Tag Archives: dogs

Lake Atlantic Invitational Surfing Competition (Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester, MA)

Date Of Event: April 6, 2019

Location: Good Harbor Beach, Thatcher Rd, Gloucester, MA (about 45 mins northeast of Boston, MA or 1 hour and 30 minutes southeast of Concord, NH)

Summary: 26 surfers entered the first Annual Lake Atlantic Invitational Surfing Competition.

Websites: Lake Atlantic Invitational

Gloucester Beach Info

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Hang ten!  Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, MA, was the home to the first Annual Lake Atlantic Invitational Surfing Competition earlier this month.

Twenty six surfers from the Gloucester area came together to show off their skills. The surfers went out in groups of 3 or 4.  And each group was represented by a different color which represented a different heat.  The order of the flags were changed so that each group (heat) would get a chance to begin surfing in a different order.  But, the groups were judged individually.

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The top three surfers won one of these cool trophies.

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Since I arrived about an hour before the competition began, I decided to take some photos of this beautiful place.

The beach is only a short drive from Boston, MA.  However, if you plan on visiting this gem during the summer, it may not be as easy as you think.  Click on the link above to view the parking policy during the summer.  In short, you need a sticker to park in the limited parking lot.  You can apply for a sticker if you live out of town.  But Gloucester residents get priority.  Unless you are a resident of Gloucester (and have a parking sticker to prove it), the best times to visit may be before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.  Or, during early spring when it’s absolutely freezing.  That’s what I did!

Most of the surfers came from Gloucester or the Gloucester area.  However, one of the competitors, Jake Danzer, 20, came all the way from New London, CT, where he attends the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Alex Debreceni, from Dunstable, MA, was one of the surfers competing that day.

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There were other photographers at the surfing competition including the people who brought this drone to photograph the surfers in the water.  But, this dog would rather play with it.

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While it was pretty cold (in the 30s and 40s for most of the morning) and there was an evident wind that made it feel even colder, the waves weren’t all that, well, wavy.  The surfers did their best to show off their skills.

But, they all weren’t successful.

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Of course, I could no better.  And, just like in life, it doesn’t matter if or even how many times you fall.  What matters is how often you get back up on your board!

The winner of the competition was Colby, 18 of Gloucester. Rhodes Cole, of Rockport, came in second and John Lane, of Yarmouth, Maine, came in third.

Good Harbor is a great place to take your dog.  However, make sure to visit only during the designated times (unleashed dogs are allowed October 1st to March 31st ).  One of the reasons for this is to comply with state and federal laws that protect nesting areas for piping plovers.  Animal control arrived while I was leaving.  So they do enforce this regulation.

Despite the regulations, I did see quite a few dogs at the beach during the competition.

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Gracie is a 1 year old Lab mix.

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Boss is a 3 month old Cane Corso

A recent feature to my posts which I am trying to make a regular part of them is to explain the settings and methods I used to photograph my shots.  This was a tricky one for me.  I wish explaining photography was easy.  Unfortunately, it can be a little complicated, especially when you try to boil it down.  So, I have highlighted the places where I show the settings I used and any other important tips.  But, to gain a better context of why I used them and how it may help your photography, I would suggest reading the entire passages.   And this one is fairly long.

When writing these tips I always think what would I have wanted someone to tell me when I first started photography.  I learned a lot from trial and error and I would like to help others avoid having to learn this way whenever possible.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not by any means an expert photographer and I have really only been using manual mode and other modes outside of automatic for about 7 months now.  So please leave a comment if you notice I misrepresented or omitted some info.

Motion and sunlight.  They can be the most difficult elements to photograph in any photo shoot, especially for beginners.  But, just like anything else, once you get you get it.  The only way to understand and overcome these challenges is to shoot when these things are available  It’s not hard to find these things.  Shoot a 5K or a marathon.  Or, if the parties are ok with it, and they usually are, shoot some kids or adults playing basketball, baseball, tennis or some other sport.  Or, shoot birds, dogs or other animals.  They always seem to be moving.

To be honest (and I always am about photography), I could have and probably should have used a tripod.  It helps steady your camera and avoid blur when you’re photographing motion.  But, I was being  a little lazy, if I’m going to remain honest.  I, like many photographers, I like to move around, especially when photographing motion, and tripods can sort of slow you down.  But, I do recommend using a tripod when photographing motion.

Photographing motion requires a faster shutter speed.  I generally used the AV (Aperture Priority in Canon or AP in some other cameras) mode.  This allows the photographer to control the aperture and ISO while the camera controls the shutter speed.Given what I’ve mentioned above, fast shutter speed is very important when photographing motion and the AV mode is not the best mode to use for these types of shoots.  Frankly, it doesn’t do a good job handling motion always.  You’re much better manually adjusting the shutter speed.  This brings up one of the scariest two words for many beginning photographers: manual mode.

Being someone who used to get dizzy just thinking of using manual mode, I understand the trepidation some may feel.  It really isn’t as daunting as it may seem, though. Basically, you want to use similar settings you would want to when you’re in AV mode (or even automatic mode) and adjust the shutter speed accordingly.  As a general rule, I usually use a 500 or 1000 shutter speed (that is one five hundredth of a second or one on thousandth of a second) when photographing someone running or moving briskly.  It’s important to note that some cameras may have different shutter speeds depending on the model being used.  I used a 800 and 1000 shutter speed (again one eight hundredth of a second or one one hundredth of a second) to photograph the surfers.  Since there was so much light I went up to a 6.3 and 7.1 aperture for most of the photos when I zoomed in (3.5 to 5.6 when I wasn’t zooming in).  This was, in part, due to the lens I used.  The aperture for my lens will only go to a certain aperture when I zoom in.  If you use abetter (more expensive) lens you can sometimes use a smaller aperture when you zoom in.  I had to work on the settings in Lightroom in post since they did come out a little dark.

It’s also important to keep in mind that showing blur can be OK in some situations.  If you’re trying to show a bird hovering, for instance, you may want to show their tail blurry while the rest of their body is still.  I actually did this by mistake.  I used the wrong shutter speed and I received the results I just mentioned and people actually liked it.  You can see what I mean by the photo below.  Granted, I would have preferred to use a higher shutter speed and I wasn’t going to post it in my previous Facebook post.  But, some of my friends and family told me that by showing the motion the blur was OK, particularly since the rest of the body of the bird is in focus.  I used a shutter speed of 250 (or one two hundred and fiftieth of a second) shutter speed for this photo.  I should have used a 500 or higher shutter speed.

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Some other photographers will also show blur on purpose for effect when photographing vehicles passing by (you may see those photos of streaks of light which become evident when you use a slow shutter speed while vehicles pass by).

This website gives some very helpful tips and a useful chart to determine which shutter speeds to use: phototraces shutter speeds.

Sunlight is the other challenging part of photography, somewhat ironically.  When I first began photography, I used to think sunlight was not only ideal but essential to good photography.  Now, I hope for overcast skies.  The reason for this is sunlight can cause everything from sun glare to difficult shadows.  I always found it interesting and annoying when my automatic flash would turn on during a perfectly sunny day.  This of course had to do with the shadows which the sun can create.  To avoid this I always use AV or manual mode.  Remember to use a higher aperture if it is a particularly sunny day (5.6 or higher generally).  I also use a lens hood to help prevent sun glare. Another hack is to go to automatic mode, seeing what the camera suggests to use for settings and using that as a guide.  However, this is only a guide to get you in the right ballpark.  You can adjust it from there.  Also, if you camera hs a live view option you can preview what the photo should look like as you adjust your settings. Also, last but certainly not least, make sure to adjust your settings in the camera’s light meter. Make sure the line matches up to the middle of the spectrum.  Keep adjusting your settings until it is there.  

Just to touch briefly on lens hoods.  While using one recently I found that it was being picked up in my photos and causing the corners of my photos to look black and I had to crop the photos more than I would have liked.  To avoid this, you may need to make sure your lens hood is in a “12 o’clock” and “6 o’clock” position.  Once I made this fix it prevented the hood from being picked up by the lens.

One last tidbit I would like to mention about sunlight is the golden and blue hour.  Named for the colors of the sky (when clouds are not present) during the hours just before and after sunrise and sunset, the blue and golden hours are ideal for photography.  In fact, some photographers will only photograph during these times. However, realistically, yo cannot always avoid photographing during the non goden hours.  In fact, most of the events I photograph take place during the worst possible times for photography.  The best ways to handle sun glare and washed out photos is to use a lens hood, avoid shooting at or close to the sun and using Lightroom or Photoshop to compensate for shots that may have a lot of sunlight in the photos.

All is not lost though when it comes to shooting in sunlight.  In fact, you can use it to your advantage. For instance, the sun shimmering off objects like water can be very pretty.  Or, a ray of light poking through the clouds can make for a good contrast.

I hope these tips have helped and please leave me a comment to let me know if you like (or do not) this feature of my posts or if you have additional tips to add.

 

 


President’s Day Celebration (Quincy, MA)

Date Of Event: February 17, 2019

Location: Hancock-Adams Greenway, Quincy, MA (about 10 minutes south of Boston and 45 minutes northeast of Providence, RI)

Cost: Free

Parking: There was free parking available at the Ross Garage

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary: Quincy, MA, held their first (of hopefully many) President’s Day celebrations which included games for children, a band, costumed entertainers, an orchestra, a play for children and the Fire Gypsy.

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What better place to spend Presidents Day than Quincy, MA, the home to two U.S. Presidents as well as former Governor of MA John Hancock (Hancock has been considered to be from Quincy after the part of Braintree he was from was annexed into Quincy)?

The first Presidents Day celebration included a tour of the crypt where the former Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams have been laid to rest.  Both presidents were originally buried in a tomb at the Hancock Cemetery across the street.  But, since John Adams wanted to buried in a church, the bodies were moved to the basement of what is now called the United First Parish Church.  The tomb where the bodies were originally laid to rest is still at the cemetery.  The presidents and their wives bodies, or remain, are in the crypt at the church.

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Some very tall costumed entertainers greeted visitors.

 

Souljacker ably covered some Rolling Stones and other classic rock bands.

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Behind The Mask performed for the children at the event.

 

There were also games such s air hockey and other table games for people to play.

 

One of the biggest attractions was the Fire Gypsy.  Despite the very cold temperatures, everyone stayed for the entire show.

 

The Presidents Day celebration was dog friendly.  I saw these two dogs during my visit.

Callie is a 5 year old Saint Bernard.

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Ren is a 9 month old Whippet mix.

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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

 


Hancock-Adams Common Light Display (Quincy, MA)

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Dates Of Visit: December, 2018

Location: Hancock-Adams Common, 1305 Hancock St, Quincy, MA

Hours: Dusk until dawn

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Parking: 1 and 2 hour street parking is available.  There is also a parking garage located at 1250 Hancock St

Highlights: holiday lights on display at the Hancock-Adams, Quincy, MA

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The newly constructed Hancock-Adams Common (it was dedicated in Sep. of this year) is home to one of the most festive holiday displays.

The Hancock-Adams Common, named after two of the more prominent residents of Quincy (technically John Hancock was born in what was then known as Braintree but it was later incorporated into what is now known as Quincy).  At the north end of the display is John Adams

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John Hancock is located at the south part of the display, closer to Quincy Center (or as it is now being called The New Quincy Center)

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The center piece of the display is the 60 foot tree.

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But the Santa, nutcracker and snowman are all a very close second.

Speaking of Santa, these two Santa Clauses took some time away from the North Pole to check out the display.

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Thousands of lights illuminate the common.

The trees reflection so pretty in the gazing ball at City Hall.

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The 174 year old Quincy City Hall was also dressed up for the holidays.

The Christmas light display is dog friendly.  Al, a 2 year old English Bulldog posed in front of the tree for me.

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Halloween 2018 (Salem, MA)

 

Date Of Visit: October 31, 2018

Location: Downtown Salem, MA

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Another year and another Halloween in Salem, MA, in the books.  Although I’ve loved s

As always, the families that dress up and visit Salem are my favorite.  I love how they all get into the spirit of the day.

 

The girl to the right dressed as a lady bug in the photo below is holding my card.  I can’t think of a better advertisement.

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There were also some famous people in Salem for the big day!

 

One thing that never ceases to amaze me are the creativity people use while designing their costumes.

 

You’re not seeing double.  These two sets of Sanders sisters dropped by for a group photo.  Seeing that the theme of this year’s Haunted Happenings was the movie Hocus Pocus (some of the scenes for this film were filmed in Salem and the nearby area) it was appropriate.

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Rapunzel let her hair down.  Literally.

 

I’ve always thought there were two Halloween celebrations in Salem.  The day time celebration, which tends to be more family friendly and the night time celebration which has a more edgier and festive atmosphere.  Also, the costumes and props often have lights that illuminate the Halloween night.

 

As usual, I saw many dogs in Salem on Halloween.

Rocky is a 5 year old pit bull mix.  His coat, one that I see very often on pit bulls, is called a Brindle.

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Cannoli is a 7 year old German Shepherd.

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Until next year, or next week, Salem.

Below is a short video from Salem during Halloween

 


Halloweekend (Salem, MA)

Dates Of Visit: October 28, 2018

Location: Salem, MA

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Halloween always seems to creep up on me (no pun intended).  There are always so many fun, cool and interesting costumes each year that I visit Salem for Halloween.  These photos were taken the weekend before Halloween (also known as “Halloweekend”).  Since Halloween was on a weekday this year, Halloweekend is even busier in Salem than Halloween.

There were costumes of all kinds from scary to fun and everything in between.

Jason and Michael double teamed the Scream guy!

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Looks like the tables have been turned, Jason and Michael.

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Is there another Halloween sequel in the works?  Halloween 86: Michael Meyers Jr!

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But where’s the Tin Man?

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This lady had some cool face paint.  We both thought it was funny that, although smiling is the normal inclination when you are about to get your photo taken, she couldn’t smile because it might mess up her makeup.

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If you forgot to put on your makeup, there were face painters there to help you ouy.

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I love the creativity of the costumes people wore.

Scooby and friends are always a popular costume

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Theses costumes are inconceivable!

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Meanwhile, down at Fraggle Rock…

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I hadn’t realized that Halloween was so popular with the WWE! (Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Ric “Nature Boy” Flair from left to right for those of you who are not fans)

These ladies were already ready for Christmas!

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When I take photos, especially of pups and smaller people, I often kneel or bend down lower so I can shoot them from eye level or include the entire figure I am photographing.  I have also noticed that when I do this some people, especially children, will copy me and get low as well!  It always makes me smile.

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Sometimes things can get out of hand during Halloweekend.

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As much as I love all of the costumes during “Halloweekend” the kids costumes are always the best.  It’s great seeing them enjoy the Halloween festivities.

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The best photos during Halloween in Salem are often the shots you get at night.  Many people wear costumes or have props and accessories that light up and look very cool during the evening hours.

Some of the colors of Salem at night during Halloweekend.

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Dogs enjoy Halloweekend also!

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Mr. Man is a 10 year old Greyhound.

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I found Waldo.  Well, actually, his name is Wally, a 5 year old Shiba Inu.

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Blitz, Juno and Daisy (from left to right) were all dressed up in the Harry Potter gear!

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This dog had a ball during Halloweekend!


2018 Pumpkin Patch Decorating Contest (Salem, MA)

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What would Halloween be like without decorated pumpkins?  That is a question I ask myself each Halloween.

 

Every Halloween I make sure to view and photograph the Pumpkin Patch.  It’s a Halloween tradition.  Yet, every year I go I am always expecting that it will not be there.  And I am sure that will be the case one year.  But, for now, the pumpkins are on display every year at Salem Common during the Halloween season.

 

Over 100 local Salem students, including some from Carlton School, Bates School, and YMCA, participate in the contest.  They are grouped by age group

Pictured below are some of my favorites.

 

The pumpkins are usually on display until Halloween.

Not only were pumpkins were dressed up for Halloween.  People and their pets were also dressed up as their favorite characters.

It turns out she really did miss the scarecrow most!  I’m glad they’re back together again. 

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I wasn’t sure who these people were dressed up as.  But, I thought they had cool costumes.  It turns out they are dressed up as characters from the television show, Dr. Who.

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Skeletor and He-Man mixed it up on the streets of Salem!

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“I’m David Pumpkins, man!”

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There were a lot of cute couples dressed to kill!

 

Sometimes the best costumes are the ones that include a group of people or family.

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I loved the face painting and hats on these costumed revelers.

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Even though this may look like a statue or decoration it is an actual person or hay person.

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These people look like they put a lot of time working on their costumes. 

 

Elvis has left Salem.

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This Lady bug is Holly, a 3year old pitbull lab mix, all the way from Nashville.

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