Category Archives: Massachusetts

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.


Salem’s So Sweet 2019 (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: February 9, 2019 (annually, the second weekend of February)

Location: Salem, MA

Cost: Free

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: ice sculptures

Summary: As part of the Salem’s So Sweet celebration, 23 ice sculptures were placed throughout the city.

Website: Salem’s So Sweet

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Salem’s known for a lot of things.  But, sweet isn’t usually one of the words that come to mind.  However, sweet has become an annual theme in Salem.

The 17th annual Salem’s So Sweet event kicks off with a wine and chocolate tasting gala Friday, Feb. 8.  The sculptures were placed at different historical places and businesses throughout the city of Salem.

I figured today would be the perfect day to post about this sweet event, especially since some of the sculptures have a romantic theme.

I am showing the ice sculptures in the event in the same order they are listed on the attached map.  I tried to photograph them all when they were lit up.  But there were a few I was not able to photograph at night.  There is a big difference in the way the sculptures when they are lit up.  I plan on photographing them only at night in the future because of this difference.

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The first sculpture of a cat was located at The Witch House.

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This heartfelt sculpture of Hellboy was one of five sculptures located at Lappin Park.

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This photo frame sculpture, also located at Lappin Park, was a popular sculpture.  A lot of people would pose in the frame while another person took their photo.

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There was some snow during my visit to Salem.  This snowflake sculpture was also located at Lappin Park.

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Valvoline Instant Oil Change sponsored this sculpture.

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SSU (Salem State University) Graduate Snowman was, of course, sponsored by Salem State University.

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I love the warm colors of the lights used to illuminate the sculptures, especially since it was so cold out during the event.  These kissing fish were located outside of Turner’s Seafood.

There were also a group of sculptures located on the famous Essex Pedestrian Walkway.

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This wicked good sculpture was located outside of Coon’s Card And Gift Shop.

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This “piggy bank” sculpture was located outside of Rockafella’s.

You might think that since I frequent Salem I have dined at many of their establishments.  You’d be wrong.  In fact, I have only been to a few restaurants there (I used to like Victoria’s Station).  I also liked Murphy’s Pub & Grill which has also closed and is becoming a “tequila bar.”  In A Pig’s Eye was a pretty good restaurant too.  I’m sensing a trend here.  Maybe it’s best I don’t eat at the restaurants there. I may be a curse.  But, I’m not much of a “foodie” or eater in general (although when I do eat, I eat my whole plate and then some).  I would much rather be taking photographs than eating and  I always think I may miss some cool photo opportunities while I’m eating which would really bother me.  Besides, I just don’t get very hungry when I’m out in the field.  I’m too focused on my job.  I rarely eat at all when I go out on shoots.  I have heard good things about some of the places in Salem though.

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This sculpture of Cupid was located at Adriatic Restaurant and Bar on Washington St (I haven’t eaten there yet so they’re safe from my “curse”).  I especially like how the lighting in the city complemented the lighting from the sculpture.

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“Boy and Girl” was located in front of Maria’s Sweet Somethings on Front Street.

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I actually missed two sculptures during my initial visit to Salem.  Actually my camera batteries died (the cold weather affects camera batteries dramatically).  So, I grabbed this photo the next morning.  This sculpture of wine glasses was located at Stella’s Wine And Bar I especially like the subtle little details in the sculptures.  Are those fangs or claws in the wine glasses?

This Mary Poppins sculpture had lights that changed colors.  This sculpture was located near the Trolley Depot on Essex St.

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This dove was located near the entrance to the Witch City Mall on Essex Pedestrian Walkway.

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This Chinese Dragon Robe was located outside of the Peabody Essex Museum on Essex St.  This sculpture was representative of their Chinese Empress exhibit.

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This “I Found My Heart In Salem” sculpture of the Tin Man was located at the Salem Witch Museum.  This seems to be a theme with the Witch Museum.  Last year they had a sculpture of Dorothy’s shoes with the phrase “There’s No Place Like Salem.”

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This sculpture of a baker, which was the only sculpture that didn’t light up, was located at Coffee Time Bake Shop on Bridge St.

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This sculpture, “Roots”, was located outside of the Hawthorne Hotel.

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This butterfly ice sculpture was located on Union St at the Joile Tea Company 

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This beer mug was located in front of The Notch Brewing Company.

This sailboat and these roses in ice were located at the Salem Waterfront Hotel

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This sculpture was located next to Bunghole Liquors.  Hey I didn’t name the place.  The sign for the store is probably one of the most photographed places in all of Salem.  Of course this is actually a term used with wooden barrels.  But it has a much different meaning for some other people apparently.

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“Candy” which was located across the street from the Ye Olde Pepper Companie.  There was actual candy in the dishes to the right and left of the vase.

Dogs loved the ice sculptures also.  Sophie, a 5 month old mixed breed dog, had a fun time looking for the sculptures.

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You can view the sculptures from the 2018 Salem’s So Sweet celebration here

 


Ice Invasion (Springfield, MA)

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Date Of Visit: January 26, 2019 (usually the last weekend of January)

Location: MGM Casino, One MGM Way, Springfield, MA and Downtown Springfield, MA area (about 2 hours west of Boston and 30 minutes north of Hartford, CT)

Cost: Free

Parking: There is parking available throughout the city and parking garages in the city.  Free parking to view the ice carving demonstration is also available at the MGM Casino.  Parking info available at the attached link: Parking In Springfield

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: ice sculptures, ice carving demonstration

Summary: Thirteen ice sculptures of various shapes and sizes carved by Joe Almeida located throughout the city of Springfield (I found 11 of them).  Joe also conducted an ice carving demonstration during the Ice Invasion event.  Some of the sculptures are lit up at night.

Website: Ice Invasion

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While ice is nothing unusual this time of the year in New England, there was an ice invasion of a different sort this past weekend in Springfield, MA.

This Ice Invasion was part of the American Hockey League (AHL) All Star Classic celebration which was being held at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA.

Joe Almeida of Sculptures In Ice carved all of the sculptures for the event.  He kicked off the Ice Invasion with a live carving demonstration in front of the Armory in the common area on the grounds of the  Saturday afternoon.  Joe said the ice blocks can weigh up to as much as 300 pounds and he uses snow to write the MGM and Springfield in the sculpture.  The lights at the bottom of the sculpture give the golden color which is emblematic of the MGM Casino logo.

The first sculpture at the Ice Invasion was at the outdoor skating rink at the MGM.  Unfortunately, no one was skating during my visit.

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Most of the sculptures were located on Main St with a few located on the side streets (see link in the description above to view a map of all of the locations).

The most appropriate sculpture was a sculpture of a hockey player wearing a Springfield Thundercats uniform.

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Most of the other sculptures had a winter theme to them such as this ice sculpture of a person sledding.

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And this snowflake.

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While it certainly was cold and breezy, the temperatures were in the high 20s to low 30s and the sun was out.  So there was some melting noticeable.  In fact, it was a little hard to see some of the features of some of the sculptures and it was hard to tell what one of them was, specifically the sculpture at the Spring Museum.  I think it was a dragon.

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There were also two sculptures of people throwing snowballs.

This guy was very cold.

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There was also wildlife at the Ice Invasion.  This penguin was hanging out outside Union Station.

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And this bear

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All of the ice sculptures, except one, were in walking distance (although it was a fairly solid walk – my Fitbit recorded 5 miles back and forth during our stroll).  But, I did drive to photograph the last sculpture at the Springfield Museum.

Something to keep in mind is that some of the sculptures on the map were not on display.

Now, sadly, we are in store for a real ice invasion.

Below is a video of a news report on the local news about the event.  Who is that in the video at the 40 second mark?

 

Also, I have been posting on another page called Hidden New England.  I am focusing on some of the lesser known or “hidden treasures” of New England in this blog.  There may be some overlap from some places I have visited previously in this blog.  But I am also finding new hidden gems in the area to post about.  Please follow my blog and take a look at my Facebook page as well.  Here is the link to my Hidden New England page on WordPress: Hidden New England

The link to my Facebook page for Hidden New England is here : Hidden New England

Similar events and places I have visited:

2018 Greenfield Carnival Ice Sculptures

2018 Salem’s So Sweet Ice Sculptures

Things to do in the area:

MGM Springfield

Springfield Museums

 

 

 

 


Westfield 350th (Westfield, MA)

Date Of Event: December 31, 2018

Location: Amelia Park, 21 Broad St, Westfield, MA

Cost: Free

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes, although it’s not stated specifically on the website for the event, I saw a few dogs there

Highlights: ice sculptures, ice skating, family friendly, parade, campfires with smores and marshmallow roasting

Summary: the city of Westfield, MA celebrated its 350th birthday with their first “First Night.” The first night celebration included a variety of family friendly events and activities on New Year’s Eve.

Website: Westfield 350

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“Party like it’s 1669.”  That was the theme of the first night in Westfield, MA.

Yes, in 2019, well now, Westfield MA is celebrating its 350th anniversary.  There will be sure to be other commemorative events.  But, the kick off celebration was actually in 2018 albeit on New Year’s Eve.

It was the first first night in the city of Westfield and they pulled out all the stops.

The free event featured a juggler, ice sculptures and ice skating.

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I particularly liked how the the lighting around the ice sculptures changed colors.  the 350 on some of the sculptures signified the 350 years of the city of Westfield.

Guests were able to skate for free (some better than others).  I’m always impressed whenever I see someone do something that requires a special skill, particularly skating.  I never learned. But, maybe some day.  It’s also inspiring and fun watching people try.

This activity was a little different.  I’m not sure what it’s called.  But it looks fun and the kids enjoyed rolling around in the balls.

The Witches Of Whip City were also at the event.  “Whip City” is a reference to Westfield’s nickname which is a reference to their past.  During the 19th century, Westfild was a leader in the buggy whip industry.  Things have changed and there is currently only one whip business in the area (Westfield Whip https://www.westfieldwhip.com/).  But, the city has retained this title.  It is why you may see some businesses with the name “Whip City” attached to it (Whip City Music, Whip City Brewing, etc).  I will delve into this and other historic New England historical factoids later in a new feature to my Facebook page that I will discuss on that page later.

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Unfortunately (and of course), it began to rain during the event, proving the old New England weather cliche to be true (“don’t like the weather? just wait a minute”).  So I was unable to photograph some of the other attractions there such as a multi layered cake that was, unfortunately, made out of wood.  There was also campfires for toasting marshmallows and Smores which, obviously, weren’t very useful during the rain.

It’s unclear whether the city will continue this festivity in the future.  But, based on the turnout and the fun had by all I would say it is likely.  And I’ll be there.  Maybe I’ll bring my skates this year!

Similar places I’ve visited:

Westfield Fair

Northeast Reenactors Fair

Things To Do In The Area:

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hal Of Fame

 

 


Christmas In Salem (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: December 1, 2018 (event held Friday until Sunday, 11-30 to 12-2, event is usually held the first weekend of December)

Location: Salem, MA

Hours: Most homes were open 10 until 5

Cost: $35 per person (discounts may apply to seniors, military personnel and children)

Parking: There are several parking lots in the area (specifically on Congress St and New Liberty St)

Handicapped Accessible: Some homes are not handicapped accessible because of their old designs

Dog Friendly: No

Website: Christmas In Salem

Highlights: tours of historic homes, decorations

Summary: An annual event that allow s visitors to tour the inside of historic homes throughout the historic Salem, MA, area

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How many times have walked by the many historic homes of Salem, MA, and wondered what they look like on the inside?

The Christmas In Salem event in Salem, MA (held annually the first weekend of Dec) lets you see for yourself.

The 39th annual self-guided tour, which began at the House Of The Seven Gables, included tours of 15 homes.  Some of the homes featured on the tour are historic buildings run by the park service, some are actual home residences.  Tickets can be purchased on the day you visit, or (and I highly recommend it) you can purchase your tickets in advance online.  There is also a trolley that can take you to some of the homes.

One of the perks of the tour was the photography policy was relaxed and photography was allowed at most of the homes and buildings, even in buildings where photography is not usually allowed (namely, the House of the Seven Gables).  In fact, it is one of the reasons I finally made it to the House of the Seven Gables.  They usually don’t allow photography in that building.

As there are so many buildings included in the tour (15 in total, but only 11 that allowed photography), I will give a brief description and background of each building with links for additional information when available. I took a variety of photos from each building, depending on the size and beauty of the building.

As mentioned above, there are 15 homes or buildings (with a “bonus” second tour of your favorite home or building). You may also split up your visits so that you can go on 2 separate days rather than trying to visit all of the homes or buildings in one day.  I will list all of the homes and buildings in the order they are listed on the tour map you are given when you check in at the House of the Seven Gables.

House Of The Seven Gables (houses 1 and 2 on the tour)

House Of The Seven Gables 

The House Of Seven Gables has always been one of my favorite historic homes in all of  new England.  I have always loved the narrow, almost secret passageways and its history.

The House of the Seven Gables has The verse written on the wall in the first photo is from Hawthorne’s work The Marble Faun.  Some of the tour guides, such as the woman shown in the final photograph, read holiday stories or or other related works.  The woman shown in the portrait is Susanna Ingersoll, Hawthorne’s cousin.

There was also a Christmas tree in one of the rooms at the home.  Fun fact (except for those alive at the time): Christmas was banned by the Puritans in the MA colony from 1647 until 1681.  Rather than being a time for celebration and festivity that included some of the pagan origins associated with the holiday, the Puritans thought the holiday should be a time for fasting and humiliation.  Another fun fact: the first Christmas tree, similar to the tree shown below, in America is said to have been in the home of Cambridge resident and Harvard College professor Charles Follen in 1835.

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There was a wine tasting area, as well as a place to view the food and toys of this era.  The food shown below on the far right of the table is a common delicacy of that time, cod.

The outside of the House of the Seven Gables is as pretty as the interior.

Another fun fact: Although he visited his relatives at the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion (aka House of the Seven Gables), Nathaniel Hawthorne never lived in the house.  He was born on Union Street.  But, it may not seem that way when you visit.  The Union Street house where Hawthorne was born was purchased by The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association and moved to the museum campus in 1958.

This building, located a short walk from the Salem Witch Museum at 14 Mall St, is one of the homes where Hawthorne lived in Salem.  This building is not included on the tour.

The third home on the tour, the Captain William Lane House, and the fourth home, the Josiah Getchell House, did not allow photography.

The fifth home of the tour was the Thomas Mogoun House, 58 Derby St.  As you will notice from the photos from the homes and buildings in the photos is that while they do have the original, or close to the original frame and structure, they were indeed more contemporary inside, unfortunately.  I was hoping to see rustic beds with hay instead of mattresses.  No such luck.

One of the more serene and peaceful places on the tour was the Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church at 64 Forrester St.  A choir of men and women were singing traditional Christmas songs (not contemporary or radio songs of course).  I really could have stayed and just listened to them because of their beautiful voices.  I didn’t take any photos inside of the church and this is actually a photo I took of the church from 2015 when I first began my blog.

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The seventh home on the tour was the Ives-Webb-Whipple House at 1 Forrester St.  This house, which was built originally in 1760, was being shown and is still on the market.

The house was staged very tastefully.

The Captain John Hodges House at 81 Essex St was the 8th home on the tour.

The 9th home on the tour was the Richard Manning House located at 10 1/2 Herbert St.

The 10th building on the tour was the Immaculate Conception Church at 15 Hawthorne Blvd.  Although there was some pretty and interesting architecture and decor in the church, I didn’t take any photos there.

The 11th building on the tour, the Captain Simon Forrester House at, 188 Derby St, and the 12th home, the Benjamin W. Crowninshield House at 180 Derby St, did not allow photography.

Another building I had walked past countless times without visiting until this year (I stopped in during the summer and hope to post that shoot…someday) is the 13th building on the tour, the Salem Custom House at 176 Derby St.  Interestingly, Nathaniel Hawthorne worked here for some time.  He worked on a little book you may have heard of during his tenure there.

The 14th home on the tour, The Derby House at 168 Derby St was not available for tours during my visit.

The 15th and last home on the tour was the Captain Edward Allen Mansion House at 125 Derby St.

Not all of the historic homes are available for tours and the particular homes that are available for tours may change from year to year.  Since many of the homes are fairly small to average size and only so many people can enter a home at one time, the wait can be long to get into some houses. But the homes are all located near each other and the map lists them in a way that is makes them easy to find. I was able to hit each home in about 4 to 5 hours.  If you’re not in the Christmas Spirit, the mix of historical background and Christmas decor is sure to get you into it!

Similar places I have visited:

Witch House (Salem, MA)

Strawbery Banke Museum

 


Wreaths Across America (Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Agawam, MA)

Dates Of Visits: December 23 & 29, 2018

Location: Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 1309 Main St, Agawam, MA (4 miles southwest of Springfield, MA and 26 miles north of Hartford, CT)

Hours: The cemetery is open everyday from dawn until dusk.  The annual wreath ceremony takes place the third Saturday in December.  The wreaths will be at the cemeteries until Jan. 15

Parking:  Visitors can park on the side of the road in the cemetery and there is a parking area on the upper level of the cemetery.  There may also be limited street parking near the cemetery.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: 7,500 wreaths adorn the headstones of the graves at the military cemetery

Websites: Wreaths Across America

Agawam National Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Agawam Wreaths Across America

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It all started with one man and his wreaths.

In 1992, Morril Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company and resident of Harrington, Maine, noticed he had a surplus of wreaths after the holiday season.  Thinking back to his visit to Arlington National Cemetery when he was a young boy, Morril decided to donate his surplus of wreaths to the cemetery.  With the help of then Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, Worcester sent his wreath surplus to Arlington Cemetery.  Special attention was given to lay wreaths at graves that seemed to get the least amount of visitors.

Over time, this cause grew.  Volunteers offered to transport the wreaths to other cemeteries from Maine to Virginia.  Then, in 2005, things changed.

After a photo of the graves at Arlington adorned with wreaths and covered in snow went viral in 2005, requests to help and expand this ceremony to all of the states poured in.  People offered to distribute and lay the wreaths at the cemetery, decorate the wreaths and help in many other ways.

Through the years, the cause has grown to include every veteran from every branch of the service including veterans who were prisoners of war and missing in action.

Now, Wreaths Across America conducts wreath laying ceremonies at more than 1,400 cemeteries, including Arlington National Cemetery, in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.  Veterans from all wars and conflicts the U.S. has been involved in are honored with a wreath.  While many, if not all, of the veterans cemeteries have wreath laying ceremonies conducted in them, they are not the only cemeteries where wreaths are laid.  Public cemeteries also have wreaths laid at the graves of veterans.  Wherever a veteran has been laid to rest you will find a wreath.

The goal of the Wreaths Across America group is to “remember, honor and teach” others throughout the year about the sacrifices of our veterans.   One way to do this is to sponsor a wreath.  The money from sponsoring a wreath is used for the wreath laying ceremony and the cost of transporting the wreaths.

One of the cemeteries where a wreath laying was conducted is the Agawam Veterans Memorial Cemetery.  Over 7,500 wreaths were laid at the cemetery.

I stopped by Agawam Veterans Memorial Cemetery to view and photograph some of the wreaths that have been laid by each veterans’ grave.  Agawam  is one of three Veterans Memorial Cemeteries in Massachusetts.  The other two are in Bourne, which is a naational memorial cemetery, and Winchendon which, like Agawam, is a state memorial cemetery.

It was bittersweet to see the care and honor given to all of the veterans’ graves at the cemetery.  The wreaths will be at each of the headstones until Wreath Clean Up Day on January 15.

 

Thank you for reading, commenting and liking my posts!

I also have also posted on my secondary, companion blog, Hidden New England, which you can find here: https://hiddennewengland.com/

You can find my Facebookpage for the blog here: https://www.facebook.com/hiddennewengland/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Last-Minute Tacky Shopping Night (Yankee Candle Village, South Deerfield, MA)

Date Of Event: December 19, 2018

Location: Yankee Candle Village, 45 Yankee Candle Way, South Deerfield, MA

Highlights: band, ballet dancers, wine and food tasting, ugly Christmas sweaters, extra savings during event

Nothing goes better together than Christmas and…ugly sweaters.

For the second year in a row, Yankee Candle Village hosted a special event to encourage holiday shoppers to dress in their most tacky sweaters.

Yankee Candle is known for their holiday decor and wide selection of all things Christmas.  But before you even enter the store, there is a beautiful light display.

2 The Top provided some holiday spirit with their Christmas song covers and a few more contemporary covers.

Dancers from Pioneer Valley Ballet performed in the candle fragrance section of the store.

There was also a wine tasting and food tasting area.

And, of course, there was a  holiday sweaters.  Some of the sweaters lit up.

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There were sweater families.

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And festive friends in sweaters.

The coordinator of the event was on the look for winning sweaters.

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And, yes, I did win a prize for one of the best “tacky sweaters.”  It’s also my clubbing shirt.

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