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

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

Image 11——————————————

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

———————————————————–Image 10


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


Image 10



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



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

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

Image 08



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


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

Image 03


Within the pond boats lie on mooring buoys.

Image 06


Others nearby also await the day’s assignments.

Image 05



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

Image 11



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

Image 12


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

Image 13


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

Image 14



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

Image 15



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

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


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

Just click on the arrow below at left.





  1. agoldensmile Says:

    Wow! That whole blog was amazing!!!
    It brought back fond memories of our vacations on the cape . We met my grandparents there and Papa took movies of us playing in the surf. The photos are beautiful and love the music at the end. I can’t wait to show this to my parents!

  2. Bonnie Says:

    Your Skaget Beach sunset is stunning. It must be a beautiful place if it keeps calling you back.

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, Bonnie. Yes, I was fortunate with the Skaget Beach scenes. It’s a shame the Cape is so far away. I’m ready to go back, and thinking about it for long weekend. Amtrak to Providence, RI, and then a rental car from there.

  3. Season Bonner Says:

    Beautiful pictures and a fascinating read as always!

  4. Jenn Says:

    Delightful read, beautifully illustrated, as ever.

  5. Jay Says:

    Good morning Ralph……couldn’t sleep so enjoyed this posting from you! While all of your photographs are terrific, the beginning and ending sunsets particularly impressed me, along with the single pond boat……..as always, thanks for sharing!

  6. fiebs Says:

    Once again, Ralph, your eye and your way with words put a place on the map and bring it to life, making us feel like we’re right beside you. Love the little story about Chatham Light. My favorite images are #1, 2, 4, 9 and 13. Great, great post!

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, Cathy. I was concerned that it might have been too long but it wasn’t for those interested. I recently wore Chatham Light and too many years have gone by. I will have it resized.

  7. Sally Vennel Says:

    Ralph, as always I enjoyed your photos and writing – especially as we are doing a bike trip to Cape Cod and Maratha’s Vineyard in early October with VBT, and have never been there. Your blog is a better travel log than any other I could read.. Thanks so much for always sharing your talent. I wish I could write as well on my blog. Sally

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, Sally. I think you’ll have a lovely trip in the fall. I kept running across a biking trail that is maintained by some Cape entity. Part of it runs on an old railroad right-of-way. I’d see the bikes running overhead on a bridge over the highway..

  8. MikeP Says:

    Wow… that opening image makes me linger and finishing up with its bookend. Your chasing the light proved fruitful as many images seemed to pop, from silhouettes to panos. I have been trying to get up there but the closest I got was Newport. Many thanks for the tour Ralph.

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, Mike. Always enjoy your comments. By all means, schedule the Cape. I flew to Providence and rented a car. Next time I’ll take Amtrak to Providence. Cheaper and just about as fast.

  9. eajackson Says:

    Cool, I get to blog along with Patti Page. My step sister has a place on the Cape. I have been threatening to visit. Your beautiful photos and story are certainly an inspiration to do so. Perhaps I will fall in love with Ole Cape Cod. Thank you

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, Beth. If you’re on reasonable terms with the sister-in-law, GO THERE.
      BTW, who else but the old guy would include a 1957 hit track. Probably popular before you were born, right?
      God, I miss that kind of music.

  10. Rich Lewis Says:

    Great post and some great photography. That first image is very powerful, and dramatic. Your post, as always, entertained and informed.

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks for taking the time to view and read it. I, too, am fond of the first image. Yes, it was a powerful sunset in terms of cloud colors and structures but I think the foreground grasses and ripples greatly enhance it.

  11. Jeff Lovinger Says:

    Thanks for thIs wonderful post and beautiful photographs. It was really nice to see you again. I’m so glad you were able to come back out to the Cape. And thanks for stopping into the gallery. It was nice talking with you.

  12. denisebushphoto Says:

    (I am playing catch-up.) A wonderful set of images Ralph! I’m glad to see you were blessed with nice weather and very photogenic clouds. Both of your sunset images are WOWs! And the image of the people doing yoga on the beach is a lot of fun.

    • Ralph Berglund Says:

      Thanks, De. Again, glad you’re back OK. I did “fall in love” with old Cape Cod and I recommend it to all. There’s so much to shoot, and all reasonably close to a base camp. I flew to Providence and rented a car there but I’ve since discovered that Amtrak to Providence is cheaper and almost as quick. I’ll be going back.

      I’m in awe of that first sunset image, and close to it for the last one. I see dozens of great sunsets at LBI in the season (and shoot some) but nothing seemingly as rich as those two on the Cape. In the first, I love the night sky, the dark sides of the clouds, and the grasses and ripples in the foreground.

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