Return to Governors Island

I made a return trip to Governors Island a couple of weeks ago. The Island closed to the public for the year on Oct. 31st and does not re-open until May 1st, 2018, so it was important for me to visit the Island when I made a trip into New York City two weeks ago.

GI Soissons Landing

Governors Island is a former military base in New York harbor that has been a converted to a park and was opened to the general public starting in 2003. Conversion of large sections of the Island started in 2007 and is still a work in progress, but the Island is about 75% redeveloped. It is a great place to spend an afternoon in NYC when the weather is good and you can enjoy the spectacular views. You can easily spend 4 or 5 hours exploring the Island. I was on a tight schedule that day because I had other things I had to do in the city that day, so I was only able to spend about 2 hrs there that day, but it was still well worth the trip.



One of the best parts of Governors Island is a section of the Island called The Hills, which consists of four man-made Hills located in the Northwest portion of the Island.

I shot a couple of short videos with my iPhone SE on two of the Hills that occupy the Northeast portion of the Island.

The first video is my climb to the top of Outlook Hill, which is the tallest of the Hills, at 70 ft. That may not sound like much, but the 360 degree views of the New York harbor from the top hill are amazing on a clear day.



My second video was shot on Discovery Hill, right next to Outlook Hill. Discovery Hill is home to, The Cabin, a creation of British artist Rachael Whiteread and one of the permanent pieces of art that scattered around the Island. Like Outlook Hill, Discovery Hill provides outstanding views of lower Manhattan, the harbor and the Statue of Liberty and overlooks Picnic Point at the NW end of the Island.

Pictures below are from were taken in and around The Hills. I shot the pictures with my Canon GX9










Visit to The Presby Memorial Iris Gardens Montclair, NJ – 21 May 2017

Here are a few pictures and a video that I shot last weekend during my visit to Mountainside Park in Upper Montclair, NJ, which one of the New Jersey cities that I lived  in back in 1980’s and 1990’s. The Presby Iris Gardens always attract significant crowds from Northern New Jersey and beyond. This year is the 90th Anniversary of the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens.

I took all pictures with my iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7

The video was shot with my iPhone SE.

Here is the short video that I shot at the Gardens.

The Autumn Express and the Return of Passenger Trains to the Lehigh Valley

This past weekend an Amtrak Autumn Express excursion train travelled to the Lehigh Valley from New York City and it was a truly historic event because it was the first time in several decades that a passenger train had actually passed through Easton, Bethlehem and Allentown, the three major cities of the Lehigh Valley. The train then continued west to Harrisburg and Lancaster. After a stop at Lancaster the train headed south to Philadelphia and then north back to New York.

The first Autumn Express train left New York at 8:30 am on Saturday morning, Oct 29th, and crossed the Delaware river at approximately 10:20 am., entering Easton as it headed west the Bethlehem and then Allentown. I made my way to the site of the old Easton Passenger station to watch the Autumn Express roll by. I fairly large crowd of train enthusiasts, including the the mayor of Easton, had gathered to welcome train. A similar crowd formed to Allentown, including the mayor of that city as well, to greet train.



Here is video a shot of the Autumn Express arriving at the site of the former Easton Passenger Station on the morning of Saturday, Oct 29th,

I enjoyed seeing the train so much on Saturday that on Sunday morning  I decided to go to a spot right below the railroad bridge that the Autumn Express would cross the Delaware so I could capture that on video.






Later that morning I shot a brief video explaining why it was such a thrill to see the Autumn Express in Easton and why many in the Lehigh Vally would love the see passenger train service return to this area.




Visit to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

I went hiking at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in San Diego a couple of months ago and shot some video of a few portions of the hike, which I have posted below.

Ocean View at Torrey Pines Reserve

I have hiked at the Torrey Pines Reserve at least a half a dozen times before and it is one my favorite locations in the San Diego area for hiking and photography because of the stunning views that many of the trails in the Reserve provide. The Reserve is located on the coast, immediately to the north of the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course and just south of Del Mar. The size of the Reserve is 2,000 acres and it is one the few places on the coast of Southern California that remains undeveloped. It is an interesting place to visit because it gives visitors a good idea of what large parts of the Southern California coast must have looked like prior to the arrival of man. There are eight miles of trails that crisscross the Reserve, including several that bring you to Torrey Pines State Beach.

Stairway to Torrey Pines State Beach

I made the trip to the Reserve on this particular occasion because I wanted to shoot some video using my Steadicam Smoothee, which is a hand held rig for small video recording devices such as iPhones, iPods or Flip video cameras. I purchased the Smoothee last year and used an iPhone 3GS with it to take these videos. The Smoothee helps stabilize the video and enables the user to move about on uneven surfaces, walking or running, and shoot fairly stable video. It takes practice to use the rig effectively, but it does work. The videos below are among my first made using the Smoothee and I need more practice with it, but I had fun out there. On the second video posted below I also used the stabilization tool that is now included as part of the You Tube video editing tools.

Software – Camtasia

I recently purchased Camtasia for Mac in order to make videos which capture what I am looking at on my computer screen(s). My initial opinion of this software is very positive and I think it is well worth the $99.00 TechSmith charges for the Mac version. I’m still learning how to use it, but seems to be fairly user-friendly. I hope to be posting videos made with Camtasia on this blog in the near future.

I recommend this product.