Denise Goldberg's blog

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

cold & wind

Cold air has settled in, enhanced by a strong wind. It feels like winter.

Comfortable walking outside this time of year requires a bit of thought to determine the best layers. Even though the wind chill was in the teens when I was walking this morning I was reasonably comfortable.

snow, at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
snow at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

a bit of color

As we move into winter I'm happy to be able to find a bit of color via indoor flowers. It's a good time of year for greenhouse visit.

flower

Sunday, December 10, 2017

snow on the beach

I love walking on the beach after a snowfall. Sometimes there is a sharp contrast between snow and sand, sometimes the wind mixes them in streaks of brown and white.

My walk today was mid-point in the transition from low to high tide. There were bright white clouds decorating the sky, white snow sitting on the sand.

snow on the beach, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, December 09, 2017

early snow

Today brought the first snow of the season. While the accumulation started slowly, the forecast calls for a noticeable depth by the end of the storm.

snow on a red berry

Friday, December 08, 2017

first impressions :: Fuji XF 80mm Macro

I've had my eye on Fujifilm's X Mount Lens Roadmap for a while now. A new macro lens was projected to be available in late 2017; it was a lens that I believed would fit into my photography habits since macro work focused on flowers is a ongoing focus of mine.

When I picked up my Fuji X-T2 at Hunt's Photo and Video last month I asked to be placed on the waiting list for the soon to be released Fuji XF80mmF2.8 Macro lens. The rumored release date was the end of November. At that point I had no idea when I would receive my new lens. I understood from the sales rep that my request for the lens was within the number of lenses that Hunt's had ordered, but he also told me that the manufacturers often didn't ship full (requested) quantities when a new lens or camera was released. I kept my fingers crossed, hoping to be included in an early shipment.

I was delighted to receive a call on November 30th to let me know that my new macro lens had arrived. It was a good afternoon to drive to Hunt's.

Fuji XF80mm Macro

I've had the lens for a full week, enough time to know that it is a keeper. I've used it for macro photography and I've used it for landscape shots too. The lens has a fast auto focus system, is weather-sealed (yay!), and has optical image stabilization (excellent for hand-held photos). So far I'm delighted with the image quality.

Here are a few samples of the photos that I've taken with this lens so far.

cactus, greenhouses of Lyman Estate

orchids, greenhouses of Lyman Estate

on the beach, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

evergreen, at Tower Hill Botanic Garden

I'm happy!

Thursday, December 07, 2017

perched

My focus during my recent walk at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge was on small items sitting on the beach. A leaf perched on the sand was perfectly posed.

a leaf on the beach

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

delicate

A visit to the greenhouses of the Lyman Estate is a feast of delicate flowers. When days are gray it's a good place to satisfy my need for bright colors.

delicate flower

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

powerful

I am appalled by the president's order yesterday to reduce the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments by over 2 million acres combined. The order reduced Bears Ears by 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante by 46%. There are lawsuits filed already; I suspect that more will be coming.

At the same time I was delighted to see this powerful statement on the home page of Patagonia's web site:

the president stole your land

I'm hoping that this order can be overturned. Opening up protected lands to development leads to destruction.

The article 'The President Stole Your Land': Patagonia, REI blast Trump on national monument rollbacks published by the Washington Post provides a good summary.

I also found the opinion article Trump’s National Monument Reduction Is Illegal and Likely to Be Reversed in Adventure Journal to be an interesting read. I'm trying to hold on to hope.

...and a day later, the National Parks Conservation Association published the blog post 7 Facts About the Trump Administration’s Illegal Attack on National Monuments . Perhaps this is a battle that can be won. I hope.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

tiny

These very tiny flowers caught my eye as I wandered through the greenhouses at Lyman Estate. It almost looks as if the bright purple is painted on the petals.

plectranthus

Saturday, December 02, 2017

a walk on the beach

I headed to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge early this afternoon for a walk on the beach. The tide was headed out, presenting a well packed and somewhat wet surface that was perfect for walking.

I shared the beach with a few birds, sea gulls walking, sanderlings flying just over the ocean surface.

It was a wonderful day to walk by the ocean.

beach, in the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Friday, December 01, 2017

upgrade :: Fuji X-T2

It was over two years ago when I jumped into the mirrorless camera world with the purchase of a Fuji X-T1. I held on to my Canon 7D and lenses for a long time, finally selling in September. The cash was put to good use, feeding my desire for an upgrade to my camera.

I've been eyeing the Fuji X-T2 for a while, believing that there were enough changes in the camera body to warrant a purchase. When I saw an instant rebate from Fuji in combination with a photo show at Hunt's Photo & Video in Melrose I decided it was the right time. I picked up an X-T2 at the beginning of November and I've been attached to it ever since.

Fujifilm X-T2

There were a number of new and changed features that jumped out at me as must haves. First the sensor is 24 megapixels (X-Trans CMOS III). That's a welcome change from the X-T1 with its 16 megapixel sensor. Given that I do sometimes crop photos I prefer to have more megapixels to start. Next, the X-T2 has many more (up to 325) focus points, and a very fast autofocus of 0.06 seconds. One change that I love is the focus stick on the back of the camera; it allows me to quickly move the focus point.

While I usually focus using the viewfinder there are times when the flip screen is the focus point of choice. On the X-T1 it was very usable if shooting landscape mode images but it wasn't as helpful for portrait mode. That's fixed very nicely on the X-T2 with a flip screen that articulates 3 ways, two horizontal and one vertical. Awesome!

There are dual SD card slots with settings for the photographer to designate how they are used.

I'm still exploring the camera; so far I'm very happy.

All of the photos in my blog posted on or after November 6th were taken with the X-T2. I've included a few more samples here.

on the NH coast, at Jenness Beach
waves along Jenness Beach

Memorial Bridge
Memorial Bridge, Portsmouth, NH

Reid State Park
ocean action at Reid State Park

chrysanthemum
chrysanthemum at Longwood Gardens

orchids
orchids in the greenhouses of Lyman Estate

If you're interested in a review of this camera, check Karen Hutton's article The Fujifilm X-T2: First Impressions & Images.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

curled

While most leaves are on the ground there are still a few holding on to branches, curled and dry.

curled leaf, at end of life

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

wild wind

It was a warm day for the end of November with temperatures reaching close to 60 degrees. The warmth was tempered by wind gusting to 32 mile per hour. As I walked in Maudslay State Park this afternoon the wind picked up leaves from the ground and threw them into the air.

Most of the branches are bare; a few wore berries in bright red.

a pop of red berries, in Maudslay State Park

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

watching

This sea gull was standing, watching, making sure no one approached his spot.

sea gull, Portsmouth, NH
in Prescott Park, Portsmouth, NH

Sunday, November 26, 2017

blue and white

Inland waters near the edge of Odiorne Point State Park provided a perfect canvas for reflections, a painting in blue and white.

reflections of sky and clouds

Saturday, November 25, 2017

lift span raised

The the lift span of the still under construction Sarah Mildred Long Bridge is in place and tested. The span currently sits in the open position, probably to avoid the need to staff the bridge before it opens to traffic.

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, still under construction

Friday, November 24, 2017

waves

Yesterday felt like a good day for a walk on the beach. I headed to Reid State Park in Georgetown, Maine for a bit of a wander.

As soon as I arrived I heard the sound of the waves. It's always good to walk by the ocean.

waves at Reid State Park

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

bright

A bright pink bougainvillea brings a touch of color on this gray and rainy day.

bougainvillea

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

return to The Point

My last visit to check the murals of The Point in Salem was in late September. I chose not to visit in October since Salem with its history of witchcraft really gears up for Halloween. With today's (relative) November warmth it was time for a walk among the murals. During my last visit I saw murals in progress; today I saw the finished art.

I was fascinated by the change in the mural titled "The Lovechild 2017" by Chor Boogie. Only the top of the mural was in progress when I saw it in September. The full mural is fascinating!

mural by Chor Boogie

mural by Chor Boogie

mural by Chor Boogie

More photos from today's visit are in the gallery walls and water :: Salem, MA starting with this photo and ending here.

flipped seasons

I was delighted to see blueberries at Whole Foods this week. It's well past the blueberry season here - these fresh beauties come from Peru. They were grown by Talsa, a family-owned company in the Trujillo valley of Peru.

Talsa’s new exciting blueberry project, which is the result of Rafael Quevedo's vision, will have over 1,000 hectares of blueberries that will reach maturity during the next few years and will make Talsa and Peru one of the largest blueberry producers in the world.

from the Talsa page of the Gold Cup Fresh website

The taste? wonderful!

blueberries from Peru

Sunday, November 19, 2017

chrysanthemums

Longwood Gardens is a place that I always enjoy visiting.

Last week's visit allowed me to experience the Chrysanthemum Festival. The exhibit includes 13 mum classifications; the variety is simply amazing.

chrysanthemum

chrysanthemum

chrysanthemum

More photos from this visit can be seen in the gallery Longwood Gardens :: 2017 starting with this photo and ending here.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

lines of light

Thursday's walk was graced with changing light. Sun sneaking through the clouds created patterns both in the sky and on the ground.

lines of light, Valley Forge National Historical Park

Friday, November 17, 2017

mirrored

Calm inland waters provided a canvas for reflections, creating a mirrored image.

reflections in inland waters, Portsmouth, NH
on Peirce Island, Portsmouth, NH

Thursday, November 16, 2017

changing sky

It was a good morning for a walk at the Valley Forge National Historical Park.

The sky was pure blue when I started with an occasional puff of a white cloud decorating the blue. As I walked the inner loop of the Joseph Plumb Martin trail the steady wind blew dark gray clouds in, obscuring the sun. A few raindrops fell.

As I was driving back, a band of heavy rain appeared. It disappeared quickly, leaving the sky blue again.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

to Longwood Gardens

Today was a good day to visit Longwood Gardens.

It's close to the end of the Chrysanthemum Festival, providing a chance to see many different varieties of these beautiful flowers. Some I easily recognize but there are others that I wouldn't recognize without seeing the signs and exhibit details.

chrysanthemums at Longwood Gardens

Sunday, November 12, 2017

impressionist painting

A lone autumn-colored tree in a sea of evergreens creates a reflection that reminds me of an impressionist painting.

late afternoon reflection as impressionist painting

Saturday, November 11, 2017

a pop of rust

A broadleaf tree wears rust-colored leaves, standing out against a line of evergreens.

broadleaf tree wearing rust-colored leaves

Friday, November 10, 2017

delicate

While most of the flowers that caught my eye during yesterday's greenhouse visit were orchids, there were a few other flowers blooming. I was attracted by the delicacy of this one.

delicate flowers in lavendar

Thursday, November 09, 2017

in a greenhouse

Today felt like a good day for a visit to the Lyman Estate Greenhouses.

I found color in the petals of many varieties of orchids. This one is wearing a combination of browns and purples. It is both complex and beautiful.

orchids

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

underground at Ink Block

In early September an article in the Boston Globe titled Boston gets an artsy new public space in a former no-man’s land caught my eye. When I saw that the space included murals I knew I needed to visit.

Once you make that crossing, you’ll find a ribbon of colors painted on the sidewalk. Follow it, and you’ll wind up in a world of green trees, brown boardwalks, and soaring, swooping, concrete — the underside of that massive highway and its onramps, whirring with traffic.

from the Boston Globe article

Yesterday I headed into Boston to experience the new park. I traveled by commuter rail and subway, then asked my cell phone for walking directions to the park. I was very happy to be walking, not constrained by or confined in a vehicle. Once I arrived at the space under the highway I walked through the space, following the lines painted on the sidewalk.

It's worth a visit if you're in the area. Information is available at undergroundinkblock.com.

mural by Douglas Hoekzema, aka HOXXOH

Be More Human

If you're interested, more photos are in this gallery.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

quiet

While the ocean was wild, the inland waters in Portsmouth were quiet.

view from the bridge to Peirce Island
from the bridge to Peirce Island, Portsmouth, NH

Monday, November 06, 2017

wild water

High tide along the New Hampshire coast this afternoon was higher than I remember seeing it before. When I got close to Hampton Beach on route 101 I saw houses surrounded by water. I headed north on route 1A following the coast. There were places where the road was wet from waves crashing over the sea wall. Beaches were very narrow and the waves were wild.

I feel lucky that I was able to experiences the wild conditions today. I wasn't alone; there were others walking the narrow beaches and there were surfers in the water. The ocean was simply amazing!

a very high tide on the New Hampshire coast

Saturday, November 04, 2017

oak leaves in red

Many trees are wearing bare branches. Leaves had started falling prior to Sunday night's storm, and the crazy wind increased the rate of fall.

Oak trees seem to hold on to their leaves longer than other varieties. I was delighted to see oak leaves in red on my visit to Harold Parker State Forest.

oak leaves in red

Friday, November 03, 2017

warmth

The air warmed into the 70s by afternoon. It felt like a perfect day for a walk in the woods so I headed to Maudslay State Park.

The sky was blue when I started. I walked, noticing as time progressed that the level of light dropped and the sky was repainted in shades of gray. As I cut through a lightly traveled path near the end of my walk I started to hear scurrying noises. Apparently the squirrels and chipmunks saw my presence as a human incursion; they quickly ran to the trees to climb out of reach.

a carpet of pine needles with pine cone decoration

I was lucky; the rain waited until I was driving home to start falling.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

80 hours

Sunday night's storm threw quite a punch at New England. High winds and rain enveloped the region, and while many trees had already dropped their leaves there were still many that were fully dressed and targets for the wind. The power (at my house) flipped off and back on twice before disappearing for good at 3AM Monday morning.

The first two days I ventured out on foot only, no driving. There were trees down, some blocking streets, some sitting on top of cars or houses. There were neighborhoods without power sitting next to houses wearing lights. I watched the National Grid web site in an attempt to get a hint as to how long the power would be out. The first prediction I saw said that they expected 100% restoration by 11:45 PM on November 2nd. Yesterday that changed to noon on November 3rd, then changed back to the previous prediction. I kept my fingers crossed, hoping.

I was quite happy to get an email from the YMCA Tuesday night saying that their power had been restored and that they would reopen Wednesday morning. My first stop of the day on Wednesday was the Y - not to exercise but to get a hot shower. That felt good!

Classes at the Y filled my morning today. After finishing up I grabbed a shower then headed home to check the power situation. I was very happy to find that my power was back.

As of 6PM, National Grid has restored 98% of Massachusetts customers who lost power as a result of Sunday's high winds. Over 800 crews are working around the clock to restore service to the remaining 4K customers without power. The damage from this severe storm has been one of the most disruptive in recent history, challenging our restoration efforts and the patience of our customers. There were many cases of downed trees – not just limbs – causing broken poles and downed wires. Reconstruction work continues, along with the labor-intensive process of cleaning up tree damage, setting new poles, and repairing wires down.

from National Grid's Outage Central page

80 hours without power was an eye-opener - I keep thinking about the people in Puerto Rico who have been in an untenable situation for the past six weeks and who likely have many months to go before things return to normal.

There were places to go to sit in warmth and share stories with others. Local libraries were available for sitting, reading, charging electronics as were other community centers.

Having no power makes life challenging. I'm very glad it's back.

a pond in Harold Parker State Forest
after the storm, in Harold Parker State Forest

Sunday, October 29, 2017

gray

As I drove to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge this afternoon rain was falling. I planned to walk on the beach before my visitor center shift and while I had a rain jacket with me I was hoping for a somewhat dry walk. As I got closer to the coast the rain got lighter and then stopped. Perfect!

When I started down the boardwalk from parking lot 3 I could already hear the sounds of the ocean. Low tide had just passed leaving firm sand that was perfect for walking.

low tide at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, October 28, 2017

inflatable objects

I feel lucky that I receive (and read!) daily newsletters from both the Boston Globe and WBUR, the NPR station affiliated with Boston University. One of the emails this week introduced an exhibit at one of BU's art galleries. (The Boston Globe article is available here.)

Yesterday I headed to Boston to visit the exhibit.

Claire Ashley: (((CRZ.F.4NRS.AAK)))

Claire Ashley’s large-scale inflatable objects combine painting, sculpture, installation, and performance to defy a singular definition. The coded title of the exhibition translates to “Crazy Female Foreigners Alive and Kicking” referencing Ashley’s Scottish nationality and alluding to the instability of global politics, and the temporal existence of her sculptures inhabiting and moving through space.

from the exhibit announcement, Claire Ashley: (((CRZ.F.4NRS.AAK)))

Most of the sculptures were large but there were a few small pieces too. I enjoyed walking through the artist's wonderful creations.

(((CRZ.F.4NRS.AAK)))

(((CRZ.F.4NRS.AAK)))

More of Claire Ashley's creations can be seen in the gallery capturing (((CRZ.F.4NRS.AAK))).

Better yet, if you're in the Boston area I highly recommend visiting the exhibit. It's at 808 Gallery at BU through December 3, 2017.