Monthly Archives: August 2019

USCG Coastal Patrol Boat Cobia

The story behind this shot is similar to yesterday’s image. While out with my niece, I spotted this Coast Guard boat. It was rather far off and I didn’t think it would make for a good image. It surprised me by turning towards the point of land where we were standing. Like yesterday’s story, my niece was using the camera with the tele-zoom lens. We traded cameras and I made this image. I’m presenting it in BW because the light was rather flat. A color image and some information on the boat are below.

The Cobia is a Coastal Patrol Boat (WPB), 87-foot Marine Protector class. The Marine Protector is an innovative, multi-mission class of vessel capable of performing search and rescue, law
enforcement, fishery patrols, drug interdiction, illegal immigrant interdiction, and homeland security duties up to 200 miles offshore. The 73 cutters in this class carry an 11-person crew and are capable of achieving a maximum continuous speed of 25 knots. Source:

Four Birds

I’d written earlier this summer about making photos with my niece on Cape Cod. We spent another day together in July. This time, we were in Boston. It was raining when we started out and everything was rather wet. The tables and chairs in Copley Square were empty except for these four birds. I quickly swapped cameras with my niece. (I’d lent her the oe with the tele-zoom lens) and snapped this shot. It was our favorite shot of the day.

Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum

I never really associated New England with growing tobacco. However, driving through the Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts, I’d seen some really interesting barns with vents on the side. Often there would be two or three of them in a field. They had such an interesting look to them. I discovered they were tobacco sheds. It turns out that the Connecticut River Valley grows the ideal types of tobacco for the binder and outer wrapper for cigars. After the leaves are harvested, they have to be slowly dried. Hence, the barns with vents in them. The leaves are hung in these barns to dry. Earlier this summer, I took some exterior photos of tobacco sheds but I really wanted to see the inside of one and make some images there.

With a bit of online research, I discovered the Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. It is in two buildings. One is an archive building that holds records and has a small museum on the history and process of growing tobacco in the Connecticut River Valley. The other building is a tobacco shed. Inside are tractors, displays of farm equipment and drying tobacco leaves. Tobacco was a huge part of the local community and everyone was involved. One display described sending children out in the field to pick weeds and thin plants with their small hands. Cultivating shade-grown tobacco is quite a process because coverings of cheesecloth need to be hung above the plants so that they are shaded. The harvesting process was also done by hand with the leaves placed on sticks to be hung in the sheds.

The museum is located in Northwest Park, which is a former tobacco farm. The park itself is beautiful with nice trails and other buildings used for more displays. There is a petting barn filled with children’s favorite farm animals. Check the museum’s website if you plan to visit. The shed is open seasonally on Saturdays. You can also call to arrange tours. It’s an interesting place to visit. We were glad we detoured and stopped. Children can enjoy the tails and animal barn. For you photographers out there who want a new location for doing portraits or a photoshoot, the park is a beautiful setting.

Freedom of Speech

This man arrived at the recent Lowell Folk Festival with a large religiously-themed but less than tolerant sign and rhetoric to match it. The festival organizers wanted him to leave, encouraged him to leave, and when he didn’t go, they asked the police to make him leave. But they couldn’t. The festival takes place in a public place. Our country’s right to freedom of speech allows him to be in that place with his sign and talk to people about his beliefs. In this image, a group of festival volunteers was debating with him about the nature of God’s love.

USCGC Eagle in the Piscataqua River

This weekend, Portsmouth, NH is hosting the US Coast Guard Cutter Eagle. It’s a ceremonial ship. They don’t use it for rescues on the high seas or stopping drug dealers. It represents both the USCG in general and our country when visiting other nations. I really wanted to try to get some nice images as I’ve done when other tall ships visited Portsmouth. The problem is that while other ships had docked at a very accessible pier that was wonderful for taking photos, the Eagle was docked at the State Pier which is behind a security perimeter and not very picturesque. The Coast Guard has to follow certain security guidelines. I wanted to take photos at sunset and when I arrived, the pier was closed to the public. Also, the ship was positioned next to a large pile of something under white tarps. The tarps really didn’t help the image.

Undaunted, I realized that the harbor is in a river. If I could find an access point on the other side of the river (in Maine), then I could get some shots. Using satellite images from Google Maps, I saw that most of the Maine side of the river was occupied by private homes. It’s not a good practice to go into people’s yards. But there seemed to be one spot with a dirt lot that wasn’t linked to a home. I walked across Memorial Bridge over to that spot. The lighting was not ideal and the only reason that the photo below is usable is due to some good editing software (Lightroom). The picture above was made as I was walking back to Portsmouth across the bridge. I saw the small boat in the foreground and snapped the picture. It’s a funny thing, The boat gives the image life and makes it interesting. I was going to make another image after the boat passed, but when I looked through the viewfinder, the same scene without the boat was really dull.

Star Island

Star Island is the perfect place to spend a hot summers day. We took the 9:15 ferry from Rye, NH and arrived on the island a half-hour later. I managed to spot a harbor porpoise on the ride out. We walked around a bit, read our books, had lunch at a bench overlooking the sea and even went for a swim. We were sad to leave on the 3:40 ferry back. For those wanting a longer stay, you can attend one of the many conference programs at the Oceanic Hotel (pictured in the background).