His career spanned the settling of the Adirondacks, the heyday of the guide, the steamship, and the grand hotel. Pioneer photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard produced over 8,000 images of a changing landscape — the largest documentary record of regional life in the late nineteenth century. Adirondack photographer Mark Bowie followed in Stoddard’s footsteps more than a century later, faithfully photographing once again the exact locations of many of his classic images.
Join Bowie on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at Lake Placid Center for the Arts as he compares the Adirondacks of today with Stoddard’s. The comparisons are fascinating, sometimes surprising, in every case, illuminating. The program is sponsored by the Adirondack Museum and will begin at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge for Adirondack Museum members and children of elementary school age or younger. The fee for non-members is $5.00. Mark Bowie is a third generation Adirondack photographer. He is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Life and Adirondack Explorer magazines. His photos have been published in Natural History, as well as by the Sierra Club, Conde Nast Publications, Portal Publications, and Tehabi Books. Bowie’s first book is Adirondack Waters: Spirit of the Mountains (2006). In Stoddard’s Footsteps: The Adirondacks Then & Now was recently published. He has recently completed work on a third book, The Adirondacks: In Celebration of the Seasons, released in the Spring of 2009.
Photo: Grand View House, Lake Placid, 1893. Photograph by Seneca Ray Stoddard. Collection of the Adirondack Museum.
The Adirondack History Center Museum will host two events in July that look at the landscape and built environment in Essex County. A reception, slide show and gallery tour by photographer Betsy Tisdale featuring the exhibition, In and Around Essex will be held on July 8th, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. The slide show highlights photographs not included in the exhibition and focuses on changes that have taken place in Essex, NY over the last 30 years. Light refreshments will be served including an array of pies contributed by Essex community members for a taste of hometown Essex. Donations accepted. Please call for reservations. Celebrating a Landscape of Culture and Ideas: 1609-2009, is the focus of this season at the History Center which is offering its next event on Sunday, July 12 at 4:00pm. A lecture by Ellen Ryan, Community Outreach Director at Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), features “What can we learn about people and their environment by looking at architecture?” The presentation corresponds with the exhibition currently on display at the museum: Race, Gender, and Class: Architecture and Society in Essex County. Please call for reservations. $10/non-members, $5/members, $2/students.
The museum is located at 7590 Court Street, Elizabethtown (corner of Hand Avenue and Court Street). For more information please contact the museum at 873-6466 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabethtown will be opening for a new season beginning on on Saturday (May 23) featuring exhibits around the theme “Celebrating a Landscape of Culture and Ideas: 1609-2009.” The museum will be open new expanded hours, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. every day. This season’s “Inside the Landscape,” will showcase contemporary artist Edward Cornell, who museum Director Margaret Gibbs calls a “cultivator of poignant creations which meld art, history and the present life of community.” “Cornell’s landscape paintings and farming implement sculptures provide viewers with a deeper appreciation of the past which widens our perspective of the present day landscape,” Gibbs said. Visitors can also see Cornell’s colossal sculpture on the front lawn of the museum. “In and Around Essex,” is another new exhibition showing thirty-one color photographs taken by photographer Betsy Tisdale in 1972 and originally showcased in the early 1980’s. The exhibit has been revitalized for 2009 to convey how the human landscape of Essex, New York has changed over the past twenty-seven years. The museum is located at 7590 Court Street, Elizabethtown. For more information contact the museum at (518) 873-6466 or email@example.com.
Even though for many of us summer is just beginning, the summer crowds have now gone, so it’s time to take our annual look at some of the folks who were here over the past several months. Some were joyful, amazed, or awed. Others were disappointed , annoyed, or angry – they were all here, and here’s a sample of some of the summer’s more interesting. You can find last year’s look here, and 2006 here. A number of visitors were rekindling old Adirondack experiences. After 40 years Doctroidal Dissertations made a fourth generation trip up Blue Mountain:
Back around, oh, I’d guess the late 1920s, my grandfather took my father for a hike up Blue Mountain in the Adirondacks. Forty years later, my father took me up Blue Mountain. Now it’s another forty years…
It was, by the way, a great time for Adirondack hiking. The weather was warm but not hot, and it being weekdays after Labor Day, the tourists were pretty much gone. We saw one other group of hikers on the entire Castle Rock hike. Something like 25 hikers signed in at Blue Mountain between the time we arrived and the time we left, but that stands in contrast to something like 150 of them on Sunday. The down side, of course, is that a lot of the businesses that cater to tourists close down after Labor Day. Like Enchanted Forest / Water Safari in Old Forge, which Kenny wanted to go to: I told him we could go to Old Forge but I couldn’t guarantee we’d be able to go to the theme park, and indeed we couldn’t. Instead we played miniature golf (had the course to ourselves) and ate lunch, then came home.
Greater New York returned to the Raquette River after more then 25 years to find “deep forests, friendly paddlers, and plenty of quiet. It was all fine with us.”
kallison seems to have had a great (if somewhat dangerous) time, mostly, except for maybe some of the hiking and camping:
The sun setting over Marcy was fabulous as well, but should have had us more concerned. Note to hikers, if you can see the sun setting while on top of a mountain, you may not have enough time to get down the mountain while it is still light. The final 2.5 miles were in darkness, near total, with only a small headlamp to guide us through the land. I imagined bears, slippery rocks, roots, mud. My legs were shot. My joints were aching. The soles of my feet were sore… I literally could not stand up, and kept falling. My last two falls were while standing on a rock in a stream, close to our camp, and my legs giving way. Finally, we had a glorious moment when we realized that we’d reached “home.” I climbed into my sleeping bag to warm up, and Jeffrey proceeded to open his Chef Boyardee ravioli can. When I grew concerned that we might risk starting a forest fire where the stove was, he thought I was rushing his cooking. He dropped the ravioli on the ground, and began a temper tantrum not seen since he was a food-stressed 2-year-old. It included throwing the dirty ravioli at me, and telling me that I was greedily waiting for my can of beans, thus causing him to rush his ravioli. It was a low-point, and necessitated leaving the tarp for the nearby lean-to, as scattered ravioli might attract bears.
Diane at ADK Family Time took a family vacation to the Battle of Plattsburgh Interpretive Center and came to the conclusion that “It is challenging at the best of times to explain war to an eight-year-old child. His understanding is directly related to bad and good. There is no in-between. To him war is a game played between lunch and dinner and casualties are usually a few lampshades.”
There were lots of mushrooms growing there. Nate’s Mom had a book to identify mushrooms, and took pictures of them. When she wasn’t looking, sometimes I would stomp on them. Nate nicknamed me Mycozilla. I like it. Then I saw deer eating the mushrooms. I caught a doe one morning scarfing mushrooms like candy. She came within eight or so feet of me and Nate on her mushroom hunt. After that, I retired my Mycozilla ways and left the shrooms for the wildlife, even though stomping on squishy mushrooms is totally fun. Stupid deers.
willowluna had some peak experiences while in the Adirondacks, including this gem:
Teaching my daughter to pee in a hole in the woods that we dug. Truly, this was such a high for me. I loved that she was completely open to it and didn’t mind having to do it more than once. Much better than an outhouse! Go ahead, call me a freak.
The author of Cook, Study, and Be Crafty had a great time in the Adirondacks, except for that part where her daughter broke her arm!
Although they’re at different skill levels, both Jeff Harter and Rat Girl 3 spent time in the Adirondacks practicing their art.
Moonraking spent some time at a former great camp and Disenchanted Youth explored the old mining operations in Essex County, including the Republic Steel property.
Tarnished Poet’s blogster rant wondered [very] aloud about whether anybody would care about her trip to the Adirondacks –
i dont know, theres just so much going on inside my head constantly. normally i LOVE camping, and cant get enough of it. this year? not so much. all i wanted to do was get high, have sex, go shopping, whatever. i just did not want to be up there. but finally, on the second to last day, i enjoyed myself. i dont know why im rambling on about all of this. its not like anybody ever reads what i have to say. i guess that can be a positive. i can write whatever the hell i want and know that it will never be found out. imagine that, huh? im writing personal thoughts and posting them on the internet for the world to see, and no one gives a f*** about what i say. pretty intense, huh? yeah, not really.
Some of the greatest photography this season came from local photog The Landscapist whose Adirondack Coast series reminds us of the variety of life in the region:
We live in a state park in a village that is somewhat of a geographic oddity. Approximately 25 miles to the SW of us is the heart of the Adirondack High Peaks – rugged wilderness with 46 peaks over 4000 ft. The same distance to the SE is the Lake Champlain Region (AKA, The Adirondack Coast) – a 130 mile long lake with gentle rolling farmland and quaint New England-style villages dotting the shoreline. The 2 areas could hardly be more different from each other. In fact, it’s difficult to think of them as part of the same Adirondack Park.
For your dose of different check out Peeling a Pomegranate, a blog of “Earth-based Magickal Judaism, often known as Jewitchery – writings, rituals, midrash, magick, prayers, and more…” that found some interesting related images on a 2008 Adirondack Adventure.
YouTube has been popular way to post some great (and not so great) footage of the Adirondack family vacation. There has been a ton of new footage posted of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, but taking a look at tallvivian’s reminds us that the Adirondack Scenic Railroad Wine Train was probably a lot of fun.
One of the blogs we follow here at the Almanack is Mark Hobson’s The Landscapist in AuSable Forks. His blog is described as “intended to showcase the landscape photography of photographers who have moved beyond the pretty picture and for whom photography is more than entertainment.”
His latest post touches on just those points when he takes a fellow photographer to task for their fluffy, feel good, approach to nature photography. The unnamed photographer wrote:
I chose nature photography as a way of capturing and sharing the beauty, power, and fragility of wild places and the life that inhabits them, so that those who have become mired in the man-made chaos may open their eyes to the real world.
Hobson’s response was scathing.
What a bunch of unadulterated sentimental, romanticized, escapist crap – just like the pictures that pour from cameras in the hands of those who subscribe to such bunk…
The idea that the human race is “wasting the precious gift of thought and inspiration” by concerning themselves with “politics, economics, religious squabbles” and that those so-called “squabbles” constitute “man-made chaos” really is a notion that is thoroughly out of touch with the “real world.”
The entire piece is worth a read and necessary to really get where Hobson is going, but it sums with this gem:
IMO, making pretty pictures as a means to effect sound thinking regarding sustainability is akin to penning catchy popular ditties about the joys of firefighting as a means of effecting the dousing of the flames that are burning down the house.
The 2009 Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) Calendar: With Wilderness at Heart has been published and is available for purchase here. You can still get the 2008 calendar at Amazon here. The 2009 calendar features photographers Nancie Battaglia, Mark Bowie, Joanne Kennedy, Mark Meschinelli, and Hardie Truesdale and includes views of Lake Placid, Mount Marcy, the Shawangunks, Lake Champlain, Lake George, Lake Colden, and the Catskills. There are also smaller spore-print images created by Sam Ristich and Carol Shaw produced by placing mushrooms or woody fungus on paper. The late Sam Ristich, known as “the mushroom guru of Sligo Road,” was a well known teacher and speaker on things mycological.
ADK Publications staff Ann Hough of Keene, N.Y.; Andrea Masters, of Ballston Spa, N.Y.; and John Kettlewell of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., produced the calendar. Buying the calendar or other publications helps support ADK’s programs in conservation, education, and recreation. Also available are hiking, canoeing, rock-climbing, and cross-country skiing guides; natural history guides; and cultural and literary histories of the Adirondack and Catskill Parks.
Local chambers of commerce and tourism folks have been taking a lot of flak lately. Take for example, the recent photography debacle. It seems that some believe that the The Adirondack Regional Tourism Council has been working on putting local photographers out of work by encouraging others to abandoned them in favor of, get this, flickr. The Landscapist has the story in two parts (1, 2), but it basically comes down to the Council’s requiring that photographers give up all the pay for, and rights to, their work (a much lamented practice):
It’s hard to criticize too severely (but not without some vigor) someone for trying to get something for nothing while stating so in a forthright manner – that seems to be part of human nature – but when they do it with a slight-of-hand photo-rights grab photo contest they have stepped over the line. At that point they are nothing more or less than scam artists.
Copyright and use-right issues can be an expensive and tricky business when dealing with most professional photographers and with a substantial number of informed amateurs. Corporations and professional organizations, to include tourism organizations, are acutely aware of this. Rights-grab photo contests are their way of avoiding the issue.
Apparently, it’s not the first time. One commenter on the issue noted that:
Our last economic development officer kept suggesting that I should “donate” images to her very well funded (using my tax dollars) office … I told her I would be thrilled to just as soon as my much anticipated “donation” of a 1Ds MkIII arrived from Canon. I’m still waiting for it.
Some see Todd Shimkus, president & CEO of the Adirondack Regional Chambers of Commerce, as part of the problem. He’s been outspoken (and tax-funded?) on conservative issues in the Adirondacks. Witness his latest attack on the APA, blaming them for a lagging Adirondack economy:
The culture of the APA, the backgrounds and interest of its staff and appointees, and the political environment in which it exists all militate against serious focus on the Adirondack economy — even though the agency is required by law to balance the region’s environmental and economic interests in all its decisions.
That’s an interesting take on the subject, especially given the Shimkus’ own record of political activism and his apparent failure of the Adirondack photography industry. The day before his organization was trying to take the wind out of the sails of local professional photographers, Shimkus was telling his conservative friends about the “broad economic benefits of snowmobiling and point[ing] to an industry estimate that snowmobilers spend $3,000 per season on tourism-related businesses, including food, lodging and other needs.” In Shimkus’ view, those needs apparently do not include the goods and services of local professional photographers.
The Adirondack region is not alone in questioning the role of local economic development efforts. A recent post over at Fault Lines: The Greater Utica Blog entitled Lost Chamber, Lost Jobs, argued that “the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce is a disgrace and an insult to its home community. It must accept significant responsibility for Utica’s decline.” In a second post two weeks later, the writer took a virtual tour of all the region’s websites – it’s worth a look.
Now that the summer tourist season is mostly over, we’ll present what has become our annual list of some of the best travel blogging of the Adirondacks we’ve seen. If you have a post you find worth sharing let us know.
One of our favorite local blogs, Adirondack Musing, took their annual trip to Saratoga for a day at the flat track, the harness track, and the racino. The posts, with some nice photos, are in four parts (Saratoga, Backstreetch Tour Parts One and Two, and Race Day).
We didn’t see much wildlife–local experts say the park system is so large that the bobcats, martins, and other mid-sized mammals have no motive for straying closed to humans. Black bears are not hard to encounter there, but it’s better not to and we didn’t either. We did see a salamander–my favorite amphibian–frogs, wild turkeys and deer.
Make sure that your child can be very involved….when my husband went fishing, we had a small toy fishing pole so that Sophia could emulate what he was doing. Also, a variety in the level of activity is beneficial. It was great to relax for the afternoon on the beach after a busy morning of hiking and campground activities.
A Woman Obsessed took a Mini Yarn Crawl through the Adirondacks with stops in Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.
Our first stop on the yarn crawl was Lonesome Landing in Saranac Lake. Cute town, cute store, cute owner. Things were a little disorganized, but there was interesting yarn, out of print books, and a great deal on Opal sock yarn ($11!!!!) I brought home this darling, after Meg spotted me the cash to make the purchase- if you go to Lonesome Landing, be forewarned that they only accept cash and checks!
Anxious to put work-city-civilization-traffic behind, I put the hammer down on the five hour slab ride that put me off exit 30 and onto route 73 west and into the park. The weight of a thousand and one problems lifted off my shoulders with the sight of the High Peaks, and for some reason, I felt at home. I have been coming to these mountains since 1958, and the sight of mountains always warms my soul.
As the evening faded, a canoeist paddled across the lake off the rear deck of our cabin just outside Lake Placid, and we decided that in this nothingness, we would do nothing. No plans, no itinerary, but just follow the front wheel and see where it would take us on the roads that wound through this “Forever Wild” wilderness.
Kathleen at Be Still And Know spent some time at Chapel Island on Upper Saranac Lake:
The loons cry, campfires burn, birds sing, leaves begin to turn, fish jump, children splash with delight into the cold lake water, water skiers ride the wake, sailboats sail, pontoons party their way around the waters edge, eagles scream and soar, and the earth smells ever so sweet. I’m bundled up with all my sweatshirts, and strip down to my tankini, forgiving the drastic temperature change…just to be here basking in the glory of Mother Nature at her best.
Many of the posts have some outstanding photos, but be sure to check out the flickr Adirondacks photo pool for more great Adirondack vacation amateur photography.
Adirondack Center for Writing‘s 2nd Annual Adirondack Literary Awards were announced last week in Blue Mountain Lake. The honors were bestowed upon the best books published “in or about the Adirondacks” in 2006. There were 37 entries this year.
For the second year in a row, a trio of poets from the Saratoga region took the prize for Best Poetry Book was awarded for the second year in a row to Glacial Erratica: Three Poets on the Adirondacks, Part 2 (30-Acre Wood Publishing – apparently not available online) by Mary Sanders Shartle, Elaine Handley, and Marilyn McCabe.
We’ve been remiss in calling our readers’ attention to an Adirondack blog that we’ve pleasantly encountered a number times in our net travels. Mark Hobson’s The Landscapist: Photography that pricks the Unthought Known is a photo blog published in Au Sable Forks since September 2006. A lot of the photography featured on the blog originates in the Adirondacks and Hobson also writes the “occasional posts about local history, places, events, etc.”
Hobson’s describes the site as “intended to showcase the landscape photography of photographers who have moved beyond the pretty picture and for whom photography is more than entertainment.”
The shot above, of the silo at Au Sable Forks, is one we’ve been wanting to steal from Mark’s blog for some time. Here’s a tidbit from the original post:
As a child of the cold war era, I certainly carry a bit of “duck and cover” baggage, but I am struggling mightily to form a mental construct of my hamlet in the Adirondacks as a primary target of cold war era Soviet ICBMs. At first glance, I got that tingly hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck thing going and there is still an aspect of that that I can’t shake just yet. For me, this photograph is an excellent example of a photograph with studium (a general cultural connection) and an extremely personal punctum.
PS – that’s Whiteface Mt. in the background to the left of the “deterent”.
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.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to Almanack founder and editor John Warren.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.