SUMMER ON THE WANE

What? Summer just started. True but I hear my morning coffee guy, Gregg Whiteside at WRTI tell us each day there are a few seconds less daylight.  We hit the Summer Solstice but as soon as that happened and because of the way we revolve around the sun the days began to shorten.  Enjoy the rest of summer.

Before spring ended we had our annual opening of the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club.  For the first time in its 108 year history, however, it was held on-line via Zoom to all members.  It was a moving event which included casting a wreath upon the waters in memory of members we lost in the past year.

Sadly that included two friends from my shore life and from Medford Leas, both past Commodores, Phil Flagler, 1974, and Tommy Thomas, 1987.  I was asked if I could find Phil and Tom in my archives and I was able to pull them from group photos of a few years ago and to fuzz out the backgrounds.  I wish Photoshop could bring them back.

 

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A symbol of our annual opening has always been our season calendar which is a big-deal production that includes ALL events to be held  i.e. every race, every Happy Hour, every meeting, every gathering of special interest groups such as the book club or the art group, every dance….and it also includes tons of snapshots from last year’s events.  Ahhh, Covid…no events, club closed, what to do.

Well there’s still a calendar but it’s on-line and events are cancelled as necessary.  In lieu of a calendar cover the officer who was responsible for it this year (a little nepotism: my son-in-law, Bob Kiep) asked me if I could come up with something that would fit his vision.  His vision was that of the sun rising once again over our club notwithstanding the pandemic … as it has for so many years .  Well, I’ve been privileged to have done a lot of covers over the years and I had retired but “once again unto the breach.”  Here’s what I eventually produced after submitting several ideas for review.  This was the result of overlaying an older club image on a Beach Haven sunrise.  Details for my colleagues can be seen by visiting “How Was It Done.

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THE LAST OF OUR SPRING ROAD TRIPS

Barb and I took two more road trips to mark the end of spring.  For that final Saturday my fantasy was to drive out onto Sandy Hook and gaze at Sandy Hook Bay and the Verrazano Narrows entrance to the Hudson River and Manhattan.  This would be revisiting waters I cruised a couple of times headed up the Hudson or up the East River and out into Long Island Sound and on to Nantucket.   BUT,  it  was  not  meant  to  be  !!!

I forgot that a lot of people live in North Jersey and that they were anxious to get to the beach.  The roads were parking lots.  So we turned around and headed south along the beach to Seabright and that, too, was a parking lot.  We pulled off briefly to park on the bay side to eat our lunch as boats motored by.  But we were then politely reminded that it was a no-parking-either-side street so we threw in the towel and left.  Over the ten weeks we did these weekends this was our only failure.  Had  I taken any pictures they would simply have shown cars.

Anxious to make up for it and to celebrate our last trip before summer and our shore life we took off again on Sunday for Fortesque.  (I hear the excited intakes of breath.)  The village is located on the Delaware Bay , southwest of Millville and well to the other end of the state from Sandy Hook.  As far as being crowded we won; the year round population is only some 400 souls.

A crowded day at Fortesque.

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We parked at the beach’s edge and enjoyed our sandwiches and people watching.  It was all pretty much social distancing.

If you know south Jersey you’ll spot the white plume beyond the distant horizon and recognize it as the discharge from the cooling tower at the Salem nuclear generating station.

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THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER

The day after the solstice was Father’s Day and I qualify for that so we joined the family for the weekend.  It was a delight to be with everyone including my granddaughters and their “others” ( I don’t know what to call them but they’re nice guys.)  Later that night we enjoyed scenes from the front deck.   The first is a neighbor’s Father’s Day gathering; the second is when friends sailed by later on their way back to their dock after a sunset sail.

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A few days later Sigrid and Gretchen swooped in to the Old Folks Farm and in 45 minutes packed all the stuff I had spent days staging and writing on lists.

The next thing I knew I was back on Grampa’s deck for morning coffee.

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Yes, all of the sun room plants also came down and they, like me, are

VERY HAPPY TO BE HERE!

 

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QUARANTINING IN OUR CARS

Barb and I have held on to our sanity (to some extent) by driving around on the weekends.  The Governor’s Executive Order 107 states: All New Jersey residents shall remain home or at their place of residence unless they are ….. which is followed by a long list of exceptions which included “engaging in outdoor activities with partners” and Barb and I are certainly in that category.  I admit to not having read the order before the fact; we just decided that if they wanted to put a couple of old geezers away for a while it would at least be different scenery than our apartments.

Here’s an example of the kind of bright, uplifting scene we encountered on our weekend wanderings.  It’s Cape May harbor.

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Over a nine weekend period we covered from Cape May along the Delaware Bay and River as far north as Easton, PA, and from the cape along the Atlantic as far north as Deal, further north in central Jersey, and lots of territory and destinations in between and beyond including even Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware.  Here’s an idea of our travels (not suitable for navigation!)  If you’re trying to see this on your phone click on the image to see a full-sized version.

 

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We just drove and looked around and enjoyed.  We didn’t leave the car except once to pick up some meds at a CVS or to inspect a porta-potty on a construction site..  We packed sandwiches and water and aimed for waterfront scenes where we could park and enjoy our lunches.  Case in point:  the PNC parking lot in New Hope overlooking the Delaware River.

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On another weekend I wanted to return to Greenwich, an18th century customs port of entry into the U.S.  It had been a while which explains (duhhhh) why we wound up driving aimlessly around “the other” Greenwich which is near Paulsboro … not the same.  So, on yet another trip we found it south west of Bridgeton on the Cohansey River.  This is the real deal; the main street is still called “Ye Greate Street” and is lined with buildings from the 18th century.  There is also the headquarters of the Cumberland County Historical Society.

Also on the street is the Old Stone Tavern, built in 1726 by Captain Jacob Ware.  Since my mother’s cousin married Fred Ware in nearby Deerfield I figure I’m probably related by marriage to Jacob’s family.  I always find these things out after the property has slipped away.  Here it is:

Another worthwhile and photogenic site is the Greenwich Boat Works and Marina which includes a graveyard of old, discarded boats.  Among them I spotted a wooden yacht made, I think, by the long-gone Trumpy Boat Works of Annapolis, probably in the ’30s.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Nearby, our charming (it was, once) lunch spot on the Cohansey River.

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Loving Cape May as we do we managed two day trips there…a long drive but so enjoyable driving around the town.  Regrets that we couldn’t stop and enter some favorite shops.  Our lunch spot?  Predictable: Sunset Beach, but a blustery day.

 

Still at the southern extremes of the state we discovered and toured Town Bank on another day trip.  In looking up some things on Google Maps I had noticed a large community layout on the Delaware Bay side of the cape.  Shazam; something to investigate.  It begins from the road that leads to the Lewes Ferry.  The road from there passes north along the bay through North Cape May, Town Bank, the Villas, and then past a number of beaches until ending at Bidwell Creek above Reed’s Beach.  Yup, another lunch spot and we smiled as we ate.

We were entertained by the cormorants just off the entrance to Bidwell Creek.  No social distancing here. On the north shore there were dozens more waiting for an empty piling.

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As seen on the map we also had some trips up north, typically to known scenic destinations.  A favorite is Ken Lockwood Gorge, beautiful though tough to navigate on a single lane road with limited parking.

And the nearby Red Mill at Clinton, NJ, an iconic destination with its red-painted mill building at a waterfall.  Almost everyone shoots the mill and the waterfall from the nearby bridge or the parking lot across the river.  This, however, is what I saw that day while sitting there and enjoying our lunch.

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It was a fun nine weekends during which we saw things we hadn’t seen before as well as old friend sites.  In addition to lunching by lakes, bays or oceans we also enjoyed just meandering through rural areas and farmland.  Route 9 in Delaware north from Bombay Hook is just such a gem…rural villages with periodic glimpses of the Delaware River heading north.  We exposed no one including ourselves but it was sure a good treatment for our heads.  A parting scene….magnificent cherry trees in the Washington Crossing Park.

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BE WELL!!!!

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SHELTERING IN (A NICE) PLACE

As with most of us I’m sheltering in place. I’m in my townhouse at Medford Leas where great efforts are underway to protect residents and staff against the virus. All of the public meeting rooms have been closed except the library and the lounge with its comforting furnishings and fireplace. Even these rooms, however, are limited to four persons at a time. I envision the lounge with a resident in each corner trying to communicate across the room. .
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Sheltering here has, at least, the benefit of my sun room which looks south over the adjacent woods.  This past week’s “pink” moon loomed large over the woods but its proximity didn’t make me nervous (reason later).  Click on the image to see a full-sized version.

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The workout room and the pool and the auditorium are all closed. The assisted living wing and the Woolman sub-acute nursing floor are quarantined.  Access to the campus is now restricted to the Route 70 entrance, and access to the main building is limited to three entrances each of which is monitored by someone who measures our temperature and inquires as to where we’ve been recently and are we feeling any symptoms.
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The two dining rooms and the coffee shop are closed; meals and incidental groceries can be ordered for delivery to our apartments. The medical center is open but controlled as to visitor’s proximity to each other, and the pharmacy is delivering meds to one’s apartment.
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My weekly cleaning person arrives on schedule but masked. At least she doesn’t greet me with, “Trick or treat.” I am a little lonely but secure (and cleaned). I am free to wander outside the main building or off campus, and Barbara and I have done some of that (safely) which a future post will report.
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Inside my apartment I have plenty of projects underway. They range from post-processing some older images to accruing images for a couple of specialty blog pages to such esoterica as completing the restoration of a 1927 Atwater Kent radio (born five years before me) which after a lot of trouble shooting and parts replacement came back to life this week. A future post? Sure. Meanwhile, its restoration has been a great exercise for an old radio geek’s neurons and satisfying as to results.  It’s just too bad that there’s not much pleasant radio on the AM band which is all they had back in those days.
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When not playing with radios in the basement (two in restoration) I can still enjoy the beauty of my sun room which is really what prompted this post.

This image is of a hybrid of Streptocarpus Saxorum which hangs in the room.  The blooms are about twice the size of a non-hybrid version.

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Next is a hybridized African Violet.  I spotted it on a trip to Terrain last fall (remember trips to destinations?).  It was obviously unique and also in a larger pot than usual and also pricey at $20 (which is Terrainian).  I’ve never spent that much money for an African Violet in my long life but I succumbed and I’m glad I did.  Every time I look at it I think, “You’re a lot prettier than a twenty dollar bill.”

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Finally for today, another African Violet, kind of run-of-the-mill compared to the above, but pretty and forming a delightful nosegay.

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So, hanging in and I hope you are as well.

Oh, yeah…that pink moon.  Sorry, it’s fake news; I made it in my little Photoshop.  The moon is a well done lighted plastic sphere that normally sits on a garden table in the sun room and provides a candle-like ambience for dinner.  Its surface is a sculpted copy of the moon’s surface.  For example the well-known Tycho crater can be seen at about five o’clock on the above image.  You can see how it was done by clicking here:  How was it done?    and scrolling down.

 

ANOTHER NICE FLOWER SHOW

I attended the Philadelphia Flower Show yesterday.  I haven’t kept track of how many I’ve seen but I started in 1953.  There have been magical shows and there have been …. (yawnnnn, excuse me) …  other shows but this year was a winner.  I wasn’t thrilled with the arid landscapes that kept edging in under the Riviera idea but I guess they fit the theme.  In general I thought there were more exhibits overall than my last (2018) show, and that the Hort’s own commercial space was somewhat muted vs. 2018.  Good job, Hort!

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I missed the 2019 show because of my medical condition.  My daughter Sigrid, offered to push me through this year’s show in my portable wheel chair.  I can walk around in my apartment and elsewhere for short walks but I just can’t walk very far;  hence the wheel chair which we carry in the car trunk.  So, she dropped me off in front of the Convention Center, parked the car and then got me through the show.

Here’s a typical show scene.  It looks as though we’re on the beach with the Mediterranean Sea behind us.  Imaginative.  I couldn’t pass by the boat.

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I’ve never been a big fan of cell phone photography but, restraining my normal curmudgeonry, I’ve keep quiet about it.  For the show, however, I forgot my super-Captain-Whizbang-DSLR camera and fell back on my phone.  These are all phone images with Topaz and Photoshop polishing and I’m glad I had it.

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Continuing with the Mediterranean influence there was this attention-grabbing display of sails with orchids as trim.

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Colorful imagination created this scene symbolic of the pastel stucco apartments above the Med along the Cinque Terre (the Five Lands) which we enjoyed  a few years ago.  For example the next image below is of Vernazza along the Cinque Terre.  I think the only thing the PHS designers overlooked was the laundry hanging from windows.

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I enjoyed the simplicity and symmetry of these pots against a sun-baked Mediterranean wall.

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Continuing the Cinque Terre mode was this array of hydrangeas decorating the typical wedding cake array of apartments seen along the coast.  Below it and to the point is a scene  of Riomaggiore (again with laundry) as we cruised past on the Med.

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But the best in show for me was this crumpled cellophane stream underlain with blue LED’s and bordered with flowers.  Not sure about the Riviera theme but I liked it.

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I have eight other posts on the show which date back to 2010.  They are listed alphabetically in my index (under Flower Show) which you can access by clicking here.  They have been different as you can guess from this image from the 2010 show.

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Thanks for visiting.

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FROM BILE TO BEAUTY

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We have endured two weeks of vitriol, smearing, posturing, misdirection and…fill in the blanks.  And all that followed on much of the same in the House hearings since September.  Please, no, this isn’t a political post; I wouldn’t do that, but for which ever side you favor it can’t have been very enjoyable.  So, on Saturday my buddy, Barbara Zimmerman, and I drove to the Michener Museum in Doylestown and immersed ourselves in beauty and niceness.  What a pleasure.

We’ve gone there off and on over the years because of my love for their collection of impressionism:  the New Hope school, the Bucks County School, and Saturday I heard of the Pennsylvania Impressionists and American Impressionism.  Wow, who knew?  I’m also fond of the French impressionists as well as the music of Debussy who originally objected to the characterization but grew to accept it.  (For another peaceful interlude see this post of the sea and his music.)

The opening image above is of a 1926 twenty-two foot wide painting by Daniel Garber which was recovered and restored by the museum.  It now dominates a softly lit gallery for quiet contemplation.  Entitled the Wooded Watershed the image is my capture for my personal enjoyment, shown here under Fair Use and not for sale, and the original is, of course, the exclusive property of the museum.  The painting sets a wonderful tone for the entire museum.  Click on the image to see a larger version for study.  Note the bark and rock details, the deer on the left, and the light on the island in the river.  Other items in their collection can be seen here including wish-I-owned-paintings by Fern Coppedge, Edward Redfield and more by Garber.

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A PLUS…THE NAKASHIMA FURNITURE

Another feature of the museum is a small sun room decorated in Japanese style to show off the furniture of New Hope’s George Nakashima.  (Image credit:  Michener Art Museum.) He was known for creating large coffee tables from cross sections of tree trunks, particularly of walnut burl.  His furniture is all graceful; again, balm in a troubled world.  I believe the room was decorated by a daughter.  It features sliding shoji screens and I went through that phase, too. Here’s a pair that I built for the windows of our first (1959) apartment.  The rice paper shielded hot afternoon sun and provided privacy at night but could be slid back when we wanted to see the world.

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The museum was established by the Bucks County philanthropist Hermann Silverman with Michener.  SIlverman was a Doylestown resident who also introduced Michener to another famous Doylestown resident, Oscar Hammerstein:  the result? Tales of the South Pacific as a great musical and movie.  Bucks County in those romantic years was full of art and artists and still is.  Beautiful to begin with, playwright and resident George S. Kaufman has been quoted as saying, “Bucks County is what God would have done if he had money.”

 

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AND NEXT……….

Having healed our psychic wounds we headed home through New Hope.  On the way was another favorite stop, a gardening and landscaping company I’ve patronized since they were in downtown New Hope on a hillside above the canal, The Living Earth.

   It’s almost always a source of some take-home pleasure as can be suggested in this image from their web site.

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A couple of these began to whimper as I started to leave so what could I do?  I brought four of them home.  Here are a Rieger Begonia and a Valentine’s Day Red Anthurium now receiving visitors in my sun room.  More balm.

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Almost completely cured we returned to a comfort food dinner of my daughter, Sigrid’s, meatloaf accompanied with a baked potato and fresh green beans garnished with french-fried onion strips.  Ahhh, recovery.

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THE PLEASURES AND PROBLEMS OF TOPAZ STUDIO 2

Caution: this is a techie post.  I want to share some experiences with Topaz 2 which might be helpful to my colleagues.

First, I like it a lot.  I’ve certainly not put Photoshop (from Elements currently to CS6) out to pasture.  So far It seems that I can do things in PS that I can’t do in Topaz but maybe I’ll learn (any unused neurons still there?).  As an example the side-by-side below was assembled with layers in PS.  Don’t know if I can do things like that in Topaz. On the other hand (as Tevye would say) I’m amazed at some of the things I can do in Topaz that I can’t do in PS.

I have a project underway for another book (shameless commerce plug: see http://www.BetterPix.net). The next book involves using a number of older images processed years ago in various Adobe generations.  I find that Topaz’s AI Clear in Studio 2 adds vitality and sharpness.  Here’s a case in point.  On the left is a print from a slide made in 1965.  The slide was printed and eventually the print was scanned on to a pbase gallery page.  Lots of opportunities for degradation.  On the right is the result of applying AI Clear to that pbase file.  Amaaazzzing!

 

Yes, amazing, and I’ve found it beneficial in other images for the book which were made within the last ten+ years and still in my files as Canon CR format.  Herewith a Sanibel racoon made in 2009, captured in Canon CR and rendered here as a jpg after conversion in CS6.  It was never a good image being a bit fuzzy.  Below it is the image after running it through AI Clear.  Still not great but I’ll take it.

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So, where’s the rub?  Workflow inefficiencies.  I have to open a CR image in PS. Then I can call it into Studio 2 by clicking on that in the PS pull-down filter menu*.  Then I can adjust away but when I’m done and click on Accept in Studio 2 it will return the image to my PS screen BUT then close itself down.  If I’m processing a series of images I have to cause it to reopen for each image.  This is not pleasing.

I discussed this with the wizards at Topaz last May and then again in December.  The problem was that my Canon CR images were appearing brown and drab when opened in Studio 2.   The impressively candid response from them was “We’re fully aware of some of the issues RAW files have with our software. We’re exploring possible avenues to fix this, but it could take some time, as the problem is rooted in the metadata the majority of RAWs have. The workaround you found is actually the very same one we’re suggesting to our users in the meantime. There isn’t much else I can offer at the moment!”

The workaround that I had told them about was as I’ve described above, i.e. open the CR in PS and then send the opened file to Studio 2 for their magic.  So, that’s what I do in order to get the benefit of the superior rendering while I await their solution.  Will it come?  Should it?  Yes, particularly considering how PS has been adapted to so many, many cameras’ RAW processing.

The other issue, that of Studio 2 shutting down after an Accept continues to be a nuisance; Topaz tells me they’re also looking to get this one resolved.

Meanwhile, these are powerful and useful programs!

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*There is a procedure for getting Studio 2 listed on the pull-down menu.  It is at:  https://help.topazlabs.com/hc/en-us/articles/360031185971-Using-Topaz-Studio-2-as-a-Plug-in    Note, however, that even though I’m running a 64bit machine the Topaz LLC Folder had installed in the 32bit OS – C:\Program Files\ and not where they suggested, i.e. 64bit OS – C:\Program Files (x86)\.  Oh, well, just another software snafu leaving less time for a nap.

A CHRISTMAS GREETING

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A Merry Christmas to all of my family and my friends and colleagues and the entire Medford Leas staff, and a happy holiday season to all!

 

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Christmas has come once again to BergiesPlace thanks to my family’s and Barbara’s support.  It’s my 88th Christmas and though I don’t remember the first few that’s a lot of Ho-Ho-Ho-ing.  Bobby, Sigrid and Gretchen showed up with the tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  Otherwise I’m not sure there would be one this year.  That would have been a shame because I can picture  a tree and Christmas Garden in all of my eight homes over the years, and the tree carries many ornaments from those years and those of my parents and grandparents before I came down the chimney in 1932.

The family erected the tree, strung the lights and then hauled all of the annual stuff from the basement to decorate the rest of the townhouse.  For days after their visit I would be startled seeing an old friend which had migrated from the basement to some shelf or corner, from office to living/dining room, to TV room and to the kitchen.  Within a week Barbara and I had all of the ornaments placed on the tree, followed with strands of tinsel.  It all makes for a beautiful, soft scene during my morning coffee.

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The tree’s ornaments are both ancient and modern.  On the left is the sea captain given to me by a dear friend after several years of cruising with us from the Chesapeake to New England.  On the right is an ornament from my parents’ tree, lovingly tagged by my late wife so the kids will know from where it came.

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Even my late wife’s greenhouse had some additions for the holidays…a lighted miniature acrylic tree, a snow-tipped spruce, and a Department 56 wreath over the doorway (from my train layout days; nothing gets thrown away).  I built the greenhouse near twenty years ago, and Marty Lou had fun furnishing it.

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Another pretty that emerged is this wreath after the style of Thomas Kinkade.  With enough years together Barbara has come to know my fondness for his work.  Yes, it’s schmaltzy but this beholder is warmed by the feelings that his work evokes.  And so this became a Christmas present to me from Barb a few years ago.  Love it.

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Enjoying a continuing life is this centerpiece that Sigrid made for the tables at Barb’s and my birthday party two years ago.

 

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Finally, this old friend joins me in this holiday greeting.  Enthusiasts will recognize this rare Christmas Heron.

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 Together he and I wish you all a happy holiday season and a great year ahead.

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For more of my Christmases past look up Christmas in my index.  There are eleven posts and they range from singing Silent Night at the Oberndorf Chapel in Austria where it was first sung, to SIlent Night in Antigua, to Philadelphia’s Christmas Markets, to Nuermberg’s Weinachtsmarket, to Wanamaker’s Grand Celebration to……and, of course, more at BergiesPlace.

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A FAREWELL TO THE BAYBIRDS

The Labor Day festivities led to the inevitable  return to my home.  That’s ironic because I grew up at the shore year ’round and  the happiest Labor Day event was to stand by one of the exit routes from the island and wave goodbye to the tourons headed home.  But now….

I’M ONE OF THEM!

My daughter and grand-daughter packed up my meds, toiletries, booze, computer stuff, wall art, camera stuff, plants, shirts, slacks, socks and, oh yeah, my unmentionables, and whizzed everything up the highway to my cave at the Old Folks Farm.  There, pictures were rehung and stuff was put away or at least the boxes were put in the right rooms, and the bird feeder was filled.

I called my friend, Barb, who had also moved back to her cave at the farm and she as well as I needed attitude adjustment.  So, over she came to share wine and dinner.  While adjusting, the ShopRite delivery truck arrived with a restock of my pantry and frig and that made it official.

Finally, if there was any doubt that I’d been away for almost three months this web was keeping the bird feeder pole erect.

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The post title?  I received a group farewell from the gang on Mordecai Island.  In past years there’s been a Great Blue Heron out there soaking up the morning sun while I soaked up caffeine on Grampa’s deck.  This year a few others joined to wish me a pleasant winter.

Please click on the image to see a larger version.

Left to right:  A Great White, a Great Blue. a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron (low and left of the Juvenile Great Blue), a Juvenile Great Blue, another Great White, and another Great Blue.

Thanks, Guys.  C’ya next summer.

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It has been another summer of enjoying the seabird life.  In particular there is a nest on Mordecai Island which had been adopted last year by a pair of Ospreys.  They were childless last year but this year two chicks were hatched and raised to fledging.  This image was made in August after one of the chicks had left.  Note also that Papa was coming in with another twig for the nest.  I guess it was renovating for next year.

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One of the family has taken to landing on a neighbor’s flag pole while scanning the adjacent Liberty Thorofare lunch counter.  Makes for quite a flagpole ornament.

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This is a good-by post to a season but I’ve also included an image as a good-by to an era.  The nearby 1874 Beck farmhouse was sold a couple of years ago to make room for six McMansions.  They have all come to pass but one of them is a cut-down version of the original farmhouse, moved from the center of the tract and trimmed to fit the smaller lot.  Glad to see it remain.

The image below of the original building was made before development of the tract.  Although made in full sun I chose to recast it as though in moonlight and with candles in the windows.  This summer I redid the candles, making them slimmer and of different sizes.  I also applied a Topaz filter to further increase the drama.  When I posted a version of this on Facebook in 2017 someone commented that he had enjoyed youthful summers with his grandparents in this old house.   Made me feel good.

Please click on the image to see a larger version.

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~≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡~

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It is a poignant, bittersweet time of year for me, a farewell to a time spent with family, friends, and the bays and marshes which have been part of my life for almost all of my eighty-six years. Such feeling ran in the family; here is a poem written by my brother, Bill Berglund (1920-2005).

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This closing image makes its fourth appearance to note the end of summer.  I have yet to find another image that expresses how I feel quite as well.

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REMEMBERING 2018

Yes, I’m a little bit behind but that’s the way life is these days.  For several years I’ve posted a gallery at year’s end to showcase what I thought was my best or most interesting work of the year.  That was usually done by the first quarter, certainly by spring …. yeah, Labor Day’s a little late but, they can still be looked at.

An annual feature is then to dig through them and pick out a few as the best of the best.  Here’s the first.

I was setting up to photograph a sunset on Sanibel Island when this caught my eye, an OMG spontaneous capture.  The actual sunset was well off to the right, far enough to provide a key light on the cloud which, in turn, reflected it to the water’s surface.  This image first appeared on page 38 of my eBook, Shooting For Better Images, (see BetterPix.net).  I wished in the book that the Pelican could have been positioned over the reflection;  well, just letting a few months go by resulted in the Pelican doing just that. 

~≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡~

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Sanibel Island has always been a good source of pixels.  Here’s the bird that welcomed us on our first morning walk on the beach.

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Also from Sanibel’s Ding Darling Wild Life Refuge is this morning gathering.  There are several varieties scrunching together as the tide takes their sand bar away.   The two on the left, probably also white pelicans, have obviously committed some social error.

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This one came home from the Philadelphia Flower Show.  My camera’s eye was caught by the jumble of glass pieces, the reflections from the many overhead lights, and the spots of color.  Creative arranging.

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Here’s one to ponder in the heat of summer slipping away.  This was made in early March at the East Point Lighthouse where the Maurice River edges into Delaware Bay.  Yes, such days lie ahead for us.

This, too, is seen in my eBook as an example of back lighting and specular reflections.  I hope his day worked out for him.

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This image was made as we forged our way down the Columbia River, headed west to Portland and the great Pacific Ocean.  A windblown morning.

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There was winter last year.  This image was one of my Ice In The Pines studies in which I enjoyed the early morning sun attacking the ice crystals.

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A summer highlight was the Night In Venice boat parade at Ocean City, NJ.  Here we enjoyed a wave from Miss Night In Venice as she passed by.

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The squalls of summer don’t make for great beach days but they often add drama.

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Christmas ended the year, brightened by this craft work from Wheaton Arts.

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These were all selected from my best of 2018.  The rest of them can be seen in a gallery by clicking here.  Thanks for taking a look at my work.

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A SIGN OF SUMMER’S FADING?

When we think about shorebirds we think about seagulls, terns, great white egrets, great blue herons, and so on.  Rarely do we think about Purple Martins but they come here and enjoy the shore as do we.  They winter in Mexico and further south, and arrive back at Long Beach Island in April.  They spend a pleasant summer here, raise their chicks, and fly away in mid to late August.

Here’s part of their condos at nearby  Cotov’s Landing on Liberty Thorofare.

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After a day of insect catching, home to roost.

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What prompted this post, however, was their recent gathering on the electric wires of our neighborhood.  The image below is an eight shot panorama to try and convey the immensity of the gathering.  As I captured the scene I could also see that the wires on the next street and the street after that were also covered with the birds.  Unfortunately, the resolution of the web site doesn’t permit that but you can see a larger version by clicking on the picture.  You may then be able to see some on the distant wires behind the front wires.

 

Click on the image below to see a larger version.

I was struck by their number as it was far greater than just those from the end of our street.  Obviously there are others on the island but what in the world draws them all together and why?  We’re speculating that this preceded the departure of many of them on their way south.  As I’ve suggested in past posts maybe they’re comparing travel plans or checking with Orbitz.

Because of the hundreds and hundreds of birds I kept looking for Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor but no luck.

(For those of you too young to have seen it, watch for Hitchcock’s “The Birds” on Turner Classic Movies.)

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Here’s a closeup of the view out back (from Grampa’s deck).    I thought their lineup on the diagonal electric service cable (from the pole, down to the right) was pretty nifty.  Hope it can be seen against the houses.

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Finally, since the other wires were already taken, lots of them took over the wires on the front end of our house.

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I hope they have a great winter in Mexico, and I hope to see them again next summer.

Hasta luego y vaya con Dios.

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