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One More From The Shore! November 28, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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This is the last of the North Shore photos, I promise.  I think.  Until next time.

I mean, until I either

a) get back there or

b) find more shots worth sharing.

Here’s a random stray one taken near Portland Head Light:

I kinda liked the geometry of that one and didn’t want to lose track of it before I shared it with someone.

An earlier visit to Bray’s Beach, south of Gloucester in the Magnolia area, found high surfs pounding an otherwise placid beach:

The locals were taking it in stride, whether reading on beach chairs while swaddled in blankets, or practicing yoga between snorkeling adventures:

Lizz and I got to Rafe’s Chasm this past weekend.  It’s a (relatively) spectacular little slot in the Massachusetts shoreline, a 60-foot cleft in the trademark golden granite characteristic of this part of the coast:

The right side in this photo is accessible, the left is posted as Private Property.  I didn’t go there, but I resented the convention that The Filthy Rich (hereafter referred to as The FFR, you can fill in the blanks) get to “own” such magical pieces of OUR coastline.

Just sayin’.

Oh, and across the head of this great crevice, a couple of feet to my left as I took that shot, there was a very nice steel fence, not some eyesore, but a piece of art built exactly for its circumstances.  It pained me to give credence to the claim of ownership, but as I wasn’t alone and didn’t want my impetuosity to adversely affect others, I was a good boy and went no farther.

From below Rafe’s is like a piece of the Southwest dropped on the New England coast:

The fence blocking passage is just below that fancy stone gazebo at the top, which comes complete with a video surveillance camera, in case one forgets whose Earth this is.

Down by the water there was barely a sign of civilization, thanks to the convoluted shoreline – the expensive homes weren’t far off, they just weren’t visible.

And again it looked like the desert Southwest to me, set incongruously against a deep blue sea:

Not exactly my stereotypical vision of southern New England, but there it was.

I was hoping to have found a place to photograph a full moonrise with a lighthouse in the shot, but wasn’t sure I was far enough south on the coast to do that.  Turns out I wasn’t, and a band of clouds obscured the actual moonrise anyway so that it wasn’t visible at all until it had long since cleared the horizon:

I was disappointed not to have gotten to use Gizmo on the lighthouse shot,  but glad to have spent the wait-time a Rafe’s Chasm rather than somewhere else.

On the way out I took this shot at Lizz’s suggestion:

Good eye, that woman!

I’ll end this sea-tryst with a sunset shot from my first Eastward foray to this spot, looking south toward Boston:

That was a great evening of power and magic, and I’m happy to be able to share it with you.

Peace from The Coast,


Light Houses. November 27, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Here are a few shots from North of Boston.

Portland Head Light:

…with rose briers:

…with rose hips!

Out to sea, another light stood on a wave-ravaged rock:

It all seemed pretty exotic to this hill-town guy.

Farther south, we stopped at Gloucester to check out their harbor light.  It was cool:

Lizz found some interesting rocks to photograph:

It seemed very much like someplace other than Massachusetts.

Then we headed south to try to catch a moonrise – more on that next time.

Till then, G’night.

At The Coast. November 17, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I spent last Saturday on Boston’s North Shore, in the general vicinity of Gloucester.  It’s a beautiful piece of the planet, juxtaposing the pink granite seaside escarpments more commonly associated with the Maine coast with the population pressures inherent in a locale within easy driving of one of the Northeast’s great cities.  The result is a blend of the power of nature and the control of polite society, with expensive homes commanding ocean views which, truth be told, ought to be there for us all:

The “No Trespassing” signs frankly fried me, and I thought of the 70’s pop song “Signs,” wherein this sort of economic privilege is challenged by a populist sense of fairness.

Still, the coast had serious photographic possibilities for a hilltown boy, and I snapped away, tilting lenses and shifting perspectives in an effort to milk the learning curve:

Grasslands give way to seaside granite under a waxing gibbous moon.

There was a storm out to sea, and the waves generated by it were substantial:

I noted many locals lined up along the seaside drive to enjoy the show, and deduced that it wasn’t an average evening of sound and waves.

And they were right – it was an “event.”  The incoming tide pushed waves up and over this twenty-foot chunk of sea-stained granite:

I got thoroughly soaked as this wave crested its puny granitic constraint and crashed down on my perch:

Yeah, I ran like a baby-child as the salt water doused my kit, and may have lost a few minor appendages to my photographic quest.

Anyway, this coming weekend will host an intersection of full moon and lighthouses and low tide, which I have an unpopular affinity for, so expect to see some of that as the weekend comes and goes.

Boston And… Beyond! November 7, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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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!