….. AND THE LIVIN’ IS EASY.

I’ve been in one of my occasional photo-funks … uninspired about what to photograph … weary of shooting the same old scenes … and feeling it particularly in my summer life at the shore.  Do I really want to shoot another sunset or that old jetty in the surf?

And then —- then something crosses my vision and I go for it and the result excites me.  I should re-read my own 2013 essay on this subject (A Photography Phunk) and get my head straight.

Well, anyway, how’s this?

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It is summertime, and the livin’ is easy, and we won’t be seeing scenes like this in January (at least until I get back to Sanibel).  So, here are some more.

This was late afternoon and I wondered if the light being reflected from the bay would illuminate the chimney of the lantern.  As I brought the camera to my eye I hollered “Cue boat” and along it came.  I’m pleased with the image; the light in the lantern made the point, and I also like the coil of rope whose loose arrangement offsets the more formal nature of the image.  Artist’s Confession:  With the Spot Healing Brush I removed the Greenhead Fly that was on the chimney (well, it is summertime).

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Here’s another successful “Cue boat” scene.  Yeah, another sunset but I couldn’t resist the alignment and leading line.

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At the beach the beach roses (Rosa Rugosa) are still producing blooms and a sweet, subtle fragrance.  With early morning dew my camera quivers as it focuses on to them.

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On the beach a couple of weeks ago I managed to enjoy my first beach nap of the season.  This entails a process:  bringing together a mound of sand for a pillow; then spreading out my towel over all; and then lying down and wriggling a bit until the sand bumps beneath are smoothed out.  Shortly after that I’m gone.  Here’s the way I described it in a summer post a few years ago:

The waves a sibilant roar.

The soft wind, a balm.

The warm sand, bumpy

But accepting.

Sleep comes.

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Back in reality I recently came across this deserted hull … derelict but surrounded by a funeral spray of Queen Anne’s Lace.  In a few months it may still be surrounded in white, probably snow.  R.I.P.

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Here on Long Beach Island I don’t get to see the owls or Atlantic Puffins of Ray Yeager, or the hummingbirds of Susan Chilkotowsky-Kain.  I’m pretty much stuck with these guys so I have to depend on the scenery around them.  Well, the scene says summer.

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Finally, here’s one to sleep on.  A perfect conclusion for the other end of the day.

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Thanks for visiting.  I feel another nap coming on but I’ll be back.

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BACK TO SUMMER

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Comes June and my digital darkroom heads to the beach.  It isn’t easy, especially at my age (about 34 but, yeah, that’s just from the brain up).  It’s not like getting ready for a shore weekend; it’s packing for two to three months.  There are a couple of soft-goods trips but on the BIG day, the day of the groceries and frig contents, of 32 house plants, of  three printers and the spare inks and 15 varieties/sizes of print paper and the monitor and the tower and the Bose speakers and the wireless keyboard and mouse and the backup drives and all those cables and tiny power supplies (now which one goes where?) and the laptop, and………………

The BIG day is when my daughter, Sigrid, shows up with her GMC and loads up alllllllll that stuff and a couple suitcases, too.   And after she’s loaded the Jimmy she pulls out the two meat loafs she made for me and has time to fluff up the pillows in the town house before we leave.  Then she hauls all my stuff down Route 72 to the island and up to my suite.  Sweet.

Then, I have to find that button that causes everything to put itself away.  Right.

But I digress.  For such a major grunt, why do it?  In part so that I can see and capture the beauty and drama of scenes like the opening image.  It is soul-cleansing.

As my artist friend, Marilyn Flagler, once said “Living near the ocean means continual washing off of the sometimes grimy dust of living.”

~≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡~

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But they’re not all dramatic mornings, are they?  While I was preparing this post there was a foggy morning. My friend, Fog,  always creates a mood of mystery and this morning was on script.

All sound is softened.  It’s still … and moody.  Yes, follow this marker and the posts to …. to where?

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The stillness of sound and light, however, can also reveal other scenes as in this still life.

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On the beach there’s a parade of marching dune grass, added to help stabilize the new, giant dunes.

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Back at my house the fog had left droplets on my Rambler Roses.  The roses and I both liked that.

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As the day moved on the fog lifted to the point where I began to think about a sunset image.  In the event, however, the clouds proved more interesting than the sunset.

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“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.”
–Richard Bach, Johnathan Livingston Seagull

~≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡≡~

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All but one of these captures were made in the past few days.  I’ve posted , however, on the 21st, the day on which summer began at 12:24 AM.  Glad to see it.

But, there’s always a slight concern for me. It means that the days will now start being a little shorter; a second or so today, three tomorrow…..

Does that mean I have to pack up and go back home already?

 

 

SEPTEMBER SONG

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Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December
But the days grow short when you reach September
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
And I haven’t got time for the waiting game.

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I get it … I get it.   Summer’s slipping away.  Fall is flexing its muscles.

The juvenile gulls are screeing for Mom to feed them, wondering what happened to the dole.

Each evening the sun slowly sneaks a little bit further south.  I’m watching you, sun, and I know where you’re going;  I’ll catch up with you again in January at Sanibel.  Meanwhile, the mornings can be hoody but the days are still hot to balmy.  The last-of-the-season vacationers have gone from the Bagel Shack every morning.  The Shack also put up plastic curtains around its outside eating area to ward off the early morning chill.

There are pumpkins and potted chrysanthemums at the Acme.

After the reds of sunrise the early morning photons are mostly yellow.  They paint the marshes, enhancing the glow the grasses have worked all summer to achieve.

The old Great Blue Heron basks in the copse on nearby Mordecai Island. I look at him thru the binoculars and see him looking back at me. He’s got the early morning sun; I’ve got the coffee; neither would trade.

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Nor would I trade for the summer experience.

From a post four years ago:

“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon …. the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

Henry James.

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With family and friends it was a good summer.  Here are some memories:

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The annual Twilight Sail – one of the best events of the summer.

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Even on cloudy days the beach is still a place to be.

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Storms are part of summer, indeed, of life, and they bring their own drama and stark beauty.

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In mid-August part of the A-cat fleet arrived for the Downbay Regatta weekend.  Always exciting, and seven of them this year.

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Summer brings fog as well, drawing me to …. where?

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One day, friends arrived for lunch!?!

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Our captain, Jenn, for the twilight sail.

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Nobody to protect.

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On Labor Day afternoon the guards went off duty at the usual 5:00PM.  As they climbed the dune to leave the beach they turned, blew a long whistle and waved goodbye.  Those still holding tightly onto the sand and summer waved back.  I’m told this is customary in order to warn all that the beach protection was off duty.  On this day, however, marking the season’s end for the guards as well, it was poignant.

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The day after summer.

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Shucks, I guess the season’s over.

I closed with this image a couple of years ago.  I’m reusing it because it’s perfect for the mood.*

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*There’s also a techy note about using Nik’s Tonal Contrast on this image  The note is on one of the tabs at the top of this post.

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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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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.

DID ANYBODY SEE WHICH WAY JULY WENT?

July and I had been getting along pretty well.  Oh I know there were the occasional thunder storms and a couple days of fog and some stinky hot days.  But all in all we had a lot of good days together.  I don’t know what I said or did that upset things.  I thought we had pretty well bonded.  Then the next thing I know, July snuck out of town late last night without saying goodbye to anyone.  Oh, well, I’m told it’ll be back next year.  Meanwhile it left some pleasant memories.

The last fishing pier piling.

In my ten years in Beach Haven there have always been three pilings here on the beach, left over from the 1896 fishing pier that was destroyed in the 1944 hurricane.  They were a nice setting around which to photograph family groups.  We just have to photograph smaller families now.

Interclub Races

Last week, kids from other sailing clubs on the island gathered at our club for interclub competitions.  Boats included Optis, Lasers, 420’s and a scattering of sunfish.  Talk about herding cats.

Elvis summers at Beach Haven

The weekend before we had a party on the dock to raise funds for the preservation of nearby Mordecai Island which protects about a third of Beach Haven.  Elvis showed up  to entertain the crowd, and he did a good job.

Sailing behind Mordecai Island.

 A typical July twilight blessing. 

I’ll miss July.

A FOG FIX

Talk about beautiful summer days and the next thing you know there’s heat and oppressive humidity and …. FOG.  I enjoy Carl Sandberg’s work (yep, a fellow Scandanavian), and particularly his short poem, Fog.

The fog creeps in on little cat feet.
It sits on silent haunches,
Looking over harbor and city,
And then moves on.

Well, that happened here last Wednesday night and into Thursday.  The fog crept in Wednesday at twilight.

It was wet and thick and ripply.

But there was a dedicated fisherman, shrouded against the extreme damp.  (Charon on vacation?)

 

The next morning wasn’t much of an improvement.  I don’t think we’re sailing this morning.

 

The beach was a little worse.  How’s this for a vacation day morning?  Is there a movie we can go to?

 

Want to take a beach walk?  Just don’t stray off the trail.

 

And just to finish off with some color here’s a white (alba) Rosa Rugosa or beach rose or Nantucket rose.

Click here for some more images from the evening and the morning.

SOME SUMMER SCENES

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“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon …. the two most beautiful words in the English language.” 

Henry James, 1843-1916

Of course it’s a wonderful time and  I know that; I’m on my seventy-ninth.  I began summers growing up on the beaches of Absecon Island.  As a bonus my parents rented our Margate home to Philadelphians and we moved to a boat house on pilings on the thorofare in Ventnor.  I spent hot and hazy summer days catching minnows to sell to fishermen for twenty-five cents a dozen.

Yes, warm breezes on hot sand; the sound of waves breaking, lulling one to sleep; the cries of the gulls; and maybe even a gin and tonic with sunset.  But for a photographer there is a paucity of pixel possibilities.  The soporific days make me reluctant to take up the camera and click a shutter.  Pearl’s got it right.

Please, I’m napping.

The scenes of a summer afternoon abound, enjoyable just watching others enjoy them.

The clouds in the above scene reminded me of  N.C. Wyeth’s beach giant, pictured below, a favorite of mine since my friends, Buz and Dave, gave us a print years ago.  For me it evokes memories of  childhood on the beach and fantasies in the clouds.  Wyeth painted the scene here in my summer hometown, Beach Haven, in 1923 and the original hangs at the Westtown School for whose class of 1910 Wyeth created the painting.  The five children on the right are N.C.’s children, including the blond headed Andrew.  The child on the left is thought to be William Engle, a close friend of Wyeth’s who tragically succumbed to tuberculosis as a young man.  Engle’s uncle, Robert, built the long-gone Engleside Hotel in Beach Haven in 1876, and young William worked there several summers.

I’m frequently struck by the gathering of flip-flops, left here as their owners walk on to the beach.  I’ve always felt sorry for the flip-flops never actually getting onto the beach.  The occurrence of single “flops” is also interesting.

Make sure you pick out your own pair.

If they did make it to the beach here’s what they’d get to enjoy.

A flag-snapping afternoon.

GARDENING PAYOFF

In my May 31st entry I groused about the work getting the flower beds in shape.  Well, it’s starting to pay off.

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 The Knockout Roses have been prolific and there are buds for the next wave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The tomatos are developing and there are lots of flowers for a continuing supply.  Soon, Jersey Tomato and cheese sandwiches, and Barbara’s fried tomatos with milk gravy.

 

 

 

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Gaillardia always makes me think of warm summer days at the shore.  These that I planted a few years ago have also migrated into my neighbor’s garden.