Saranac Lake photographer Mark Kurtz will be marking the 10th anniversary of opening his gallery on 36 Broadway in downtown Saranac Lake on Friday with a celebration (5:30 to 8 pm) and a weekend long open house next weekend, November 20th and 21st.
Ten years ago this fall Kurtz opened his gallery after three years with the Adirondack Artists Guild. “That gave me the courage to try something on my own, Kurtz says, noting that he wasn’t sure what to expect from his new space, which also houses his commercial photography business. Since he first entered a darkroom in the eighth grade, Kurtz has been honing his craft, largely in black and white. His gallery boasts hundreds of hand-made prints. Kurtz was a founding member of the Adirondack Artist’s Guild, and is widely recognized as one of the Adirondack region’s preeminent photographers. He is a regular contributing photographer to Adirondack Life magazine and his work has been featured in Skiing magazine. Kurtz will be showing some new things at his gallery for his tenth anniversary – color for one. Along with his black and white, and sepia work he has also expanded his offerings to include digital prints. “No, I have not gone completely digital” Kurtz said emphatically, “I will never give up the traditional process of shooting with film and working in the darkroom. But the quality of digital has progressed to a level that I can now offer my images as digital prints and at a lower price than the labor intensive silver print process.”
Hours for next weekend’s open house will be Saturday, 10 to 7, and Sunday 10 to 4.
In 1960, New York State was home to 88,000 active farms; today that number has decreased to roughly 36,000 farms – a decline of nearly 60% in 40 years. In response, The Farmers’ Museum in historic Cooperstown, NY is assembling an exciting collection of original photography to chronicle and preserve the changes in agricultural practice, rural life, and farming families of New York State from the 19th century through the present. » Continue Reading.
Advice for anyone who attends the Adirondack Balloon Festival next year: get there early.
Early, of course, is a painful thing when balloons are involved. They take off at dawn, mostly, which means waking up at 5 a.m. if you live an hour away, as I do. It’s even more painful if you get up early and don’t get any balloons. Thanks to high winds, three launches scheduled for Saturday morning and Friday and Saturday evenings had to be canceled. » Continue Reading.
A new book, Lake Pleasant and Speculator in the Adirondacks, by local authors Beverly Hoffman and Annie Weaver has been released by Arcadia Publishing. The numerous lakes and the forests of the southern Adirondacks provided an abundance of game, fish, and lumber for early settlers to the Lake Pleasant / Speculator area in the 1800s. Sportsmen from the city first came to Lake Pleasant and Speculator for invigorating camping trips and eventually brought the whole family to enjoy the wilderness. Two- and three-story hotels were built to accommodate the vacationing families. Individual cottages and rustic camps were built around Lake Pleasant, Sacandaga Lake, and Echo Lake, followed by children’s and church camps and state campgrounds, which swelled the seasonal population. Boxing and winter sports helped to make Speculator and Lake Pleasant a tourist haven.
Anne A. Weaver has been the Town of Lake Pleasant historian since 2005. She writes a weekly column, “Way Things Were,” for the Hamilton County Express. Beverly Hoffman has been the Village of Speculator historian since 2002. She is a descendant of many early area settlers and has lived in Speculator all of her life. Both authors helped to found the Historical Society of Lake Pleasant and Speculator, which provides artifacts for the town hall’s historical museum.
Lake Placid photographer and regular Adirondack Almanack contributor Larry Master will show images of the diverse wildlife that can be seen through the cycle of an Adirondack year. Mammals, birds, and amphibians of the Adirondacks will be featured.
This special presentation of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) will be held on Saturday, July 31, at 8:00 PM at the ADK’s High Peaks Information Center, located at Heart Lake in Lake Placid. This presentation is free and open to the public. This presentation is part of ADK’s Saturday Evening Lecture Series which offer presentations on natural history, backcountry recreation, Adirondack history, art, and music.
The Adirondack Mountain Club, founded in 1922, is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting the New York State Forest Preserve and other wild lands and waters through conservation and advocacy, environmental education and responsible recreation.
For more information about programs, directions or questions about membership, contact ADK North Country office in Lake Placid (518) 523-3441 or visit our Web site at www.adk.org.
Lake Placid photographer Nancie Battaglia currently has a show of winter sports shots at 7444 Gallery in Saranac Lake. The exhibition is called “In Motion” and coincides with the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, which Battaglia is covering for Sports Illustrated and other publications.
Battaglia has attended ten Olympics and has been shooting winter sports in Lake Placid since 1980. She regularly phones her observations from Vancouver to NCPR. You can hear her latest report here. The show will be at 7444 Gallery at 28 Depot Street in Saranac Lake until March 6. Call for an appointment (518) 282-4743.
At the time of her death at the age of 92 in April, 2008, Helen Thatcher Thomson was the steward of thousands of paper and glass negatives of photographs taken by her grandfather Jule Thatcher and her father Fred Thatcher.
From the 1870s to the 1960s, the Thatchers photographed Lake George, documenting events great and small and capturing the changing social, economic and natural landscape. It was natural, therefore, that local historians feared the collections would be dispersed, scattered among hundreds of antique dealers across the country. But thanks to the generosity of Helen Thomson’s children, Fred Thomson and Dr. Patricia Smith, the entire archive will be donated to the Bolton Historical Museum. “The family has agreed in principle to donate the material to the Bolton Historical Museum,” said Michael Stafford, the attorney representing Thomson and Smith. “We’re now in the process of drafting the necessary papers.”
Fred Thomson said, “We’re very pleased that the collection will be preserved for the benefit of the community. We look forward to working with the Bolton Historical Society to ensure that my family’s legacy will serve to enrich the public’s appreciation of our region.”
Mike Stafford noted, “I spent many hours with Helen Thomson at her kitchen table, and the legacy of the Thatchers and the future of the collection was very much on her mind in her last years. She would be delighted with this first step to ensure the collection’s preservation.”
According to Stafford, the collection also includes cameras used by the Thatchers and well-maintained logs of assignments that can be used to identify almost every photo.
“We’re grateful to the Thomson family for their public spirit and their generosity,” said Ed Scheiber, the president of the Bolton Historical Society. “The preservation of this collection in one place will be a lasting tribute to the Thatchers, Mrs. Thomson, her children and grandchildren.”
According to Scheiber, the museum’s objective is to arrange for the photos to be scanned and catalogued.
Revolving displays will feature large prints of some of the images, the cameras and biographical information about the Thatchers.
At some points, prints may be made and sold and reproduction rights licensed to help fund the preservation of the collection, said Scheiber.
The historical society also hopes to work with a publisher to produce a book of the Thatchers’ photographs, said Scheiber.
“It would be a valuable contribution to the collective knowledge of Lake George’s history and help re-introduce the work of two of our greatest photographers to a wider public,” said Scheiber.
“This collection will be an incredible asset for the Bolton Historical Museum,” said Bill Gates, a historian of Lake George and a member of the museum’s Board of Directors.
Considered as a whole, the work of the two photographers constitutes a unique archive of Lake George history.
Jule Thatcher’s best known photos are of Green Island, of the Sagamore, of wealthy cottagers like John Boulton Simpson and E. Burgess Warren, their houses, their families and their yachts.
Fred Thatcher, whose studio was turned into the Sky Harbor restaurant at the corner of Beach Road and Canada Street, was a pioneering post card photographer, creating thousands of images of the lake, of boats and regattas and of visiting celebrities to be sold to tourists who came to Lake George in the wake of the wealthy cottagers.
According to the Thatcher family, Jule Thatcher was born in Ticonderoga in 1856. He took his first photographs at the age of 11 (at about the same time Mathew Brady was photographing Abraham Lincoln) and at one point worked for Seneca Ray Stoddard. He worked in a store in Lake George that made tintypes and in 1874, he opened a studio in Bolton Landing. That studio was in the Kneeshaw hotel on Main Street. A few years later he opened a studio on the Sagamore Road, near the Green Island Bridge. He died in 1934.
Fred Thatcher, born in 1881, married a Bolton native, Maud Abells, and settled in Lake George.
“He was a very special man,” Helen Thomson recalled in 2002.”He was not only a photographer, he was a builder, a businessman, and so involved in the community. He served as mayor, assessor, justice of the peace, village trustee and treasurer of the fire department.”
Mrs Thomson continued, “He took pictures of so many people: from Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt, from famous wrestlers to Madame Sembrich and her students, from Governors and every other notable who visited Lake George to every child in the village.”
And, Mrs Thomson said, he knew everyone, including Alfred Steiglitz and Georgia O’keeffe. “O’Keefe was very statuesque. Steiglitz was always dressed in black. My father developed film for him. Harry Thaw , he had his portrait made. Alma Gluck and Efrem Zimbalist, Sr. had a house on West Street. When Alma Gluck was expecting her child, she’d come and rock his baby son to get used to holding a child.”
Thatcher’s first studio was on the corner of Canada Street and McGillis Avenue, the second became Sky Harbor restaurant. Thatcher alao owned a stretch of lakefront property, which he leased to a flying service, later operated by Harry Rogers and George McGowan, Sr. Fred Thatcher died in 1969 at the age of 88.
“The Thatcher photographs are treasures,” said Henry Caldwell, a member of the Bolton Museum’s Board of Directors. Bolton “Lake George has captivated many photographers: Seneca Ray Stoddard, Jesse Wooley, Alfred Steiglitz, Francis Bayle; all of them among the most gifted photographers of their times. The Thatchers belong in that company.”
Photo: Theodore Roosevelt at the Fort William Henry Hotel, Lake George. By Fred Thatcher. (Date unknown)
The eastern edge of the Adirondack Park stretches into the middle of Lake Champlain, that great river-lake 120 miles long, four times the size of Lake George. Standing between the states of New York and Vermont, it’s the largest body of water in the Adirondacks, one that connects to the St. Lawrence River and Atlantic Ocean by way of the Quebec’s Richelieu River. A new book of 120 color photos of the Lake Champlain by more than 35 local photographers and edited by Jared Gange, does a remarkable job of capturing the lake: The Water in Between: A Photographic Celebration of Lake Champlain. The book includes images by Carl Heilman II of Brant Lake, and Gary Randorf, former staff member for The Adirondack Council, along with those from other photographers from Vermont, New York and Québec, including John David Geery, Paul Boisvert, Robert Lyons, Daria Bishop, David Seaver, Marshall Webb, Steve Mease, Matt Larson, Dennis Curran, and Brian Mohr.
The Water in Between explores the culture, history, and environment, of both the New York and Vermont sides of the lake as well as images from Quebec and the Richelieu River. According to the publishers, “the book showcases the lake’s setting, its various river and lake sources, many activities both on and off the lake, and a number of towns, familiar bridges and buildings.” The book also includes a short narrative on the history, culture, and geography of the region.
Landscape photographer Carl Heilman II, who has published numerous photo books and offered an acclaimed photo show at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, has just wrapped up a new audio-visual presentation.
Heilman, a Brant Lake resident since the 1970s, has been a full-time nature photographer since the late 1990s. His landscapes, and especially his panoramic prints, adorn public spaces around the region. He’s released a number of books and has a continuous presentation, Wild Visions, playing at the Tupper Lake Wild Center. Now he’s got a new show.The half-hour program, called “I am the Adirondacks,” was created for the new Arts and Sciences Center/Old Forge. It debuted last Sunday on WMHT in Schenectady, and an 18-minute version will be showed regularly when the Old Forge center opens next summer. If you can’t wait, Heilman will soon be selling a copy of the DVD.
His new show includes narration and music by Adirondack folk musicians Dan Berggren, Dan Duggan and Peggy Lynn. It’s focus is on both the scenic beauty of the Adirondacks, and the people who work and play in the mountains. It contains about 60 percent new material, Heilman said. “It’s designed like the Adirondacks themselves are speaking and narrating the show,” he said, “My goal from photography from beginning was try to help create a sense of being in these places.”
More information about Heilman’s work can be found here.
The 2010 edition of the Adirondack Mountain Club’s (ADK) calendar, featuring the work of photographer Nancie Battaglia is now available. Here is the announcement from the ADK:
The monthly photographs favor scenes of outdoorspeople and wildlife in settings throughout the Adirondacks, ranging from Pitchoff Mountain and The Brothers to Little Tupper Lake, Raquette Lake and Lake Champlain. The ADK calendar has won over a dozen awards in the Calendar Marketing Association’s national awards program. A resident of Lake Placid and avid outdoor enthusiast, Battaglia has been documenting Adirondack lifestyles, scenes and sporting activities for over 25 years. She is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) publications. Her stock and assignment photography have also appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic Adventure, Sports Illustrated, Outside, Ski and USA Today, among others. Her collection exceeds 100,000 images reflecting nature’s beauty, human energy, rustic charm, life in the mountains, the spirit of place and the hardy people that live there. She has photographed nine Olympics and is credentialed for Vancouver 2010.
Author and wildlife photographer Eric Dresser will present a wildlife photography program and workshop at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake on September 26th. From 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Dresser will offer Wild About the Adirondacks, a program of photos of Adirondack wildlife throughout the seasons. During the presentation, which is being offered in partnership with The Adirondack Photography Institute, Dresser will discuss his photography techniques. The program will run for about an hour and is free for members or with admission. During a second event later that day (1-5 pm) Dresser will lead a Wild About the Adirondacks Photography Workshop and Tour from 1-5 pm, also at The Wild Center. This workshop will offer photography techniques to help participants capture unique moments through outdoor wildlife photography and indoors photography utilizing the museum’s exhibits. The field photography part of the program will provide a special focus on equipment. According to the Wild Center’s spokesperson “Eric enjoys working with all levels of photographers however having some familiarity with camera equipment as well as basic photo techniques will make the workshop more enjoyable.”
A biography of Dresser provided by the Wild Center notes that:
Eric Dresser is an internationally published photographer who specializes in wildlife and landscape photography from the northeastern United States and Canada. His credits include Adirondack Life Magazine, National Wildlife Magazine, The Nature Conservancy, US Forest Service, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, L.L. Bean Catalogues and many more. Eric is also an instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute. His first book “Adirondack Wildlife” will be available in the 2009. With over 35 years of experience in the field, Eric has developed many strategies for getting up close and personal with his wildlife subjects. His love and passion for our natural world can be seen in his photographs.
The Wild about the Adirondacks workshop cost $63.00 for Wild Center members ($70.00 for non-members). To register (which is both required and limited) for the workshop contact Sally Gross at 518-359-7800 x 116 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I really love macro photography. You need a good lens, you need a good tripod, and you need to be willing to get dirty and wet. But when you get right down to it, you discover some of the most interesting things.
Anyone can take a photo of a landscape, or of Billy with jam on his face. But it takes a special kind of person to get up-close photographs of Mother Nature. This person needs patience and a whole lot of determination. What I love most about close-up shots of tiny things is that it opens up a whole new world. Take this photo, for example. It’s a catmint flower from my garden. Catmint has pale green leaves and a bright aromatic scent. The flowers are small and purple. But until I took this photo and enlarged it on the computer, I had no idea just how beautiful the flowers are. Why, it practically looks like an orchid!
Now that I have a camera available 24/7, I find myself lurking in the gardens, stalking roadside ditches, crawling along the forest floor on my belly – all in search of tiny things to photograph.
Macrophotography can also make identification easier, at least with things like insects. Insects rarely hold still for very long, making field ID difficult. A close-up photograph and enlargement capabilities can tip the scales in the naturalist’s favor. And it’s a nice alternative to the old naturalist’s standby: capture and preserve for later ID. True, there are times when having the specimen on hand is important, but for most of us, a photograph is all we need.
Spiders are another great subject for the close-up photographer. I find that most spiders up close are really rather beautiful. Okay, maybe most of you don’t feel this way, but you’ve got to admit that up close they are, at the very least, interesting. And photographs don’t bite, or sting, or jump!
Every naturalist needs a field kit, and in amongst the field guides and rulers, hand lenses and note paper, it should include a camera with close-up capabilities. Get yourself one of these and you won’t regret it (once you learn how to use it).
Photographer and author Phil Gallos has a show of 120 portraits at BluSeed Studios, in Saranac Lake. Known for documenting various aspects of life in his community, Gallos photographed 25 local artists — visual, literary, performing, musical and other — over the past three years. The exhibition includes more than just faces; the artists are depicted at work, or fiddling while the sap boils or floating on their backs in crystal clear water. The show opened Thursday and runs until September 12. If you are curious to see some of the people making art in the area but can’t make it to BluSeed, visit Phil’s Web site here. In the 1970s Phil shot some fascinating black & white street scenes in Saranac Lake, seen here. So many buildings, bars and people gone. It’s amazing how fast things go from contemporary to historical.
A new exhibit entitled, ‘As Time Goes By’: Photos and Stories of the Town of Johnsburg, will open at Tannery Pond Community Center’s Widlund Gallery August 29th. The exhibit will feature a Johnsburg Historical Society collection of photos and stories in the Town of Johnsburg in the past beside contemporary images. Gathering Places such as local bars, rooming houses for skiers in the 30s, the Ski Bowl, businesses and more, will be featured. The exhibit was written and assembled by Sally Heidrich with contributions from others connected to Johnsburg. The exhibit will open at 6:30 pm, Saturday, August 29th as the first event of an evening of entertainment at Tannery Pond. At 7:30 pm will be a showing of A. R. Gurney’s play, “Love Letters” featuring Nan and Will Clarkson and directed by Lyle Dye. A reception will follow the performance.
Photo: Near T.C. Murphy’s Saw Mill, Wevertown, c. 1944-5. L to R: Tommy Smith, Bert Stevens, Kenneth Waddell, Foster Monroe (U.S. Army) and Mott Liddle. Photo courtesy of Mary Murphy.
In the August 2008 issue of Adirondack Life, photographers from all around the park assembled a beautiful feature called “A Day in the Park.” It included pictures taken on a single, hot August Saturday.
Here are 18 shots that didn’t make the magazine, mostly because the other photographers took better pictures, but also because I didn’t have the sense to know the camera was set on low-res, which works for a computer screen but not a glossy page. In honor of Wells Olde Home Days and Carnival, which take place this weekend, and in honor of August Saturdays, and with apologies to the residents of lower Route 30, who were not well represented in Adirondack Life because of my goof, this link to a Flickr set contains photographs taken from Long Lake to Mayfield on that day.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
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