Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Windy walk

It was a day for a walk in the wind, a day of seeking color at Maudslay State Park. The park is an old estate that features gardens, meadows, and trails winding through woods. There are ornamental trees, and large sections containing rhododendron and azaleas. Even though it is a bit early for flowers there were some azaleas in bloom, a few rhododendron starting to bud, dogwood trees wearing blossoms.

The wind was constant; I'm surprised any of the flowers decided to hold still long enough for a photo!

pink azalea


A few more photos from today can be seen in the gallery Maudslay State Park - 2012 starting with this photo and ending here.

A line of yellow

yellow tulips

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Most of the lilacs I've seen this season seem to be wearing lavender. This morning I saw one touched by the sun, wearing a deeper shade of purple touched with a bit of red.

lilacs, purple with red

Through glass

Water droplets on glass, bloom and hive behind glass, shooting through a greenhouse...

warmth-seeking blossom, behind (greenhouse) glass

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Layers of pink

I love the layers of color I see when I look up through the branches of trees wearing flowers.

flowering tree, layers of pink

Across the water

I was standing in New Hampshire, looking across the water into Maine. I liked seeing the docks, the remaining piece of the Memorial bridge, the silkiness of the water, the reflection of the clouds.

water view, from Portsmouth NH

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I checked the Portsmouth Memorial Bridge webcam on Thursday and I saw a bridge section that was missing the structure that supported the lift section of the bridge. The deconstruction was continuing.

Not knowing when the final section would be removed, I decided that today was a good day for a bridge visit. That was a good thing since when I arrived I found the remaining bridge section was sitting on a barge, waiting for a float out.

I found it interesting to see how the bridge section was perched on piles of what looked from a distance like railroad ties. I suspect that the wood was longer than railroad ties; it was difficult to tell from my viewing spot.

bridge section on barge, Memorial Bridge, Portsmouth NH

Memorial Bridge section, waiting for float out

And here's Miss Yvette, the tugboat next to the barge bearing the bridge section, patiently waiting to push.

tugboat waiting

More photos from today's visit can be found in the gallery Rebuilding a bridge, Portsmouth NH starting with this photo and ending here.

Gray changes to blue

With the forecast calling for sunshine today and rain tomorrow I knew my weekend coastal wander needed to be today. The sky was gray when I left home and it was gray when I arrived on the New Hampshire coast. That changed quickly; blue took over the sky.

Hampton Beach, NH, under gray skies

Portsmouth, NH, under blue skies

More photos from today can be viewed in the gallery New Hampshire coast - 2012 starting with this photo and ending here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gear review :: f-stop Loka

I returned home from my too short January trip to California with the thought that I needed a new camera bag. OK, OK, maybe needed is too strong; I wanted a bag that was better designed for traveling, for wandering with my camera and carrying enough gear for the day. My old bag was acceptable for close to home, becoming a bit over the edge when I wanted to carry multiple lenses, filters, my tripod or monopod, clothing layers, water, food. Time for something new...

I started looking at product descriptions, photos, and reviews.

The first bag I settled on turned out not to work for me because of the placement of the shoulder straps and because of the length of the bag. The shoulder strap placement made the bag uncomfortable to wear even before I put any weight in it, and the length was short enough that all of the weight was on my shoulders. That's not good, so I made a turnaround shipment back to the manufacturer. (Nope, I'm not going to include the name here; it was a beautifully made bag, just didn't fit me.)

Back to looking...

My eyes stopped next at the f-stop Loka. It looked like it had ample space for my camera gear and the extras I wanted to carry, and the web site stated that it meets international carry-on standards. I found a couple of reviews and videos showing it in use, all very interesting. If you're considering a Loka, you might find this helpful:

Video from Varina Patel: Q&A: What's in your camera bag?

My only concern was that it might be too big for me to comfortably carry. That was partially answered by Sarah Fischler's review, but I wanted (attempt) to make sure before I ordered another pack that didn't fit.

I called f-stop to ask some questions. My first concern as noted above was the size of the bag. I told the individual I was chatting with how tall I am, and his response was that he thought the length would be fine. He asked if I knew Varina Patel; I know her from Google+, not in person. Apparently she is an inch or two shorter than I am, and the bag is a good fit for her. Concern gone!

My second was not so much a concern as a question. There are two depths to the Internal Camera Units (ICU), shallow, and pro. With the shallow ICU there is more room in the bag for other items than there is with the Pro ICU. Somehow I had missed the internal dimension of the ICUs on the web site. Hmm... my eyes must have just jumped over the number; when I look now it jumps right off of the page. With the L-plate attached to my camera for tripod or monopod mounting, my 7D is too tall for the shallow ICU; I definitely need the Pro ICU. That meant that my decision was almost made. I thought for a moment about getting the medium Pro ICU. Nope, that doesn't solve the problem - I want to be able to fit my camera + all of my current lenses + filters + whatever else in the ICU. The medium was pretty close to matching the camera gear space in my current bag, so nope! That won't do. The large Pro ICU felt right.

It was early February when I came to my decision. Timing is everything... I found that the Loka was on backorder. I placed an order anyway since the web site indicated that when the bags arrived orders would be filled in the order in which they were received. I received an email about two weeks before the bag shipped. It said that the shipment was waiting to clear customs, and it gave me a chance to cancel my order if I had changed my mind. I didn't cancel, but I did call f-stop to make sure that the credit card number I used wasn't one that expired in a month. All set, just a little more waiting...

My new Loka arrived on my doorstep last week; I loaded it up and used it on both days last weekend. I didn't need everything I was carrying given that I was wandering pretty close to home and that I knew I would only be using a single lens - but I needed to feel the loaded bag.

There is plenty of space in the bag, space that is well laid out and usable. The ICU slips in from the top but it is accessed from the back of the pack (as shown in the second photo below). There is enough room behind the ICU (yes, even the pro-depth ICU) to slide some flat items behind it. The space behind easily works for a laptop or netbook. There is an additional space on the back of the bag to slide in some light clothing layers (or snacks!). There is a pocket on the top of the bag, and there is room inside the main bag above the ICU. There are side pockets where a water bottle would easily fit, and places to stash (hang!) a tripod or monopod.

Best of all, the bag is comfortable, with and without carrying weight. The hip belt nicely transfers the weight off of my shoulders, easily allowing for all day loaded wanders.

As it turns out, there's a bit of magic with the access to the camera compartment from the back of the bag. I tried Varina's recommended method of accessing my camera gear (as seen in her video High & Dry: Rear Access Camera Bags). The steps? Loosen the hip belt a bit, slide out of the shoulder straps, and spin the bag to the front. The pack then sits with the bottom against your body, laying flat with the rear access compartment easily zipped open to grab a camera, use as a sort of a table to change a lens, zip, and flip back to the normal backpack position. Now that really is magic!

I'm happy.

f-stop Lokaf-stop Loka

Afternoon garden walk

It was a beautiful day for a walk among flowers, so I headed to the The Stevens-Coolidge Place in the hopes that the deconstructed flower beds I saw there last weekend had moved in a positive direction. They had; there were plants in spots that only wore piles of dirt last week.

I shared that beautiful spot with several other people, at least one on her first visit there. Funny, I can't remember not having this place as a favorite, but I only found it in the last year or two. That's hard for me to believe since I've lived here for over ten years and the garden is a walkable mile and a half from my house.

There were flowering trees, sun shining through newly formed leaves, and flowers too!

purple flowers

More photos can be seen in the gallery It's spring! 2012 starting with this photo and ending here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gone to seed

Dandelions are such an interesting weed. They crop up, decorating lawns in bright yellow. Next they turn into fluff, starting as full round heads of fluffy bits ready to fly, moving to a few bits hanging on. Even weeds can be beautiful.

dandelion, gone to seed

Monday, April 16, 2012


I was attracted by the color of this simple just-opening flower. It was hiding behind other plants and weeds, making it impossible to get a clear shot.

Focusing on the flower through the clutter gave the photo a soft look, something a little different for me. Funny, I like it!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Seeking tulips

I headed to The Stevens-Coolidge Place this morning in the hopes of finding some tulips in bloom. I found a garden in a state of change, but I also found some beautiful clusters of tulips.

Half of the garden behind the house was wearing piles of dirt; the other half still showed green and occasional color. It's clear that change is in progress. Hedges that I couldn't see over are cut short now, new flowering trees are standing on the edges of the rose garden, and there are signs of more plants to come.

This is a garden that I visit often since it is just over a mile and a half from home, a good destination for a walk. It should be interesting to watch.


More photos from this morning's flower wander can be found in the gallery It's spring! 2012 starting with this photo and ending here.

A day for...

It was a day for walking, a day for cycling, a day for a bit of camera play. The air warmed quickly, allowing me to wander in shorts and a light shirt, no extra layers.

It was a taste of summer in mid-April. Nice!

Through the leaves


Monday, April 09, 2012


As I walked across the grass in Prescott Park yesterday afternoon I stopped to watch some robins. I knew if I moved closer they would quickly take flight, so I stopped and crouched close to the ground. I grabbed a quick photo of the closest bird and waited.

My bird companion apparently was curious. He darted closer to me, stopped, posed. It took four repetitions of that sequence before his curiosity was satisfied. And then... he flew away.


Sunday, April 08, 2012

Bridge to nowhere

Portsmouth's Memorial Bridge is now a bridge to nowhere. The last time I visited was the weekend after the lift section was removed, allowing me to grab photos of the two connected to land but not to each other sections of the bridge.

Deconstruction of the remaining pieces of the bridge has been progressing. Today I found that the section of the bridge on the New Hampshire side of the river is gone, and the section on the Maine side is getting smaller.

Portsmouth NH Memorial Bridge deconstruction

Portsmouth NH Memorial Bridge deconstruction

More photos of the deconstructed bridge can be found in the gallery Rebuilding a bridge, Portsmouth NH. Images from today start with this photo and end here.

Coastal walk

It's the weekend, and as seems to be my habit lately I was pulled to the ocean. The sky was gray, the temperature was cool, the sound of the waves was calming.

mystical, ocean view

More photos from today's coastal walk can be viewed in the gallery New Hampshire coast - 2012 starting with this photo and ending here.

Friday, April 06, 2012

A bit of purple

tiny purple flowers

So blue!

It was crystal clear, the sky colored in blue. As I was walking I looked up to see the contrast of tree branches covered in white flowers against the blue sky.

white flowers, blue sky

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Disappearing art

I was fascinated to read an article about Andre Amador. He is an artist who uses the beach as his canvas, "painting" with sand on a surface that will be covered with water as the tide moves from low to high. Some of his creations are delicate, but most are strong. I'd love to watch the creative process, to see these marvelous works in person. For now, photos will do.

Click to read the article Tide waits for no man: The amazing beach artist who starts every day with a new canvas.

For more writing and photos, visit Andres Amador's web site at

sand painting by Andre Amador
Photo shared by Creative Commons License, sand artist Andre Amador

sand painting by Andre Amador
Photo shared by Creative Commons License, sand artist Andre Amador

Monday, April 02, 2012

Taste treat

A new (to me) variety of pears caught my eye as I walked through Whole Foods yesterday. I picked up some Abate Fetel pears, and oh! they are very good. From my quick search for information it appears that it is native to Italy; the pears I bought are from Argentina.

If you see Abate Fetal pears, they are worth a taste.

abate fetel pears

From the bridge

After wandering at Parker River I've started stopping to walk across the bridge connecting Plum Island to the mainland. Late day light makes it a special place to soak in the views.

Newburyport, Plum Island

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Maudlslay afternoon

The weather has clicked back to normal early spring temperatures. Today was cool, not cold... It felt like a good afternoon for a walk at Maudslay State Park. I missed the early spring gardens there last year since I didn't discover the park until the early bloom was gone; I hope to make up for that this year by visiting often as the color begins to emerge.

There were daffodils, crocus, and periwinkle decorating grassy areas and popping up in the woods. There was forsythia, reflections in a pond, and plenty of places for walking.


forsythia, Maudslay State Park

More photos from today's walk can be seen in the gallery Maudslay State Park - 2012 starting with this photo and ending here.