Category Archives: photographs

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.


Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival (Revere Beach, Revere, MA)

Dates Of Event: July 26-28, 2019 (the event is usually held annually during the last weekend of July)

Location: Revere Beach, Revere Beach Blvd, Revere, MA (about 20 minutes northeast of Boston, MA, or 1 hour and 15 minutes southeast of Concord, NH)

Cost: Free

Parking: Since they close the streets for the event parking is limited. Parking is available at the Wonderland train stop. You may also find street parking on a side street.

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: sand sculptures

Website: Revere Beach Sand Sculpture Festival

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The early bird gets the unobstructed sand sculpture photos. Or, at least so I thought.

The last Sunday of July, I decided to wake up early and photograph the sand sculptures from the annual Sand Sculpting Festival at Revere Beach. There was one slight problem. Everyone else north of Boston had the same idea. The streets and sidewalks at the beach were already slightly clogged with revelers, sun seekers and photogs by the time I arrived “early” at 6 a.m. But, with some effort, I was still able to get a few shots without people, workers or other objects in the background of most of my shots.

The annual sand sculpting event included 15 sand sculptors from all over the world. Awards were given to the top five sculptures that were judged by a panel of experts. There were also a “People’s Choice” award the visitors were able to vote for and a “Sculptor’s Choice” award the sculptors all voted for.

Then, there were 8 additional sand sculptures which did not win a prize but are no less impressive.

So, instead of a big, dramatic countdown, let’s start from the top of the list!

First place went to Canadian artist Melineige Beauregard for her sculpture, “The Nest.” Melineige also works with snow and ice to make sculptures during the colder seasons.

The first runner up in the contest was “Shell(ter)” by Jonathan (JOBI) Bouchard from Canada.

Third place went to Ilya Filimontsev from Russia for his sculpture “Guardian Angels.”

Fourth place went to Abe Waterman of Canada for his sculpture “I Just Can’t Bring Myself To Care, Doctor: An Ode To Apathy.”

Dan Belcher from Missouri came in fifth place with his sculpture “Trance.” Dan has been creating sand sculptures around the world since 1990.

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The Sculptor’s Choice Award which was voted on by all of the sand sculptors was awarded to David Mac from Belgium for his work “La Renaissance De Notre Dame.”

The People’s Choice Award was awarded to Sudarsan Pattnaik from India for his sculpture “Save Our Ocean Stop Plastic Pollution.

Although only five of the sculptures won a prize, they were worthy of our praise. One of my favorites from the festival was “Eye Of The Tiger” by Sue McGrew of Washington state. She has been sculpting sand for over a decade.

“Attempting Union” by Morgan Rudluff from Santa Cruz, California was another popular sculpture at the event.

Fergus Mulvany of Dublin, Ireland, created another fan favorite called “Deep Sleep Diving.”

“Dream About Flight” by Aleksei Rybak from Russia is another sculpture that failed to qualify for one of the top spots in the competition.

“Mama Look !! I Found My Teddy!” by Deb Barrett Cutulle was popular sculpture despite not placing in the top of the competition.

“Horsepower” by Maxim Gazendam was another sculpture that failed to place in the top five.

“The Birth Of A New Universe” by Pavel Mylnikov from Russia was another sculpture that failed to make the cut.

Last, but certainly not least, is “Lady Moon” by Benoit Dutherage From France.

The theme of this year’s sand sculpture festival was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. And many of the sculptures from the To commemorate this monumental achievement, the main sand sculpture included sculptures of the astronauts involved in the voyage. Each of the sculptors contributed to these sculptures.

You have to be careful photographing the sunset, especially when you’re photographing it with other objects. For instance, I chose to use a lower aperture (5.6 for most of the photos) which left the sculptures often a bit dark. I also noticed that when I did edit the photos, I had to be careful to not use too much brightness or contrast or other buttons to control the darkness of the sculptures, especially the faces of the sculptures, because it can blow out the colors of the sunset. So, I chose to keep the sculptures a little dark and close up on the key features like faces to capture them without worrying about the background.

You can also try photographing from different angles where the shadows won’t be as bad. I was trying to avoid taking photos with people or other objects in the background. So it was hard to get photos of the sculptures from certain angles without getting people in the background and it also limited the angles I could shoot from. There were a lot of people there despite the early time of the shoot!

Since it’s unlikely the sand sculptures are going to move (and if the do leave immediately!), you can use AV (or Aperture Priority) mode so you can concentrate solely on the aperture settings. I have been using manual mode exclusively with my photos. But it took me a long time to get there. So, I do suggest using aperture priority mode if you’re not comfortable using full manual mode unless you’re photographing things that have action or some other element that requires a fast or variable shutter speed.


5th Annual Foxborough Street Painting Festival (Patriot Place, Foxborough, MA)

Date Of Event: May 18, 2019 (usually held annually on the 3rd weekend of May)

Location: 2 Patriot Place, North Marketplace, Foxborough, MA

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: 2019 Foxborough Street Painting Festival

Summary: Dozens of people stopped by Patriot Place to show off their chalk drawing skills for a good cause.

Each year since 2014, Patriot Place has hosted an art festival to raise money for scholarships.  This year, they raised $1,000 for the Gerald Roy Memorial Fund.  Gerald Roy was a public school teacher in the Foxborough public school system.  He retired in 2012 after teaching for 35 years.

The theme of this years festival was “Travel Destinations” and much of the art from the festival had to do with where the artists were from or where they like to or want to visit.

Some people were very creative about their favorite places!  Outer space!  Why, yes, I’d love to go there, especially these days!

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Other artists used other creative ways to describe their favorite places or places they would like to visit.  Derry looks pretty scary!

There were a total of 53 chalk colored works of art (I photographed 39 of them) by people from 21 cities and towns.

Patriot Pat was also there to greet the artists and guests.

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Patriot Place is a dog friendly venue.  Aspen is a service dog in training for America’s Vet Dogs.

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For this photo shoot, I relied mostly on Aperture Priority, or as my camera calls it Aperture Value.  Since the things I was photographing weren’t moving, I didn’t worry much about shutter speed.  However, I have noticed how shutter speed is important to control.  For instance, since it was a bright day, I didn’t need a slow shutter speed and while my camera adjusted accordingly mostly it didn’t always.  I think the places where there was shade confused my camera when I was using AV.  It’s actually easier to use manual mode sometimes.  Lately, I have been using manual mode exclusively, largely for this reason, and, of course, for objects or animals or people that are moving.  An example of this was the little guy high fiving Pat.  Since there was movement I had to use manual mode to slow the shutter speed down accordingly.  Now, I almost think I am cheating if I use AV (Aperture Value) because I’m not choosing the shutter speed and it doesn’t always choose the correct shutter speed.

While my shutter speed did vary (as I was using the AV setting mostly), I mostly used a 5.6 aperture with a 18 mm focal length and the shutter speed was in the 1/125 range.  I also kept the ISO at 100 as the lighting was not an issue for this shoot.

 

 

 


Articulture (Artworks Westfield, Westfield, MA)

Date Of Event: May 4, 2019

Location: The Episcopal Church of Atonement, 36 Court St, Westfield, MA

Cost: Free

Summary: Artists from Westfield and the surrounding area showing off and selling their art.  The Westfield Fair conducts various events throughout the year to bring attention to various artists and their causes throughout western MA

Website: Westfield Artworks

For the past 3 years, the Westfield ArtWorks organization has been showing off some of the work of the talented artists from the area.  The event in May was no different.  The Episcopal Church of Atonement was bustling with the work of a diverse group of artists.  The first art display I noticed caught my attention because of the cause it supports.

Steve Jones, a veteran, uses his experience and his knowledge from his studies as an art therapist to help other veterans express themselves and provide a positive outlet through the Warrior’s Art Room organization.  Sometimes veterans have a hard time expressing how they feel and often don’t have people in their lives who can related to them on such a personal level.  The Warrior’s Art Room works to give them an opportunity to relate to other veterans.  Steve is standing next to his wife in the first photo.  One of the volunteers at his organization is painting in the second photo (from left to right)

 

You can find out more about Steve and his organization here.

One of the more unique authors I met at the fair was Westfield, MA, author Rhonda Boulette

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Rhonda writes children stories that children in Haiti can read.  Her book “Wolfgang Lost His Whistle” as a gift to the children of Haiti who do not have access to books.  The book is bilingual and she donated 50% of the book sales to the children of Haiti.

Jeff Bellefleur displayed his bear chainsaw carvings (he’s the one on the right).

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There was also a space in the basement of the church for artists to show off and sell their work.  As I was looking over the art from all of the artists, I found this talented artist who was painting from a photo on her phone.

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There was also entertainment at the event.  The Berkshire Mountain Boys provided a bluegrass feel to the event.

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This shoot was not too hard to photograph.  I used AV (Aperture value, or aperture priority) except when I was photographing the band because of their movement (I used a setting of 500 or 1/500th of a second for my shutter speed which was enough to avoid any blur).  I also noticed I had my ISO up a bit (around 400 or 500 in some photos).  I have an awful habit of forgetting to reset it back to 100 after I increase it.  So that is some food for thought.  Every time you take a new photo, always check your settings as the lighting and the movement of your subject can warrant a change in all of your settings.  I’ve actually been using manual almost exclusively because it makes me more disciplines about always checking all of my settings.  Oh and the photos tend to look better too!