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Boston And… Beyond! November 7, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I had a chance to get to Boston today to visit my younger daughter Ursula, who is in her last year at Boston University.

She’s a sweetie, and I enjoyed her company immensely as we drove around Boston on our way to a nice Indian lunch.  I’m not a “city guy,” but I absolutely love Boston, as does Ursi – it’s a relatively intimate mix of the Very Old and the Very New:

Tree-lined boulevards surround an array of sky-scrapers, making walk-abouts feel cozy, while an abundance of waterways soften and enliven a cityscape punctuated by copper-trimmed tenements and brownstones:

Ursi would be happy to live there after college, and her ongoing gig at the Boston Globe seems like a pretty good foot in the door.

Our lunch was scrumptious and surprisingly affordable for city fare – $16 for the two of us, with take-home to boot!  Ursi was pleased:

It all ended too soon, as Ursi had schoolwork to dive into, and I had designs on photographing the coast before the sun got too far gone.

After dropping her back at her apartment I headed north, more or less.  But there are virtually no straight streets in Boston, and as I should have learned from many other such seat-of-the-pants navigational extravaganzas, “more or less” is a low-percentage move in Beantown, invariably devolving into a tour of curving cowpaths and (I kid you not) one-way cul-de-sacs.

Don’t ask.  Even if I could explain, it wouldn’t help.

Eventually I found my way to Rte. 93 North, then 95 East to Gloucester on the North Shore.  I’d hoped to get there in time to scope out the harbor for photo ops and find some lovely patch of publicly accessible and quintessentially rocky Atlantic coastline, but by the time I finally spied the ocean it was nearly five thirty, when the happy coincidence of low tide and sunset was slated.

I asked a gentleman walking his dogs if there was a legal place to access the shore (it’s largely private, and wandering through the grounds of these old-money mansions is looked upon unkindly.)  To my relief he pointed me to a spot “just around the corner,” two lefts and park on the right.  Simple enough, I thought, thanking him and heading off.

Ten minutes later I hadn’t seen the side-street he’d named, and took a chance on a turn which looked only vaguely promising, and came upon a secluded beach from which the last stalwart souls were just departing.

I jumped out nearly at a roll, doffed my jeans and slipped into a pair of hip waders, then grabbed my camera bags and literally ran down into the briny shallows, mentally calculating swing angles as I plopped Elliot down in the soft mud of low tide.  I muttered something uncivil about the low light as I fought with the finicky focus of the tilt-shift world, then escalated to genuine obscenities as my camera battery went dead.  Fortunately I had a spare in my pack and, casting caution aside, I threw the whole bag down in the draining sand and rummaged frantically through it, scoring and making the switch with speed engendered by desperation.

Then, with the light rapidly fading, I got a few quick shots off, hoping without conviction that the focus would be fair and that my hand-holding of up to three graduated filters at a time would produce the fabled Desired Result.

I was pleasantly surprised with my haul, which isn’t as crisp as it might have been with more time, but it is what it is.

Low Tide under a Black Sky:

I got some sky color reflected in the sand by ditching the polarizer at the last minute.

The wind was picking up and the waves seemed to be intensifying as a patch of clouds burst into Heavenly hues of pink:

Over my shoulder a light show was developing behind a spit of pink granite; I grabbed everything and dashed farther down the beach to catch it:

It was intense but brief, fading in minutes to mere placid loveliness:

Then it was just about light enough to pack up and head home, hoping I’d have something to show for it.

I’m not displeased, considering the rush-job and frantic antics of the evening.

And so ended a great day of friendship and photography, two of my favorite things!



1. clairz - November 7, 2010

Lovely post in every way–family, Boston, dashing about, focusing under pressure, gorgeous skies. Thanks for taking us along.

2. jomegat - November 7, 2010

All I can say is “Wow!” I have a hard time getting shots like that second-to-the-last one when I’m /not/ in a hurry. Bravo!

3. sherry - November 8, 2010

very cool and the next to the last picture is amazing!!!
your daughter is always cute!

4. littlebangtheory - November 8, 2010

Thanks, All.

Yeah, Sherry, she’s a little gem, she is!

5. susan - November 8, 2010

Yow all the way down. I love Boston and really wish I’d been able to live there for a while – a long while. I do remember the cow path streets as well and once trying to get to the Children’s Museum but always passing it without being able to exit the highway. I guess the Dig replaced a lot of that.

I wish Ursi the very best with being able to stay there and continue working for the Globe.

6. eileen - November 8, 2010

Boston was a great place to live. My husband and I lived there from 79 to 86. We left because everything in sight was going condo – we looked at a garage that was officially a condo for $90k in 1986. Man, we should have scooped that up. Dang!

I love all your pictures. They are beautiful. My brother got to live in Western Mass for 5 years and still wishes he was there.

7. littlebangtheory - November 9, 2010

Thanks, Susan. The Big Dig eased congestion a bit, but “You [still ] can’t get theyah from heyah!”

Eileen, welcome – how great is hindsight, eh? And tell your brother to c’mon back, the door’s open!

8. UM - November 13, 2010

Love this whole post! Thank you. The work you did on the shore came out incredible (understatement). You certainly didn’t let on to the extent of your success when we spoke via phone.

Suffice it to say I want a full-blown poster for my living room of the second-to-last shot. Also enjoying your colorful building. 🙂

Thanks for the best day I’ve had in a long time.

9. littlebangtheory - November 14, 2010

You’re welcome. I had a GREAT day as well!

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