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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WHERE MY CAMERA TAKES ME III – Scenes from here and there.

This post is low on chatter (probably good) and long on miscellaneous images.  Every day-trip is not a photo workshop but we can bring home images that are nice and that jump out of the hamper when reviewing past trips, clamoring for their moment on the web.

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Fall is many things.  As with winter, and in contrast with spring and summer, most of fall is more striking and dramatic.  Contributing factors are the clarity that low humidity brings, and the power of stately cumulus clouds.  Add these to the red hulls of the Larson fishing fleet at Long Beach Island’s Viking Village and you have a classic fall scene.

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Fall is seasonal shapes and colors.
Here’s a table full of them at Russo’s farm market in Tabernacle.

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Fall is color, presented here abundantly by the most prolific, colorful weed I can think of.

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Fall is a time of special weekends, for art and craft shows and for people festivals for one reason or another.  It’s almost as though we sense the gradual fading of the daily light and the impending arrival of the cold and we want to dance and celebrate while we can.  (We are already at less than 12 hours of sun daily.)

My camera took me to one such festival at the Philadelphia Seaport.  While there I was taken with all of the lines of the 1901 tall ship Gazela.  There were men doing some kind of maintenance up there and I thought I even heard Captain Bligh scolding them.

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Two nearby ships provided contrasts between the three;  the seventy-three year-old New Jersey and the twenty year-old Ben Franklin vs. the 115 year-old Gazela.

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And, as long as I’m talking about boats, here’s another from the Larson fleet in a dreamier presentation.

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One more from the boat files.  This is left over from my spring trip to Tangier Island, cropped to emphasize the ripple reflections.

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Getting back to fall scenes, here’s a dewy web in early morning warm light.  I guess the maker knows how to get in there for a snack if it comes along.  Colleagues: this was a four shot stacked image blend taken with a 100mm macro lens.

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Finally, fall greatly enhances sunrises over the beach.  It’s that crystal clear air again plus those puffy clouds.   I had just gotten up when this scene smacked me in the face.  I previously posted this on Facebook but not everyone gets to see that work so here it is again.  The stunning feature here is the “shadows” created by the clouds, i.e. the darker blue that seems to be radiating from the clouds.  Equally strong is the back- and side lighting of the clouds.

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“Oh, what a beautiful morning!”

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Happy Fall, Y’all!

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SCENES OF FALL

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I finally got off of the beach.  Fall was clearly a fact and I felt the need to explore and enjoy it.

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This is the famous Chrysanthemum Mountain planted annually at Ott’s Nursery in Schwenksville, PA.  This used to be a destination on a fall Sunday drive with the family, and it’s still an amazing and entertaining site.  The scene is dominated by a gigantic greenhouse of Victorian, Moorish lines.  The adjacent store is of field-stone construction with windows with diamond mullions suggesting old Europe.  Here, the mountain can be seen reflected in one of the windows.

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  I had seen a couple of Facebook posts by photo-friend Ken Curtis of a place called Ken Lockwood Gorge.  It looked great and was only an hour and a half away so off I went.  I didn’t (have to) explore very much of it to enjoy the views.

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I found it hard to believe that I was still in New Jersey, thinking Vermont along the gorge.  These scenes also brought to mind past mentors such as Kurt Budliger, Joe Rossbach, Ian Plant and Richard Bernabe.

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Other scenes also made my camera squirm with excitement.  You’ve got to give them their head once in a while.

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But don’t forget what Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home … There’s no place like  … There’s no  ………  “

Even without a decent pair of ruby slippers I found fall near home.  This scene is by a tiny falls on Sharps Run on the Yellow Trail at Medford Leas.  The stream had carried these leaves along to the falls’ edge where they were hung up.  The small current, then, just swirled around them.

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Along the Red Trail I found these Viburnum berries pretending to be Holly, a worthwhile effort.

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Finally (and what triggered this post) I sat down early in my sun room with a morning coffee and wake-up music.  As the sun worked its way above the eastern campus there was a magical interval of soft red and yellow light.  Though still in my bathrobe I managed to get out and photograph it and return before Campus Security was called by any neighbors.  What a great start to the day!

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THE PEACE OF FALL

I’m having my last morning coffee for the season on my little deck overlooking my beloved bay.  I continue packing today and Sigrid will be here tomorrow to help me move back to the winter cave.  I have been up there a couple of times since Labor Day and I miss my bay vistas up there.

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The early sun is September-warm.  The air is still, so much so that reflections of the fragmites plumes are clear in the water.  I hear a cricket and a few bird calls, now a flight of honking geese.  The marshes are cinnamon with still some thin washes of pale green, resting comfortably, their essence moving into their roots to survive the winter.  A lone fisherman drifts slowly with the tide; another passes, speeding south, the boat’s reflection in the still water traveling with it.  They are too far away to hear; a blessing this morning.

Few are stirring here.  One goes out and returns with a paper.  Please, just look around right now, not at the paper.

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Life, of course, continues down here but at a greatly reduced level.  Next weekend is the annual Chowda Fest after which it’ll get really quiet.  Then the speed limits will rise and the traffic lights will go on blink.  For those who stay, their essence is also moving into their roots to survive the winter.  The Bagel Shack remains open to help with that.

Yes, there are no such vistas back home but life continues with friends, gatherings, events, meetings, projects, a fall getaway and probably a winter getaway.  December brings the winter solstice.  Since that marks the beginning of the sun’s return I’ve always thought of it as the first day of boating season.  That’s a nice thought.

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FALL FOG AT THE SHORE

I drove down to the shore house to enjoy it for one more night this year and then to drain its bodily fluids for winter.  What a pleasure driving down the island at 45 mph through blinking traffic lights.  No wonder the locals resent our summer arrival with its return of traffic lights and lower speed limits.   The sky was overcast with broken clouds so no dramatic sunset but it was pleasant to have a couple drinks in front of the gas logs as they brought the house from its winter thermostat setting of 50°.  The near-full moon asserted itself through the spotty clouds and I kicked myself for not having brought my long lens.

Later, a good dinner at the Engleside and a good night’s sleep which Pearl ended at 7:30.  Not bad.  The day seemed gray.  At first I thought the window was just dirty but when I cracked the sliding door I saw that the fog was on its way.

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Later it began to thicken up.

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At the boat landing, however, there was a bright spot.  These marigolds have dodged the frosts so far.  I wished them well.

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I enjoyed one of my favorite breakfasts at Fred’s Diner and learned that they’ll close in two more weeks.  They weren’t busy so we could chat a little. He said that Sandy’s waters a year ago reached the tops of his booth tables. That’s scary.  The town looks as though it has recovered and it has been functional but there are still closed shops and homes that are sad shells.  The town really closes down though I know that several merchants will stay open through Christmas, and a handful even beyond.  Uncle Will’s and Buckalews will continue as oases till next season.  My year round friends down there will survive though some will surreptitously slip away to Florida for a few weeks.

After breakfast the fog was becoming thicker so I set off down Bay avenue to Holgate.  On the way I passed these tidal ponds in the marshes.

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Further down at the end of Bay Avenue at the entrance to the wildlife refuge the foggy waves were more interesting.

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At this time of year pickups and vans are permitted to drive onto the refuge beach for fishing.  Here, one just passed me and another can be dimly seen ahead of it.

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A surf fisherman was working three rods in front of me.

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And this seagull was working the fisherman.

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ONE WEEK TO GO

It’s clear that someone removed a week in either July or August because, suddenly, there is now only one week remaining in the summer season.  Shame!  Something else to blame on Sandy?

This past weekend was wonderful;  in the sixties at night, and bright, clear skies and northerly winds in the daytime.  But they’re a sign that someone’s bringing the check soon and I’m overdue for posting some summer snapshots.

Pearl and I still have this kind of a scene during early morning coffee on Grampa’s deck.  Near, in the copse on Mordecai Island is the Great Blue Heron which seeks out that spot for the early morning sun.  Awakening, four and a half miles away, is Tuckerton Beach.

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We continued the post-Sandy cleanup.  My son-in-law, Bob, has worked hammer and tong to replace the wallboard in the flooded first floor, and he has done so with a half-height surface of beach-ey beadboard.  Looks nice.  Outside, Sigrid worked to clean the planting beds and prune the Crepe Myrtles.  We were delighted to see them come into bloom.  I had to protect the rambler roses, however, as the sense was that they should be torn out.  They must have heard that because they yielded beautiful blooms.

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Paddle boarding has become popular both off of the beach and, more so, in the bay waters.  I see these groups and singles going by frequently.  Once there was a solo with his dog on the bow of the board.  Here it looks as though the babysitter didn’t show this morning, or is that the babysitter?  Daughter Sigrid has been out a couple times, making the 1.5 mile circumnavigation of Mordecai Island.

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Storms come in summer, some impressive with scary wind and lightning.

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There were rainy days.  The Black Pearl pirate ship sails daily from Beach Haven into the waters of Little Egg Harbor bay.  This was a sad trip, however, as the heavens opened.  Most of the passengers crowded the poop deck for shelter (please, that’s from the French for stern, la poupe) but some seemed to enjoy being at one with the elements.

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This is the once proud Sultan, fisher of all manner of seafood, sailed by two generations of the Cotov family.   Friends of ours here remember going down to the boatyard on Friday nights and buying fresh lobster right from the boat.  Several years ago, the last to sail her, the late Nick Sr., was hard at work caulking and painting her on the scaffold.  I asked him if he planned to launch her.  He answered’ “Yep.  As soon as the ocean comes cross the island she’ll go in. ”  Well, Sandy came and went and I’m really surprised that Sultan didn’t go with her as there was certainly enough water under her.  Here she continues to age amidst her eclectic setting, including many of her lobster traps.

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On the side of the shop at the landing is this salute to Kate, wife of the first Sultan owner, Sam Cotov.   Kate lived for more than a century, passing away only a few years before Nick, Sr.  Young Nicky who makes his living in part from slip rentals and wholesale bait keeps the window box tended.

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Finally, yes, we do have some great sunsets over Mordecai and distant Tuckerton.  I was sitting in my living room recently when I noticed the warm glow of another production sunset coming through a nearby window.   The stained glass panel is one I described in a May post, and can be seen further under the Stained Glass Work tab at the top of the page.  Anyway, it was a serendipitous happening of warm sunset, structured clouds, reflection from the water, and the panel.

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It’s been a good summer for me.  The kids, their three dogs and their cat left last week to restart the off-island life.   That’s always a melancholy event but….some of them are coming back.  Granddaughter Maddy moved back to her second year at Cornell but granddaughter Gretchen doesn’t leave for UCLA until late in September.  So, the family will be back with me in the coming weeks to share the beauty of fall’s arrival.

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GOIN’ HOME

As much as I resisted the idea it was time to go home, back to my hibernaculum.  It happens every year.   I am stoic and brave  as my kids go back to their non-summer world;  I assure myself that I will just enjoy the quiet and the beauty and the cooler days and the uncrowded streets.  And I do.  But then?  Ah, but then… some signs of serious fall appear.  A morning such that I struggle over getting the gas logs pilot lit but then feel guilty about enjoying the warmth.  The mornings become too chilly to have coffee out on my little deck, and a sweat shirt feels good.  There is little activity to see on the waterway.  A visit to the beach at twilight finds only a few of the committed still waiting for the big ones.

My daughter, Sigrid, had kindly offered to drive down and help me load my car and her SUV.  I spent the day before packing things up for the move and completing my last two photo-related projects for the club.  Moving day dawned, however, with the first fog of the season.  Is that a message of “Go Home!”, or what?  I quickly unpacked the camera and went pixel gathering.

The beach certainly wasn’t inviting.

Nor was the bay.  No movement, no sound … Go Home!

Even Jonathan was sad that I was leaving.

A FOGGY FAREWELL TO CHARLESTON MOOR

 Thursday morning was revealed gradually in the fog.

We saw this many times over the years.  Our development was created by an Englishman (Laurence Nilsen) and carries such English names as Charleston Riding (Riding: an English country subdivision), Mews Lane, Box Hill, Leith Hill and so on.  So, I used to kid my wife on foggy mornings by saying that we’re out on Yorkshire’s  Charleston Moor and we must beware of the hounds.

But, the fog enhances the last of the color.  That red maple is the prettiest tree here in the fall.  It was the root stock for a graft of a Japanese Maple which died many years ago.  The root stock sent out some shoots and I pruned to one and it became beautiful.  Within two days the leaves left, and in three more days so will I.

FALL’S COMING ASHORE

They say that fall doesn’t arrive until next week but I must tell you:  it has been prowling around off-shore for a couple of weeks, sneaking in at night,  probing our summer softness with chilly nights, and pushing winds into our days .  My cat, Pearl, has inquired as to the whereabouts of the electric blanket.

I’ve watched the meadows age as the spartina gives up the green, turning to a straw-colored glow.  There were one or two ospreys hanging around, late for their season but they have also taken the hint from nights in the 50’s.  The Great Blue Herons and the Great White Egrets are still here.  A sharp eye will see egrets on the far side of the inside pond above.

I’ve loved watching them take the warm early morning sun on the marsh on the near side of the island (Mordecai) above.  There have been four great blues, two yellow-crowned night herons, the great whites here and there, and a Belted Kingfisher who counter-wobbles on the day marker as the wind moves it back and forth.   Yesterday morniing as I watched I found myself amidst a gentle flutter-by of Monarch butterflies headed southwest.  Not a cloud by any means but a steady here-and-there of singles or twos or threes, and it continued during the morning.  They’re headed for Mexico.  Vaya con Dios.

And what’s happening on the beach three blocks away?  Well, there’s room to put your beach towel down and the ice cream vendors have left.  The island cleared out after Labor Day, and the windier days haven’t helped.

I think we can find a spot.

Even the gulls mourn the passing of lunch on the beach, hoping here for the last potato chip.

I don't care! We're not going home yet.