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.
 

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 and 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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TANGIER ISLAND, VA – A STEP BACK IN TIME

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A PLACE AND A WAY OF LIFE RECEDING IN THE FACE OF TIDES AND TIME

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Tangier Island consists of about 900 acres of which about 83 remain suitable for habitation; the rest is marsh.  It is located on Chesapeake Bay, a thirteen mile boat ride from Crisfield, MD on the Eastern Shore.  It was first charted by Captain John Smith in 1608, and my family and I followed him in 1973 by ferry, and again on our own boat a couple of times in the 80’s.

I came across a notice about a workshop guided by Irene Hinke-Sacilotto of Oprey Photo.Com, and I decided it was time to return.  My photography had been dragging thru fallow fields and I needed a restart.  A trip to the island would do it along with a return to pleasant memories.

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No one knows the source of the island’s name but the first recorded reference to it was about 1682. An 1800 census lists 79 inhabitants, most of them named Crockett.  Over the years they were joined by other families from southwest England including the Pruitts, Thomases, and Parks.  If you seek a wi-fi connection there you will encounter many of these names, and you will find them on above-ground burial vaults in their front yards.  Here is one such burial site, that of Lillie M. and John L. Crockett, and,yes, right on Main Street.

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On that first visit to the island in 1973 we stayed at Hilda Crockett’s Chesapeake House.  Meals were served family style on long tables laden with crab cakes and corn pudding.  There was no air conditioning so we stayed up late, reading on the front porch by the soft light of the Pepsi machine.  It’s been moved but not much else has changed.

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As we sat on the porch during the day we watched locals strolling up and down the main street (below), the ladies with their hair in curlers for Saturday night’s entertainment: the bingo games at the community center.  Yes, that’s the main town street, wide enough for two golf carts or one very occasional car.

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We also trudged out to the community center later that night to play Bingo.  We had to cross the tidal creeks that divided the island;  at that time the bridges consisted of pairs of 8″ x 10′ planks that wobbled up and down as we crossed them.  My late wife, Marty Lou, won a necklace at the Bingo game and we were the object of some stares for detracting from their Saturday night escape.  The planked bridges are a great improvement.

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In the 70’s the census reported a little over 800 residents; today it’s down to 700+.  Of these, something like 65 are still engaged in harvesting from the bay.  The original activity was live stock and farming but from about the 1840’s seafood became the focus, particularly with the advent of train service at Crisfield to haul their product to markets.

Those that still work the bay are out there early and, at times, in terrible weather.

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The main entrance to the harbor area is from the northeast, leading out to Tangier Sound.  It is lined on either side by fifty or more so-called crab shanties.  There are no streets leading to these shanties; they’re out there on pilings to provide a base for the waterman’s daily operations.  This particular shanty has been outfitted with trays to contain soft-shell crabs until they fully shed, or to keep shedders fresh for market..  Bay water is pumped over them, and you can see the netting to protect the crop against marauading seagulls.  Another shanty can be seen in the opening picture.

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Here we see one of the tidal creeks that break up the island into its three ridges, the village being on the center or “Main Ridge”.  The daytime-only, single runway and several homes are on the next ridge to the west where I stood for the below image.

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The island is halfway out of this world but, on the other hand, it’s been that way for a few hundred years.

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The calamities these days: the drastic reduction of the crab crop, and the erosion of the island.  In addition to the rising sea level from global warming the island is exposed to stormy seas.  On our last morning there we had to abandon sunrise photography because of the storm that had arisen during the night.  Here’s a view of the bay towards the northwest as the seas from winds of about 15 knots continued to pound the breakwater.

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It was great to revisit this old friend of a place.  I remembered a Memorial Day visit in the 80’s.  There was a gathering with a modest honor guard at the Methodist Church cemetery and someone read aloud the name of every Tangier-man who had served his country since the Spanish-American War.  As a name was recited a young girl would remove a rose from a basket she was carrying and place it on the cemetery grounds.

They have survived; they will be there for a long time to come.

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There is a gallery of these and more images from my weekend.  Please visit it by clicking here.

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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.

Image 01

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.

Image 06

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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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