About Gayle Alstrom

I live in Staten Island, New York, but spend much time in Manhattan going to museums and my favorite haunts. My primary interests are the visual arts, politics, social issues, nature and a few other things. I have a B.A. in Humanities.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

I’m not sure if the Statue of Liberty would be considered a monument. It’s like a monument to freedom.  There is like a fine line between a monument and a statue.  Photo taken from the Staten Island Ferry as we were passing on the way into Manhattan.

Staten Island Ferry


Grants Tomb

Grants Tomb National Memorial--W 122nd St & Riverside Dr, New York, NY 10027.  The final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), the 18th President of the United States.


Rainy Day Memories of my San Francisco Years

May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently through the world and know it’s beauty all the days of your life.

Apache blessing

It’s been raining for 3 days in New York City: for me, a drag. The rain, not to mention ennui, has brought back to me the memory of a particular day in 1980.

After spending Christmas with my Mother in L.A.,  I had just returned to San Francisco, with so much relief that I can still feel inside me that emotion I felt on that day. Back home in North Beach, the first thing I wanted to do, which is what I mostly always did on my days off from work, was go out on the Bay and take photos, my favorite activity at the time.  Afterwards I often indulged myself at a great San Francisco restaurant.

I was on the Aquatic Park Pier (one of my favorite places to take photos from) when a man, with an expensive camera in his hand, said to me, in passing, and with disparagement, that it was too cloudy and dim to take photos. I thought that was exactly the right time to take photos.  That was why I was there.  I thought the inclement weather would make for some dramatic photos.


That’s the Golden Gate Bridge in case you didn’t recognize it.

This was a photo I took on that day during the last week of 1980 of San Francisco Bay.  I loved going to the Harvey Milk Rec Center where they had a facility where anyone could go and print photos (B&W only) for a very small fee.  For five years I printed there, a minimum of once a week. I often printed on very heavy textured paper, because I liked the look, as I did in the above photo. Especially, in the sky, you can see the texture of the paper.  A version of this photo which I printed on regular glossy photo paper got published in a local San Francisco magazine.

Later, I colored this photo with Marshall’s photo tints. When I printed on such heavy textured paper, it made hand coloring so much easier, and more effective. (the heavy, matte, textured paper is so absorbent) . It looks more painterly than photographic.  Maybe I liked the painterly look so much, because I really wanted to paint.  Now, I prefer painting to doing photography.  Photography never gave me a feeling of complete artistic fulfillment, although it provided a little, and hand-tinting added a little more.

San Francisco Bay (1980) hand tinted.

San Francisco Bay (1980) hand tinted.

During the first half of the 20th Century, and before color photography, hand-tinting photos was popular, but now hardly anyone does it, and it looks antiquated. However, I think it’s really fun to do and I like the look.  I also learned retouching, which was an easy way for me to correct my photographic problems like parts too light, or not contrasty enough.  Now, one can correct those problems on the computer.

If you are interested in hand-tinting photos, on another blog of mine, I did a post on how to hand-tint black and white photos that you might be interested in visiting. This post also shows a few other hand-tinted photos of San Francisco I made while living there.


This is a self-portrait of myself (actually, using color film) that I made around that same time. I worked then as a secretary at an architectural firm (MBT Associates) in San Francisco that had lovely, artistic-looking interiors.  I especially liked their large windows, as you can see in this photo, and the picturesque views out the windows of Chinatown.  I used to go there to take photos on the weekends.  In 1980, we had Wang word processors that I enjoyed writing with, after having used the old-fashioned typewriter for years.

Flash Mob: Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ Takes Over Ukraine Market

This was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes.  A flash mob consisting of Members of the Odessa Philharmonic and Opera Chorus at Privoz Fish Market in Odessa perform Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’.  I can’t stop watching it.  On Youtube.  It starts slow and builds to a magnificent last minute.  When I first found it this morning it had 16,000+ hits and then in early evening it was up to 20,000+ hits.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

The following are photos of egrets that I took in Staten Island, New York, where I live.


Photo taken at lake at Snug Harbor


Same guy as in first photo,  but now he is flying away from previous pose.


Photo taken at Willowbrook Park 2012

Snowy Owls Hit The Big Apple

It seems, the Snowy Owl has heard that if you can make it here you can make it anywhere. This winter, the Snowy Owl invaded the lower 48 and my home town of New York City.

Photos below are from the Audubon Newsletter that I just received in my inbox.  It seems that the great invasion of the Snowy Owl into the United States is giving lots of impetus for scientists to study them, something they haven’t done much of before.  [All photos are by Francois Portmann for Audubon]

 A Snowy Owl visits Queens, New York. (Photo by Francois Portmann)

A Snowy Owl visits Queens, New York.


An owl hunting in the swale at Breezy Point, New York, with New York skyline in the background.

This image was taken in in Arverne in the Rockaways, New York.

This image was taken in in Arverne in the Rockaways, New York.

This owl alights at Breezy Point, with the Manhattan skyline lit by the sunset glow in the background.

This owl alights at Breezy Point, with the Manhattan skyline lit by the sunset glow in the background.

"This owl spent the day in the piping plovers nesting ground at Arverne Beach, New York. Well hidden in the dried stalks and grass, people walked by on the boardwalk and the water's edge, completely unaware."..From Audubon Newletter

“This owl spent the day in the piping plovers nesting ground at Arverne Beach, New York. Well hidden in the dried stalks and grass, people walked by on the boardwalk and the water’s edge, completely unaware.”..From Audubon Newletter

If you liked this post, you might enjoy my two previous posts on The Snowy Owl
Followup: The Snowy Owl Being Saved at JFK Airport,” and “The Snowy Owl Being Saved at JFK Airport.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

For this Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside, I thought I would show some photos of inside subway stations [Paris, London and New York] where I found myself one time or another.  [header photo:  Bleecker Street Station in Greenwich Village, NYC]


Saint Sulpice Subway Station [called the Metro] , Paris, Early New Year’s Morning 1983. The early morning revelers are waiving to my camera.

Nottingham subway station, London.

Nottingham subway station, London. [called the Underground]  I took photos for about an hour, inside the station, until I saw a sign that said “No photography allowed.”

Astor Place Subway Station, New York City, 2013.

Train arriving at the Astor Place Subway Station, New York City, 2013.  After 9/11 no photography was allowed in NYC subway stations, but now they have kinda eased up about it.

How Oregon is Handling Their Wolf Population


OR-7 (a famous wild wolf) –Click above image to read his story [who in their right mind would want to kill this guy.]

“Even as Idaho launches new and diabolical wolf-killing tactics, the neighboring state of Oregon has become a beacon of hope for wolves and other wildlife.”

(Read my previous post:  Wolves Win a Victory in Idaho)

“Recent census reports show that Oregon’s wolf population is growing…Oregon is becoming a leading light in the practice of non-lethal strategies for keeping wolves and livestock apart. Wolves are dispersing farther westward and are now residing in the Umatilla National Forest and under the watch of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.”  (To me, this sounds a little as if Oregon is pushing off their wolf problem onto the Indians; however, maybe, the Indians are better equipped to handle the problem.)


“Oregon’s most famous lone wolf, OR-7, continues to make news as he wanders along both sides of the California border!”  (OR-7 spotted with coyotes in California–read story.)  This guy gets around.

Wolves and coyotes can interbreed, something like how Neanderthals and Homo sapiens were able into interbreed.

Quotes from 
Defenders of Wildlife Magazine

Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective

These are two photos (below and header photo) that I took in Paris in 1983. I was looking at the boats parked along the Seine from the perspective of through the tunnel.  My idea was to use the tunnel like a frame for the boats–like.  I don’t know who the heads are of.  If anyone knows, please inform.


A hand-tinted black and white photo.   It was a rainy day which is why the pavement looks wet.

Followup: The Snowy Owl Being Saved at JFK Airport.

“…The Greatest Snowy Owl explosion in half a century has descended on the Eastern United States…” Audubon Magazine (March-April 2014)

snowy owl

Click on photo to go to the Audubon Magazine web site. If you become an Audubon member, you automatically receive their magazine (6 times a year), which is beautiful. On the left side of my blog is a link to becoming a member.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled The Snowy Owl Being Saved at JFK Airport.  The March/April issue of Audubon Magazine has a story about the snowy owl invading the east coast.

The article says how much the owls like airports because the runways (especially when snow and ice covered) remind them of the tundra where they are originally from.  This causes a problem for airports and flights taking off, and, obviously, a result of the arctic vortex this winter.

Three owls were killed at JFK before, because of public demand, the airport’s trap and relocate policy went into affect.  (if it keeps getting warmer in the Arctic Circle and colder on the East Coast, maybe the penguins will move down here.)

I don’t think this issue would  be getting this much attention if the owls weren’t so adorable.