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I am in the photo and outside it -- cool, eh?

Hey I wanted to share a really cool photo I took yesterday. We went cycling on the Nashua River Rail Trail about 10 days after the storm that hit New England in October. For a while I had a camera around my neck. I usually like to be stationary when I make photos but thought — why not try my skill at shooting on the fly? So I set my camera for a fast shutter speed and started shooting as I rode. One result is above. I like it! — You?

This is one of the better sections

Much of the trail was as above but crews had done much work to clean things up — yet the trail was still closed. Obviously a little yellow tape will not stop the dedicated cyclist — all of it was down and quite a few riders were there. Riding on a trail like this was like being on an obstacle course — a little extra mindfulness and you are home free.

Riding with two cameras! This one in my iPhone

The photo above was made with my iPhone — I had more trouble controlling it than my Panasonic LX5 — maybe because I take far more photos with the LX5? Dunno — but I do know that the iPhone one captures the motion and chaos — so in some ways it superior. But I like my self portrait on the fly best!


Beautiful Skunk Cabbage -- my precious...


Better late than never!

This harbinger of Spring usually arrives in late winter. The photo above was taken near Snake Meadow Brook in Westford Massachusetts just the other day — April 2nd. Its a nice Skunk Cabbage one — they do make nice photos when they are sprouts!



I’ve been going through old magazines — Aperture, Doubletake, Leica Fotografie, and Provincetown Arts. I need to get rid of all but a few in a collection that spans over 20 years. Some of these magazines I hadn’t read until now others are more dog eared. But almost all are in great shape because I tend not to read but to skim them.

This morning I came across a time capsule of a gem of a magazine — Provincetown Arts 1990. This is an annual magazine founded and edited by Christopher Busa — he is still at it today according to the new web site. http://provincetownarts.org/beta/

One of my photographic heros is on the cover, Joel Meyerowitz. Joel is still very active and his career and work just seem to continue to grow. The interview and photos in the magazine are magic. The issue is not as slick as the more recent ones. The paper is more pulpy and I must admit I like it. It has more heft. More weight. Mostly in black and white, making the color page pop & surprise.

Joel looks so happy on the cover. Now he seems more intense — might just be the moment, pose or photographer, of course. Then again it might be that he has matured — see his advice at the end of this post — maybe he took it. I met Joel a little later than 1990 at the DNA gallery in Provncetown. He was showing some work there and we bought a very large piece that he had scanned from street work he did in the 1970’s then processed it in Photoshop — this was around 1995 — and tiled it printing the tiles to create and print something like 3 feet by 4 feet. He told me he had taken the time to master Photoshop — ahead of 90% of the photography world I believe.

Here is a bad scan of a bad photo I took of Joel when I bought the print in 1995. He is standing with two others (don’t remember who they were) in front of the print.

The entire issue of Provincetown Arts is like a time capsule. Its great to read articles by John Grillo and Tony Vevers and to see ads for shows of their work back then. They are still active and John is in his later 80’s now I believe. We always go to see his work at the Cove Gallery in Wellfleet when we are on the Cape. Once we move there (we are planning to do that this year now that we are both retired) we will be able to go to openings at times when we are not on ‘vacation.’

Lots of great articles here — but I particularly like this one “Working Women of Provincetown” what great black and white photos! Here is a page from the article:

See what I mean. Its nice and pulpy.

The back cover is an ad for the Cherry Stone Gallery. It closed except by appointment a few years ago. Sall Nerber was the owner and what a great person she is. Her gallery had local artists showing for the first time as well as – well – Robert Motherwell. In the 2006 issue of the magazine there is a tribute to Sally and the Cherry Stone and I think it was the next year that it closed.

Finally here is a quote from the interview with Joel. His advice is good:

After he says that taking a photo is easy —
‘you press a button’ — Joel is asked if that’s what he teaches his students. His answer:

“I tell them that if they learn to pay attention carefully enough and to be mindful of their own instincts, they might reveal something necessary to their own growth, and to their understanding if what the world’s signals are, for the world is full of signs. Photography is a demanding and difficult form, yet worthy and profound. It takes the endurance of a tough personality to stick with it. It takes time to see the evolution of one’s work. That is done through the discipline of doing it over long periods of time and believing that the work will teach you something about the medium., about yourself, and about life.”

Joel has lived up to his own words for the last 20 years and for at least 20 before that. He is a modern master and we are lucky to have still working hard and paying attention. And I am very glad to not have thrown this magazine out. Its a keeper!


The song and dance man in action!

The scene from 36 rows back

Aurora and I ventured into Boston on last Sunday to see and hear Bob Dylan at the Wang center. The show was very enjoyable and the band was perfect. Bob’s raspy voice was sometimes too far gone but on other numbers it was clear and I imagine easy to understand. I say imagine because the band with its ramped up bass was often overpowering. Brilliant — but too damn loud!! (Ok so I’m an old guy.)

Bob wasn’t kidding back in the sixties when he described himself as a song and dance man. (When asked ‘do you consider yourself a poet?’ he answered — ‘no, more of a song and dance man’) He was like a low keyed minstrel on Sunday with arm gestures  and foot kicks included. The lighting kept changing and so did the colors on the stage — very often they had a nice south western tone.

Listen to this  bootlegged uTube entry. I love the intro’s combination of honesty and hero worship.

Sounds pretty good and the bass that was so over powering in person is almost non-existent. (A little more would be better, actually.)

After Boston, Bob moved right on to NY where Dion opened for him. Here’s the New York Post review:

Dylan’s Delightful!

Sounds like another great show. We wonder why the man keeps going. He told Sixty Minutes a few years ago that he had made a pact with God — needed to stay on the road to fulfill it. I take him at his word — no irony there. He channels the life force as much as anyone who has ever been a pop culture icon and as much as many prophets. As Langston Hughes told us years ago — “Listen!”

(We enjoyed walking around the city before and after the concert. It was a warm night for November and just perfect for a city walk. Here’s a photo I took — I’m getting my street photography mojo working again — I think this is my favorite way of photography.)

Boston at night

Nice semi decisive moment -- don't cha think?


After the draw down

Shipley Swamp Looking toward Nabnasset Lake, across the beaver pool

Read the rest of this entry »


A boardwalk through the marshes on Plum island.

Marsh Loop, Plum Island

Sorry I haven’t written a new blog entry for a while. Last time I was in a bad mood over the long winter, now I’ve been busy with Spring.

So what’s going on? Well, I formally left the Baha’i faith fifty years almost to the day I declared my belief at fifteen in 1958. I also joined a cooperative art gallery in Newburyport and sold three prints during my first weekend there. Website: http://bridgegallerynewburyport.com/

Maria, my youngest daughter is graduating from college and preparing to start graduate school this fall. We attended her thesis presentation and she was as her professor said, ‘perfect.’ Aurora and I are enjoying our membership in First Parish Church United in Westford. Lad is going to turn 15 next month, he has the wise old dog look as if he is seeing into the world of mystery and spirit.

My grown daughters are living their lives and I hope are happy. Aida is settling in to a new job while also doing well with painting and consulting. Robin and I had a great visit in March and she seemed so relaxed and happy — I hope she continues to be that way. I haven’t heard from my eldest free spirit, Dawn for a while — I hope she is well and happy. (Sent Robin and Dawn Mom’s day cards — they each have done wonderful work in raising their kids — many thanks to them and the universe for that!)

My Grandchildren are growing up — Jack has a new job, Eddy is teaching Freshman English and doing well in graduate school, Shaylyn is thinking of going to college on the East Coast — yeah!! — and Elliot is growing up and enjoying his new school (how I miss them all!) Shay paid us a visit in April and it was such a treat. She is so delightful to be with and I think she had a good time as well. Visited RISD and some art schools in Boston. I hope she picks one next year.

Meanwhile politics, local and national, marches on in its surrealistic way. Extremists abound. Mean spirits continue to rule and the rest of us rue the day. Yet our problems are not petty nor mean. They are the result of our success as a species. Its pretty clear that what is needed is for us to grow up and quickly. It is human nature itself that is challenged and needs to evolve — with great rapidity – if that’s possible.

While I feel very good — liberated — about the Baha’i decision, I think it a shame the Baha’i faith hasn’t had greater impact. Some of what the Bahia’s teach is good medicine. But its such a stew of mixed and contradictory beliefs and behaviors that in good conscience I can’t call myself a Baha’i. Greater impact would stir some of the questions that need asking now — I don’t hold hope that Baha’i has all the answers but questions? Yes it offers many.

I saw Karen Armstrong speak at a TED conference recently. She was receiving an award and gave a wonderful talk. From the TED website: (Armstrong) “talks about how the Abrahamic religions — Islam, Judaism, Christianity — have been diverted from the moral purpose they share to foster compassion. But Armstrong has seen a yearning to change this fact. People want to be religious, she says; we should act to help make religion a force for harmony. She asks the TED community to help her build a Charter for Compassion — to help restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.”

The thoughts from this talk that have stayed with me include the conclusion that religion is not primarily about beliefs; rather its about behavior. I suppose the beliefs are a means of encouraging certain behaviors. Another lasting thought is that the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) all have the virtue of Compassion at their core — embodied in  the Golden Rule. Simple. Makes me wonder why the religions have gotten so complex. (Maybe its because as Karen says, “the Golden Rule is difficult.”

Here is a link to the talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/234

For me the problem with religion is that most of ’em claim to offer the infallible word of God. If you need to know what to do and you are religious you can look it up in the holy book. Of course this breaks down at times (often) and then the believers need to come up with logic that explains away the contradictions, logical fallacies, and misinformation. I think that only if we keep things simple — the golden rule, the four noble truths, “Love one another as I have loved you” — there is hope.

Most faiths act as if they had the only or ultimate truth. Baha’i says — all religious are true but ours is truer because its the latest revelation from God. Seems simple — but its a dangerous and divisive attitude. The concept that God progressively reveals more truth over time to meet the needs of each age seems simple too. But its simplicity precludes the problem solving and truth finding that we need to do in our lives as we follow our own unique path.

This is what drew me to the church we recently joined. It is affiliated with Unitarian/Universalist and through them with the teachings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I get much wisdom and pleasure from his writings. His advice is to listen to one’s inner voice, to intuition. He advises us to not seek the truth in books but in our own ‘genius’ — that is the spirit within. A kind of contradiction because I am seeking wisdom in books of his. At least Emerson doesn’t claim to be the voice of God!

The UU approach implies that truth can be found in many places, sacred and secular. I think this is good advice. Also the rejection of the belief that certain historic figures were unique and were incarnations or direct voices of God is good. As Emerson taught, the same source of truth that Christ had we may have as well. Christ set an example of how to find that source and we would do well to emulate it. But to worship him as God or nearly God or God’s only son is rejected. I agree. And I also reject the infallibility of Baha’ullah and the others in Baha’i who claim it because no one born of flesh was ever infallible. Worth following? Possibly. Infallible? Not possible.

I hope to write in this blog more often. I’ll get back to being more specific and reporting events that might interest others — like apparently skunk cabbage — one of my readers (or I guess searchers/googlers) most favored subjects strangely enough.

Meanwhile enjoy the springtime and let me know your thoughts if you want.


Corn Field in Snow

Corn Field in the Prospect Hill Conservation Land, first week in December 2007

I raise my pelvis to God
so that it may know the truth of how
flowers smash through the long winter.
(Anne Sexton (1928-1974), U.S. poet. “The Fierceness of Female.”)

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Over and over, year after year, the flowers need to smash through. This spring it might be a little more difficult. We have had and are still having an old-fashioned New England winter. It snowed last night on March 28th, a week into spring, and then turned to rain. I went out to take photos to record the event before the precipitation stopped. But now low and behold, it’s snowing again, coming down pretty good.
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Cider Mill In snow
The Trail to Cider Mill Conservation Land on March 28th, 2008
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Of course before we had spring and winter snow we had fall snow in early December. Anyone thinking of moving south?
Along the Trail 12-4-08
Boulders Along the Trail – First Week of December, 2007

Burges Pond Fall 2007This is my best Canon G9 image yet. I’m very pleased with it.Shot in jpeg still it responded well to post processing in PS CS II. I’m working on my Westford Regional Art Event entries and of course next years Westford Conservation Trust calendar.The photo was taken in Westford’s East Boston Camps conservation area. The pond is Burges Pond, a lovely one in the middle of the 300 acre conservation land. Its clear and clean and very natural despite use by boys and girls camps for about 40 years.Please let me know if you like this one. I really do.


Leaves and Branches

(Nature, like politics can be very complex and confusing. Photo above taken in Westford conservation land)

Last night we watched the republican debate on CNN. It was worse than useless, Depressing and a waste of time.

The front runners McCain and Romney had at each other, partly because the questions set them up. The two others sounded a bit better but had trouble getting a word in edge wise.

CNN should be asshamed of itself for asking the wrong questions. McCain and Romney should be ashamed for falling into the trap set by CNN.

We will probably watch again tonight as the Democrats go at each other.  But we don’t expect anything better.


Hawk with Dinner

I saw this magnificent hawk in my backyard the other day. It had just killed a gray squirrel and was eating it. (You can just see it under the hawk) From my upstairs window I got some shots. It left after a short while only to return again. Seemed to be listening for me but not sure I was there. Of course in my excitement I forgot the importance of shutter speed — I had it set too low as well as ISO. But the photos are okish and I will do better next time — damn it!

Hawk Flying With Dinner

This one shows the hawk leaving the first time, squirrel in tow. It did return — so I guess it didn’t mind posing for photos!

Of course its been almost a week and I still have not seen another squirrel in the back yard. No hawks either!

Use of photos

Photos on this blog are copyright protected. Therefore, if you wish to use photos please make a donation in an amount of your choice. My PayPal email address is fwinters@verizon.net.

Prints are available at Fine Art America

Or contact me directly.

Thanks.

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