Archive for the Parks Category

Autumn on the Move in NYC

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, American History, Art, Autumn, Beauty, Birds, Fall, New York, New York Landmarks, Parks, Photography, Poetry, Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , on November 10, 2015 by maine1nyc

My wife, Carol Driscoll, and I wanted to honor the waning Fall season by discovering a place which we have never been before, Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, one of the most picturesque and beautiful areas in NYC. And are we glad we did! There are areas in this park where you can get a sense of what it must have felt like in NY hundreds of years ago. It has a rich history, and is a must visit, or I should say many visits, for a landscape photographer.

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It is an area that many winged beings like to visit. We didn’t see any unusual fliers this day, but were favorited by a being that is much taken for granted, including by myself, in NY—the pigeon. However, I was affected by this photo that Carol took, that had me reconsider. I’m also including a poem by Ellen Reiss, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education, which can have all of us value this most overlooked bird in a new and surprising way.

New York Pigeons
By Ellen Reiss

New York City pigeons are bold.
They peruse the ledgers of dead economies.
They give me critical looks.

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Squirrels of Corlears Park

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, Beauty, New York, New York Landmarks, Parks, Photography, Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , on May 17, 2015 by maine1nyc

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(Click photo to enlarge.)

In preparation for a trip later this year to photograph Puffins in Maine, I thought it would be a good idea to practice on some fast moving, but oh so common beings, like the squirrel. New York doesn’t have that mysterious & colorful Puffin—but boy do we have squirrels!

Was I surprised to find out how wrong I was taking so ordinary a being, like the squirrel, for granted. As I followed some around on their adventures I was surprised to see how much I was affected by them. Not only are they fast, but they’re inquisitive and daring, they’re industrious and can be quarrelsome, and they have a kind of grandeur. I was taken by how many traits that we have in common—not the least of which is a deep pleasure that can be felt when they take in the world through food. I felt both criticized and inspired when I read this maxim by Eli Siegel, “What we’re used to, if explored, will surprise.”

As I left the park and looked behind at the squirrels I was grateful to them for showing me how wonderfully surprising what I see all the time can be if I looked with fresh eyes. Click here for more squirrels.

Montauk Lighthouse Landscape

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, American History, Art, Autumn, Beaches, Beauty, Fall, Landscape, Lighthouse, New York, New York Landmarks, Parks, Photography with tags , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2014 by maine1nyc
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On a recent visit with my wife Carol to Montauk, LI to experience the last days of the fall season, I was reminded of just how beautiful this place really is. And as a special treat we were greeted with “breeze’n up” weather—great for photographing. As we approached one of the most photographed and historic lighthouses in the country, I was affected by how the surrounding reeds interacted with the lighthouse. The wind was blowing hard, with gusts of up to 50 mph, yet the reeds showed their strength & grace. They held their own, even as they swayed while the lighthouse stood firmly in the distance, somewhat blurred by the reeds. I wanted to capture not only the motion of the reeds, but also their individuality as they moved, because I felt this would highlight their graceful strength in relation to the stolid lighthouse.

I am stirred by this critically important essay, by Eli Siegel, “Art as Flexibility.” As he writes you get a new insight into how crucial this aspect of art is. It begins:

“Art shows reality as resisting, bending; asserting, fading—which is how it is. Reality is as it changes, and flexibility in art is a visual likelihood of a thing’s changing in space, while remaining what it is. As a stem of a flower sways in the wind, we have a sight of flexibility. Yieldingness as sight is much in pictures; the yieldingness that makes for strength is what we look for in art.”

Copyright © by Definition Press 1960, 1962, 1974

Your creative imagination will be inspired after reading this work. If you would like to see more of my photos of Montauk visit my web-site: harveyspears.com

July 4th Celebration 2014 on the East River NYC

Posted in American History, Beauty, Bridges, Brooklyn Bridge, Fireworks, Independence Day, July 4th, Landscape, New York, New York Landmarks, Parks, Photography, Rivers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2014 by maine1nyc

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While people lined the shores of the East River & New York Harbor at sunset the grand celebration was preparing to begin. And it was done with style! As the sun set, the darkened sky and the Brooklyn Bridge were aglow. New York & The Brooklyn Bridge welcome back the Macy’s grand fireworks celebration, and I’m so glad I was there. (Click photos to enlarge.)

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To view more photos click on this link

Fall Splendor in the Hudson Valley 2013

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, Beauty, Landscape, New York, Parks, Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2013 by maine1nyc

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“Leaves, when they rustle, nod approval both to the tree and to the earth from which they come.” — From Damned Welcome: Aesthetic Realism Maxims by Eli Siegel, Maxim 245

_P1C3117-EditTo see more Hudson Valley/Lake Minnewaska, NY 

Sleepy Hollow • Tarrytown Lighthouse

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, American History, Art, Beauty, Landscape, Lighthouse, New York, Parks, Photography, Rivers with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by maine1nyc

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Nestled on the shores of the picturesque Hudson River, between the towns of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow (Washington Irving country), lies one of many New York State lighthouses—Sleepy Hollow • Tarrytown Lighthouse built in 1883. The lighthouse is about 32 miles going north from NYC, just past the historic Tappan Zee Bridge. It was once so important to navigation and commerce, but now it still sits proudly on the Hudson, and gives one the thrill of beholding it today. The lighthouse joins a colorful and rich history, and the ever so immediate present with the river and surrounding hills bearing witness. It illustrates, I learned from my study of Aesthetic Realism, what every person is hoping to do a better job with—understand how our own past and the immediacy of the present can be better seen. The Sleepy Hollow • Tarrytown lighthouse can encourage us to be more thoughtful about how to better relate these ever so important opposites of past & present in ourselves.

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The Place That Time Didn’t Forget.

Posted in Aesthetic Realism, American History, Art, Beauty, Landscape, New York, Parks, Photography with tags , , , , , , , on August 7, 2013 by maine1nyc

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Click photos to enlarge

On a recent visit with my wife Carol to Forest Park, where I spent many of my younger days with my family, graduation from Forest Hills High, and just hanging-out, a park with the largest Oak Woods in Queens, a park with concerts, a park with many different nationalities picnicking and having good fun, and a park with so much more including nature trails and an historic wooden Carousel that still thrills one just at seeing it. Primeval, yet with all the trappings of our century, Forest Park is one of the places that should not be missed. Designed by the creator of New York’s Central Park, Frederick Law Olmstead, in 1890, he did another great service to our City.

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After many years absence, I was struck by how beautiful this place really is. At times you might think you were in a land so far away from NYC that it will surprise you. My study of the education of Aesthetic Realism has encouraged me to see meaning in things that I once so took for granted. And I am so glad it did because as a photographer this is a rediscovered gem. The park is situated on a 20,000 year old glacier, and was once populated by many Native American Tribes, but is now part of Queens. I can assure you that Forest Park will leave you with rich memories that will be treasured.

For more information about Forest Park check-out their web site.

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For more photos of the park click here.

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