Blustering Wind

Fort Pickering Light, also known as Winter Island Light, is pictured in this image on a very windy day near Salem, Massachusetts. The lighthouse is located just offshore Winter Island which is now connected to the mainland. Winter Island was the site of Fort Pickering which is now abandoned. The 28 foot light was built of iron lined with brick in 1871 to serve as a guide into Salem harbor. The original lighthouse keeper was a Civil War veteran who watched the light from 1871 - 1919, only being absent for 5 days during that period. It was later taken over by the Coast Guard who abandoned the light in 1969.

Fort Pickering Light, Salem, Massachusetts

Concrete Reflection

Boston, Massachusetts

Sometimes the best time to shoot is after a rainstorm when the sun has come out. Not only is there a great sheen to things but often there are large puddles that offer great opportunities for reflection. This image is a prime example of this. Taken near the waterfront on Boston Harbor, it offers a different point of view of Boston's skyline. I also thought that the concrete offered a natural texture to the image.


New England Holocaust Memorial, Boston, Massachusetts

Our week long photo tour of New England takes us to it's biggest city, Boston, Massachusetts. I have spent a lot of time in Boston as it is only two hours from my house and have visited it often, especially when my son attended Boston University. One way to take in the history of the city is to walk the Freedom Trail which takes you past many of the historical sites of the Revolutionary War. While walking the Freedom Trail, you encounter one of the most sobering memorials that pertains to a different war, namely the New England Holocaust Memorial. The memorial consists of six glass towers with each tower symbolizing a different major concentration camp. Engraved on the towers are six million numbers which represent the Jews killed during the Holocaust.

This photo was taken very early in the morning to catch the light and shadows as well as to beat the many tourists that visit it. In order to try to capture the numbers inscribed on the panels, I shot a hand-held bracket with the intent of processing an HDR image. I had posted this image last year but was unhappy with the result. As a result, I have re-edited it to better reflect the scene and am much happier with it.

Autumn Reflections

Pontoosuc Lake, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Every year, when the leaves change color in the fall, I try to drive from my home in central Connecticut and visit the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. The drive is a pretty one, passing through the Litchfield Hills before crossing the border into Massachusetts. The first major town in Massachusetts is the city of Pittsfield, which is home to Pontoosuc Lake shown in this image. The lake gets it's name from a Mohican Indian word meaning “a field or haven for winter deer”. I had stopped for lunch and wandered over to the picnic area to eat. After eating, I grabbed my camera and took a walk around the lake. Along the way, this scene fascinated me with the nice color of the trees and this dilapidated building. I am pretty sure that the building is no longer used and was unsure whether the boats were abandoned or not. They looked like they were in pretty bad shape. Regardless, I was happy that I picked there to have lunch.

Inside Looking Out

Sturbridge, Massachusetts

I am often asked about my workflow and I thought I would start documenting it. It's an ever evolving process and what is good for me may not work for you. Today I will describe how I organize my photos and choose them for editing. First a little history. When I first started shooting as a full time hobby, I would identify my keepers and immediately process them and put them on the web. I quickly began to realize that I wasn't being selective enough and was spending way too much time processing images that, quite frankly, were not worth it. I also felt a bit overwhelmed when I got home as I felt the immediate pressure to process all of the images. As a result, I became more critical of my work and only kept the images that I really liked and thought had potential.

My digital darkroom skills back then were pretty rudimentary.  So, I began to edit a few photos from each shoot and saved the other ones for future editing once my processing skills improved. I quickly discovered that finding the unprocessed keepers was a challenge due to how I organized my photos. I organize my images in a "Master Photo" folder location that contains sub-folders for each year . Inside each year's sub-folders were additional sub-folders for each shoot (labeled with the shoot name and date). While this structure worked (and still works) for me, it made looking for these unprocessed keepers a bit tedious.

It wasn't until I started using Lightroom's collections feature that I stumbled upon a way of finding these older images a lot easier. The first step was to lose the mindset about folders. Yes, I still store my images in the same folder structure, but after they are imported into Lightroom, I no longer use them. Immediately after import, I review the photos, rejecting the obvious ones and giving 5 stars to the obvious keepers that I want to process some day. These are automatically sent to a collection named "To Be Processed". The remaining photos are reviewed a second time, usually to evaluate similar photos that I haven't made a decision about yet. On this second review, some images are deemed keepers and given 5 stars.  I have done that for all of my images.

Now when I want to process an image, I don't care which folder an image is in. Instead, I simply look through the "To Be Processed" collection and pick the ones that feel right to me that day. The image could be one I took last week or one that I took years ago.

How does my workflow differ from your yours? I welcome any comments, suggestions or questions.

This image was shot a few years ago from inside one of Old Sturbridge Village's cabins. The light from the outside gave a great glow on the old window frame.

Path to the Light

Eastern Point Lighthouse, Gloucester, Massachusetts

Continuing our New England lighthouse tour, today we visit the Eastern Point Lighthouse in Gloucester, Massachusetts. This is the third lighthouse to reside on this spot and was built in 1890 (the original light was built in 1832). The location of the lighthouse is at the entrance to Gloucester Bay and watches over very treacherous waters. In fact, between 1830 and 1910, 779 vessels and 5,305 persons out of Gloucester were lost at sea. If this lighthouse looks familiar, you may remember it from the movie, The Perfect Storm. This image was shot from the breakwater that extends into the harbor. The 2,250-foot breakwater was built using 231,756 tons of Cape Ann granite blocks to protect the harbor. Before the breakwater was completed, nearly forty ships had crashed into it, demonstrating the need for a light to mark the outward end of the obstacle, and one was added in 1905. Today, visitors and fisherman frequent the light.

If you are interested in visiting the lighthouse, follow Eastern Point Blvd. past a beach on the right and the main road will turn to the left. Continue to the right on Eastern Point Blvd. through the granite pillars (ignore the "Private - No Entry" sign as it is not a private drive). Follow Eastern Point Blvd. to the end and park in small parking lot next to the breakwater.

Windy Day on the Bay

Salem , Massachusetts

One of the most recognized towns in New England is Salem, Massachusetts. Founded in 1626, it is one of the oldest settlements in North America. Originally populated by Puritans, Salem gained it's notoriety for it's infamous witchcraft trials. Salem later became one of the most significant seaports in early America. Located north of Boston on Cape Ann, it's economy is now built on tourism. Attractions include the Peabody Essex Museum, Pioneer Village, numerous historic homes, a tall ship and, of course, a Haunted Passport program that leverages its witchcraft history. Spending some time in Boston, we decided to visit Salem on the way home (okay, we went a little out of the way). It was a chilly April day and the wind was blowing extremely hard. The clouds had rolled in and it was all I could do to stand still while taking a shot of this boat across the way. I particularly liked the colors of the boat contrasting with the water on such a gray day.

Click to learn more about Salem.

Motif No. 1

Rockport, Massachusetts

This bright red building is a fishing shack In the small town of Rockport, Massachusetts. Located on Bradley Wharf, it is purportedly the most painted fishing shack in the America. The shack even has its own name, Motif No. 1 that was given to it by an art teacher in the 1920s who, after seeing his students repeatedly draw the shack, exclaimed "What? Motif No 1 again!" The original shack was destroyed by the blizzard of 1978 when it was swept into Rockport Harbor. Motif No. 1 was rebuilt within a year. The fishing shack has even been commemorated on a postage stamp.

We had vacationed in Rockport is the 1980's when we lived in New Jersey. At that point in time, I wasn't into photography. Since we now live in New England, I finally got around to revisiting Rockport with my son to photograph good old Motif No. 1 and the surrounding area. There are many places to set up a tripod but this location is probably the best angle. I highly recommend a visit to Motif No. 1 if you are in the Cape Ann area.