Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall at Wachusett Reservoir, West Boylston, Massachusetts, USA

It was a beautiful fall day so I drove inland a few hours to try to catch the peak fall leaves in the Wachusett area. Wachusett Reservoir, (and mountain, ski area, and state park), is located about 45 miles straight line due west of Boston.

The view above is in the section of the reservoir where Route 12/140 cross the water. In the image above, the Old Stone Church (built in 1892) is visible on the point. The gull was a lucky fly-by.

It is pretty special wandering around through the New England fall, experiencing the kaleidoscope of colors exploding against the bright blue sky. This view is on the grounds of the Old Stone Church. 

Looking back at the Route 12/140 highway bridge.

A classic New England church scene - The Oakdale United Methodist Church in West Boylston.

The same church.

Typical topography in the area.

Although many times when I walk out my door, I have a good idea of what a particular blog post is going to be about and how it will look, just as often I don't. Therein lies the challenge - to find images, pair up some text, and make it coherent for the reader to experience in about one minute. For this one, my only goal was to capture spectacular fall colors. I think I succeeded.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Holmes Farm, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Always good advice.

Holmes Farm in Manomet is our local "Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)" farm where we've enjoyed buying fresh locally grown produce through the summer and now into the fall.

Whether for carving or eating, it's that time of year.

It's nice to remember that food comes from people who work hard on the land - it does not come from plastic trays and packages.

I like to support my local farmer.  I always remember that bumper sticker I've seen on the car in front of me while sitting in traffic - "No Farms, No Food." 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod, Truro, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA

I don't know about you but I've never really thought of New England as a wine growing region. Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod, however, has been producing wines for ten years in the sandy soil of the outer cape. On this mid-October visit I found the vines bulging with ripe grape clusters almost ready for harvest.

The Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod are easy access off Route 6. They offer tastings, tours, special events, a wine club, a gift shop, or, you can just walk along the vineyard and enjoy the setting as I did.  It's a hands-on family business and it feels good to visit.

Looking across the vineyard at their processing and central business area. (A peek of Route 6 is at the upper left corner).

I am not much of an oenophile but they had multiple grape varieties growing on the south facing slope.

I am not much of a farmer either, but I liked how well-kept and orderly everything was - well-tended rows, sturdy supports, efficient drip-irrigation system, and all the vines and grapes covered in mesh to protect them from the critters.

There is a signpost in the main area that points to France's Loire Valley 3500 miles to the east........

...... and California's Napa Valley is 3100 miles away to the west.

Look at that sandy Cape Cod soil! I find it fascinating that the popular wine region of northern California is just below latitude 42 degrees north, southern France is just above 42 degrees north, and central Italy is also  just above 42 degrees north. Truro and much of southern New England is right at 42 degrees north - who would have thought? Maybe we're poised to be the next great world wine producer.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Priscilla Beach Theatre Restoration, Priscilla Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

The restoration of  Priscilla Beach Theatre has made great progress to have most exterior work complete before the weather turns wintry. The intensive construction work began in late May of this year. 

The stone revetment has been completed on the northeast side and the fill dirt leveled. Coincidental but, I like the matching sugar maple and construction tractor, too.

Priscilla Beach Theatre, now in their 78th year, is the oldest barn theatre still in operation in the United States. The ongoing restoration work by Owners and Guardians Bob and Sandy Malone will be completed in time for next summer's performance season - "Fiddler on the Roof," and "Chicago" are already scheduled. You can read my other blog posts about the construction progress and stage performances by typing "Priscilla Beach" in the search box in the right side column of this blog.

The latest addition inside is the construction of this apron extension to the stage - it will provide more space for the performers to perform!

The new 8-foot apron (I drew red lines around it) as viewed from above the main stage - for orientation, the stage is at lower right, the audience area is at upper left.

The restroom complex is ready for electrical and finish plumbing before the walls, floors, and ceilings are closed in.

Support local theatre - wherever you live. Without the creative performing arts to enrich our lives, we will all turn into automatons who can only bury our face in our cellphones - though it might already be too late for some. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Out and About, Manomet, Chiltonville, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

It was a beautiful day for a walk in Manomet instead of dodging the high tide at White Horse Beach. Here's a spectacular view overlooking Cape Cod Bay from Manomet Bluff - and an obliging Amy in her fuchsia sweater and trademark hat! The tip of land at the right is Stage Point.  

On days when you can see the horizon clearly, the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod is just visible twenty miles away straight across the bay (75 miles if you have to drive on the roads across the entire cape). (Panorama - click on image to view in full width).

Earlier in the day at lower tide and before the beach was covered in the shadow of the bluff.

And just a few hundred yards away at a small pond, this adult Red-shouldered Hawk was perched on a dead tree looking for lunch.

Since I was inside and making this image through dirty double-paned glass he didn't fly away at my movement. Of course, it's not very sharp for the same reason.

I didn't see any hawks here, but fall colors were looking good on Bartlett Brook.

And in the neighboring community of Chiltonville, these old beech trees grace the approach to Bramhall's Country Store. 

Behind the store is the Chilton Congregational Church, the ninth offshoot of the original Church of the Pilgrims. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Walk in the Woods, Great Blue Hill, Blue Hills Reservation, Milton, Massachusetts, USA

I made another trip to the Blue Hills Reservation to walk up Great Blue Hill.  As I mentioned a couple days ago, the reservation is a 7000 + acre property about 10 miles south of Boston. Laced with hiking trails and hills it provides a green oasis close to the big city and is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). There are 22 hills within the 10 square miles of land. The highest point, Great Blue Hill, is 635 above sea level.  This is the view from the stone tower near the top looking northward at the city of Boston.

This is the view toward the east. Yes, we do have quite a few trees here even though surprisingly, Massachusetts is the third most densely populated of the United States (according to the 2010 Census). 

This stone tower viewpoint was built in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corp. It is about a half hour walk uphill either along the paved service road or along the rocky trail.

It is a great old man cardio walk - steady uphill at a constant incline on a paved even surface. If you follow this private service road on foot to the top of the hill you'll find the Blue Hill Weather Observatory which began making weather observations in February 1885 and has continued uninterrupted to this day. It is the oldest continuously operating station in the nation.

The fall leaves are carpeting the forest.

In the millennia before the European conquest of this land, the Native Americans known as the Massachusetts, "people of the great hills," inhabited the area. Colonists settled here in the 1600's building farms and logging lumber. Today, the Boston area is recognized as the center of the known universe. (Of course, some might disagree).

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lighthouses, Provincetown - Part 3 of 3, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA

Just a short distance from downtown Provincetown, there are three lighthouses, each with their own dramatic storied histories.  They are located in the adjacent Cape Cod National Seashore. They were built in the 1800's and are still operating. I was able to see two of them.

The image above is Long Point Light. It is my favorite from this entire trip. I really like the clean lines and simple elements in the composition. 

Same scene a few seconds later.

Race Point Light.

 Race Point Light after I performed some processing manipulation.

A Herring Cove fisherman with Race Point Light in the background. 

It was a great trip to a great area - Cape Cod is a special place and going in the spring or fall avoids the crowds - I especially like that.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Out and About, Provincetown - Part 2 of 3, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA

I have attempted to make this image hundreds of times over the years - usually unsuccessfully - either I get the bird wing angle wrong, or I miss him altogether, or the background is wrong, or the sun is too bright........or, or, or.   But this time, I like what I got! The zoom-blur effect adds just a touch of implied motion in a still image. 

This is another of my favorite activities while in Provincetown - climbing up to the top of the Pilgrim Monument. The 252-feet high tower (which rises 350 feet above sea level) was completed in 1910 with a dedication ceremony by then President Taft. It's the tallest all-granite structure in the United States and all the granite came from Stonington, Maine.

The staircase up involves alternating steps (116) and inclined ramps (60).  It is a fairly easy climb all things considered.

The spectacular view is a worthy reward. View toward the east.

This panorama (click on image to view in full width) isn't really so wide as to capture the curvature of the earth - I was holding the camera through the safety bars while trying to pan evenly without dropping the camera while not banging into the bars - I like the effect although it wasn't intended.

The view toward the west.

About three-quarters of the town's land area is comprised of the Cape Cod National Seashore parkland with beaches, bike trails, dunes, and just beautiful scenery everywhere. This fall day was windy, bright, and fresh for wandering about.

These dunes line the east side of the cape in the protected Cape Cod National Seashore. When the Pilgrims arrived 400 years ago, the cape was fully forested.  Generations of overuse led to the dunes of today. Under current parkland designation and oversight, the slow regeneration of the land is underway.

This life-saving station was built in the late 1800's and was originally at Nauset Beach south of here in Chatham. Beach erosion required it be relocated so the National Park Service moved it to Provincetown in 1977. There were more than 1000 shipwrecks off this small stretch of Cape Cod coastline back in the olden days and life-saving stations were often busy rescuing folks.

Late afternoon light reflected in an outbuilding near the life-saving station.

Enjoying the late afternoon golden light and cool breeze.

Long shadows in deep ruts in the late afternoon.

When it's time to head back home, this sign is posted on the highway. It creates a clear picture of the width of the United States to follow this road all the way across.

A short distance farther is this sign.  There must be a large number of turtles to merit their own sign.