Time to drive home - but first, stop for some much-needed coffee.
Driving by Candlewood Lake, I can't help but be drawn in by the sunset. I quickly make Holly pull off to the side of the road... grab my camera... launch out of the car... and try to snap some shots before the light is gone.
Focus... Snap... Pray that the shot worked without a tripod.
The metal film canister rings from the first 10 rolls of 35mm film I ever shot. (These rings seal the top and bottom of a roll of film... and must be removed in order to access the film for developing)
The first ten rolls of Kodak T-MAX professional Black & White film to move through my Canon F-1.
And a mid-90s NYC Subway Token... used in place of a coin to remove the tripod mount from my camera.
All dangling from a chain at my side... a constant companion for almost two decades now.
Made a last-minute decision to swing up to Philadelphia today. Headed straight for a place I've wanted to visit for years: Eastern State Penitentiary.
ESP opened in 1821 and was the first true penitentiary in the United States. It was a radial-design prison... with all of the cell-blocks radiating from a central hub and tower, like spokes on a wheel. The prison focused on complete solitary confinement. Cells are very, very small... with tiny doors which forced inmates to crouch in order to enter. Each room had only a very tiny window in the ceiling, directing a small amount of light onto the floor. Inmates could not see out of their cell at all... and were forced to remain silent.
Some cells had private outdoor recreation areas. These were small kennel-like areas... with high stone walls and concrete floors. Again, the inmate could see the sky... but nothing else. They were allowed only 30-minutes in the recreation area per day.
The prison closed in 1971... and quickly fell into disrepair. Paint peeled... plaster fell... mattresses and blankets deteriorated... roofs sagged... stray cats claimed the buildings as their own.
And then there were the ghosts... but that's another story!
Today the prison is on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are conducted daily... and art exhibits now fill cells that once housed tortured inmates.
I wandered the halls... the sound of my boots echoing in the cold darkness. I couldn't help but think of how horrible it must have been to have to be stuck here.
I snapped around 200 photos inside and around the prison... yet this one was my favorite. This was taken at the entrance of a cell-block that is closed-off to visitors... and has remained untouched since the prison closed in 1971. No one has walked down this hall in almost 40 years... yet looking down the corridor you just can't help but feel that there still is "something" there... in each of those cells.
Today was sort of a "non-day" for me. I woke up with a major migraine... the worst I've had in at least a year. Brought my son to the school bus... came home... went right back to bed. Ended up spending the entire day in a dark room with the white noise of two fans running constantly. I didn't emerge until after 8pm.
Needed to get a photo in before I passed out again. I saw my son's hoodie jacket thrown on the edge of the couch. The white of the skeleton bones pattern caught my eye.
My wife Holly had to fly out to Chicago today for a business meeting.
I have the bed all to myself tonight.
I find the thought of this both "exhilarating" and "scary". I'm sure I'll end up staying awake as late as I possibly can, to avoid the half-empty bed. Perhaps I'll watch JAWS tonight. Perhaps I'll quiet my brain with my iPod until I drift off. Perhaps not.
This photo is my entry for the "Moment in Time" photo project being hosted by The New York Times.
Today at 15:00 U.T.C (which was 11:00 AM E.S.T. in the United States) photographers all around the world were taking a photo as a shared project to capture a universal "Moment in Time" for a photo mosaic.
For me, I happened to be in the Holiday Diner here in Danbury... having breakfast with my wife and my son. We arrived at the diner around 10:30 or so... and the place was absolutely packed. By the time "The Moment" came around, however - the rush seemed to be over... and most of the tables were empty of people and being cleaned by the waitstaff. There was a brief moment of calm before the next rush started around 11:30.
I managed to snap around two dozen photos in the 60-second period that was "The Moment"... but this was by far my favorite... and the one that seemed to capture the scene the best.
The photo has already been submitted... and now the day can continue.