Brooklyn family.

Catskills double-wide.

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Brooklyn Kids Gone Wild

Brooklyn Kids Gone Wild

Whenever we arrive at our place upstate, it feels as though we're stepping out of a black-and-white urban world into the technicolor countryside. I grew up on Long Island but visited this blazing green plot of land every summer, eager to breathe in the country air, fresh with pine and wild thyme. I was enchanted by the mountains and trees and the animals that would often emerge from them. As a kid, I remember seeing chipmunks, rabbits and deer, but as an adult, I've spotted some more mysterious mammals and a great blue heron down by the lake.

I called my son to the window just in time to see the majestic heron spread its wings and take off. Archer was 4 at the time, and he immediately set up a bird-watching station on our deck, complete with a telescope and all his city-kid creature comforts -- a blanket and pillow, 2 types of bug spray, several bowls of snacks and a thermos of cold water. I told him that the birds and animals would be scared away by his voice, but he just couldn't stop chatting. At one point, hesighed and said, "I don't think I can ever be quiet enough to be a nature photographer. I guess I'll just have to be a paleontologist. Even if you talk too much, you can't scare bones away."

Archie managed to scare away every bullfrog and dragonfly before trying out his new waterproof, non-digital(!) camera from our cousin, photographer Christopher LaRosa. Although Chris is only in his twenties and probably barely remembers using film cameras himself, he really believes that photographs should be printed and held in your hands. I don't shoot on film myself, but I make photo yearbooks every December and I regularly have prints made of my digital photos. With a backdrop like this, it's hard to take a bad shot.

As much as I love living in a city that has everything, it's such a joy to visit a place that doesn't have much going on at all. It's so much fun to see my Brooklyn kids finding magic in a pool of unobstructed sunlight as they watch their own shadows. Their sense of wonder inspires me as we set out to explore the Catskills and beyond.

Animals, Vegetables, Miracles at East Durham Farms

Animals, Vegetables, Miracles at East Durham Farms

DJ's Legacy

DJ's Legacy