Resolutions

Okay, we’re back. Yes, I know I’ve said that before, but this time should — hopefully — be different. Welcome to 2016, and welcome (or welcome back) to The First 10,000.

Every new year, I’m usually in the habit of making resolutions. I’m going to lose weight, quit smoking, write a book… name it, and at one time or another, I’ve probably resolved to do it. And failed. So this year, I’m making one resolution that I know I can — and will — keep.

Create something.

That’s all. No more, no less.

I’m not even quite sure what it’s going to be when it’s done, but by this time next year, I will hopefully have figured it out. Hopefully as that process unfolds and as I get back into the day-to-day of photography, you’ll be along for the ride. If you’re a past reader, thanks for coming back. And if you’re new here, welcome! Let’s see what comes next, shall we?

Hurricane Sandy Resources

Asbury Park, April 2012

As I promised last night, here are some resources for those dealing with, or wishing to help in, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

(Updated 11/4/12; more updates likely to follow)

First of all, if you need help:

Federal Government Websites: http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Weather/Hurricane/sandy.shtml Information portal for states effected by Sandy http://www.fema.gov/sandy (FEMA’s dedicated Sandy page) http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes?qt-view__field_tabs_view__default__166=2 (Post-hurricane tips)

State Government Websites:

http://www.ready.nj.gov/ (New Jersey) http://www.governor.ny.gov/ (New York) http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/site/default.asp (Connecticut)

GAS (NJ): http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/11/where_to_gas_up_a_list_of_open.html

Google Maps has an interactive map that’s filled with information on storm damage, power outages, gas availability, and quite a lot more. You can find it here: http://google.org/crisismap/2012-sandy

On the other hand, if you’d like to help, the White House’s blog has some suggestions here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/10/31/how-help-survivors-hurricane-sandy

If you’d rather go it alone, here are a few suggestions:

Start by reading this great primer from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR): http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Resources/News-Stories/2012/October/How-To-Help-Do-This-Not-That

There is now a Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, the website for which is https://sandynjrelieffund.org/index.html

Shore Helpers is another nifty resource I’ve come across that seeks to connect those who want to help with those who need it: http://www.shorehelpers.com/

Donate. If it’s a national charity like the American Red Cross, they may have procedures in place to ensure your donation goes where you’d like; if you’re not sure, ask, and don’t be shy about making your wishes clear. If it’s something tangible — food or clothing, for example — call in advance to find out what’s needed. This can vary widely based not only on geography, but also on what the organizations on the ground already have stockpiled, or have already received. They may well be up to their ears in canned goods but short on toiletries, for instance; a tube of Colgate may go much farther than a can of soup.

Also find out if your employer will match your donations, either by percentage or in full. If they do, what you give will be multiplied that much more. If they don’t, consider donating online or by text message. The funds will often be available much faster to organizations much faster than they would’ve been if you’d sent a check.  And don’t forget smaller, often local organizations. Some of these, naturally, will be providing disaster assistance. Others may have missions not related to Sandy at all, but they’ll still need your help. People are unfailingly generous when disaster strikes, but often the donations flow to larger, better-known organizations at the expense of smaller ones, while organizations that aren’t doing disaster-related work often get hit hard at times like this because the money’s flowing elsewhere.

And since we’re all (or mostly) photographers here, use your talents to get the word out, along with visuals. Idealist.org is a good starting point to network with charities and NGO’s in your area, as is your nearest Red Cross or United Way chapter. I’ve also seen a couple of dedicated photo charities spring up in the wake of Sandy, and I’m in the process of researching those now (as well as reaching out to some established photo charities to see what they may have in the pipeline). If you’re short on time but would like to donate money, be sure to check Charity Navigator first.

In either case, do your due diligence; you want your time, your money and your talent put to their best use, rather than being wasted.

Questions, comments, suggestions, or further resources? Let me know in the comments section, below.

Site update, and a few words on Sandy…

 

Point Pleasant Beach, July 4, 2012

The aftermath of Sandy has left me sans internet access for the time being, which means that there’s a lot in the queue that… well, is going to remain in the queue for the time being.

Right now, however, that’s the least of my worries. In contrast to Irene last year, the area where I live now has gotten off relatively easily. Trees down, power outages, gas lines reminiscent of the ’70’s, but nothing major, and certainly nothing compared to the catastrophic flooding and damage seen hereabouts this time last year.

I wish that I could say the same of my hometown, and much of the rest of the Jersey shore. Large sections of Brick, Point Pleasant, Seaside Heights, Mantoloking, Asbury Park, LBI, and several other towns up and down the coast have either been severely damaged, or altered beyond recognition. The photos that’ve trickled across my newsfeed are heartbreaking enough; I’m afraid of what it’s going to look like once I’ve had the chance to go back and wander the places I grew up.

In the days ahead, once I’m back on line, I’ll be sharing resources for those who need help, and also for those who’d like to pitch in. This being a photography blog, I’ll be looking for opportunities for photographers to do what they do best, and pitch in where we can. If you know of, or are affiliated with, photo charities involved in the relief effort, please contact me (thefirst10000 at gmail.com)

For my friends, family, and neighbors back home on the shore, hang in there as best you can. My thoughts and prayers, however inadequate, are with all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Whose turn is it to bring the toast and jellybeans this year?

I’m going to step away from photography for a moment here, partly because a turkey, several pounds of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and other stuff will soon be calling my name. But I’d also be remiss if I didn’t wish you a happy Thanksgiving, wherever you may be. I’m grateful to those of you who’ve read, commented, and helped out… some of you since before the launch of this site.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for some time with the family — for whom I’m thankful most of all. We’ll be continuing with our regular irregularity here on The First 10,000 tomorrow.

— PB