Summer’s so over that I’m already back in my winter cave at the Old Folks Farm (Medford Leas). Covid or not it was a great summer with family. We had Bob and Sigrid and Maddy and Gretchen and the old guy all mostly quarantining and working our computers from various rooms in the shore house and we all got along.

In the warm early morning September light on the day after Labor Day this was the scene from Grampa’s deck…one lonely sailboat that had anchored over night and one lonely osprey where there had been a family with two chicks. The season was over.

Within another 38 hours I was unpacked back in the cave.



I completed a couple of projects this summer and worked on others. This one (below) started with a screen shot from an on-line video camera facing a beach on Sanibel Island. I reworked it into more of a landscape scene. Details may be learned here, and a full-size version of the work can be seen here,

Another completed project was the addition of LEDs to the candles in the windows of my Beck farmhouse image. I’ve posted before about this 1874 home in Beach Haven. The land could hold six McMansions and that’s what happened. I had photographed the house before it was taken down, and had simulated a scene in moonlight. Then later I photo-shopped candles into all of the windows. This summer I punched pinholes in all of the candle images and glued an LED behind each. It came out just “OK” but wait till you see the next one. Anyway, here’s the result. Click on the image to see it full-sized.

Another completed project was a redux of my Gateway web page. This page is an overview and entry point for most if the things I have on the web. Click on the image below to be taken there (but please come back.)



I don’t get to do the beach anymore so Barbara and I resumed our weekend driving to other places. We particularly enjoyed driving out the dock roads of West Creek and Cedar Run on the mainland opposite Long Beach Island. These both lead to Manahawkin Bay and are characterized by a lot of one-off homes built over the years and ranging from tiny shacks to McMansions.

We also explored the so-called Seven Bridges Road out of Tuckerton which leads to Great Bay. Turns out they never built two of the seven and the official name is Great Bay Boulevard. It passes a number of small marinas or launching ramps and dead ends at Great Bay. Here’s a typical lonely marina from the past.

And what are the odds of running into a traffic light out on the marshes? This one controls access to a one-lane bridge and has a mate on the other side.



We enjoyed two drive-throughs at the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville. The first was an overcast day but we photographers know that bad days can help create appealing images. Here’s an Osprey family silhouetted against my old home town. (Colleagues: the pole’s leaning; not the photographer.)

On another day we arrived during the mid-tide drainage of the waters bounded by the perimeter road. Those in the know seek out the culverts at this time in order to dine on the fish leaving the interior ponds in the tidal flow.



Summer as with all seasons has its bad days. But for a photographer some bad days mean an opportunity to add feeling to a scene. A foggy day does that well.

And on only a slightly better day this Cormorant was thinking about where to dive next.


I close with this image making its fifth year-end appearance. It symbolizes our sadness about Covid and its effect on so many, and it has always symbolized my sadness at the end of a season with my family.





We managed to escape on the last flight out of Philadelphia before winter storm Jonas (OK, maybe not literally the last but it felt that way).  Even with the last minute struggle to change our flight to Friday night and to make sure there was a car and a room in Sanibel, we were still apprehensive.  Indeed, after taxiing out to the runway the pilot announced a further delay in order to DE-ICE THE WINGS.  How comforting was that??  I was convinced he would abort but we made it and slipped in to our cottage about 1:00 in the morning.  Our first view of the beach the next morning (while Jonas was howling at home) …. WHITE STUFF …  but, a very comfortable kind.

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Yet more white stuff is seen here.  Sanibel Island is known for being a shelling paradise.  For some reason the shape and position of the island in the currents of the Gulf of Mexico result in extraordinary deposits of shells with each high tide.

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It’s something to do every day.  The fanatics are on the beach before sunrise with headlamps, searching for the elusive and therefore prized Junonia.  It’s so rare, finders wind up with their pictures in the paper.  Aside from the Junonia, however, we enjoyed our beach walks and inevitably came home with shells that caught our eye.  The above sight is typical.  The image is now a part of my place mat collection.


Another exciting activity is photographing the sea birds that meet daily on the beach.  Aside from the routine gulls we also enjoyed Willets, Ruddy Turnstones, skittering Sanderlings, and clusters of Royal Terns having bad hair days.  The terns are tolerant of walking humans ( dogs, another story) and gather in groups at sometimes the same spots along the beach each morning.  I’ve enjoyed photographing them over my fourteen years of occasional visits.  I posted recently about the need to get prone to capture some scenes and the terns are certainly in that category.

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I particularly love this image below.  He seemed to be zoned out in the joy of the morning sunlight and breeze.  I heard him murmuring, “Hey, Dude, is this cool or whaaat?”  I absolutely agreed.

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The tern was chillin’ in the sunrise along with others also drawn to dawn.  Most of us react to the drama of sunrises and sunsets and though I’ve seen and photographed lots of them I’m not immune to the next one.  Here’s one morning in which the sun was filtered more than usual but there was still light for the early morning shell seekers.

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And at the other end of the day, the sun’s farewell.

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Not every day was warm or clear or sunny, but at its worst it was better than being up home in February.  Even a foggy morning calls a photographer.

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Another major attraction of Sanibel is the 5200 acre “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.  We managed to drive through on the eight mile Wildlife Trail almost every day.  It’s best to do so slightly before and after low tide as the bird life is then feasting on creatures from the exposed sand flats.  One sees a great deal of White Pelicans, Ibis, Herons, Willets, and Cormorants.  In fact they report over 200 species of birds.  Here are some selected captures.

Wilbur and Wilma Willet

Wilbur and Wilma Willet


Doc, I have this really bad neck pain.

Doc, I have this really bad neck pain.


This one made me literally laugh out loud.  They tolerate humans being close and I was about six feet away from his bath.

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Finally, an after-breakfast Cormorant Cleanup.

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This was a nice experience for us, and certainly warmer and sunnier than February at home.  We thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed and informal atmosphere at Beachview Cottages on Sanibel Island.  As always, glad to be home but also wondering why??


There is a gallery of additional images from the two weeks.  To view it please click here.




Here’s a splendid portrait of a juvenile Green Heron resting on Bob’s boat rail.  I was only about ten feet from him and he was comfortable posing.  Took a while to identify him but my omniscient birding friend, Del, pronounced it a Green Heron and that settled it.



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Here’s a Great Blue Heron looking over some rental property on nearby Mordecai Island.















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While these cormorants squabble over landing rights on the pole.















Here’s a pair of  “Rats With Wings” shots.  The one on the left was taken after a delightful lunch at Cape May’s Lobster House.  On the right, in my back yard.

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Here’s a scene I captured in June but its mood is perfect for the end of the season.

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