At the beginning of July we moved to Owego, NY for what will be a stay of less than a year while we build a new home in Newfield, NY. Owego has proven to be very photogenic and amenable to walking-around photography, a somewhat relaxed and exploratory style that a casual observer would confuse with shooting snapshots whereas you are actually applying honed skills using highly technical equipment to manifest your artistic vision. Okay, okay, maybe it is more like shooting snapshots.
Owego is situated on the banks of the Susquehanna River whose serene and tranquil wandering has been belied both last year and in 2006 with devastating floods that put much of the town under water. The devastation was confronted by the inspiring grit and determination of the town’s people working together to bring it back to life each time. Owego’s charm and appeal is a tribute to the 20,000 residents who just won’t let it fail.
The sidewalks of the town, particularly on Main St. and Front St., are an enticing invitation to walk through the charming old and historic neighborhood. Lori and I, like many other town residents, have spent parts of summer evenings enjoying a brisk stroll around town. Or rather, Lori likes to do a brisk stroll and I gum things up by bringing along a camera and stopping now and then to use it. Lori’s forbearance is admirable but you can tell by the look on her face that she keeps reminding herself of the calculus of a walk with her husband: it is a walk with her husband but there’s a price to pay when he reaches for the camera on the way out the door.
We’ve done enough exploring to locate both the appealing and less-than-appealing routes. Certainly the old business district on Lake Street and downtown Front Street is quite appealing with all the old brick commercial buildings from the early 1900’s. Many small shops are doing there best to survive here, often with charm and whimsy to seduce customers however they can.
A short river-walk path is nicely maintained along the banks of the Susquehanna where you can see the mud lines left by receding flood waters from last year’s devastation. Nature is, if anything, more determined than Owego residents to thrive here. It’s surprising how everything bounces back from such devastation.
All along the pedestrian’s route, you spot bustling squirrels, casual cats, occasional fellow pedestrians, nice views of the river and surrounding hills and a treasure of old historic homes, many dating back to the Civil War period, and lovingly maintained by owners devoted to these old beauties.
It’s hard not to shoot pictures along the way but it is a small, busy, and intimate little town and I scale the equipment and production down to fit. No big SLR, tripod, and lighting equipment on these walks; a discreet micro 4/3 camera with a decent zoom lens are just the ticket for full enjoyment here.