New York State Capitol.Albany was the fifth and the final stop of our vacation. One of the reasons for the stop was to break up a long drive from Montreal to Brooklyn. Another reason to stop specifically at Albany was the fact that we have never actually properly visited the capital of our own state. We drove through it before, but have never explored the city or laid eyes on the capitol building and its surroundings.

Empire State Plaza.The ride down from Montreal was supposed to take about four hours, but it started with what I clearly remember about our last trip to Montreal — major road closures. This time they just completely closed one of the bridges that was supposed to take us across Saint Lawrence River. GPS was sending us in circles and all the detour signs would just abruptly end. Luckily I remembered that there was another bridge at the north end of Montreal. And even though that ended up being a pretty big detour for us we finally got out and were on our way.

Rest area stop.The rest of the drive was uneventful. Our phones came alive after we crossed into United States. We stopped at Duty Free on the boarder and bought a couple of souvenirs. We ate our lunch at some fast food place. And we took a short break on some rest area in some part of Adirondack Region where Alёna got talked into playing a little bit of soccer with Arosha.

Capitol view from another side.By the time we checked into our hotel, parked the car and unloaded the luggage it was 6 o’clock in the evening. The hotel was Hilton Albany and we chose it because of its proximity to the capitol complex. It was nice enough as Hiltons typically are. However we were unfortunate enough to have to eat dinner at a hotel restaurant. The fact that it was completely empty should’ve been a sign. The food was less than stellar to say the least.

Kids by one of the fountains.Anyhow, since we were staying for only a single night the rest of the day was the only time that we would have to explore the center. So we set out towards the capitol building. The walk was probably no more than 10 minutes long at Anna’s pace. The day was warm, the sky was blue, it was a nice end of the day.

Capitol.The capitol itself is non-typical looking. It doesn’t have a traditional dome, but instead looks more like some large castle. Sadly because we were visiting over a weekend the building itself was closed, so we were not able to see it inside. I guess we’ll have to come by some other time to get our stamps.

The Egg.Next to the capitol building there was a large open area — Empire State Plaza developed by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. It had large fountain pools which were empty at this time of the year. On its edges there was a good number or large monolithic buildings and there was an egg shaped concert hall which was called exactly that — The Egg.

Climbing assistance.Kids had a lot of fun running and climbing around, exploring empty fountains — basically expanding all the extra energy that got accumulated in their systems after a day of driving. Then we tried to go to some highly rated pub nearby, but there was a 30 minute wait for the table. Since we were very tired and hungry by then and there was nothing else open in a walking distance we decided to dine at our hotel, which turned out to be a mistake as I explained earlier.

Units.And to finish the day off we went for a swim in the pools — last pool of our vacation. That was actually the only time we ended up socializing with other people while sitting in a hot-tub. As a result Arosha ended up with a much longer pool time than he was originally promised.

Climbing.And when we got back to the room I attempted to push Arosha’s bed toward the wall as we often do to minimize his chances of falling off the bed during the night which he still does from time to time. However I did not anticipate that I would slip out out of my still wet rubber slippers during this maneuver. As a result I performed a major face plant into the bed after which one of my legs slammed into the floor. I still limp two and half weeks later.

Another view.On this positive note I will conclude the last day of our vacation. Our drive home was uneventful and we got home early enough to rest and then visit our parents for a nice dinner in the evening.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Finger Lakes

Taughannock Falls.We are back and we can declare that our Canadian road trip was a success. We ended up driving for a total of 1,416 miles throughout these 11 days with Toronto to Montreal drive of 340 miles being the longest single stretch.

That’s how we ended up spending two nights and a full day in Finger Lakes region of New York state — we wanted to break up the longest stretches of the road as much as possible to make it easier on the kids. Kids, which I must say, handled the road just fine. They didn’t do a lot of sleeping, although Anna did more of that than Arosha, but they were perfectly content with looking at the surrounding areas and holding conversations with us and between themselves.

Our hotel.We made it our policy long ago to avoid any devices in the car, so as such kids don’t even ask for them. By looking at the world around them they come up with a lot of different topics to discuss. For example we talked about the names of Finger Lakes, then we talked about their depth, their length, differences between seas, oceans and lakes, moved over to Great Lakes and eventually even have gotten as far as Lake Baikal.

We picked Finger Lakes as stop point because there really is not much else interesting in between Brooklyn and Niagara Falls — our first major destination. Another reason was that after having lived in New York for over 20 years I have had yet to visit those lakes and famous town of Ithaca. And we picked Seneca Falls to stay at simply based on hotel pricing, even though there was a large selection of Hilton chains in the region.

Winery.We drove out at about 3 o’clock on Thursday right after Arosha’s school ended. Kids ate a quick lunch, we packed the last of our things — well, mostly Alёna did — and were on our way. Arosha and Anюta were very excited. Anna kept exclaiming from time to time that she really wants to go on a vacation and Arosha was counting the days and really barely could wait. He, as the rest of us, was very worried about one of us getting sick which would cause us to cancel our trip.

In order to reach Seneca Falls we had to cover a little bit over 300 miles which makes it more than 5 hours of driving. Luckily because we left early we beat any major traffic around NYC which helped us get to our hotel earlier than I expected. Along the way we made a stop for dinner and Anna took a little nap. Arosha stayed awake the whole time and only fell asleep when we were 10-15 minutes away from our hotel.

Wine tasting.The next day kids woke up very early — too much excitement about going to the buffet for breakfast. I think Arosha doesn’t really like the food as much as he loves the processing of picking stuff out on his own. After breakfast they wanted to go swimming at the pool, but we wanted to do some exploring of the area first and convinced them to leave the pool for the second part of the day.

We didn’t really have much of a plan, except for the fact that we were on the top of the lake and Ithaca was at the bottom. So we figured we’ll just drive down to Ithaca by taking a scenic road along the shore of Cayuga Lake and figure out what we want to do on the way. The only sad thing was that the day turned to be quite gloomy and it was raining from time to time. But everything worked out in the end as it would just stop raining when we wanted to take a walk.

Taughannock Falls.On the way to the lake we stopped by a historical women’s rights site, looked at the museum and got a couple of stamps in our National Park passports. I think this time around Arosha has gotten noticeably older. He was much more excited by the “right” things to be excited about at each location. He was asking about the Finger Lakes, the Great Lakes and kept explaining to Anюta what our next stop was suppose to be when she would get confused.

Our first activity on the way down to Ithaca turned out to be wine tasting to our surprise. We kept driving and we were passing one winery after another. Eventually the signs convinced us that we should stop. It so happened that we stopped at Varick Winery & Vineyard — just a complete random choice on our part.

Hike on a trail at Taughannock Falls State Park.The kids spotted a box of gummy bears which we agreed to buy them and they also discovered a couple of rocking chairs on the porch of the winery. So while Alёna and I went through a bunch of wines which were served with various snacks that matches the wines kids entertained themselves by climbing and rocking on those chairs.

We ended up buying a bottle of white wine, a jar of garlic olives, a jar of soft cheese and were given a bag of croutons as a bonus. The kids also ended up running around the big green lawn in front of the winery thus expanding some of their extra energy.

Ithaca.And even though it was raining slightly the winery was located in a beautiful place on a shore of Cayuga Lake, the wine tasting went well, the day was shaping out quite nicely. We were all in a great mood.

The next thing we spotted on the way down was a sign pointing to falls overlook of some kind. So naturally we took that road and in a couple of minutes were parked inside Taughannock Falls State Park as it turned out. And a short walk from the parking lot there indeed was an overlook of a quite impressive waterfall. Because of the gray sky that I mentioned before the photographs didn’t come out well, but there was a nice trail running around the edge of the canyon that we took.

Little swimmers.Kids played with all kinds of sticks and cones and the whole setting was very serene — except for the loud kids of course. And the weather was kind enough to us to stop raining for the duration of our walk.

Eventually we made it to Ithaca. We stopped over for lunch at some Korean-Japanese place recommended by our trusty TripAdvisor. Arosha loves sushi and Anna liked the noodle soup that she got so kids ate quite a bit — our constant problem to deal with — they’ve gotten quite picky lately.

Pool.We walked around some central square, acquired some nice crystal necklace-earring set for Alёna and drove over to Cornell University campus. It was raining at that point, so we just drove around it, but decided not to stop and just go all the way back to the hotel instead for the long awaited pool time.

And that was our stop at Seneca Falls. A day well spent.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Space Shuttle Enterprise

Space Shuttle Enterprise on top of Boeing 747.I’m totally psyched! We just got back from Fort Wadsworth where we drove to this morning to witness the final voyage of Space Shuttle Enterprise strapped to the back of Boeing 747 to New York Intrepid museum.

Shuttle carrier escorted by a fighter plane.When several weeks ago I heard about Discovery flying in the same manner all over DC I was very jealous of Washingtonians. Needless to say when I heard that the same thing will be happening over New York I immediately took a morning off from work. The flight got delayed twice because of bad weather and it finally happened today, on Friday, April 27, 2012.

Flying over Verrazano Bridge.When I heard about the flyover I thought that Fort Wadsworth would be a perfect location to view it from. It is located pretty high up, overlooking the bay under Verrazano Bridge and has a good view of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, although the statue is pretty far and is somewhat hard to see on the photographs taken with a normal lens.

View of Enterprise from Fort Wadsworth.Early in the morning I packed my gear — my usual 24-70mm lens, but this time I also took my 70-200mm lens and the 2x teleconverter that I have laying around which never gets any use. And I’m very glad I did.

Flying over the Statue of Liberty.We were really hoping that it will get closer to our location than the Statue of Liberty and this morning I had found two maps of its possible fly path and on both of those there was at least one pass over the bridge. Since NASA never disclosed an exact fly route I was hoping that these maps were true.

A big crowd has gathered at Fort Wadsworth.When we got to Fort Wadsworth I realized that my secret spot isn’t so secret. It was as crowded as I’ve never seen it before, but it wasn’t bad at all. There were plenty of parking spots left and we easily found a good viewing spot near the edge where I setup my tripod. Even though I knew I can’t fix the camera completely it still provided good support for those telephoto shots.

Arosha being completely unimpressed by the shuttle.There were a couple of guys with radios who were getting constant updates. They told everyone when the plane was 2 minutes out. And then it appeared through the cables of Verrazano Bridge. I started with my 24-70mm lens to get good landscape shots of the bridge with the plane.

My dad and I.By the time it passed the bridge I switched over to my 400mm setup, but was quite late to get any decent shots. Nobody was sure if we were going to see it again or if it was going to cut through the middle of city on its final route to JFK.

Flying by Freedom Tower.Luckily we didn’t have a long wait. It again showed up over the Statue of Liberty — it was hard to see with a naked eye, but I could see it very well through the lens. To the happiness of all the photographers and observers the shuttle carrier did a second pass right over the bridge and I got a good number of great close up shots with the plane taking up the full frame.

Space Shuttle Enterprise on top of Boeing 747.I was so ecstatic that I started clapping and the other people followed too. It was a good and fun event for us, but Arosha found it quite boring. Later he is going to see these photographs and he’ll be able to say that he was there, although not too happy.
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Friday, September 30, 2011

More Film

As I said in my previous post I will select more images from my film batch and post them. Here they are. No processing work on these, except for resizing. Straight up scans from the lab.

Williamsburg bicycles.
Manhattan skyline from Williamsburg.
Brooklyn Heights promenade. Arosha's climbing.
Typewriters at Brooklyn Flea.
Arosha and Alena. Not far from home.
Brooklyn Heights.
More bicycles, this time at Brooklyn Flea.
Alena and Arosha at Floyd Bennett Field.
Alena and Arosha at Floyd Bennett Field.
Alena at Floyd Bennett Field.
Crab at Floyd Bennett Field.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

NYC Panorama

NYC Panorama wallpaper on dual monitors.I found a cool use for my 6,000 pixel wide panorama of New York City that I took several months ago. Looks awesome on dual monitors.

NYC panorama wallpaper for dual monitors.You can download a 3840×1080 version that will work perfectly on a pair of 1980×1080 monitors. I use Actual Dual Monitors tool to manage my dual montors and it lets me set a single wallpaper for both screens.
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rain, Rain, Rain

Rain, rain, rain.The start of this summer has been “amazing”. It’s been raining for weeks now and it just keeps going. Next week weather forecast looks even worse. This is really strange and really atypical for New York.
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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Times Square

Times SquareWe ended up in Manhattan towards the end of the day today. Since we often lug around our camera we decided to visit Times Sq. And yet again it has proved hard to photograph. Harder then it seems to me at least.

Times SquareSome aspects of the images came out quite well, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. The things that gets to me the most is the noise in the photos. Continue Reading
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Monday, September 17, 2007

The Statue Of Liberty

Statue of LibertyСегодня был хороший, в меру солнечный и в меру тёплый, осенний денёк. Мы (наша семейная парочка и Игнат с Викой) провели его в Manhattan. Сперва мы отпра-​вились на остров, бережно несущий на себе Статую Свободы. Конечно, это толь-​ко пишется быстро — на самом деле, нам пришлось отстоять довольно длинную очередь.

Нас позабавил какой-то чер-​нокожий дядечка, подраба-​тывающий себе на жизнь игрой на каком-то неведомом мне интструменте (большой вогнутый диск с какими-то шишечками, по которым он бил палочками). Мне кажется, он был из Ямайки, но голову на отсечение не дам. mrgreen Он спросил Даню — “Hey, where are you guys all from?”, на что мой муж честно ответил “Brooklyn”, а потом, видно сжалившись над музыкантом, добавил “and before that — from Russia”. Дядечка очень обрадовался, и тут же настучал нам Калинку-Малинку и, кажется, Катюшу.

Circle Line ShipВ лодку, готовую отвезти нас и еще толпу народа на заветный остров, мы зашли в первых рядах, так что даже сидели прямо у края качающейся посудины. Качалась она неплохо, между прочим. Поездка ничем примечательным не отличилась, мне даже статую было видно плохо, потому что все стояли и снимали остров самыми разными фотоаппаратами. Прогулялись по острову мы хорошо, хоть мне периодически и хотелось, чтобы люди куда-нибудь пропали хотя бы минуток на 5. Continue Reading
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