Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, May 31, 2009

After the storm

The afternoon skies went from blue to dark gray as thunderstorms rolled through. And then, the blue came back...

blue sky & clouds as the storm moved on


Ah, such a restful weekend...

It was a quiet, around home kind of weekend, just what I needed. I wandered on my bike, and I took some time this afternoon to walk at Weir Hill. Luckily I crammed an umbrella into a side pocket of the day pack that is my camera's home away from home.

The sky was getting darker as I walked, and then crack! Thunder, more thunder... The wind started to kick up, and rain started flying. Time to turn back...

storm clouds gathering above a green field

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Disappearing color

How interesting. The flowers sharing the same bed with this pink and white soon-to-open bud are all white. And yet all of the buds are wearing a tinge of pink...

budding flower

Monday, May 25, 2009

A quiet day

It's been a crazy few weeks at the office, and a three-day weekend was the perfect ending. It was just what I needed, a visit with family followed by a quiet day at home, a day to relax, to ride, to walk.

And tomorrow? A day to start the next (work) project, to continue thinking about (planning) a late summer vacation, to dream of a quick escape to Acadia in a couple of weeks.

I think the fortune I pulled after a dinner with friends last week fits quite well with how I am feeling right now...
After a big storm comes tranquility.

daisy in the wind

A fleeting visit

A holiday weekend, three days...

I try not to travel on the days that start or end a holiday weekend. It felt like a good time for a family visit; moving the edges of the weekend helped me to avoid holiday traffic. I headed out early Saturday morning, driving, heading west, and I headed home at the end of the afternoon yesterday. The traffic was flying, no slowdowns at all.

Yes, it was a fleeting visit, but it was a good one. Time spent talking, visiting, watching the birds and little creatures gathering outside, laughing at Bailey's antics. Oh, you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Bailey? He's the funny dachshund who runs my parents' household.

Bailey, the crazy dachshund

The gallery Mainly Bailey contains more photos of Bailey, and a few of his people too.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Clouds, haze

clouds and haze

Another summer day in May

Two days with temperatures hitting close to 90 degrees... a quick and early glimpse of summer. A light wind kept me comfortable while I was cycling and entertained me by pushing water into light waves, lapping against the shoreline.

Believe it or not I didn't get my feet wet even though I was standing on a rock out in the water. If I had been walking by the ocean I suspect I would have had wet feet!

sparkling water pushed by wind

farm fields and pond

Thursday, May 21, 2009


A weathered piece of wood standing in a pond, ripples of water covered with specks of pollen...

Look closely. What do you really see? I see a small animal, ears perked up, looking to the land, wondering who is looking back.

weathered wood in pond

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Painted petal

purple iris

Looping wheels

Ah, it was a beautiful day. Late afternoon sunshine and warmth pulled me outside, wandering in loops, bicycle wheels turning, pedals circling, eyes looking, enjoying my surroundings...

late afternoon reflections

Friday, May 15, 2009

Afternoon reflections

What a beautiful day! Sunshine, warmth, no wind, blue skies... I had perfect conditions for a late afternoon ride.

reflections of clouds

Still home, dreaming

Ah, the weekend is here, and I'm still home. I decided to push my visit to Acadia out a few weeks since the weather wizard still claims that some wet and cool days are likely. I'll probably head up the coast for an extended weekend in early June.

My mind has still been exploring destinations for a longer vacation, and right now I'm really leaning towards Newfoundland. I've been thinking about it for many weeks now, pulled by the thought of wandering in Gros Morne National Park.

I've been bouncing all over from a mode of travel standpoint. Even though I live in the northeast and Newfoundland is also in the northeast part of North America - it's really really far away! I thought I was set on driving and ferrying, but then I decided I should check airfares again. They have come down by a couple of hundred dollars since I last looked, but the flights are atrocious - starting with a puddle jumper that makes multiple stops between Boston and Montreal. I wonder where they stop... that route seems much to short to have 2 stops in between those two cities. And oh! My stomach really doesn't like puddle jumpers. (But then again, it might not like the ferry either!)

Back to the ferry... I was leaning toward starting with the ferry from Portland, Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, thinking that it would save me time. As it turns out, the distance by car from home to North Sydney, Nova Scotia - which is the jumping off point for the ferry to Newfoundland - is 809 miles. From home to Portland and then Yarmouth to North Sydney, the distance is 530 miles. And 300 miles is about 5 hours of driving time. Interesting... the ferry is 5 1/2 hours. So the amount of time it will take to drive vs. drive + ferry is about the same. Ah, back to thinking...

Someday soon my travel plans will fully emerge. In the meantime, it's fun to dream.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tulip unfolding

Sometimes, the end of a flowers life can be as beautiful as the beginning. It's a different kind of beauty...

tulip unfolding

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yellow beauty

yellow iris

Who should I believe?

I've been thinking about heading to Bar Harbor for a long weekend to satisfy my springtime Acadia addiction. My initial thoughts were to take that trip in May, either last weekend or this coming weekend. As you probably guessed from my blog entries, I didn't jump up the coast last weekend, and this coming weekend is still questionable from a weather standpoint.

What a baby! But honestly, riding and hiking and wandering with my camera in the rain just doesn't appeal to me right now. Maybe in the summer when the air is warm, but temperatures in the 50s with wet weather? That's cold!

The forecast for the weekend keeps changing, from sunshine to a chance of rain ranging between 40 and 60%, and back to sunshine. Just like home - the foreast for this afternoon included thundershowers, yet I just got home from walking under a clear blue sky. Hmmm... It could be beautiful, it could be wet.

Maybe I'll wait a few more weeks, maybe not. This weekend? June? Soon...

Feed reactions

Yes, I know, this is a repeat post, but...

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Iris in lavender

I've been fascinated by iris for as long as I can remember. This patch of miniatures in lavender jumped right at my camera.

iris in lavender

Howling wind

Listen... can you hear the wind? Last night's thunderstorms left gusty winds behind, winds that have been with us all day today.

I felt the wind as I rode. Sometimes is was at my back, speeding my forward progress. Sometimes it almost stopped me. It was a bright, sunny day, a good day to be outside.

fields in early spring

Thanks Mom!

My mom is an artist; she sees beauty in many places, and over the years she has shared those skills with me. As I wander with my camera, I think of all that I learned from her.

Mom, thank you for teaching me to look around, to find the wonder in ordinary things. And thank you for sharing your art with me, as I will continue to share mine with you.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Poetry by stair steps

I was walking up the stairs of the boardwalk on my way to the sand at Crane Beach when I realized there were words on the stair risers, words that turned out to be parts of a poem. I read the stairs, then went looking for information when I returned home.

Are you curious too? See Poetry in Action at Crane Beach for an overview of the project, or click to read the poem Align.

poetry on stairs, Crane Beach

A gift of a day

Today's forecast was for a 50% chance of rain. I assumed it wouldn't be a great day for outside play, but oh! what a nice surprise.

The sky cleared by mid-morning, so I headed out on my bike. Riding, rolling, enjoying... Gray clouds returned, and so did a little bit of rain. It was light enough that it really wasn't a bother at all, and by the time I rolled back home the sky was clear once more. Hmmm... I wonder...

Yes, I headed out again, this time for some walking by the ocean. Do you hear a theme here? The ocean seems to be calling to me more often, doesn't it?

Today's destination was Crane Beach in Ipswich. It's only 24 miles from home, but that's 24 miles by surface streets, and it takes close to an hour to drive there. It was well worth the drive, one that I need to remember to take more often.

Crane Beach sits on Castle Neck, beautiful white sand beaches stretching along both the Atlantic and the inland side of the peninsula. I spent most of my time walking on the ocean side, and some time exploring the trails that cross the dunes. I have so much more walking to do there!

Like Parker River, this beach is a nesting area for the protected piping plover. While Parker River's beaches are owned by the birds (and closed to people) this time of year, Crane Beach remains open but has bird nesting areas fenced off. I wonder though... I suspect that the approach at Parker River is better for the birds, no surprise since it is a National Wildlife Refuge. I did see a few piping plovers skittering on the sand close to the closed areas.

log on Crane Beach

drifting sand

More photos can be viewed in my gallery Walking in sand, Crane Beach.

Morning sky

Will this be the only patch of blue in the sky today?

Heavier clouds are rolling in...
sky painting

Friday, May 08, 2009


spring flowers

spring flowers

spring flowers

One leg or three?

Oh, not my legs - my camera's legs!

I listened to the wisdom of experienced photographers and started with a tripod, but then over the winter I decided that I needed a monopod too. I needed a little support for my camera as I was traipsing through the woods, trying to get closer to partially frozen streams, listening to the crunch of the snow under my feet. It would have been difficult to find the space to expand the legs of my tripod. And sometimes, many times, even when I am walking for exercise I have my camera with me.

If my goal of the day is photography, then yes, I usually have my tripod with me. If my goal is something else, exercise, or wandering on my bike, then those three extra legs often aren't with me.

SLIK Pro 814 CF II
Gitzo GM2561T

I did a lot of reading about tripods before I jumped. I know myself well enough to know that while a good quality tripod was expensive, that a good quality tripod was the only thing that would have a chance at making me happy. The general wisdom was to go with 3-section legs, not 4. I didn't listen to that because of my travel habits. Light-weight is very important, and small is important too. What did I choose? A SLIK Pro 814 CF II. It's light, it's pretty small when collapsed yet steady and not small when set up.

I'm very happy with my tripod. The problem? It joins me in my travels when my primary purpose is photography, but when my primary purpose is something else and my camera comes with me "just in case"? In those cases I'm unlikely to take my tripod. After my unsteady shots that day last winter as I wandered in the woods with my camera but without support, when I realized that even if I'd had it with me the tripod would have been problematic because there wasn't enough space to expand the legs... well, that's when I realized I did want to add a monopod to my collection of tools.

I started looking, and the Gitzo GM2561T jumped to the front of the queue. It quickly jumped into the cart at B&H Photo and came to join my cameras.

I used the monopod a few times over the winter, not a lot. I wondered if I really needed it. But now? I know I need it! The monopod has been walking with me over the past week plus. It helped with macro flower images, and it helped as I wandered on the coast last Sunday. Three legs are rock-solid steady; one leg is not. But one leg still adds some stability; I can see it in my photos.

Simple things make me happy, and I'm happy!

spring flowers, tulips

I've had a couple of questions from folks about my "legs", and one thing that I neglected to mention in my post is which head I am using to attach my camera to the legs. I am using a Really Right Stuff Ballhead, the BH-40 LR II. If you want more information, click to the Really Right Stuff ballheads page. A quick word of warning though - these wonderful ballheads are only sold direct, so if you want to add one to your collection of photographic tools you will need to order it from the website or by calling RRS.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

(Hopefully) a reprieve

It appears that I will continue to get my morning fix - my copy of the Boston Globe. Yes, I know, I can get my news from the web, but I really do enjoy reading the paper.

The Globe recently slimmed down, which I'm sure cut publication expenses. Based on the protracted negotiations with the Globe's unions and the demands of the paper, it appears that was just a start at solving a big (money) problem.

I like some aspects of the smaller paper. I can always find the business section in it's home behind the Metro section. In the days before the new newspaper organization I always had to search for the Business section. Sometimes it was tacked behind the Sports section, sometimes behind the Living & Arts section. Neither of those made any sense to me, so yes, I'm happier with the current (and apparently) stable organization of the paper.

When I first heard of the negotiations for concessions with the unions at the Globe along with the New York Times Company's threat to file for shutdown of the globe on May 1st, I was sure that the paper was gone. After protracted negotiations, an announcement was made yesterday that the negotiations with all of the unions were successful. Of course there still needs to be a vote, but it sounds like there is hope.

I guess I'm really not ready to give up my newspaper addiction yet.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Can I be a kid again?

I was walking up a small hill when I heard a sound behind me. I turned, curious, and saw someone rolling up the hill. She was perched on a product I had seen before, something that (almost) resembled a skateboard, and she was rolling uphill.

I asked her about it, and she told me that it took her a number of months to master the rolling board. I should have asked what it was; it took me several attempts at searching to find the Ripstik Caster Board. (Actually I found it on Amazon first, then I was able to jump to the manufacturer's web site.)

It has two (sort of) flat ends with a connecting piece that allows the ends that you stand on to pivot. Wheels? There's a single wheel under each end. I'm not describing it very well, so here's a description from the manufacturer's web site:

"Just twist and go! The RipStik® Caster Board brings the carving thrill of surfing and snowboarding to dry land! Its unique twisting motion moves you forward with out ever pushing off the ground!"
I'm fascinated, and I'm tempted to try one. But then again, I have a feeling that I if I hop on one of these rolling toys that I will end up kissing the pavement. Maybe I'll just watch the (real) kids for now...

Oh, you want to see one? Here's a static screenshot.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sky paintings

Heading home from my wander along the coast... I was lucky that there was a handy rest area on I-495 just as I was marveling at the patterns in the sky.

sky paintings

The call of the coast

Yesterday, the weather forecast for today looked very iffy (from the perspective of dry pavement). Yes, the ground was wet this morning, but it quickly dried. Ah, a good riding day...

I happily wandered on two wheels, stopping a few times for photos, but mostly just riding, rolling down the road.

Home again, it was time to switch gears. I felt the ocean calling, and I answered that call by heading to the New Hampshire coast. Yes, of course I had my camera with me!

There was a good 15 degree temperature difference between home and the coast. It was 69 when I left home and 54 when I jumped out of my car at the edge of the ocean. Luckily I grabbed some light layers before I headed out; I needed more than a light t-shirt as I started walking.

Did you know that it's more than likely that you'll end up with very wet feet if you stand below the (wet) water line on the beach with your camera to your face when the tide is rolling in? Yup, I did it again! This time I wasn't walking with my camera pressed to my face. I was standing still, watching the waves roll in, clicking, watching, clicking. And oops! the water rolled up above my ankles! I was surprised that my wet feet didn't really feel cold, probably because the water temperature was fairly close to the air temperature. I checked the current temps at the NOAA's National Oceanic Data Center, and while there wasn't a reported temperature for today, it showed the average May 1st to 15th temperature for Portsmouth, NH at 48 degrees. That sounds cold to me, but in contrast to the air temperature it really isn't.

It was a good riding day, and it was a good walking day. I find walking by the ocean so calming.

New Hampshire coast

More photos from today's wanders along the New Hampshire coast can be found in the gallery By the sea... coastal New Hampshire 2009. This is a running gallery that I plan to use as I capture my quick wanders to the coast this year. It currently contains photos from today and from a day in early March. The gallery is arranged with the newest photos at the beginning.

Camera magic

My camera did it. Really!

I was a bit surprised when this photo emerged from my camera. The image as you see it is exactly as it came out of the camera, no post-processing. And yet, the background has an almost black & white look to it. Hmmm... I wonder if I'll be able to create another image like this one.

There wasn't anything special about the camera settings, but I did shoot through a neutral density filter. I wonder...

Well, no matter, I like the shot. And yes, I will probably try to produce the same effect given a similar image jumping out at me.

flowering tree not black&white