Delaware and Raritan Canal Towpath - April 29, 2006

I haven't biked this stretch of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Towpath in ages.  The canal makes a big "V" along the Delaware and Raritan rivers, with the Delaware the western arm between Frenchtown and Trenton and the Raritan side between New Brunswick and Trenton.  It's a shame because even though the area is very urban the New Brunswick, Princeton, and Trenton stretch is really beautiful, particularly the parts alongside Carnegie Lake.  Not only that, the higher taxes New Jerseyans pay make the trail nice and smooth for my big fat Pennsylvania bottom.

I started from Kingston Lock up in South Brunswick and headed south to Princeton.

Kingston is a very cute town just up Rt. 27 from Princeton - it's a great place to stop for ice cream if you're determined to get up to New Brunswick.  I was headed in the opposite direction and I had a Camelback full of water, so I had to keep moving.

Carnegie Lake makes for a wonderful place to ride my bike.  It's actually artificial since Andrew Carnegie thought the Princeton boys would benefit from some crew exercise.  In fact, the entire nation benefited - there's an old urban legend that the crew coach at Princeton was the unofficial CIA recruiter back during the Cold War.

After you get south of the lake the canal becomes a little more intimate - you get really close to nature, although since you cross roads leading to US 1 it the illusion is never complete.  Still, though - this is a great ride that you won't regret!


Schuykill River Bike Trail - April 8, 2006

Didn't get a chance to go down to Washington for the Cherry Blossoms but as readers of this website know I've covered that exhaustively already.  This year's flower pictures are from the Fairmount Park bike trail which ranges between the Philadelphia Art Museum (of Rocky I fame) and Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.  It's a great bike ride because the trail climbs up into the hills a bit, so your thighs get a bit more exercise than you normally get on trails like the Delaware and Raritan.  Like most bike trails there isn't much to worry about from cars, but the spring is an excellent time to do this - they close a good chunk of the roads for the crew races down the Schuykill on weekends. 

You can rent bikes from Lloyd Hall, right near the Art Museum. 

Boathouse Row and the Art Museum


The Art Museum is definitely worth a visit for visitors to this city - there's some fine American art in there and an excellent Impressionist section.  You can exit out right to Fairmount park and head for Boathouse Row, which is where all the area crew teams keep their equipment for rowing down the river.

Down the River into Wissahickon Park

It's great to bike here because you get to see beautiful picturesque hills and interesting 19th century bridges without getting too tired climbing them.  The trail is mostly tarmac here but there are a couple tricky sections where it gets rocky and narrow - novice bikers should keep the speed down.  There are some interesting colonial-era homes in Wissahickon that are worth a peek.

Willow Trees and Crabapple Blossoms Along the Schuykill

At this point you're probably wondering, "Where are the flower pictures?  It's spring, Matt went on a bike ride, there should be flowers."  Fear not - I haven't forgotten that part.  The weather this year is absolutely perfect for this sort of thing - crisp air with gentle rain so the flowers don't wilt or fall off.  The late afternoon sun gave the blossoms near perfect-lighting.


Tried some Classical Music This Time - March 21, 2006

Classical music is a little more difficult than techno for slideshow-type videos - the beat is actually more complex so syncing up is a challenge.  Here's a quick 1-minute video I made from some pictures I took at The Gates last year, set to Haydn's Symphony #1.

First Music Video Ever! - March 15, 2006

Ever since December 2004 I've been using my digital camera to take video clips, but I never got around to actually *doing* anything with them.  Lately I found some software that could bridge my problem so I decided to make a music video/slideshow of my material from the McGuire AFB airshow last year.  They had the U.S Army Golden Knights, the USAF demonstration teams, and the Navy's Blue Angels team out there.
I made a DVD of this and it's amazing - very cool to see your work on a big screen.
The song is the one from the car chase in "Bourne Identity" - arranged by Paul Oakenfold.

Philadelphia Flower Show - March 8, 2006

Flower Shows are really infuriating places for amateur photographers.  On the one hand, there are all sorts of subjects worth photographing and your trigger finger gets really twitchy.  On the other hand, the conditions are definitely not on your side.  You've got extremely poor artificial lighting, which might be good for the plants but it's not the sort of thing your digital camera likes.  There are people everywhere, and not the sort you want in your pictures.  Not only that, the organizers this year seemed very unwilling to let you get up close to the exhibits this year, which makes it a challenge to get a good picture without climbing into the displays.
That's why there are only six really good pictures this time.  Better luck next time...