Midland Beach, Staten Island

Images below are smaller files.

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On August 27, 2013 I visited Midland Beach for the first time in my life, and I must admit, I am a fan of this location.  I’ve visited Coney Island many times and consider it to be my favorite location, not due to the beach but the activities that occur on the beach and boardwalk.  At Midland Beach I was disappointed by the emptiness on the boardwalk and I have taken into account the time of month. The missing stores, food stands and various people walking and performing on the boardwalk was missed, seeing the organized chaos of life. 

While at Midland beach, I did enjoy the location of the parks with the beach as well as the very friendly, spacious and mixed cultural environment.  Wherever I turned I observed people talking, eating, dancing, laughing, kids running around wildly and not having a care in the world.  The water for the most part was not so inviting, as the water neared the shore the blueness of the water quickly turned brown, due to the sand, and in my opinion ruined a fairly great view. 

My time spent at Midland was a success, the photos I took were great successes, I wish I could add all the photos I took that day, from the beach, to the people at the picnic, the children and families etc., but I do not have the time to do so. 

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Return of the Cardinal

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The first three shots were taken through the window screen, the last two, without the screen, providing a bit more detail. 

On 8/18/2013 during a brief rain shower I heard the familiar whistle of the cardinal.  I approached the window to be greeted by not one but two cardinals and the second cardinal was the offspring.  During this brief glimpse without my camera the older cardinal was showing the younger cardinal how to eat a specific type of fruit. I am not sure what it was but it was small, green and three small round fruits hanging from a single stem.  The young cardinal watch intensely as the older cardinal demonstrated it’s technic in opening the fruit.  I surmised the birds would be at the fire escape for a few more minutes and retrieved my camera, which unfortunately only had the 18-55 mm lens attached, this would not provide up close and detailed shots.  After an additional minutes on the fire escape the two birds flew into the trees and continued the lesson that only ended with the loud clap of thunder, sending the birds to hiding. 

It is always a joy to watch nature in action, especially observing and capturing moments such as these in New York City, were we tend to become jaded towards nature. Where most people consider wildlife such as pigeons as “rats with wings” and squirrels as “cuter yet still repulsive rats,” and so forth. 

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Missing My Father


September is around the corner. To many that means school is near, the anniversary of the September 11 2001 attacks will be remembered, the month indicates winter is closing in and the holidays will begin shortly. For me, September is now a reminder of how much I miss my father. His birthday is coming up and I find that I am more heartbroken in knowing that I cannot wish him a happy birthday. On the 16th of February of 2012 my father passed away after a long battle with kidney failure. Over fifteen years since being diagnose with kidney failure he constantly moved forward, never accepting the words of the doctors who told him to tone down his activity. Unlike most of the patients at his dialysis center, my father was active, constantly walking, driving, engaged in various activities and always had a smile on his face. His behavior had a lot to do with his faith in God, he truly believed that he was given a second chance and he was going to appreciate every waking second of it. His faith and his active life style allowed him to recover quickly when he became sick with the flu, a situation that can truly injure or even kill a weak dialysis patient.

I have three daughters and two of my daughters were fortunate enough to know my father. My daughters loved their grandfather or papa as they would call him. My dad loved his granddaughters, he did everything with them and they always wanted to be with their papa. My oldest (who is 5 years old now) took it the hardest when my father passed away, she is still missing her papa and at times asks if her papa could come back and play with her and read her stories (she had many dreams for months with my father). My second oldest, she is a trooper like me, she is tough and shows little emotion, when her older sister starts crying and states how much she misses her papa, the little sister looks at her and states assertively, “Papa is in heaven. He was sick but now he is better. Cheer up.” Usually that works and the older sister slowly stops crying and then begins to smile. Afterwards, when no one is around, my trooper comes and tells me how much she misses her papa too.

My youngest daughter never met her grandfather, she was born a few weeks after his death in March. However, this little baby who is older, walking, babbling and showing her personality to everyone indicates that she received a great deal of her grandfather’s personality and quirks. From the way she stares at you to the way she drinks her water and the way she sleeps at night, reminds anyone who sees her that she has many traits of my father. Sometimes I stay staring at my daughter and I can see in her specific traits of my father and I cannot help but laugh and wonder if they had the opportunity to meet in passing.

Although I was the only child, my father was always there and he did whatever it took to take care of my mother and I. He always showed us love, compassion, strength, endurance in life’s trails and tribulations. Recalling how my father dealt with my girls, how this man who at the time was becoming weaker and his health was deteriorating, he managed to get two highly active toddlers exhausted, usually all this down while he was sitting down. After every visit with their papa my little girls were exhausted, they would sleep for hours on end and when waking up would complain of being tired but full of energy to discuss all the great things they did with their papa.

At times I find myself lacking as a father, with all the stresses in the world and the difficulties in economy affecting every part of life, my time and patience with my girls are at times short. I do my best to keep them healthy, taken care of, I make sure to show them love and try to play the games they want. I make sure to read them bed time stories every night, say our prayers and the Pledge of Allegiance and sing songs with them until they sleep, yet feeling as if I am falling short somehow. But there are days I just wish my father was here, to have him only a phone calls away, and just to ask him questions and for help in the things I feel I’m lacking in. His advice…he was full of it and unfortunately I did not heed all his advice in my youth…but how I wish he was alive to give me some now.

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Escaping My Reality

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We all go through a stage where our life becomes overwhelming that it causes one to lose focus, to lose sight of the goal, we simply stop fighting and allow ourselves to be tossed back and forth in the sea of our problematic existence. In those situations finding the answers to the problem seems impossible, what was once a simple decision now becomes a bane, indecisive in our actions, lacking the confidence in our abilities and the feeling of loneness engulfs the heart.

There are numerous ways people overcome this sensation, some seek guidance from God, others seek enlightenment through spirituality, and others seek more earthly methods. Expression through art, music, writing, exercising, seeking counsel through books or groups of people with similar situations. I seek clarity at times through art, whether its sketching, writing or photography.

My photos assist me in clearing my thought process, allowing my mind to dwell on the image at hand and slowly disregard my situation at the present time. This process allows me to relax, to focus on the image, whether it’s scenic, urban, landscape or gritty, these images help me focus and develop tunnel vision on the image.

This tunnel vision allows me to study and analyze the image at hand, forcing me to ask questions about the little activities occurring in the image. Sometimes it takes an few hours, other times a few days…but eventually, my strain, my stress…my bane slowly become less and less, a solution appears, my determination, faith and desire to be victorious is restored.

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