Tag Archives: Massachusetts

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.

 

 


Prismatica (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: February 25, 2019

Location: 60 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA

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

Cost: Free

Parking:

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

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Prismatica

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

But, that’s not all that changes.

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

Similar Displays I Have Visited:

Loop (Boston, MA)

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Part II

 

 


Loop (Boston, MA)

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Date Of Visit: January 28, 2019

Location: 60 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA

Cost: Free

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

Parking:

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

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: The Loop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 


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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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