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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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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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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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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Chatham

Saturday (June 22, 2013) – For the weeks leading up to this day, we have been inundated with hype about the “Supermoon”. The photographer in me had all these fabulous shots in my head that I could capture. How could I head off-Cape without at least trying?

So, I slowly started to head West and timed my arrival in Chatham with the sunset/moonrise. Unfortunately, there was too much cloud cover to really see much until after the moon had fully risen into the night sky. But I got some good ones after the clouds cleared and as well as some shots of Chatham Light while waiting for that to happen.

Here are my favorite shots from Chatham. Enjoy!

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Rock Harbor

Saturday (June 22, 2013) – After Nickerson State Park, I meandered further East along Route 6. Taking a random left, I made my way into Rock Harbor in Brewster. This is one of the few towns on the Cape that I have never been to, so I didn’t know what to expect.

It is a small harbor that very nearly empties when the tide goes out. And boy, does it go out. I walked for a really long time and went really far out and the water never got above my knees. Actually, it was barely above my ankles for most of the time and much of the sand had no water at all. There were tons of hermit crabs and snails to be found in the numerous tide pools.

Here are some shots from my explorations. Enjoy!

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Trees make great traffic signs for the boats! (When there’s water, that is!)

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As the tide goes out, the channel nearly completely empties. It only fills up enough for boats to return at high tide in the afternoon. If you don’t get out in time, you are stuck at the marina for the day. If you do get out, I hope you don’t need to come back in early!

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Nickerson State Park Creatures and Critters

Saturday (June 22, 2013) – I had to pack up in the morning and check out to head home. Rather than get on the highway to deal with Cape traffic of everyone else that had to check out this morning, I instead directed myself further onto the Cape. First stop, Nickerson State Park.

The scenery wasn’t much to look at – lots of tree with several ponds scattered throughout, but I encountered lots of birds and bugs on my walk through the woods and around the water.

The birds were more heard than seen and when seen, would dart away just as soon as I managed to find them in my lens. I did get lucky a couple of times, though.

Below are some of my favorite critters from the morning. Enjoy!

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Mayflower Beach Sunset

Friday (June 21, 2013) – Besides being my favorite Cape beach to go during the day, Mayflower Beach in Dennis is a great place to catch sunset over the water. Being on the East Coast in  New England, there are limited places that you can see the sun setting over water. Sunrise over water, no problem, but I would have to get up REALLY, REALLY EARLY to be able to capture a summer sunrise. Anyone that knows me, knows THAT isn’t going to happen often! LOL

Dennis is on the North shore of the Cape, inside the hook, so you are able to look west over the water towards the Canal. On a clear day, you can even see a hint of Boston beyond that.

Here are a few of the shots I captured as the sun sank into the horizon and during the blue hour that followed. Enjoy!

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I had a little fun playing around with the 360 degree panoramic setting on my camera.
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Baxter Grist Mill

Friday (June 21, 2013) – Right up the street from my vacation spot in West Yarmouth on Route 28 is the Baxter Grist Mill. I drive by it numerous times when I am down the Cape for my vacation every year. Finally, this year, when I was heading out to explore, I stopped to check the area out.

The mill stands on the edge of a small pond that is home to a family of swans as well as a few snapping turtles (as signs in the area warn). An online search afterwards led me to the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth (http://www.hsoy.org/historic/baxtermill.htm) which provided some of the history of the mill. Baxter Grist Mill was built in the early 1700s and operated until around 1900 – an impressive run, if I do say so myself.

As the gate in the fence that surrounds the mill was not locked when I arrived, I was able to get close to the mill and water for some interesting shots. The mama, daddy and baby swans also came over for a quick hello before heading back to their nest in the tall grass on the other side of the pond.

The sandy clearing filled with scrub pine and ant hills was reminiscent of the summers of my youth in the 70s down in Maushop Village in New Seabury – of nights watching the old men play bocce ball after walking up to the village store by the Popponesset Inn for an after-dinner ice cream.

But enough of my waxing nostalgic. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the afternoon. Enjoy!

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Sunset on Menauhunt Street

Thursday (June 20, 2013) – As the sun began to set, I packed up and continued along the shore, eventually winding along Menauhunt Street in Falmouth. As the sky turned red, I made my last stop of the day in an area called Bournes Pond. I set myself up for some sunset shots over the saltmarsh. There was a bit of a breeze, so not even the mosquitoes could deter me from staying until the last glow of the sun faded into the darkness of night. Below are a selection of the shots from the night. Enjoy!

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Trunk River

Thursday (June 20, 2013) – I followed the shore road and wound my way into the Trunk River area. It’s a tiny little area where River Herring apparently go to spawn, but none were in evidence that day, having finished doing their business between March and May. Many a bird could be heard in the trees and marsh grass that surrounds Trunk River and Oyster Pond, but they were elusive and few were seen. Even fewer were caught by my lens. There were some pretty little flowers that manage to survive the wind and waves that buffet the jetties. Below are a selection of my favorite shots from the area. Enjoy!

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Nobska Light, Falmouth

Thursday (June 20, 2013) – After my drive along the canal, I found myself heading into Falmouth. I had never really explored Falmouth before, so armed with my Guide to Cape Cod Lighthouses, I went in search of Nobska Light in Woods Hole. I spent quite a bit of time there, capturing the lighthouse from every conceivable angle.

I crossed the road and climbed down the bluff to explore the rocks along the shore. Probably not my smartest move and I think my route down was more of a rain gully than a walking path, but nothing was getting in the way of this intrepid photographer and the glorious photographs that she imagined waited below! I will say though, getting down was much easier than getting back up. Here are some of my favorite shots from the day. Enjoy!

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