Lehigh River nearly Mega Release

After much back and forth we hiked down the damn dam (aka F. E Walter Dam) and launched in the rapids of doom which proved to be almost nothing, though certainly enough to wake you up and probably the steepest drop on the entire the river…and many hours later we made it the Glen.

Probably too many miles but really beautiful. Camping at Mauch Chunk Lake the night before watching the moon slowly traverse the lake was a bonus.

And a plug for the swiftwater rescue training course I took a month ago. At the put in at White Haven a couple of guys launched in a 2 person plastic pool toy quality inflatable kayak and promptly wrapped around a small bushy tree.

The Whitewater Challengers raft leader next to me first jeered, then said ‘we warned them’, then said ‘someone better help them’ That’s when I looked up from stowing the gear in my boat. More below pictures of trip….

Both guys were stuck on top of each other in the kayak-like plastic toy. Turns out front guys feet had slid under the footrest which was nothing but an inflated tube running across the boat effectively pinning him.  Back guy slipped into and under front guy pinning back guy. Only front guy’s hold on the tree with one hand was keeping both of their heads above water and neither of them had anything solid in the boat to push against nor a knife to cut themselves out.

From the swiftwater rescue training I knew right what to do.  Walking down along shore till I was just below them I waded in thru fast water over my knees into the waist deep eddy the 2 stuck paddlers were creating. One of the guides braced me while I pushed back  guy up river and free. The guy whose legs were under the foot brace took more pushing as he was stuck almost to his waist, but by staying in the eddy and pillow they were creating i was able to move him up. I even told them to swim feet up once they came free…Once he was out, in trying to get the raft free my footing slipped and I knew not to try to fight it and floated downstream.

By the time I walked back up they had a rope on the toy and were hauling it out. The pinned guy was quite nice about thanking me. I don’t think he went back on the water.

Knowing what to do and knowing to hurry but be calm and careful…thanks again Wayne Gman.

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Dancing with the Stars 2017

Dancing with the Stars at Cresskill HS Friday March 31st.

Click to get pictures.


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Password Security

Yea, this has little to do with Photography….and everything to do with my day job as a web developer, but password security is such a big issue that I’ve got to say something.

What are the best passwords? Long, random passwords. How do you remember them? You probably can’t.

Believe it or not, hackers use password cracking algorithms that assemble data about a person; old phone numbers, relatives, pet’s names, birthdays, schools, addresses and then combine them with the most common passwords, so the further you can get from what is normal the more secure you are.

But First – Don’t re-use usernames/ passwords

One of the biggest security holes is reusing the same usernames and passwords on multiple websites. If any website you use is hacked, hackers will try these usernames and passwords on other sites, so the little website that gets hacked could open up your info on the big important site. And whether it’s Home Depot, Target, or your camera club that gets hacked, if you’ve re-used that usernames/ passwords you are vulnerable.

Secure passwords is only as secure as where you’ve written them down. 

If they are on your computer and your computer gets hacked, your passwords get hacked. If your list gets stolen, your passwords are hacked.

Written down lists can be stored under lock and key, kept on secure and encrypted thumb drives and/or secured with password managing programs. A handwritten piece of paper or notebook is only as secure as where it’s stored. In the tech thriller (and one of my favorites) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo it’s a password hidden under a desk blotter. That doesn’t mean that a list isn’t a good solution, but be really careful with that list.
using  computers to store complicated passwords that leaves you at least one uncrackable password you need to remember. But one or even a few is lot easier to keep track of than many.

A freestanding program you install on your computer such as KeePass. The advantage of these free-standing programs is you don’t have to trust anyone else, though of course you’re trusting a program that’s too complicated for most of us to understand. But Consumer Report’s recommended it.

Or there are a number of programs that you store your password online. LastPass,  1password.com and a bunch of others. Here’s a recent article from PC Magazine listing a bunch.

Password creation and remembering tricks:

  • Several randomly chosen words. Use a dictionary, make it random.
  • The first letter(s) of a long phrase. For example, ‘Wttpoalsdoivroaasaac4rs2isap’ is very secure but you could probably remember to type the first letters of  ‘We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil, all committed, for our safety, to its security and peace.’ (Adlai E. Stevenson)

Other security holes:

Don’t email passwords or  store passwords in email, especially a poorly secured cloud based email ( Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail). If email gets hacked, your password get’s hacked.

As for sending passwords to others, old school dictating over the phone is pretty secure, LastPass premium offers shared options, you can use a one time message senders online  such as 1ty.me as well as some secure ways to send email.
Since many websites will email you a password, when you do get a password via email change the password right away.
Change passwords often, especially on important sites like your password programs, financial sites.
If somehow someone has hacked into one of these systems and you don’t know it, changing the password will lock them out. And needless to say if someone has left your employee or your life and has access to important passwords, change them. Even if you don’t think  they would be malicious change them for your security and to keep suspicion from falling on them and necessarily damaging the relationship further if you do get hacked. 
When in doubt about a security compromise, change the password(s).

Online Security in General

Though I really wanted to address password security the bigger theme here is overall online security. When sharing sensitive information online:

  1. Use a modern and up to date browser. If you want to surf on something else or, as is often the case, your company’s internet is on an ancient version of Internet Explorer, don’t use the old browser for sensitive info.
    In descending order of security this would be:

    1. Chrome
    2. Firefox
    3. Safari
    4. Internet Explorer.
  2. Make sure the site is secure – All of the above browsers will display a lock icon in the browser bar.
  3. Don’t save credit cards on websites (if you can avoid it) and be suspicious of sites that insist you save cards. It takes a few more seconds to type a credit card and you can save time by storing them in keepass or on your encrypted thumb drive.
  4. Though secure browsing should close things down, be careful on public wifis as well as what you do on your phone or tablet.

Lastly I’m not inventing this stuff. I took most of this from Consumer Reports article ‘Hack-proof Your Passwords’. Consumer Reports aren’t super geniuses, just folks who use common sense (and don’t take advertising so aren’t influenced by advertisers). You won’t get pro photo advice from Consumer Reports, but you’ll get a camera that takes descent shots. Same with password security. Following this advice won’t make you a security expert, but you’ll lock out the average hacker who wants to steal your money.

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Hackensack River Fireworks

Well, it wasn’t my most successful trip, what with vast unexpected crowds in Johnson Park, rain, darkness. Still 7 of us managed to hit the water and see the fireworks after a quick trip home for extra rain gear. At least 2 folks missed hooking up due to the unexpected crowds…

Below are some pictures taken from my boat in 2013 (as well as 1 of the NY skyline) when it wasn’t raining and I could use the good camera.

And paddling in the Hack is not for the very squeamish…a fair amount of litter, lots of mud and some downright toxic stuff down in the Meadowlands. But it’s also full of bird life that’s habituated to humans and some stretches like above route 4 or in the back channels of the Meadowlands can feel remote, even if you never get away from the sound of cars.

For anyone who wants to try it high tide is a lot better than low and I use this tide chart and there’s a whole ton of places you can launch on the Hack.

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Mother’s Day America’s Cup racing on the Hudson

Spent Mother’s Day with my mother and a few hundred thousand others watching the foiling catamarans get foiled by the funky winds and tides of the Hudson. With the river barely a mile wide and 50 story buildings to windward and the outgoing tide just raging I’m sure it was seriously challenging sailing…but I do wish they’d been able to stay up on the foils. So what we saw was really a catamaran race. 3 years ago we would have thought that was exciting.

Still it was a beautiful day and how lucky am I that my Mother could enjoy it and deal with these massive crowds. And the few seconds we saw them up on their foils makes me want to travel to see them at a location with better wind…or maybe they’ll listen to me and do it again next year south and east of Liberty State Park.

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Teaneck Color Run

It started really late, nearly the entire pack was lost with only the top 5 finishers running the course and the rest showing up at the finish from the wrong direction many minutes late…but they had a great time and it’s a nice part of Teaneck, nestled as it is up against I-95 (and Teaneck Creek Nature Center).

Results, such as they were, at bestrace.com/results/16/160507TN5.HTM .There’s  a huge gap after the fifth finisher…obviously where the leaders got a gap and everyone else got off course.

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Dancing with the Stars at Cresskill High Again.

Josette Diaz leading the band at Dancing with The Stars 10 at Cresskill HS

Josette Diaz leading the band

Seri ParkOnce again had the pleasure of shooting dancing with the Stars at Cresskill High School. Pro dancers and student dancers from Barbara Muller’s social dancing gym class. Highlighted  this  year by the addition of the Cresskill High School Rock Band to join the Jazz Band.

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Dancing with the Stars in Cresskill

Once again had the pleasure of shooting dancing with the Stars at Cresskill Highschool. Pro dancers and student dancers from Barbara Muller’s social dancing gym class. Highlighted again this  year by the addition of the Cresskill High School Jazz Band. The show featured the school’s social dance students, two professional dance couples,  Jean Michel Erole and Larisa Mikryukova, and Arturas Misurenkovas and Oksana Zaver.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 Review

s5-case-modified s5-in-caseGeeky I know but as a photographer I’m really pleased with the low light capacity of this phone, as a paddler I’ve yet to test the waterproofness but 3 foot submersion is huge for me. It’s embarrassing the number of phones (2) and point and shoot cameras (2) that have drowned in puddles and improperly closed dry bags. Continue reading

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Taste of Paramus

9th annual taste of Paramus Presented by The Education Foundation of the Paramus Regional Chamber of Commerce, Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the

The Grand Ballroom at The Assyrian Orthodox Church, 644 Paramus Road, Paramus, NJ

An evening sampling signature dishes from top area restaurants and wine tasting from Stew Leonard’s Wines of Paramus.

100% of the proceeds are awarded to Paramus student projects.

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