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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SUMMER SCENES

I noticed the heat wave followed by some drenching rain storms with sound effects.  Must be summer.  We’ve been enjoying it though I’m not getting around as much as usual.  We’ve been doing a lot of “Sunday” driving around the island and the nearby mainland but not getting out at destinations and checking things out like art or craft shows or antique shops.     One such recent visit was to a favorite, Viking Village at Barnegat Light on Long Beach Island.  Home to some quirky shops, the occasional weekend art or antique show, and the Larson family fishing fleet.

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The commercial fishing business was launched in the area in the 1920’s by Norwegian fishermen.  The focus early on was lobstering but expanded to scallop dredging and to gill-net and long-line fishing.   John Larson and his family members built a small fleet here as well as buying Viking Village with a partner in 1975 and continuing its development.   The boats of the Larson fleet all include “Larson” in their name.  Above we see the “Grand Larson”, in the distance is the “Karen L” (one of John’s daughters), and the red hull to the right also signals yet another  fleet member.  Mr. Larson is gone now but I feel privileged to have once sat and chatted with him in the village years ago.  He was an outgoing and pleasant person.  I like to think it’s a Scandinavian thing but his soft-spoken depths may also come from years of wresting a living in stormy waters.

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Summer is opened for us by the ceremonies at our one hundred and seven year old yacht club.  I posted last fall that my son-in-law, Bob Kiep had been elected as Rear Commodore meaning that he’ll move on to serve as Commodore in 2021.  It’s so good to have an inside connection.  Anyhow, here’s Rear Commodore and Mrs. Robert Kiep (my daughter, Sigrid) at their first official function, this year’s opening ceremonies.  It’s certainly a summer scene but the kind of image that happens when your father is an artsy photographer.  I’ll make up for that below.

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Summer can bring foggy mornings and we had a humdinger a couple of weeks ago.  I love foggy scenes as powerful mood creators.  (You’ll find eight fog posts listed in the index:  Look under Fog.  Please, no comments about foggy writing. ) Anyway, here’s the retired lobstering work boat, Sultan, struggling against both fog and foliage.

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I also made out Ozzie and Opel Osprey, fogged in along with their two chicks in the nest.

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But, the sun comes back eventually.  Here’s a sunny morning and the Miss Beach Haven is underway.  She’s a so-called head-boat meaning that customers buy their individual passage and ride her out to wherever the fish are biting.  Her first trip of the day departs at 8:00 AM, and another departs at 1:00.  I’m usually just finishing my morning coffee on Grampa’s deck and I look for her.  She didn’t go out on the morning of the fog.  Prudent.

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The next image is one from the 2015 files but still a summer scene.  It was made at Rockport, MA, on Cape Ann northeast of Boston.  The scene is a display window of a funky shop out on Rockport’s Bearskin Neck.  The image keeps haunting me.  I have regretfully ignored it because of what I saw as fuzziness.  Recently I realized that the fuzziness is only within the window and the rest of the scene is sharp.  So, the fuzziness was somehow created by the storekeeper to convey an underwater scene. They might have had a small fan in there stirring up the fronds.  Colleagues: the capture was tripod mounted and is a blend of three exposures ranging from 2-4 seconds.

Well, it took four years to make the cut but here it is (and I’m fond of it).

Click on the image for a larger view.

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Earlier I said I’d do justice to Sigrid and Bob after that artsy introductory image.  Here they are in the receiving line at the club opening.  Picture them saying “How was your winter?”

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SUMMER BEGINS

Appropriately the day before the summer solstice Sigrid packed me up and I relocated my flag to the shore for the summer.  It’s good to be back.  Here’s the customary scene of the marshes and the bay from Grampa’s (my) deck for morning coffee.  In the foreground is Liberty Thorofare which separates Mordecai Island from the farther Intra-Coastal Waterway.  The mainland in the distance is Tuckerton.

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Timing was excellent as this was the weekend for the U.S. Sailing U.S. Youth Championship Regatta.  Our Beach Haven club, The Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club (founded 1912) was honored to be the host to 123 sailors and their families from all over the country including the Virgin Islands and Hawaii.  As witness the stature of the event, the crew of the America’s Cup candidate, American Magic, came to help coach and inspire the young people.  My son-in-law, Rear Commodore Bob Kiep, spent the days (all day) roaming the sailing grounds as part of the thirteen boat security fleet.  Daughter Sigrid spent Friday registering arrivals and then four days of electronically checking out the sailors as they launched and then rechecking their returns to insure no one was missing.  The sailors stayed out all day having taken lunches and water with them.  Not a relaxed summer day.

Here was the scene in the launching area.  I wish I had recorded some video to capture the flapping of the sails in the 15-20 knot wind. It was colorful and exciting.  Most of the sailors being from other parts of the country had never sailed our waters, and they looked a bit apprehensively at the whitecaps out on the main bay.  There were knockdowns during the day but all returned safely.

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Here was another way to view the pre-launch activity.

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The observers below were Ozzie and Opel Osprey, and their chick, Ophelia, whose head can just barely be seen sticking up left of the nest center.  They’re admiring the three International 420’s heading out to the sailing grounds for the day’s competition. *

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Meanwhile, regatta or not, summer continues to work its magic.  This is the perennial bed along one side of my house.  The foreground hydrangeas are shaping up nicely  this year, followed by Shasta Daisies and Knockout Roses.  (Photoshop’s usefullness shows up again as I was able to easily remove a large, dead dandelion from the foreground.)

Growing up on Absecon Island (Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate and Longport) the hydrangeas were a big deal in the down-beach communities.  In fact there was a committee that promoted the annual Hydrangea Trail. I’m probably too far north to be included.

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* Tech Note to Colleagues:  The birds were 600′ from my camera.  I was using a 400mm Canon zoom plus a 1.4 Canon extender.  The camera was tripod mounted; mirror-up mode, and stabilizer off.

BERGIE AND HIS MANDEVILLA EMERGE FROM HIBERNATION

My last post was September.  It was the end of ten years of blogging and I’m very glad to have done them all because I and others can enjoy them again and again.  I am a Facebook fan but the postings there are limiting and ephemeral.  It doesn’t lend itself well to extensive treatment of a subject, nor is it easy to go back and review an earlier work.   My ten years of work is indexed and  readily at hand:  241 posts which included some 1600 images, six song tracks (e.g. Patti Page doing Old Cape Cod at the end of the post), and several miscellaneous videos.  It was fun but it was demanding and stressful.  Denise Bush got me started blogging and also somewhere along the way nudged me to think about poetry.  So, I started to do an occasional Haiku and one that I wrote was:
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To blog is hard work

And the results pay no bills

But the words will out.

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But the problem is that you can run out of words and that happened to me last fall.  I felt that I had emptied the hamper of both words and worthwhile images.  Also, I was finishing up my eBook, “Shooting For Better Images” and that took a lot of my words, and the technical tasks to publish it were a struggle for an old brain.  But I prevailed and the book is available at BetterPix.net for downloads or from Amazon’s Kindle Service.  Also my social life for the past year seemed to gravitate to doctors and labs as I continue to struggle with a medical issue. It is spring, however, and my Mandevilla just produced its first blossom for 2019.  In fact we’re two-thirds of the way through spring; maybe it’s time for me to get back to work, too.

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The plant was an $8.95 acquisition from Home Depot and wound up on Grampa’s shore deck for the summer.  I was pleased to come across it as most varieties are either pink or red, and the white appealed to me.

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The plant did well and threw off enough blooms to make me wonder if it could brighten my sun room for the winter.  It did.  On the left below we see it settling in last fall, sending runners up some twine to a ceiling hook while continuing to bloom below.  As late as December it featured seventeen blossoms but then it looked at its calendar and muttered something like “C’ya” and stopped blooming … but not growing.  On the right below we see the abundance as of this week including the first bloom, with the plant trying to escape through ceiling and windows.  I frequently cautioned visitors not to get too close to the vines.

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I’ve noticed a couple other spring scenes.  Here’s Mrs. Cardinal wondering where the snow went from her safe perch surrounded by Oriental Bittersweet.  She and her mate were around all winter along with eleven other bird species which I enjoyed from the sun room every morning.

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And only a couple nights ago (after the rains) I was taken by the twilight sun’s golden backing of the leafed-out trees.

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I wondered what had turned on the signs of spring.  Maybe they were motivated by my electric forsythia.

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