November 10, 2011


After a few hundred miles,  things started looking familiar.  Road names and exit ramps sporadically conjured memories from yesteryear.  Beers in the woods at parent-less McMansions in high school.  Dark thirty to departures heading up to Mt. Hood in the back of a friend’s family van.  Tween soccer games at a roadside field.  The closer the Syncro marched towards Portland,  the more the memories flowed.  “Portland International Airport, 20 miles.”  No stopping them now.

As I drove north on I-5 through Northern California and Southern Oregon,  the trees changed color by the mile.  No more dodging fall by zipping up and down the California Coast.  Leaves littered the sides of the roads and rain beat down in proper northwest fashion.  At 4:30, the sun set over the hills.  “Fuck daylight savings,”  I mumbled, adjusting the windshield wiper speed.  Five hours later, I pulled off highway 14 at a familiar gas station t0 fill up.  Dressed in shorts, a sweater and barefoot, the 38 degree, rainy night caught me off guard.

Needles and leaves.

A morning hike in the woods.

An afternoon in Portland.

Tim on Prindle Mountain.

For miles.

Harvesting beats from the garden.

Seal Rock.

For the first time in five years,  I was back in the Columbia River Gorge during the height of fall.  Visiting the northwest once or twice  a year, in the summer and around the holidays, limited my view of the place I where grew up.  Just like a new haircut making a familiar person look different,  a change of season makes an old place look new.  Try it sometime.

Here are some more links,

Fall (Picasa),

A Restless Transplant (Facebook).

September 22, 2011

Indian Summer

As the sun sank, we made our way towards the train tracks bordering the Washington side of the Columbia River.  The smell of fermenting blackberries brought back memories of my childhood spent running around, face painted and brandishing a wrist rocket, blasting gravel and anything that moved.  Negotiating a vine the diameter of a ping-pong ball, I felt a familiar tug on my shorts and the sharp scrape of a blackberry thorn on my thigh.

“God damn it!” I moaned, grabbing the thorn and flicking it like a popcorn kernel.  “How do you get through this shit?”

“With this plank,” Tim said, flipping a 12-foot plank on top of the blackberry bushes and walking across on it.  Following Tim’s lead, I quickly made it through the bramble and onto the tracks.

Despite the shortening days,  temperatures in 80’s made the steel tracks and black railroad ties feel like late July as we headed west a half mile towards a longtime favorite swimming hole.  Scrambling up the trail, we disregarded a no trespassing sign, emerging onto a basalt outcropping into the Columbia river.

Summer feet.


Summer light.

A hydration bladder,  of sorts…


“Man it’s getting darker earlier,” Tim said crouching on a rock and dripping water from a jump.

“Indian Summer is in full effect,” I grinned, pulling my T-shirt over my head and sliding on my flip flops.  “Let’s go eat.”  We were there for only twenty minutes, but that’s what makes a summer swim a summer swim, even in mid September.

Here are some more links:

For daily updates, check out Out of Reception,

Swimming (Picasa).

May 17, 2011

Changing Seasons: Spring in New York

LL Bean Buck, October 2008.

I procrastinated. The winter slowly meandered towards spring, but was constantly set back a few rainy days. Just as I grew accustomed to evening walks through Central Park, back to back days of biblical rain checked my seasonal optimism.

Paul Smith Canvas Sneaker, January 2009.

So, I waited and pondered which shoe to use.

Common Projects sneaker, April 2009.

Scroll through the photos quickly. It looks like a stop motion film, with all of the shoes skewed towards the left.

Van’s Authentic, August 2009.

I still have these things stuffed in a closet. They smell like the plague.

Ralph Lauren Wingtip, October 2009.

In the past, my selection has been traditional, with some of my favorites being a Buck, a Brogue and a Danner boot. However, since leaving Maine and moving to New York, my taste has changed. Partially due to my days spent surrounded by the “American Heritage” aesthetic, recently I have started appreciating more pragmatic, purpose-driven items.

Danner Mountain Light II, December 2009

British Walker Buck, April 2010.

Instead of carrying around my camera and laptop in a vintage backpack, I bought a GoRuck Gr1 (partially in my preparation for the GoRuck Challenge in Boston). I also opted for a technical down jacket over a wool coat on my Saturday morning walks.

LL Bean Boot, October 2010.

You won’t see me in Crocs or zip off nylon shorts anytime soon.

LL Bean Signature Work Boot, January 2o11.

But instead of hunting eBay for vintage Omega, I have been poking around looking at contemporary Sinn’s and Luminox’s.

Nike SFB May 2011.

Finally, spring stayed around long enough for me to grab my camera and my Nike SFB chucka and head to Central Park. As the sun set, I sat reflecting the evolution of my taste over the last three years and pondering where it would be in the next three. Setting the ISO and aperture to 1600 and 4.5, respectively, I threw my shoe in the air the way I have for the last 10 seasons.
Here are some more links,

January 25, 2011

Changing Seasons: White in New York

LL Bean Buck, October 2008.

I missed the the infamous Nor’easter known as Snowpacalypse. 3000 miles away, I read my twitter feed, saw the headlines and spoke with my friends in New York. I missed the party, arriving the next morning for the cleanup of the beer cans, sticky footprints and dirty dishes.

Paul Smith Canvas Sneaker, January 2009.

Luckily, more storms loomed on the horizon, nurturing the prospects that I too would enjoy a snow day in New York. A few weeks later, I awoke one morning to the familiar scraping of a snowplow.

Common Projects sneaker, April 2009.

Outside my window three inches of fresh snow smoothed the jagged rooflines of countless apartment buildings. Throwing my camera and gloves into my REI backpack, I stopped by Joe’s Coffee before cutting into the park at 81st street.

Van’s Authentic, August 2009.

Steam rose from my coffee like exhaust from a muffler as I scuffled my feet through the fresh covering of snow. The occasional jogger clad in spandex and Nike’s made crunching sounds in the light snow.

Ralph Lauren Wingtip, October 2009.

Danner Mountain Light II, December 2009

Arriving at the rock outcropping, I removed my LL Bean Signature Work Boot, adjusted the settings on my 5d Mark II and focused my manual Zeiss 35mm f2.o on an arbitrary spot, some three feet in front of me.

British Walker Buck, April 2010.

Shooting with a much narrower field of view than my old 24-105 f4, I threw the boot farther away. Snapping at the apex, I sat for a half an hour or so until I filled my flash card and couldn’t feel my fingers.

LL Bean Boot, October 2010.

LL Bean Signature Work Boot, January 2o11.

Consumed by my new life, time goes by fast here. It feels like just last week I moved into my apartment and started my job. I am already anticipating spring around the corner. These nine photos remind of how much my life has changed in the last two and a half years. Try taking a photo, drawing or writing some thoughts down in the same place each season. I bet you will be surprised by the positive unindtended consequences.

Here are some more links,
Changing Seasons (Picasa),
Changing Seasons (ART).