SUMMER AMBLES AWAY

I’m back in my cave earlier than usual.  Sigrid and Gretchen moved me back in the week after Labor Day compared to my usual late September move.  A switch is thrown somewhere at the shore on the day after labor day.  Many stores close and await the weekends; the life guards are mostly gone back to school,  and people/cars traffic is way down.  It becomes lonely. Back at the cave and on  a foggy morning I discovered that the spiders have enjoyed being undisturbed.  I can’t walk off of the sun deck because of these lovely barriers.
——————- My summer was pleasant as it always is, with family during the week, expanded family on weekends, and Barbara at her nearby summer rental which also overlooks the bay.  One new feature was the jungle on Grampa’s deck.  I started some Morning Glory seeds before I moved down, and I enjoyed seeing them work their way up the supporting strings I provided.  But they won’t be invited back as they never bloomed.  Fortunately the white-bloomed Mandevilla enjoyed the scene and provided lots of blooms. I’ve relocated it to my sun room.  I’m not optimistic about winter bloom but we’ll see. —————————– A summer highlight is the annual Downbay Regatta which our club hosts.  The weather didn’t cooperate and, in fact, although the boats headed for the sailing grounds on Saturday they returned without holding any races.  Sunday dawned with great clouds but WIND and no precip.  A glorious afternoon ensued.  Here’s Spy, one of the Barnegat Bay A-cat fleet which visited us to compete. ——————————- Now, please forgive me for a little pride and bragging.  Our most exciting event this summer was the selection and election of my favorite son-in-law, Bob Kiep as Rear Commodore of our summer club, the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club  for next year.  In the normal course of events he will advance in rank and wind up as the 103rd Commodore for the club’s one hundred and ninth season in 2021.  I am moved by the great history of this club, and proud of Bob’s selection to help guide it over the next three years.  Here he is delivering his acceptance speech at the Labor Day annual meeting.

Left to right, Rear Commodore Laura Darling, Vice-Commodore Joseph Koerwer, Rear-Commodore-elect Robert Kiep, Commodore Bruce Van Saun, Secretary Denick Herrin

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Here’s the family at the annual Commodore’s Ball a couple of nights earlier.  In three years they’ll be holding this ball in his honor.

Left to right, Bob Kiep, Madeline Kiep, Sigrid Berglund Kiep, Gretchen Kiep

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As seen from the deck of the Commodore’s Ball, the A-cat, Ghost, at her summer mooring.  She is owned by the New Jersey Maritime Museum.  We note that the cormorant is observing the no-wake buoy.

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Well, that’s it folks.  The season’s over.  Here’s a farewell twilight after the ball.

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And for the third year I close with this image of Johnathan Livingston Seagull, just as sad as am I that the season and my summer time with the family are over.

The season’s over.

Where’s my map to Florida?

Time to saddle up.

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CHRISTMAS CARDS PAST

In preparing for a recent craft show appearance I came across this Christmas card which I made and sent eight years ago.  You people probably think this kind of thing is easy:  It’s not!  This one took an hour of negotiation and a bucket of fish before he’d cooperate.  And he insisted on retaining an interest in the image.

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The original was made in Chincoteague.  I’ve always liked the image and I thought why should they disappear after one use.  So, I printed and framed it and I’m enjoying it on my wall for the holidays.  This also made me take a look at other past cards in the file, and I found that they, too, deserved another moment of fame.

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A few years ago two friends from the yacht club were speculating one night (over wine, of course) about having a view of the club under a full moon.  It is reckless to say such things in the presence of a pixel machinist.  Things happen.

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This was, admittedly, over the top but I think it was used that year sans Santa.  The moon shot was from a summer beach; the sheen from yet another.  I had photographed the tree in 2001 at Pittsburgh’s Winter Garden, and it enjoyed a life in many other alien scenes.  Perhaps the strangest was on the Holyoke Avenue jetty during a snow storm.  One friend, showing her confidence in us, asked Barbara if we had actually run an extension cord out on the jetty.  Of course we did.  🙂

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But it also had a more tender moment standing by the old shack along the causeway onto Long Beach Island.  Sadly, both the shack and the tree left with Sandy.

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That wreath around the heron’s neck has also had other assignments.  On a winter trip to the Catskills I found it floating in this stream.

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In yet another year it served as a frame for my Box Hill home.

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And here, decorating a race course marker under a guiding cormorant on the sailing grounds.

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A couple of years ago I experimented with photographing the Milky Way. The LBI beach is not a dark sky location but I had fun and produced a couple of creditable images.  Then, come December, this image fell into my head and stayed there.

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I once sent this picture to a friend, claiming it was evidence that Santa spent his summers at Beach Haven.  In the original he was surrounded by his pots of tomato plants.  She replied, “Oh, yeah, where’s the Christmas Tree?”  Wrong question as the revised picture showed.

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I don’t always mess with the pixels.  Here is a scene in a hallway of the Melk Abbey in Austria.  I hope they had floor polishers, and that the nuns didn’t have to do that floor.

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I’ve always loved this winter scene with its pictures of my family on the window seat at Box Hill.  Lots of eye-filling memories here.  Even some of those pictures had served as past Christmas cards, dating back to the last century.  Of the girls on the left, Maddy’s now out of college, and Gretchen will finish in 2017.  How did that all happen?

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Finally, in recent years I’ve been sending out a montage of my year’s work and art and fun with photography.  Here it is for 2016.  You can see the thumbnails better in a larger version by clicking here.

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Where would I be without my family and friends?

So, Merry Christmas and love to you,

and to all friends, Happy Holidays,

and “To All A Good Night”.

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DOWNBAY REGATTA 2013

The second weekend of August brings the annual invitational Downbay Regatta to the sailing grounds of Little Egg Harbor Bay behind Long Beach Island.  This always exciting premier sailing and social event has been hosted by the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club for many years.

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Guest clubs are from along the upper Barnegat Bay sailing area, ranging from Island Heights to Bayhead.  There is a social overlay but there’s also a day and a half of hard, competitive sailing amongst four fleets, the large A-cats, the more traditional B-cats, the sleek, racy E-scows, and the supple Lightnings.  Above is a group of E-scows, spinnakers out and rails in the water.  It is an eye-festival of color and motion.

When the scows are approaching their marks it can become dangerously crowded.

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Here is some crude video to give you a sense of the sound and motion of the scene.  Don’t be too harsh on me; I was shooting from my inner tube.

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For many the queens of the regatta are the big A-cats.  These are characterized by a single mast carried well forward in the bow of the boat, a centerboard, a long boom  providing plenty of sail, a wide beam approximately half the length of the boat, a single sail, and a “barndoor” rudder.  Evolving in the late 19th century they were used for fishing and transport in the coastal waters around Cape Cod, Narragansett Bay, New York and New Jersey.  Their shallow draft was particularly good for Barnegat Bay waters and, with their wide hulls providing lots of carriage space,  they proved to be a great work and transportation boat. The A designation was created in 1923 for a larger recreational boat design that would carry five to ten people during racing.  Here are four of the five that joined us this year, Spy, Spyder,  Torch and Vapor.  They’re dramatic boats under sail, especially when headed downwind.

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A backbone fleet of our club is that of the more traditional catboats, sometimes referred to as B-cats.  They’re smaller but can be handled by one for a pleasant evening sail.  Here, four of them are about to make their turn at the mark.

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Another fleet that was well represented was that of the Lightning class.  Handsome, here, as they race downwind with their colorful spinnakers.

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Our family participated again this year.  Last year granddaughter Gretchen crewed on one of the E-scows.  This year she and granddaughter Maddie sailed a friend’s catboat with their friend and sailing colleague Sam as captain .

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Also, daughter Sigrid got to ride on one of the A-cats, Spyder, captained by a high school friend, Tim. who invited her to fill in on Sunday.  That’s Tim on the bow and Sigrid on the rail at his left.  An interesting series of pictures on the construction of Spyder can be seen by clicking here.

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For some more snapshots of the weekend, click here.

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SUMMER SNAPSHOTS

Coffee on the deck at sunrise. The 70° wind is out of the NW at about 9 knots.  The humidity’s low after a cool night in the   60’s, and the bright early-morning sun is warming the Great White and Great Blue Herons resting in a copse out on Mordecai Island.  The pair of Ospreys which favors us in August, on their way to some more hospitable space, is breakfasting on the stand on Mordecai. the Purple Martins have left on their way to samba in Brazil, and as another part of the general migration, my kids and their dogs and one cat have gone home to prepare for the fall semester.  Clearly fall is headed this way and I haven’t even posted any summer snapshots.

The Centennial Sneakbox race

The club’s Centennial weekend was hectic but fun and full of warm feelings about the years.  Sunday afternoon’s highlight was the sneakbox races.  These shoal boats began their lives as low-profile hunting boats which drew very little water and could thus hide themselves in cuts through the marsh grasses.  They evolved to the racing world and, pigs though they were, the kids learned on them for many years into the mid-90’s when the Opti Prams were adopted.  Those in the picture had all been restored and returned to their sailing days for one afternoon.

Saturday night brought the dinner dance where over 500 gathered to reminisce.  Descendants of the 1912 founders were well represented.

I thought the summer was the hottest I could remember and it seems that those who keep track of such things have reported that it was.  There were many days when this was the best possible thing to do, especially before the boomers rolled in.

But some days you couldn’t do much of anything except maybe put your feet up with a good book.

Barbara hosted her biennial gathering of her family from around the country, arranging a lovely place for all of them right on the bay.  Lots of fishing and water sports.

Aside from my kids having to return early — one to pre-season soccer practice, the other to start at Cornell, it’s been a good summer.  As you can see from the snapshot below with Bob, my favorite son-in-law, I haven’t aged much more.  The glasses of icewater were refreshing on a warm evening.

SUMMER SNAPSHOTS AND PIXELS FOR POSTERITY

As I drove off of the campus to get to the beach for the summer here was my final shot at the Leas until fall.

These bring back a childhood memory (maybe age 7 or 8) of cutting them at a vacant house and then selling them on my block for $.35 a dozen.   I made enough to pay off my second grade student loans.

My summer revolves around life at the yacht club.  That word “yacht” is a survivor of the days when J. P. Morgan commuted down the Hudson from his summer estate to his bank on Wall Street.  He’s the source of the statement about the cost of his yacht, “If you have to ask how much it costs, you probably can’t afford it.”  The word better applies to the boats of tycoons, Greek shipping magnates and Saudi princes.  Our yacht club “yachts” are just sailboats and a handful of power boats, most smaller than what one would find in the average shore marina. The club today is a social center for parties and dances, serious weekend sailing competitions, book club discussions, recreational sailing, fishing tournaments, tennis, bridge games, sailing instruction, and even bocce and occasional happy hours.

I mentioned a year ago how pleased I was to have four of my images chosen for past annual calendar covers and I was lucky again  this year.

The first big event of the summer was the annual commissioning and reception at the yacht club, this year celebrating its one hundreth year.  The building oozes history, traditions, past commodores whose sons became commodores, and kids who started in the junior sailing program and wound up married in the club, yielding yet more kids in the junior program.  I created this image for the cover of the program for the opening:  It features shots of the club over the years, including a shot of it right after construction was completed in 1916.

After the ceremony and before the bars were opened we managed to corral everyone for a group picture.  It’ll be included in a time capsule to be sealed at the end of this season, to be opened in fifty years.  One of my granddaughters is in the picture and I told her that when it’s opened, she’ll be 67.  Her reaction: “Cool!”  At age 129 I don’t think I’ll be driving down to see the capsule opened.  Pixels for Posterity.  I thought of putting the group shot and lots of other season’s pictures on a flash drive for the time capsule but I wondered if they’d know what to do with it in 50 years.

On July 4th a group of the kids sang Happy Birthday to the club.

As another early summer adventure I tried to shoot the full moon on a couple of nights.  Sunday night, July 1st, was beautiful, and the full moon  and its reflection on the ocean were spectacular.  Did I have the camera?  Nooo.  So, back the next two nights only to barely glimpse occasional, teasing moon color through heavy off-shore haze.  So, as they say, here’s some lemonade.

A IS FOR AUGUST AND A-CATS

August brings the annual Downbay Regatta on Little Egg Harbor bay.  Dozens of sail boats from clubs along the middle and north Jersey coast as far as Bay Head arrive to participate in what is the most exciting club weekend of the summer.

Downbay Dawn

Participating hulls include cat boats, lightnings, E-scows and M-scows but the annual stars of the show are the handsome A-Cats.  Seven of the thirteen on Barnegat Bay were towed in for this year’s event.

A catboat is a characterized by a single mast carried well forward in the bow of the boat, a centerboard, a long boom  providing plenty of sail, a wide beam approximately half the length of the boat, a single sail, and a “barndoor” rudder.  Evolving in the late 19th century they were used for fishing and transport in the coastal waters around Cape Cod, Narragansett Bay, New York and New Jersey.  Their shallow draft was particularly good for Barnegat Bay waters and, with their wide hulls providing lots of carriage space,  they proved to be a great work and transportation boat. The A designation was created in 1923 for a larger recreational boat design that would carry five to ten people during racing.

Best not be in the way!

They are a formidable sight headed downwind.

But the weekend is noted also for the variety of design classes, all racing simultaneously within their class on the broad sailing grounds of Litte Egg Harbor Bay.  It’s amazing that there aren’t more collisions.

Who's got the right of way?

 

A Cats and E Scows

 They’re also great for peaceful twilight sails.

For some more pictures of the races click here.

CALENDAR ART

The Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club held its commissioning ceremonies Memorial Day weekend to officially open the season.  I’ve reported on this before (May 2009) as it is an important event for me.  It includes the flag raising and pledge of allegiance, the blessing of the club’s season and of its fleet, the introduction of  past Commodores (twenty-two present, the oldest from forty-five years ago), a moment of remembrance for deceased members, and a cornet solo of the Navy hymn.  This is a celebration that has been going on in one way or another for 99 years at a club house that is only four years younger.  As Tevye would say, “Tradition!!”

But, it’s not all serious; the socializing after the ceremonies (How was your winter?) has been referred to as “Drink your dues night.”

It’s the beginning of a busy season of partying, competitive sailing, tennis, fishing, and even bocce, and the book club, the weekly bridge group, the art group, Happy Hours, a summer art show, various community benefits, a full junior sailing program culminating in the omlette breakfast, and, and …..     All of this is enumerated day by day in the annual club calendar, looked forward to and delivered to members at the club opening.  In addition to the day to day schedules it’s filled with snapshots from the past season, plus formal group shots of the past commodores, the trustees, and the year’s  officers  which I take at the end of the previous season. 

In addition, in my ten years of membership I have been privileged to have my work selected for four calendar covers.  I consider it an honor and I am pleased to make some contribution to the club.  Here are my four covers.

This view was taken as we approached the clubhouse one night after a twilight sail.

 

Followers of this journal will recognize this image, also captured during a twilight sail a few years ago.

 

 

A great waterfront shot of the clubhouse with the wind whipping members’ state’s flags, and a bright puffy-cloud sky to set the tone for the 2006 season.

 

For the 2005 calendar the editor (an annual task for that year’s vice-commodore) wanted to underscore the sense of tradition which the club honors.  He chose this opening ceremony shot  from 2004.

SPRING COMMISSIONING

Last weekend the club had its annual spring commissioning service.  This ceremony marks the start of life at the club for the season but it’s also a solemn event of tradition.  The club dates to 1912 and the club house to 1916.  That’s a lot of years of friendly competition and good times.  Here’s what it looked like about 1916.  (And, no, I didn’t take this picture.)

Club Old pre gas pump pic sepia flattened

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the ceremony here are twenty-three past commodores lined up.  That’s impressive.

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And, the evening ended beautifully.

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