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Raptor Rapture ~ Birds of Prey of the Hudson Valley ~

Avocations come in the forms of an activity completely different from a person’s career job or an activity that comes from or is complementary to one’s life’s work. In the new exhibit which is on view June 1 through August 1 in the Mindy Ross Gallery, both forms are displayed.

Raptor Rapture ~ Birds of Prey of the Hudson Valley ~ is a magnificent visual experience of birds of prey in their natural habitats in the Hudson Valley. Photographer Steven Sachs spends endless hours going to view his subjects and then capturing images of them in the wild.  He finds that to be “very satisfying.” In addition to photographs of varying sizes, the exhibit includes many poems about birds by Diane Bliss. She acknowledges in her poetry the inspiration that birds give her. “Symbolically, especially in Celtic culture, which has influenced me as well, birds are spiritual creatures, messengers, connectors between earth (and often water) and sky, heaven or the Other World.”

Interestingly, Steven Sachs, DMD, is a respected and established dentist in Monroe. He loves, however, to be outdoors and always has his camera. “I was boating with my brother-in-law on Long Island Sound. A chance encounter with an osprey nest in 1998 got me started photographing raptors,” he mentions. “Since then I have been documenting the behaviors and the beauty of birds of prey with my photographs.”

Now, in her twenty-fifth year as a professor of English at SUNY Orange, Diane Bliss has been writing about nature “as a theme subject, a metaphor, or symbol” since her youth. Before obtaining BA and MA degrees from Hartwick College and SUNY Binghamton, respectively, she received an AAS from SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry. “Birds have shown up in a number of ways in my poetry, either as a central subject or a fleeting observation,” Bliss states. “Now as I have become a more serious but still amateur birder, these creatures of flight continue to amaze and inspire me with their variety of colors, sizes, songs, and habits,” she continues.

On Wednesday, June 28, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., a reception is scheduled for the show which loosely pairs photographs with words. The artists, photographer Sachs and poet Bliss, will discuss their avocations.  Dr. Sachs will explain his development of technique and his fascination with and documentation of raptors through photographing while Prof. Bliss will read a selection of her poems giving brief background on each.

The reception and the exhibit are free and open to the public. Gallery hours in June and July are Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.  The College is closed on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays in June and July, and on Independence Day, July 4.

The Mindy Ross Gallery is situated in the eastern section of the first floor of Kaplan Hall. Free, secure parking is available in Kaplan Hall parking garage entered at 73 First St. Questions may be directed to Cultural Affairs at (845) 341-4891/9386 or

Information is available through the website at

Event date, time and location.

Dorothy Szefc
Cultural Affairs