New England Blogs

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hey, where's the lamb????

Day 8/Year 2
Of course!!! After the winter we've had. Of course we are ending the month of March with a Nor'Easter. The snow started coming down here late this afternoon. I shot this photo as we were leaving D'Ann's Restaurant in Abington this evening. Wasn't the best meal I ever had.........but then again I didn't have to do any cooking, so I won't complain.
Taken from The Farmers

The Truth Behind “In Like a Lion out Like a Lamb”

"With March being such a changeable month, in which we can see warm spring-like temperatures or late-season snowstorms, you can understand how this saying might hold true in some instances. We can only hope that if March starts off cold and stormy it will end warm and sunny, but the key word is hope. However, this saying seems be to more of a rhyme  rather than a true weather predictor."

And so there we have it!
The Specs:
Panasonic LX3, ISO 500, 1/30, f2

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jeezum Crow!!!!!!!!!!!!

We sure have some unique terms and phrases here in New England. I come from the Boston area, and when something is really good, we say it's "Wicked Good"..........errrr, that is pronounced "wickid" by the way.
My good friend Phil Thompson (who is known as PWT on the Scenes of Vermont Forums) is a true 100% born and farm raised man from rural VT. If he were to like this photo, for example,  his response would be......
"Jeezum Crow, now THAT'S a good picture" errrrrrr, except picture would be pronounced "pitcher".
Here's an excerpt from Urban Dictionary:
 Jeezum Crow:"A polite way to take the Lord's name in vein in rural Vermont".
Now an excerpt from "The Vermont Encyclopedia" by John J Duffy, Samuel B Hand, and Ralph H Orth:
"Jeezum Crow!" A colloquial exclamation frequently heard in Vermont and also in Northern New Hampshire and Maine. "Jeezum Crow" is a benign alternative to a common profanity. It expresses frustration or emphasis, as in "What.......a bunch of hippies are starting a commune in the woods? Jeezum Crow Mother, get me my shotgun!"
I only report the facts as I find them. :-)
The Specs:
This photo was taken today at Whitman's Pond in Weymouth by the way
Nikon D90, 18-200 mm lens, ISO 200, 1/1600, f5.6, -1/3 ev

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jack Sparrow

Dinner time at the feeder in the late afternoon light.
The Specs:
Nikon D90, 18-200 mm lens, ISO 200, 1/160, f5.6

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mind BOG-gling

Day 5/Year 2
I hope you're not "bogged down" with all of the busy things that life throws at us! :-) I was down at the bogs today, but I certainly wasn't bogged down. After picking up my contact lenses in Pembroke, I took a ride visiting some of the many ponds and cranberry bogs in that neck of the woods.
Those of us living in SE MA are very fortunate to live among literally hundreds of cranberry bogs. Perhaps we take them for granted and don't appreciate their beauty? The many different shades of the cranberry red color spread across the landscape is such a beautiful sight to behold.
Come October, most of the bogs in the area will be flooded and the cranberries will rise to the top and they will get sucked up and trucked away . This particular bog in Pembroke does "dry picking" and the cranberries are carried away in a helicopter that hovers as the cranberries are being picked. I missed getting down there to photograph the picking this past Fall. I hope to get down there this year, and if I do, I'll certainly post some photos here on the blog..............a bog blog!
The Specs:
Photo one: Nikon D90, 18-200 mm lens, ISO 200, 1/200, f11
Photo two: Nikon D90, 18-200 mm lens, ISO 200, 1/160, f11

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Getting Closer, Getting Closer

Day 4/Year 2
I got this beautiful rose at work today from a Patient who didn't want to bring her flowers home. I knew it would be the perfect subject to do more practicing with the Nikon 4T close up filter. The above photo was shot at an aperture of f7.1, focusing on the yellow petals in the center.
This next photo was taken using an f stop of f2.5, focusing on the pink outer petals.
I took advantage of the "live view" feature on the Nikon D90 with the camera set up on the tripod. (Thanks Tracy for mentioning live view on one of your recent posts) I have never really given the live view feature a chance, as I much prefer using the view finder. But, with this closeup photography, I have found the live view to be very helpful. It really helps you to see exactly where the focus point is.
The Specs:
Photo one: Nikon D90, 50 mm lens w/ Nikon 4T closeup filter, ISO 200, 1/13, f7.1
Photo two: Nikon D90, 50 mm lens w/ Nikon 4T closeup filter, ISO 200, 1/125, f2.5
"And although you will say
I am still too naive
But I have not lost faith
In the things I believe

And if I don't have this all worked out
Still I'm getting closer, getting closer
I still have far to go no doubt
But I'm still getting closer, getting closer"
----------Lyrics by Billy Joel

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Day 3/Year 2
Second guessing myself, with a possible regret about this photo. This was shot on that cold cold day that Diane and I went to Rhode Island to photograph farms for my Camera Club Portfolio Project. The theme I chose for my Portfolio Project is "Family Farms of New England". I LOVE the idea of this shot. I LOVE the whimsy. I LOVE how it portrays life on the family farm.......a calf and a barn perfect! Only thing I don't love is the quality of this shot. I like it, but not sure I love it. The project will be judged on the quality of the photos. We were supposed to submit 12 images......the best of the best. The project has been submitted without this photo. There's no turning back. I hope I made the right decision of keeping it out. I agonized over this project and put a lot of pressure on myself. This was supposed to be fun! :-)
I have a cold and just didn't feel like going out shooting today after work. How liberating these second year rules that I set for myself are!!! It's great to dig into my files and pull out an older photo to post, on a day like today where I am a little under the weather. This photo didn't make the project, but I'm happy to share it here on the blog. Hope it put a smile on your face!
The Specs:
Nikon D90, 18-200 mm lens, ISO 640, 1/60, f4.8

Friday, March 25, 2011

Setting Goals

Day 2/Year 2
After doing some soul searching and taking time to think about my photography, and in what direction I would like to take it, I thought it might be a good idea to set some goals for year two of this project. Landscape photography always has been and probably always will be my favorite type of photography. I'd like to broaden my horizons and get out to shoot some areas of New England that I haven't shot yet.........the Connecticut Coastline and areas such as Mystic Seaport come to mind. I'd also like to photograph more down on Cape Cod and the Islands. They are practically "in my own backyard" so to speak, and I have no idea why I haven't spent more time shooting down there. I've spent a fair amount of time photographing in the White Mountains Region of NH, but there is still so much more in that area that I would like to see. Western MA has been on my "bucket list" for the past few years, but time just hasn't allowed me the opportunity to get out there shooting. Goal number one for me is to visit each of these places some time during the next 365 days, and hopefully come home with a few "keepers" as well.

Last week at camera club, one of our members showed a slideshow on closeup/macro photography using closeup filters. (Thanks Lynne, it was beautiful!) This got me thinking...........I ALREADY HAVE a NIKON 4T closeup filter that I bought several years ago to use with my Panasonic FZ8. I took it out of the camera bag today, and low and behold it fits on my Nikon 50 mm lens. Goal number two for me is to perfect my closeup/macro work. Now, gear is an important thing with closeup photography. I wish I could afford to get a nice new macro lens, but with Miss J's upcoming wedding, I have no extra cash to burn this year. So, I will work with what I have, and hope to see some improvements with my macro work. I used the Nikon 4T closeup filter, with the camera set on the tripod out in the backyard this afternoon shooting rhododendron buds. I set the camera to macro mode and tried both manual and automatic focusing. Now that I look at the exif info, I see I was shooting at f8. Hmmmmm.....will be practicing more with this closeup filter?

Goal number three is working on more long exposure photography.

Goal number four is to perfect the art of panning. I have only made one attempt at panning, and would really like to work on perfecting that technique because I think it's just plain cool!

Sound do-able? I hope so!
The Specs:
Nikon D90, 50 mm lens with Nikon 4Tclose-up filter, ISO 200, 1/320, f8

Thursday, March 24, 2011

This.............I Love!!!!!

Day one/Year Two
As a "congratulations for finishing your 365 day blog project", my friend (who also happens to be my boss), Leah, gave me this beautiful New England plaque. I can't think of a more thoughtful or appropriate gift than this. It was humbling to receive it and it will always be displayed in a special place in my home forever and ever.
The words really got me thinking about what I photograph, and I decided to make a collage of some of my favorite photos, to go along with the wording. I hope you enjoy it:
It's been strange for me to not be shooting any photos the past few days. I have been leaving the Nikon at home, and it feels as though I am missing a very important body part. I'm not liking this feeling. It really hit me today.......for a year straight, I took both cameras out with me, wherever I went. Well, I was at the bank this afternoon, just up the street from my house, and there were 4 deer feeding in the woods. It was a beautiful peaceful sight, and I enjoyed the few minutes I just sat in my car and watched them. BUT, and this is a very big but.........I didn't have the big boy with me to shoot with, and I really could have gotten some great shots.......if only I had my camera with me!!!! I can't take another day of this little break, so I guess I am committing myself here at this very moment to another 365 days of shooting. Ready or we go!!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 365

Wasn't Mother Nature kind to me? She provided a SuperMoon this evening........what a lovely ending to the past 365 days! This was taken at Cohasset Public Beach, just as the moon was rising over the rocks. It was a beautiful sight to behold!
 I can't believe that 365 days have passed since I first posted on this blog. What a year it has been! We have celebrated so many wonderful life events this past year, and it has been a pleasure to share them here. My initial reason for starting this project came from a desire to improve my photography skills. The more you press the shutter, the more you learn. It's as simple as that,  Learn? Oh yes, I have learned a lot. More than I ever imagined. Not only did I learn and reinforce the photography skills, I also learned a little bit about myself in the process. I can't even find the words to express how I feel about seeing this project to it's completion. It has been a roller coaster ride. Some days were highs, and others were low. (There were many more highs than lows I am very happy to say.)  Challenging? .........Yes. Rewarding?......Even more so! I believe I learned more on the low days than on the high days. Those days I had to dust myself off and really dig into my creativity to come up with a photo to post.........those turned out to be some of the best days.
The big question I have been asked over the past few weeks has been....."What are you going to do when this project is finished"? The answer is easy. I am going to keep on doing this. I can't stop. It has become some what of an obsession. I also know that I still have a lot to learn, photographically speaking. I will allow myself some leniency on this next phase of the project. There will be days where the photo will not have been taken on that exact day. I will be okay with that (I think). :-) I know Mr. S will be okay with that. This hasn't been easy for him, and I would like to thank him from the bottom of my heart for his support. I have seen him cringe on more than one occasion as I pulled out the camera in a public place to get the photo of the day. He knew how important is was to me, and he would (usually) just shake his head and take a deep breath, and allow me to do what I had to do.
I'd also like to thank our 3 kids for allowing me to publicly display parts of their lives over the past year. N wanted to remain faceless, and I always kept his wishes in mind. One of my most favorite blog photos is the one I took at his Police Academy Graduation Ceremony. He gave me permission to post that photo, as a gift to me. It meant the world to me. Then there's my beautiful Miss J. You have seen quite a bit of her here on the blog. What a year she has had! Stay tuned for her up coming wedding in October...........Then we have Jay. His personality shines through in his photos and there's never a dull moment with him. :-) Finally, I'd like to thank my Mom and Dad. I think they made more appearances here on the blog than anybody. Not only are they the best parents in the world, but they make pretty darn good photography subjects!
Lastly, I would like to thank you, the viewers of my blog for all of your support both publicly and privately. I will be thrilled if you stick it out here with me and follow along on this next part of my photographic journey. I will be taking a few days off from blogging, but I will be back.....perhaps with a new look?
And as the final words I always read to the kids each night..........................

Friday, March 18, 2011

My Pioneer Man Hero :-)

While traveling along Rte 93 North this afternoon, on our way up spend the weekend in VT, the Weeney Wagon broke down. I KNEW we should have taken Frita (she's my vehicle and a very reliable girl!) Anyways, the weeney wagon overheated so we pulled over into the breakdown lane. Steam was rising from under the hood. Mr S opened the hood and found a broken hose that goes into the intake manifold. It was completely broken off leaving a hole in the intake manifold.
Next thing I know, Pioneer Man (aka Mr S) was in the woods breaking small branches off the trees. He brought these branches up to the truck and found one that was the approximate size to plug the hole. He then took out his pocket knife and whiddled the stick to get it to be the right size.
Pioneer man then grabbed an empty gallon jug from the back of the truck and headed back into the woods. He soon returned with the jug full of water. He found a stream to fill the jug in the woods, and filled the radiator with water.
Temporary fix...just to get us off the highway and to the next exit (exit 17 in NH) We ended up in downtown Penacook NH (what a quaint little town with some beautiful white steepled churches) Pioneer Man knew all he needed was a bolt to temporarily block the hole. We pulled up to the hardware store in downtown Penacook at 5:07 pm. It closed at 5 PM. Problem.
Pioneer Man then turned around and headed back to a motorcycle repair shop that he saw up the road, went in and came back out with the owner and a bucket full of bolts. The owner was a great kid!!! He and Pioneer Man found just the right bolt to plug the hole......with a few turns of a ratchet and a few bangs of a hammer, the hole was plugged.
I would like to give a big shout out to Farwell Cycle in Penacook NH.
They couldn't have been any friendlier or more willing to help. They loaded us up with three gallons of water and we were on our way. Rather than risking going North to VT, we decided to head back home to MA. We made it home, safe and sound at 7:30 pm.
The Weeny Wagon will be getting a permanent fix tomorrow morning.
Pioneer Man is snoozing on the couch right now. :-)
We have been making trips to VT for years, and this is the first time we've broken down. Not a bad record......let's hope this was the first and last!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Mayfower returns for the season

Each year, the Mayflower2 leaves Plymouth Harbor to spend the winter at a boatyard in Fairhaven. This afternoon, she made her journey back to Plymouth. The above photo is the Mayflower being pulled by a tug through The Cape Cod Canal. The bridge in the background is the Sagamore Bridge.
It feels like we are truly going full circle with the past 365 days. Two more days to go on this project. Do you remember what the photo was on day one? It was the Cape Cod Canal and the Sagamore Bridge. Ironic.
It didn't take her long to whiz past us. The current in the canal was very strong and she cruised past us at a pretty fast speed.
We stopped at Ellisville Harbor State Park on the way home and saw the Mayflower and tug far off in the distance:

My favorite photo from today was not the Mayflower, but this shot that I took at the State Park:

On another note...................

An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Trying out a new lens

A day early, I know. :-)
This is my parents den as the rain was coming down outside this morning. Tomorrow promises sunshine and unseasonably warm temps. The leprechauns should be happy about that!
Last night I received a lens from Slava, a very talented member of my camera club. I really wanted to use it for today's photo, but I had to settle for an indoor photo as the rain was relentless. Slava was doing some housekeeping, and decided to give away a few pieces of his gear that he no longer uses. I was the lucky recipient of the Nikkor 28-80 mm f3.3-f5.6 AF lens. It's "plasticy" but the good thing is the light weight......feels so much lighter than the 18-200 that is my go-to lens of choice. I am thinking this will be a good walk around lens. So far, so good as far as image quality. I am looking forward to giving it a go outdoors.
The Specs:
Nikon D90, 28-80 mm lens, ISO 200, 1/60, f5.6, flash fired
Thanks Slava! ;-)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

That face!!

Someone needs a haircut! You can barely see his eyes. Those eyes are the window to his thoughts. They are very soulful, and it's as though I can read his mind when I look into them. Corny? yes.........but I bet all of the pet lovers out there can relate to what I'm saying. I just love his little face, and I'm so lucky to have him here to brighten up my days.
The Specs:
Nikon D90, 18-200 mm lens, ISO 200, 1/160, f5.6, flash fired

Monday, March 14, 2011

'Till death do us part

Finding beauty until the end. These flowers are from a bunch of assorted flowers that I bought for myself at the grocery store last week. Some have remained fresh and upright, but these few have drooped over the side of the mason jar......yet, there is still beauty to be found in them, yes?
The Specs:
Photo one: Nikon D90, ISO 200, 1/25, f5.6
Photo two: nikon D90, ISO 200, 1/20, f5.6

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sharp as a knife

I don't why.....but sharp knives give me the other words, they creep me out. The chefs at work have some pretty scary looking knives!
Speaking of sharp, I have previously mentioned here on the blog how happy I am with my little point and shoot camera. For a point and shoot, I don't think you could get a lens that's much sharper than the Leica lens that I have on my little Panasonic LX3. The year is almost up for this 365 day project.......and that little camera has been a wonderful tool to versatile...... and it's filled in the gap on so many occasions, where the DSLR would have been too bulky for me to be carrying at the time. The LX3 lives in my pocketbook and goes everywhere with me. Of course my go-to camera of choice is usually the D90, but as a companion camera......especially for a project where you have to shoot every single day.........the portability and the IQ of the LX3 has been a real treat.
The Specs:
Panasonic LX3, ISO 160, 1/30, f2

Saturday, March 12, 2011

For my birthday girl! :-)

Nothing could be more fitting for Miss J's birthday, than some beautiful soft, delicate flower petals, with a beautiful center hidden within..........they are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside.......just like Miss J!
Sending birthday hugs, kisses, and lots of love to my special angel. xxoo
The Specs:
Nikon D90, 18-200 mm lens, ISO 200, 1/10, f10, Glowing Edges Filter applied with Photoshop CS3

Friday, March 11, 2011

Girl's yearly roadtrip!

Left the house at 5:15 this morning. This photo was taken while driving along Rte 95 in Providence Rhode Island. A true New England Landmark is located along the side of the road on Rte 95 in Providence. We all are familiar with this guy, and can't help but looking forward to seeing him as we cruise south.
So.......onwards we headed down Rte 95 South.

Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard CT.
 It has been a yearly tradition that we go to Foxwoods to celebrate my friend Marlene's Bday.
 I had all sorts of luck on this machine. As you can see, I'm a real big gambler.......this is a 1 cent machine. :-) I walked away from it 150 dollars richer. Woo-hoo!
The day ended on a very sweet note:

Happy birthday Marlene! I need to go take a nap now...............

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mac 'n cheese

Comfort foods. Don't you love them? I consider macaroni and cheese to be a comfort food. It has to be the home-made kind though. NOT the stuff out of a box or out of a frozen metal tray. I'm talking the real stuff. The homemade kind that's baked in the oven with a crusty top. You gotta have the crusty top.
The Specs:
Panasonic LX3, ISO 400, 1/30, f2.2

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

It was a quick and easy visit to get Ashes today. One of the churches in Weymouth (my parents town) was offering Ashes for 24 hours straight. Yes, that's right. The Catholic Church has joined the drive thru frame of mind. wasn't a drive through, but it was almost as easy.......Walk right in, kneel down and say a few prayers (if you chose to do so), get your're in you're out. Well, that is if you didn't stop in the back of the church with your cell phone in your hand, indiscriminately taking a photo of the candles. Nobody noticed me. I checked to be sure. I'm getting good at this. I think I'd make a good secret agent working for the government. The CIA. Or the FBI. 
Okay, back to reality. It really was convenient, especially for my parents. It would have been a lot for my Dad to sit through a service. He's still pretty weak....but he's doing quite well.
The Specs: 
As noted, this was taken with my cell phone. I used the Poster Edge Filter in Photoshop, to give a little bit of an artsy look.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Repeating lines, patterns, shapes, and big wings too!

Went for my annual eye exam today. I asked the man behind the counter for permission to take a photo while I was waiting......explained to him about my 365 day project. He laughed at me and said he hoped I'd find a better picture than that today. Hmmmf.........what does he know, right? I had to explain to him about lines and repeating patterns and shapes, and how these elements combined together can create an artisitic image.
I left there feeling good about both the eye exam, and the photos I took there. On the way home, I stopped off at a cemetery in Hanover.......there is a gorgeous image to be had there.......will go back in the Spring during the early morning light or the late day light to get it. As I was scoping out this scene that I have in mind, a Red Tailed Hawk swooped by me and landed in a distant tree. Could the man behind the counter have been right afterall? Was I going to get a "better" photo than the eyeglasses??? Well, I waited it out and slowly walked towards the tree, knowing he would eventually be flying away. I only waited about 10 minutes and bingo!

Granted, I could have used more reach than the 200 mm lens I was using. I had to crop these in post, but all in all, I was fairly happy to get them, especially the natural catchlight I caught in the eye.
I honestly would have been happy with the eyeglass photo, but the Hawk was an added gift for me. I hope you had a good day as well!
The Specs:
Photo one:Panasonic LX3, ISO 80, 1/80, f2.1
Photos two and three: Nikon D90, 18-200mmlens, ISO200, 1/1600, f5.6

Monday, March 7, 2011

Got Gas?

This was the price tonight at a gas station in my hometown. From what I have heard, the prices are going to continue to rise over the next few weeks. UGH!
The Specs:
Panasonic LX3, ISO 400, 1/30, f2.8

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Poop Patrol

A man's gotta do, what a man's gotta do.
My profile here on the blog says something about my life may not be exciting.........:-)
The snow has melted on the lawn, leaving behind all sorts of broken twigs, sticks, and small tree limbs. It also is finally exposing the "doggy droppings" shall we call them........
Mr. S was on the job of picking up all of the winter's leftovers this afternoon. Let's just hope I don't get any comments or emails about this being a real "sh*tty post", or perhaps others may think that this post really "stinks".
The Specs:
Nikon D90, 18-200 mm lens, ISO 200, 1/320, f5.6

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What the Hull?

I really miss Vermont. I haven't been up there all winter. We were going to go this weekend......decompress after the hectic times of late...........but the weather up there was looking very rainy. so we didn't go.
Lucky thing. It was BEAUTIFUL  here in Southern New England this afternoon. The sun came out, the temps were in the mid 50's.......even along the coast. We went to Hull and walked the was delightful! Wish we had brought the dogs, as they would have loved it.
I have been eyeing this beautiful old church and wonderful old red building for quite a while. They make for a wonderful New England scenic. A very talented member of my camera club, Neal, recently took some shots of this scene. Thanks Neal for inspiring me to get out there and make my own images here.
What you are seeing is St Nicholas Methodist Church.......and that wonderful old red building was the first Town Hall in Hull, and then an elementary school, and then a fire station.
The Specs:
Nikon D90, 18-200 mm lens, ISO 200, 1/800, f9, -1/3 ev

Friday, March 4, 2011

The big stretch

We are all God's creatures.....and we all have our needs to survive.
The squirrels make Mr. S crazy, but I don't really mind them. They're just doing what comes natural to them. Can't blame them, right? Besides, they are pretty fun to watch.
The Specs:
Nikon D90, 18-200 mm lens, ISO 200, 1/200, f16, -2/3 ev, force flash

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ready for takeoff

Can I tell you how GREAT it felt to press the shutter of the Nikon today? It's been over a week since I used the Nikon. Being so busy with my parents, it was much more convenient for me to just use the Panasonic Point and Shoot. I missed my Nikon!!! I missed my birds!!!!! It was a happy reunion this afternoon.
The Specs:
Nikon D90, 18-200 mm lens, ISO 200, 1/500, f5.6, -2/3 ev

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

He's home!!!!!!! :-)

So happy to report that my Father got discharged from the hospital today. It's been a long 10 days. It has taken a lot out of him......he went sound asleep in his new chair (Thanks Roseanne and Linda) :-) as soon as he sat in it!
The plan? As of now, as long as things stay stable, he will return to the hospital  in 6 weeks for surgery. We have , in my opinion, the best surgeon for the job, and have complete faith in him. He couldn't be in better hands.
Thanks for all of the thoughts, prayers, and good wishes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I took Mom out to lunch at the Abington Ale House today. The Keno slips were calling our names. We should have ignored the call..........
The Specs:
Panasonic LX3, ISO 400, 1/13, f2