52 Week Challenge: Week 28

WEEK 28: Portrait: Family – Whether it’s the family you are born with or the one you choose, show the world what family is to you.

This was always going to be a difficult portrait given my family’s general dislike of being photographed. However, our recent trip to New England afforded me a genuine opportunity for the dreaded “family portrait.” I ran off a quick set of shots but I love the informal nature of the very first one I took, outside The Verb hotel, as we were planning to leave.



It’s Wicked Good Fun

We were walking through Boston’s Chinatown district this afternoon and saw this happy group of locals playing a very animated card game near the paifang (gate). As it says on the back of one of the player’s shirts – it’s wicked good fun!



52 Week Challenge: Week 20

WEEK 20: Landscape: Nightowl – A tripod is going to be handy this week… time to shoot a night landscape. Look for some light for the scene! Car lights, city lights, or maybe just moonlight.

I finally got around to this challenge several weeks later than I had planned and, as is often the case, it was a spur of the moment shoot last night. We were staying in the heart of the historic town of Salem, Massachusetts and opposite the hotel was a wonderful outdoor sculpture made of beech twigs called “Stickwork” by Patrick Dougherty. This is a spectacular organic artwork in the form of a set of two storey high “houses”. They are very eerie looking, and seem to be wailing at the world, in my opinion; a fitting comment on their location in the heart of the infamous witch trials of 1692. I took several photographs but it was when we were on a walking night tour of the city that I thought this would make an interesting “nightowl” (or even night howl) image. 




In flight capture

On a recent road trip to New England we stopped off at New Haven, Connecticut and stretched our legs at a small Nature Reserve. The early evening light was wonderful and we were fortunate to see one adult egret and a couple of young ones too. I was very lucky to get a single shot of the adult as it took off and flew low over the marshland. A very elegant bird and I am pleased with the clarity of this shot hastily taken at full zoom.



52 Week Challenge: Week 27

WEEK 27: Artistic: Blue – You were inspired by the fiery red earlier, now be inspired by calming blue.

Any fans of Black Adder may recall the famous alchemy scene in which Lord Percy creates his vision or “gold” but is soon brought down to Earth by Black Adder. Well, fellow readers, as tribute I present to you a “’nugget’ of finest blue.” 🙂



Then and Now: Tower Bridge and The Tower of London

As I am wont to do, I was browsing the Library Of Congress’ collection of old photographs yesterday when I stumbled across a great panoramic image of Tower Bridge and The Tower of London taken from Southwark in 1909. As the image is public domain I downloaded the TIFF file and spend a few hours in GIMP restoring this great shot. The great thing about restoring and retouching is that I go over the whole image “pixel-peeping” and so see lots of details such as the man in the skiff, people promenading along the north bank near Traitor’s Gate and the old signs on the warehouses at St. Katharine’s Docks, to name a few.


I thought it might be interesting to see a more contemporary view. As I cannot get to London from Pennsylvania that easily I used Google street view to come to my rescue with a fairly similar angle, just up from where HMS Belfast is berthed.


Unsurprisingly, much of this area has changed over the last century with the working dockyards for loading and unloading barges long gone as the road network and container ships took over transporting goods, and the warehouses at St. Katharine’s Docks were bombed out during the Blitz, but the two main London icons live on, and I am sure the original photographer would have marveled at the sight of Canary Wharf in the distance.


Cube World

How many more smiling faces can I stand?
It feels like I am but one more good reply from cracking
Empty how are yous and automatic responses
meant to make us feel like we are actually conversing,
even though we don’t say anything.
So few people want to really listen you wonder why they bother to ask!
Not dialogue as that requires two people to socialize.
Many don’t slow in their rush to their daily sanctuary:
a prefabricated box,
bedecked with charms and ephemera from an outside life;
a pretend personal space,
a nest in which to hide away.
How ironic it’s called a cube,
even though the fourth side is composed of a shirt back, not a wall.



Pastel painting and Dogs

A hot and very humid day today, with thunderstorms that set off the dogs. Why is it that they think that barking at the sky can have any effect on the noise? Then again there seems to be plenty of barking mad people around these days so maybe they’re not so different from many others…

Anyway, it was not a great day to be outside so, thanks to the wonders of modern air conditioning and our portable dehumidifier, we were able to finish some painting inside. Pastel colors which should brighten up the place and, I have since found out, represent the tricolor flag of Newfoundland and Labrador – two Canadian provinces which also happen to be breeds of dog. How’s that for a hastily put together circular ramble…?

Pink, White and Green stirrers with the “church door key” to open the cans


How Does Your Garden Grow?

A late blog entry today as I was busy in the garden (or “yard” as my colleagues insist on calling it!). This year I finally got my act together, built up a few more raised beds, filled them with topsoil, compost and a little vermiculite and then, most importantly, added an leaky hose irrigation system.

So far, I am pleased with the results. We are on our third crop of broccoli florets, having realized that just removing them causes the plants to produce more; our potatoes, squash and cabbages are doing well; and our tomatoes are starting to plump out. The fruit on the raspberry canes and blackberry bushes we planted two years ago are starting to ripen and even the asparagus bed has taken off, although that will be a long term project! The only thing that has been a disappointment is our strawberries, which we cannot seem to get to thrive 😦

I am looking forward to getting outside in the cooler morning weather tomorrow to harvest some of this bounty before the temperatures hit the mid 90s °F again (~ 35°C) but I did manage to wander the estate (!) and get some pictures to remind me how fortunate we have been.



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