THE HOLIDAYS APPROACH

As color and light fade in nature’s seasonal transition other sources come to the rescue.  Peddler’s Village at Lahaska, PA has done a great job at this.  I deliberately arrived late afternoon so I’d be there when the lights were turned on.  It was a pleasant afternoon with a crisp wind blowing, lots of holiday merchandise to see, and families enjoying the scene.  It was a festival for phone cameras but when some noticed my tripod and camera I was asked if I would take their family picture.  Of course. One young woman even asked if she could pay me to do it.  Wow, a new alternative to my paper route.  In between such excitements I captured some scenes.  Here’s one example:

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Another show for the season was the opening of the Electrical Spectacle show of lights in Philadelphia’s Franklin Square Park.  I have avoided their shows because the park is not convenient to mass transit.  This time, however, I forced myself:  the Patco High Speed line to 8th and Market and then only a ten minute walk to the park.  Here was my reward:

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Continuing with holiday color, a couple of years ago I first noticed some glass boxes filled with LEDs.  I decided I could do that as well and so made three boxes for family and a friend  last Christmas which can be seen here.  I ran out of steam on the project so one didn’t get made for me.  This past fall at a craft show I saw some lanterns in which the clear glass sides had been replaced with colored glass and then the lantern had been filled with lights.  I had such a lantern and I had seen some striking glass on the Facebook page for Macie Art Glass and  managed to buy the last two pieces they had.  Here’s the result.

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But nature’s work isn’t quite finished.  While having coffee in the sunroom one recent morning my eye was caught by sparkling in the nearby trees.  While I haven’t copied Morse code for years I made out that the signal was “Get your camera and get out here.”  The elves had hung diamonds in the trees.  Here’s one in which you can see the capture of the rising sun and the adjacent meadow and trees.  Thank you, nature.

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And speaking of my sunroom I did some redecorating there this fall.  On a house tour last summer I was in the new home of an artist friend, Andrea P.  In her studio I saw a clever way to display smaller matted prints.  They were resting on narrow shelves which included a slot for the bottom edge of the mat, and a lip to further prevent slippage.  I learned that they had found them at Ikea, a perfect destination for this Swede so Barbara and I headed there and found them.  Typically for Ikea they have a weird name, Mosslanda, but they’re perfect for the job.  To top it off we brought home some Swedish meatballs with lingonberry preserves.

I planned out the wall and then Sigrid, my decorator among other things, amended my vision.  Then, as my back was feeling its age Sigrid did the heavy work to get the installation started and I finished the easy parts.  Add to that the upper wall of Beach Haven and Sanibel prints and I am content until spring.

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Returning to nature’s compositions I recently walked out the front door and found the walkway blocked by a massive spider web.  It was anchored between a bush on the left, and the roof of the  garage about nine feet away.  The early sun was playing with the web strands and the morning dew.  Behind it, the fading color of some fall hydrangeas.  My compliments to the spider.

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For my closing color I chose this piece of blown and molded glass.  I photographed this at the October Festival of Fine Crafts at Wheaton Arts.  This is an annual “must-attend” show for me as it is consistently a show of up-scale, quality craft work.  I think it’s the best that I attend anymore.

I thought others might enjoy this piece, the kind of thing my late wife, Marty Lou, used to call “a pretty”.

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FALL FINALLY FOUND US

With temperatures in the 80’s it hasn’t seemed totally like fall.  Yes, the leaves are turning and falling, and though the nights have been chilly many days have been short-sleeve days.  But, it’s coming.  Does this image confirm that?

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The next image is old fall.  I captured it in 2009 at the Chittenden Reservoir north of U.S. 4 in Vermont.  It was one of several studies I made that day.  Originally the bottom of the image revealed the rock-strewn floor of the reservoir.  One had to work to appreciate the composition idea and so I was never completely satisfied with it.  Recently I wondered what the effect would be if I cropped it top and bottom parallel to the cloud bands.  Well, it now looks as though we’re peering out at it sideways through our bay window.  Interesting.

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Upon returning from summer at the shore I discovered that I have a tenant.  He lives under my sundeck and comes out a couple times a day to munch on the clover.  I’ve read that he’ll hibernate in an earthen burrow.  As one who appreciates naps I wish him a pleasant winter.

Woody Woodchuck

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Fall is most personified by foliage colors, and at least in our mid-Atlantic states world the color’s been a little slow this year.  Makes one look for the Saturation slider in Photoshop.  My F/C (friend and colleague) Elaine Walsh, recently posted on Facebook a nice fall scene of Ken Lockwood Gorge in north central Jersey.  I had seen work done there by F/C Ken Curtis and so journeyed there in 2015 and again last year.  It is an enchanting place to hike and/or to photograph.  I felt as though I were alongside a Vermont stream.  Be warned, however, there were only about six parking places.  Here’s one scene that came home with me.

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——————–I don’t know if Linus van Pelt was right or not …. and you’re wondering, “Linus van Pelt???”….  but I give him credit for his conviction.  He believed that on Halloween the Great Pumpkin would rise from the pumpkin patch.

I may look over my shoulder on Halloween and maybe it’s wishful thinking, or maybe I’m just looking for my childhood which is wayyy back there.

But, I will also look extra hard if it’s the very rare Candy Corn sky.

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 For a larger version of this click here.

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HOW WAS IT DONE??

I sometimes synthesize an image from others I have taken.   Some manipulation will be over-the-top obvious as in the case of the Candy Corn sky.  But some may not be as in the case of the opening image, the geese at sunset.  To clarify what I display and to help others with the techniques of the alterations I’ve added a Page entitled “How Was It Done?”  The Page will be listed alphabetically in the left margin of all posts.  The discussion of two of the above images can be seen by clicking here.

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HAPPY FALL Y’ALL

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YEP, THE SEASON’S OVER

It is amazing how quiet things have become.  Little traffic on the boulevard and almost nothing on the side streets.  Little to no boat traffic, and dead quiet on the bay in the morning.  I’ve seen the Great Blue Heron soaking up the morning sun in the copse across from me on Mordecai Island, a sign of fall.  I’ve seen only one osprey on the perch whereas we had at least four out there this summer.  The street is quiet with only  four year-rounders, and but one on the street behind me.  Several of the shops are closed except for weekends.  Daughter Sigrid moved home to resume her family’s life up there; friend Barbara closed up her rental and went home.  The nights are quite chilly…and lonely.  I guess it’s winding down…as it does every year.  Duhhh.   Sigrid came to move me home a day early to avoid Jose.  I’ll miss the shore but I’m ready with projects in planning.

With the season’s end it’s not like this image every day but there can be moments.

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But, it’s been a great summer!!

I even got to photograph some beautiful people.  Here’s the sales force of Coastal Living Real Estate Group, a company created by my friend, Bonnie Wells.  This year she asked me to photograph the group for their advertising.  I couldn’t pass up the chance to appear soon on shopping carts!

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My days began brightly.  My grand-dog, Pippa, expected a handful of Cheerios Honey-nut cereal every morning.  She waited patiently at the hallway leading to my suite.  (She wouldn’t come in because, remember, an attack cat, Pearl, used to live in there, too.)  When I emerged there was much jumping around and tail wagging; by Pippa as well.  Regrettably, Pippa went home also.

 

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There is a stained glass panel of  mine that mutes the morning sun in our kitchen.  During early September’s full moon daughter Sigrid noticed that the moon fit nicely into the scene.  Here it is shining above Barnegat Lighthouse.   There’s more about the stained glass panel here.

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As the season winds down the club devotes a Happy Hour to members’ art.  It’s always a pleasure to see the capabilities represented.  Here were my entries this year, some scenes of Beach Haven and some of Sanibel Island.  Most returned to my walls but one did go home with someone else.  That’s always nice.

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With the end of the season underway I wanted to photograph some of the mesmerizing sanderlings.  You and I go to Murphy’s or Acme or Shop Rite.  These creatures chase along receding wavelets for their protein.

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While chasing sanderlings I also got to enjoy some surfer performance.  Here’s a man probably enthralled with the moment.  I would agree with him.  Photographically, beside the magic of the moment I particularly like the shades of green in the wave.

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Yes, the season is definitely over, especially as tomorrow’s the first day of fall.  Yes, there will be some nice, warm days, and the sanderlings will skitter and the surfers will probably keep it up all winter.  But my townhouse and projects and fall activities have said, “Come home.”  And so it goes.

I bid farewell to my friend, the Great Blue who takes the early morning sun in the copse on  Mordecai.  We agreed to look each other up next spring.

I’ll look forward to it.

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SUMMER SIMMERS AWAY

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Always open big, they say, so……………

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This field of sunflowers was along Route 48 near Mattituck, NY on the North Fork of Long Island.  It was a joy to come upon.  I visited one afternoon, thinking how I would approach the farmhouse and ask permission to photograph in the field.  When I got there the field was swarming with bees … and photographers.  Apparently there was a de facto permission.  I enjoyed the visit but determined to return the following morning for the warm light of sunrise. I did and I was alone except for a few early worker bees.  What a wonderful way to start the day for both of us.

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And here, a worker bee at work.  I had left my macro lens in my room but I made this shot with my telephoto at 260 mm.

About that time a man driving by stopped and asked me if I was going to shoot all of the seeds.  My answer, “One at a time.”

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Elsewhere on the North Fork there were sunsets on Long Island Sound.  The sun, itself, need not always be in the scene.  Had it been, all of the diamonds on the beach would have been washed out.  As it was, it took me a long time to pick them all up.

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A simmering summer also produces storms, and some can be quite dramatic especially when over the water.  Here the message is, “Squall to port, squall to starboard;  keep a steady helm, lad.”

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We’re always good (?) for a couple of nor’easter storms during the summer.  This one in late July didn’t make the category but was scary just the same.  Those that are in charge of such things decreed that this was only a “Coastal Storm.”  I wonder if they would have felt the same had they been standing in the surf as was I?  It was awesome.decided that it was a “Coastal Storm”.  Regardless of the name they are humbling experiences.

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August also brings the annual Downbay Regatta to Little Egg Harbor.  A-cats, B-cats, E-Scows and Lightnings arrive from clubs along the coast north to Bayhead.  It’s a three day festival of competitive racing and partying.  Saturday morning’s start was not promising as they edged their way from the dock out towards the racing grounds.  But, in any weather it’s always an appealing sight.

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I rarely appear in these posts but this is to thank my right-arm daughter, Sigrid, for keeping me erect and helping me back to my seat after my waking up the young girls’ dancing.

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Well, what else?  Oh, yeah, the eclipse thing.  Here’s my take on it.

This is as seen through clouds of interstellar dust. The telescope was on the planet Bergiesplace which orbits Alpha Centauri, about 4.2 light years distant.  In case you’re believing the former, the shot was made just through the local clouds but I like the interstellar dust idea.  I had neglected to acquire any of the proper filters but I did have a variable neutral density filter which had 10+ stops.  That plus the clouds enabled me to capture the image

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Finally, a simmering summer leads to fall, and I sense a little of that.

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I was so pleased with this shot that I have nothing more to say.

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….. AND THE LIVIN’ IS EASY.

I’ve been in one of my occasional photo-funks … uninspired about what to photograph … weary of shooting the same old scenes … and feeling it particularly in my summer life at the shore.  Do I really want to shoot another sunset or that old jetty in the surf?

And then —- then something crosses my vision and I go for it and the result excites me.  I should re-read my own 2013 essay on this subject (A Photography Phunk) and get my head straight.

Well, anyway, how’s this?

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It is summertime, and the livin’ is easy, and we won’t be seeing scenes like this in January (at least until I get back to Sanibel).  So, here are some more.

This was late afternoon and I wondered if the light being reflected from the bay would illuminate the chimney of the lantern.  As I brought the camera to my eye I hollered “Cue boat” and along it came.  I’m pleased with the image; the light in the lantern made the point, and I also like the coil of rope whose loose arrangement offsets the more formal nature of the image.  Artist’s Confession:  With the Spot Healing Brush I removed the Greenhead Fly that was on the chimney (well, it is summertime).

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Here’s another successful “Cue boat” scene.  Yeah, another sunset but I couldn’t resist the alignment and leading line.

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At the beach the beach roses (Rosa Rugosa) are still producing blooms and a sweet, subtle fragrance.  With early morning dew my camera quivers as it focuses on to them.

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On the beach a couple of weeks ago I managed to enjoy my first beach nap of the season.  This entails a process:  bringing together a mound of sand for a pillow; then spreading out my towel over all; and then lying down and wriggling a bit until the sand bumps beneath are smoothed out.  Shortly after that I’m gone.  Here’s the way I described it in a summer post a few years ago:

The waves a sibilant roar.

The soft wind, a balm.

The warm sand, bumpy

But accepting.

Sleep comes.

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Back in reality I recently came across this deserted hull … derelict but surrounded by a funeral spray of Queen Anne’s Lace.  In a few months it may still be surrounded in white, probably snow.  R.I.P.

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Here on Long Beach Island I don’t get to see the owls or Atlantic Puffins of Ray Yeager, or the hummingbirds of Susan Chilkotowsky-Kain.  I’m pretty much stuck with these guys so I have to depend on the scenery around them.  Well, the scene says summer.

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Finally, here’s one to sleep on.  A perfect conclusion for the other end of the day.

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Thanks for visiting.  I feel another nap coming on but I’ll be back.

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BACK TO SUMMER

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Comes June and my digital darkroom heads to the beach.  It isn’t easy, especially at my age (about 34 but, yeah, that’s just from the brain up).  It’s not like getting ready for a shore weekend; it’s packing for two to three months.  There are a couple of soft-goods trips but on the BIG day, the day of the groceries and frig contents, of 32 house plants, of  three printers and the spare inks and 15 varieties/sizes of print paper and the monitor and the tower and the Bose speakers and the wireless keyboard and mouse and the backup drives and all those cables and tiny power supplies (now which one goes where?) and the laptop, and………………

The BIG day is when my daughter, Sigrid, shows up with her GMC and loads up alllllllll that stuff and a couple suitcases, too.   And after she’s loaded the Jimmy she pulls out the two meat loafs she made for me and has time to fluff up the pillows in the town house before we leave.  Then she hauls all my stuff down Route 72 to the island and up to my suite.  Sweet.

Then, I have to find that button that causes everything to put itself away.  Right.

But I digress.  For such a major grunt, why do it?  In part so that I can see and capture the beauty and drama of scenes like the opening image.  It is soul-cleansing.

As my artist friend, Marilyn Flagler, once said “Living near the ocean means continual washing off of the sometimes grimy dust of living.”

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But they’re not all dramatic mornings, are they?  While I was preparing this post there was a foggy morning. My friend, Fog,  always creates a mood of mystery and this morning was on script.

All sound is softened.  It’s still … and moody.  Yes, follow this marker and the posts to …. to where?

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The stillness of sound and light, however, can also reveal other scenes as in this still life.

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On the beach there’s a parade of marching dune grass, added to help stabilize the new, giant dunes.

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Back at my house the fog had left droplets on my Rambler Roses.  The roses and I both liked that.

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As the day moved on the fog lifted to the point where I began to think about a sunset image.  In the event, however, the clouds proved more interesting than the sunset.

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“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.”
–Richard Bach, Johnathan Livingston Seagull

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All but one of these captures were made in the past few days.  I’ve posted , however, on the 21st, the day on which summer began at 12:24 AM.  Glad to see it.

But, there’s always a slight concern for me. It means that the days will now start being a little shorter; a second or so today, three tomorrow…..

Does that mean I have to pack up and go back home already?

 

 

WHERE MY CAMERA TAKES ME IV

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It has become harder to come up with a topic.  (Hey, I’ve done over 200; gimme a break!)

It also seems harder to find fresh images.  (Hey, I have about 46,000 in my off-line galleries and 3500* on-line.)

Yes, they may be fewer and farther between but there are still scenes that say to my camera, “Please take me home.”  I promise you something really different for later.  Meanwhile, here’s one I’ve admired over the years and finally brought home, The Girl on White Street.

 

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She lives on White Street across from the Robin’s Nest in Mt. Holly, and enjoys the sun and her flower box in all seasons.  I’m always happy to see her.

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NOW FOR SOMETHING NOT AT ALL DIFFERENT…

My friend, Barbara, and our friends, Bob and Nancy D. like to have a golf pro tune them up once a year.  This year’s choice was Shawnee on the Delaware, a beautiful course mostly on an island within the 1909 resort.  I’m not a golfer so I chose to wander around another old stamping ground: the Delaware River National Recreation area which includes Shawnee and runs on up to above Milford.

I photographed the area in 2008 and in 2014 (click here for that post).  Although it’s a beautiful area it’s hard to find a new way to photograph old friends. For this post my camera asked to do some video of Dingmans Falls.  Though it’s akin to watching grass grow here’s twelve seconds of it.

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NEXT:  HOW OLD PEOPLE AMUSE THEMSELVES

Those who have visited this journal will recall how my morning routine begins with coffee and music in my sun room.  My bird feeder is not in view from the sun room so I wondered if I could lure some of the birds into view.  I tossed a half cup of bird food on the deck table and sat down inside with coffee and camera.  The breakfast buffet yielded a number of fun shots.  This cardinal seems to be skeptical of the free lunch but he eventually enjoyed it.

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NO, MY AUTO-FOCUS WASN’T BROKEN.

April Showers.  When they paused the sun came out quickly and I was pulled from my town house by the sparkling.  I was pleased with this shot.  I like the purples and greens and the fact that the de-focused raindrops became milky glass marbles.  This previously appeared on Facebook but not everyone gets to see those images.

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AND OTHERWISE FROM THE WANDERING AND WONDERING CAMERA…

Here’s a friend from Sanibel last winter.  There are plenty of pelican images around but I thought this self-scratcher was different.  In their off-guard moments they’re human after all.

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This from a Chanticleer visit this spring.

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This next image was also seen on Facebook this spring but, again, not everyone gets to see those offerings.  For out-of-towners it’s the roof of the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, the home of the Philadelphia Orchestra and other great performances.  The architecture has called to me for years and a few colleagues have captured it well, notably as here by Denise Bush several years ago.  During  a concert intermission recently I looked up and saw what I wanted, particularly under an overcast sky.

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AND NOW FOR A RIGHT-BRAIN EPISODE

My right brain woke early one morning and for some who-knows reason got to wondering what I could do with overlaying some of my images.  I’m not getting as much satisfaction from my landscape work, and I’ve been trying to see things differently so maybe this would be productive.  A colleague, Doreen R., has done a lot of such creative work with software tools; she calls it “playing around.”  And so…….

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This is a software blend of two of my place mat images.  The goldfish were photographed in a tank at Petsmart.  The turbulence was captured during a workshop with Jeff Lovinger; it was a tidal stream near Provincetown.  It won’t appeal to all nor will it make it as a Christmas card but I was very pleased with the result.  Click here for a full screen view.

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* Erratum:  My original post said that I had over 16,000 images in my on-line galleries, and that’s incorrect.  There are some 3500 images in the public galleries which have enjoyed over 16000 views.  My off-line storage contains over 46,000 images.

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A YEAR IN RETROSPECT – 2016 – A SAMPLING FROM THE SELECTION

Photographers are uniquely well equipped to do a retrospective review of the year past; in fact, for all their years of photography.  They need only browse their image files. The digital era has also made such reviews easier.  No more page after page in heavy albums; just skim thru the folders on the hard drive.

I frequently browse through past years but I also make a point of doing an annual review of the immediate past year’s work.  I look for images from each event or subject that I most enjoy or that I think represent the best of my year’s work, and I publish these as a gallery.

Having made my selections for the 2016 gallery, I then asked myself if just a few of them could serve as symbols for how I think and how I shoot.  Surprise: some did.

These were not made in the camera; they were captured by the camera but they were made in the head (read “heart”) so you will see what I felt.  I hope you experience them as I did.

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The gold and brown tones tell of a soothing late twilight.  The channel marker counter-balances the boat.  The four guys in the boat are having a good time, and you can see their rods flexing with their fun.  The foreground grasses nicely place and isolate the viewer.  In a print, the homes of Tuckerton Beach are dimly seen as though to say, “Life and all that it brings is out there … but not right here … not right now.”

I recently sold a print of this to an older man who, somewhat choked up, talked about his memories of joining his father out there on Friday nights after his Dad came home from the week’s work.

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This Portrait of Two Mules is quite different for me but I’m fond of it.  It was made on a country road in Lancaster County on a warm August day.  The mercy of Photoshop enabled me to remove all of the flies on them which didn’t seem to be bothering them as much as they did me.  I was moved by the mules’ at-peace demeanor.  They had probably worked hard that morning and probably would do so again tomorrow, but for now they were just enjoying the warm rest and each other’s company.

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Next is my Zen Royal Tern … or is he stoned?  In an earlier appearance of him on line I suggested that he was murmuring, “Dude, sunrise on Sanibel is soooo cool.”  Well, you get the idea.  I was anthropomorphizing because I felt that way and so, I thought, should the bird.  I, too, revel in the warmth of the morning sun and in the gentle breeze off the ocean and the shhhhh of the waves and the glory of a new day alive, and I feel one with the universe.  Are we sure that a bird can’t also approach nirvana? Namaste.

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This image is  compelling for me.  A pair of cormorants were performing a post-breakfast cleanup.  What struck me was the arrangement of the branches, the birds’ positions, and the reflection  of the scene.  It also stood out because the background water was rippled while the foreground was quiet.   I further enhanced the image by giving it a slight selenium tone and a dodging of the center to lighten it.

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I find this image haunting in its isolation and starkness.  The strong diagonals are a part of it, and the shades and curtains, the slatted shutters, and the weathered siding have an Andrew Wyeth feel for me.

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I was pleased to encounter this group gathered for a communal breakfast at their diner.  I could see spots of white deep in a mangrove thicket and I discovered this when I slowly investigated.

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I recently attended a photography symposium where one of the speakers urged that we plan out our photo shoots.  If nothing else it helps ensure you have all of the lenses and filters you may need.  I agree with that; it’s good common sense.  What it doesn’t embrace, however, is the spontaneous, unplanned, never-to-happen-again kind of image.  I had just gotten off the Colonial Williamsburg shuttle bus and I was on my way to Duke of Gloucester Street for some images of the Grand Illumination.  I looked over my shoulder and here was this scene with the colonial style street lamp against a fading twilight.  Quick, stop, compose, shoot!  It was the best shot of the night, if not the whole trip …… and unplanned.

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That twilight scene above sets the stage for my last selection … a sunrise.

Sunrises … sunsets … there’s a zillion of ’em.  In fact (mea culpa) about 10% of my 2016 selections are in that category.  We are drawn to the spectacular color and its effect on adjacent clouds or bodies of water.  There’s way too many of them, but we can’t stay away from them.  In my occasional workshop on composition and content, however, I have a section called “What shall we do with this sunrise/sunset?”  They need something else to sustain viewer interest if not to create some depth or additional feeling to the image.  As to this selection from selections, I keep returning to it.  Yes, the color intensity gradient is nice and the cloud structures are interesting.  But it’s the diagonal line of the sand dune and the darkness below that keep me here, and the lone beach chair just where the orb will appear that holds me.  That spot is an example of what I call the emotional center of the image.

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Thanks for staying the course for this wordy blog post.  I hope it was at least entertaining.

If you’d like, take another coffee break tomorrow for the slide show of the full 2016 selections.  It’s less than three minutes.

Click here to get there.

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ALONE AT THE FLOWER SHOW

The Philadelphia Flower Show was scheduled a week later this year, maybe to beat the seemingly annual Flower Show snow storm.  So, the storm also waited another week.  I had planned the week to include a visit on Tuesday.  Then, Stella moved in.  The powerful nor’easter gathered over the weekend and headed for the north-Atlantic coastal states with predictions of 12″ to 18″ and gusts to 50 mph.  So, a snow day?  Not so said Tuesday morning.  Once again we dodged a bullet.  Much of the storm had stayed to the west and it looked as though I could make it.  Indeed, there was very little traffic on the main highways and, PATCO, the high speed train to the city, was operating every twenty minutes.  There was room on the train for the three of us that boarded.

There’s a flower show this morning? Really?

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Here was the payoff; the display that greets one upon entering the exhibit hall at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  I and the other nine people seen here were privileged to be overwhelmed by the scene in relative solitude.  Never, never, never in my 60+ years of this show (no, not every year) have I ever felt so privileged.  Tough for PHS (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society) and the vendors but such a wonderful, uncrowded experience for us visitors.  When could you ever just walk around, looking up and not worrying about bumping in to someone?  Even when we used to attend the Friday night black tie, preview dinner party there were far more attendees than on this “storm” day.

No jostling necessary.

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As the morning evolved more brave people showed up.  It never became crowded but the tranquility was disturbed from time to time by the show music.  The scene below was the backdrop of the welcoming display.  This was taken an hour after I arrived so you can see it never became congested.

The show’s theme this year was Holland, a wonderful place that Barbara and I have enjoyed on a few occasions.  And, what can be wrong with blooming bulbs all over the place?  Before you play the video below, however, I’d tone down your speakers as the music is not Faure’s Pavanne.  The psychedelic scene, however, with dancing colors and a beat was captivating.

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Speaking of Holland and bulbs and Barbara, here’s a shot from one of those trips.  No, it wasn’t taken at the Flower Show; it was taken in Amsterdam thirteen years ago.  My photo journal; my choice of images.

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The lack of a crowd at the show made it a pleasure for a photographer.  No waiting to get a front row view; no apologizing for my tripod; and time to reflect on a scene.  It was fun.  Here are some of the show highlights.

There were hundreds of these (roses in lavender balls) hung from the ceiling.  Who ever had to do these and get them all together has gone home gibbering to Holland.

 

Here is a more traditional flower show scene.  Fountains and pools always work.  Just add some tulips for this year.

Another traditional kind of water scene featuring falls for fountains.  Some token tulips in the corner.

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This scene screamed Amsterdam as well as many other European cities where bicycles are a big part of life.  I remember hundreds of them parked in front of the train stations.

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 I look forward to next year’s snow day at the Flower Show.

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SANIBEL ISLAND – A WINTER WARMUP

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CLICK ON THE ABOVE IMAGE TO SEE A LARGER VERSION OF THIS FOUR-IMAGE PANORAMA

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In mid-February we returned for my seventh visit to a land I love – Sanibel Island – an hour’s drive from the Fort Myers Airport but a step back into old Florida.  There are no traffic lights (but, yeah, traffic), and no buildings taller than a palm tree.  Inhabitants:  Lots of sea birds, bicyclists, wading birds, families, white heads (that’s me, too).  Also, various rodents, rabbits, raccoons, and a few gators (saw one.)  Add  nature walks and a grand wildlife refuge, the Ding Darling, beach life, shell collecting, fishing, Sunday afternoon alfresco jazz concerts, kayaking, or napping and life’s pretty good.

The banner image above was made late in the day – about 5:00 PM – along the wildlife loop through the refuge.  We called it their cocktail hour, and it preceded ours.  The gatherings vary day to day and can frequently be disappointing.  This day was rewarding.  I was pleased with the variety of birds, and I was struck by their clannishness … very interesting that they gather with their fellows but also share the sand spit with other two-legged, winged citizens.  It’s a major draw for bird watchers and for photographers.  Some of the stove-pipe telephoto lenses look as though they could also be launching tubes for small rockets.

THE BEACHES AND THAT BALM, THE SUN

Until the causeway was opened in 1964 there was only ferry access to the island .  Nevertheless, there were backup delays for the ferries as people sought the island beaches, particularly for shelling.  Today, they’re still out early most mornings searching for the find that washed up during the night.

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These two willets were also out early among the shells but looking, rather, for previous tenants of the shells.

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Parts of the beach are populated by flocks of Royal Terns, Herring and Laughing Gulls, Willets, and Sanderlings.  They will part for the beach walkers and dogs will cause a liftoff but they quickly return to the beach after the hazard has passed.  I think they’re all fun except the gulls which Barbara has always called “rats with wings.”  I admire the rest of them because they forage for themselves; gulls less so as they’re quick to take another’s catch.

As one who began to lose his hair in my teens I’m envious of the Royal Terns, even on bad hair days.  However, they also suffer from receding hairlines.

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 SCENES FROM THE DING DARLING WILDLIFE REFUGE

We drove through the refuge almost every day except Friday when it’s closed.  For those who enjoy the sea birds and wading birds in their habitat it’s generally always interesting.  One can become jaded, however.  After seeing ibis all over the refuge and then in people’s yards and in the drainage ditches I began to refer to them as being as common as chickens.  Then, as though to taunt me, a pair showed up on our beach.

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My search for several years has been for the flashy roseate spoonbills.  We saw several this year but I still haven’t captured the group image I’d like so … have to go back again next year.  You’ll see a half dozen or so in the banner panorama, and here’s a nice single.

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The color, of course, is striking; otherwise, they’re ugly, with heads like wood storks and that long canoe paddle bill which, blessedly, is submerged above.

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At a feeding pond one day I captured this tri-colored heron.  They skip across the water’s surface with much splashing to stir up any fish, and then they spear them for dinner.

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The other end of the day found us on the beach pavilion at our “old Florida” preferred place of stay, Beachview Cottages.  Here we enjoyed the chit-chat with other guests, and mellowing while awaiting the elusive green flash.

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On this night I felt privileged to have been there to capture this twilight with Wilma and Wilbur Willet.  I look forward to seeing them again next year.

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A GALLERY OF THESE AND MORE IMAGES FROM THE WEEK CAN BE SEEN BY CLICKING HERE.

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PREVIOUS POSTS ABOUT SANIBEL ISLAND

Florida, Sanibel, Winter White Stuff – February 2016

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Sanibel Island and also Florida’s east coast – February 2013

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Sanibel Island & Ding Darling Preserve – February 2009

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