Jon Crispin's Notebook

Snow walk

Posted in Animals, Dogs, Family, Weather by joncrispin on 28/02/2011

It was a lovely day yesterday.  We had a heavy wet snow overnight, then the sun came out.  At about 3.00, Cris and I took the Pearl up into the woods for a walk.  Really perfect conditions for the snow shoes.  Cris has the more modern metal ones, and I have these older LL Bean jobs that my brother gave me for Christmas many years ago.  I forgot to grab a camera on the way out the door (gaiters-check, poles-check, snow shoes-check, camera-duh).  So I took this with my phone.  Pearl thought I was getting a biscuit for her, which is why she was looking up.

Day Peckinpaugh / Erie Canal

Posted in History, Landscape, People, Ships, Travel, Water by joncrispin on 22/02/2011

I was mostly crazed yesterday.  Sometime over the weekend, I either lost, misplaced, or had stolen some important mail.  I was preoccupied by it most of the day.  So much so that at about 2 o’clock I just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep.  For some reason, I decided to mess around with my web site instead.  I had been wanting to update it fore a while, especially the projects page.

Several years ago, the New York State Museum rescued the Day Peckinpaugh from imminent scrapping.  It was in Erie, PA, and by some miracle Craig Williams got a hold of it just before its demise.  Most amazing was that he found someone who had actually worked on the ship while it was still an active hauler, and who knew his way around the engines.  So they fired them up and started the journey from Erie to Waterford, NY.

The Peckinpaugh was built in 1921 and when it was retired in 1994, it was the last working freighter on the Erie Canal.  I think I remember hearing that it was hauling concrete at that time.

I got the chance to be on her for much of the trip across New York State on the canal.  It was late October / early November and the weather could not have been better.  A really interesting group of people too.


John Callaghan was the skipper, and you can see by the concentration on his face that it was an intense job for him and his crew.  The ship travelled mostly by her own power, but on occasion tug boats came in to help out.

So, at the end of the day, I still hadn’t found the mail, but at least I felt good about getting something productive done.  To see more from the trip, check out the “projects” page of my main website ( by clicking the link on the right (Jon’s main site).


Posted in People, Plants, Weather by joncrispin on 18/02/2011

Our house is surrounded by enormous white pines.  Every once in a while, during a storm one of them falls down.  Before I became a homeowner I used to love violent weather.  Wind, lightening, heavy rains…the more the better.  Waking up in the middle of the night with the wind is blowing like crazy isn’t so much fun when you are waiting to hear a loud crack and hoping that an eighty year old tree doesn’t land on your head.  When our neighbor Ken decided to have a few of the larger pines around his house taken down, it seemed like a good idea to join in.  We began talking to Leon and Shay this summer, and they encouraged us to wait until the winter to have the work done.  They showed up Wednesday morning with a giant crane, a chipper, a tractor and lots of chain saws.

These are huge trees.  I got no work done over the last two days, watching these guys work to take them down.  Shay would clip his climbing harness into the ball of the crane, be raised three quarters of the way up the tree and attach one of these yellow chains to the trunk.  He would then rappel down to about 50 feet off the ground and make a cut.  The crane would support the weight of the tree and move it over the house to the driveway where it would be dragged to the street.

It is always interesting to watch people who are very good at what they do, and who seem to have lots of fun in the process.  Shay was a rock climber when he was younger, and seems to be most comfortable flying around in the air.  The crane guy told me that of all the tree climbers he worked with, Shay was at the top of the list.

What a great bunch of guys.


Outer Stylie

Posted in Friends, Music by joncrispin on 13/02/2011

Tom Rocks!

Last night my friend Tom’s band Outer Stylie was playing at the Elevens in Northampton. (See previous Tom post of August 2010)  They came on last at about 12.30 and played a rousing set.  The lighting looked promising during the opening acts, but when Tom came on stage the sound/lighting guy must have been going for some kind of mood thing. (Dark!)  So Tom was mostly in shadow until the encore when we yelled at him to move into the light.  I was shooting with the D3S at 12,800 ISO which is hardly believable, but the results are fantastic.  It was a nice evening; had a Guinness, met Tom’s girlfriend, and at the end of the set I was introduced to Tom’s father and had the chance to tell him what a great guy his son is.

The Church of the Holy Cross

Posted in Animals, Architecture, Buildings, Construction, History, Uncategorized by joncrispin on 12/02/2011


The Church of the Holy Cross in Troy, NY was built in two stages in the 1840s.  The nave was built in 1844 from a design by Alexander Jackson Davis.  It is a very beautiful building which sadly is no longer a church.  When the congregation dropped below twenty, the writing was on the proverbial wall.  It was decommissioned (if that is the correct word) about a year ago.  RPI is in the process of purchasing the  building, which I suppose is good.  I have such mixed feelings about buildings being used for something other than their original purpose.  I am sure RPI will treat it with respect, and I hear that there are covenants in the sale agreement to protect the integrity of the building (it is on the National Register of Historic Places).  /  After Craig Williams and the Museum crew left, Fred Cawley was kind enough to give me a bit of a tour.  Craig had encouraged me to go up the bell tower, and after shooting the nave and chancel, Fred and I went through a very narrow door and made the climb.



Lots of dead pigeons on the way up, and there seemed to be lots of live ones up by the bells.



And those ones flew around like crazy when I pulled on the yellow ropes.  I really had no idea that they were connected anymore, and it was quite a surprise to hear the sound of bells above me. / I am not sure what the purpose of this box is, but it might be part of the clock mechanism.  Quite a magical morning.

Justin McClintock

Posted in People, Windows by joncrispin on 09/02/2011

When I was in New York recently, I photographed Justin McClintock who works in theatre on and off Broadway.  His latest project is Sister Act, which opens at The Broadway Theatre in a couple of months.  He is a really nice guy and it was fun spending time with him.

Delaware Memorial Bridge

Posted in Architecture, Bridges, Landscape, Weather by joncrispin on 06/02/2011

Peter and I left Tilghman this morning at 5.00.  We drove in tandem until I got on 295 to go over the bridge and he went up toward Ithaca on 476.  It’s always nice to see the sun rise.

Peter Carroll

Posted in Friends, History, People by joncrispin on 06/02/2011

Here’s Peter shooting an interview for the Tilghman waterman’s project.  Each time we go back to the island we meet new people, but it is always nice to visit some of the folks we spent time with on the earlier shoots.  We got the chance to see some of our favorites which was really nice.

Looking South

Posted in Animals, Friends, Landscape, Water, Windows by joncrispin on 04/02/2011

We are shooting at a house on a part of the island called Bar Neck.  This is the view out the back window.  The platform in the water usually has ospreys nesting on it.  Mary Kellogg says that the male usually shows up around St Patrick’s Day to establish territorial rights, and the female follows shortly thereafter.

Graham Sherwood

Posted in Friends, People by joncrispin on 04/02/2011

We are in the interview stage of the second Tilghman’s Island project.  The people down here are so warm and welcoming, and it is cool to hear them talk about their lives living and working on the Bay.  Since I was delayed in coming down here by the weather, Peter spent the day on Wednesday setting up the location.  As usual, he did an incredible job getting it to look just right.  I am so used to shooting people with available light that when I shoot with his set-up, it feels a bit like cheating.

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