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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CONTINUING AROUND CAPE ANN

Earlier this month I posted about a visit to Cape Ann, northeast of Boston.  The post was mostly about the village of Rockport on the coast and its harbor (see the Rockport post).  Well, there’s much more to see and photograph on the Cape, itself, and I offer some examples.

The coast line continues rocky, punctuated by the occasional safe harbor for recreational craft as well as a few commercial fishing boats.  This harbor is called Lanes Cove, and it opens into Ipswich Bay.  Note the granite blocks which form the breakwaters.

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Beaches are rare and seem to be more of a crushed granite (as seen above) than the quartz (silicon dioxide) of our South Jersey shoreline.  The image below is typical of the Cape Ann shoreline.

 Wavelets coming ashore.

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But between the rocks here and there are old friends…the Beach Rose or Nantucket Rose or, properly, Rosa Rugosa,  The white variety is not often seen and it was lovely.

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Besides having a rocky shoreline Cape Ann is boats…boats…boats.  Here’s a pair of Gloucester dories that caught my camera’s eye.

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A pleasant drive westward took me to the village of Essex located on the Essex River which runs northeasterly into Essex Bay and thence to Ipswich Bay on the coast.   Essex also makes its living from the sea including boat rides through the marshes of the river.  At Essex there’s a fine Shipbuilding Museum where volunteers rebuild old commercial wooden fishing hulls.  Adjacent is Burnham’s boat building shed, operated by Harold Burnham, the 28th of that family in the craft which has delivered over 4000 vessels since the 1819 founding.

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Here’s a typical scene along the river, a marine railway with an occupant and a couple of squatters.

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On the east side of Gloucester Harbor there is a small, narrow peninsula called Rocky Neck.  Over the years it has become an artists’ colony and an enjoyable place to visit.  Here’s a whimsical window on one of the gallery buildings along Smith Cove which is inside the peninsula.  It’s a creation painted on a piece of plywood screwed on to the siding.  Notice even the reflections in the bottom panes.  The window box is a second piece of painted plywood.

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Here we have an “open-air” gallery on the water’s edge.  Maybe “plein air” paintings are best shown in open air.

This reminded me that a few years ago I proclaimed myself a plein air photographer.  It hasn’t affected my estate.

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Smith Cove is also the home of one of the boats from the National Geographic series, Wicked Tuna.  The series chronicles the adventures of seven boats which seek the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in North Atlantic Waters.  Here’s one of them, Hard Merchandise, berthed next to a wall of tail fins from her catches.  In her 2014 season she brought in some 3000 pounds of tuna worth about $62,000.  That’s a lot of sushi.

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This schooner also made me think of James Sessions’ watercolors of Gloucester Harbor.  (see my earlier post on Rockport Harbor.)

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Finally, I could not leave without capturing an image of Gloucester’s iconic 1925 memorial to the thousands of fisherman who have lost their lives over the centuries.

I was tempted to skip it because of how often it’s been published but I couldn’t pass it up with the clouds above it.

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A HAPPY ANNOUNCEMENT

I am pleased to report that my galleries on Pbase.com, experienced their six hundred thousandth (600,000) page view sometime in mid-August.  I opened these galleries in 2005 and they have proven to be a great display for my work, enabling me to post far more images that I could ever have done on this blog.  There’s almost no commentary other than some image titles, however, so my blog continues a role of enabling me to tell about some of my images and the related experiences.  There are 359 galleries of which 193 are public;  the rest are private family or institutional galleries.  The public galleries contain over 2100 images.  I’m grateful for all of the views that they have enjoyed.

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ANOTHER JOURNEY TO A DISTANT SHORE – 2015

Friends know that I become a little antsy mid-summer, wanting to get away to another venue.  (Fifty-six images of the Holyoke Avenue jetty are quite enough).  I find these trips to be good for both my sensor and my psyche.  And though I live at the shore for the summer months I’m also drawn to other shores.  Last summer was great on Cape Cod;  this year Cape Ann bubbled up out of my considerations and it, too, was pleasant and productive.  It’s certainly a different kind of shore.

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Cape Ann is located about thirty miles northeast of Boston, and is probably best known for the commercial fishing port, Gloucester, made famous by the book and movie, The Perfect Storm.  My destination, however, was out at the eastern end of the Cape, the less busy village of Rockport, an art colony and a home for lobster fisherman, surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean, and loaded with charm.  We discovered it a good many years ago when I was stationed in my navy days at Quonset Point, RI, from which we frequently explored New England.

The name is derived from its 19th century granite trade, and the harbors and beaches confirm that stony life.  Beginning in the mid-1800s, however, it morphed into more of an art colony planted amongst large estates and summer homes.  The winding, hilly roads, the New England architecture, the flower gardens and the spectacular views are irresistible.  It is certainly a Norman Rockwell kind of place.  Here is one of the granite sea-walled harbors from which lobster fisherman go forth daily. (Note to colleagues:  this is a five vertical image pano.)

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The harbor is best known, however, for this 1840 fishing shack which came to be known as Motif #1, said to be the most painted building in America. It was considered such an important element for the town’s commerce that when it was blown down in a winter blizzard in 1978 the town rebuilt it as it had been.

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The focal point of tourist activity is a section called Bearskin Neck.  This is a 0.2 mile long peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic from the largely residential area.  It’s lined with art galleries, artist’s studios, gift shops, clothing from T-shirts to up-scale, and eating places including Roy Moore’s lobster store.  Pick one out and they’ll cook it on the spot and you can eat it overlooking the harbor.  Here’s a view early in the morning before the tourists arrived.  Turning left, there is a short walk to the tip on the Atlantic.  There is also a splendid premier restaurant out there, My Place By The Sea, which I’ve enjoyed over the years, and did again while overlooking the harbor and the sea.

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The back street behind the stores to the right includes a row of charming one-time fishermen’s cottages.

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Along the way, one of the more colorful spots is the kayak rental business.  I photographed this scene fifteen years ago and there were two dozen boats there.  I gather that the business has done well.

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 A charming doorway invites us in to the store but, notably, it’s the rear entrance from a back street reserved for residents’ parking.  One sees the flowers everywhere!

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But, it was to the harbor that I returned many times from sunrise to sunset.  This scene is from the T-wharf looking out to the harbor entrance, an area that seems to be reserved for pleasure craft rather than lobstermen.  Here, in the words of Parish Kohanim who spoke to us at the Rehoboth Beach seminar last spring, I sought “to offer an expanded awareness of the beauty in the world around us.”  I tried to do that as well in the images that are shown in the related gallery (see below).

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I recently purchased a Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens.  This is designed to yield soft, ethereal images with only a small center section in somewhat sharper focus.  As I have said elsewhere, we spend shocking sums to acquire high quality sensors and lenses and then we spend more money to soften things just a little bit.

The result, for me, was dramatic.  Again, I thought of another of Kohanim’s admonitions: “Seek to transform the mundane into the extraordinary.”  Here, a lobsterman slowly moves out of the harbor for his day’s work.  Two accompanying seagulls can be faintly seen.  The image is suggestive of watercolorist James Sessions whose work included scenes of nearby Gloucester’s fishermen. We purchased two of his prints in our first year of marriage and one still hangs in my shore house.

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Finally, even the night offers magic.  I was blessed to be visiting  during the recent blue moon.  The first night of it was a washout because of cloud cover.  The second night — my last at Rockport — was a fulfilling event as were all of my harbor visits.

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On one of our visits over the years I was in a funk over career issues.  I fantasized about dropping out and getting a little shop on Bearskin Neck in which I would make and sell driftwood lamps.  Fortunately (I guess) it never happened.  However, it’s never too late.  If you visit Rockport please look me up.  I’ll be wondering up and down the Neck taking souvenir family portraits.

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 There is a gallery of more images of Rockport from this trip.  To visit it, click here.

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