2017 – The best photos of the year

20.5 Girls

This girl was a full block away when I saw her from my living room. I have no idea why she was in that spot, but as she moved/danced/gyrated: click, click, click, click……..21 times. Her last move was to walk behind a building that half-blocked her when I hit the shutter and that’s where the 0.5 comes from.



It must cost a LOT of money to see how fast your heater is if they have to put an ATM next to it.



In the 2011 post, there’s a shot of a gray-haired woman carrying boxes and the caption says that she was the inspiration for Jimi Hendrix’ hit, “Boxy Lady”.

I think she has some serious competition:



13 Food/Drink-related photos/composites:




In 1967 or 1968, I was on 42nd St in Manhattan (near 8th Ave.) one evening when I saw someone being mobbed on the sidewalk. It was Muhammad Ali signing autographs!

The only thing I had on me with a flat writable surface was my good old Little Black Book (Volume 4!) in my back pocket. I couldn’t even see Ali when I stuck my arm in the mob’s midst, but the LBB was taken from my hand and put back in it a couple of seconds later and the left page was the result. He had changed his name from Cassius Clay in 1964 and the new name still hadn’t stuck with most of us yet, so that’s why I wrote the note on the right page (and misspelled “Muhammad”).

I had misplaced the LBB and had been looking for it for a long time when I found it in early 2017, so I took a picture in case I lose it again.



At first, I thought this guy was wearing a partially-colorful shirt, but he appears to be using a vintage folding hand fan – something I’ve NEVER seen anyone do in the municipal parking lot:



Above an overexposed moon is a plane that just took off from LaGuardia Airport in NY. Having used a slow shutter speed, I would expect some blurring, but I have no idea how it got that corkscrew look:



This is a piece of art near the entrance to Hackensack Hospital:



I’ve heard of the Red Hat Society, so I’m guessing that this is an offshoot for kids?



Forced child labor:



Sun reflections? One faces east and one faces west…………….maybe they’re communicating:



Flo from Progressive Insurance visits Bogota, NJ (Flogota?):



Three horses visit the back of my building:



American Kestrel – the smallest raptor (on my roof):



Two new luxury towers have recently been constructed right by the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, NJ – The Modern 1 and The Modern 2 (both are screaming for nouns to modify).

1 is closest to the bridge and is occupied and 2 is neither. However, most of this year saw it acquire a skin. The pictures within the dual image were taken 28 days apart in July (1st and 29th). If you have good eyesight, you might be able to count the number of additional floors covered during that period.

There are a couple of November pictures that show 2 fully covered.



The invasion of the red camera phones (and why is that guy taking a picture of me taking a picture of him?):



New Jersey-style cattle rustling:



Sun-block for Mom:



There was extensive water pipe replacement work for a couple of months right in front of my building that gave me an interesting shooting perspective: shooting straight down from 7 floors up (though I DID walk around the area for a couple of the shots):



I don’t think I’ve ever seen a complete hydrant – including all the below-ground stuff before – let alone FOUR brand-new ones together:



And here’s where one of them wound up: it gives the appearance of double-protection for the church………at least for a little while:



Wow – a whole bunch of something-or-others right at my front door:



Parking was a bit problematic out front:



Down in a hole (any AIC fans out there?):



Usually, there are just cryptic numbers and lines scrawled on the street that I can’t decipher, so I’ll go downstairs/outside and ask questions. One day, I saw – right below my shooting perch – what appeared to be semi-readable…………a sort of “what” and even “WHEN” (never saw THAT before). Was that for me?

Whatever it was, that’s what they did on Thursday:



And look! Our building got its first bathroom out of the deal!



This Ecuadorian procession usually takes place on New Year’s Day, but they added one this year on September 30. I don’t know why they did that, but when I see something like this coming down my street, I shoot first and ask questions later (I still haven’t gotten around to the asking part yet):



I saw this group of fish crows on the roof of a building a block away, looking like they were about to take off en masse.

Sure enough…………



School buses:



There was an identical truck from the same company behind this one and from the looks of this picture, it just exploded (and if you believe THAT……..):



Speaking of destruction, the Oritani Field Club – a 90 year-old, revered building in Hackensack – was torn down in April to make room for a luxury residential project. These are a couple of the pictures I took, but if you’d like to see a much more extensive look at the demolition – including a video I took from the roof of the Johnson Public Library across the street – go here:


Photo-stitch (you know what to do):



Where all those quarters go:



You don’t want the concrete to catch fire now, do you?



If the clock can be redundant, so can I:



I took ONE step towards these geese and they all took off (bottom). Three seconds later, I took the top pic:



I saw these boxes about a third of a block away (and 7 floors down), but couldn’t tell what they said, so I zoomed in and found that they had contained diapers. NINE SECONDS LATER – as I was about to take a second shot – a parking SUV just crunched them, even though there were quite a few empty spaces on either side of this space. It looked quite sadistic.

Almost two hours later (and with a different SUV in the space), I could see what the first one had done while he/she was thinking of his/her own kids and all the diapers that had been changed.

I wouldn’t want to be THAT parent’s kid.






I’m guessing that the toddler wasn’t familiar with the concept of high-fiving. I stopped shooting because it looked like it was about to turn violent.



This is the only girl I’ve ever seen who put fidget spinners in her hair – trend-setter? Probably not, as I’ve never seen another since then (May 2017), though there are lots of YouTube vids showing girls curling their hair with them:



In October 2011, I shot a live raptor show in Alpine, NJ. Six years later, I returned to do it again. I took lots more pictures than what I’m showing here. Once again, it was put on by Bill Streeter of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center.

The pix:

Bill gets an earful from a peregrine falcon:


He walks through the audience with the same bird:


This is a Saw-whet owl – the smallest owl. I guess that this is an example of owl photographic red-eye, but I made no effort to correct it – it’s kinda cool-looking, no?


A Golden Eagle:



Forty days and forty nights after my birthday, a slightly-deflated Happy Birthday balloon floated upstairs to my apartment. I sent it straight back down.



I had to go food-shopping on Halloween and then decided to visit Hackensack’s semi-famous Halloween street, Clinton Place, where almost every house goes all-out with extreme and imaginative Halloween decorations (go to Google Images and check out Clinton Place Halloween).

A Halloween greeting from the cart-collector guy in the supermarket parking lot:



Some of the sights on Clinton Place:


How to assure that your house gets TP’d (or worse):



A PUNK CLOUD! (Hey – it’s got a Mohawk):



36 minutes later in the same part of the sky (Hey – it’s got a sundog!):



On the road to a family reunion on Long Island of 9 cousins from 7 states, I (as a passenger) took the top picture while heading east on 295 before bending south to get on the Throgs Neck Bridge.

Once I was on that bridge’s approach (and before the green signs), I turned to my right (looking west) to shoot the not-too-distant (and sort of parallel) Bronx-Whitestone Bridge (bottom pic). Both bridges – as you can see in the last image – cross the East River from Queens to the Bronx and can bring you right to Rt 95, which goes straight to the George Washington Bridge and NJ.

The shot shows a different view – the east side of Manhattan – than what I normally see. I had one shot to get it all in.

I’m happy with it.



Forget getting close to these guys. Fish crows (smaller than regular crows and sound more like a duck) usually fly away if they so much as SEE me 100 feet away.

This one didn’t seem to care one way or another, so I got lots of interesting shots from different angles. These two are my favorites:



I took these two shots in my living room about a month apart. In the first one, you can see a framed shot that I featured in the 1985 post that may be one of the best non-music shots I’ve ever taken.

On the left is the lead–off shot in the 2008 post – the former Keef Leafe (see 1998 post to make any sense out of that). He’s standing by the front entrance to my apartment.

When I come in that door, I slip my shades onto his jacket. You can sorta make them out in that first pic, but they figure prominently in the second one, where they reflect back into the main part of the living room (the flat-screen is in both images).

I really like the composition of that second pic.




The sun was too high in the sky and none of my still or video cameras were capable of shooting directly into a bright sun (why don’t they schedule these things closer to sunset? ). I suppose I could have gotten a piece of filter to hold in front of the camera like some of my neighbors did, but I didn’t because I thought I had one. Obviously, I didn’t.

When it became apparent that I wouldn’t be able to get a good shot of the sun at the time of maximum eclipse – 2:44pm – I decided to get a shot of other people who may have done just that.

Half a block away were some people in the street who seemed to have a small piece of filter. One enterprising duo appeared to team up: I think one was holding the filter over the other’s camera lens and perhaps got the shot at exactly 2:44pm:


Seven minutes later, I got my ONE shot of the eclipse, thanks to the filter of…………CLOUDS:


There WAS one sequence I captured that seemed to provide a bit of levity………..I think. After taking a photo, a woman who was a block away appears to be looking through a homemade telescope that seems to have started out as a cardboard center from an elephant’s roll of toilet paper:

The middle bottom image shows that the “glass” end looks to be as white as the sides. Is this a prop? And what is she looking at? She’s aiming in almost every direction except where the sun is. Look at her shadow going to the left. The sun would be directly to the right.

All 6 pictures were taken at 2:43 and 2:44. If she’s faking it, why do it at the moment of totality? If this was a functioning telescope, why did she never once look toward the star of the show (and the literal star of our solar system)?

Though the shoot felt like a failure for most of my time on the roof, I DID get an eclipse shot, a shot of someone else (hopefully) capturing the event at totality and a bizarrely odd group of images of a brilliant/crazy woman (take your pick) who made me laugh.



I look out my east-facing living room window every day to gaze upon the north-south Hackensack River, which happens to have an east-west bend (Kipp’s Bend) directly in line with where I live. This gives me a wider “expanse” of the river to view that most other local people with an eastern view. I’ve treasured (and photographed) this view for 30 years.

But it’s scheduled to vanish soon.

That two-story building that you see in the lower left of the first picture – along with nearly a block of other buildings – will be demolished sometime in 2018. In its place will be a five-story residential building that will entirely wipe out my view of the river (and Chicken Supreme in the second image – horrors!).

I am but one man who rents an apartment, so I have no say in the matter. Besides, it’s progress and part of the city’s master rehabilitation plan. As an historian, I understand and appreciate that. I’m lucky that I got to photograph it and enjoy it for three decades.

Anyway, here are two 2017 shots that involve the river and the sun coloring it, though the second one doesn’t show the sun because it has just risen and is out of the frame:



On nice Sunday mornings, I go out on the roof to read the paper………..NOT on my iPad, but rather an actual, physical newspaper (unless it’s windy). I position the chaise right by the door and the edge of the roof, so I have a very wide view of the sky and half of Hackensack. My camera sits next to me, ready to capture whatever my peripheral vision notices while reading.

Sort of surrounding me is the old metal framework for a shade canopy that existed many tenants ago. For some reason, that framework also draws attention from flying things with stingers, like bees, wasps, and the like, but they never bother me.

They’ll land on it, walk around, fly off, rinse and repeat. Since I’m RIGHT THERE with a BIG ZOOM LENS, I try to capture a few closeups.

On this particular morning, I got a head-on shot of some cute little thing that seemed to be staring at me. It might have been a bee, but I couldn’t see its body to properly identify it.

Fifty minutes later and four feet to the right, I happened to get a shot of a black waspy-looking creature, but it wasn’t until I saw the image enlarged on my computer screen that I noticed that it appeared to be on top of a smaller creature.

I just hope that the bottom being wasn’t that cute little thing in the first picture. If it was, I’m naming the upper creature Roy Moore, in “honor” of the US Senate hopeful from Alabama, who also liked cute young things.



Here’s a first: a young girl attempts a sidewalk handstand and then dives into the front seat of a car through the passenger-side window – a shot that I think works well with the third picture.

As I understand it, it has something to do with an aversion to germy door handles:



These two shots were taken at the beginning and end of the Alpine, NJ, live raptor show I wrote about earlier. The event took place at the Alpine Lookout, just off the Palisades Interstate Parkway (the PIP), high atop the Palisades (and above the Hudson River). This is about as far north as you can go on the PIP before you enter Rockland County, NY.

The views are magnificent, so before the show, I took a photo upriver of something I had shot before, but is now in transition: the Tappan Zee Bridge, which connects Rockland County with Westchester County.

In the picture, the (lower, nearer) bridge is being replaced by the taller-towered bridge, which is named for former NY governor, Mario Cuomo. The new name is not popular and legislation has been introduced to go back to the old name.

Meanwhile, I have a chance here to capture both bridges before the old one is torn down:

After the show, I decided to attempt a long (9 images) photo stitch (click, click, scroll). These are not easy to line up properly – especially hand-held – but luck was with me that day.

Ideally, this would have reached between the Tappan Zee and the George Washington Bridge – a distance of maybe 18 miles (? – online guesses vary from 14 to 21, but those were all driving distances, not as the crow flies……….or the boat sails).

In any event, it would be pretty cool to get that shot……….and I would have except for that piece of the Palisades on the far right. If you enlarge the picture, you can see some midtown Manhattan buildings and those are about 7 miles PAST the GWB, so it’s easy to speculate where that bridge would be in this photo, were it not for the cliff.

(You buyin’ this?)


I found these party animals in my apartment two months apart.

This first one seems like a pretty cool guy who brought along his own color-coordinated party streamers:


The second one drank WAY too much and acted out this song to the extreme (or maybe the dopey visuals did him in):




Originally, all the best shots of the 12,500 or so photos I took in 2017 were placed in folders by month. Those that had stories, used multiple images or required explanation were separated out and posted above, but many remain in the monthly folders.

Here they are and they are all posted sequentially to the minute:




(I liked both of these):



Beavis and Butt-head pose for my new camera:

(though I usually see it in color)


(It’s all about one guy’s delivery trip up a ladder)



(no comment)




(Lower buildings in NJ, tall one in NY, fog is ONLY over the Hudson River – never saw that before)


(Church next door: Palm Sunday and Easter)


(Juvenile red-tailed hawk, my bedroom A/C, windy day)



(I don’t know why, but I like this shot)


(calling for more cup holders?)




(I got the better shot – the foot on the post!)


(curved stitch from my living room: click, click, scroll)


(This is also a stitch – 2 pix (top and bottom) – and made normal size…..no clicking)



(Manhattan rainbow)


(Hackensack high-rises)


(while wearing a Lacoste crocodile shirt! – a felony in the 70s)




(is the baby rolled up in the………..?)


(LOVE the hair!)


(click, click, scroll)



(“At my baby shower, all I got was this crappy balloon, so……….”)


(looks like someone failed her parallel-parking test)






(not me – whatever he’s aiming at, I shot it already)


(I am NEVER getting old! 😉 )


(This was originally darker and I thought that was all him.)







9 George Washington Bridge images from Veterans Day, 11-11-17 (most of which can be found on the previous 2017 post)

(under the bridge)


(see the moon?)


(The new Modern 1 and 2 residential towers in Fort Lee)





(Can’t decide on the next two)



This stitch is also on the previous post. Click, click, scroll to wrap things up for this year:



I hope you enjoyed it and special thanks if you actually made it all the way through. As usual, all comments and questions are welcome.




  1. Lisa Lake January 17, 2018

    Very colorful and entertaining!! Loved looking through it all!

  2. Geri Bobay January 18, 2018

    Yes, very entertaining. You have quite the Leafe-y eye for these things! Question: What things are on the chain-link fence in the July pic with the car? That was the most intriguing.

  3. Bob Leafe January 18, 2018

    Those things on the fence were 90 bazillion car taillights. It was right next door to those concrete elephants that are shown right above them. “Leafe-y eye”? You’re either thinking of that bobleafe.com music photographer guy or you’re my sister…………….maybe both!

  4. Geri Bobay January 19, 2018

    Or, the mother of your nephew who also has the “Leafe-y eye”! (Really, we always call it that.)

  5. Bob Leafe January 19, 2018

    Well, despite it sounding like an unsightly affliction, I’m honored. BTW, there was actually a band from the Philippines by that name (https://soundcloud.com/leafy-eye – they recently changed it to something even worse). Next subject.

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