Monday, May 20, 2013

Where Many Have Gone Before

If you have not seen the movie Star Trek Into Darkness and do not want to know anything about it,
please click here and leave this page now. 

Okay, I admit it, I am a huge Star Trek fan. No, I have never donned (nor owned) a Star Fleet uniform, never owned a phaser, a comm badge or even a tribble, but I was there in front of my TV on that Wednesday night in 1966 when Man Trap became the first Star Trek episode broadcast. I was immediately drawn in.

I was saddened when the original series was not renewed for a fourth season - after a third season where its budget was practically non-existant creating some of the worst sets and scripts. (Spock's Brain - need I say more?) Quite sad after seeing what quality it could produce under kinder circumstances. 

I cheered when Paramount announced it would make a Star Trek movie to be released in 1979, but cringed through its entire time on the screen. It seemed to truly mark the end of the Star Trek trail. But someone was smart enough to give it a second chance with a more appropriate script - and lo and behold it reinvigorated Captain Kirk's world. 

Not that it was all Kirk and Spock. We were introduced to the Next Generation, and Deep Space Nine, and Voyager and even Enterprise. 

And then in 2009 the inevitable happened. Shatner/Nimoy and the gang could no longer be the action heros on the original Enterprise, so the story was restarted/reimagined. I was sure I would hate it and be distressed by discrepancies between the Pine/Quinto universe and the one I knew so well. 

But amazingly, it was all handled so well, and even plausibly, that I would leave the theater looking forward to the next chapter of this alternate Star Trek universe. I loved the mentions of moments and memories of the original series even as it went off on a somewhat new direction.

Which brings us to the present (in a manner of speaking) as today I saw the next chapter, Star Trek Into Darkness

I will start out by saying that I did thoroughly enjoy the movie and was happy that homage was still being paid to the original series upon which it exists. I loved hearing Nurse Chapel being mentioned (and believed that if she were still alive today, Majel Barret (Mrs. Gene Roddenberry) would find her way into the movie.) I enjoyed seeing Tim Russ (Ensign Tuvoc on Star Trek Voyager) with a cameo in the movie. There is more but I won't give it all away.

However, I though that the movie relied too much - and tried too hard to present - people and situations from the original Star Trek universe - specifically the Kirk/Spock time period. It was right and proper - even necessary - in the first of the Pine/Quinto movies, but they managed to make it all right for this crew to live in their own alternate universe and travel a totally different path. The connection has been made ... now it should have its own direction. (And remember, I was there from Star Trek's beginning.)

It was too easy to realize we were once again dealing with Khan Noonien Singh and his genetically enhanced band. Even the final outcome (both of them!) of Captain Kirk's heroic act was predicable and almost humorous. It would have been easy to go over the line and have "that" scene be a parody - I give director J.J. Abrams credit for managing to keep it with the emotional impact it deserved. It could have gone bad quickly - yet it didn't.

Before you get the impression that I hated the film, I actually did not. I enjoyed it and will buy the blu-ray when it is released. I may even go to see it again in the theater. I just didn't think it should have - nor do I think it needed - the heavy handed references back to the original series. The Pine/Quinto Enterprise now needs to truly "go where no man has gone before."

Have you seen Star Trek Into Darkness? What do you think?

Monday, May 6, 2013


It's been a while since I have bored shared with you photos of my grandtwins. Like every grandparent and parent I like to take pictures at birthday (and other) parties. Though I have been taking all sorts of photos for about 50 years, when it comes to parties, I tend to revert to pure snapshot mode - and there really is nothing wrong with that except I know I can (and should) make the most of the opportunity to do something more ... at least for some of the shots.

(If you would like to learn more about how these shots ... and shots of other children ... were taken, click here to view Gathered Images.)

This past weekend, was my daughter-in-law’s birthday party, and I had an opportunity to take some photos. Have a look ...


And my favorite ... he had just scored the highest he had ever scored on the
Wii basketball game he had been playing ...

I'm Outta Control!!!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

You Never Notice ...

I must have passed it thousands of time from when I first moved to Staten Island. After all it was just a 5 minute stroll (maybe 6 blocks) from my house. I drove my car down Rossville Avenue and faced it countless times - but I never registered its presence. But then a few years ago when I got my first digital SLR camera and was searching for photo ops, I decided to check out the small burial ground that I had noticed many times.

I mounted the stone stairs that lead up from the road to the burial ground and it was then that I first spotted a rusting ship in the Arthur Kill behind the colonial graveyard. (I usually keep my photos on my photo blog, Gathered Images, but this is about seeing parts of my neighborhood that I had seen but did not see before.)

I stood in the opening that overlooked the Kill and for the first time realized that there were a number of ships half submerged in the water and all rusting away.

So I now had two burial grounds to photograph. (Here are the shots from that first time shoot.)

I have returned to that spot a number of times to photograph the ships a number of times, including after Superstorm Sandy to see how - if at all - the hurricane had affected the area. (You can see those shots by clicking here.)

I didn't yet know that this area was quite well known and well photographed over the years.

Then this past weekend, I joined a number of other photographers to once again photograph the shipyard. In the past I had played it safe and photographed the ships and docks visible from the hill where the colonial burial ground sat. This time I walked down into the bog that is the shoreline. After taking some pictures here ... and thanks to the resident of the adjoining home giving us permission to walk through her back yard - we ventured further into the depths of the shipyard. (In addition to what you see here you can also see some of my shots on my photography blog both here and here.)

So next time you are walking through your own neighborhood be aware of what you have around you. You may find things you never realized existed.