White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Battling Bluff Erosion, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Many/most of the property owners along the bluff in Manomet have paid big bucks to have stone seawalls erected along the base to help reduce erosion from storms and tides. It fascinates me to realize that each of these huge, heavy stones was carefully placed by the heavy equipment operator delicately selecting, orienting, and then placing the stones.

But for all that effort and cost, nature is always more powerful than heavy stones. As high tides literally suck the sand out from behind the seawall, eventually it collapses and the sand slides down. The trees at the top of this eroded bluff will topple in coming years.  A coastal bluff is a living thing subject to the ebb and flow of tide and sub-surface water in the bluff.

Even these huge purple stones that served as a stairway to the beach path were moved out of position over this past winter.

The dynamics of beach erosion have led to an array of different types of stairs.  Some install wood and have to replace it often.  Some install metal and pull it up every winter. It is my totally subjective and unscientific opinion that the above style of metal stair (welded aluminum) is the best (and probably the most expensive).  It is maneuverable by a few humans for pulling up in the winter, it looks goods, and it lasts a long time.

Friday, June 24, 2016

"A Chorus Line," Priscilla Beach Theatre, Priscilla Beach, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Priscilla Beach Theatre (PBT) will open its run of the spectacular Broadway hit, "A Chorus Line," on July 7th. Above, Director Emily Maltby demonstrates the desired pose to the rehearsing cast.

Although the saying, "toe the line," seems to have originated with track and field events, it seems equally appropriate in this production.

The stage set is spare featuring only the dancer's line on the floor and the full width mirrors at the rear. And yes, through the magic of Photoshop, I erased my reflection in the mirror.

There's an old joke about a visitor in New York City asking directions by saying "how do you get to Carnegie Hall?" The response: "practice, practice, practice." The cast here for "A Chorus Line,"  is spending five hours a day for weeks in rehearsal leading up to the opening on July 7th.  The breezy ease the performers exhibit doesn't happen by accident.  It is the result of painstaking preparation.

The original 11-show run sold out quickly and owners Bob and Sandy Malone have added three more shows to try to meet the demand. Come out and enjoy this talented national cast in this classic show.

Contact PBT at 508-224-4888 or online for tickets and/or information.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Paddle-About, Bartlett Pond, Manomet, White Horse Beach, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Today was one of those days - calm, great reflections - certainly a kayak paddle-about is called for.

Unusually, this blimp was doing an aerial tour of the area. I don't recall having seen a blimp here before.

Looks like he flew past both Stage and Manomet Points and then headed back north along the coastline.

Hmmm, I think I should try a few panoramas......

....even though my panning motion is difficult to manage while twisting my body sitting in a kayak.

I am fascinated by the software that stitches together multiple slices of a panned image and smooths things out. The kayak paddle, for example, is not curved in real life as it appears above. It is straight as an arrow.

Here I am wandering gently around the pond. (Photo courtesy of Tim Morse).

The "nine window" house creates a nice reflection today. And speaking of reflections,..............

...... this is one of my favorites ever. Life is good in Manomet.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fun with Green Screen Technology, "A Chorus Line," Priscilla Beach Theatre, Priscilla Beach, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Priscilla Beach Theatre (PBT) is currently in rehearsal for "A Chorus Line." I did a photo session recently that utilized the "Green Screen" technique that is the subject of this post. You photographers out there who follow this blog may find this interesting.

The actress above is posed in front of a "Green Screen." A key light is placed low to the right side and a fill light is placed high to the left side and another touch of fill light is placed to the front. I did not use a flash. "Green Screen" is a widely used technology especially in the video/TV world. Almost every television weather forecast utilizes the technique to superimpose the weather reporters in front of various weather screens.

I am a simple man - I use amateur point-and-shoot cameras and amateur software - I was anxious to see how using parts of the Green Screen technique would turn out.  I did not use the specific Green Screen software but made do with the features already on hand in my software of choice, Photoshop Elements 14.

Using the "Expert" edit mode, the first step was to "Select and Copy" the actress as shown above using the "Quick Selection Tool." Next I used the "Select - Refine Edge" pull down menu to refine the edge including capturing the wispy hairs to the right of her head.

The next step was to "Paste" that image on to a different background and position and size it using the "Move" tool.

This background was included in the Elements program.

This background I downloaded for free from the internet.

Same actress with a slightly different pose.

If I just want a solid color background, I can use the "Adjust Color - Replace Color" function and replace the green with blue for this example.

Back to the "Select, Refine Edge, and Copy" technique.

Then "Paste" that image on to the new background, use the "Move" tool to position and resize it.

Specialized type or logos can be added using the same techniques or, one can simply click on the "Type" icon and apply the fonts available in Elements.

A different actress, same techniques.

"Adjust Color - Replace Color" function and replaced the green with purple.

"Select, Refine Edge, and Copy."

Then "Move" to position and resize and  - voila!

I like the bokeh backgrounds.

A different actress, same processing technique.

Same actress, different pose, same techniques.

It worked pretty well if I do say so myself!

As has always been a goal of this blog, I seek to use simple, relatively inexpensive cameras and software, but strive to achieve great images that can be used to tell a brief story.  I have reached the conclusion that it's not so much the equipment but, what one does with it is what matters most. Since my use is targeted for small screen viewing - smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop rather than hard copy or enlargements, I find this technology perfectly adequate.

And yes, I do make it sound easy here but, I assure you I spent way too many hours figuring it out and here I am making it seem easy.  (Next time it will be easy since I took and kept good notes).

As with all things photographic, it was both fun and challenging and exasperating to figure out how to do all this.  As many of you know, in Photoshop, (Elements or the Full Program), there is usually more than one way to do the same thing and it took a while to sort it all out - instruction manuals, You Tube video tutorials, asking Amy. (I am one of those men who can ask for directions - well, sometimes anyway - and reluctantly).

One of the challenges I avoided this time around was using a "real" background.  When doing so, one must be mindful of light source direction and shadows or else the finished image will look fake. It was a great experience - I look forward to doing it again sometime!

For this Priscilla Beach Theatre run of "A Chorus Line, " almost all of the tickets have already been sold for the 11 performances scheduled during July so PBT Owners Bob and Sandy Malone just added three more shows to try to meet the strong demand.

For tickets and information, contact PBT at 508-224-4888 or online at http://www.pbtheatre.org/ .

Support local live theatre - here or wherever in the world you may live. Their presence in our communities enriches us all and provides performance opportunities for aspiring actors and actresses.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Blue Sky and Bright Sun, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Another picture perfect day at low tide in Manomet.

The bumpy horizon line at left is a function of my uneven panning motion to make this panorama. The land mass is Cape Cod and it isn't bumpy/mountainous like it appears.

The foliage and growth on the bluff helps slow erosion to prevent storms, tides, and underground water saturation from causing landslides.

This panorama demonstrates the way the camera stitches together many vertical slices to create the image. Look at the cloud in the upper left corner and you can see each small vertical band well-defined. In other areas of the image, the software blends the differences and smooths out the image seamlessly.

A last gasp of blooming rhododendron. Another spring season approaches the end in Manomet, a jewel of Massachusetts's south shore.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Barn Show, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

It is that time of the year again when live music graces the rolling hills of Holmes Farm in Manomet. These two sentries kept a close eye on the comings and goings of the humans.

Barn Show Music Series opened its season of outdoor concerts at Holmes Farm on this perfect evening. Co-presented by Hayley Sabella and Brewster Productions, the concert series features original music from folk to country to rock. There are four shows, one each during the summer months. Tickets are $12.

Farm animals aren't the only critters welcome at the venue as the friendly and dapper Wiley demonstrates by rocking his red polka-dot bow.

As the daylight fades, the kids run and romp nearby, in sight and sound of the parents relaxing in their beach chairs.

Or, this youngster prefers to play in the dirt with a little truck.

It's a no frills kind of venue, just beautiful New England summer weather and good live music.

The first performer was Emily Mure.

Professional quality sound was provided by Brewster Productions, a co-producer of the series.

Series Co-producer Hayley Sabella, a musician and performer in her own right, enjoys a laugh before the show begins.

The second act was the trio of Sumner and Moss.

The headliner act, the Mallett Brothers Band, then took the stage for their rousing performance.

And as darkness deepened..........

.......a nearly full moon rose in the night sky. Another perfect evening at the Barn Show. They have had an uncanny knack of experiencing great weather at their shows, (here's a link to my previous posts), and this year is off to a perfect beginning as well!

Come out to the Barn Show and support live outdoor music in our community. Here's a link to their website for more info.