Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Becoming involved in a triathlon can be quite addicting whether you are a spectator, volunteer, supporter or an actual participant.

The training necessary to compete in one of these events is quite intense and a devoted commitment.

A triathlon is a multi-sport endurance event consisting of swimming, cycling, and running in immediate succession over various distances.

Triathletes compete for fastest overall course completion time in swimming, biking, and running components. Demanding training and workouts are necessary to ensure the participants have the endurance, strength, and power to compete on race day.

Rain or shine the event goes on. This is one event that a rainy day may even be preferred over a hot, humid one.

The event I photographed this weekend consisted of a 1.25 mile swim, 56 mile bike course, and finishing with a 13.1 mile run to the finish.

The swim course is in a fresh water lake, with buoys to mark the distance. The average water temperature is between 65 and 72 degrees, making a wetsuit necessary for warmth and buoyancy.

All swim starts are in “waves” of competitors arranged by age groups or relay teams that begin in five minute intervals.

The beginning of the race is filled with anticipation and excitement as the siren sounds and the competitors fight for position. It is not uncommon to have a foot in your face or another athlete swimming over you.
Dealing with the cold water, aggressive swimmers, dark water, and disorientation means that this portion is usually the least favorite and most worrisome for the athletes.

But once they emerge from this portion, the competitors are ready for their individual challenges continuing with the bike ride.

The next portion includes a 56 miles bicycle ride over rolling hills for a ride consisting of quick downhills, strenuous uphills and strong headwinds. If the rider does not keep up the momentum, the hills can start to wear them down particularly on the return back to the “transition” area.

One competitor passed at least 15 people on the course with flat tires and tubes all over the place. Quick recovery gets them back into the competition. But once again, preparation is the key.

The final leg of the race is the 13.1 mile run. On a sunny day the course can wear the competitor down as there are long stretches with little shade.

With the assistance of many necessary volunteers, the athletes are greeted with welcoming cheerleaders along the way offering water, power aid, oranges, bananas or even a cold blast of water from a sprinkler!

The final stretch often empowers the athletes with a sudden surge of intensity and perseverance.

Watching the support amongst the racers, families, friends, and the entire community is very uplifting.
It’s hard not to feel the sense of accomplishment and celebration of what our bodies can do when we set our minds to it!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Celebrating Summer!

The first official week of summer has begun.

To celebrate the commencement of the season, I would like to focus on one of the biggest playgrounds of summer.

The Beach.

No other place represents the lazy hazy days of summer like sand and surf.

Millions of sun worshipers will flock to beaches all over the world to spend their holidays.
Swimming, surfing, lounging, playing, or just sunning – the possibilities are endless.

I’ve decided not to represent the vibrant colors often seen at the beach, but to focus on the sights and scenes.
By representing the images in a “colorless” way, a certain ‘timelessness’ presents itself.

Aging the image also signifies the iconic tradition of the beach vacation.
This could almost be any beach in the world - any place or time.

"I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought." - Helen Keller

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Luna Parc

Luna Parc is the creation and residence of artist Ricky Boscarino. Tucked away among the lush woods of Northwest New Jersey, Ricky has created an oasis described to me as “Dr. Seuss meets Willy Wonka”.

Eclecticism, abstract expressionism, and art nouveau are just a few of the influences found in Luna Parc. Producing architectural works that reflect his ideas and concepts, while making art a part of Ricky’s everyday life.

The scene is a “Pop Art” explosion. Using mass produced objects of popular culture, isolating them or combining them with other hand-made objects, his art employs much kitsch as well as creative sculptures and hand made pieces that target a broad audience.

The collage of imagery mirrors the angles and curves in nature, incorporating these themes into his designs and mosaics.

Many pieces are recognizable, I found myself pointing out hidden treasures and items out loud for my companions to notice and appreciate. Many of us seem to have a pull towards this recognition of certain objects.

Whimsy, satire, fantasy, humor, curiosity, admiration, innovation, and irony are just a few descriptive words that come to mind when touring through Luna Parc.

The grounds contain his sculpture garden as well as various out buildings.

Blue and Green glass ‘trees’, whimsical benches and signs, a Twig-loo, an Eiffel Tower sculpture made of bowling trophies, a Christmas house, and a gingerbread-like Chapel dedicated to his Sicilian grandfather – Giuseppe.

The chapel is surrounded by abandoned crutches symbolizing a story told by his grandfather who witnessed a miracle in Sicily.
The Chapel of Saints is also available for weddings, which can be performed by Ricky who is an ordained minister.

The brilliantly colored surroundings are also enhanced by the natural beauty used as its backdrop. Beautiful flowering perennials are everywhere including Foxgloves and Alliums. Every season must create a new environment and palette for Luna Parc with the lush greens of Spring, bright sunshine of Summer, vibrant colors in the Fall and the monochromatic backdrop of Winter.

One of the highlighted features in the home, believe it or not, was Ricky’s circular bathroom.

Covered entirely with mosaic tiles, the room includes stained glass windows, a gravy boat water feature, and whirlpool tub and in the center an open shower beneath a gorgeous dome cupola.

Mr. Boscarino's creations require an enormous amount of collected objects. Since he alone is unable to fulfill this requirement, he can help “cure” others of their pack rat ways by making requests to "donate your found objects and treasures" for the works contained in Luna Parc.

Luna Parc is not open to the public. Ricky does have two open houses a year covering three days each. The tour is free and makes for an incredible, fun, and hallucinogenic experience. Also a must is checking out the unique one of a kind pottery and jewelry created by the “artist in residence”. If you missed the tour, take a virtual tour on his website and make note of his upcoming art shows as well. http://www.lunaparc.com/

Thursday, June 18, 2009

People of Poland

My journey through Poland, with camera in tow, introduced me to the wonderful people we encountered along the way.

Friendly, reserved, attractive and always helpful.

The geographical position of Poland has often caused political problems with the German neighbors from the west and Russians to the east.

During the long 5 years of war with the Germans – the Nazi’s spread their propaganda and philosophy of prejudices and racism to Poland. The reign was brutal and cruel.

It was during this period of hate that became the origins of infamous jokes against the Polish people.

50 years of Soviet domination followed the end of the war. A presence of Solidarity remained at the forefront through it all.

After the Soviet Union fell in the early 1990’s there was some confusion as to where Poland truly belonged – to the east or west??

The Polish people are Slavic just like their eastern neighbors. To the west they share more cultural and religious similarities.

Great achievements include composer Frederic Chopin, Scientist Maria Sklodowska (Curie), and the beloved Pope John Paul II.

The patriotism of the nation continues to prevail! There is an appreciation with what they have what they have fought for and feel optimistic for what is ahead.

Knowing their past and experiencing the present – I too am excited to see what the future has in store for the people of Poland. And I will, return, again ………….soon!


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