Sunday, October 25, 2009

Off Topic - That Was the Week It Was - 10/25/09

Another Sunday morning, another off topic look at the past week in photos I've taken and words. My cough is better this week but I've been SO sleepy! Friday night after I came home from work, I curled up on the couch after dinner to watch the weekly mini-marathon of Criminal Minds on A&E. I'm talking 8 PM. I woke up at 4 AM and went to bed. This morning I slept past 9 AM. I usually wake up my own before 7.

The weather here yesterday was horrible. Any baseball fan must have seen the rain at Yankees Stadium which canceled last night's play-off game. Well, I got caught in that. My umbrella didn't help much at all when the rain was blowing sideways. I was totally soaked by the time I got home. Thankfully the temperatures weren't bad and I wasn't chilled to the bone -- just dripping wet. Vincent, in his "Jackie's home, I must leap on her shoulder" routine seemed to think it was a bit odd that I was actually dripping, but it didn't stop him.

I'll be glad when the elections are over. I'm getting way annoyed with the Bloomberg/Thompson race in NYC, albeit finding Bill Thompson's expressive eyebrows way cool. In the NJ governor race, I don't really like Corzine, I don't like Chris Christie, and the independent candidate Chris Daggett is not going to win. I'm tired of the ad campaigns for both races on television. November 3 can't come soon enough and get it over.

That said, I'm still pitching my extremely local vote for Jim Pivnichny for mayor here in Plainfield, New Jersey. The incumbent, Sharon Robinson-Briggs and her mentor Jerry Green seem totally ineffective, more reactive to photo opportunities than proactive to solving issues in town. Piv, although not experienced in the political arena, seems to be full of passion and a love of Plainfield. I don't expect miracles, but it's time for a change. He's offering to do a full-time job, complete with all of its headaches, for no monetary cost to taxpayers. Perhaps he's insane, but I really think he's intent on improving the city. I hope he makes it. At least we don't have annoying TV commercials for this mayoral race!

The autumn leaves are going wild here this week. After fifteen years in New Jersey, I'm still not used to how late they turn. Back in my stomping grounds of upstate New York, the leaves are long past peak. Even in my adopted for decades state of Connecticut, they're mostly down by now. But here, they haven't peaked yet and are still around for the kids on Halloween.

I so love the fall -- brilliant bursts of color against grey skies, the crunch of leaves under my feet, (often) crisp and cool temperatures with sunny skies, enough chill in the evening air to warrant a nice cup of hot cocoa. I actually miss the days when folks burned leaf piles. I know it's dangerous and probably polluting, but I loved the smell of burning leaves.

When I was young, we used to make bike paths through the fallen leaves and have our own little motocross events on our bicycles long before motocross really had its title. Here in NJ, they sweep all the leaves into piles in the streets. Then they get matted down and people park on them creating a fire risk and definitely unsightly. I find that odd. Often the first snow hits before the city scoops up piles.

Enough -- onto this week's photos. Clicking on a photo will open it larger in a new window.

Get that camera out of my nose

And stop calling me "Vincles."

Photo op with Vincent

Unlike Scherzo who always closed her eyes and wasn't a great photo subject, Vincent is tolerant of the camera.

More Vincent

He's being comfortable, what can I say?

Morning Journey

Looking up Richmond Street from East Front (Plainfield, NJ) in the pre-dawn hours on the way to my train.

Signs of the times

Autumn leaves and politics -- they go together like milk and cookies. Plainfield Train Station.

Weeds and a rusted fence

I don't know. It was there.

Watchung Avenue entrance to the Plainfield Train Station

I love the steps cut into stone, but don't use them due to the knees.

Jus' a parkin' lot

But the reds and yellows make it all so awesome, don't they? The Union County College parking lot in Plainfield this week.

Jackie's 'hood in Autumn

No, I don't live in the high-rise towers you see. But I do live very nearby. This is my block, this is my Plainfield 'hood.

Supremo at dawn

They're still closed. Yes, Plainfield's Supremo has a restaurant. But more importantly, it's my local supermarket. They have a fantastic produce section, an amazing array of ethnic and foreign foods, and reasonable prices. They slice the packaged steaks too thin for my liking, though.

Creeping poison ivy at night

Yes, I used the flash on this one. I think the colorful autumn poison ivy leaves creeping up the rather ill pine tree interesting photo fodder. Bridgewater Train Station.

The Methodist Church in my neighborhood

I liked the shot and the clouds, but didn't like the wires and power pole. What to do? What to do? East Front Street in Plainfield, NJ.


I took out the wires and power pole using the clone feature on my not-Photoshop program. This was a relatively easy task because the clouds were so random and simple to recreate in place of the wires and pole.

Are you going to let me sleep now?

Vincent being comfortable in front of the camera. He thinks he's a star.

Last hurrah of the stinkhorns

They had this burst of activity this week. But I think they're now gone for the season.

More playing with photo editing

The people in this shot came out slightly blurry, making the photo not so great. But I played with it some -- making the leaves stay in color, all else black and white. Then I found out I could make the black and white part even blurrier while keeping the leaves relatively in focus. With editing, a bad shot became a bit intriguing, I think. North Street in Plainfield across for the train station.

My typical editing

North Street in Plainfield across from the train station, as well. This is more of what I've been doing leaving some in color, the rest in black and white. No blurring on this one.


I saw this plaque in Marshalls. I really wanted to buy it for my office at work. But I fear they'd realize that I'm really not a team player.

How was your week?


joy n said...

Love the b/w and color mixed shots. That poison ivy is even more gorgeous this week.

Vincent is becoming quite the ham, isn't he? His fur really does look softer than those first shots of him that you showed us. A great side effect of contentment and being out of the elements.

We upstaters are past the peak in leaf colors but there are still a ton of yellow ones on our silver maples. My hubby finally broke down and bought himself a leaf blower so he's kind of eager to get out there and use it. He's not as young as he used to be.

I, too, miss that wonderful fall smell of burning leaves.

sizzie said...

They are all beautiful photos, Jackie, as always. And, I like to see the editing process. I haven't tried any yet, but you make me want to learn. Vincent is such a good subject. We have overhead wires in our neighborhood and I know how it is to try to photo around them. (I do love electricity though) Poison Ivy at night...very pretty and with a hidden threat. Or, in my case, it wouldn't be hidden, it would find me.

Donna in AL said...

Love your photos Jackie, especially when you do the black and white with some little splash of color! I would love to have the program to be able to do that! Vincent is looking quite comfortable in his new home now!
Here in rural Alabama, I still burn leaves. I burned some in a stump today.
Thanks agina Jackie!

joy n said...

Donna, can you bottle that smell and send it up northeast way?

Sally said...

Vincent's right--he IS a star! The first two pictures of him, especially, are wonderful. And I loved your "Jackie's home. I must leap on her shoulder" comment. That's probably exactly what he's thinking.

Thanks for the weekly tour. That poision ivy is deceptively pretty and the autumn leaves really enhance the parking lot.

It's fun to learn a bit about your photo editing. Really like what you did with the picture of people across from the train station.

Jennasmom said...

Great photos once again! I always look forward to Sundays & the photos. Vincent looks like a real lovable cat. Love the poison ivy pic. Funny how something we all hate can be so beautiful.

Have a great week, Jackie. Glad the cough is better!

Dan said...

Hey, Jacie! Love the pix, hope you pitched in to the Library's photo contest. And I agree w/Joy n -- Vincent seems to be a ham.

Jackie said...

Donna - You can download GIMP for free -- it's very similar to the expensive PhotoShop program. I sometimes use that but more often use a free program which came with my scanner some years back.

Dan - Yes, I did enter the library photo contest this year.

Sydney said...

I love all the photos but I first scroll down all the way, hoping for ones of Vincent... and you do not disaspoint! He looks FABULOUS in the first pic -- thanks to your excellent photography!

He looks like a completely different cat now that you brought him home. He is so happy you found him, I can SEE it, and I don't think I'm alone in that. Oh how I wish I could give cats and dogs like this a home like you did.

The trees are SO colorful! And I thought the mushrooms were a pile of eggs broken open!