Tag Archives: New England

Pumpkin Ball (Yankee Candle Village, South Deerfield, MA)

Date Of Event: October 18, 2019

Location: 25 Greenfield Road
South Deerfield, MA

Hours: Sunday–Saturday | 10 am—6 pm

Universally Accessible: Yes

Website: Yankee Candle Village

Summary: As part of their Fall festivities, Yankee Candle’s flagship store in South Deerfield, MA, held a celebration of all things fall.  A costume contest, ice carving, a haunted house and dancers were just some of the attractions at this event.

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Yankee Candle thrilled everyone with a Halloween/Fall event for all ages last month.

Dancers, costumed visitors and even a haunted house were just some of the highlights of this celebration of all things fall!

Yankee Candle decorated the grounds and store in proper fashion.

Meet Leona, a 1,732.5 pound pumpkin grown by Dan and Holly Boyce of Vermont.  Leona is the second largest recorded pumpkin grown in Vermont!

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Many visitors and workers got into the spirit of the season by dressing up in their very own Halloween costumes!  The black and white photo pays homage to George Romero’s classic 1968 black and white movie “Night Of The Living Dead.”  The zombies would later dance to “Thriller” as part of the dance performance.  There was a costume judging contest as well.  But I had to leave before the winners were announced.

 

The dancers at Kasaks Dance Academy performed during the Pumpkin Ball.  The half hour performance included dancing by each age group (starting with the youngest to the oldest).

 

Crawling out to the dancer floor, the last group of dancers danced to Halloween themed music ending their performance by dancing to “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.

 

There was also face painting and a pumpkin decorating contest.

 

The fun wasn’t just in the store, though.  On the grounds of the shop there were alpacas, horse drawn rides, ice carving and a family friendly haunted house.

Joe Almeida of Sculptures In Ice carved a spooky ice sculpture at the beginning of the event.

 

 

There also alpacas from Grass Hill Alpacas.

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But, one of the more popular attractions at the event was the haunted house.  All of the proceeds from the haunted house ($5 admission) went to Dakin Humane Society, an animal shelter in Springfield, MA.  Inside the haunted house there were pumpkins, spiders, and other Halloween related decorations.

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After going through the haunted house, there were masks for visitors to put on for possible photo opportunities.  Two of the little visitors were nice enough to pose for me.

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Dogs celebrate Halloween too!  Scrappy, a year and a half old Chihuahua, was enjoying the unseasonably warm Fall weather.

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2019 Howl-O-Ween Pet Parade And Costume Contest

 

Date Of Event: October 12, 2019

Location: Pickering Wharf,  Salem Maritime Museum, 160 Derby St, Salem MA

Summary: over 100 pets met up at the Salem Maritime Museum to show off their costumes and march in the Howl-O-Ween pet parade.

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Halloween isn’t just for humans.  The annual Howl-O-Ween pet parade showed off over 100 of these Halloween pet revelers.

Although I wasn’t able to get all of the participants names and breeds.  Below is a sample of some of the participants:

Pepper, Millie, Hobs and Rocky (all chihuahuas) were the three Musketeers and fun sized Musketeer.

Sadie, dressed as Jason Doghees I mean Vorhees, is a 12 year old Peekapoo.

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Lucy, 1 year old Puggle, was a roaring lion.  Lucy is a rescue from the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA.  She was saved from one of the storms that recently hit Florida.

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Ralph, a Jack Russell and Mini Pinscher rescue, was a cute little pineapple.

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Triskit, a 3 year old chihuahua, was a parrot.

Buddy (on the left), a 8 year old chihuahua, was a lumberjack.  Pixie, dressed as Babe The Blue Ox (on the right), is a 6 year old chihuahua.

 

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One year old Penny Liu was dressed as a Chinese Mandarin.

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Calypso was an angel.

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Winston, a 5 year old Corgi, was dressed as Paddington.

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Reecey, a 13 year old half border, half husky mix, was dressed as a mutant ninja turtle.

 

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Olive, a 4 year old feist mix, was a bumble bee.

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Ziggy was dressed as Mr. Spock.  Live long and prosper Ziggy!

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Oso had a very special delivery for everyone!

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Jasper, a 2 and a half year old mixed breed, was a zebra.

“Sweep the leg!”  Dexter, dressed as Johnny from Cobra Kai and Oliver, dressed as “Daniel son” from Miyagi-Do.  They are both 4 year old French Bulldogs.

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Hazel (on the left) was dressed as a peacock.  Molly (on the right) was dressed as Cleopatra.

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Grayson was dressed as Lucy.

 

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Twix, the cowgirl, is an 11 month old Dalmatian.

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Opal, a 9 month old husky mix, was dressed as Hermione Granger.
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Benji, 10 years old, was dressed as Batman.

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Remus, a 4 month old mixed Lab, was dressed as Luigi.  If you watch the video of the pet parade below you may see his mom and dad dressed as Mario and the Princess from Super Mario World.

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Henry, a 2 year old, King Charles Cavalier, was dressed as a Cavalier.

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Seba the lion is a 4 year old Lab.

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The acrobatic Tilda was dressed as a ballerina.

Nissan (on the left) was dressed as Princess Leia.  Sirius (on the right) was dressed as Yoda.  They are both terrier mix shelter dogs.

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Hunter, a 5 year old rescue lab, was dressed as a skunk.

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Sequoia, a 3 year old cattle mix, was dressed as a blowfish.

The pet parents also got into the spirit of the event.

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Daisy and her mom were dressed as the Little Mermaid and Ursula.

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Nala and her family were the “udderly spectacular” cow family.

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Walt was dressed as Flounder with the Little Mermaid.

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Dumbo was dressed as an alligator.

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Brady and the rest of the family were dressed as Abu with Aladdin and Family

Not all of the pets at the parade were dogs, though.

There was this chicken.

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There were also these two very brave cats.

Scout was dressed as Peter Pan’s shadow.

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and this cat/lion hybrid!

Strider, a 10 year old fancy bearded dragon, was dressed as a clarinet.

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Unfortunately, I was unable to get the names of these cute pets below.

Although they looked great and the main point of the event was to have fun.  There were awards for best overall costume, most creative and the best costume with people.  Some of the winners of the costume contest were:

Ruby the Racehorse, a 2 year old pointer mix, won for best pet with humans.

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Adelphie, dressed as a time traveler’s backpack, won for most creative.

Butterscotch, dressed as spaghetti and meatballs, also won a pet with humans award. It wasn’t until later when they received their award did I notice the Lady and the Tramp tie in.

Nellie, dressed as a pin cushion, won for best overall costume.

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Last, but certainly not least, Tilda, 5 years old, was the Grand Marshall of the event!

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There was also a pet parade where all of the contestants could show off their costumes.  All of the more than 100 contestants and their parents or friends marched in the parade.


Waterway/Lightway/Greenway (Boston, MA)

Date Of Event: October 17, 2019 (postponed from October 10, 2019)

Location: Milk St, Rings Fountain at Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, Boston, MA

Summary: Lights illuminated the Greenway while 30 people danced along the Greenway and along the fountains.

Website: Waterway/Lightway/Greenway

Lights, camera, dancers!

As part of the 10 year anniversary of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, the workers at the Greenway Conservancy planned a very colorful event.   Thirty dancers frolicked along the Greenway while seven different colored lights illuminated the fountains.  New lights were installed specially for this celebration.

The event began with a pretty water display.  Normally, the lights at the Greenway are white.  But, for the first time, colored lights were installed at the Greenway for this special event.  This event was held twice earlier in October.  But those events weer held during the daytime without colored lights.  I thought a night time display would be much more interesting.

After a few words from the creator of the event, Peter DiMuro of Public Displays Of Motion, there was a pretty fountain display.

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Interpretive dancers began moving along the grassy greenway.

The highlight (no pun intended) of the event, was when the dancers made it to the brightly colored fountains.

The dancers, aged 14 to 75, were equipped with umbrellas while they danced along the fountains.  They creatively used the umbrellas and light to make some very pretty colors.

There’s no word on whether the Greenway will conduct another display like this.  But, if they do I will be there, umbrella in hand.

This one was particularly challenging to photograph.  I used a higher than usual ISO (between 300 and 1,000) with a fast shutter speed (500 and higher) to capture the water as it shot up in the air and the dancers.  While I did have a flash I used it sparingly.  For one, I think the flash was frowned upon giving the fact the darkness mixed with the light from the fountains made the event so pretty.  I also think it wasn’t necessary, especially since I could use PhotoShop to bring out the colors.  I was also able to hide mistakes by utilizing the darkness ( :

Shoots like this are hard since you want to use a fast shutter speed to capture motion, yet you often want to use a slower shutter speed in low light situations.  So, I compensated with a higher than usual ISO to capture as much light as possibly.  While it varied throughout the shoot, I generally used a lower F stop (around 4.0).


“Haunted Happenings” Grand Parade (Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: October 3, 2019 (held annually the first week of October)

Location: Downtown Salem (Congress St, Derby St, Front St, Washington St, Essex St, Salem Common)

Summary: Salem’s Chamber Of Commerce kicked off the month long “Haunted Happenings” celebration for the month of October. Scores of heroes, monsters and kids came together to celebrate and march!

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Clowns, super heroes and super villians were only a few of the characters who marched the 24th annual “Haunted Happenings” parade last Thursday night to kick off Salem’s month-long “Haunted Happenings” celebration.

The theme of this year’s parade was “The Future Is Ours” and some of the participants used futuristic props to fit into the theme of the parade.  These park rangers, for instance, had a futuristic robot ranger in the parade!

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What would a Halloween parade be without candy?

Well, since candy tossing is not permitted, some of the participants ran over to the onlookers with fistfuls of goodies.

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What always entertains me about the Haunted Happenings parade is the unexpected and spontaneous things some of the marchers will do (more on this later).

For instance, who needs feet to walk?  These kids used an unorthodox method of marching.

 

Some of the marchers chose to drive in the parade.  The parade participants arrived in a variety of vehicles, or, er, caskets,

 

Some of the more popular people in the parade weren’t the participants.  These motorcycle cops slowed down to share some high fives with their fans.

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Holy Bat caves!  Where was Robin?

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Shiver me timbers, pirates and other characters were also there.

 

The usual suspects, Jason, Michael, Pennywise and Frankenstein’s monster were all their.  It’s a wonder we all made it out unscathed!

 

But, these guys and ladies were there to protect everyone!

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Not all of the marchers were dangerous or scary, though.  Mermaids, poets and this nice gentleman who had “lotion in his basket” were also there.  Ok, maybe the last guy wasn’t so nice.

 

Of course, there also were bands, baton twirlers and flag wavers.

 

The best part of the parade is seeing how much fun the kids are having.  In fact, it had some of them jumping for joy.

 

Just to preface this photograph, I will often bend down, kneel or squat down low when I photograph subjects or events, especially little subjects, so I can be at eye level when I photograph them.  So, I was photographing the parade, minding my own business when someone tapped me on the shoulder and got down to my eye level!  It was both unexpected and hilarious!

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Not all of the great costumes were worn by the people in the parade, though.  All of these people got into the spirit of the parade!  Or, they may just regularly dress this way.  I don’t judge!

 

Funny story.  I saw this cute unidog or dogicorn while I was walking to the parade.  Well, it turns out I had actually photographed her at the parade last year as well.  Ginger the Goldendoodle is 2 years old.  I look forward to photographing you next year and for many more years to come, Ginger!

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This was her costume last year!

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This is the first time I used a dedicated flash (a flash that is not a pop up flash and not built into the camera) during night time photography.  Hard to believe since I have been doing this photography thing for a while now.  But most of my photography is done during the early morning, daytime or sunset hours.  This is something of a common misconception though.  I would later learn in my research that you can and in some instances should use a flash during daytime hours and on sunny days.  But, in the past, I was so unsure and unfamiliar with night time photography settings, I would often switch to video when I thought it got too dark to photograph images (this is what I did at last year’s Halloween parade).

I think you can see the difference a speed lite can make (I didn’t use the flash for all of my night time photographs because some subjects weer near light sources when I shot them and I did want to save as much of my battery life for my flash as they can often use a lot of power). Plus, the dark, night time feel can be a good look for photos, especially for a Halloween parade shoot.  I think you may be able to tell which photos I took with the flash and without based on the lighting in the photos.

I have learned a great deal about flash photography and the best teaching tool is experience.  Although I am still learning, one tip for a shoot like this is to never point the flash directly at your subject.  Try tilting the flash upward or at an angle, particularly when shooting outdoors.  I am using the Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI and I use the ETTL (Evaluative Through-The-Lens) mode which is similar to using the Automatic setting on your camera.  The autoflash, is the mode where the camera uses information obtained through the lens (“TTL”) to calculate how much light the flash needs to emit for the appropriate brightness. The camera then automatically sets the flash output accordingly.  My next goal is to learn how to use the manual features to maximize the effect of my speed lite.

Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page to see additional photos I have taken  from all over New England here: Facebook page.


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.


Toytopia (Springfield Museums, Springfield, MA)

Date Of Visit: July 3, 2019

Location: Lyman And Merrire Wood Museum Of Springfield History

Highlights: classic toys on display(sometimes for use)

Website: Toytopia

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Rubik’s Cube.  Monopoly.  NES.  Do these games bring you a warm, fuzzy feeling of nostalgia?  Then you would have loved the Toytopia exhibit this summer at Springfield Museum.

The exhibit featured a variety of old style arcade games such as Ms Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Defender and Dig Dig.  The games were able to be used and the museum conveniently provided change making machines for visitors to make change so they could partake in the games.

One of the most popular exhibits was the Etch-A-Sketch exhibit, largely because of the works of a famous Etch-A-Sketch artist.  The Etch-A-Sketch display showcased the work of George Viosich.

The display showed off George’s Etch-A-Sketch’s portraits of  Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson.  His portraits can take up to 150 hours and they can sell for $5,000 to $10,000.

 

Zoltar, the fortune telling machine from the movie “Big” and his parrot were also at the exhibit.

 

A toy that replicated the musical stairs from the movie were also part of the exhibit which patrons could use to make their own music.

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There was also a display of Lego figures that ranged from Star War figures to Marvel and DC characters.

 

The exhibit also showed off popular toys from every decade and era going back to the early 1900’s

 

AS if that wasn’t enough fun, there was also a Thomas The Train exhibit in the Springfield Museum of History.

The exhibit featured a replica of Thomas The Train and props from the show.

 

The train also allowed visitors to use toy pieces of coal to start the train.  Reminds me of fueling up my car!

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The Toytopia exhibit showed how everyone, regardless of age, size, gender