Old Sturbridge Village Antique Sleigh Rally

Saturday (February 22, 2014) – There was a MeetUp on Saturday at Old Sturbridge Village for their Antique Sleigh Rally with the “Discover your passion… For Photography” group. Unfortunately, because it had to be rescheduled from another date because of the  lack of snow earlier this month, the organizer was unable to make it and we were all on our own for the day. There were lots of folks armed with cameras, but no one that I chatted with was there as a part of our group.

All of the horses were working hard pulling their sleighs through the snow. The miniatures were so cute! After the rally was over, I spent the afternoon wandering around the rest of the village.  Below are are my favorite shots from the day. Enjoy!

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Wickford Village Festival of Lights

Sunday (December 8, 2013) – There was a MeetUp on Saturday in Historic Wickford Village on Saturday with the “Discover your passion… For Photography” MeetUp group, but since I was in Plymouth for a PDP MeetUp, I could not attend. After looking at the pictures that everyone posted, I couldn’t help but head down there myself on Sunday.

The local shops go all out with their window displays and holiday decorations. The entire village center makes you feel like you have stepped back in time. There were photographic opportunities around every corner.

Below are a selection of my favorite shots of the afternoon. Enjoy!

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Mayflower Society House

Saturday (December 7, 2013) – I attended a MeetUp with the Plymouth Digital Photographers Club at the Mayflower Society House in Plymouth. The downstairs was was decked out a la 1940s Christmas and the upstairs was decorated with the standard 18th century period furnishings that regularly fill the Mayflower House Museum. we were very lucky to have a member that organized a private viewing and photography session before the museum was opened to the public for the afternoon reception and tours.

After our hour and a half in the Museum, I wandered down to the park where the Mayflower II is docked and along the shore. I also made a stop on my way out of town at the Jenney Grist Mill.

Below are my favorite shots of the afternoon. Enjoy!

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Thanksgiving in Mattapoisett

Thursday (November 28, 2013) – I had a fabulous afternoon and Thanksgiving meal with family down in Mattapoisett this year. We finished just as the sun was setting. Needing a little time to let my meal settle before indulging in Mom’s fabulous apple pies, I made my apologies and shot down the road to Ned’s Point Lighthouse hoping to catch some shots of the setting sun. There was a bit of a breeze blowing across the point, but being the intrepid photographer that I am, I ignored the frigid numbness that spread through my extremities, donned my gloves and oh, so flattering Red Sox winter hat and took as many pictures as I could before completely losing feeling in my fingers. Below are my favorites. Enjoy!

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Quincy Quarries Meetup

Saturday (November 23, 2013) – I went to my first Boston Area Photography Meetup last Saturday. I had never been to the Quincy Quarries. It is very easy to get to, right off the highway on the other side of the rotary from the start of the Furnace Brook Parkway. I have driven that stretch of highway my entire life and never known it was up there. It is an interesting area, with tall, graffiti-covered rocks and spectacular views of the city in the distance. It attracts rock climbers and photographers alike. I wish I could have know about this area years ago before they drained and filled it in. I saw pictures from back when it was an active quarry and later when it was filled with water and it looked spectacular.

I met some great people that share my love of photography and hope to reconnect with them on future Meetups. We shared tips and tricks onsite at the Quarries and shared drinks and conversation afterwards at a nearby restaurant. Below are some of my favorite shots of the evening. Enjoy!

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The Sun Sets on Our Last Day on Kauai

Wednesday (August 28, 2013) – We took the scenic route back from Waimea, stopping along the way several times. First stop was the Russian Fort Elizabeth. The Fort dates back to 1817 when the Russians came to Hawaii. After the Russians were forced to leave later that year, the fort fell under the command of the Kingdom of Hawaii. It was abandoned in 1853 and eventually dismantled about a decade later.

We had passed these huge fields of bushes several times and finally had a chance to stop and see what they were. COFFEE BEANS!!

As we continued along the winding coast road, we happened upon an area of Koloa where there were lots of people sitting along the wall by the water. We stopped to check it out and were rewarded with the best sunset yet.

Below are my favorite shots of the evening. Enjoy!

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Waimea Landing State Recreation Pier

Wednesday (August 28, 2013) – After our visit to Spouting Horn, we headed back up to the Waimea area. We had been told that there was a black sand beach in the area and we were determined to find it. After Cook “discovered” Hawaii in 1778, Waimea became important to the Pacific trade routes. A wharf was built at Waimea Landing in 1865, followed by a railway route in 1898 that  connected all the sugar and rice plantations between there and Polihale to the shore. The original pier has since been replaced with a smaller version now only used for fishing and other recreational activities.

The sand was not as black as I imagined. The fine grit of the ground up black lava is mixed with the yellow/tan of the regular sand of the area, creating more of a grey-toned sand. It was very soft and warm.

Below are some shots from our visit to our first black sand beach of Hawaii. Enjoy!

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Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata)
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Spouting Horn

Wednesday (August 28, 2013) – Just up the road from our resort is a County of Kauai Park area called Spouting Horn. It is a formation of volcanic rocks down below the cliffs. Here is why it is referred to as “Spouting”. When the waves crash into the rocks, the holes, crevices and tubes in the rocks fill with water. When the next wave comes in, the force of that water crashing into the rocks forces the water and air in the tubes up and out holes in the top of the rock formation. Because the hole in the top of the rocks is so much smaller than the hole that the water enters through, it creates an incredible amount of pressure, sometimes shooting the water over 100 feet in the air.

There used to be two spouts in the rocks, but years and years ago there was a plantation owner nearby that was not happy with the salty spray from the water spouts blowing over onto his crops. So one day he went down to the spout with a bit of dynamite and blew one of the small holes into a great big one, ending the second spout forever.

If you head to the left of the blowhole and you stand at just the right angle, you can hear a groan of air getting pushed out another hole in the rocks with each spouting wave. Of course in true Hawaii form, there is a legend that goes along with the natural phenomena. There was a great lizard that lived in the cliffs, terrorizing the inhabitants of the area. One day a young boy confronted the great lizard and stabbed it with a stick. The mighty lizard gave chase to the young boy who took refuge in the caves of the cliffs. The lizard chased after him and subsequently got stuck in the caves, unable to escape. Now as waves crash you can hear the lizard roaring in anger after its lost prey.

Below are selections from my visit to Spouting Horn. Enjoy!

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Weird fruit from a tree.
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Salamander (I think)
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Bougainvillea
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Kukuiula Boat Harbor
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View of Spouting Horn from Kukuiula Boat Harbor
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Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) Looking a little windblown
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And like everywhere else on Kauai, chickens everywhere!
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Na Pali Coast

Wednesday (August 28, 2013) – Today’s adventure took us out on a 60 foot catamaran to snorkel and view the Na Pali Coast. We had heard good things about Capt Andy’s and our resort was able to get us a great discount. We left out of the Port Allen Marina in Hanapepe Bay and headed up the coast past Waimea. When we reached the point, we had to wait about 20 minutes for the Navy to complete a test missile launch out of the Pacific Missile Range Facility. They told us we would be able to see the vapor trail from the launch, but we hadn’t seen anything when we got the “all clear”, so it must have been a dud. While we waited, we got to see some flying fish.  At first, my thought was that they were hummingbirds, but why would hummingbirds be out over the ocean? They were small and fast and impossible to get a shot of.

As we rounded the bend, we got our first view of the Na Pali Coast, beyond Polihale State Beach. To see the coast from the water is a completely different perspective from seeing it from land. Either way, it is beautiful. After a bit, we were joined by some Spinner Dolphins. There were a few babies in the pod and a couple of adult dolphins were even (ahem) “fighting” (ahem). Yeah, that’s it. Fighting.

We stopped just past the beach in a small cove area to do some snorkeling. There were hundreds of fish, but not much variety. I hear there was a turtle there, but I seemed to keep missing it. I took this time to try out my new underwater camera. Snorkeling was a lot of fun. The wind and current were very strong, so I just kinda floated wherever the water wanted to take me.

After snorkeling, we continued up the coast for more magnificent views of the Na Pali Coast. The Captain and crew told us some stories and legends handed down through the Hawaiian people.

The day was great and I didn’t even get sunburned. That SPF 100 really works!

Below are a few of my favorite above water and underwater shots. (Sorry about the volume. There were so many to choose from, it was hard to narrow it down to even these.) Enjoy!

Polihale Beach
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Kalalau Valley (View from the top can be found in Waimea Canyon post)
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Lehua – Uninhabited – As a Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuary is home to at least 16 species of seabirds.
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Ni’ihau – Privately owned by the Robinson family since 1864, only descendants of the family with Hawaiian blood are allowed to live on the island.
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Spinner dolphins
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Underwater shots from snorkeling
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Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge

Tuesday (August 27, 2013) – On our drive back down the coast we made a stop at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is home to hundreds of birds that nest in the cliffs. In the winter months hundreds, if not thousands, of migrating humpback whales can also be found in the waters around Kauai. Unfortunately, during our trek to the Islands, they were all up in Alaska for the summer.

The Point is also home to the Kilauea Point Lighthouse. Built in 1913 to guide ships on their voyages to the Orient, it is the nation’s westernmost lighthouse. It was rededicated in May of 2013 to Hawaii’s beloved Senator, Daniel K. Inouye. Until his death in December of 2012, he had faithfully served the people of Hawaii in the U.S. Senate since 1963, “illuminating the voices of Hawaii citizens”.

Below are some of my favorite captures from my visit to Kilauea Light and Refuge. Enjoy!

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This Wedge-Tailed Shearwater (‘Ua ‘U Kani) comes back every year to nest at the lighthouse. She had a new fledgling when we visited, but kept it tucked snugly underneath her while we were there.
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A Red-Footed Booby (‘A) posed for us on the fence.
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Ilima (Sida fallax)
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Beach Naupaka (Scaevola sencea)
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Ke’e Beach

Tuesday (August 27, 2013) – One of the great things about Hawaii is that all beaches on all of the Islands are public and access cannot be restricted. Even if there is beachfront private property, there must be public shoreline access somewhere along the property. However, there is no guarantee of public parking. In fact, there is limited parking at most. People park along the road leading to Ke’e Beach, many walking up to a mile to get to the beach once they have parked. However, the parking gods were looking down on us and there was someone leaving just as we arrived, so we were able to secure a spot close to the front. Ke’e Beach is in a cove, perfect for wading and snorkeling, nestled at the foot of the northernmost point of the Na Pali Coast. The water is crystal clear and blue as the sky. There are these really cool trees along the shoreline. The sand around their roots has been washed away over time and their roots stand free supporting the trees.

There a are also a lot of chickens.

Below are my favorite photographs from Ke’e Beach. Enjoy!

Looking towards the Na Pali Coast.
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360 degree view of the beach from the water
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The Windward Coast of Kauai

Tuesday (August 27, 2013) – Because of the geography of the island, one cannot drive completely around Kauai. The most northwest corner of the island has never been and never will be developed. Monday, we did the leeward side and today was dedicated to driving up the windward side of the island. The areas around Lihue, Kapa’a and Princeville are more developed than the rustic area that surrounds Waimea that we explored yesterday. We drove up Kuhio Highway which hugs the coast for most of its length. We headed to the furthest point along the route, where the highway ends, at Ke’e beach, literally less than 100 yards from the Pacific Ocean.

After a relaxing lunch of PBJs and pretzels on the beach, we moved on, retracing our steps back down the Kuhio Highway. This time, we stopped often to admire the sights along the way. Some of our stops will be their own post. There was just so much to see and take pictures of that there is too much to include in one single post.

Below are my favorite shots from our travels along Kuhio Highway. Enjoy!

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Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge
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On the horizon, to the far right, are Mount Kawaikini (the highest point on Kauai – farthest peak to the right) and Mount Waialeale (the original volcano that created the island – flat peak just to the left of Kawaikini)
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Kealia Beach
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Looking down to Hanalei Bay from Princeville area
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Polihale Beach, Kauai

Monday (August 26, 2013) – We were told the best place to see a sunset on Kauai was at Polihale State Park. So after descending down from Waimea Canyon, we headed down the 4.5 mile dirt road to the Polihale Beach. This is the first beach that we have been to since arriving in Hawaii. The sand was so soft! The water was like bath water!

We sat on the hill and watched the sun descend into the horizon. It was spectacular.

Below are a few selection from my sunset at the beach. Enjoy!

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Looking down Polihale Beach towards the Na Pali Coast.
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Can you see Niihau Island in the distance to the left of the clouds?
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Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Monday (August 26, 2013) – Let the exploring begin! We have been told that north of where we are staying is Waimea Canyon. They call it the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. I have been to the Grand Canyon and was eager to see how Waimea Canyon compared. We wound our way (literally) up Route 550 through Waimea Canyon State Park into Koke‘e State Park. The views were spectacular!

Below are a selection of my favorites from that day’s explorations. Enjoy!

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Kalalau Valley
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Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) Brought with and introduced by the Polynesians when they settled the Islands of Hawaii.
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There are chickens EVERYWHERE! On September 11, 1992, Hurricane Iniki ravaged Kauai. The storm destroyed many of the chicken farms throughout the island, releasing the chickens into the wild. Since there are no predators on the island, they have multiplied and thrived.
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Montbretia (Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora)
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Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata)
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We were the same height as the clouds at the lookout at the top.
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Pueo – Hawaiian short-eared owl (Asio flammeus sandwichensis)
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Welcome to The Point at Poipu

Monday (August 26, 2013) – We arrived in Kauai late Sunday night and were disappointed that Mr. Rourke and Tattoo were not there to present us with our leis. After settling in at the resort we all collapsed from the sheer exhaustion. It had been 18+ hours since I had left my house that morning. Unfortunately, after only about 3 1/2 hours of sleep, my brain woke up at 4:30 am. Convinced that it was actually 10:30 am and I should be sitting at my desk at that time, it refused to let me go back to sleep.

What’s a girl to do? Well, this girl grabbed her camera to go see what she could see. Without the congestion and lights of a big city, the constant ambient light that exists at home doesn’t exist here. The darkness is incredible. Without the flashlight on my phone, I wouldn’t have been able to see where I was going.

In a “holy bajeezus, what the heck is that?!?!” moment, I nearly stepped on a toad in the grass. Also, despite my declaration in a previous post, I was out there to see the sunrise. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!! (Also, I am in HAWAII!!) I encountered another couple of creatures on my way back to the room.

The resort is absolutely spectacular. It is right on the coast and the grounds are filled with tropical plants with a group of terraced fish ponds that descend down into the pool area. They are filled with HUNDREDS of Koi.

Here are some shots from the morning sunrises I was up to early enough to enjoy during our stay at the Point at Poipu as well as the sights and various creatures that I encountered around the grounds. Enjoy!

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Garden snail
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You may not realize how big this thing is until you see it in perspective.
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I was out on the rocks taking pictures of the waves. I was so intent on capturing their power as they struck the rocks that I completely missed the fact that they were crashing progressively higher and closer. This is the one that ended up getting me. As I pressed the shutter, I uttered “Oh crap!” and turned just in time to protect my cameras from getting soaked as well.
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Plum Island

Sunday (July 14, 1013) – The Newburyport Photowalk group held a Meetup at the Plum Island Lighthouse. E & I headed up there after our afternoon at the Butterfly Place. About 20 members of the group attended. We spent some time down on the beach photographing the water and the pier. Then everyone headed over to the lighthouse.

It was nice to have other photographers around to share ideas with and to give and get advice on camera settings and composition. However, having so may people in such a small area made for some difficulty setting up shots. Someone was always wandering into someone else’s frame.

It is a very beautiful area and I will probably find myself up there again someday, but I could have done without the Noseeums and Greenheads. Below are a selection of my photographs. Enjoy!

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Butterflies

Sunday (July 14, 2013) – E & I went up to the Butterfly Place in Westford, MA. It isn’t a huge place, but worth the trip, especially if you are able to buy your admission through LivingSocial or Groupon as I did.  There are butterflies fluttering all over the place. If you stand or sit still they will occasionally land on you. Once landed on E’s leg for a short bit and another on my pants. But don’t try to catch them yourselves. They are extremely fragile and doing so will get you kicked out. It has to be relatively warm for the butterflies, but they have the a/c on to keep it from getting overwhelmingly hot.

One of the complications of taking butterfly pictures is that they don’t like to pose. They are constantly flitting about and don’t stay still for long unless they are feeding. The iridescent blue one was constantly on the move and the few times he did stop, he tended to keep his wings closed. There were a couple whose wings flapped so fast they were nearly impossible to capture. Below is a sampling of the many different butterflies that we were able to photograph. Enjoy!

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Fun with Glowsticks

Saturday (July 5, 2013) – What to do with leftover glowsticks from the 4th of July festivities. Experiment with extended exposure, of course!!! A couple of 13 year olds, a 10 year old, a 7 year old and I had some fun. I used a varying range of exposure lengths – from 2, 4, & 8 seconds all the way up to 15 & 30 seconds. I played around with the results a bit with post-processing as well. For some I used the invert colors function (white background) and others, I applied a tint other than the original glowstick color. However, most are the original colors. Here is what we came up with.

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Sharon Fireworks over Lake Massapoag

Wednesday (July 3, 2013), was the Annual 3rd of July Party at Casa de Campbell followed by the Sharon Fireworks. They always do a fabulous job. This year was no exception, although the trees at the clearing that we watch from need to stop growing. Each year our view gets a little more obstructed.
I am working on my Fireworks photography techniques. Below are a sample of the shots that I took.
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Jenney Grist Mill & Pond, Plymouth

Saturday (6/29/2013), I attended a Meetup with the Plymouth Digital Photographers Meetup Group. Our focus was Macro & Close-Focus Photography.  I met a lot of new interesting people that share my love of photography. It was a chance to share our knowledge, techniques and ideas.

It was pretty overcast all morning with a few intermittent showers, but that made for some great shots.  No sun meant we weren’t fighting the brightness that is often an issue when photographing flowers as well as the rain provided some great water effects on everything. Below are a sample of the photographs that I took.

Queen Anne’s Lace
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Wildflower found along banks of Jenney Pond.
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Water drops from rain on fallen leaf
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Wild day lily
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Raindrops on tall grass
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Water drop on Daisy.
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Dragonfly posing on wet grass.
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Not sure what this flower is, but it was really pretty.
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Lily pad & flower in Jenney Pond in the rain
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Wild Aster
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Yellow ground flower found along edge of parking lot.
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