Close Up: Niagara Falls

“So, you are going to Niagara Falls. Are you going to go over in a barrel?” was the question posed by almost everyone I told of my upcoming adventure.  Annie Edson Taylor, a 63-year-old Michigan school teacher, was the first to do it in 1901, but only after testing the waters (and the barrel) by sending her cat over first. Both survived and since then 14 more people have gone barreling over the rim.

Niagara Falls was never on my barrel list, but I found myself flying into Buffalo, New York so, why not? And yes, the two falls, American and Horsehoe, are massive and impressive. But they are also also mesmerizing. Staring into their thundering and flowing waters and the mists that rise from them is trance-inducing, like staring at a lava lamp. I allowed my video camera to stare.

Our visit was brief, an overnight on the Canadian side, but we did plan our trip to take advantage of the view, first a late lunch at Elements on The Falls, directly across from The Falls, then dinner at Watermark, high atop the Hilton, overlooking the late night light and fireworks display. Both were quite good and our US dollars made both quite affordable.

A Stroll From Minnehaha Falls to the Mississippi – Video

It is a sacred ritual, a religious experience. If you grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota as I did, you probably make the pilgrimage to Minnehaha Falls time and time again. Your parents took you there when you were a child. You had picnics there. You found a hiding place to steal a kiss with your first date, you crawled through the caves on the nearby Mississippi riverbank. Long after I left Minnesota for California, I went there to present my wife with her engagement ring. Now I’m back on our anniversary.


A Day in Sicily – Video

A video condensing a week in Sicily into a day. Starting at the fishing village of Acitrezza, in the Ionian Sea, we go to the fish market in Catania, Palermo, drift through the fog in the medieval village of Erice, to the ruins Taoramina, the ancient island of Ortigia, then sigh at the sunset in Cefalù, on the Tyrrhenian Sea. We met a few characters along the way. (Video is in 4K):