Category Archives: photographs

Christmas By Candlelight 2022 (Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, MA)

Date Of Event: December 17, 2022

Location: Old Sturbridge Village, 29 Stallion Hill Road, Sturbridge, MA

Hours: Held annually, November 25, 26, 27, and December 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 27, 28, 29, and 30. Christmas by Candlelight runs from 2:00 – 8:00 pm.

Cost: $32 for adults and $16 for youth (4-17)

Parking: Free ample parking is available on site

Summary Houses are decorated in traditional style while period style actors bake, make ornaments, play musical instruments of the day and tell stories of days of yore.

Website: https://www.osv.org/event/christmas-by-candlelight-2022/

Have you ever wondered how some of the earlier settlers of New England celebrated the holidays? Then Old Sturbridge Village has just the thing for you.

Luckily, you can see see an accurate display of how New Englanders celebrated Christmas during the 1830s, 1850s and 1870s (except for bonuses like having indoor plumbing and electricity in homes and other modern day comforts) at their Christmas By Candlelight event. One of the biggest attractions is the Center Meeting House, especially during the evening.

The Center Meeting house was used for meetings, elections and sermons. During my visit they were playing music at the Meeting House.

Many other homes were also decorated for the event.

Everything from the furniture and the way the curtains were hung was true to that era, Even the character actors were dressed in clothing of that time.

This worker at Sturbridge was making stockings

As the light was waning and I didn’t want to use a flash in this environment, even though it would have helped bring out some of the features of the people and the settings, I used a prime lens with a low aperture so I could photograph in the low light conditions.

There were also people making decorations, knitting hats and baking holiday treats

There were also musicians performing traditional holiday music

As the sun set on Sturbridge Village, I was able to capture

In case you got cold, there were open fires for people to warm up

Sturbridge Village also showcased acres of lights and decorations

But not all of the lights were on trees and houses. Visitors also wore festive lights to get in the spirit of the event!

Each year Sturbridge Village holds a gingerbread home contest. They have showcased some incredible works in the past and this year was no different. It was a nice way to end the visit


Pilgrim Mother Statue And Fountain (Plymouth, MA)

Date Of Visit: September 18, 2022

Location: 72 Water St, Plymouth, MA

Located just a stone’s throw from the another famous attraction in Plymouth, the Pilgrim Mother Statue and Fountain is perhaps one of the lesser known attractions in the town. However, it has a an interesting back story and rich history.

The statue, which was a gift from the Daughters of the American Revolution to celebrate the1921 Tercentenary Anniversary of Plymouth, was meant a tribute the the women of the Mayflower who suffered a harsh first winter in Pawtuxet. Of the 18 women who boarded the Mayflower, only 5 survived the first winter, The serious look on this statue’s face is evidence of these harsh times.

Across the street from Plymouth Harbor, the statue keeps a watchful eye.

Sculptor Carl Paul Jennewein, a German born American sculptor, was commissioned to sculpt the Pilgrim Mother statue in 1920. Jennewein used granite from Deer Island for the base and bowl of the foundation. The statue is made from Knoxville, Tennessee, marble.

The Daughters’ 34th Continental Congress have described the statue as being of a “mature woman” who is “strong yet modest” and “sweet, gentle and kind.” The fact the women and men of the Mayflower made it through these difficult conditions is proof of these qualities.


The Blue Trees (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: August 23, 2022

Location: Salem, MA

Cost: Free

Parking: street parking and garage parking is available near the exhibit

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary: The Blue Trees, an outdoor art exhibit, is adding some color to the streets of Salem, MA

If you have been seeing blue trees in the Salem (MA) area, don’t buy new glasses or make an appointment to see your eye doctor. You’re not seeing things. The trees in Salem have turned blue. At least some of them have.

The Blue Trees exhibit is the brainchild of Konstantin Dimopoulos, a conceptual and social artist originally from Port Said, Egypt. The Blue Trees are meant to draw attention to the deforestation happening around the globe. The environmentally safe watercolor used on the trees is temporary and is harmless to the trees, surrounding environment, people, waterways and wildlife. It will be washed away with the rain and other weather conditions. There are currently 27 places to see these blue trees including Houston, Sacramento, Vancouver, Singapore, Germany, Australia and, of course, Salem.

The trees were painted in time for Earth Day of this year and I was fortunate enough to see one of the painters at work.

The trees, which are part of the Peabody Essex Museum’s exhibit, can be found by the museum on Essex St.


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.


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)!


2019 Vintage Lawn Party (Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: September 8, 2019

Location: Salem Commons, Washington Square, Salem, MA

Highlights: vintage party, swing dancing,swing music,lawn games

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Party goers of all ages and backgrounds gathered together earlier this month at the annual Vintage Law Party which celebrated the early 1900’s.

Although not required, vintage outfits were encouraged and many people came out in the vintage best.

 

Dance classes were offered by North Shore Swing.

 

The lessons must have worked because the dance floor was ablaze with swing dancers.  Eat your heart out, Gene Kelly.

 

Music was provided by Dan Gabel’s High Society Orchestra

 

And, of course, Patty supplied the vocals.

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There were also lawn games such as badminton, croquet and bocce.  There was also a referee for the croquet tournament

 

Bocce can be a difficult game with lots of lots of twists and turns.  These reaction shots how how a game can go in many different directions very quickly!

 

Ted and Jenna were the winners of the  Witch’s Wicket Croquet Tournament.

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The one photography tip I would give for this post is not about technique nor is it about equipment or anything photography related.  My tip is to be bold (which is good advice for just about any aspect of our lives) and not be shy.  Despite my photos of people and all of the wonderful people I have met, I’m not generally an overly social person.  So, it’s not my nature to go up to complete strangers and ask for their photograph. In fact, I think I missed a few good photo opportunities in the past because of my shyness.  Some people may find that hard to believe now.

I also think photography can be a solitary activity.  All you need is your camera.  But, my camera has helped me meet so many nice people I would never have met if I didn’t have a camera with me.  So, don’t be too shy or worry what somewhat might say if you ask to take their photo.  In my experience, they’ll most likely say “yes” or at least be flattered.  You may make their day!  The upside far outweighs the downside.  The worst they will say is “no” and they have every right to say that. It’s not personal.  Besides, it’s a good way to connect with someone.  You may not just get a good photo.  You may make a friend.


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.