behind the lens are more important than ever, since I need visual reminders of where I’ve been during the week, while pretending that I actually recall being there.
Photography has become such a passion, that I never leave the house without the camera, except when I forget. When I run out with the Wonder Dog, I grab my trusty Nikon, hoping that I might see a hawk overhead, or a woolly bear making its way to safety underfoot, and I snap away, since the beauty of digital photography allows me to shoot hundreds, hoping to catch a single gem along the way. Some weeks, I take thousands, seeking to capture one that’s decent, and often think of the amazing Ansel Adams, who was quoted as saying, “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop” (www.digital-photography-school.com ).
With that in mind, I tossed the dog in the truck and made my way to Bethel, NY last Wednesday, where Hostess with the Mostess Stacy Cohen (www.dancingcatsaloon.com ) was presenting Wepecket Island Records artists Sherman Lee Dillon, “Ragtime” Jack Radcliffe, Don Barry and Debbie Fisher Palmarini, with their “Rolling Roots Revue,” featuring harmonica, washboard, ragtime piano and some great (IMHO) vocals, courtesy of Palmarini & Co. “Even though “official’ season doesn’t begin for a few weeks,” Cohen said, “it’s always hopping at the Cat!” No argument here. I took over 100 photos during the evening, and found one decent shot in the batch, so felt ahead of the game.
After months of anticipation, my calendar informed that the Allyson Whitney Foundation (www.allysonwhitney.org ) 5k run/walk was about to commence and I arrived early at Kauneonga Lake to set up my equipment (I mean remember to turn it on) and prepare to get some action shots as 880 registrants and more than 150 volunteers showed up for the third annual fundraiser, dedicated to Allyson. Founded to “empower and fight for the interests of young adults with rare cancers,” the organization provides “emotional and financial support to patients in order to ease their financial burden so that they can concentrate their energy on healing.”
Since I’m living proof that anyone can take a decent picture, I wasn’t surprised to see social media playing a huge part in the event, which raised over $70,000, and everywhere I looked, folks were taking “selfies,” tweeting, (@allyson4rare) and posting pics to Facebook and Instagram (instagram/allyson4rare) as the incredibly successful day unfolded. Using the hashtag #awf5k, a few hundred photos popped up on Instagram in real time, while I took sixteen hundred pics. I’ve posted some of them (Thanks, Ansel!) to our own social media page (www.Facebook.com/theriverreporter ) for sharing, tagging and reliving the day. A real photographer, the incomparable Michael Bloom, (www.michaelbloomphoto.com ) created the AWF photo-calendar (May-to-May, in honor of Ally) with graphic designer Bobbi Jo McCauley (www.bobbijomccauley.com ), which is available now. Purchasing one supports the cause and is a good example of what genuine talent can accomplish, so I heartily recommend snagging one, before they’re gone.
On Mother’s Day, staffers (including myself) set up a photo booth at the famers’ market in Callicoon, NY (www.sullivancountyfarmersmarkets.org ), and I clicked the day away, capturing the vendors and crowd that shows up every week to shop local, compiling an album of kids, moms, grandparents (and pets) to commemorate the day and to serve as a reminder that I was there. Those photos are on our Facebook page as well, and through the magic of digital photography, the illusion that you are all on the front page of The River Reporter has been posted for sharing, in living color. For now, I’ll continue to chronicle these days for safekeeping, since the photos will last longer than my memory, as the good times roll.