Cape Cod has long been a summer destination because of its sandy beaches and miles of ocean swimming. Which of course means DANGER!!!
If you don’t want to worry about Great White Sharks or rogue waves, the town of Wellfleet on Cape Cod has a perfect alternative: freshwater ponds, called kettle ponds. The kettle ponds were formed by glaciers more than 15,000 years ago, when blocks of ice melted, leaving massive holes, called kettles, that filled with fresh water. There are 20 of these small ponds in Wellfleet and neighboring Truro.
Early morning fog covered Gull Pond one morning a few weeks ago. Sky melded with pond surface to create a vague monochromatic landscape who’s softness is broken only by the webbing of the lawn chairs standing guard on the beach.
Old boats tell the story of the Cape’s seafaring past and current day.
Lake Champlain separates Vermont from New York, from the Quebec border for 125 miles. I was fortunate enough to spend a few days on its shore in Bridport, Vermont. The area is known more for dairy farms than resorts, so it was very quiet and idyllic.
Middlebury, Vermont was the nearest big town. Home to Middlebury College, it has a wonderful food co-op, galleries, and a raging waterfall.
An hour north is Burlington, the largest city in Vermont. Home to Bernie Sanders (former mayor) it is a busy commercial city with delightful pedestrian streets with lots of restaurants, ice cream, craft beers, and outdoor stores.
Ahhh. Summer vacation. Loaded up the car with all the necessities for a couple of weeks of biking and hiking.
2017 took me to the Adirondack Mountains. The 6 million acre state park between Albany and Montreal is home to the High Peaks, the tallest mountains in New York State. I’m standing on Marcy Dam after a 3 mile hike from the parking lot. From this spot, you can start the strenuous hikes up to Mt. Marcy, Algonquin and Haystack Mountains. (I did not).
The week preceding my arrival it had rained everyday. The woods were wet and the trails muddy. Over the succeeding days, the area dried out, but every night my boots needed a thorough cleaning and drying.
The days turned beautiful and comfortably warm. Marcy Brook may have been the most beautiful lunch spot ever, and a place to cool my feet.
In the deep woods, Ray Brook surged in the summer rains.
After a wet slog, I broke out of the woods on the top of Mt. Van Hoevenberg, 2940 feet. Half the height of Mt Marcy (5344) and one-tenth the height of Mt. Everest (29,016)
Sunset from our AirBnb in Lake Placid
Lake Placid does not have any alligators. I think.
The summer woods were full of White Admiral butterflies which swarmed to any sunlit spot.
Lake Placid in the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York State hosts a classic small-town-America Fourth of July parade. Walking down Main Street in the center of this storied town (Lake Placid hosted two Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980), were marching bands, Uncle Sam, fire trucks, muscle cars and lots of flags.
The late afternoon light bouncing of the store windows made for dramatic lighting on the marchers, as if I had a flash (I didn’t). The clarinetist in the front row game me a hard once-over as she marched by.
Uncle Sam graciously stopped to pose for me when I asked. He’s hipper than most other Sams I’ve seen.
At the end of the parade this fellow came putt-putting by in a Ford Model A. He looks like he could play Tom Joad in Grapes of Wrath.
The Metropolitan Museum of the Art, in New York, has a fabulous new retrospective of the work of one of my idols, photographer Irving Penn.
For 50 years, Mr. Penn was one of the foremost fashion photographers in the world. But, that was just the most well known part of his work.
His work documenting indigenous tribes and tradesmen and still lifes resonates strongly with me. I love his portrait series called Small Trades, simple portraits of butchers, fishmongers, and plumbers. His work is elegant, classic and timeless.
One of his trademarks was the use of a beautiful, beat-up, old backdrop that looked, to me, like an old, scarred concrete wall. In fact, his backdrops were remnants of old theatrical stage curtains he would picked up somewhere, probably Paris. Remarkably, they had one one of his actual “sweeps” in the exhibit. I loved seeing the real deal, so I made a portrait of myself.
His work has always been an inspiration for a generation of photographers. In January, I asked a backdrop artist to paint me an “Irving Penn” sweep, with its splotches, “mistakes”, and scratches intact. I am using it to make new portraits and I love the way it creates an incredible environment for my subjects.
©Phil Cantor 2017
I was a special Event Stop for Ladies Night Out, brought to you by Montclair Center BID. Ladies Night Out is part of Women’s Empowerment Week, which benefits SAVE of Essex. Start at 5 pm for special drinks at Pig & Prince Restaurant, then come across the street to visit my studio for my ever-popular STRIKE A POSE event:
Strike a Pose! Do you HATE posing for pictures? Phil Cantor, of Phil Cantor Photography, will let you in on the secrets of standing and smiling for photographs that bring out the best in you. He’ll photograph you using YOUR OWN smart phone – then you can send it to your friends or use as your new avatar!
For those who got their portrait taken by yours truly last Friday, please find yourself on the Facebook posting below!