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.
 

WHERE MY CAMERA TAKES ME IV

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It has become harder to come up with a topic.  (Hey, I’ve done over 200; gimme a break!)

It also seems harder to find fresh images.  (Hey, I have almost 16,000 in my online galleries; it shouldn’t take you long to look through them.)

Yes, they may be fewer and farther between but there are still scenes that say to my camera, “Please take me home.”  I promise you something really different for later.  Meanwhile, here’s one I’ve admired over the years and finally brought home, The Girl on White Street.

 

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She lives on White Street across from the Robin’s Nest in Mt. Holly, and enjoys the sun and her flower box in all seasons.  I’m always happy to see her.

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NOW FOR SOMETHING NOT AT ALL DIFFERENT…

My friend, Barbara, and our friends, Bob and Nancy D. like to have a golf pro tune them up once a year.  This year’s choice was Shawnee on the Delaware, a beautiful course mostly on an island within the 1909 resort.  I’m not a golfer so I chose to wander around another old stamping ground: the Delaware River National Recreation area which includes Shawnee and runs on up to above Milford.

I photographed the area in 2008 and in 2014 (click here for that post).  Although it’s a beautiful area it’s hard to find a new way to photograph old friends. For this post my camera asked to do some video of Dingmans Falls.  Though it’s akin to watching grass grow here’s twelve seconds of it.

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NEXT:  HOW OLD PEOPLE AMUSE THEMSELVES

Those who have visited this journal will recall how my morning routine begins with coffee and music in my sun room.  My bird feeder is not in view from the sun room so I wondered if I could lure some of the birds into view.  I tossed a half cup of bird food on the deck table and sat down inside with coffee and camera.  The breakfast buffet yielded a number of fun shots.  This cardinal seems to be skeptical of the free lunch but he eventually enjoyed it.

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NO, MY AUTO-FOCUS WASN’T BROKEN.

April Showers.  When they paused the sun came out quickly and I was pulled from my town house by the sparkling.  I was pleased with this shot.  I like the purples and greens and the fact that the de-focused raindrops became milky glass marbles.  This previously appeared on Facebook but not everyone gets to see those images.

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AND OTHERWISE FROM THE WANDERING AND WONDERING CAMERA…

Here’s a friend from Sanibel last winter.  There are plenty of pelican images around but I thought this self-scratcher was different.  In their off-guard moments they’re human after all.

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This from a Chanticleer visit this spring.

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This next image was also seen on Facebook this spring but, again, not everyone gets to see those offerings.  For out-of-towners it’s the roof of the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, the home of the Philadelphia Orchestra and other great performances.  The architecture has called to me for years and a few colleagues have captured it well, notably as here by Denise Bush several years ago.  During  a concert intermission recently I looked up and saw what I wanted, particularly under an overcast sky.

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AND NOW FOR A RIGHT-BRAIN EPISODE

My right brain woke early one morning and for some who-knows reason got to wondering what I could do with overlaying some of my images.  I’m not getting as much satisfaction from my landscape work, and I’ve been trying to see things differently so maybe this would be productive.  A colleague, Doreen R., has done a lot of such creative work with software tools; she calls it “playing around.”  And so…….

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This is a software blend of two of my place mat images.  The goldfish were photographed in a tank at Petsmart.  The turbulence was captured during a workshop with Jeff Lovinger; it was a tidal stream near Provincetown.  It won’t appeal to all nor will it make it as a Christmas card but I was very pleased with the result.  Click here for a full screen view.

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A YEAR IN RETROSPECT – 2016 – A SAMPLING FROM THE SELECTION

Photographers are uniquely well equipped to do a retrospective review of the year past; in fact, for all their years of photography.  They need only browse their image files. The digital era has also made such reviews easier.  No more page after page in heavy albums; just skim thru the folders on the hard drive.

I frequently browse through past years but I also make a point of doing an annual review of the immediate past year’s work.  I look for images from each event or subject that I most enjoy or that I think represent the best of my year’s work, and I publish these as a gallery.

Having made my selections for the 2016 gallery, I then asked myself if just a few of them could serve as symbols for how I think and how I shoot.  Surprise: some did.

These were not made in the camera; they were captured by the camera but they were made in the head (read “heart”) so you will see what I felt.  I hope you experience them as I did.

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The gold and brown tones tell of a soothing late twilight.  The channel marker counter-balances the boat.  The four guys in the boat are having a good time, and you can see their rods flexing with their fun.  The foreground grasses nicely place and isolate the viewer.  In a print, the homes of Tuckerton Beach are dimly seen as though to say, “Life and all that it brings is out there … but not right here … not right now.”

I recently sold a print of this to an older man who, somewhat choked up, talked about his memories of joining his father out there on Friday nights after his Dad came home from the week’s work.

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This Portrait of Two Mules is quite different for me but I’m fond of it.  It was made on a country road in Lancaster County on a warm August day.  The mercy of Photoshop enabled me to remove all of the flies on them which didn’t seem to be bothering them as much as they did me.  I was moved by the mules’ at-peace demeanor.  They had probably worked hard that morning and probably would do so again tomorrow, but for now they were just enjoying the warm rest and each other’s company.

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Next is my Zen Royal Tern … or is he stoned?  In an earlier appearance of him on line I suggested that he was murmuring, “Dude, sunrise on Sanibel is soooo cool.”  Well, you get the idea.  I was anthropomorphizing because I felt that way and so, I thought, should the bird.  I, too, revel in the warmth of the morning sun and in the gentle breeze off the ocean and the shhhhh of the waves and the glory of a new day alive, and I feel one with the universe.  Are we sure that a bird can’t also approach nirvana? Namaste.

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This image is  compelling for me.  A pair of cormorants were performing a post-breakfast cleanup.  What struck me was the arrangement of the branches, the birds’ positions, and the reflection  of the scene.  It also stood out because the background water was rippled while the foreground was quiet.   I further enhanced the image by giving it a slight selenium tone and a dodging of the center to lighten it.

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I find this image haunting in its isolation and starkness.  The strong diagonals are a part of it, and the shades and curtains, the slatted shutters, and the weathered siding have an Andrew Wyeth feel for me.

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I was pleased to encounter this group gathered for a communal breakfast at their diner.  I could see spots of white deep in a mangrove thicket and I discovered this when I slowly investigated.

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I recently attended a photography symposium where one of the speakers urged that we plan out our photo shoots.  If nothing else it helps ensure you have all of the lenses and filters you may need.  I agree with that; it’s good common sense.  What it doesn’t embrace, however, is the spontaneous, unplanned, never-to-happen-again kind of image.  I had just gotten off the Colonial Williamsburg shuttle bus and I was on my way to Duke of Gloucester Street for some images of the Grand Illumination.  I looked over my shoulder and here was this scene with the colonial style street lamp against a fading twilight.  Quick, stop, compose, shoot!  It was the best shot of the night, if not the whole trip …… and unplanned.

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That twilight scene above sets the stage for my last selection … a sunrise.

Sunrises … sunsets … there’s a zillion of ’em.  In fact (mea culpa) about 10% of my 2016 selections are in that category.  We are drawn to the spectacular color and its effect on adjacent clouds or bodies of water.  There’s way too many of them, but we can’t stay away from them.  In my occasional workshop on composition and content, however, I have a section called “What shall we do with this sunrise/sunset?”  They need something else to sustain viewer interest if not to create some depth or additional feeling to the image.  As to this selection from selections, I keep returning to it.  Yes, the color intensity gradient is nice and the cloud structures are interesting.  But it’s the diagonal line of the sand dune and the darkness below that keep me here, and the lone beach chair just where the orb will appear that holds me.  That spot is an example of what I call the emotional center of the image.

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Thanks for staying the course for this wordy blog post.  I hope it was at least entertaining.

If you’d like, take another coffee break tomorrow for the slide show of the full 2016 selections.  It’s less than three minutes.

Click here to get there.

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ALONE AT THE FLOWER SHOW

The Philadelphia Flower Show was scheduled a week later this year, maybe to beat the seemingly annual Flower Show snow storm.  So, the storm also waited another week.  I had planned the week to include a visit on Tuesday.  Then, Stella moved in.  The powerful nor’easter gathered over the weekend and headed for the north-Atlantic coastal states with predictions of 12″ to 18″ and gusts to 50 mph.  So, a snow day?  Not so said Tuesday morning.  Once again we dodged a bullet.  Much of the storm had stayed to the west and it looked as though I could make it.  Indeed, there was very little traffic on the main highways and, PATCO, the high speed train to the city, was operating every twenty minutes.  There was room on the train for the three of us that boarded.

There’s a flower show this morning? Really?

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Here was the payoff; the display that greets one upon entering the exhibit hall at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  I and the other nine people seen here were privileged to be overwhelmed by the scene in relative solitude.  Never, never, never in my 60+ years of this show (no, not every year) have I ever felt so privileged.  Tough for PHS (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society) and the vendors but such a wonderful, uncrowded experience for us visitors.  When could you ever just walk around, looking up and not worrying about bumping in to someone?  Even when we used to attend the Friday night black tie, preview dinner party there were far more attendees than on this “storm” day.

No jostling necessary.

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As the morning evolved more brave people showed up.  It never became crowded but the tranquility was disturbed from time to time by the show music.  The scene below was the backdrop of the welcoming display.  This was taken an hour after I arrived so you can see it never became congested.

The show’s theme this year was Holland, a wonderful place that Barbara and I have enjoyed on a few occasions.  And, what can be wrong with blooming bulbs all over the place?  Before you play the video below, however, I’d tone down your speakers as the music is not Faure’s Pavanne.  The psychedelic scene, however, with dancing colors and a beat was captivating.

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Speaking of Holland and bulbs and Barbara, here’s a shot from one of those trips.  No, it wasn’t taken at the Flower Show; it was taken in Amsterdam thirteen years ago.  My photo journal; my choice of images.

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The lack of a crowd at the show made it a pleasure for a photographer.  No waiting to get a front row view; no apologizing for my tripod; and time to reflect on a scene.  It was fun.  Here are some of the show highlights.

There were hundreds of these (roses in lavender balls) hung from the ceiling.  Who ever had to do these and get them all together has gone home gibbering to Holland.

 

Here is a more traditional flower show scene.  Fountains and pools always work.  Just add some tulips for this year.

Another traditional kind of water scene featuring falls for fountains.  Some token tulips in the corner.

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This scene screamed Amsterdam as well as many other European cities where bicycles are a big part of life.  I remember hundreds of them parked in front of the train stations.

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 I look forward to next year’s snow day at the Flower Show.

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SANIBEL ISLAND – A WINTER WARMUP

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CLICK ON THE ABOVE IMAGE TO SEE A LARGER VERSION OF THIS FOUR-IMAGE PANORAMA

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In mid-February we returned for my seventh visit to a land I love – Sanibel Island – an hour’s drive from the Fort Myers Airport but a step back into old Florida.  There are no traffic lights (but, yeah, traffic), and no buildings taller than a palm tree.  Inhabitants:  Lots of sea birds, bicyclists, wading birds, families, white heads (that’s me, too).  Also, various rodents, rabbits, raccoons, and a few gators (saw one.)  Add  nature walks and a grand wildlife refuge, the Ding Darling, beach life, shell collecting, fishing, Sunday afternoon alfresco jazz concerts, kayaking, or napping and life’s pretty good.

The banner image above was made late in the day – about 5:00 PM – along the wildlife loop through the refuge.  We called it their cocktail hour, and it preceded ours.  The gatherings vary day to day and can frequently be disappointing.  This day was rewarding.  I was pleased with the variety of birds, and I was struck by their clannishness … very interesting that they gather with their fellows but also share the sand spit with other two-legged, winged citizens.  It’s a major draw for bird watchers and for photographers.  Some of the stove-pipe telephoto lenses look as though they could also be launching tubes for small rockets.

THE BEACHES AND THAT BALM, THE SUN

Until the causeway was opened in 1964 there was only ferry access to the island .  Nevertheless, there were backup delays for the ferries as people sought the island beaches, particularly for shelling.  Today, they’re still out early most mornings searching for the find that washed up during the night.

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These two willets were also out early among the shells but looking, rather, for previous tenants of the shells.

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Parts of the beach are populated by flocks of Royal Terns, Herring and Laughing Gulls, Willets, and Sanderlings.  They will part for the beach walkers and dogs will cause a liftoff but they quickly return to the beach after the hazard has passed.  I think they’re all fun except the gulls which Barbara has always called “rats with wings.”  I admire the rest of them because they forage for themselves; gulls less so as they’re quick to take another’s catch.

As one who began to lose his hair in my teens I’m envious of the Royal Terns, even on bad hair days.  However, they also suffer from receding hairlines.

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 SCENES FROM THE DING DARLING WILDLIFE REFUGE

We drove through the refuge almost every day except Friday when it’s closed.  For those who enjoy the sea birds and wading birds in their habitat it’s generally always interesting.  One can become jaded, however.  After seeing ibis all over the refuge and then in people’s yards and in the drainage ditches I began to refer to them as being as common as chickens.  Then, as though to taunt me, a pair showed up on our beach.

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My search for several years has been for the flashy roseate spoonbills.  We saw several this year but I still haven’t captured the group image I’d like so … have to go back again next year.  You’ll see a half dozen or so in the banner panorama, and here’s a nice single.

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The color, of course, is striking; otherwise, they’re ugly, with heads like wood storks and that long canoe paddle bill which, blessedly, is submerged above.

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At a feeding pond one day I captured this tri-colored heron.  They skip across the water’s surface with much splashing to stir up any fish, and then they spear them for dinner.

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The other end of the day found us on the beach pavilion at our “old Florida” preferred place of stay, Beachview Cottages.  Here we enjoyed the chit-chat with other guests, and mellowing while awaiting the elusive green flash.

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On this night I felt privileged to have been there to capture this twilight with Wilma and Wilbur Willet.  I look forward to seeing them again next year.

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A GALLERY OF THESE AND MORE IMAGES FROM THE WEEK CAN BE SEEN BY CLICKING HERE.

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PREVIOUS POSTS ABOUT SANIBEL ISLAND

Florida, Sanibel, Winter White Stuff – February 2016

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Sanibel Island and also Florida’s east coast – February 2013

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Sanibel Island & Ding Darling Preserve – February 2009

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CAPE MAY …… A WINTER GETAWAY??? YES!

 

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The past weekend featured the Winter Antique Show at Wheaton Village.  This has been an important destination of mine for years, offering among other things a chance to browse some high class Japanese Cloisonne from a favorite dealer, Arlene Rabin.  Well, she had some fine pieces but none came home with me.  We enjoyed the show, however, and also enjoyed browsing the nearby Gorham Paper Weight Shop which presents a broad array of glass art and not just paper weights.

The idea of driving an hour to Millville, however, prompted a thought: What else could we do having already driven that far?  The answer: Drive a little further and spend some time in Cape May.  In February, with temperatures in the 30’s?  Yes, and we had a great time.

First of all one thinks of Sunset Beach so after we checked in we had time to make sunset and we headed there.

It    was     coldddd!!!!!!

35 degrees and gusts to 35 mph.

My fingers ached, even with gloves, but we sacrifice for art.

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Yes, I’ve seen more thrilling sunsets but I like this one because of the chop and the sunset colors on the water.  For my camera colleagues, this was a tripod, live view setup.  I shot three images with different EV’s while focused on the rocks, and three more while focused on the middle ground waves.  I combined each set with Nik’s HDR and then blended the resulting two images in Photoshop.  And all of this while trying to keep the brain and fingers working in the cold with Barbara keeping the car warm for recovery.  I also eagerly await having a print of this at a craft show and hearing someone say, “Oh, yeah, I’ve shot that scene a lot with my phone.”

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We enjoyed the evening in the Blue Pig restaurant in the two hundred year old Congress Hall.  So did a lot of others whether staying at the hotel or nearby.  Their Victorian richly toned Brown Room (the bar) was SRO both before and after dinner.  We were nursing the last of our wine in a corner of the restaurant waiting area when our wait-person discovered us sitting there lonely and shivering and conducted us to seats by the (real wood)  fire in the lobby where dinner and drinks could mellow.  You won’t find this at a Holiday Inn Express.

I enjoyed reading up on the history of the Hall, particularly to find that the present Managing Partner apprenticed years ago as a bellman, desk clerk, and whatever, and is now the successor in ownership to his grandfather.  In another version of six degrees his grandfather had been advised on structural integrity issues by Wilbur Widell, an industrial contractor whom I had known years ago when he was a neighbor of our late friends, the Byerlys, in Haddonfield.

The hotel has been preserved (and re-preserved for mega-bucks) and maintains its traditional 55 white columns around the building.  Herewith some of the columns and their distinctive capitals.  The gaslights are a fine feature of downtown Cape May.

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The next morning we opted to just drive lazily through Cape May.  The Victorian mansions along Beach Avenue are architecturally magnificent.  As a reflection of the times most are now bed and breakfasts.  Many along with most downtown motels and stores and eating places were closed for the season.  The scene befitting an overcast February day was a bit bleak.  Had we not enjoyed the previous evening’s crowd at the Hall I could have wondered about a Twilight Zone setting.  No beach badge checkers were on duty.

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Before leaving the city we did a little shopping along Washington Mall where a few favorite stores were open.  I restocked my Fralinger’s taffy and Bayard’s chocolates from a store that used to be the very fine Barry’s Men’s Shop where I bought an occasional summer sport coat in the 70’s.  The Whale’s Tail is another favorite and I also did some damage at the eclectic Across the Way.  One of my must-visit favorites is Swede Things which carries mostly Scandinavian gift ware.  They were still heavily stocked with Christmas kinds of things, ornaments, Swedish tchotchkes, and all kinds of glass.  These caught my camera’s eye:

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Congress Hall is owned by Cape Resorts and they have also developed other properties in Cape May.  We stopped in on the way home and found them to be on a par with the flair of the Hall.  One was the West End Auto Garage which has been converted to a multi-dealer craft and antiques shop, a fun stop.  The other is the 62 acre Beach Plum Farm which supplies produce and meats to Cape Resorts’ dining rooms downtown.  Breakfast and lunch are also served and there is a farm market store.

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At the Swede Things shop mentioned above I was taken by some glass craft art.  I photographed a couple of pieces which you can see on my Facebook Page and the more I looked at them the closer one came to going home.  Here it is:

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The artist, a west coaster named Zelda, paints the tree trunks on a pane of slightly hammered art glass.  Then she fuses the foliage pieces to the panel.  I’m sure this scene is a stand of birch on the edge of a Swedish forest, and I’m now enjoying it against a window in my garden room.

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Did we have a great winter getaway weekend?  You bet!

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LIFE ON A SANDBAR WITH A NOR’EASTER

A nor’easter storm hit the Jersey coast on Monday and it proved fearsome.  High winds gusting to 60 mph, high seas, and coastal flooding.  Originally projected to be low to moderate flooding, the reality exceeded expectations.  From what I could see on Facebook I began to worry.  One graphic showed the surge tide at nearby Atlantic City at 6′;  my ground floor storage area pad is at 4′  My two engineering degrees helped me conclude that I might have a problem so I drove down Tuesday to inspect.

Long Beach Boulevard was closed because of flooding (earlier it had been closed from Shipbottom to Beach Haven).  In fact, before I diverted I passed a couple of ducks paddling on the boulevard.  I then drove down the higher-dryer Beach Avenue to my place in Beach Haven.  When I opened the backdoor I found that the floor was only slightly covered with water.  There had been enough, however, for the elevator pit to become a 5″ deep pond.  Oh, well;  cleanup time and my terrific son-in-law, Bob has volunteered to see to it.

I checked the rest of the house and found that we had lucked out as far as any leakage so I headed down to Holgate to see how the surfer’s beach had made out: Lots of damage.

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In the foreground are the remains of some dune fencing, installed to help resist dune erosion.  Further out and straddling the jetty is a large section of railing from a walkway that led onto the beach over a dune.

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The walkway came from further north along the beach.  Here we see what’s left of the dune after the waves had their way.

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Southward on the beginning of the Forsythe Preserve below Holgate there was this pile of dune fencing.  Pieces that had broken loose from the wiring were scattered far and wide; great material with which to make driftwood frames.

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Our friends, Nancy and Bob D., have a home in the beach block of Essex Avenue.  They lost access to the beach last summer from nor’easters so I drove there to see if it had worsened.  The walkway had the ominous yellow Police Closed tape across it.  I certainly wouldn’t cross such a line but, mysteriously,  I found this image later on my cell phone.

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The dark line is some kind of cloth which was put down to support the orange gravel base for the walkway.  That walkway originally sloped gently out and down for some distance to the “old” beach and the then-shoreline beyond.  The under-layment now stretches more steeply down to the “new” beach, about 30′ to 40′ below.

Scary.  They should put Police Closed tape across the entrance.

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Note to my fellow photographers:  I deliberately chose not to correct the horizon of this cliff scene.  I tried it but the result wasn’t as stark as the reality.

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DECK THE HALLS ONE MORE TIME

One of my Christmas tchotchkes is a 3″ acrylic tree with flakes inside of it like those in a snow globe.  The flakes, however, are tiny squares (1/16″) of mylar of different colors in a clear viscous fluid.  When you shake it the flakes swirl around and gradually drift to the top of the space.  The kicker is that there is an LED thingy in the base which sequences through shining red, green, and blue light up into the acrylic tree and its sparkles.

It’s mesmerizing for a few minutes of meditation.  When I snapped out of it I wondered if it would make an interesting video.  The result is just below.

It only a few shots to get what I was trying to achieve.  The editing, however, was a different story.  I have a version of CyberLink’s Power Director from three years ago which I’ve used for the occasional video in one of my posts.  So, I had to relearn that which required several visits to on-line forums to find out why this or that button didn’t appear or how to do this, that, or the other thing.  Then, I wanted a little background music and that took a while.  Then, I didn’t want the video to do a “More from…” my Vimeo account and that took a while.  Then …..

Well, setups and shooting/reshooting?  Maybe fifteen minutes.  All the relearning and editing?  Hours.

Anyway, it’s fun to exercise the brain, and I was pleased with the result.  Click on the white arrow below and enjoy a little meditation.  (Speakers on?)

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CHRISTMAS: AN EARLY ARRIVAL OR JUST HANGIN’ AROUND?

This first snow storm of the winter put me in a Christmasy mood so I thought I’d get ready now for next December. Here’s the result.

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Yeah, yeah … it’s been up since mid-December.  But since it’s still up (and remaining for a while) I thought I’d have some fun with you all.

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Here’s what the tree and the train village looked like “the night before Christmas.”

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The tree ornaments include pieces from three generations.  A notable addition a few years ago was this heart.  It was painted for us by the late Jane Byerly, friend and artist whose Chinese watercolors grace my sun room walls.  The building represents the 1816 Barclay Farmhouse in Cherry Hill.  My late wife, Marty Lou, played a major role in its restoration during her twenty-five year involvement with it.

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The train village is a collection of old-European architecture buildings which I built over the years from kits made by a German company named Faller.  The Swiss Railroad passenger cars are branded Roco which is an Austrian firm but they were made in Slovenia. The saddle-back engine was also made in Slovenia by Mehano.  Old cars and toys in the village are from family Christmases, some dating from the 1920’s.  One anomaly:  The engine is marked “Atlantic City Railroad.”  When friends ask about this I tell them that it was from the 1940 lend-lease program for England, and they left it in Europe after the war.  Who knows?  The skirt was stitched up for me by Barbara from a great pattern fabric we found at Jo-Ann’s.

The flamingo at the train station?  Three of them were left on my old basement train layout at Box Hill after an open house years ago.  The culprit?  Well, never convicted but suspected:  a family friend, Louise S.  The one shown is the only one to have survived the move out here to the Old Folks Farm.

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 The Christmas tree will eventually join last year’s tree near my back yard feeders.  They provide a sanctuary from hawks and cats while planning a flight to and from a feeder.  This White-Throated Sparrow is one of many hanging out in today’s snow in the remnants of last year’s tree.

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Here’s what actually triggered this post.  With morning coffee in the sun room my in-brain view finder noticed these sun catchers against the snow-filled world.  These are two more veterans of my stained glass period in the 70’s.  Both original designs, they get to appear during the season.  The sleigh is perfect for today, and the bells ring in the New Year.

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Finally, this guy, Rollo Reindeer, has made me chuckle for years.  His what-me-worry look coupled with the lights and bad hair antlers just do me in.  I bought him from a wood carver in Sandwich, MA whose work we had seen at Cape craft shows, and  it was a Christmas present for my late wife.  Not sure it was what she had in mind but ….

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In any event,  I asked Rollo for a comment for this post, and he replied that before he gets sent back to the basement shelves he’d like to be the first to wish everyone a —

Merry Christmas For 2017

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MY BUDDY, GONE.

 

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My companion of fourteen years is suddenly, unexpectedly gone, and my home and heart are empty.

I hope no one finds this maudlin; it is an effort of catharsis.

We had a previous siamese named Pearl.  When that Pearl I died during my wife’s prolonged illness our daughter, Sigrid, set out to find a replacement.  She did and it became Pearl II because we knew that in moments of frustration we’d be blurting out, “Pearl!”  We acquired her from her mother in December, 2000, and she became a comfort to my wife, Marty Lou, until her death in August, 2002.  Thereafter and for the next fourteen years Pearl became my 24/7 companion.  This week she became severely ill and it became necessary that I put her at peace which Sigrid helped me do.

Sigrid immediately worked to rid the house of all signs … food, litter, warming pads, scratching post.  She couldn’t remove what’s in my head, and I am sad.  I walk by the bedroom and reflexively look to see if she’s stretched out on her side of the bed.  That was a concession early on, to provide an electric blanket with dual controls so that she wouldn’t be snuggled against me for warmth all night.

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This picture shows that we had a working relationship early on.  The old monitor and the early version of Photoshop reflect her age as well.  In later years she deeply regretted the development of flat panel monitors which deprived her of another warm place.

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We had daily moments together.  Upon rising I would feed her and then retreat to the sun room with my coffee and morning music.  As soon as she finished she would join me on my lap and we would contemplate the day ahead.  Other daily moments included lap time after my breakfast, snuggling against me during my afternoon nap, and lap time during an evening’s TV time.  She would also frequently jump onto the desk during the day to ask what I was up to and to seek a few minutes of lap time.

Similar rituals took place at the shore house.  This picture also shows a frequent  sign of affection from her, tucking her head under my chin.  I will miss this.

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On other mornings we would just sit and talk about life and things.

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I’ve always loved this shot of her which has previously appeared on her own web page.  It’s entitled, “Yes, girls, I’ve trained him to put the seat down.”

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She wasn’t always sweet and gentle (nor am I).  She was a cat with a cat’s moods, but I prefer to remember her running to the door when I had been away for a few hours (“Where’s my dinner, Dad?”) and I prefer to remember her head butting while taking the morning sun together.  And other things that I will be reminded of as days go by.

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I shall miss her sweet face and her (mostly) sweet manner.  I am greatly saddened.

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Several years ago she asked me to create a web page for her.  With her help, I did, and you can see it by clicking here.

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CHRISTMAS CARDS PAST

In preparing for a recent craft show appearance I came across this Christmas card which I made and sent eight years ago.  You people probably think this kind of thing is easy:  It’s not!  This one took an hour of negotiation and a bucket of fish before he’d cooperate.  And he insisted on retaining an interest in the image.

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The original was made in Chincoteague.  I’ve always liked the image and I thought why should they disappear after one use.  So, I printed and framed it and I’m enjoying it on my wall for the holidays.  This also made me take a look at other past cards in the file, and I found that they, too, deserved another moment of fame.

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A few years ago two friends from the yacht club were speculating one night (over wine, of course) about having a view of the club under a full moon.  It is reckless to say such things in the presence of a pixel machinist.  Things happen.

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This was, admittedly, over the top but I think it was used that year sans Santa.  The moon shot was from a summer beach; the sheen from yet another.  I had photographed the tree in 2001 at Pittsburgh’s Winter Garden, and it enjoyed a life in many other alien scenes.  Perhaps the strangest was on the Holyoke Avenue jetty during a snow storm.  One friend, showing her confidence in us, asked Barbara if we had actually run an extension cord out on the jetty.  Of course we did.  🙂

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But it also had a more tender moment standing by the old shack along the causeway onto Long Beach Island.  Sadly, both the shack and the tree left with Sandy.

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That wreath around the heron’s neck has also had other assignments.  On a winter trip to the Catskills I found it floating in this stream.

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In yet another year it served as a frame for my Box Hill home.

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And here, decorating a race course marker under a guiding cormorant on the sailing grounds.

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A couple of years ago I experimented with photographing the Milky Way. The LBI beach is not a dark sky location but I had fun and produced a couple of creditable images.  Then, come December, this image fell into my head and stayed there.

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I once sent this picture to a friend, claiming it was evidence that Santa spent his summers at Beach Haven.  In the original he was surrounded by his pots of tomato plants.  She replied, “Oh, yeah, where’s the Christmas Tree?”  Wrong question as the revised picture showed.

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I don’t always mess with the pixels.  Here is a scene in a hallway of the Melk Abbey in Austria.  I hope they had floor polishers, and that the nuns didn’t have to do that floor.

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I’ve always loved this winter scene with its pictures of my family on the window seat at Box Hill.  Lots of eye-filling memories here.  Even some of those pictures had served as past Christmas cards, dating back to the last century.  Of the girls on the left, Maddy’s now out of college, and Gretchen will finish in 2017.  How did that all happen?

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Finally, in recent years I’ve been sending out a montage of my year’s work and art and fun with photography.  Here it is for 2016.  You can see the thumbnails better in a larger version by clicking here.

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Where would I be without my family and friends?

So, Merry Christmas and love to you,

and to all friends, Happy Holidays,

and “To All A Good Night”.

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