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Friday, 21 August 2015


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Good for you Mike, you should be happy!


>>...an hour and ten minutes away is the Mark Twain House and Museum (and his grave) in Elmira

A little confused as to how you get from Penn Yan to Hartford, Connecticut in an hour and ten minutes. I know Mark Twain lived in Elmira but your link goes to Connecticut.

[Thanks John. Fixed now. --Mike the Ed.]

What a wonderful office! Not as spacious as the last one, but I'd much rather work in this one than the last. Very beautiful wooden floor, too - no carpet!

I'm very happy for you, Mike, and I hope you all the best in your new home.

Congratulations, and all the best for new house, and Life 3.0.

Welcome home! Glad to have you back! On one of your off-topic Sunday columns I would love to read about those "bookshelf" speakers on either side of your iMac; and perhaps your musings on the current state of audio components / systems for one's computerized work location.

Fantastic! Some people at our age are kicking off their shoes and putting up their feet semi-permanently on an ottoman. Others are making major iife changes with barely a glimpse backward. Congratulations on moving forward.

And if you haven't ... just wait until you experience upstate New York in the gorgeous autumn. (Though I assume you have.)

Massive congrats to you Mike. Such a lovely area. The pic of the office is very nice.

You are only 4.5 hours from Ottawa so if you put on a workshop I would love to make the trip.

Great to have you in the Finger Lakes, Mike!

Hooray for you. Hooray for the lady who lived far away. And hooray for the dogs. There are going to be some long country dog walks.

Amen. And thank you.

Covers it all, I think. At least till I have to find the money for your workshops ... LOL!

"at the south end is Hammondsport"

Hammondsport rivals Napa Valley for winemaking. I highly recommend a trip to Bully Hill.

Also, the Corning glass museum, and a trip to Niagara Falls. Speaking of which,

Here's my shot of the south Grand Island bridges, taken with Ektachrome Aero IR, from a Cessna 182:



It's always a woman. Glad you're happy.

Man....you found your very paradise. It's a dream office.

Congratulations ! But may I say that as nice as it probably is to work on that porch, it looks like a nicer place to enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with (or without) company. (I think the region is pretty well known for its wineries, too).

I've wanted to get over to that area for a while now, mostly to see Letchworth State Park, though the whole region is supposed to be very scenic. (The Adirondacks are much closer to me, so it's hard to justify the 6-hour trip). Maybe a TOP workshop will be in my future.

Congratulations Mike, the moving part is finally over and behind you. This allows you to be that much closer to your plans for the future. The office looks great and the dogs look like they survived, so life is good.

I look forward to reading new TOP stories.


Mike, congratulations on the new house and new location. You have been missed. I am somewhat familar with the country having spent summers in my very early years at Chautauqua Lake. One of the prettier spots in our country. I hope the new location will provide you with inspiration for both writing and photography. Weocome back.

Congrats Mike. Hope the rest of the settling I n goes well.

"Honeymoon period it may be . . " Greetings from a similar latitude in west-central Vermont.

It is OK to be happy. Really. And it is so much easier to be happy when near to the one you love. We are tribal primates. A dogs need his pack; a person needs his tribe, even if it is a tribe of one. Asalam alekum/Shalom alechem/peace unto you et dona nobis pacem. TGIF.

...and Graham Nash is in Penn Yan tonight at the Opera House. A tie to both photography and music. It would be a nice way to spend the first Friday "back" .
A photo of Graham's wife is one of the photos in Kertesz's Polaroid book.

Congrats Mike! Welcome to Upstate New York! I love it here too, even in the winter. I'm not really a "workshop" kind of guy, but I hope to run into you someday.

Mike, Congratulations on your move (now that it is done) you are in one of my favorite parts of the world. Lived in Canandaigua for 23 years, my Father worked all over that area, visit any Catholic Church and you can see his work. Maybe i will stop by some day, ( with notice) overdue for a trip back home.

Well done Mike.
Now, it's time to make lots of friends:

Welcome home!

Congratulations Mike!
I am so very happy for you! The new office looks lovely too.

Congrats, Mike, looks like a wonderful place and best wishes for your new life!

Where is the orange couch?
I hope it made the trip.

Your office view is much better than the last one I visited in your former basement. Let me know how it works for you in mid January at 9am.

Best wishes,

[Thanks Jack. I gave the orange couch to Xander. I hope you like your new non-Wisconsin home as well. I'll miss seeing you. Best to N. --Mike]

Congrats, Mike, the pooches must be happy to be back with you, albeit in a strange new place. Nice porch - is it heated?

[Not yet. But it's insulated. The previous owner used it as an office through the Winter last year, so I'm reassured that it's do-able. I'll soon (too soon) find out. --Mike]

Very nice, Mike. Glad to see that you've landed so well, and in such a delightful and photographic place. Close to woman.

So much for working in your underwear, eh? I hope the view through the windows doesn't prove too distracting for you and your dogs.

All joking aside, though, congratulations! We should all be so fortunate as to have similar control over our destiny, especially later in life. I, for one, am envious that you were able to pickup roots and move the way you did...

Finally some breathing room for you and yours. Congratulations and seriously, take a break!

Happy for you Mike, enjoy!

Congratulations, Mike! Great to see TOP really back online, your new office (much nicer than a basement if you ask me), and most of all, it's nice to see the pups again! :-D

Like! +1


Mike, I'm so happy for you! I have to admit, your new office looks like a much better place to work AND live! This is just the beginning of good things for you.

Sounds great. I Googled Keuka Lake, and saw that it can look very different at different times of the year. I was surprised to find that the lakes are there due to glaciation; they don't exhibit the typical glaciated valley shape that's quite common here, especially in Northern Britain. That is, like a cross section of a bathtub. Sounds like there's a few hanging valleys and lots of other interesting terrain due to the ice.

I'm most pleased for you, Mike. It looks like it's all happening for you, and so it should.

You forgot the Corning Museum of Glass. Another very cool museum about an hour away from you. Maybe that could be your slogan: "About an hour away from anywhere important." :-)

Beautiful post Mike. Beautiful

Looks like the eagle has landed. Congratulations on quite a move. (Now don't get into a fight with S over dinner and break-up!)

Congratulations on getting moved into the new place! It must feel great. Best wishes for a long and happy stay there!


Good for you Mike. Here's too smooth sledding here on out.

Once or twice a month my parents drive to Seneca Falls, NY. Occasionally they go to the outlet mall there but the main reason they go is to visit a Mennonite grocery store called Sauders. Apparently it sells things that it can be quite hard to find elsewhere (at least at reasonable prices);

Seeing your dogs looking relaxed makes me happy. Best of luck in your new house and also greedily awaiting more TOP.

Hello S :) Glad to be the first TOP reader to welcome Mike to WNY/FL ... after you, of course!

PS - Mike, if you haven't discovered or been introduced to the Village Tavern in Hammondsport, I can recommend it.

We need to see that "special woman" in the picture.. J

A little closer to Canada.. Maybe we could meet in the middle at the Anchor Bar for Buffalo Wings sometime.. I'll come down in my (3rd) Miata..

All the best.

As a car guy, it may be good news for you to hear you're only a 1/2 hour drive from the world famous Watkins Glen road course (my favorite in the world and I've raced at Spa Francorchamps by comparison). As a student of motorsports history, my favorite library/archive is also in Watkins Glen: the http://www.racingarchives.org/>Int'l Motorsports Racing Research Center. I'm sure you'll be busy enough the next few weeks, but keep in mind the http://www.grandprixfestival.com/>Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival in early September. I'd be going myself if I hadn't just spent a week in Monterey for the Monterey Motorsports Reunion.

Behind all successful men's move, there is a lady ... Congratulation of the move.

Congrats on closing. The dogs don't look too happy. :) They've been thru the wringer I bet. I can almost hear them thinking; "The place don't even smell right!" hehe You better get some quality time in with those pups. They look like they might enjoy swimming in a shallow section of that cold lake.

Congratulations. It is a beautiful area (I'm western New York born and raised) and it sounds like beautiful area of your life you are embarking on. Never apologize for making your personal life a priority. Never.

Well done Mike. It's NEVER too late.


Looks fantastic Mike.Home being somewhere beautiful is very special. Sometimes looking over the hills here I often take it for granted ..... Big mistake.

With a photographers eye i am sure you will see it afresh every morning.

Great area, happy partner and lovely office ...whats not to like!

very posh!
calm too?
many happy days

Congrats, Mike. Awesome move and delightful telling of your story. One of my first clients back in the Pleistoscene age was Penn Yann boats. Can you say "tunnel drive?"

You are an inspiration to us all. Here at wordsandpixels.com I think it's time to rekindle the blog. Thanks to your example and leadership, of course.

Ciao for now.

I wish my office/photo area was unclutterd and clean like that! I've got to start throwing out stuff.

Looking at photographs of Keuka Lake, life is indeed good and good for you in the Finger Lakes in August (as William Klein almost said).

I hope you enjoy every day.


So happy for you, Mike. It does sound as close to perfect as possible. And as I'm supposed to go to New England in the nearish future, I'd love nothing more than a good excuse (read workshop) to come your way.

I love your new office. And please write more about hifi!

Congratulations go out to you, Mike and the new world headquarters of TOP.
Mi dos Pesos!!!

Very Happy for you. Having spent 20 years in Syracuse I know Keuka Lake will be heaven for you. The snow and cold is what you are used to so no big deal. Drives to the Eastman House were always the high point for me. Good Luck and Keep Truckin'

Congratulations on your move, Mike. It finally sounds like "Checkmate" to me.

In the Summer of 2011 my wife and I drove from Boston to Montreal, across to Toronto, down through Niagara, and then, instead of taking decidedly unscenic I90, we drove the relatively untraveled, and absolutely beautiful Rt 20 from Buffalo to Richfield Springs (where we cut down to Cooperstown), and from there back to Boston.

We loved the rolling hills, the picture-perfect farms, and the views across the tops of the Finger Lakes along Rt 20. It was one of the most memorable parts of our trip, and if Keuka Lake is as beautiful as that drive was for us, you're in for a bit of Heaven.

We spent two nights in (relatively inexpensive) Rt 20 motels, one of them in Geneva, just a few miles north of you, which looked very interesting, with lots of beautifully preserved old buildings and attractive small businesses. (It reminded me a bit of Burlington, VT.)

You and S. can spend the next several years - decades - exploring your new kingdom!

Regarding the AC regenerator, I remember learning something about dirty AC, years ago. It's particularly dirty in industrial estates, where motors, heating elements, anything with a coil in it, are switching in and out.

There's a nice little spike as the magnetic field in the coil collapses as the current is cut; it's the same as the way that an old fashioned ignition coil and contact breaker circuit operates.

You still get it from your own and other people's houses, when things switch on and off.

Gotta love the clean and uncluttered look of a new space. Enjoy. Happy for you, Mike.

Mike, I hope you are planning on moving that computer inside off of the enclosed porch before winter. If not you will freeze or go broke trying to keep it warm enough to work out there.

Congratulations Mike!

What a nice read. My best to you both and the pooches.

Awesome. And isn't cable internet a nice switch from what you had? Here in Duluth I have you beat on download speed, but you win on the upload.

I remember reading about Twain's writing study before. Over 30 cigars a day? Surprised those cats would even come in.

Do you remember the Woody Guthrie advice, "Take if easy, but take it?" Looks like you are doing both.

Just in time for the Bills season (good luck with that).

As someone who lives in San Diego; the bad side is always the "4-feet of snow" you'll eventually have to deal with... But I guess you're used to it ;-)

Gosh, everyone above said what I was gonna!

Well, let me just join the chorus: Congratulations, best wishes, and much happiness with the new home, the new environment, and with your SO.

More pictures please, when you get more settled.

I would love to have that view when I am working....!

Congratulations, the big haul is over and you are in a fantastic location. Hope to see lots of images of the neighbourhood.

Hi Mike,

Congratulations. Definitely a nice place to live. I have friends that live near Penn Yan, parents and sibs that live 10-15 miles west of Ithaca, and my wife, dogs and I spend at least a week vacationing at Skaneateles Lake each summer.

Although I currently live down in MD, I'd like to move back up that way sometime in the next 10 years or so.

Best wishes to you, S and the dogs.

Well done, Mike. As a loooong-time reader (I ran across a copy of The 37th Frame in my office last month) I can say that the tone of your writing seems as happy as I've ever seen it.

Welcome to the neighborhood. Despite many opportunities to relocate elsewhere (including Waukesha incidentally, when I worked for Cooper Power Systems), we continue to call Western NY home. I love having four distinct seasons, the great state parks, and most importantly great people. The taxes, well not so much... I have been reading TOP since the beginning, and while I chose to spend my time these days with my 7 and 10 yr old boys and not my cameras, I still enjoy reading TOP. I'm looking forward to hearing about the area from an outsiders point of view.

Well done, Mike. You had the courage to make a change and it all bodes well in a gorgeous setting. And thanks for the compliment about my hosta photo. Im trying to make my own change to Florida but its very slow going. Maybe after one more winter it will happen.

Welcome to WNY. Watkins glen and the gorges in Ithaca are good places to explore one thing that binds me forever to this region- the aesthetics of shale gorges and the hemlock/northern hardwoods forest communities that grow in them. It is a deep aesthetic, which will not thrust itself before your eyes like the redwoods or grand canyon but requires contemplation, seeking the mercury form of young yellow birch twisting through ancient hemlock shade over smooth sluices cut through the stacks of shale and limestone. I myself am moving for a woman shortly, from the very western tip of NY state to its southeasternmost point on Staten Island, which has a totally different geology. Those narrow unnamed gorges tucked quietly into the rural hillsides will call me back for the rest of my life, wherever I go. My favorites are farther afield, in Arkwright NY, but Watkins Glen is far easier to traverse.

I love the photo from the parking lot! The slight reflections on the roof just give it that depth that a straight silhouette wouldn't. I really like it :) Congrats on the move also!

Three weeks ago, I drove through the area for the first time in over two decades, visiting from the far side of the world. Yes, I know, my timing was off. A few weeks later and I would have gladly stopped by to help you unload your boxes.

My memories of it had faded-it is stunningly pretty on a bright summer day in the Finger Lakes area. You are a lucky guy, Mike. Enjoy the summer and fall. WI has likely already prepared you for the winter.

Plus 1 for Chris Y's comment, said what I feel far better than I could

You have a unique relationship with your readers


Seeing as you moved with your dogs, I really hope it did not go along the lines of this:


(Which is one of the funniest things I've seen on the web, well, ever, as well as not entirely inaccurate based on my dog owning experience.)

Congratulations! Hope you can be as settled as you'd like to be now.


Is top office 3.0 build around a SteelCase desk? In that case so is mine....great piece of American Enginering......

Greets, Ed.

And a shout out for and from Branchport, at the top of the other fork of the Y. It's just a crossroads, with a hardware store, restaurant and the Mercantile. Check it out: a few years ago on a visit to my sister-in-law who lives in Branchport the dog and I walked down to the Mercantile. I had some camera around my neck, probably not a Leica but it got me into a conversation with the proprietress who told me her father was a regional VP for Leitz USA. We talked photography until I felt compelled to rescue the dog, whom I left tied up outside. You might want to stop by and chat.

Reading your online writings since "forever" (including "The 37th Frame"), I have to say it's quite a Saga.

It had its ups and downs, a boy that has grown up (first school day photos anybody?), had friends, moved on, you had your big house campaign, moved in (and that was quite a few stories) but didn't settle, instead flew one too many times, moved on... and that's without the twists.

Very nice of you two, to bring a love story in to it as well! ;-) Have a nice and long honeymoon period!

Btw, nice photo blog of yours ;-)


I understand long-distance relationships; my then-girlfriend (now wife) and I endured one for 4 years and 3 months, between Southampton (UK) and Berkeley, CA (USA). The distance itself wasn't the main obstacle, it was the time difference: 8 hours. This made communicating that much harder due to offset schedules. On the bright side, Skype was launched early in our relationship and we were enthusiastic early adopters; on weekends we'd often eat meals together (she, lunch; I, dinner) in front of our computers, and it was almost, almost like being together.

When I finished grad school I moved to the US and we got married and moved in together. At which point the hard part of our relationship started, ha ha ha.

Kudos to you for going after S. and sacrificing that huge basement office I was so envious of. I'm still envious of your new office, but it does seem smaller ;-)

I look forward to attending one of your upcoming street photography workshops. Cos that's what you mean when you say there are photographs everywhere, right?

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