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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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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CHARLESTON AND THE LOW COUNTRY

A PHOTO VISIT TO CHARLESTON AND THE LOWCOUNTRY

I’ve recently returned from four days in Charleston and at some of the surrounding Lowcountry plantations.

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 I spent two days with four other photographers in a field workshop under the direction of Richard Bernabe.  He is a renowned scenic and nature photographer with over 7000 publishing credits.  He is the author of South Carolina Wonder and Light, Editor of Nature Photographers Online Magazine, and a principal of Mountain Trail photo, publishers and workshop operators. 

These workshops expose one to new venues (not much Spanish moss or Camellia in the Pinelands), and compel the practice of disciplined photography scene after scene all day long.  One has to think for each shot about subject matter, composition, lighting, zoom, focus point, aperture and depth of field, and exposure values.  Then (fortunately with digital), one can examine the shot immediately for blown out highlights, lack of shadow detail, exposure brightness, fuzziness…….  and adjust and shoot again if necessary.  Workshops are also an opportunity to discuss hardware and software with fellow gearheads.  It was a good experience; I enjoyed the scenes we saw and my fellow photographers.image-401

 We began a dreary, threatening Saturday morning in the Audubon Swamp Garden, a part of Magnolia Gardens.  Here we captured some Great Egrets doing their mating dances in full feathery plumage, as well as Great Blue Herons, a gator, and Anhingas.

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Then, into the adjacent Magnolia Gardens, lush with azaleas, camellias, great Live Oaks and Spanish Moss.  The plantation was created by Thomas Drayton along the Ashley River in 1679.  His son, John, eventually created Drayton Hall (described below).image-09

After lunch we visited the Angel Oak, a Live Oak (Quercus Virginiana) that is a native species found throughout the Lowcountry,  This tree, on land owned by the Angel family at one time, is thought to be some 1500 years old and has branches which extend over 90′ from the trunk.image-14

We closed the day in a hard storm at the Grove Plantation, an 1828 mansion along the Edisto River, that survived the Civil War.  The approach is lined by moss-laden Live Oaks, and one half expects Scarlett and Rhett to appear beyond the next tree.image-15

Sunday morning took us to Cypress Garden, another great setting for cypress swamps, lily pads and azaleas.image-17

We finished the day in sunny, downtown Charleston with its attractive doorways and interesting homes and gardens.image-22

ON MY OWN

I stayed on for two more days to revisit some favorite places from past visits.  I began, however, by returning early to the Audubon Swamp Garden, now almost deserted compared to Saturday morning.  I encountered only one birder and one other bipedus photographus, and another nice image, a family portrait.image-05

Then off to Middleton Plantation to photograph their azalea hill which I photographed six years ago.  It was worth it.image-30

I finished the day and the trip with my fourth visit to one of my favorite places, the National Trust’s Drayton Hall on the Ashley River.  Begun in 1738 by the 22-year-old John Drayton it is considered one of the few surviving examples of 18th C. Georgian-Palladian architecture in America.  It is a striking building, sitting alone above the river.  image-41

The interior is an architectural museum as it is unfurnished and undecorated.  One sees only the mansion that Drayton created, unobscured by the trappings of any particular period.image-35

This has been a long blog but it was a wonderful trip.  Take another coffee break tomorrow and look at some other selected images.