Drone catches epic party and its got everyone…

Max Mercury Neff (David Neff)I was just wondering if clickbait would get you here. We took a trip got tired on the way home and spent the night in some hotel in Connecticut that had seen just a few too many changes on ownership/management. Still, it had funky green curtains and some nice morning light. Good morning Alice & Max! And the stalker outside the window.

29Lbs. Max with a 7Lbs. camera

Source: Max Mercury Neff | David Neff Photography 2015

Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat forever, teach a kid to take pictures and he’ll eat dollar pizza and spend all his money on equipment.

We went to Maine, this wasn’t the first time I let Max hold a camera, but the last time he was sitting on a bed, not on the beach near the water. The fun part about getting this was that we had to run back and forth to try and stay in the frame as Max shot away, having the time of his life and not paying much attention to where he was aiming. Great shots Max, maybe competition worthy.

Huge and the full Vermonty

 

 

 

Max Mercury Neff goes to Lake Memphremagog, Newport Vermont (David Neff)

In case you missed it, Max is all grown up! Here he is at 26 months, now three feet tall, walking along the beach at Lake Memphemagogg Vermont. We grabbed a great little Air BNB cottage on the other side of the treeline for a long weekend of much needed time outdoor. Thankfully, the heat didn’t follow us from NYC!

Max Mercury Neff goes to Lake Memphremagog, Newport Vermont (David Neff)

Saranac in a Kayak

July 2010 Kayak trip on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail


 

A much-needed vacation!  Abs and I took off last week and headed up to the Adirondacks with a rough plan to paddle part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.  Equipped with a pair of Feathercraft folding kayaks and a bunch of backpacking gear stuffed into dry sacks we set off to do about 34 miles in four days of paddling.

 

Late Monday evening we put in at Floodwood Pond and paddled only a few hundred yards to our first backwoods water-access -only campsites.  We hired a shuttle from St. Regis Canoe Outfitters in Saranac Lake  to shuttle our car to our endpoint the following Friday.   They were amazingly helpful in our trip planning and had a very well-stocked shop where we picked up a few last minute supplies such as a nifty dehydrated dessert for Abby’s birthday dinner on Wednesday, replacement deck bungee, and a rental dry box (you will likely see in every photo I took) for my big camera.

 

Late Monday evening we put in at Floodwood Pond and paddled only a few hundred yards to our first backwoods water-access -only campsites.  We hired a shuttle from St. Regis Canoe Outfitters in Saranac Lake  to shuttle our car to our endpoint the following Friday.   They were amazingly helpful in our trip planning and had a very well-stocked shop where we picked up a few last minute supplies such as a nifty dehydrated dessert for Abby’s birthday dinner on Wednesday, replacement deck bungee, and a rental dry box (you will likely see in every photo I took) for my big camera.

 

We rushed to assemble the boats in the early evening on Monday, and found our site just before dark with fear of being eaten alive by bugs.  Waking up early Tuesday to get out on the water, I realized that we had landed in paradise.  Our very own island, free of trash, broken glass, and people!   After bowls of instant oatmeal and packing up the boats, we set out into the wilderness, stopping to swim in the amazingly clear and fragrant ponds whenever the urge arose.

 

Day Three: paddling in Middle Saranac Lake, a few hundred photos taken and a few pages could have been written. Here we approached a tiny island smaller than our Manhattan apartment, er, maybe.  Our next campsite was just a quarter mile ahead, but how could I pass up an island that mimicked the shape of my bow?  Stopped for a snack, tied Abby’s boat to my stern, and she swam the last leg to camp (sans swimwear).

 

Yes, paradise once again.  Our very own cove with amazing breezes coming from the west across the lake and blowing the bugs into the woods beyond our tent.  Cooked an amazing birthday dinner (from a package…  just added hot water) and a strange birthday dessert that after paddling all day we devoured like wolves.  As the sun began to set, we paddled out on the lake to watch the constellations appear in a moonless sky.  The wind and waves died down, and the lake became smooth as glass.

Day Four: out on Middle Saranac Lake, early in the morning before the breeze chopped the surface, but this time there was enough light to take a few photos.  Yes, amazing still, and the trip kept getting better!

Container Art

Figment Festival Governor’s Island New york review

Figment Container
Figment Festival Governor’s Island NY 2010
Amazing festival to attend if you have the time.  I am pretty sure this is the third year they have done it the festival.  It began as a low budget gallery walk through where artists set up temporary galleries in the abandoned housing left over from the island’s former use as a military base.  The energy level in general was very positive, an amazing number of family oriented open air exhibits and interactive events are all over the many lawns, under beautiful trees and in the houses once again.  Pictured above, something I absolutely loved, shipping containers converted to use as picnic pavilions overlooking the Hudson Harbor at the south end of the island.  Make time for this one, read more about it and get involved.  Even the free ferry ride from Manhattan to the island is worth something… all free! and plenty to see and do.

Khatsalano

A relationship begins, My Dream Boat…. Feathercraft Khatsalano, 18′ of techno love!

The deal of the century!  My Dream Boat!  Feathercraft Khatsalano, an 18′ aluminum framed hypalon & poly skinned beauty.  This one is just too much for words, I am now held captive by a full schedule and unable to get out and play but still I got out the boat the other day to inspect it and do some minor repairs.  Can you believe this fits in a backpack?  A great big heavy backpack but still… you can carry it.  My office is on an island… its seven blocks from the water and on the 5th floor.  There is no way to get the boat out of my office without taking it apart again other than throwing it out the window which has it’s own issues.  Oh well, it’s back in the pack again today.  Hopefully I can get out one day next week and put her on the Hudson.

Off season at the beach

Heading to Martha’s Vineyard from NYC, we decided to spend a night out in nature.  A night in between our existence in the East Village and a rural Island.  We found a campground, still open long after the tourists have gone that would allow us to make an early ferry to the Vineyard.  Horseneck Beach State Reservation.  Beautiful ocean views, sandy campsites and late access, good for leaving after work to drive late into the night.  Only drawback, being used to wandering out at 3am and getting pizza or falafel…. find some food in the middle of nowhere at 11pm.  We did though, and had a wonderful feast of salad bar items with a bottle of wine.  Ten minutes later and the grocery would have been locked up for sure.

Off the grid…. for a month

Grubby and tired but solar & kinetic

Grubby and tired but solar & kinetic.
What really is “off the grid?”  In some ways I feel it might be out in the wilderness with only my significant other, some rugged boots and a bowie knife.  Maybe off the grid means you live in a city without a grid pattern?  Can you just unplug power and be off the grid?

Abby and I took off one day on our trusty touring bikes to take a little tour of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.  The plan was to follow a loose schedule from Yarmouth NS around Cape Breton, round to Pictou and finish our last week touring Prince Eward Island before shipping our bikes back and catching a plane home to NYC.  We carried typical backpacking camping gear including a tiny stove and would resupply as we passed through towns.

Being that I’m a self employed photographer, as much as I love to think I can walk out of the office and leave it all behind, I end up bringing a pile of technology wherever I go.  No surprise here, I shoot digital now.  We (mostly I) had about 8Ah of lithium ion batteries between the camera (Canon 5D) media viewer/downloader, Ipod touch for checking email via WIFI (is that still off the grid?) and two cell phones.  Had we needed to charge devices along the way, we would have required a receptacle and four or five chargers, maybe a hundred foot extension cord?  How about a dynamo on a bike and then I could just ride in circles while taking pictures?  I opted for solar panels, we had a nice stable platform on the back of each bike that would be facing the sky for 120 kilometers or so a day over most of the next month.  How to make it all work?  Rather than reinvent the wheel, I found a nifty little device in Radioshack that would enable, with a little modification, us to charge most any small battery powered device with our setup.  Perhaps I’ll detail in a another post modding the Igo dual power adapter shown below.

 

Off Ebay, I purchased a couple of 1/3 watt 12 volt thin film (flexible) solar panels that would not only charge our stuff, but with a few bungee cords, keep our sleeping pads, food and miscellany from flying off the back of our racks.

Nomads in my soup!

China08_-1493.jpg, originally uploaded by Davepix.

After leaving Rabshi, we ended up in a taxi for 34 hours through mountain passes heading toward Chengdu. We were detained at 11 police checkpoints along they way, turned back at one and had our belongings searched at four. I had to delete a series of images off of my hard drives that I had taken at a previous checkpoint where we had been invited to dine on mystery stew and noodles with the police. Regretfully, I lost the photo of them all waving goodbye as we departed but there wasn’t much I could do with few words of Mandarin at my disposal. Any more vocabulary and I might have ended up in prison.

Here I has stopped the taxi to photograph a tent set up at the roadside in pretty much the middle of nowhere. Within minutes family oured out and surrounded us curious what two really odd looking white guys were doing out in the middle of nowhere China in a taxi.

 

Education on the Tibetian Plateau

China08_-1184.jpg, originally uploaded by Davepix.

After a greuling 16 hour bus ride into the mountains of the Tibetian Plateau, John and I caught a taxi two hours further west to the village of Rabshi. Here we visited a monk, the brother of an artist friend living in NYC. The photographs I took here are being used by the Tibetian Bridge Foundation to raise funds to build a more modern school for these children.

The Screening Room at Erhan’s

The screening Room at Erhan’s, originally uploaded by Davepix.

My plane to Istanbul landed about three hours earlier.  I was whisked by relatives of my friend Shane’s Turkish husband to a wonderful outdoor cafe where we wined and dined for a few hours. Soon after we went to Erhan’s house for a film screening. He is a collector of films in all forms, and thus set up a projection room and an amazing audio studio in his apartment. The film was book-ended by intellectual discussions of all sorts, politics, art, etc.  An amazing introduction to the region.

 

Izmir

Turkey07498.jpg, originally uploaded by Davepix.

Hopefully I spelled it sort of similar to what it’s supposed to be, my friends pronounce it Ishmir. A sleepy little town on the tukish coast with a fine view of the Greek island Cos. Here is some of the most amazing windsurfing in the world, consistent wind of course being the primary attraction. Sheltered body of water with moderate waves and just amazing wind. I rented a board and gear here and for three days proved how inexperienced a windsurfer I really am. Still it was a great time in the middle of nowhere.

Turkey07532.jpg

Night market in Bangkok

Bangkok, originally uploaded by Davepix.

Wandering in places where I stand out like a sore thumb late one eve, on a three day layover with intent to acclimate on the way to China. Somewhere between tourist destinations maybe wondering if it would be a good idea to be able to speak a few words of Thai. If only I had enough time to get over what I would get eating the stuff in this market I might have been more adventurous. Instead I stuck to things that were fried and drank bottled beverages. Nice that beer is one of those things.