Tag Archives: Photography

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.


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)!


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


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.