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.
 

A FUN PHILADELPHIA FLOWER SHOW – 2016

I really enjoyed the show this year.  My attendance record goes waaaay back into the late 50’s … long before blogging but I have posted about five previous modern shows, all listed under “Flower Show” in the tab at the top of the page marked  “An Index To My Posts”.  Anyhow, the first impression is always important and I was pleased with it this year.

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The theme was the hundredth anniversary of the National Park System.  I’m a great fan of the Park Service and I’ve enjoyed a lot of the major parks and preserves and refuges.  I think the service does such a great job that I’ve said for years that I wished they ran the whole government.  When I saw this entrance of stone columns and beams I felt at home.

Well, it’s supposed to be a flower show but sometimes the flowers get lost in the spectacle; this year I thought that there were more than last year.  There were lots of scenes like this to enjoy.

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Under the theme of the national parks I thought everyone did a good job with their entries.  A few even included marshy and pine barrens scenes reminiscent of the work that people like Jud’s Nurseries used to do in the 60’s, with wild azaleas and struggling cedars.

I had a couple of quibbles.  Long time supporter E. P. Henry (hardscaping materials) has been replaced by Belgard, the largest hardscapes manufacturer in the nation.  They provided pavers and block work and stone for exhibitors and they also had constructed what they called a Chesapeake Bay garden with their materials.  It was nice but as a bay veteran it didn’t make me think of the Chesapeake.  In fact I asked one of the hosts where the crabs were.  I was politely humored.  Another quibble:  there was a giant decorated bell shape representing the Liberty Bell.  It was positioned in a pleasant resting area on the back wall of which was emblazoned … not words from the Declaration of Independence … rather, from the preamble of the Constitution, written thirteen years after that bell was rung so symbolically.  Oh, well.

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There are the whimsical exhibits, generally always enjoyable.  Here’s one made of some kind of conifer branches.

(Techy comment:  Judges, note that there is a catchlight in its eye.)

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And there are the dramatic scenes here and there.

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Here’s some more whimsy which I couldn’t leave alone.  This was part of the Waldor Orchid display, a long time orchid cultivator and PHS supporter.  The exhibit had a central pond surrounded by orchid plants.  In the pond there were three illuminated translucent buckets upside down in the water, each with a further lighted bucket on top with water bubbling out of them.  It was too difficult to get close enough to capture the bucket scene so I chose to do this impressionistic capture (made with a Sweet Spot Lensbaby).

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The so-called Horticourt is a place where members may exhibit their specimen plants in competition.  I think that the area was larger this year, and I enjoyed seeing all of the entries.

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I’ll close with some more whimsy.  These unusual plants were all over the place, adding romantic colors to displays.  They were of the Electricus family of plants.  (Please, no emails or phone calls, yes they were electric lights but pretty.)

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Finally, there was a creative exhibit representing the Redwood National Forest.  One could walk through one of the simulated redwoods and look up at the lovely artistic effort.  Fun!

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A NICE JOB, PHS.  ONLY A YEAR UNTIL THE NEXT ONE.

(BTW, and maybe just a rumor but I think that next year’s theme may be the Netherlands.  Wow!  Keukenhof Gardens!)

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WINTER WHITE STUFF (THE FLORIDA KIND)

We managed to escape on the last flight out of Philadelphia before winter storm Jonas (OK, maybe not literally the last but it felt that way).  Even with the last minute struggle to change our flight to Friday night and to make sure there was a car and a room in Sanibel, we were still apprehensive.  Indeed, after taxiing out to the runway the pilot announced a further delay in order to DE-ICE THE WINGS.  How comforting was that??  I was convinced he would abort but we made it and slipped in to our cottage about 1:00 in the morning.  Our first view of the beach the next morning (while Jonas was howling at home) …. WHITE STUFF …  but, a very comfortable kind.

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Yet more white stuff is seen here.  Sanibel Island is known for being a shelling paradise.  For some reason the shape and position of the island in the currents of the Gulf of Mexico result in extraordinary deposits of shells with each high tide.

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It’s something to do every day.  The fanatics are on the beach before sunrise with headlamps, searching for the elusive and therefore prized Junonia.  It’s so rare, finders wind up with their pictures in the paper.  Aside from the Junonia, however, we enjoyed our beach walks and inevitably came home with shells that caught our eye.  The above sight is typical.  The image is now a part of my place mat collection.

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Another exciting activity is photographing the sea birds that meet daily on the beach.  Aside from the routine gulls we also enjoyed Willets, Ruddy Turnstones, skittering Sanderlings, and clusters of Royal Terns having bad hair days.  The terns are tolerant of walking humans ( dogs, another story) and gather in groups at sometimes the same spots along the beach each morning.  I’ve enjoyed photographing them over my fourteen years of occasional visits.  I posted recently about the need to get prone to capture some scenes and the terns are certainly in that category.

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I particularly love this image below.  He seemed to be zoned out in the joy of the morning sunlight and breeze.  I heard him murmuring, “Hey, Dude, is this cool or whaaat?”  I absolutely agreed.

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The tern was chillin’ in the sunrise along with others also drawn to dawn.  Most of us react to the drama of sunrises and sunsets and though I’ve seen and photographed lots of them I’m not immune to the next one.  Here’s one morning in which the sun was filtered more than usual but there was still light for the early morning shell seekers.

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And at the other end of the day, the sun’s farewell.

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Not every day was warm or clear or sunny, but at its worst it was better than being up home in February.  Even a foggy morning calls a photographer.

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Another major attraction of Sanibel is the 5200 acre “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.  We managed to drive through on the eight mile Wildlife Trail almost every day.  It’s best to do so slightly before and after low tide as the bird life is then feasting on creatures from the exposed sand flats.  One sees a great deal of White Pelicans, Ibis, Herons, Willets, and Cormorants.  In fact they report over 200 species of birds.  Here are some selected captures.

Wilbur and Wilma Willet

Wilbur and Wilma Willet

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Doc, I have this really bad neck pain.

Doc, I have this really bad neck pain.

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This one made me literally laugh out loud.  They tolerate humans being close and I was about six feet away from his bath.

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Finally, an after-breakfast Cormorant Cleanup.

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This was a nice experience for us, and certainly warmer and sunnier than February at home.  We thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed and informal atmosphere at Beachview Cottages on Sanibel Island.  As always, glad to be home but also wondering why??

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There is a gallery of additional images from the two weeks.  To view it please click here.

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WINTER ON THE BEACH

When a recently ordered item didn’t arrive I found it had been shipped to my summer address.  My fault, but grrrrr!  It became, however, an excuse to drive down there on a beautiful day.  The package was enjoying the sun at the front door and all was well inside the house so … off to the beach.  It was in the 30’s and the wind was sharp from the west at maybe 15 knots.  That was enough to blow spray backwards as the waves broke, creating dramatic scenes.

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The jetty below Nelson Avenue in Beach Haven looked to be a good spot from which to record the blowing-back spray  as well as the specular highlights.  I shared the jetty with a group of gulls looking for summer.  I looked around but I couldn’t see it coming anywhere.

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The jetty was, indeed, a good platform from which to capture the surf and the sun’s reflection.

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I then headed down to the Forsythe Refuge below Holgate.  I had seen a report of a Snowy Owl along the beach and I had my fingers crossed.  First, however,  I parked at the refuge entrance and put myself outside of a Wawa sandwich.  While sitting there eating I was amused by a couple of surfers wriggling into their wet suits in the parking lot while complying with the posted sign warning against disrobing.  Turns out they wrap a beach towel around their waist for the final step.

I was warm in my car; they were changing in the wind chill;  I prefer my hobby.

One of them looking up at me as he raced off with his board  said, “Well, it beats video games.”

Refortified and well covered up in my dry suit I headed down the beach.  It was a brilliant day and there was much to look at but no snowy owls.  In fairness, the report said the owl had been seen about three miles south, almost to the inlet.  I don’t do three miles, particularly in 15 knot, 30+ degree winds so it is left to others to photograph the animal.  Nevertheless, it was a magnificent day and there is usually something to see along the way.  About a mile down, I came upon this sand-polished and sun-bleached tree carcass.  It made me think of a deformed dolphin on a bad hair day.  It is the kind of thing I used to have nightmares about running into in my boating days, a real prop dinger.

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Elsewhere, the specular sea through wind-blown grasses caught my eye.  The fact that there’s a ridge here shows how dune grass can hold the sand.

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A word about the rigors of photography with which painting artists don’t have to deal.  Obviously, I had to get down low for this composition.  My friend, Barbara, loves to tell of traveling with me and, losing sight of me,  scanning the ground to find where I’m lying to photograph some turtle face-on.

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Here’s an example.  Barbara caught me photographing the civil war gravestone of a friend’s forebear.

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That doesn’t happen as much anymore, and the getting back up is also a challenge.  And even when prone, the head-to-the-viewfinder must still be raised up and the neck arthritis is not enthused.

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Nevertheless, it was a fun, beautiful and satisfying day.  The endorphins were flowing.

I plan to misaddress packages more often.

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REFLECTIONS ON REFLECTIONS – MY 200TH BLOG POST

I recently posted this image on Facebook and it earned a number of “Likes” and some nice comments.  I thought it was worthwhile and apparently it resonated with others as well.  Why that is so intrigues me but it’ll have to wait for another post.

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I had been driving hither and yon on back roads of Salem County, enjoying being in the country and looking for photo opportunities.  I whizzed past this small lake and realized I had passed a dramatic scene.  What I had seen so briefly was the horizontal line of the tree tops, the leafless branches, and, most important, the shimmery reflection.  Stop and turn around?  Yes.

I captured it as I had seen it in my whiz-by.  The scene filled the frame nicely so no cropping was needed.  Back home and post-processing, I liked it still more in black-and-white.  In retrospect, however, I wished that I had over-exposed it in order to achieve a so-called high-key effect.  Well, as Golde said about the village, Anatevka in Fiddler on the Roof, “A little bit of this, a little bit of that…” and we have a different scene.  Different, yes, but still made dramatic by the shimmery reflection.

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I continued to graze the lakeside.  With the soft cloud cover it was all enchanting.

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Here we have some color and just the day’s  light, nothing fancy.  But we have the gentle arch of the tree captured in a soft reflection.  And, some punctuation marks from the last of fall color.

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Here, the reflected branches seem to be scooping up some of the lake.

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NOW, THE 200TH POST MESSAGE

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As I drove away from the lake I had a sudden realization — an epiphany in that sense.  It’s going to sound too simple but here’s what we do:

We sense a scene that moves us, and we seek to capture it.

That’s it?  That’s all there is?

Yup, that’s it!

We sense a scene and we are driven to record it so as “to offer an expanded awareness of the beauty in the world around us.”  (Parish Kohanim)  Call it the artist’s eye.

And, though Kohanim speaks of beauty, the scene sensed could just as easily be an emotional street scene, or an event of life activity of some sort: think e.g. mud wrestling, shooting over your horse’s head while riding through the Pines, your cat in the sunlight, a spooky old asylum or prison, or a cemetery for dead trolley cars … Think also of Cartier-Bresson’s concept, “The decisive moment.”  Regardless of image content it is a scene that captures our senses and we are compelled to capture it.

I cannot, however,  pick up a pencil or brushes and paints and record such scenes.  Instead, I snap a shutter.  The choice of lens, the adjustments on the camera and the post-processing are my brushes and paint.  But, they are just tools to help with what I bring to the world … the recognition of a scene that I feel should be captured.   Or, as a related alternative we may have a vision which we then create and photograph for others to enjoy.

Since passing the lake that day I’ve been looking at a lot of my past work and that is consistently what I have done:  reacted to a scene and then captured it.  The post processing simply serves to further enhance my vision.

The beauty or drama or impact is in the scene.
Our art is in recognizing that.
Our skill is in composing for, and capturing, the scene such that we can reproduce it for others,
enhanced or not as befits our vision.

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I’m very pleased to have this idea as the theme of my two hundredth post.  In February I’ll complete seven years of this journal.  It’s been a lot of fun!

Thanks for riding along.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

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SCENES OF FALL

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I finally got off of the beach.  Fall was clearly a fact and I felt the need to explore and enjoy it.

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This is the famous Chrysanthemum Mountain planted annually at Ott’s Nursery in Schwenksville, PA.  This used to be a destination on a fall Sunday drive with the family, and it’s still an amazing and entertaining site.  The scene is dominated by a gigantic greenhouse of Victorian, Moorish lines.  The adjacent store is of field-stone construction with windows with diamond mullions suggesting old Europe.  Here, the mountain can be seen reflected in one of the windows.

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  I had seen a couple of Facebook posts by photo-friend Ken Curtis of a place called Ken Lockwood Gorge.  It looked great and was only an hour and a half away so off I went.  I didn’t (have to) explore very much of it to enjoy the views.

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I found it hard to believe that I was still in New Jersey, thinking Vermont along the gorge.  These scenes also brought to mind past mentors such as Kurt Budliger, Joe Rossbach, Ian Plant and Richard Bernabe.

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Other scenes also made my camera squirm with excitement.  You’ve got to give them their head once in a while.

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But don’t forget what Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home … There’s no place like  … There’s no  ………  “

Even without a decent pair of ruby slippers I found fall near home.  This scene is by a tiny falls on Sharps Run on the Yellow Trail at Medford Leas.  The stream had carried these leaves along to the falls’ edge where they were hung up.  The small current, then, just swirled around them.

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Along the Red Trail I found these Viburnum berries pretending to be Holly, a worthwhile effort.

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Finally (and what triggered this post) I sat down early in my sun room with a morning coffee and wake-up music.  As the sun worked its way above the eastern campus there was a magical interval of soft red and yellow light.  Though still in my bathrobe I managed to get out and photograph it and return before Campus Security was called by any neighbors.  What a great start to the day!

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A FALL NON-FOLIAGE WEEKEND

I wanted to get away to foliage country but I couldn’t get it together.  I dithered over a destination.  My photography colleague, Ken C., had kindly given me some itineraries for the Lake Placid area.  I was tempted but felt it was too far to go alone.  Next I thought about the gorges at Ithaca, NY but also ruled that out for the driving.  I even thought about Ricketts Glen;  I wouldn’t have climbed up very far because of my prior experience there.  As a last resort I decided to work the Catskills beginning with a Saturday major train collectors show in Kingston.  The welcome signs were out … for any other weekend.

So, bent and determined to get away for a couple days I returned to the shore.  I found that, as advertised, summer has definitely left, but there was lots to enjoy.  Friday night the skies were clear so I headed to the southern end of Long Beach Island to try and photograph the Milky Way.  The quarter moon made that difficult so I made some lemonade.  The moon’s sheen on Beach Haven inlet was beautiful.

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The Milky Way was there albeit dimmed by the moon and Casino City’s lights.  It’s still a sobering sight when developed.  It always makes me think of Dave Bowman’s exclamation as he flew his pod into the monolith (2001; in the book not the movie).  “My God!  It’s full of stars.”

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I was so pleased with my evening’s work that I set the alarm for sunrise.  Back at Holgate again, I was rewarded with great color although not much cloud structure nearby.  Another of life’s many, simple pleasures, shared with the gulls and four other early risers.  Two of them were from Easton, PA.  Wait, they’re supposed to be up there enjoying foliage.

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After breakfast I headed off to Cape May.  There I found fall foliage — if you’ll let me include Goldenrod.  Cape May enthusiasts will recognize this as Sunset Point with its concrete ship, the S. S. Atlantus.  Intended to be a part of a Lewes-Cape May ferry dock, it broke loose and grounded here in a 1926 storm.

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After lunching here in the wind I headed off to the light house area and the adjacent Wetlands State Natural Area.  There were more bird-watchers here than birds.  Lots of oooohs and aahhhs — “Look, there’s a Tennessee Warbler in the goldenrod.”  (What does a southern accent warble sound like?)  Thousands of dollars worth of telescopes and cameras with their stove-pipe long lenses.  I was delighted to find just a couple of Monarch Butterflys enjoying the goldenrod.

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I finished the day with a walk along one of the trails which brought me to the beach and some more beach fall foliage.

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The next morning I made a coffee and headed back to the beach for sunrise, this time at the Pearl Street pavilion in Beach Haven.  The sea was calm with small wavelets breaking within a few feet of the shore line.  It was chilly — about 40°, but absolutely awesome.  Looking left and right and seeing as far as the Revel casino (about 17 miles away as the gulls fly) I counted only six souls in view.

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After the sublime God beams, to Fred’s Diner for a perfect breakfast.  Then home, delighted with my non-foliage weekend.

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A VISIT TO ANOTHER CENTURY

I recently spent a weekend at the Mohonk Mountain House, a surprise birthday/Christmas gift from my special friend, Barbara.  It was an enchanting visit.  Mohonk is located a few miles west of New Paltz, NY but to leave the thruway and eventually wend one’s way through the 8000 acres of the Mohonk Preserve onto the resort’s property is to leave the 21st century behind.

 

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The Smiley brothers began the resort by acquiring a twenty room tavern on the lake in 1879.  What you see today was created largely from the founding until about 1910.  The Smileys were Quakers, and Quaker values such as moderation and restraint are imbued in the property and its employees.  The simplest example: as one drives along the 3.4 miles road from the gatehouse to the resort the usual speed limit road signs declare only “Slowly and quietly.”  The property has also benefited by the continuation of Smiley family management.  Think about that: one hundred and thirty-six years of family management.

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The resort was built at one end of Lake Mohonk, a land-locked lake about .4 miles long which supports boating, swimming, fishing, and sit-in-your-rocking-chair viewing.

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Within the buildings all is gracious and pleasant.  Expect and see no plastic, fiberglass, chrome, shag rugs, or TV sets in the lobby playing the weather channel.  In fact, see no TV sets in the rooms but, but … a working fireplace, and employees who come by each morning to see if one needs more firewood.

Enjoy a little balcony off the room, built of turn-of-the-(19th to 20th)-century iron grill work.  In the hallways are wall to wall muted carpets, soft beige walls framed by aged chestnut mill work, lined with pictures of old, serious white-bearded gentlemen and their long-skirted ladies, and small, intimate side rooms for quiet conversation.

But, among those sepias of ancients we were excited to come across a friend’s modern picture.  A fellow Leas resident, Helen Vukasin, co-founded Mohonk Consultations in 1980 with Mr. & Mrs. Keith Smiley,  and was chair of their board from 1995 to 2001.  She’s now Board Manager Emerita (2011).  Mohonk Consultations supports the tradition ( since 1883) of Mohonk “as a gathering place for those seeking solutions to global, national and local problems. The beauty of the natural surroundings, along with the Quaker tradition of peaceful inclusiveness, has provided a unique atmosphere for the useful exchange of ideas.”  Much of international significance has sprung from these discussions.  See here.

Beyond all this, however, there are the grounds that are so rewarding.  Acres of gardens and miles of trails.

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On a rainy afternoon we sat on the mammoth covered porch in rocking chairs (tea and cookies at 4:00) and enjoyed the mists and rain on the lake.

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On another garden walk we encountered a restful koi pond.

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In another shower……………

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On a walk along a glacial cliff, in the distance one of their iconic and official logo Summerhouses.

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Another tea-and-cookie-time scene.

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Finally, a fall scene from along the cliff walk.

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There is a gallery of additional images from the weekend.  Please click here to see it.

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SEPTEMBER SONG

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Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December
But the days grow short when you reach September
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
And I haven’t got time for the waiting game.

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I get it … I get it.   Summer’s slipping away.  Fall is flexing its muscles.

The juvenile gulls are screeing for Mom to feed them, wondering what happened to the dole.

Each evening the sun slowly sneaks a little bit further south.  I’m watching you, sun, and I know where you’re going;  I’ll catch up with you again in January at Sanibel.  Meanwhile, the mornings can be hoody but the days are still hot to balmy.  The last-of-the-season vacationers have gone from the Bagel Shack every morning.  The Shack also put up plastic curtains around its outside eating area to ward off the early morning chill.

There are pumpkins and potted chrysanthemums at the Acme.

After the reds of sunrise the early morning photons are mostly yellow.  They paint the marshes, enhancing the glow the grasses have worked all summer to achieve.

The old Great Blue Heron basks in the copse on nearby Mordecai Island. I look at him thru the binoculars and see him looking back at me. He’s got the early morning sun; I’ve got the coffee; neither would trade.

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Nor would I trade for the summer experience.

From a post four years ago:

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

Henry James.

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With family and friends it was a good summer.  Here are some memories:

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The annual Twilight Sail – one of the best events of the summer.

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Even on cloudy days the beach is still a place to be.

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Storms are part of summer, indeed, of life, and they bring their own drama and stark beauty.

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In mid-August part of the A-cat fleet arrived for the Downbay Regatta weekend.  Always exciting, and seven of them this year.

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Summer brings fog as well, drawing me to …. where?

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One day, friends arrived for lunch!?!

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Our captain, Jenn, for the twilight sail.

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Nobody to protect.

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On Labor Day afternoon the guards went off duty at the usual 5:00PM.  As they climbed the dune to leave the beach they turned, blew a long whistle and waved goodbye.  Those still holding tightly onto the sand and summer waved back.  I’m told this is customary in order to warn all that the beach protection was off duty.  On this day, however, marking the season’s end for the guards as well, it was poignant.

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The day after summer.

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Shucks, I guess the season’s over.

I closed with this image a couple of years ago.  I’m reusing it because it’s perfect for the mood.*

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*There’s also a techy note about using Nik’s Tonal Contrast on this image  The note is on one of the tabs at the top of this post.

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CONTINUING AROUND CAPE ANN

Earlier this month I posted about a visit to Cape Ann, northeast of Boston.  The post was mostly about the village of Rockport on the coast and its harbor (see the Rockport post).  Well, there’s much more to see and photograph on the Cape, itself, and I offer some examples.

The coast line continues rocky, punctuated by the occasional safe harbor for recreational craft as well as a few commercial fishing boats.  This harbor is called Lanes Cove, and it opens into Ipswich Bay.  Note the granite blocks which form the breakwaters.

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Beaches are rare and seem to be more of a crushed granite (as seen above) than the quartz (silicon dioxide) of our South Jersey shoreline.  The image below is typical of the Cape Ann shoreline.

 Wavelets coming ashore.

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But between the rocks here and there are old friends…the Beach Rose or Nantucket Rose or, properly, Rosa Rugosa,  The white variety is not often seen and it was lovely.

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Besides having a rocky shoreline Cape Ann is boats…boats…boats.  Here’s a pair of Gloucester dories that caught my camera’s eye.

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A pleasant drive westward took me to the village of Essex located on the Essex River which runs northeasterly into Essex Bay and thence to Ipswich Bay on the coast.   Essex also makes its living from the sea including boat rides through the marshes of the river.  At Essex there’s a fine Shipbuilding Museum where volunteers rebuild old commercial wooden fishing hulls.  Adjacent is Burnham’s boat building shed, operated by Harold Burnham, the 28th of that family in the craft which has delivered over 4000 vessels since the 1819 founding.

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Here’s a typical scene along the river, a marine railway with an occupant and a couple of squatters.

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On the east side of Gloucester Harbor there is a small, narrow peninsula called Rocky Neck.  Over the years it has become an artists’ colony and an enjoyable place to visit.  Here’s a whimsical window on one of the gallery buildings along Smith Cove which is inside the peninsula.  It’s a creation painted on a piece of plywood screwed on to the siding.  Notice even the reflections in the bottom panes.  The window box is a second piece of painted plywood.

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Here we have an “open-air” gallery on the water’s edge.  Maybe “plein air” paintings are best shown in open air.

This reminded me that a few years ago I proclaimed myself a plein air photographer.  It hasn’t affected my estate.

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Smith Cove is also the home of one of the boats from the National Geographic series, Wicked Tuna.  The series chronicles the adventures of seven boats which seek the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in North Atlantic Waters.  Here’s one of them, Hard Merchandise, berthed next to a wall of tail fins from her catches.  In her 2014 season she brought in some 3000 pounds of tuna worth about $62,000.  That’s a lot of sushi.

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This schooner also made me think of James Sessions’ watercolors of Gloucester Harbor.  (see my earlier post on Rockport Harbor.)

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Finally, I could not leave without capturing an image of Gloucester’s iconic 1925 memorial to the thousands of fisherman who have lost their lives over the centuries.

I was tempted to skip it because of how often it’s been published but I couldn’t pass it up with the clouds above it.

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A HAPPY ANNOUNCEMENT

I am pleased to report that my galleries on Pbase.com, experienced their six hundred thousandth (600,000) page view sometime in mid-August.  I opened these galleries in 2005 and they have proven to be a great display for my work, enabling me to post far more images that I could ever have done on this blog.  There’s almost no commentary other than some image titles, however, so my blog continues a role of enabling me to tell about some of my images and the related experiences.  There are 359 galleries of which 193 are public;  the rest are private family or institutional galleries.  The public galleries contain over 2100 images.  I’m grateful for all of the views that they have enjoyed.

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ANOTHER JOURNEY TO A DISTANT SHORE – 2015

Friends know that I become a little antsy mid-summer, wanting to get away to another venue.  (Fifty-six images of the Holyoke Avenue jetty are quite enough).  I find these trips to be good for both my sensor and my psyche.  And though I live at the shore for the summer months I’m also drawn to other shores.  Last summer was great on Cape Cod;  this year Cape Ann bubbled up out of my considerations and it, too, was pleasant and productive.  It’s certainly a different kind of shore.

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Cape Ann is located about thirty miles northeast of Boston, and is probably best known for the commercial fishing port, Gloucester, made famous by the book and movie, The Perfect Storm.  My destination, however, was out at the eastern end of the Cape, the less busy village of Rockport, an art colony and a home for lobster fisherman, surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean, and loaded with charm.  We discovered it a good many years ago when I was stationed in my navy days at Quonset Point, RI, from which we frequently explored New England.

The name is derived from its 19th century granite trade, and the harbors and beaches confirm that stony life.  Beginning in the mid-1800s, however, it morphed into more of an art colony planted amongst large estates and summer homes.  The winding, hilly roads, the New England architecture, the flower gardens and the spectacular views are irresistible.  It is certainly a Norman Rockwell kind of place.  Here is one of the granite sea-walled harbors from which lobster fisherman go forth daily. (Note to colleagues:  this is a five vertical image pano.)

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The harbor is best known, however, for this 1840 fishing shack which came to be known as Motif #1, said to be the most painted building in America. It was considered such an important element for the town’s commerce that when it was blown down in a winter blizzard in 1978 the town rebuilt it as it had been.

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The focal point of tourist activity is a section called Bearskin Neck.  This is a 0.2 mile long peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic from the largely residential area.  It’s lined with art galleries, artist’s studios, gift shops, clothing from T-shirts to up-scale, and eating places including Roy Moore’s lobster store.  Pick one out and they’ll cook it on the spot and you can eat it overlooking the harbor.  Here’s a view early in the morning before the tourists arrived.  Turning left, there is a short walk to the tip on the Atlantic.  There is also a splendid premier restaurant out there, My Place By The Sea, which I’ve enjoyed over the years, and did again while overlooking the harbor and the sea.

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The back street behind the stores to the right includes a row of charming one-time fishermen’s cottages.

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Along the way, one of the more colorful spots is the kayak rental business.  I photographed this scene fifteen years ago and there were two dozen boats there.  I gather that the business has done well.

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 A charming doorway invites us in to the store but, notably, it’s the rear entrance from a back street reserved for residents’ parking.  One sees the flowers everywhere!

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But, it was to the harbor that I returned many times from sunrise to sunset.  This scene is from the T-wharf looking out to the harbor entrance, an area that seems to be reserved for pleasure craft rather than lobstermen.  Here, in the words of Parish Kohanim who spoke to us at the Rehoboth Beach seminar last spring, I sought “to offer an expanded awareness of the beauty in the world around us.”  I tried to do that as well in the images that are shown in the related gallery (see below).

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I recently purchased a Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens.  This is designed to yield soft, ethereal images with only a small center section in somewhat sharper focus.  As I have said elsewhere, we spend shocking sums to acquire high quality sensors and lenses and then we spend more money to soften things just a little bit.

The result, for me, was dramatic.  Again, I thought of another of Kohanim’s admonitions: “Seek to transform the mundane into the extraordinary.”  Here, a lobsterman slowly moves out of the harbor for his day’s work.  Two accompanying seagulls can be faintly seen.  The image is suggestive of watercolorist James Sessions whose work included scenes of nearby Gloucester’s fishermen. We purchased two of his prints in our first year of marriage and one still hangs in my shore house.

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Finally, even the night offers magic.  I was blessed to be visiting  during the recent blue moon.  The first night of it was a washout because of cloud cover.  The second night — my last at Rockport — was a fulfilling event as were all of my harbor visits.

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On one of our visits over the years I was in a funk over career issues.  I fantasized about dropping out and getting a little shop on Bearskin Neck in which I would make and sell driftwood lamps.  Fortunately (I guess) it never happened.  However, it’s never too late.  If you visit Rockport please look me up.  I’ll be wondering up and down the Neck taking souvenir family portraits.

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 There is a gallery of more images of Rockport from this trip.  To visit it, click here.

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