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.
 

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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~≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡~

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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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WHERE MY CAMERA TAKES ME III – Scenes from here and there.

This post is low on chatter (probably good) and long on miscellaneous images.  Every day-trip is not a photo workshop but we can bring home images that are nice and that jump out of the hamper when reviewing past trips, clamoring for their moment on the web.

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Fall is many things.  As with winter, and in contrast with spring and summer, most of fall is more striking and dramatic.  Contributing factors are the clarity that low humidity brings, and the power of stately cumulus clouds.  Add these to the red hulls of the Larson fishing fleet at Long Beach Island’s Viking Village and you have a classic fall scene.

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Fall is seasonal shapes and colors.
Here’s a table full of them at Russo’s farm market in Tabernacle.

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Fall is color, presented here abundantly by the most prolific, colorful weed I can think of.

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Fall is a time of special weekends, for art and craft shows and for people festivals for one reason or another.  It’s almost as though we sense the gradual fading of the daily light and the impending arrival of the cold and we want to dance and celebrate while we can.  (We are already at less than 12 hours of sun daily.)

My camera took me to one such festival at the Philadelphia Seaport.  While there I was taken with all of the lines of the 1901 tall ship Gazela.  There were men doing some kind of maintenance up there and I thought I even heard Captain Bligh scolding them.

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Two nearby ships provided contrasts between the three;  the seventy-three year-old New Jersey and the twenty year-old Ben Franklin vs. the 115 year-old Gazela.

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And, as long as I’m talking about boats, here’s another from the Larson fleet in a dreamier presentation.

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One more from the boat files.  This is left over from my spring trip to Tangier Island, cropped to emphasize the ripple reflections.

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Getting back to fall scenes, here’s a dewy web in early morning warm light.  I guess the maker knows how to get in there for a snack if it comes along.  Colleagues: this was a four shot stacked image blend taken with a 100mm macro lens.

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Finally, fall greatly enhances sunrises over the beach.  It’s that crystal clear air again plus those puffy clouds.   I had just gotten up when this scene smacked me in the face.  I previously posted this on Facebook but not everyone gets to see that work so here it is again.  The stunning feature here is the “shadows” created by the clouds, i.e. the darker blue that seems to be radiating from the clouds.  Equally strong is the back- and side lighting of the clouds.

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“Oh, what a beautiful morning!”

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Happy Fall, Y’all!

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SUMMER SLOWLY SLIPS AWAY

Labor day’s over …. Hermine pulled out … the end-of-season Commodore’s Ball is over … the weekly rentals are gone home … the Purple Martins left town a few weeks ago … there’s no weekday morning headboat, in fact, only an occasional boat at all … there are ginger snaps, mums and candy corn for sale … the cicadas frantically buzzed their way back to Middle Earth, replaced by the crickets, embarrassed to be noisy in the post-Labor Day quiet … school buses are on the streets … and the Canada Geese are honking.

Yep, summer’s slippin’ away.  It always makes me think of this quotation which I’ve used before:

“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon.  The two most beautiful words  in the English language”

                                                                           Henry James

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Well, I’ve got a few pixels left from summer to help me remember what it was like.  Here are some.

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I love this piece and the image.  Besides Royal Blue being a favorite color I’m hooked on the many-lenses effect giving me lots of views of a favorite place.  Even the puff of cloud overhead was captured in the stem.  My daughter, Sigrid, bought some of these including tumblers this summer so that they could always identify their glasses at the BYO parties.  We’ve seen this kind of glassware, typically thought of as Bohemian, where a color flashing is artfully cut away to create the lenses.  This one, however, is plastic and a beautiful job.

Way back in August I mentioned that I had gone to the beach to photograph a rainbow but I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it.  However, I keep tripping over it and it’s grown on me.

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I like the warm misty tones, especially on the new hewn railings that guide us over Mt. Dune.

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Next, a summer treat from my youth (I wonder when that was).  Every summer when the Jersey tomatoes were in, my mother would prepare a feast by frying them, then making a milk gravy with the leavings and serving it all with bread.  What a great memory.  Then a few years ago I found out that Barbara’s mother also made them so now once a summer Barbara prepares this treat for us.  Yum!

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Another August, season-ending event is the art show held at the club.  Members showed their talents in painting, photography, decoy carving, and sculpture.  Here were my offerings.

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 It was an all-canvas array including the largest I’ve done.  I had the two larger pieces done by a lab but printed and stretcher-mounted the two smaller ones myself.  Except for the lower right twilight scene they were all worked up with software to create a painterly effect.

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The four cat boats scene was from last year’s Twilight Sail , and the image was selected for the club’s 2016 events calendar.  The selection was made by my long-time friend (and powerful tax advisor) (and son of long-time friends Fran and Joe) Vice-Commodore Joe O’Neill.  The painterly version canvas went home with the lead boat’s owner.  (Honest, Ken, I didn’t set you up.  😉 )

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Sunsets and sunrises are an important scenic focus all year round but summer seems to bring more drama and opportunity.  This one is iconic which is a fancy way of saying, yes, I’ve seen this kind of scene before.  But it appealed to me to have the chairs off-center and closer to the viewer, the sun centered between them, and that boat on the right for tension.  Also, Barb and I saluted a lot of sunsets this summer from these chairs.

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Finally, here’s another favorite of mine from past posts.  I’ve not come across a more moving way to say again,

Shucks, the season’s over.

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HERMINE TAKES BACK THE SEA’S SAND

For many months there has been a major beach replenishment project underway along Long Beach Island.  The cynics among us (moi???) were waiting for the first big nor’easter to return things to normal.  Well, Hermine certainly tried, and did a lot of its own reclamation around Holgate at the southern tip of the island.  But, there’s still a lot of dune left to protect the island.

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The Friday night before the storm was stunning.  I swear to you that this sunset is right out of my cell phone … no enhancement, and just awesome.

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The image, however, belied the old sailor’s comfort:  “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.” as Saturday morning brought an undelightful sea.

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For both of the above shots I had waded out into the (warm) water.  The turbulence threatened to knock me over along with my $$$ camera and $$$ lens but I made it back to shore.

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There were a few other souls on the beach; after all, the sun was shining.  This sandpiper was among them, thinking, perhaps that my flip-flop was its mother.

Excuse me; those are my flip-flops.

Excuse me; those are my flip-flops.

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Sunday morning dawned beautiful.  Crowds gathered at the end of the island to witness the drama of the still-angry sea.

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Here’s the famous wooden jetty which had been covered by the adjacent dune.  It’s what we expected but it’s still sad and a loss.

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Here we see a 10′ cliff on the dune that used to COVER the wooden jetty, kids and big kids enjoying it but also adding to the destruction.

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 The exciting sea made great opportunities for the enthusiastic.  This would be a fearsome prospect for me.  Maybe two or three years ago …. when I was only 80 …

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And, how exciting to climb the sky!

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We survived the storm.  We had rain only late Friday night, and we dined in the wind (under a tent) for the Saturday night season’s-end ball.  We brought in all of the porches’ furniture; Sigrid managed everything nicely for the annual trophies presentation Sunday morning, culminating a year’s work by her to prepare them all (ninety active trophies plus keepers).  My family raised everything off of the first floor onto cinder blocks and moved the bicycles up a half flight to the entry foyer, and some of us (moi, again) evacuated.  Yes, we lost some sand but some of that will come back, and we still have much more protection than we did before Sandy.

LIFE ON A SANDBAR!

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DOWNBAY 2016

The Downbay Regatta is an annual summer highlight at Beach Haven’s Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club.   A many-yeared tradition, sailboats come “down-bay” from several other yacht clubs on Barnegat Bay to compete in their classes, i.e. A-Cats, B-Cats, E-Scows and Lightnings.  It is always colorful, always a weekend of camaraderie,  of renewing friendships, of hard-fought races, and not a little partying.  Although I had retired as the club photographer, my camera wanted to go take a look; what could I do?

The weekend opened bright, hot, and windy with some question as to whether there might be too much wind.  That was a new concept for a power-boater like me … too much wind to sail?!? Anyway, a great start for the weekend.  Here’s the traditional lineup of the romantic A-Cats, with two more on moorings out in the thorofare.

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On the dock were the colorful “marks and pins” which are taken out to the sailing grounds and moored to mark the turning points of the various courses.

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The harbor horn sounds … a kind of mount-up signal which triggers all kinds of boarding, and sail raising activity, some of it frenetic.  I heard lots of “Pull that line …. Jack, don’t tie us up … The sail’s caught … Can we get a tow … “

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Will somebody let go the bow line?

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Third generation Little-Egger Sam Flagler was invited to skipper the A-Cat, Ghost. This boat was generously donated last year to the NJ Maritime Museum in Beach Haven.  (A splendid museum, WELL worth a visit.)  The boat is “mothered” by past yacht club commodore John Coyle, an inveterate supporter of lots of good things for Beach Haven and the island and the area (e.g. the Tuckerton Seaport Museum.)  Anyhow, Sam invited my granddaughter, Gretchen, to crew with him.  They’ve been sailing buddies since their learning days in the Junior Sailing program.  Here they are as young teenagers in the 2008 Quill-McCarty race around Mordecai Island.

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And, eight years later, boarding Ghost for the races.

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Finally, they begin their tow to the sailing grounds.

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 Torch decides to sail her way out, dragging her reflection behind her.

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Finally, a Lensbaby view of the morning dock and preparation.

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WHADDYA MEAN IT’S AUGUST???

Sigh, it is.  I’ve said it before but endless summer isn’t.  I moved to the beach mid-June and had the whole summer ahead of me.  But that was then, and now it’s August.  Actually, things don’t change that much.  Gregg Whiteside on WRTI tells me every morning that the day’s going to be another two minutes less of sunshine.  Two minutes a day I can deal with, and I’ve still got two months before I have to return to the Old Folks Farm.

The beach and the bay still beckon, whether a perfect day or one with a stiff wind out of the west with whitecaps.  Here’s the view we’ve enjoyed looking west from Barb’s place in Holgate this summer.

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Sunrise at the “new” beach?  Priceless.  The reclamation project is pretty much done at the southern end of LBI, with some fine tuning such as gravel walkways over the new dunes.  The scene below is from the parking lot at the end of Holgate.  The beach chair occupant?  He’s the over-night guardian to protect us from the replenishment pipes and equipment on the other side of the dune.

 

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By early July the project had extended this dune to cover the old wooden jetty that bordered the surfing beach at the beginning of the Forsythe Refuge.   The dredges at sea pumped tons of sand sludge onto the beach, and dozers such as this one moved it as the Corps of Engineers had decreed.  This took me back to my Sea Bee days.

Farewell to the jetty and also to the surfing beach because the jetty had created the surf.  Sic transit gloria.

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Being a photographer at the beach summer after summer is challenging;  where’s the new scene or the new perspective?  Well, you have to keep your eyes and your head open and hope you’ll luck out once in a while.  Here’s one that surprised me.   Sitting on Barb’s deck at sunset I noticed the bay’s reflection in the windows of the house next door, and I loved it.  Even more when I developed it and discovered that the undulations in the window glass had created a rolling sea on the quiet bay surface.

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Another surprise grab shot was this scene.  I had gone to the beach to photograph a post-storm rainbow.  Beautiful? Yes.  Impressive? Sort of.  But, (yawn) another rainbow on the beach.  When I turned around and climbed the dune to return, however, here was a reminder of how narrow this sandbar is on which we live.  I’m on the beach dune and one can see the end of the street at the bay, only 1900′ away.  Composition Guideline:  always look behind you after you’ve taken your shot.

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My favorite summer event is the Twilight Sail.  This year some heavy duty thunder storms were smashing the mainland so Barb and I demurred.  I felt it confirming when our Fleet Captain also declined.  Anyway, four vessels took off for the edge of the world, including our now Beach Haven resident A-cat, Ghost (the taller mast below).  They all returned safely.

I was impressed with the blue world into which they were sailing.  Made me think of a colleague’s photography business, Twilight Blue Photography.  (No charge, Pat.)

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Well, so what if it’s August.  Summer’s still here and I’m stickin’ around, too.

Here was the month’s first sunset;  Well Done August!

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UNLOCKING SUMMER’S FRONT DOOR

It’s time for me to leave the cave and head back to the island.  After two trial weekends, yes, it’s good to be back.  Here’s what I unexpectedly, gratefully, captured at sunset last week.

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It wasn’t shaping up as a great sunset.  There was, in fact, a cloud bank above the mainland, and the setting sun was above that.  By shooting with my telephoto lens, however, I was able to mask out the sun, leaving only this magnificent scene and color.  The foreground grasses provide an anchor for the viewer, and the four men fishing on the boat say,

Yes! Summer’s Here!

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Another major sign of summer’s arrival is the blooming of the Rosa Rugosa or beach roses.  The dune makers (more on this below) spared the extensive clusters of the roses on either side of the ramp to the beach, making a beautiful entrance when in bloom.  They also have a lovely fragrance; it made me wish my camera could capture it.

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Another sign of summer for me is the return of the Purple Martins to Cotov’s Condominiums along Liberty Thorofare.  So is the morning fog.

They’re Back … and their eggs have already been laid.  More to come.

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But the Big Story on Action News is the $128 million beach restoration project, a very impressive, 24/7 engineering project.  Security guards prevent ageing photographers from getting too close but here’s part of the feel of it.  The gulls ignore the Danger sign to feast on bits and pieces that come along with the sand being pumped in; the lady is heading for ignoring the sign but not, one hopes, for the bits and pieces.

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Beach toys for big boys.

Beach toys for big boys.

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A block or two north the beach is open alongside the pipe carrying bottom sand from an off-shore dredge.  The pipe is marked “High Pressure.  Danger.  Stay Back” but the crew has created sand walkways over it.  Oh, well.  Frisbees must fly.

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Did I mention summer fog?  Oh, yeah.  On this morning the pipeline was pumping in off-shore fog.

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The pathway to the beach is now daunting.  A compacted gravel bed has been put in place which is so much easier to walk on rather than just the sand.

This family made it to the top.  They’re settling in but I expect signs soon to keep off of the dunes.

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Anyway, once you get to the top of Mt. Dune an amazing vista opens up.

Plenty of room until the first nor’easter.

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