It's official, Open-Window is now two years old. I can hardly believe I began this blog on a cold January day, sitting at the island in my kitchen, 730 days ago. In the past two years, Open-Window has focused my days on creating stories, snippits, and photographs that I hoped you would find entertaining, sometimes informative, and maybe even amusing. We've covered a lot of ground and many diverse topics over this time ranging from Hawaii to Paris, Hamburger Relish to Caviar, Horse Racing to Airshow Acrobatics. As time has passed, we increasingly focused on the images and slide shows that would accompany a post, and have worked diligently to improve the quality of all that we delivered. Peter has continued to emphasize wide-angle HDR (high dynamic range) photography whether on his DSLR (digital single lens reflex-camera) or his, ever-handy, iPhone, and I have continued with my love of all-things-macro, although we each dabbled in the other's specialty just to keep it interesting.
Mexican Train Tiles and Turtles
Photo © 2011 Claudia Ward
Over the past twenty four months, we've made 388 postings to Open-Window which is an average of almost 4 per week, nearly every one containing at least one photograph and 60 of which included a slide show with music. When we embarked on this endeavor, we expected to focus on travel, food and photography. As it's turned out, the focus has been just that ... but in reverse - photography, food and travel. See, we'll photograph nearly anything - food that we eat, games that we play, children at the beach, machines of any sort, flowers and their residents, landmarks and landscapes, moon-rises and sunsets, and even light itself.
The Outer Banks of North Caroline
Photo © 2011 Claudia Ward taken with the iPhone using the Pro HDR App
This year has been quite a journey photographically as well as geographically. Peter and I traveled over 14, 500 miles. We drove the entire east coast from the east end of Long Island to Orlando, Florida, traversing Florida, and turning north to reach Memphis Tennessee. We crossed the states of Tennessee and North Carolina end-to-end (west to east), photographing some of this country's most beautiful scenery in the Great Smoky Mountains. When we reached the Atlantic Ocean, it felt like we'd returned home, for tidal waters are in our veins, and the days on the Outer Banks are now cherished memories. Early morning sunrises over the ocean, wild horses on the beaches, hang gliding from the dunes, and fish tacos are just a few of the things we captured in-frame. With tornadoes nipping at our heels from western Florida, to Memphis and eventually to eastern North Carolina, we headed home just hours before their destruction hit the locales we'd come to know and love. Atlantic City was our refuge from the storms, before returning to the calm, untouched East End.
Spanish Mustang on the Outer Banks
Photo © 2011 Claudia Ward
Thirty days and thirty nights, and 4,000 miles on the road gave us a tremendous, renewed appreciation for the beauty and diversity of this country we live in. A couple of hundred more miles were covered seeking out horses at Saratoga Springs in August. For one who isn't known as an animal lover, I do love photographing them. Whether in their stance or stride, they speak volumes to me and hopefully that is being captured by the lens. Finally, the balance of those miles (nearly 10,000) were accomplished by a trip to The Big Island of Hawaii, where we were able to photograph the incredible diversity of this island's landscape and all of its beauty from a helicopter.
Antique Hood Ornament
Photo © 2011 Claudia Ward
More locally, we visited Belmont Park just a week before the Stakes were run and attended the Hampton Classic Horse Show every single day it was held over Labor Day weekend. There were at least three Antique Auto Shows, one Road Rallye and a Mini Cooper Scavenger Hunt that we shot as well. Our beaches on the east end of Long Island are some of the most breathtaking in the country (right up there with North Carolina's) and we spent many happy hours either hip deep in snow in January or ankle deep in sand in August, capturing the undulating shapes of their dunes draped in snow or the power of their seas after a storm.
Light Painting for New Year's
Photo © 2011 Peter Tooker
The holidays that dot our calendars were also not ignored. Memorial Day is always an homage to the "Opening" of the Hamptons season. Flag Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the Christmas season were all duly noted and celebrated with photographs too.
Meaty Tomato painted by Barbara Andolsek
Let me also add, ever so humbly, that I have once again been thrilled that Barbara Andolsek continues to make paintings based on some of my photographs. Barbara and I have yet to meet but feel a friendship beyond pen-pals. Nearly 3,000 miles apart but with a shared appreciation for the beauty of the world around us, Barbara and I have forged a friendship that could only occur in this wonderful 21st century. It still astounds me at how incredibly open and selfless so many people are using the internet to connect, communicate, and share. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to be a part of it.
The word "blog" is derived from the expression "web log", which originally was an online journal of sorts and has morphed, over time, into a platform for communicating and exchanging information and ideas. I want to thank you all for your enthusiasm and support over the last two years but more importantly for your participation - "communication and exchange" are exactly what has occurred when you've left comments for us, and you've made it just that much more fun and interesting.
So here is a slide show which represents a snapshot of Open-Window's second year. It's shorter than last year's and yet still longer than most at just under 10 minutes. Perhaps you can set aside a little time next Sunday morning. We've made this for you, to enjoy and remember a year that we shared, and for that I want to say with great sincerity "Thanks for the memories".
Photos & Slide Show by Claudia Ward & Peter Tooker © 2011
Music: Concerto in E-flat Major for Trumpet & Orchestra: 1. Allegro Con Spirito by Wynton Marsalis, National Philharmonic Orchestra & Raymond Leppard
P.S. Please feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you thought of year two and if there is something you'd like to see more of in the coming months.