The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying: Manhattan, I am coming!

February 1st, 2016: On this day exactly six years ago, I packed up my rustic station wagon, placed my dying cat in the passenger seat, and set forth from Lancaster, PA to a new life in the New York City metro. Initially I stayed in Jersey City, NJ for two months before moving briefly to Brooklyn, and ultimately settling in my attic apartment in Queens later in 2010. The progress I’ve made with my professional career in the past six years has been nothing but difficult — tempered with peril and frustration — but the important thing is, I never gave up and ran back to Lancaster to stock shelves at Home Depot! For everyone who had faith in my abilities to succeed in a big city despite a lack of formal education, I thank you again!

This photo in particular was taken at night in Liberty State Park in northern New Jersey. I constructed the small Viking ship in the last week on January, then on the 31st I drove to New Jersey specifically to take this shot — as Liberty State Park was the closest I could get to the statue without taking a ferry. The park was empty at night, so along the coast I piled up some snow, placed the ship atop, and framed the photo using my vintage telephoto lens. This shot was a long exposure (30 seconds), since I used my lens’ maximum aperture of f/22 in order to have the distant statue in focus as much as possible.

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