Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Essex Steam Train

Here's another view of the steam locomotive in Essex.  I was hoping this picture would convey some sense of the power of these engines driven entirely with the energy contained in heated water.  It's pretty fascinating to me.  On a much smaller scale, and without as much soot and smoke seen above,  steam also powered the Stanley Steamer.

Stanley Steamer, Mystic Seaport Antique Auto Show, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Essex Steam Train

Essex Steam Train, Essex, CT

The steam train in Essex is running on weekends, I think, through the holiday season.  You don't see engines like this too much any more.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rocking Chair

Niantic, CT

Along most city streets, one can find benches of various sorts for shoppers to rest.  This is the first rocking chair I've seen out on a main street.  And on top of that, it's pink, with the nice inscription which you can read below.  We all need to start enjoying.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Town Clock

North Stonington, CT

I think every New England town has a town clock located in the town's center.  Here's one I found in North Stonington.  It's been a while since the face has been cleaned, but the time was correct. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Belated Happy Thanksgiving

My Backyard, Niantic, CT

I should've posted this yesterday in honor of Thanksgiving, but I was doing a good part of preparing my own Thanksgiving turkey for a family dinner.  So this is a belated Thanksgiving wish to everyone.  These guys visited my backyard a couple of weeks ago.  They're very skittish and hard to photograph, but I was able to get a few acceptable shots.  This is only about half of the rafter. For some reason, they did not visit here yesterday.  I'm sure they are thankful for that.  I know I have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Strawberry Banke

Strawberry Banke, Portsmouth, NH

If you ever get the chance to visit Portsmouth, NH, you owe it to yourself to visit the Strawberry Banke Museum.  This is a museum which comprises an old neighborhood of Portsmouth known as Strawberry Banke and Puddle Dock.  It traces over 375 years of history with its restored buildings and exhibits.  It's a fascinating place.  We visited here last May and also enjoyed many of the other attractions found in Portsmouth, including a stop at the Portsmouth Brewery.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chagrin Falls

Chagrin Falls

Just some shots of Chagrin Falls, in of all places..... Chagrin Falls, Ohio.  I wonder what came first, the town's name or the falls' name.  In any event, it's a lovely town in the state of Ohio.


Jonathan Edwards Winery

The vines were still green a couple of weeks ago, but I think this season's crop of grapes had been harvested.  The vines are barren now.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Old Building

Norwich, CT

I'm always interested in old, abandoned buildings.  As the saying goes, "if these walls could talk",  I'm sure there would be some interesting stories to tell about these buildings.  I'm not sure if these are being demolished or not.  If they are being demolished, it's being done carefully with a lot of re-cycling.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Big Tree

McCook Point Park

I'll have to do some research to try and identify this tree.  I don't think I've ever seen a tree with so many thick branches coming off of such a short, stubby trunk.  I'm thinking this a European Beech tree.  If not a notable tree of Connecticut, it should be.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Niantic Bay

Niantic Bay

This is a view of Niantic Bay, taken from McCook Point park in Niantic.  It was a crisp autumn morning, but sunny.  We've already had some snow this year, but you wouldn't know it from this picture.  Some parts of the state were hit very hard.  We had only a little snow, and mostly rain.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thomas Oyster Co

 Mystic Seaport

I go to Mystic Seaport many times throughout the year and if you read this blog long enough, you'll probably see many of the pictures I've taken there.  It takes you back to the time when shipbuilding was a major industry in Mystic.  Along with the ships and boats on display, there is a complete seaport town with buildings dating from the mid to late 1800's.  For some reason, whenever I visit the seaport, I find myself taking pictures of the same things.  I must have dozens of pictures of this particular building, each one slightly different.  I know that the next time I go, I'll see the Thomas Oyster Co again, and again I'll take a picture or two as if it were the first time I've seen it.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Memorial Bench

Olin J Stephens Memorial Bench, Mystic Seaport

There are many ways in which people are memorialized.  Buildings, roads, bridges, monuments and the like are erected to remember those who have gone before us, and who have had an impact while here on earth.  Benches are a particularly nice way to be remembered.  This one remembers Olin J Stephens,  yacht builder and trustee of Mystic Seaport.  I'm not sure if I'll ever accomplish enough in my life time to warrant a memorial of any kind, but if it should come to pass, I would want to have a memorial park bench.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Lynx

 The Lynx, Mystic Seaport

This is The Lynx, a replica of a schooner which fought during the War of 1812.  This replica was built in Maine in 2001 and now serves as a educational vessel, teaching the history of  privateers and of sailing vessels during the early 1800's.  You can read more about The Lynx here.  The ship is spending the winter here in Mystic.  About the time I learned this ship was going to be docked in Mystic Seaport I ran across some other images of the ship in the blog, North Country Ramblings, by photographer James Bullard.  His blog is one of many I read regularly, enjoying his pictures of New York state's Adirondack region.  For comparison, you can see one of his images here.  As you can see, a lot of the rigging has been removed in preparation for the winter.  When fully rigged these ships are a thing of beauty.  These pictures hardly do The Lynx justice.  I'll have to return in the spring when the ship is about ready to depart so that I can catch her under sail.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunrise over Niantic Bay

Niantic Bay

Well, alright, it's a little past sunrise over Niantic Bay.  I'm still trying to get up early enough to catch a real sunrise here. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Favorite Place

Jonathan Edward's Winery, North Stonington, CT

I'm hardly a wine connoisseur, but I do enjoy a good glass of wine and Jonanthan Edwards Winery makes some pretty good wines.  They are a "bi-coastal" winery producing wines both from California-grown grapes as well as those grown here in Connecticut.  It's a lovely place to spend an afternoon with someone you love. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall Beach, Niantic, CT

This is the entrance to the Hole in the Wall Beach in Niantic, CT.  The "hole" is actually a tunnel underneath some railroad tracks.   The tracks are heavily travelled by Amtrak and the Shore Line East commuter line. I've always enjoyed the view through the hole, looking out on Long Island Sound, but have had a hard time capturing the image with my DSLR due to the dynamic range of the picture.  If I expose for the water and sky, the tunnel is too dark.  Exposing  for the tunnel will blow out the water and sky.  I know there are some ways around this, involving multiple pictures at different exposures and some software post processing with a good image editor.  Although I'm not quite satisfied with this result, it's the best I've been able to manage to date.  This image is from a single exposure on a JPEG straight out of the camera with some image adjustments done in Aperture.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Safe Swim

"Hole in  the Wall Beach", Niantic, CT

During the summer months, these buoys are used to mark off the safe swim area at the "Hole in the Wall" Beach here in Niantic.  They look a little out of place sitting up here on dry land.  It would be pretty tough to do any swimming around these buoys now, even if the the weather were warmer.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Park Bench

McCook Point Park, Niantic, CT

I like park benches.  This one is quite different from all the others found along the boardwalk in Niantic, as well as those found in McCook Point Park.  It's set off from the walking paths, sort of in the middle of the field.  It's made of wrought iron, and not the "recycled plastic" found in the other benches.   I imagine it being a special place for someone.  I'm sure it must be dedicated to someone since you can notice a small plaque on the bench, but unfortunately, I failed to read the plaque during my recent walk there.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Niantic Bay, Niantic CT

I guess it can be somewhat dangerous to walk out on these rocks.  They look pretty firm to me, but I imagine they could be slippery.  I followed the sign's suggestion, and kept off the rocks. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Niantic Boardwalk

Niantic, CT

The Boardwalk in Niantic has been closed since Hurricane Irene.  I'm not exactly sure why.  It doesn't look all that bad, but there is some construction for a new railroad bridge at the opposite end of the Boardwalk, so that might be the reason they closed the entire 1 mile length.  Normally it's a nice place to take a walk, even though it lacks the traditional "boards" used in New Jersey shore boardwalks.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Grist Mill

Clyde's Cider Mill, Old Mystic, CT

I'm not sure if this was really a grist mill or not.  I do know that currently it is serving as a store at Clyde's Cider Mill where one can buy souvenires, t-shirts and the like.  I'm beginning to appreciate what it takes to maintain a photoblog.  It's difficult to find pictures worthy of posting, and to be able to write something.  I'm not sure I do either very well at the moment.  I post what I consider to be my better photos, although I'm often at a loss to be able to explain very well why I consider the photo to be good.  I'm sure others with a much stronger background in photography can go into great lengths regarding the quality of my photos.  I'm still learning, but I just happen to like this picture.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ponemah Mill

                                                                                                                            Ponemah Mill, Taftville, CT.

I've been told that at one time, this mill was the largest textile mill in the world.  Today it sits, awaiting someone to come along and develop the property.  I've often wondered what this place was like during its heyday.  Some of the nearby buildings are being used, but this main building is slowly deteriorating.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wolfe's Neck Woods - Two Versions

Despite all my reading about photography, especially digital photography, there is still so much I don't know.  I got my first digital camera back in 2001, a Canon G1, which at the time was pretty much the state of the art for an advanced "point and shoot" camera.  It was highly regarded then and the most recent iteration, the Canon G12 is still well reviewed.  In the intervening years I purchased a Nikon D60 for my wife, and most recently a Nikon D90 for myself.  So in the grand scheme of things, I consider myself a novice in the world of digital photography.  I'm even more of a novice when it comes to sharing my pictures via blogging, Facebook, or any of the other many services one can find on the internet.  

I use a MacBook Pro to download my images, and Apple's Aperture to keep them all organized and to do some post processing.  I also occasionally use Photoshop Elements or Nikon's Capture NX2 for some advance photo editing.  With all these options, I'm still trying to find the best "workflow" to post my images online.  I know I can ask others, and I'm sure I would get dozens of different opinions on what works best.  The scientist part of me says, just do the experiment and see what looks the best.  In this case, the two images above are the same image, first adjusted in Aperture.

The top image was further processed with the Aperture plugin BorderFX, which only added the border, any maybe some additional sharpening, although I'm not entirely sure of that.  I'm not sure if I like adding the border or not to the pictures I post here.  The border does seem to add to the picture, but would take away from the simple, minimalist style of the blog.  I'm still trying to decide on which way I would like to go here.  The only thing I really know is that pictures on other blogs look a lot better than my images.  In most cases, I'm sure they are much stronger images to begin with.  Afterall, most of the blogs I follow are done by real photographers.  Even my better images might suffer from a lack of good post processing skills and/or a good workflow for properly presenting them on the web.  Hence, the reason for this post.   Thanks for looking and if you have any comments on which you like, I'd be happy to hear them.  I'll be tweaking this blog for some time to come.

Finally, I just want to say that my thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected here in Connecticut by last weekend's snow storm.  There was extensive damage, and there are many without power.