Waterway/Lightway/Greenway (Boston, MA)

Date Of Event: October 17, 2019 (postponed from October 10, 2019)

Location: Milk St, Rings Fountain at Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, Boston, MA

Summary: Lights illuminated the Greenway while 30 people danced along the Greenway and along the fountains.

Website: Waterway/Lightway/Greenway

Lights, camera, dancers!

As part of the 10 year anniversary of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, the workers at the Greenway Conservancy planned a very colorful event.   Thirty dancers frolicked along the Greenway while seven different colored lights illuminated the fountains.  New lights were installed specially for this celebration.

The event began with a pretty water display.  Normally, the lights at the Greenway are white.  But, for the first time, colored lights were installed at the Greenway for this special event.  This event was held twice earlier in October.  But those events weer held during the daytime without colored lights.  I thought a night time display would be much more interesting.

After a few words from the creator of the event, Peter DiMuro of Public Displays Of Motion, there was a pretty fountain display.

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Interpretive dancers began moving along the grassy greenway.

The highlight (no pun intended) of the event, was when the dancers made it to the brightly colored fountains.

The dancers, aged 14 to 75, were equipped with umbrellas while they danced along the fountains.  They creatively used the umbrellas and light to make some very pretty colors.

There’s no word on whether the Greenway will conduct another display like this.  But, if they do I will be there, umbrella in hand.

This one was particularly challenging to photograph.  I used a higher than usual ISO (between 300 and 1,000) with a fast shutter speed (500 and higher) to capture the water as it shot up in the air and the dancers.  While I did have a flash I used it sparingly.  For one, I think the flash was frowned upon giving the fact the darkness mixed with the light from the fountains made the event so pretty.  I also think it wasn’t necessary, especially since I could use PhotoShop to bring out the colors.  I was also able to hide mistakes by utilizing the darkness ( :

Shoots like this are hard since you want to use a fast shutter speed to capture motion, yet you often want to use a slower shutter speed in low light situations.  So, I compensated with a higher than usual ISO to capture as much light as possibly.  While it varied throughout the shoot, I generally used a lower F stop (around 4.0).


2021 Salem Zombie Walk (Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: October 2, 2021 (held annually the first weekend of October)

Location: Salem, MA (about 45 mins northeast of Boston, MA and 1 hour southeast of Concord, NH)

Summary: An assortment of zombies, mad scientists and other costumed revelers roamed the streets of Salem, MA in the annual Salem Zombie Walk

The annual Salem Zombie Walk in Salem, MA, has quickly become one of the most popular events in October.

There were young zombies, which are both the creepiest and cutest for me to see!

Zombie families (one of my favorites)

A zombie dog

and whatever this lady is holding

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Although the event is called the “zombie walk”, there weren’t just zombies at the event. There were werewolves and mad doctors among other spooky characters

The zombies began their walk at Salem Commons in Washington Square. They continued throughout the heart of downtown Salem, shrieking, gyrating and moaning the entire way.

It’s always nice to see familiar, friendly faces at these events. Throughout the years, I have attended and posted blogs about the past few zombie walks and I often see familiar faces there. This zombie is a regular at the yearly events and he always has a monster with him. I hope to see him and all the other zombies next year!


2021 Westfield Fair (Westfield, MA)

Dates Of Event: August 20-22, 2021

Location: Westfield Fairgrounds, 137 Russellville Road, Westfield, MA

Cost:

General Admission: $8.00
Seniors: $6.00
Children under 12 FREE with a paid adult admission

$2 per car for parking

Parking: There is ample parking available on the fairgrounds

Pet Friendly: No except for service pets

Universally Accessible: Yes

Website: http://www.thewestfieldfair.com/

Summary: A fun filled family friendly event in Westfield, MA

It may seem like summer is winding down. But don’t tell that to the visitors at the Westfield Fair.

Thousands of people from the Northeast flocked to the 93rd Westfield Fair last weekend which featured a variety of fun events and activities for the entire family.

One of the more popular events at the fair is the Junior Dairy show where a group of young ranchers got to show off their cattle handling skills.

Some cattle needed more encouragement to comply.

I was impressed at how the kids managed to handle such large animals with relative ease.

Another one of the more popular attractions at the fair is the animal petting barn. For one dollar, visitors can feed the seeminlgy always hungry goats, pony and other animals.

Although the truck pull and demolition derby are popular events, the kids also get to show off their driving skills at the Kids Power Wheel Race.

There were also a variety of events and activities for children including face painting

And a beauty pageant

There was also a play area, motorized ride on toys and fun activities for the little ones.

It was good to see people having fun in such a fun, wholesome event, especially since the event had been canceled last year. But, it didn’t go off without a hitch, unfortunately.

Usually, the fair runs from Friday through Sunday. But, the festivities for Sunday were cancelled due to Hurricane Henri.


Sunrise In The Sunflowers (Coppal House Farm, Lee, NH)

Date Of Event: August 6, 2021 (the annual event is usually held the first Sunday in August)

Location: Coppal House Farm, 118 N. River Rd (rt 155) Lee, NH (about 45 mins southeast of Concord, NH, or one and a half hours northeast of Boston, MA)

Cost: The prices vary depending on when you go and your age. Prices can be found at the link below

https://www.nhsunflower.com/sunflower-festival-info

Parking There was lawn parking for about a couple hundred cars

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: No this was not a dog friendly event

Website: https://www.nhcornmaze.com/

Summary: Coppal House Farm hosted their 7th annual Sunrise In The Sunflowers Festival

Summer, sunrises and sunflower. Who could possibly ask for more?

On August 1, he Coppal House Farm turned their farm into a sunflower paradise.

I arrived at Coppal House Farm bright and early for the “Sunrise In The Sunflowers” event which is particularly popular with photographers of all skill levels. I was surprised to see such a healthy crowd at 5:30 am. As the name of the event would suggest, the sunflowers really do pop with the rays of sun beaming on them. Initially, I was shocked to see the sunflowers were not facing the view of the sunrise. But, then it made complete sense as the sunbeams really hit the flowers and brought out their beauty. This time of day (the golden hour) is the optimal and, in my opinion, only time to photograph these flowers (except for possibly sunset).

I didn’t realize there were other types of sunflowers besides the yellow sunflowers that are so prominent.

There were also several props and decor for people to pose near for portrait shoots.

But there weren’t just sunflowers at the house farm.

There were a variety of different flowers at the farm.

There were also a few spooky trees at the event.

If you do visit Coppal House Farm don’t forget to buy a sunflower to take home or view the animals at the farm.


21st Annual Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting Classic (Hampton Beach, Hampton, NH)

Dates Of Event: June 17 -19, 2021

Location: Hampton Beach, 115 Ocean Blvd, Hampton, NH

Hours: The beach is accessible daily from dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: Hampton Beach offers a variety of parking options.  If you’re lucky enough to get a parking spot in the main parking area it is $2 an hour during the summer.  There are also additional lots that range from 5 to 20 dollars for the day depending on when you arrive.  See link for additional parking info: Parking Info

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes but dogs are not allowed on the beach during the summer

Website: https://hamptonbeach.org/event-listing/21st-annual-hampton-beach-sand-sculpting-classic/

Highlights: sand sculptures

Summary: Ten artists converged upon Hampton Beach to sculpt pieces of work.

Nothing says summer like long days of sunlight, road trips and, of course, sand sculptures. And as proof of this, Hampton Beach has ushered in the season with their 21st annual sand sculpting classic.

Ten sculptors from all the world put their talents to work at the sculpting competition. But, before the contest began the competitors collaborated to build the 100 ton main sponsor site sculpture. The sculpture pays tribute to the New Hampshire Marine Memorial statue which is located at the beach, the lifeguards who help to keep the beach safe and the sea life of the area.

The competition began on Jun 17 and ended on the 19th. Two hundred tons of sand are used for the sculptures and each competitor was given a plot size of 18×18 to complete their work on.

Although I haven’t been able to attend the actual sand sculpting competition the past few years, I do make sure to visit the day after the competition to photograph the sculptures in their pristine state. Even though I arrived at sunrise, there was already a healthy crowd at the beach and it was hard to get some photos with people in the background. But by using some creative angles and with some patience I was able to get most of the photos without any beachgoers in them.

After hours of grueling work, the winners were announced June 19th.

The winning sculpture “Empty” was sculpted by Abe Waterman of Prince Edward Island, Canada. Abe said he came up with the idea for this sculpture about a year and a half ago after his separation from his wife.

Second place was awarded to Melineige Beauregard of Montreal, Canada for “Rebirth Of Phoenix.” Melineige won the first place award last year.

Karen Fralich of Toronto Canada snagged third place with he sculpture, “Poker Face.”

And fourth place was awarded to Thomas Koet of Satellite Beach, Florida, for his sculpture, “Multiple Piercings.” Thomas also won the “People’s Choice Award” for his 2020 sculpture.

Chris Guinto of Key West, Florida, won the “Sculptor’s Choice Award” for his “Continuum” sculpture.

I don’t envy the judges who had to decide on the winning sculptures. They were all so well done.

The remaining sculptures are, in no particular order,

“Behind Every Successful Man There is a Strong Woman” by John Gowdy of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

“Pulled” by Carl D. Jara from Lyndhurst, Ohio

“Once Bitten” by Greg Grady of Derry, New Hampshire.

“Laugh” by Dan Belcher of Saint Louis, Missouri.

“Miss You, My Friend” by Justin Gordon of Groveland, Massachusetts. For some reason this one touched a chord with me.

Wally and the Plymouth Rock assurance mascot were also part of the sand sculpture celebration.

There was also a sand sculpture dedicated to retired police officer Jack Donaldson who passed away earlier this year from cancer. Jack worked both as a teacher and as a part time officer for 50 years.

The sand sculptures are lit up at night and they are removed after a week or two. So they may no longer be there. At least not until next year!


Summer Still Life With Lobster And Fern (Dewey Square, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: May 23, 2021

Location: Dewey Square, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Atlantic St, Boston, MA

Hours: The mural is accessible all day but the official park hours on the Greenway are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Cost: Free

Parking: there is some metered parking spots (metered parking is free on Sundays in the city) and several parking garages in the area

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: https://www.rosekennedygreenway.org/danielgordon

Highlights: Mural created by Daniel Gordon

As you inch back to a re-opening, a sure sign that normalcy is a new mural on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. And what better way to celebrate a rebirth and promise than flowers, lobster, watermelon and other staples of spring and summer in New England!

The painting by Daniel Gordon, a Boston native who grew up in San Francisco, CA, and now resides in Brooklyn, NY, likes to use manipulation and distortion of imagery. In fact, if you look closely at the mural you may see hidden images among the painted objects.

In fact, everytime I look at this complex work of art I see something else.

The mural, which will be on display until May, 2022 when a new mural is expected to be painted, is located right across from the South Station train station and the Boston Federal Reserve on Atlantic St.


Daffodils At Tower Hill (Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 25, 2021

Location: Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive, Boylston, MA (about an hour northwest of Boston, MA or 1 hour north of Providence, RI)

Hours: Open Daily, 10am–5pm (Tower Hill is closed on Thanksgiving, December 24, December 25, December 31, and January 1)

Cost: (all tickets must be purchased online at their website for a specific timed entry but visitors can stay as late as they wish)

Members: FREE (must reserve ticket)
Adults: $16
Seniors (65+): $11
Youth (6-18): $6
Children 5 and under: Free (must reserve ticket)

Dogs $7 (dogs are not allowed in the Yarnstorm grounds but there are trails they are allowed on)

Parking: there are about 100 plus free parking spots

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes (dogs are not at Yarnstorm, but dogs are only allowed on the trails outside of the garden)

Summary: 40 artists knitted a variety of designs in the garden areas of Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Website: https://www.towerhillbg.org/

Every year, daffodils become the centerpiece of the gardens at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden as well as the rest of New England,. And this year was no different. According to their website, the peak time of the daffodils is the 3rs week of April until the first week of May. So, I chose the last week of April to visit.

Unfortunately, it was raining during my visit. The rain did let up a bit during my visit. But it did rain during my entire visit. And the rain did make for some pretty photo opportunities with the droplets on the flowers.

Ironically, it wasn’t the daffodils that stood out the most. It was the tulips that really caught my eye.

The decor of the gardens at Tower Hill Help to accentuate the beauty of the flowers.

Unfortunately, I could not stay long due to the rain and the difficulty taking photos while I tried to keep my camera dry. But I did my best to capture the beauty there as best I could. But daffodils will be there again next year and so will i!


Old Scituate Light (Scituate, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 10, 2021

Location: 100 Lighthouse Rd, Scituate, MA (about 40 mins southwest of Boston, MA or 1 hour northwest of Providence, RI)

Parking: There is a small parking area for about half a dozen cars and an overflow lot across the street

Hours: Open daily dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Universally Accessible: Yes, the lighthouse is universally accessible but the jetty may not be universally accessible

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: http://scituatehistoricalsociety.org/light/

Summary: Built in 1810, Old Scituate Light is the 11th lighthouse lit in Massachusetts. The lighthouse is on the registry of historic landmarks in Massachusetts and is reportedly open for tours during certain periods of time during the year (see link above for more info). A rock jetty and rocky beachhead is a popular spot for sunrise watchers and tourists. The lighthouse has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s.

New England has no shortage of lighthouses and breath taking views of seascapes. In fact, due to the plethora of beautiful destinations along the water, some destinations seem to get overlooked. Old Lighthouse in Scituate, MA, is one of these overlooked destinations.

Built in 1810 for $4,000, Old Scituate Light played an important, but little known, role in the War Of 1812. After observing two British barges approaching the Scituate harbor, Abigail and Rebecca Bates, the daughters of the original keeper of the lighthouse (Simeon Bates) hid among a cluster of cedar trees which were once prominent in the area and played their fife and drum in an attempt to ward off the would be attackers. The two girls created such a loud din the barges were said to have retreated fearing an army was preparing for their attack. Their efforts are said to have saved Scituate from being sacked as there was, in reality, no standing army ready for a British attack. The girls went on to become known as the “American Army of Two.”

The 25 foot lighthouse (70 feet above sea level) has a natural/emplaced foundation. The light is a replicated lantern and the keeper does stay in the attached home. A bell, perhaps more for decor than function, stands outside the housekeeper’s residence. The lighthouse keeper is a teacher at nearby Marshfield High School.

There is also a memorial dedicated to the grounding of the Etrusco and the rescue efforts from that accident. On March 16, 1956, the ship came aground at Cedar Point during the St. Patrick’s Day Blizzard (it is New England after all). After the grounding of the freighter, five Scituate residents (all members of Scituate’s Civil Defense Communications Team) sprang into action and, despite blizzard conditions, kept in communication with the Coast Guard, providing key details and information to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard would eventually rescue all 30 men from the grounded ship.

The surrounding grounds of the lighthouse provide for great photo opportunities.

The highlight of the lighthouse and the surrounding area is the beautiful views it offers which are especially spectacular during sunrise and sunset

As I was about to pack up and head to my next destination, I noticed this group of painted rocks with hopeful messages. Many of them seemed to have a special personal meaning. But, I think we call can derive some inspiration from their messages.

And, of course, my favorite message


Heroes Are Everywhere (Westfield, MA)

Location: corners of Taylor and Hedges Ave, Westfield, MA

Summary: Massachusetts based artists Shannon Chiba and Sarah Kinne honors the heroes of the Coronavirus pandemic with a mural in Westfield, MA that incorporates many of the places and things the area is known for.

Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. The “Heroes Are Everywhere” in Westfield, MA, pays tribute to the different heroes in our midst. And, especially if you’re from the area, you may notice many little tributes to the city.

The mural, which is painted on both sides of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail Tunnel, includes paintings of doctors,

Laborers

And everyone else lending a helping hand to others during these difficult times regardless of their age or size.

If you look closely, you may see such fixtures of western MA such as a black bear, the Whip City Whip Museum (the prominent brick building in the painting), the Great River bridges, the Westfield River and other staples of life in western MA such as blooming flowers and a birdhouse. The roof of the tunnel shows 4 F-15 jets buzzing by which is a common sight for anyone living near the Westfield based Barnes Air National Guard Base.

The tunnel where the mural is painted, which was painted in 2020 by Massachusetts based artists Shannon Chiba and Sarah Kinne, is part of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail which is a popular spot for cyclists, hikers and joggers.

Hopefully, as time passes on, there will not be a need for murals like this.


Pink Flamingos (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: March 27, 2021

Location: Boston Seaport Common, 85 Northern Ave, Boston, MA

Cost: Free

Hours: Open to the public 24 hours a day until March 30

Summary: nearly 2,000 pink flamingos have been set up at the Boston Seaport Common until March 30

Flamingos have invaded Boston.

Over 1,900 flamingos (some of them a little tipsy) have been planted at the Boston Seaport as a way to brighten up the area and make people smile. This fly by night installation, which is the work of Massachusetts-based developer WS Development, won’t last long though. The birds are expected to stay at their location at the Seaport Common through Tuesday, March 30. Then, they are migrating to the Street Chestnut Hill (MA) and Market Street Lynfield (MA) from April 1-12.

Contrary to popular opinion, these flamingos are not new to the area. In fact, these flamingos have a long history in MA. Don Featherstone designed the first flamingos for Leominster based Union Products in 1957.

They won’t be here for long! So make sure to flock to the Seaport before they fly away!


Yarnstorm (Tower Hill Botanic Hill, Boylston, MA)

Date Of Visit: March 20,2021

Location: Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive, Boylston, MA (about an hour northwest of Boston, MA or 1 hour north of Providence, RI)

Dates Of Exhibit: January 16-March 31, 2021

Hours: Open Daily, 10am–5pm (Tower Hill is closed on Thanksgiving, December 24, December 25, December 31, and January 1)

Cost: (all tickets must be purchased online at their website for a specific timed entry but visitors can stay as late as they wish)

Members: FREE (must reserve ticket)
Adults: $16
Seniors (65+): $11
Youth (6-18): $6
Children 5 and under: Free (must reserve ticket)

Dogs $7 (dogs are not allowed in the Yarnstorm grounds but there are trails they are allowed on)

Parking: there are about 100 plus free parking spots

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes (dogs are not at Yarnstorm, but dogs are only allowed on the trails outside of the garden)

Summary: 40 artists knitted a variety of designs in the garden areas of Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Website: https://www.towerhillbg.org/

New England is known for its stormy weather. But, there was a very different kind of storm at Tower Hill gardens. Yarnstorming, often referred to as “graffiti knitting” or “yarn bombing” is an art form that uses knitted and crocheted yarn as art instead of paint or water colors.

More than 25 works of art and over 2,000 pom poms were draped upon benches, trees, statues and poles around the garden.

I was able to use my 35 mm lens for these photos and I really like the way the colors popped and the crispness of the shots from the lens. It’s technically not a prime lens since it is an 18-35 mm (1.8). But it’s much easier to lug around than a telephoto.

Some of these artistic displays have signs next to the displays. These signs had bar codes you could scan with your cellphone to get more information about the display and the artist who made the display.

Spring was in the air and in the yarn at Tower Hill Botanic Garden’s Yarnstorm event.

Forty artists contributed to the artistic Yarnstorm exhibit at Tower Hill. The designs ranged from the colorful

to the creative

There were also some famous people along the trails.

This display, made in honor of the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, included her answer to “when will there be enough women on the Supreme Court?”

Some of my favorite exhibits were along the stairwell near the edge of the gardens.

But it’s hard to choose just one from the colorful garden.

The knitted art isn’t just on the trails outside of the botanic garden. Castor and Pullox were also dressed up for the event.

Just a friendly reminder that if you do go don’t forget to wear your hat and gloves. Because you never know what the weather will be like in New England!