WELCOME TO BergiesPlace, MY PHOTO JOURNAL….

…of commentary and images of places, things, or events that I’ve photographed or remembered. On the right are posts from the past few months; click on one and you’ll be taken to it.  ALL earlier posts can be found by clicking here for an alphabetical index..  if If you’d like to get an automatic email whenever I add a post, simply click under Email Subscription at the lower left. You can always unsubscribe.
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In addition to the photographs here in my posts I maintain galleries from sixteen years of shooting digitally.  They are organized by topic and can be seen by clicking here.
 

RENEWAL AT THE BEACH

While I frequently experience emotional renewal when I visit the beach, this post is not about that.  Instead, last Saturday I attended the all day Photo Beach Bash at Rehoboth Beach, DE, sponsored by the Coastal Camera Club of that area, and I came away feeling a renewed sense of excitement about my photography.  The conference was held at a boardwalk hotel so I couldn’t, of course, avoid walking the beach in the morning before the conference began.  It was the aftermath of Friday’s storm system that had brought snow, sleet and rain to the east.  There were lingering winds, and waves smashing the beach.  As you will read below I revisited this scene after the conference.

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The conference featured four noted speakers from the art:  Karen Messick spoke on Impressionism in Photography; Tony Sweet on Compelling Composition; Corey Hilz on Creative Vision; and Parish Kohanim as keynoter.

I was mesmerized by Ms. Messick.  Her emphasis was on impressionism and her work was beautiful.  Her theme was that we should work on creating compelling images.  Suggested techniques included people moving in the scene, swipes and pans, multiple image blending, and others. Had she placed only one image on the screen I could have left feeling happy and fulfilled.  It was a photograph of some wildflowers along an Interstate Highway.  The wind, however, was blowing them about and it proved hard to capture a static image.   So, she slowed her shutter speed and let the wind have its way.  Here is the result:

Copyright Karen L. Messick.  Used by permission.

Copyright Karen L. Messick. Used by permission.

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Ms. Messick was asked about her mentor or other inspiration.  Her first answer is one with which I agreed: Tony Sweet, indeed, the next speaker.  This is my third time hearing Tony Sweet and to look at his work as he discusses it, and it has always been exciting.  Tony is a low-keyed enthusiasm generator whose work and commentary are both wonderful.  A quote: “We are making images, not just taking  them.”  His earlier careers:  a jazz drummer and a professional magician; life’s rhythms and the magic are now in his photographs.  Some key phrases from my notes:  get low for drama, isolate and simplify, create separation to emphasize the primary subject, work your subject, frame within a frame, move around the scene.

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PARISH KOHANIM

Mr. Kohanim spoke last for the day but had been headlined as the keynoter.  Old fashioned idea;  keynoters are first.  Not this time and it was the right thing to do.  His work and his commentary were inspiring.  I had never heard of him (mutual, I’m sure) but he is a high-end fashion, product, and portrait photographer whose work we’ll see in Vogue and similar upscale magazines.  A typical scene: a beautiful nude is lying supine on a large white sphere.  Another: a Cirque du Soleil acrobat is poised vertically above that sphere (the lady had moved away), supporting himself vertically on his index finger.  (But only briefly.  He was captured with a 1/5000 second strobe as he vaulted across the sphere, touching it briefly in flight.  Kohanim’s presentation included video of this and other setups of his work.)  Another: a beautiful lady in a flowing white gown, standing on the surface of a swimming pool. (Or at least on the surface of a submerged Plexiglas box, the water around her feet stirred up by assistants for the shutter snap.  I must tell you in case you haven’t noticed on this blog:  I don’t shoot much like any of these.  But it was such fun and so impressive to see his creativity at work.

More than that, however, were examples of his philosophy:  As photographers we seek to see the unseen.  We seek to transform the mundane into the extraordinary.  We offer an expanded awareness of the beauty in the world around us.  Forget what everybody else is doing; consistently reinvent yourself; and Be Magnificent Today.  I felt as though I were receiving a half-time pump-up from the coach, and I was ready to go out and win the game.  I could have cheered when he finished.

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POST CONFERENCE

As I sat listening to Messick and Sweet I was thinking that I wished I had heard them before I went on the beach to shoot early Saturday morning.  So, Sunday morning I was back on the beach.  The ocean was rather calm as the storm had moved away Saturday.  Nevertheless I studied the outfall line and tried to think of some different way to capture it.  My final choice was a 1 second exposure at f/8, ISO 400.  Here’s the result:

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Well, there it is Karen and Tony.  I like it and I’ll try some other things next year.

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Finally, a lot of Karen’s work is of flowers (and it’s a serious understatement to just refer to those images that way).  Anyhow, that moved me to go through the setup process to stage and photograph this abutilon in my sun room jungle.  I made a three shot HDR with my 100mm macro, f/22 and 1±  second, ISO 400, in natural light, and post-processed in CS6.  Looking at it in retrospect I should have used a smaller f stop and thus blurred the background.  Oh well.

On occasion I’ll attach a flower to an email to a friend, kind of a flowers-by-internet thing.  So, this goes to Karen (and Tony and Parish) in thanks for the inspiration.

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THE FLOWER SHOW AND A SNOW DAY IN CONTRAST

I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show on Wednesday because of the snow storm forecast for Thursday. So did everyone else. I experienced crowds that I hadn’t seen there for a few years. My daughter, Sigrid, went on Thursday, and texted me a picture showing the floor almost empty. Oh well, had I gone I’m not sure I would have enjoyed the road struggle getting home from the high speed line.  Also, I got to enjoy (?) today’s snow storm and the contrast between the two days!

Here’s the opening scene that greeted show arrivals and it was pretty punchy.  A nice welcome to the show, it made me think of a flower-bedecked Rose Bowl Parade float.  The show theme was movies with an emphasis on the work of Disney and Pixar Studios, and I think that it was well executed and well carried throughout the show.  Full disclosure:  I’m a movie enthusiast, particularly with the work one sees on Turner Classic Movies.  Nevertheless I was impressed with the creativity shown in the exhibits.

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Conversely, here’s an opening scene for Thursday’s snow storm.  Yes, there’s a difference.

 

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Here was a large screen on which snippets of famous movies played from time to time with an imaginative sculpture of film and camera in front of it.  This scene:  Bogart saying goodbye to Bergman in the closing scenes of Casablanca.  “Here’s looking at you, kid.”  Made in 1942 I wonder how many who saw this could relate.  Not enough flash-bang to appeal to modern audiences.

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The movies theme was repeated in exhibits throughout the show floor.  I don’t know if these chandeliers were intentional but they certainly made me think of 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  Not a pleasant thought as I always thought it was veeerry dumb from a science fiction point of view.  Richard Dreyfus shoveling dirt into his house, subconsciously trying to recreate Devils Tower?  Anyway, a space ship arrives there eventually and it was shaped something like this:

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Back to reality the next day, this was the kind of color (?) and drama that we had to deal with.  As I walked along here I kept stepping into troughs of slush,  the residue of yesterday’s temperatures in the 40’s and rain.

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One of the flower show exhibits could only be viewed through eye holes in the walls around the exhibit.  Inside were mystical sculptures illuminated with black light.  Pretty and interesting.

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The next day we also had sculptures, stark, cold, and not nearly as attractive but, perhaps, more dramatic.

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 Back on the show floor, Hollywood, the home of the stars was evoked with this handsome star on one of the commercial booths.  A booth for horticultural wares?  No, sorry, we’re selling being a middleman on your electric bills.  Anyhow, the star was striking and pretty.

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Well, were there any flowers at the flower show?  Of course there were.  Here’s a collection from the entrance exhibit which will also wind up in my place mat series.

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Not to be outdone, our snow day also included some flowers.

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CAN SPRING BE FAR BEHIND?

It’s less than a week until the Philadelphia Flower Show, and spring is, technically, only some four weeks away.  I’ve been accumulating some winter scenes and I thought I’d better get  them posted.  Not that anyone’s already forgotten about winter scenes, or that morning temperatures can still hover near zero.

I’ve gone out recently with my mind set on trying to capture some scenes that were a little off of the beaten path.  On a recent snow morning this tree’s shadows on the snow caused my shutter to quiver.  I like its patterns, its softness and peace and how it fades away…there is mystery here.

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Down the road at Kirby’s Mill there were plenty of opportunities with the barn-red buildings in the snow.  The first thing I saw as I was only partly out of my car was the reflection of the mill in a window across the street.

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I like this a lot even though there isn’t much winter in the image (naked branches?).  But we too often default to such red-white shots and it wasn’t what I had in mind.  Instead, I wound up with these two from the adjacent pond above the falls, both of which convey the profound cold we’ve experienced.  The first is definitely a genuine still life.

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A trip to the shore was eye-opening.  I had anticipated frozen spray on the jetties but not frozen spume.  The scene was chilling.  ;-)

The frozen spume crunched as I walked on it, and clumps of it were floating on the incoming waves like miniature icebergs.

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On the bay there was no relief.  It’s rare to see the channel frozen over.  I’m told that the fox population in Holgate has increased because the foxes can migrate from the mainland by walking across on the ice.

Sorry. We're not going out today.

Sorry. We’re not going out today.

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The boat landing at the foot of my street was not very welcoming.

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Back home on campus there were places defying the winter’s cold.  Here is a shot from inside the Nature Center, looking out on winter’s work.  The green house was loaded with flats of seedlings.  There will be spring.

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A SNOW DAY

I went to bed last night anticipating a loss of power by morning.  Well, we lucked out again.  A relief for living life but still pretty scenes.  I wasn’t too enthused about going out.  It was still snowing but my camera insisted.  While seriously thinking about it, one of our stalwarts, Kevin, cleared the driveway with his front-end loader so I had no further excuse.  Layers and a balaclava in place I walked out just as another helper arrived with the rock salt.  Life is not tough here.  Anyway, half way down the street this tree caught my eye.  A good start.

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I trudged on, stopping briefly to invite friends out to play (Marilyn and Tommy T.) but they demurred.  They just moved on campus last week: perfect timing considering their home is in blizzard-struck Beach Haven.  Shortly I arrived at the office area and realized that’s the first time I’ve walked there.  The Nandina bushes there had been catching my eye for several days; with the snow it was picture time.  Credit my friend here, Jane Weston, for my knowing what the bush is called.

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Continuing on through the courtyards I found these scenes:

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The geraniums were happy to be inside.

The geraniums were happy to be inside.

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Hey!  Who's dropping this white stuff?

Hey! Who’s dropping this white stuff?

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By the nature center there is a magnificent yellow-berry holly.

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Wending my way back home for a coffee I came across this courtyard with a surviving wreath.

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I’ll take this kind of snow storm any day.

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WHERE MY CAMERA TAKES ME

I’m pretty much a landscape/seascape photographer with only an occasional departure from my comfort zone.  There have been some of these moments recently and I thought I’d share them.  The first was in Philadelphia in December.  In looking around, this crazy-mirror image of city hall caught my eye.  Were I a pigeon I think I’d also prefer a flat ledge.

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On that same day I experimented with street photography.  The idea is to capture people in their reality, hopefully showing some emotion-inducing aspect of their lives.  I’m not a street-photographer.  It’s intimidating; I feel as though I’m intruding into the subjects’ lives, and that it could prove embarrassing.  It’s anomalous that I’m reluctant because most of my early exposure (beginning in high school years) was to the work of great street photographers such as Cartier-Bresson, Eugene W. Smith, Edward Weston, Dorothy Lange, etc.  on the pages of Popular Photography magazine.  I saw myself in the future as a Weegee (Arthur Fellig) or a “Casey, Crime Photographer” chasing the grit of New York with my Speed Graphic.

My effort that day in Philadelphia was because I had to have entries for the Street Photography competition category at the camera club.  Later I found that the category was only for prints rather than for projected digital images which is my preferred category.  Anyway, here’s one of the results that day:

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I offer no comment on the image other than that I felt sorry for him, and there is sadness and need in this world.

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After the stress of Christmas I always like to get away for a few days.  This has typically been to Williamsburg and a return home through Chincoteague but this year I wanted something different.  I went instead to Harpers Ferry just across the border between Maryland and West Virginia.  I can well imagine your excitement at this news.  :-)

Well, once again, the family had visited there, probably in the late 60’s and I remembered a certain charm.  It lies between the Potomac and the Shenandoah rivers which converge at the tip of the town from which the surviving Potomac continues on its way to Washington and thence to Chesapeake Bay.  Because of its strategic location, the train lines and bridges, it was occupied by both Confederates and the Union, the ownership shifting several times during the Civil War.

Potomac left and ahead

Potomac left and ahead

The train tracks seen above coming thru a tunnel in Maryland Heights are for Amtrak on the left, and CSX on the right.  I didn’t have to wait long to enjoy this thundering freight train headed west.

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Sometime in the recent past, on a visit to the Forsythe Refuge  I photographed a flight of snow geese.  The result was as confusing as a flight of birds can be but as I studied it I saw the picture within the picture seen here.  I loved the composition but….it was fuzzy because of their motion and having been cropped out of the original.  So, I applied Topaz’s Glow with a pleasing result.  So, here’s an image cropped out of a larger one and then further obscured with some software artistry.  I like what’s left.

Snow Geese cover

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It’s Monday which is always a downer for me, and it’s raining.  Fortunately, there’s some color in the house.

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Last week I received an email from a friend here on the campus, telling me that there was a white flower blooming outside her apartment.  What!?!  How could anything be blooming in this nasty cold weather?  I walked over and found it, a Hellebore or Christmas Rose, an evergreen perennial flowering plant in the ranunculus family.  I was on my tummy to capture it, and pleased that I could get up without calling campus security.  I didn’t stay long because in witchcraft it is believed to have ties with summoning demons.

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Finally for this post, last Saturday found us at a familiar site overlooking the East Point (of the Maurice River) Lighthouse.  I keep returning here and I’ve never been disappointed.  This visit’s view was made dramatic by the ice and the shadows created by the low hanging sun.  Beautiful, but oh, with a sharp wind from the northwest, it was colddddd.

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Many of us photographers present a year-end post of our best shots from the previous year, and I’ll be doing that for 2014.

Looking back in 2015, however, I think the above lighthouse scene is my best shot of the year.  ;-)

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IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR

Yes, but a mixed blessing at times, what with all the activities and preparation.  There’s the gift buying and wrapping; the Christmas cards to design and get produced; the updating of the mailing list, and the necessary trip to the post office.  There’s the tree to purchase and install and decorate; there’s all of the Christmas decorations from the past to get out and place.   There’s the Christmas formal including getting the traditional corsage for Barbara; numerous other parties to go to and make nice (isn’t it nice to have them, though).  Putting up some outdoor lights.  Placing and lighting the Snow Village ceramic houses, about all that’s left from the old basement trains.  Ah, but there’s a concession: there’s the three by six snow-covered Christmas village I built last year, with its old world lighted houses, its trees, and its single loop of HO track for a mountain passenger train.  That just got up on the 23rd.  Here’s part of it.

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I made a point, however, of also taking in much of what Philadelphia has to offer during the holiday weekends.  On one Saturday we toured the annual Christmas Market outside City Hall.  This year the village was much bigger and was spread around Love Park.  The booths ranged from pure seasonal to home improvement but the Christmas items were inviting.

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The decorated park provided an interesting perspective for Ben Franklin.  (Later:  my friend, Roz, just nicely corrected me; that’s William Penn, not Ben Franklin.  Oh, well.)

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We enjoyed the wurst although it wasn’t Nuremberg wurst, but the gluehwein was not memorable.  We were reminded of our previous visits to Bavaria and the Christmas Markets.   Here’s the Nuremberg market a few years ago, by the 14th C. Schöner Brunnen or beautiful fountain.

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Here we enjoyed the totally memorable Nuremberg Wurst.  The small sign in the background announces beer or wine at €2.  Not bad.

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Another weekend we made our way to the always lively and colorful Reading Terminal Market to see their annual train display.  It was nice but the market, itself, was fun.  Lots of people, seemingly in a good mood, enjoying live entertainment, eating,  and stocking up from a wide variety of choices.

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My favorite area is always the produce section where the colors seductively say, “Take me home.”  Another great addition to my placemat series.

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 From there we hiked over to Wanamaker’s or Strawbridge’s (it was, briefly) or, I guess, Macy’s for the annual light show, along with probably only a few thousand others.  Don’t go on a weekend.

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Yeah, only a few memories, having seen my first light show (with dancing fountains) with Marty Lou and my daughters in 1962.  It’s still a powerful show, made more so by the years of memories.  In later years we left the show to go upstairs to see Santa and to pick out an ornament for the tree.  Many of those still appear on the tree.

Because of the crowd I couldn’t see the show directly (the usher chased me from the vantage point above).  So, I noticed some of the other beautiful seasonal decorations.

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Although it’s raining today (Christmas Eve), and Barbara has slipped north to spend Christmas with her Dedham family, I have many nice things to reflect on from the month’s activities.  With the tree up and decorated and the train running I can enjoy my morning coffee amidst memories in the sun room.  The tree was bigger than I should have bought and I had to have help getting it into the house and in place.  It was worth it.  The fragrance, alone, on entering the room is wonderful.

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There are ornaments on the tree that were on my parents’ first tree in 1918; there are ornaments from my grandparents’ tree; there are ornaments that we purchased for our first tree; and there are the ornaments that the kids purchased over the years.  It provides me with a great, comforting sense of continuity.

Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year but it’s also a bittersweet time, sometimes even lip-quivering, remembering family and friends who have gone.

I am profoundly comforted by those that remain…..personal friends here on campus and nearby, some even from childhood….my shore-life friends….my immediate family which is my support system, Sigrid, Bob, Madeline, Gretchen and Kirsten….my friends and colleagues that I have met and learned from and enjoyed through my photography passion….and my cousins, nephews and nieces with whom I’ve reconnected through social media.

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A Merry Christmas To All!!

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A FALL FOLIAGE FORAY

This year’s fall foliage target area was the White Mountains in northern New Hampshire, an area I last visited in the late 50’s.  The mountains and the foliage hadn’t changed although the Old Man of the Mountain was gone, having slipped away in 2003.

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Notwithstanding his absence we had a great week enjoying Franconia Notch, the mountains, and the Kancamagus Trail.  Our weather was mixed.  Bad days were mostly heavy cloud cover with occasional rain but nothing to hold us back.  When the clouds did descend upon us now and then I worried that we would only experience Fall Fogiage but we made out well.  Our base was at the Franconia Inn, a pleasant 1863 inn whose charm did not extend to having an elevator and we were up on the third floor.  Excellent breakfasts and fine dinners, however, made up for that;  it just took us longer to get to the dining room.  From the inn we journeyed out and about to enjoy fall.

Here’s a typical day’s low cloud cover.  We’re at Echo Lake along I93, edging Cannon Mountain.  The image above was also made from the Echo Lake Beach a couple of days later, showing the contrast we experienced between days.

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On another day, driving southeast on NH 112 near Mt. Moosilauke we came upon Beaver Pond with some great views of the mountains and the foliage.

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There was a bit of a dam here which created an attractive spillway.  Barbara scolded me for walking down this slope and being too close to the edge.

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Back on I93 and further south there is a natural basin in the path of the Pemigewasset River (trust me: I couldn’t make these names up).  Thousands of years of rushing water (it is said) have carved out the basin.  Our thought: it needs a few more thousand years.  The river, however, provided lots of image opportunities as it headed for the basin.

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Also off I93 in the Notch there is a 6700 acre state park called the Flume, a 70′-90′ deep gorge which extends from the base of Mt. Liberty.  It sounded like our kind of scene but when we learned that there was lots of walking and climbing of stairs we settled for the restaurant and the gift shop.  It also seemed reminiscent of New York’s Ausable Chasm which I have previously hiked.  On another day, however, we opted to climb Mt. Washington.  That’s figurative as we actually went  to the 6300′ peak by a cog railway, a fun and colorful adventure, itself.

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Arriving at the peak, we had, perhaps, ten or fifteen minutes before a cloud moved onto us.  This was our brief pre-cloud view of the surrounding country.  The white material is called rime ice, ice that forms when the water droplets in fog freeze to the outer surfaces of objects.  While the view was enticing, the rime-covered chairs were not.  Once again we sought the comfort of the restaurant and some hot chocolate.  At our table I struck up a  conversation with an older man (hey, it’s relative) and a younger woman, both of whom were visiting from Germany.  I struggled with my high school German, and she, with her high school English.  We talked about Mt. Washington versus the Bavarian Alps but there wasn’t much to compare.  At one point the man told me that she was an East German communist.  Well, I had never met one.  The pleasant conversation continued between three people from this planet who had never met and will never meet again but I will remember it.

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Fortified, I had to explore the peak a little further.  Here’s the sign marking the peak, and a hiker’s cairn.  Yes, people hike the 6300′ and some arrived through the cloud while we were there.  The 6300′, while a vertical wall for me, is routine for others.  My friend, Dave B. used to regularly hike to the 14,000+ feet summit of Long’s Peak in Colorado, and also climbed well up on Mt. Everest in Nepal.  Ahhh, youth.

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The trip down provided a fun perspective.

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Near the base of the mountain is a more welcoming place, the 1902 Mount Washington Resort where one may luxuriate for $300 a night (and up).  Handsome, gracious, evocative of decades past.

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On another day (or two) we drove across the state on the Kancamagus Highway, Route 112 from I93 east to Conway.  Here’s one view along the way.  At lunch at a local bar at the end of the highway we were told that on the Columbus Day weekend the highway is one long parking lot.

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An artist friend, Marilyn F., had commissioned Barbara to photograph some covered bridges which Marilyn could use as a guide for a possible painting.  We encountered a couple here and there but found this magnificent scene, the Albany Covered Bridge which carries Passaconaway Road from NH 112 over the Swift River about six miles west of Conway. It was a perfect day of sun, river and beautiful clouds to photograph the scene, and a memorable image capture to end a great week.

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There is a gallery of these and additional images.  Click Here.

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A CANDY STORE FOR PLANT LOVERS

Over 10,000 square feet of fruiting, rare and tropical plants, about a quarter of an acre.  That’s Logee’s Plants For Home & Garden, and that’s just the retail greenhouses.  Previously I’ve purchased plants on-line from them for my indoor garden.  On returning from a recent visit to New Hampshire’s White Mountains, however,  I realized that their Danielson, CT greenhouses were not that far off of my route home.  If I hadn’t had to continue on home to pick up Pearl from her spa I’d probably still be there.

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The nursery was founded in 1892 as a cut-flower store.   In 1900, however, the founder fell in love with a Ponderosa Lemon Tree which produced lemons averaging 5# in weight.  He purchased one of the trees from a Philadelphia supplier and that started the business on the road of fruiting and tropical plants.   Amazingly, that tree is still there and still produces fruit.

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7Lemon tree and house 2

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I had a list of four plants I needed.  As to the first on the list, the friendly store clerk advised me that it was sold out.  As to the next, a fairly new variety of Flowering Maple, she said that they had a problem with the variety.  Someone had sold all the rooted cuttings and then, somehow, sold the stock plant from which the cuttings were taken.  She had had to bring in her own plant to provide new stock which wasn’t yet ready.  So, I entered Candy Land to find the two I needed, and finally got away later with just the nine that had begged to go home with me.

There are two large greenhouses and two smaller that are open to shoppers.  There are two aisles in the larger houses edged by trays of potted-up young plants.  You can see both aisles in the above picture.  The aisles, in turn, border a central planting area for yet more plants.  When I walked into the first aisle, it was overwhelming.  For example, down the aisle near where the lady is standing there’s about twelve feet just of begonia varieties.

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I’ve been to other nurseries over the years.  Locally (Philadelphia area), Longwood Gardens is the premier destination.  While beautiful, it is an architectural showplace rather than a retail nursery.  Waterloo Gardens in Exton (now closed) used to be a good source of conventional house plants.  The exotic Edwardian greenhouse of Ott’s in Schwenksville is also good for (mostly) conventional plants.  Tinari’s in Huntington Valley is particularly good for African Violets.  Logee’s, however, is unparalleled in its inventory of varieties.  Every step brings one to some other desirable item.

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Yet another aisle, this one laden with gesneriads …. streps, columneas, nematanthus, gloxinias, achimemes, episcia.  Might have to take one of the suitcases out of the trunk.

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Well, of course, we did have to leave and return to reality … poorer, but definitely richer.  Here’s the lighted flower stand at home with its additions.  The begonias had spent the summer in my stall shower at the shore where they did well under a combination of window light and a gro-bulb.  They miss the salt air but otherwise seem to be doing well.

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For a related post about my house plant gardening over the years, click here.

Visit Logee’s at their web site.

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THE PEACE OF FALL

I’m having my last morning coffee for the season on my little deck overlooking my beloved bay.  I continue packing today and Sigrid will be here tomorrow to help me move back to the winter cave.  I have been up there a couple of times since Labor Day and I miss my bay vistas up there.

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The early sun is September-warm.  The air is still, so much so that reflections of the fragmites plumes are clear in the water.  I hear a cricket and a few bird calls, now a flight of honking geese.  The marshes are cinnamon with still some thin washes of pale green, resting comfortably, their essence moving into their roots to survive the winter.  A lone fisherman drifts slowly with the tide; another passes, speeding south, the boat’s reflection in the still water traveling with it.  They are too far away to hear; a blessing this morning.

Few are stirring here.  One goes out and returns with a paper.  Please, just look around right now, not at the paper.

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Life, of course, continues down here but at a greatly reduced level.  Next weekend is the annual Chowda Fest after which it’ll get really quiet.  Then the speed limits will rise and the traffic lights will go on blink.  For those who stay, their essence is also moving into their roots to survive the winter.  The Bagel Shack remains open to help with that.

Yes, there are no such vistas back home but life continues with friends, gatherings, events, meetings, projects, a fall getaway and probably a winter getaway.  December brings the winter solstice.  Since that marks the beginning of the sun’s return I’ve always thought of it as the first day of boating season.  That’s a nice thought.

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A JOURNEY TO A DISTANT SHORE

Seeking a change of scenery, I enjoyed an August getaway.  This year I  returned to old haunts on Cape Cod.  For a few years in the 70’s our family vacations were taken at Chatham (inc. 1712) out at the elbow of the Cape and we loved it.  At one point I was even studying aerial surveys trying to figure out where to build a summer home but then I was drawn back to boating and the Chesapeake Bay and that consumed the next fifteen years.

In any event here was a sand-in-the-shoes kid leaving his summer shore and heading to another shore?  What’s up with that?  Well, a change of scenery and new image opportunities.   This image, alone, made the trip worthwhile but there were more to come.

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That was taken from Skaget Beach (rhymes with stay-get) west of Orleans, and overlooking Cape Cod Bay.  The location had been suggested to me for sunsets by the generous proprietor of a Chatham print gallery.   I drove there twice, capturing the above on the very worthwhile second trip.  On an earlier trip I relived those 70’s years, watching families enjoying an August afternoon on the beach.

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On that somewhat dreary day the sun finally switched on  through a cloud break at sunset.  It provided a powerful back light for these kids eking out the last of a day’s worth of summer memories.  Do you remember your kids on the beach?  Do you remember yourself?

 

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I based myself just outside of Chatham at a motel that I think was probably also a favorite of the pilgrims.  My daily routine began at sun-up at a lookout in front of the Chatham Lighthouse, overlooking Chatham Light Beach and the channel to the Atlantic’s fishing grounds, bounded by the Chatham Bar to the east.   Here is that scene.  (Techie Note:  A five vertical image panorama.)

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On a small island of the Chatham Bar opposite me there was a great gathering of gray seals whose population has exploded off the Cape in recent years.  I could hear them grunting and greeting and probably complaining about the white shark population which has been drawn there to feed on the seals.  It is a matter of concern to the locals, and they’re even running scout planes in search of sharks near the beaches.  Shades of Jaws.  But, lemons to lemonade, one could buy cuddly sharks at some shops on Main Street.

Oblivious to sharks and other anxieties a group gathered every morning on the beach for yoga.  Here they are cheering the new day.

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After the sunrise activity at Chatham Beach I would drive to Mill Pond on Bridge Road.   Here, the soft,warm morning light on a whisper-quiet pond was irresistible and I visited on several mornings.  The scene was disturbed only by the sound of my shutter.

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Here’s the rattly wooden bridge (hence, Bridge Road) under which Mill Pond flows out to Stage Harbor and thence to the sea.

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Within the pond boats lie on mooring buoys.

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Others nearby also await the day’s assignments.

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On my rambles around Chatham, Stage Harbor seemed like a good prospect for a sunset scene.  The harbor was first visited by Champlain in 1606.  He also stayed at my motel.  The name, suggesting a harbor to which stage coaches ran, is actually said to be derived from racks on which fish were dried.  In  any event, I drove around the harbor on a couple of evenings and was finally rewarded with this scene.   I was pleased with it because I was able to include the foreground marsh grass, and also to include several of the larger boats on their moorings as well as reflections and some dramatic cloud structure.

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The days weren’t all sunrises and sunsets, however.  Daily I ranged from one end of the Cape to the other, enjoying the Sandwich Glass Museum, the French Telegraph Company’s 1879 transatlantic cable station, craft shows at Chatham and Eastham, Marconis’ early wireless station, Rock Harbor (inaccessible at low tide), the harbor at Wellfleet, and Provincetown.  There I visited with Jeff Lovinger, a great photographer whose work ranges from the Cape to the Far East.  I took a worthwhile workshop from him in 2010 and still keep in touch with a couple of F/B photo buddies from the workshop, Allyson Howard and  Patty Wright-Ferrini.  Jeff and his wife operate the Lotus Guest House and a pleasant little gallery on Commercial Street.  We sat in the gallery and talked about photography art and business while gentle breezes slipped through from the street to the harbor.  I then strolled around P’town which is interesting and charming.  This image sums it up.

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Aside from the Cape Cod seashore scenes there’s also much to see which says traditional New England.

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The Chatham Lighthouse holds a special memory for my family.  In one of those early visits I was admiring a gold ring at a craft show and my wife was urging me to buy it.  In those salad days we could only afford vacations with my annual tax refund from over-withholding, and there wasn’t much to spare.  I had an uncle, however, who had just passed away and I was the beneficiary of a small insurance policy of his.  My wife encouraged me to buy the ring with that and I did.  Ever after the ring (bright, shiny) was referred to as Chatham Light.  Here’s the real lighthouse, built in 1877:

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My final memory of the week:  The dying embers over Cape Cod Bay.

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This has been a lengthy post and I appreciate your having read it and looked at the images.

For more images from the week  click here for the galleries.

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For a final treat, here’s Patti Page’s 1957 gold recording of Cape Cod Bay, the unofficial anthem of Cape Cod.   Speakers on soft?

Just click on the arrow below at left.

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