I drove down to the shore house to enjoy it for one more night this year and then to drain its bodily fluids for winter. What a pleasure driving down the island at 45 mph through blinking traffic lights. No wonder the locals resent our summer arrival with its return of traffic lights and lower speed limits. The sky was overcast with broken clouds so no dramatic sunset but it was pleasant to have a couple drinks in front of the gas logs as they brought the house from its winter thermostat setting of 50°. The near-full moon asserted itself through the spotty clouds and I kicked myself for not having brought my long lens.
Later, a good dinner at the Engleside and a good night’s sleep which Pearl ended at 7:30. Not bad. The day seemed gray. At first I thought the window was just dirty but when I cracked the sliding door I saw that the fog was on its way.
Later it began to thicken up.
At the boat landing, however, there was a bright spot. These marigolds have dodged the frosts so far. I wished them well.
I enjoyed one of my favorite breakfasts at Fred’s Diner and learned that they’ll close in two more weeks. They weren’t busy so we could chat a little. He said that Sandy’s waters a year ago reached the tops of his booth tables. That’s scary. The town looks as though it has recovered and it has been functional but there are still closed shops and homes that are sad shells. The town really closes down though I know that several merchants will stay open through Christmas, and a handful even beyond. Uncle Will’s and Buckalews will continue as oases till next season. My year round friends down there will survive though some will surreptitously slip away to Florida for a few weeks.
After breakfast the fog was becoming thicker so I set off down Bay avenue to Holgate. On the way I passed these tidal ponds in the marshes.
Further down at the end of Bay Avenue at the entrance to the wildlife refuge the foggy waves were more interesting.
At this time of year pickups and vans are permitted to drive onto the refuge beach for fishing. Here, one just passed me and another can be dimly seen ahead of it.
A surf fisherman was working three rods in front of me.
And this seagull was working the fisherman.
My last photo trip to Vermont was four years ago. The itch was itchy. I googled Vermont photo tours and serendipitously found Kurt Budliger Photography offering an early October tour in the more northern part of the state. This was appealing as I’ve done plenty of touring down in the Weston-Chester area and below. Budliger’s landscape images have a dreamlike quality so it’s no surprise that he’s part of the Dreamscapes team which includes Ian Plant, Joe Rossbach, and Richard Bernabe, with all of whom I’ve enjoyed previous productive workshops. So, into the saddle and off to the great northland.
I joined eight others at a nice Comfort Inn in the countryside outside of Montpelier, which served as our base. We left early each morning to see the sunrises that absolutely no one else had ever photographed. They would be followed by some early morning scenes before the sun became too harsh. Then back to the inn for lunch, a rest, and afternoon classwork before setting out again for sunsets and twilight photography. The classroom emphasis was on composition ideas and post-processing. I learned things in both categories. Deep sigh: I keep thinking I know what I need to know but along comes someone like Kurt, and suddenly there’s a couple of those “Why didn’t that occur to me?” things.
For me, the above was our best sunrise location (Marshfield Pond). It was still quite gray when we got there and the fog was rolling in from the pond. It was somewhat surreal; my mood was excited but in awe of what I was seeing. I was so moved that I captured some video to better convey the mood. (Please, no comments about watching grass grow; rather, think how you’d be feeling in such a setting.)
Not all of our sunrises were so dramatic but they were at least peaceful, quieting, tranquil. Here the boats await the day ahead on Seyon Pond.
After our sunrise experiences we were guided to other locations to enjoy the scene as the day’s light evolved through the mists. One such spot was Ricker Pond.
I then hiked out on the above peninsula and was rewarded with lots of dewy spider webs. I wish the leaf hadn’t been there or that I had pre-processed by snipping that twig but that’s nature.
Just as we had early morning shoots, so did we have pre-sunset shoots on the way to a sunset location. Among these was Moss Glen Falls on Route 100 north of Granville. I had photographed this with Joe Rossbach in 2009 and had told Kurt that, having been there, I wasn’t keen on returning. But, his workshop so back we went. I was astounded at how large it had become as my four year old memory was of a rather unimpressive scene. Wow! I was glad we had returned to it.
Sunsets were also lovely. They induce mixed reactions. One is the warm power of the scene. Another is the primitive feeling of one’s own mortality: day is ending, darkness comes. This image is of Lake Champlain from Oak Ledge just outside of Burlington. It also brought back memories of piloting our rented houseboat on the lake years ago with my then two pre-teeners taking tricks at the wheel; of late afternoon anchoring and swimming, leaping from the roof of the boat; and cozying in for the night after a Marty Lou dinner.
The glow from a sunset can also result in some powerful non-sky-sun images as in this case. Note the rock alligator emerging at right from the grasses. Careful!
We finished the workshop on a hillside above Peacham, founded in 1776. Here we are in the fog again, waiting for some sign of the valley, and photographing whatever appeared with some promise.
It was here that I bid my new friends and colleagues goodbye. On the way down the hillside, however, I passed the cattle on the farm below, ambling out to pasture in the mists.
It was a splendid workshop, and I brought home some of the best images I’ve done in recent years.
Ricketts Glen is a 13,000 acre Pennsylvania state park west of Scranton and north of Bloomsburg, about 30 driving miles easterly from Eagles Mere. It features some 22 named waterfalls along Kitchen Creek which flows down the Allegheny Front escarpment. I’ve heard about it over the years as a photographic destination, always with the caveat that it’s physically demanding. Our South Jersey Camera Club field trip co-chairs, Pat W. and Larry L, decided to schedule it for a field trip, and drove out there to scout it out. Based on that visit their plan was to leave a couple of cars at the bottom of the trail so that we could avoid having to climb the 953′ back to the entrance lot. Good thinking.
SInce it was a four hour drive there they decided to spread the trip over three days in order to be able to spend a full day in the park. The first day would take us to some covered bridges en route which Larry and Pat had discovered. The group left very early the first day and headed for the bridge country. With age my enthusiasm for such early starts has diminished so I left later after a pleasant breakfast and civilized early morning. Using Larry’s lat-long coordinates I arrived precisely at the first bridge which was in the middle of a pleasant nowhere. I enjoyed the bridge on my own but it being late morning the sun was not helpful…lots of glare and bright spots especially from its aluminum roof. I worked around and came up with this which I liked.
I moved on and came upon the rest of the group (nine colleagues) trying to make lemonade out of the bright sun at the second bridge. This property, adjacent to the covered bridge, was more interesting than the bridge, and was more workable in the bright light.
We then headed off to our intended lodging to rest up before trying some sunset and night shooting. Arrangements had been made at the Crestmont Inn at Eagles Mere, PA. My family and I had stayed in the original 1899 inn in the sixties. Besides the mountain trails and the swimming beach one could also join in Sunday night hymn sings in the parlor (no TV so no Ed Sullivan). The old inn deteriorated in the 70′s and was torn down in 1982, to be replaced by a structure of condominium residences. Two of the original out-buildings were then converted into suites and dining rooms which we enjoyed for two nights.
After recuperating from covered bridge stress we headed out to High Knob in the Loyalsock State Forest to shoot the sunset. The night was clear and that doesn’t make for dramatic sunsets but the colors and cloud forms were still beautiful. (Tech note to colleagues: this was made more dramatic by under exposure.)
When the residue of twilight was gone we looked to shoot the Milky Way as colleagues of ours had done the previous week in the Adirondacks. This was disappointing as it just wasn’t dark enough to have the Milky Way jump out at us. But…good practice. I do have a shot of the Big Dipper should anyone have forgotten what it looks like. We returned to the inn where the innkeeper had arranged to provide us with a fine late supper.
The next morning the rest of the group felt it absolutely necessary to get to the Glen early. First, I enjoyed the innkeeper’s delicious breakfast and then headed off to join them which I did when they were about one-third down into the Glen. But, here’s where not staying with the group almost added to my work for the day. They had told me there was a “left” trail and a “right” trail, and the left was the easier and even had steps along it. So, I marched out of the parking lot and took the trail on the left, marked Highland Trail. On the trail I stopped and chatted with a ranger who was working on signs. He advised me that there were no waterfalls on the Highland Trail, but shortly after that there was a marked shortcut to the Glen Leigh trail along the falls where I caught up with the group. Here is typical of what we encountered over the rest of the hike.
This video will give you a better perspective on the falls at almost each level.
The trail? Hmmm, THE TRAIL! The “left” or groomed or easier trail was a 4.4 mile hike. I never did that even when I was a boy scout. It was steep, narrow, rutted with rocks and roots, and slippery from damp mud and wet leaves. As promised there were a few steps here and there: steep, high risers, narrow, no railings, and also slippery. I kept hoping that the next turn would lead to the down escalator. I would frequently see my colleagues far below and wonder when we would get to the bottom, hopefully not having slid to there. In many narrow sections I wound up holding on to branches or even to tree roots exposed along the side of the narrow ledges. My tripod served as a vital walking stick. One place was so narrow that they had even installed a 2×10 edging plank. I don’t know what it would have stopped. Here’s another example. The log wasn’t part of the trail but the trail, right next to this flow, wasn’t much better.
This went on for much of the 953′ of elevation down which we climbed, with “flat” trails only up at the entrance and down at the end. Here and there among the vegetation was something to compete visually with the falls, thriving on the constant moisture and dappled light.
Difficult, slippery, scary, dangerous but lots of dramatic beauty.
Still the engineer at heart I calculated that I had lost some 185,000 foot-pounds of energy in climbing down through the Glen. Conversely, I would have had to expend that much energy to hike back up. I deferred to the waiting automobiles.
As usual, glad I did it; glad it’s over.
I was awakened by a deluge of rain on the roof while sunlight was creeping around the blinds. Waddup widdat? Well, there was cloud cover (just over my house?) but sun seen around the perimeter. There was, however, more cloud cover and more rain on the way.
Later, after the rain but while it was still threatening, it was an excellent time to (as Thoreau urged) walk about, not to and fro. Here’s Bob’s boat, hoping to get out again in the fall.
Then there’s old Sultan, up on blocks for years, now, probably anxious to get out there but, sadly, not going to make it.
The clouds, broken here and there, making for great reflections.
An empty slip. Nikki must be out in this weather, working his traps.
My Knockout Roses after the rain. A pleasure to see them since almost a year ago they were under four feet of salt water.
As I mentioned in my essay on my Photography Phunk, part of my cure was to get off the beach and on the road to practice my craft. I decided to head up along the western side of the Hudson River and see what I could find. My first stops were on Bear Mountain, a first visit for me and well worthwhile. I drove to the peak (because it’s there) but diverted to this overlook on Seven Lakes Drive on the way down. On the left of the panorama is the Bear Mountain Bridge crossing the Hudson River.
The panorama was made from five separate images taken using my wide angle lens in a vertical or portrait position. This had been suggested to me a couple of times over the years and I finally remembered it while at a location. When combining images into a panorama one almost always loses some of the top and bottom of the images. Shooting vertically gives more image to start with such that the final panorama still has a lot of the scene. Because I was shooting downward there was distortion in the synthesized result which I corrected in Photoshop.
I then headed north to West Point. To my surprise they would let me drive through but they wanted to search my car first. It was full of vacation and camera gear and I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. “What’s on the flash cards, sir?” We toured it years ago when we took our boat up the Hudson. We were allowed to tie up over night at the West Point excursion boat pier but it turned out to be a mixed blessing as the Conrail freight tracks run right past the pier and there was a lot of thundering, pier-shaking traffic all night.
Continuing, then, I drove through Storm King State Park from which the image below of the Hudson was made along Route 218, the Storm King Highway. The road continues and rises to the flat top of the knob on the left.
Thence to Highland, NY. There I drove down Mile High Road and then along River Road to Mariner’s On The Hudson. Here, the gulls and I enjoyed this view of two bridges crossing the Hudson. The farther one is the FDR Mid-Hudson Bridge which carries traffic to Poughkeepsie. The nearer one is the Walkway Over The Hudson. This is an abandoned 1.28 mile railroad bridge maintained as a pedestrian park by a non-profit organization, and managed by NYS Parks.
I continued north and arrived at Saugerties late in the day. I had read of waterfalls along the Esopus River as it headed to the Hudson. I found and photographed them, and a couple of samples will appear in my gallery of this trip. The next morning I headed northwest on route 32, branching to the west on 23A. This was familiar territory as Denise Bush has run field trips in this world for many years. One frequent photo op was always Bastion Falls, a part of the Kaaterskill falls system which also head to the Hudson. As much as I’ve photographed it I decided that if no one else was there, I would be. They weren’t and I was. It was a pleasure to move about without restraint and to try different angles. Here’s my favorite.
My reverie was broken by the voice of a highway department man advising me to move or have my car tarred in place. Well, what would you have done? Off then on 23A west to turn south on 42 under the cloud cover which was being caught on the Catskill peaks. At the turn onto 42 is the village of Lexington where I found an interesting old inn.
Our group has photographed the old Cold Spring House in the Catskills many times. This inn is not nearly as large but it’s architecturally charming. Note the tiny non-functional balconies, the fretwork topping the porch roof posts, the balustrade supported by the posts, and the brackets and dentil molding supporting the roof. Considering its age and condition I chose to use Silver Efex’s Antique Plate to tone the image.
I continued along 42 and turned on to another small village called West Kill which looked interesting. The sign at the Baptist Church asked where I wanted to be in eternity: Smoking or non-smoking? As I continued on this road I passed what I recognized as Smokey’s barn (insider reference) and realized I was on Spruceton Road along which the groups had traveled on past field trips. (More images in the gallery.) As Spruceton Road dead ends at a one mile trail to Diamond Notch Falls I opted to turn around. I continued northeast through 1770 Rensaleerville (images in the gallery) with its blue stone slab sidewalks, old mill, and a beautiful 1786 Federal style home in pristine condition. I settled in for the night at a 40′s style cabin near my morning destination, Ausable Chasm.
Ausable Chasm was formed over thousands of years beginning as the last ice age retreated. It’s a two mile path thru which the Ausable River moves to Lake Champlain. The privately owned and maintained facilities (excellent, by the way) are located on Route 9 near Keeseville, NY. My family went through it sometime in the 60′s. I had gone back a few years ago but decided I wasn’t up to the physical challenge. This time I decided to give it a go, and I’m glad I did.
The first mile is a trail cut into the side of the chasm with the occasional bridge to cross over a gap. Next, one may opt for a bus back to the entrance or elect to take one of the rafts down the rapids. So, what the hell. My estate is in order so down I went for a one mile ride. I’ve been in much worse rapids, and, though I was the old dude in the raft, it was fun. Small world: one of my co-riders had been a waitress at Braddock’s Tavern in Medford.
Early the next morning, after a cholesterol-filled local breakfast of creamed chipped beef over scrambled eggs I headed for Lake Placid. This is a favorite destination which I’ve visited four times. I just wish it were closer. The past three times I’ve stayed at a motel on Paradox Bay which opens to Lake Placid. Interestingly, the village of Lake Placid is on Mirror Lake which doesn’t open to Lake Placid. That’ll win you a beer in some trivia contest. My principal capture here was another panorama from the 4867′ high top of Whiteface Mountain. The parking area is at 4600′ and the rest is via a tunnel to an internal elevator. On the right below is Lake Placid.
Twilight from the lawn in front of the motel and on Paradox Bay can be lovely. That’s Whiteface in the background.
Another day was spent in driving around the Lake Placid area. This included a visit to the Wild Center, an excellent natural history museum in nearby Tupper Lake. The day brought showers but that resulted in this gentle image of a pond adjacent to the Wild Center.
It’s clear that someone removed a week in either July or August because, suddenly, there is now only one week remaining in the summer season. Shame! Something else to blame on Sandy?
This past weekend was wonderful; in the sixties at night, and bright, clear skies and northerly winds in the daytime. But they’re a sign that someone’s bringing the check soon and I’m overdue for posting some summer snapshots.
Pearl and I still have this kind of a scene during early morning coffee on Grampa’s deck. Near, in the copse on Mordecai Island is the Great Blue Heron which seeks out that spot for the early morning sun. Awakening, four and a half miles away, is Tuckerton Beach.
We continued the post-Sandy cleanup. My son-in-law, Bob, has worked hammer and tong to replace the wallboard in the flooded first floor, and he has done so with a half-height surface of beach-ey beadboard. Looks nice. Outside, Sigrid worked to clean the planting beds and prune the Crepe Myrtles. We were delighted to see them come into bloom. I had to protect the rambler roses, however, as the sense was that they should be torn out. They must have heard that because they yielded beautiful blooms.
Paddle boarding has become popular both off of the beach and, more so, in the bay waters. I see these groups and singles going by frequently. Once there was a solo with his dog on the bow of the board. Here it looks as though the babysitter didn’t show this morning, or is that the babysitter? Daughter Sigrid has been out a couple times, making the 1.5 mile circumnavigation of Mordecai Island.
Storms come in summer, some impressive with scary wind and lightning.
There were rainy days. The Black Pearl pirate ship sails daily from Beach Haven into the waters of Little Egg Harbor bay. This was a sad trip, however, as the heavens opened. Most of the passengers crowded the poop deck for shelter (please, that’s from the French for stern, la poupe) but some seemed to enjoy being at one with the elements.
This is the once proud Sultan, fisher of all manner of seafood, sailed by two generations of the Cotov family. Friends of ours here remember going down to the boatyard on Friday nights and buying fresh lobster right from the boat. Several years ago, the last to sail her, the late Nick Sr., was hard at work caulking and painting her on the scaffold. I asked him if he planned to launch her. He answered’ “Yep. As soon as the ocean comes cross the island she’ll go in. “ Well, Sandy came and went and I’m really surprised that Sultan didn’t go with her as there was certainly enough water under her. Here she continues to age amidst her eclectic setting, including many of her lobster traps.
On the side of the shop at the landing is this salute to Kate, wife of the first Sultan owner, Sam Cotov. Kate lived for more than a century, passing away only a few years before Nick, Sr. Young Nicky who makes his living in part from slip rentals and wholesale bait keeps the window box tended.
Finally, yes, we do have some great sunsets over Mordecai and distant Tuckerton. I was sitting in my living room recently when I noticed the warm glow of another production sunset coming through a nearby window. The stained glass panel is one I described in a May post, and can be seen further under the Stained Glass Work tab at the top of the page. Anyway, it was a serendipitous happening of warm sunset, structured clouds, reflection from the water, and the panel.
It’s been a good summer for me. The kids, their three dogs and their cat left last week to restart the off-island life. That’s always a melancholy event but….some of them are coming back. Granddaughter Maddy moved back to her second year at Cornell but granddaughter Gretchen doesn’t leave for UCLA until late in September. So, the family will be back with me in the coming weeks to share the beauty of fall’s arrival.
The second weekend of August brings the annual invitational Downbay Regatta to the sailing grounds of Little Egg Harbor Bay behind Long Beach Island. This always exciting premier sailing and social event has been hosted by the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club for many years.
Guest clubs are from along the upper Barnegat Bay sailing area, ranging from Island Heights to Bayhead. There is a social overlay but there’s also a day and a half of hard, competitive sailing amongst four fleets, the large A-cats, the more traditional B-cats, the sleek, racy E-scows, and the supple Lightnings. Above is a group of E-scows, spinnakers out and rails in the water. It is an eye-festival of color and motion.
When the scows are approaching their marks it can become dangerously crowded.
Here is some crude video to give you a sense of the sound and motion of the scene. Don’t be too harsh on me; I was shooting from my inner tube.
For many the queens of the regatta are the big A-cats. These are characterized by a single mast carried well forward in the bow of the boat, a centerboard, a long boom providing plenty of sail, a wide beam approximately half the length of the boat, a single sail, and a “barndoor” rudder. Evolving in the late 19th century they were used for fishing and transport in the coastal waters around Cape Cod, Narragansett Bay, New York and New Jersey. Their shallow draft was particularly good for Barnegat Bay waters and, with their wide hulls providing lots of carriage space, they proved to be a great work and transportation boat. The A designation was created in 1923 for a larger recreational boat design that would carry five to ten people during racing. Here are four of the five that joined us this year, Spy, Spyder, Torch and Vapor. They’re dramatic boats under sail, especially when headed downwind.
A backbone fleet of our club is that of the more traditional catboats, sometimes referred to as B-cats. They’re smaller but can be handled by one for a pleasant evening sail. Here, four of them are about to make their turn at the mark.
Another fleet that was well represented was that of the Lightning class. Handsome, here, as they race downwind with their colorful spinnakers.
Our family participated again this year. Last year granddaughter Gretchen crewed on one of the E-scows. This year she and granddaughter Maddie sailed a friend’s catboat with their friend and sailing colleague Sam as captain .
Also, daughter Sigrid got to ride on one of the A-cats, Spyder, captained by a high school friend, Tim. who invited her to fill in on Sunday. That’s Tim on the bow and Sigrid on the rail at his left. An interesting series of pictures on the construction of Spyder can be seen by clicking here.
One of our Long Beach Island symbols for many years has been the Fisherman’s Shack. More properly a hunters’ shack it was said to date from the 20′s and to have been on the marshes adjacent to Route 72 since the 50′s. It became a traditional signal that one had arrived at the beach and, passing it on the way home, a farewell to happy vacation memories. Unfortunately the years took their toll and the shack deteriorated. There were outcries for preservation, and volunteers installed interior bracing. When I last photographed it three years ago the roof was gone and the internal bracing 2×4′s could be seen.
I had photographed it earlier in 2005 when its character was still on display.
The 2005 winter image became the basis for a Christmas Card, and many prints of it have since been sold at craft/art shows.
There have been hundreds of Shack scenes, photographs and paintings, but only one with a Christmas Tree in a gentle winter’s night snowfall.
Well, Hurricane Sandy came and went last fall, and the Shack went with it. It was completely flattened and its timbers were disbursed to the meadows. This was a very sad event for residents and the thousands of annual visitors to LBI. A strange thing, however, happened to me this past week. I was returning to the island on a sun-filled, puffy cloud day. Held up by traffic I momentarily looked over at the Shack’s former site.
Wonder of wonders…..a phenomenon….. some weird diffraction of the sun’s rays…..a shimmering mirage. Whatever… it was briefly there and saying softly,
“Please don’t forget me.”
The waves, a sibilant roar.
The soft wind, a balm.
The warm sand, bumpy
Wheaton’s biennial International Symposium and Exhibition of Contemporary Glass was held this year on June 7th to 9th. Since 1985 Glass Weekend has brought together artists, collectors, galleries, buyers and museum curators for a three-day weekend of exhibitions, lectures, hands-on glassmaking, and demonstrations. Could a glass guy like me stay away? Not likely.
Their event center show rooms housed extensive presentations of museum quality glass vessels and sculpture, the work of artists from all over the country. Extraordinary pieces were displayed, bearing some extraordinary prices: $5,000 to $15,000 was typical but there were even pieces priced at $50,000. Here are five pieces which caught my eye.
There were visiting glass artists from the U.S. and Japan and Italy, and they performed demonstrations during the day in the Glass Studio which is the building that contains several glass furnaces and an elevated viewing area. Here’s one such artist, Beth Lipman of New York, building a base for what will be a cluster of fruits and vegetables.
I was so intrigued by this process that I thought some video would be a good addition. Here’s Beth Lipman building a base for her eventual aggregation of fruits and vegetables. A stream of assistants come up with their “gather” of molten glass which Beth adhered to her base.
I wish I had caught her cute little dance steps as she stood reheating her piece in one of the furnaces. Eventually the work was ready for annealing. Along came Dr. Tobar (a memory from Saturday afternoon serials at the 10¢ movie) to carry the work to the annealing oven.