Category Archives: Boston

Paul Revere House (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: September 7, 2019

Location: 19 North Square, Boston, MA

Hours:

Open year round.

Summer:
Open Daily
April 15 – October 31: 9:30 am to 5:15 pm
Winter:
November 1 – April 14: 9:30 am to 4:15 pm

Closed on Mondays during January, February and March.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Cost:

Admission
Adults $5.00
Seniors and College Students $4.50
Children (ages 5-17) $1.00

Admission is Cash Only

Universally Accessible: No.  The historic home is not universally accessible.

Website: Paul Revere House

Highlights, historic home, character actors, guided tours

Summary: The Paul Revere House offers guided tours of the historic home.  A special visitor stopped by during my visit.

Photography is not allowed inside the Paul Revere House (which makes it particularly hard to post about my visit there).  However, there was a special guest during my visit.

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One of Paul’s besties, John Adams, happened to be visiting while I was there.  John regaled the crowd (don’t they look enthralled?) with his stories of his colorful past and his disdain for the British and French.

John also read a letter from his friend Benjamin Franklin.

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But, before too long, John checked his watch and he told us it was time to leave.

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Although I could not photograph inside the building, I did get some photos of the exterior of the building.

Paul Revere bought the he two story building, which was built in 1680, in 1770 .  It has four rooms and ninety percent of the structure, two doors, three window frames, and portions of the flooring, foundation, inner wall material and raftering are original.  The rooms have furniture and furnishings that look similar to those from that era.  There are staff members in the houses who give a historical background of the house.

People come from all over to visit the house.  These two visitors came all the way from Illinois!

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Rumor has it there may be another special guest there next Saturday (Sep[. 28)!


Boston Public Garden 9/11 Memorial (Boston Public Garden, Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: September 11, 2019

Location: Boston Public Garden, Arlington St, Boston, MA

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It’s been 18 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center, yet the pain is still real and the scars are still raw for many.  Built in 2002, the 911 Memorial at the Boston Garden gives people a place to reflect, leave flowers and other mementos and let us all remember.

 

The memorial includes names of the victims with ties to Massachusetts or the New England area.   As I scanned the scanned the 250 names , one name stood out.

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Madeline Amy Stewart (more commonly known as Amy Stewart) is considered the first person to give a description of the hijackers to the air traffic controllers.  Amy, who was originally from Long Island and settled in Acton, MA, after her marriage, was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11.  Before her plane crashed into the North Tower, Amy relayed important information about the hijackers and the path of the plane she was on.  Like many other people who died that day she was not supposed to work on that flight.  She had picked up an extra shift for a colleague who had fallen ill.  There are a lot of stories like that in the list of names etched in the memorial.

Each year, the Madeline Amy Sweeney Award For Civilian Bravery  is awarded to one person from a  who has displayed exceptional bravery, without regard for personal safety, in an effort to save the lives of another or others in actual imminent danger.

Annually, on the anniversary of the attacks, a wreath is placed at the memorial.  Many people also leave mementos and reminders such as a photo of the Twin Towers and photos of some of the victims of the attack.

 

Another thing I noticed on the memorial is a few of the names had FDNY after their names (indicating they worked for the Fire Department of New York) and, as I researched the memorial and names on the memorials, just how many people had ties to the New England area.  It’s not unusual to meet someone in one of the New England states who has a relative who resides in New York, or who may have been born there or lived there at some point.  We’re very much connected to New York and other parts of the areas affected by the attacks and the connection is very much evident when you visit the memorial.


Easter In The Park (Boston Public Garden, Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 21, 2019

Location: Boston Public Garden, 4 Charles St, Boston, MA

Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There are several parking garages in the area and limited street parking

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: flowers, sculptures, swan boats, trees, statues

Website: Boston Public Garden

Summary: The Ducklings were dressed in their Sunday bests as people thronged to Boston Public Garden to enjoy an unseasonably warm day at the park.

The Dressing of the Ducklings has become an Easter tradition for some time.

But, they are not only dressed up for the Easter holiday.  The ducklings, which were installed in 1987, have also been seen wearing jerseys of the home sports teams, particularly during the playoffs or other important points of the season.  They are also dressed up for other holidays or days of interest, most notably Mother’s Day.

The book “Make Way For Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey is the inspiration for these sculptures.  In the book a pair of mallards  decide to raise their family on an island in the lagoon in Boston Public Garden. Oh, sorry spoiler alert.

The ducklings are a favorite of the children who like to play with, and sometimes on, the statues.

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The ducklings aren’t the only sculptures at the park.

At the Arlington St entrance, there is a larger than life statue of George Washington.  The 22 foot granite statue stands on a 16 foot pedestal making the total height of the statue and pedestal 38 feet.

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Built by Boston painter and musician Thomas Ball, the statue took 4 years to complete.  Because of shortages of bronze casting due to the Civil War, it would not be completed until 1863.

The real beauty of the park is more natural.  Countless trees, flowers and plants adorn the park.

The views at the park are some of the most beautiful in Boston.  You may see the lagoon that I mentioned above where the ducklings are said to have resided.

I was surprised at how many people were at the park on what I thought would be a “family holiday” for most.  Seeing all of the people dressed to the hilt, I do think many people came to the park after their morning obligations were completed.  These visitors were having fun celebrating the day.

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This creative lady took the opportunity to paint at the park.

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Birds and other wildlife are abundant at the park. Fittingly, I did see a few mallards there.

Some animals are so used to seeing and interacting with humans they will eat from your hand.

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Dogs and even a cat were at the pet friendly park.

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Maggie, an 18 month old Aussiedoodle (Australian Toy Poodle), had fun retrieving a miniature sized ball.

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This brave cat named Blue, a 6 year old Orange and Siamese cat, went to the park with her mom.

Now the fun part.  How did I photograph this place?  Since I left early before the sun was high in the sky and it was overcast for most of my visit, it was easier than on some of the sunnier days,  For the most part, I shot with a 5.6 or 6.3 aperture. I even went down to 3.5 and 4.0 and I kept my ISO at 100 since lighting wasn’t an issue for this shoot.

I usually use the Aperture Value (or Aperture Priority) setting.  So, I didn’t worrying about controlling my shutter speed.  Until I photographed Maggie, of course.  To capture her motion as she rain I used a 320 shutter setting and I probably could have gone to 500 or higher.  The hardest part of photography, especially for us beginners, can be making sure all of the settings are correct before you click.  I can attest to this.  As I went into, gulp, manual mode I made sure to put my shutter speed at 1,000 to photograph Maggie.  But, I forgot to adjust my other settings.  So, I had a few black images in my LCD screen.  Once I made this correction the photos came out better.  This just goes to underscore the importance of looking at your meter and viewing photos in your screen and adjusting as needed as you shoot.

However, I would caution anyone from deleting files from their memory card.  For reasons that are far too technical for me to explain clearly, you can actually damage your memory card if you try to delete images from your card.  Everyone does or has done it, though.  In fact, I did it just the other day out of habit.  Here’s an article that explains it in greater depth: Why you should not delete images on your memory card in your camera

But, another easier way to explain this is to just say you don’t know what you can do to the image in LightRoom or PhotoShop (more on these applications in a future post).  But, take a look at this photo of Maggie, the dog I photographed at Boston Public Garden.

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I almost used this photo in my post.  But, I thought the other photo showed better motion and was an overall photo especially since this photo was too dark no matter how much I played with the settings in LightRoom.  But, considering what I had to work with it wasn’t too bad.  This is what the original photo looked like on my memory card before I edited it in LightRoom.

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Yes, that’s what the photo looked like on my card before I edited it.  I was so eager to photograph the cute little doggie that I only adjusted the shutter speed and not the aperture (it was at 22 when I took the photo).  I noticed the error and I adjusted my aperture and shutter speed accordingly (the photo I posted in the blog post above was at 5.6 aperture, 320 shutter speed, 160 ISO and 128 mm).  I should have used a faster shutter speed (500 or 1000) and adjusted the aperture as you can see some blur in her legs and a faster shutter speed would have eliminated this.

The main point of me posting those photos is that virtually any photo is salvageable or at least you can “save” almost any photo, unless, of course, it is blurry.  So, please don’t ever delete in your camera!

I didn’t use a lens hood or any other device to limit sun glare since it wasn’t a particularly sunny day.  I did, however, use this when I was photographing the child on the goose sculpture.

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You slip on the lens and it can help to attract the child’s attention.  It also works with some dogs and other pets (and probably even adults!).  Isn’t it cute?  While I don’t sponsor items or advertise items,  I do like and recommend this item.  I will leave the link for this and other knitted “camera buddies” here in case you may want to look into purchasing one.

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I hope all of this info helps

 

 

 

 


Prismatica (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: February 25, 2019

Location: 60 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA

Hours: Open daily, 24 hours until April 1.  It’s been viewed during the evening or overcast days

Cost: Free

Parking:

  • Parking can be found at the heated One Seaport Garage, located at 75 Sleep Street, Boston, MA 02210

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Prismatica

Summary: 25 illuminated panels light up the Boston Seaport area.

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Don’t be surprised if you see lights and hear unusual sounds in the Seaport area.  It’s not the mothership coming for us.  It’s just another light display on Seaport Blvd.

The light display, appropriately named “Prismatica”, will be on display until April 1.  Although the lighted panels will be on display all day, it is best to view them during the evening hours, particularly after dusk for obvious reasons.

The 25 panels, which were made by RAW Design in collaboration with ATOMIC3, are laminated with a dichronic film that transmits and reflects every color in the visible spectrum.  The lights in the panels change depending on the position of the light source and the observer.

The colors of the pillars can be changed by the visitors. However, the lighted pillars in these photos were turned because of the high winds the evening I took these photographs.  In fact, it was the precursor to one of our many New England snow storms.  And, as they turned, their colors also changed.

 

 

But, that’s not all that changes.

The pillars also play sounds.  When you turn the pillars they emit soft sounds in addition to changing their colors.

The colors of the panels do not have to be turned or manipulated to change.  As you can see from the photos below, the panels change colors on their own.

 

 

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am going to add more of the settings I used and my advice about shooting displays and places like this.  Although I do recommend using a tripod for shoots like this (evening shoots with low light) and I did bring mine with me, I did not have to use my tripod because the external light sources at this venue provided enough light for me to shoot without having to use the tripod.  Like many other photographers, I prefer to avoid using a tripod whenever possible because it is bulky and slows me down.  I was also able to bring out some of the light by bumping up my ISO a bit and using my settings in Adobe Lightroom.  This brings me to my next point about shooting late at night or in any lighting situation actually which I will outline below.

One thing I have noticed, for whatever it is worth, that it can be tempting and very easy to overcompensate for low light environments by overcompensating with the exposure, contrast, saturation and other settings.  I see it often.  I am sure you do as well.  While it may vary on the situation, I try to emulate the images as I saw them to the best of my ability.  I could have very easily upped the saturation and clarity (and the urge is very tempting to do so).  But I wanted to represent the display as closely as to what I saw and what it really looked like at least on that night.  That is a key point, too.  The same place, display or person can and often will look different on different days or even at different times of the same day.  Before I go on and on, which I could easily do, I’ll spare you all of my thoughts about this point.  There will be many other shoots to delve into the settings in Adobe or Photoshop.

To wrap up my details of this shoot, I used a 3.5 or 4.0 aperture setting for most of these shots with a variety of shutter speeds from 1/10 to 1/100 shutter speed (I usually shoot with an aperture priority setting so the camera chose that speed) and an ISO of 320 and I probably could have even gone lower.

Feel free to send comments about how you may have shot this light display or any other thoughts you may have about anything I have posted.  I am still learning.  So I would appreciate any thoughts you may have.

Similar Displays I Have Visited:

Loop (Boston, MA)

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Part II

 

 


Loop (Boston, MA)

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Date Of Visit: January 28, 2019

Location: 60 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA

Cost: Free

Hours: 7:00am-10:00pm.
Dates of exhibit January 11th – February 17th

Parking:

  • Parking can be found at the heated One Seaport Garage, located at 75 Sleep Street, Boston, MA 02210

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: The Loop

Summary: A light display that also features short “films” on a loop.  This exhibit is no longer on display.

The upside to the cold, dark winter nights are the exhibits, particularly illuminated exhibits, that are scattered throughout the city.  Lights and fun, interactive exhibits seem to bring a little more cheer to what may seem like long, cold, never ending winters.  This is the concept of the Bright Lights For Winter Nights season long festivities.

As a new-ish photographer, I like to share my experiences and observations with other photogs.  In this vein, I wanted to share my night time photography experiences.

One obstacle I have learned to overcome or at least improve in is night time photography. I have noted through my experiences that night time photographs is much more pretty than any daytime photographs, except for the golden hour of course.

I used to hate night time photography.  Sunset and post sunset light used to mean it was time to pack up and go home.  Through experience, lessons from books and videos and classes, I have learned to not only appreciate night time photography, I actually prefer it.  In fact, in a recent discussion about photography I have described daytime photography, particularly mid day photography, as being like taking half a photo.  Displays, buildings and even nature all take on a different look when they are lit up at night.  It’s almost like photographing a completely different image.  I love it, even if it means having to lug around my tripod. I still struggle with it at times.  More often than not my struggles actually stem from the tripod itself.  At times, the tripod breaks, I forgot to tighten a screw on the tripod or some other issue arises.  Perhaps you can relate to my struggles.  But, unless it’s a very low light situation or very late at night, I rarely have to use the tripod.  In fact, because of all of the lighting fixtures at the Loop, I didn’t have to use the tripod to photograph The Loop.  The biggest tip I can give about low light photography is to not be afraid to boost the ISO (I always thought this was a no-no until recently).  You can always “fix” it in post production with your noise reduction tool if you use Lightroom.

Now, back to the display, one of the first exhibits of the Bright Lights Winter Nights display was The Loop.  Comprised of six illuminated, moving cylinders which play music and animations, the Loop is an interactive exhibit that allows you to watch film strip like shows.  While sitting in the loop exhibits, the person sitting can pull a handlebar which moves the images and creates an animated story.  Music and flickering lights complement the images.

The timed lights on the loops change in color and brightness of the loops.  The loops are very pretty, particularly during the dusk and the low light times of day.  In fact, if you only saw the lights you may mistake them as simply pretty lights.  The decorative lights on the trees and hang on the strings in the background help to accentuate the beauty of the illuminated loops.

The images inside of the loop are said to be based on fairy tales.  When used correctly, the images play out a story that look seamless.

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Dogs are welcome to view the exhibits.  Jack, a 12 year old Wheaton Terrier, and his mom stopped by to check out the Loop.

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Below are two videos the Loop display.  The first video is a walk through of the exhibit.  The second video is a video of the images that show as you pull the handlebar on the loop.  It’ was very cold, naturally it is Boston during winter, so there weren’t many people there to film the loop as I used.  So, I managed this on my own.  Using one hand to hold the camera and one hand to use the handlebar was no easy task.  But, I tried my best.  I hope you enjoy.

 

 

 


Air, Sea And Land (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: January 28, 2019

Location: Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA

Hours: The sculptures are accessible 24 hours a day

Cost: Free

Parking: limited street parking is available.  There are also parking garages and lots in the area (specifically at 101 Seaport Blvd and 85 Northern Ave)

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary: 7 multi colored sculptures by Okuda San Miguel line Seaport Blvd

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Land, sea and air are not just ways to travel.  They’re also a new art installation in Boston’s Seaport District.   The art project by Okuda San Miguel, a Spanish painter from Santander, Spain, was installed on Seaport Blvd in October, 2018. As a guide to know where the sculptures are located on Seaport Blvd, the art installations begin near the side street of Sleeper St and extend to East Service Rd.

The sculptures are lit up at night, and since I think the lighting makes art seem to come alive, I thought this would be the ideal time to photograph the art work.  I actually happened upon these statues while I was on my way to photograph a different illuminated outdoor exhibit.  But, it just goes to show there’s always so many different exhibits in the city all year round.

The exhibit is meant to bring the viewer into his imagination so they can expand their thoughts on evolution, coexistence, and harmony.  Mythology and beasts play an important role San Miguel’s exhibit. The 7 sculptures which are located  range in height from 8 to 12 feet.  In his exhibit, Okuda separates animals into 2 separate categories: domestic and wild.  He uses these categories to emphasize the natural balance of our environment.

I am posting the sculptures in the numerical order listed on the placards placed next to the sculptures.  The sculptures are numbered 1 to 7 beginning at the top of Seaport Blvd.  (near 60 Seaport Blvd). The sculptures are located in about a distance of a mile.

One thing I noticed is the sculptures almost look like they’re in 3D, especially when they’re lit up at night.  This is particularly evident with the multi colored vibrant sculptures.

I couldn’t find much information about the meaning or message about the art, except what I mentioned above.  The placards only listed the name of the sculpture and the category of the type of art the sculpture is categorized which I have included in parentheses.

The first sculpture in the display is called Creation (Light).

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Sculpture number 2 is called Creation (Water).

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The third sculpture is called Mythology (Mythological Being 1).

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Sculpture number 4 is called Mythology (Mythological Being 2).

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Natural Balance (Coexistence) is the fifth sculpture on Seaport Blvd.

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The sixth sculpture is Diversity (Domestic).

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The seventh sculpture is called Diversity (Wild).

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I am not sure how long the exhibit will be up although it seems unlikely the city would want to take down the sculptures during the winter since the inclement and cold conditions could make dissembling them difficult.  Also, it is somewhat dangerous to view and photograph these sculptures, particularly at night.  So, please do use caution if you do view these sculptures and use the many traffic lights on Seaport Blvd to ensure this safety.


Boston Christmas Festival (Seaport World Trade Center, Boston, MA)

Date Of Event: November 2-4, 2018

Location: Seaport World Trade Center, 1 Seaport Lane, Boston, MA

Hours: Friday: Noon-7pm, Saturday: 10 am-6 pm, Sunday: 10 am-5 pm

Cost: $14 per person, kids under 14 get in for free

Parking/Public Transportation:

  • Seaport Hotel Parking Lot – Sat/Sun = $22 special event parking (flat fee). 200 Seaport Blvd – 4 entrances one on each side of the block across the street from the Boston Christmas Festival. Friday hourly rates apply
  • 391 Congress St – Friday = $24 Saturday and Sunday = $15 per space
  • SBWTC (South Boston Waterfront Transportation Center) brand new garage – $38 max. Use World Trade Center ramp to walk to Festival

You can also get there by taking the Red Line on the MBTA to South Station and taking the SL 3 (Chelsea) train on the Silver Line to the World Trade Center stop.  The World Trade Center is across the street from the train station on WTC Ave

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Service dogs may be allowed

Website: Boston Christmas Festival

Highlights: gingerbread houses, over 350 vendors, cafe, family friendly activities

Tips: you can buy tickets in advance of the  website, Fridays are usually the least crowded days to visit, there is a coat check available at the event

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After so many Halloween celebrations, the Christmas spirit is in the air.  To kick off the official holiday spirit, the Seaport World Trade Center held their 32nd annual Boston Christmas Festival.

The festival is usually held annually the first weekend of November.  Besides the various vendors, the festival also features a Gingerbread house contest.

This Gingerbread Ship won Most Creative.

This house won the Kid’s Choice award.

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I liked this one best.  It won “Most Tasty.”  You can’t go wrong with that!

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This house won for best decoration.

And, this wintry display won Best In Show.

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Of course, the biggest part of the festival are the shops.  With over 350 vendors, there was something for everyone.

There’s nothing like colorful wreaths and trees to get you into the spirit.

The best time to visit the event, in terms of crowds, is Friday (preferable when it begins at noon time on Friday) or early on Saturday and Sunday, although I have remembered walking past the World Trade Center last year during this festival and seeing people waiting outside to get in before the doors opened.  Many people were either still at work or more interested in getting home on a Friday night.  The festival was actually pretty quiet and I did not have to wait in line to get in.  There was lots of room to roam around during my visit.  These aisles were surely more packed on Saturday and Sunday.

I particularly liked the wooden decorative displays at Wired Primitives.  Based out of Auburn, MA, Wired Primitives uses pine to make these displays.  They are all hand made and each piece is hand drawn and made by Beth, the owner of the company.

Another cute shop was this vendor who makes all of the outer shells of her ornaments out of egg shells.

The ladies at One Simple Chick have some home made wreaths and other holiday items.

We’ll be needing these soon enough.  In fact, I’m pretty sure some of us New Englanders have already used them.

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Kathleen at Holiday House Treasures makes seasonal figurines,

Lynne at  Garden Treasures Designs  makes floral arrangements for weddings as well as arrangements and decorative items for the holidays.

Pauline at Country Snowmen and Friends makes all of her holiday decorations by hand.  Her shop is located in Portsmouth, NH.

These holiday goods are made out of re-purposed or “up purposed” items.

Some of the vendors and shoppers got in the holiday spirit.

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Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like illuminated hats!  I purposefully underexposed this photo (yeah, I did it on purpose, sure let’s go with that) to show off the lights on these hats.

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This vendor was dressed for the season.  He told me he was planning on wearing a different holiday themed suit for each day of the festival.

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I saw so many people dressed with antler headwear and other holiday headwear.  I love the snowman hat in this photo!

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Although it may be too late to attend the festival this year, this annual event occurs every year at the World Trade Center in Boston.  See you there next year!