No Boston photo walk tomorrow. Where to instead?

I was thinking of trying the ocean again after the bust last time. Then I did some Googling and found there is a lighthouse near Salisbury Beach. That’s something to think about, eh?

There are lighthouses in Gloucester and Portsmouth too, both less than an hour away from home. Those might be in play in the future, but Plum Island, near Salisbury is closest and I was thinking of being in the neighborhood anyway.

Very interesting.

The Park

I went to that park near my mother’s facility after leaving her today. It’s a nice open space with a little garden with a stone bridge and a gazebo and a couple of war memorials and lots of park benches and one huge ass cannon.

I took a bunch of pictures and didn’t like any of them. I felt the same way when I saw the film shots I took there a few weeks ago too. Just… blah. Then I converted today’s pics to black and white and now they are almost okay. Here’s a few…

Footbridge over nothing.
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Footbridge and tree and bushes
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Hello, bench
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Gazebo pic #1
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Gazebo pic #2
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Great big fuckin’ gun

Here are a couple of color pics too, just for the record.

More benches
Why does the house across the street have those stone things, and what are those stone things supposed to be anyway?
In closing, that footbridge over nothing… again

Three Bodies of Water in One Morning Part Three: Merrimack River

Hello and welcome to the third and final post dealing with pictures I took this morning. This time we returned to Raymond J Martin Riverside Park on Riverside Drive in Methuen, MA. The last time I came here it was with my Nikon film camera, also known as the ebay camera. Today it was all digital, babie. Nikon D90 like a boss from 2010.

When I first arrived the water was perfectly still. It was like a mirror, except for the mist. I am so happy most of my shots came out okay. At first I couldn’t figure out what the two crossed lines in the water were, but then I realized they were reflections of the contrails in the sky. Awesome.


Dig that crazy mist!


This one is a little crooked. I was leaning over trying to get under the tree and I should have just used the LCD screen. Oh well.


Ducks! Even though they ruined the perfectly still water. Still, ducks!


Now we come to the lesson part of our journey. Using Manual mode instead of Auto means that when things come out of the blue you can’t just point and shoot. You have to set things up. When I suddenly saw a mist-spiral cruising along the top of the water I had to be quick, but in Manual I wasn’t quite quick enough and this is the best I could get. Had I been in Auto I would have nailed this before it hit the trees. This is the best I could do under the circumstances, I guess.


I was trying to get another misty shot but the birds flew in out of nowhere and it looks like they were the point all along.


Just look at that!


I wish I had the polarizing filter. I would have seen right through that glare to the bottom of the river.


I need to find out what that building across the water is. Pretty sure that’s Andover, MA.


Did Robert use exposure compensation on this puppy? Yes, Robert did use exposure compensation. Almost like he knows what he’s doing, babie!


Album cover?


No, this is the album cover.


I took a few of the park itself too, including some pics of the places I got all of the previous views.


Blurry background AND blurry foreground. Nice.


Gazebo pic #1.


Obligatory flag pole pic.


Gazebo pic #2.




And that, friendly readers, brings my three part post journey to an end for today. If the weather holds I might do my original idea of visiting three bodies of water in Tewksbury tomorrow. Long Pond, the Shawsheen River, and Ames pond. We’ll see. Tewksbury is only 15 minutes away but it seems like a long drive for some just-after-sunrise goofiness. I haven’t checked the weather since last night. If it holds, I might give it a shot. I’ll let you know.

Three Bodies of Water in One Morning Part Two: Forrest Lake

Part two of this morning’s photo adventure is Forrest Lake. I’ve been here a few times and the pictures always disappoint me. Not today. Not really, at least.

There were a lot of people at the boat launch area so I walked a little toward the closed beach to keep plenty of social distance. The mist coming off the lake made the stop worthwhile.


Dig how still the water was.


Is it really a lake, or is it more like a pond. Seems pond-esque to me, but what do I know?


The public beach closed at the end of August.


Dig that crazy mist.


I should have brought my polarizing filter but it doesn’t fit on the lens I was using.


Next stop is the final stop, at the Merrimack River.

Three Bodies of Water in One Morning Part One: The Mighty Spicket River

Did I go out shootin’ pitchers this morning? You know it babie! The air was cold but the sun was bright and the sky was perfectly clear. I thought about going to Tewksbury and checking on the Shawsheen River and Long Pond and maybe Ames Pond but we had people coming to pick up the couch we donated and I didn’t want to go that far from home. Instead I visited the three biggest bodies of water in Methuen. The Spicket River, Forrest Lake, and the mother of them all, the Merrimack River.

I took a few pictures at each location, going slightly overboard at the Merrimack, but we’ll get to that later. First, some shitty pictures of the muddy and gross looking Spicket. It’s super low, but not nearly as low as it was the last time I checked on her.


The Mighty Spicket has seen better days, but it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. This is on Hampshire Street, just a few minutes after the sun came up.


The sun wasn’t getting through the trees to the water, but it was pretty freakin’ glorious out on the road. Is this why they call it golden hour?


Crossing the road for a different view…


The next post will be Forrest Lake and after that will be the Merrimack (where I went a little overboard).

In Search of Cobblestone Streets

After my less than stellar sunrise trip to the beach (get it???) I drove over to Lowell, Massachusetts, the former home of the Lowell Lock Monsters, to wander around their rather depressed down town area in search of Cobblestone streets. I found two off of Market Street. I took pics of other things too though, so don’t worry.

Exposure compensation set to -2.
I tried to keep the homeless guy out of the shot. I failed miserably.
Cobblestones, babie

I took a handful of shots outside of the Trolley Museum. I was there to get a shot of the clock tower across the street (city hall?) but I got a few train-related pics while I was there.

That’s city hall, isn’t it? Pretty sure it is.
Pretty sure I’ve eaten at Cobblestones before. I think it was good enough to live up to it’s reputation, but what is the building with the columns?
Train with a bonus archway.
The second of two cobblestone streets.
Cobblestones, babie
Outdoor dining. I was wearing a mask too.
Mill buildings. One of Lowell’s other main attractions, along with canals and cobblestone streets and economic depression and (at one point in the past) crack cocaine.
Back to the first cobblestone street
And one final shot of the sun.

There are a lot more things to see in Lowell, even just in the downtown area. I’ll go back. Next time I will try to focus on the river more, and maybe some bridges.

Disappointing Sunrise Pics

I guess we can call this an upside of digital vs film. I don’t have to wait to see that this morning’s sunrise pics look like shit. I’m not sure what the deal was, meteorologically/atmospherically speaking.


The sky was super hazy. Everything looked like it took a bath in white out. I was expecting that the sun wouldn’t break through. I took a couple of long exposures and ended up with blank white images. I don’t know. I’m just glad I didn’t waste any film. If I had a film camera with me I wouldn’t have used it. I knew these were going to suck.

The good part was that the waves were much bigger than I usually see. The additional bad news was that there were WAY more people than I usually see. The metal detector dudes kept getting in the shots.


Fortunately the sun did break through the haze, even if nothing else did.


I kept fighting the urge to switch back to Auto mode to see if it made any difference. I also kept turning around and shooting stuff behind me and to the sides.


I said I was going to take a couple of pics of the surrounding area, and given the number of people I tried to take a weird, winding, stealthy route back to the car.


After I left the beach I went to Lowell and spent half an hour or so walking around Market Street. Those pics are coming soon. I think I’ll have some breakfast first though.

A Camera Lesson I Didn’t Know I Needed

I took the cameras out today. I left the house at about 6:50, which was about half an hour later than I expected, and got home about 8:15. I made two stops. First, I finally went to downtown Andover (where parking is free on Sundays, woohoo!) and then I went to the smokestacks in Lawrence. There are shit tons of smokestacks in Lawrence, but the two I’m talking about are the sort of iconic pair you can see from route 495.

I learned two lessons about using my Nikon D90, that expect apply to any cameras. Well, one only applies to digital, but the other applies to all.

I shot in RAW format. I got sick of every website and youtube channel telling me to stop shooting JPGs and start shooting RAW. Also, I found out that Apple’s Photos app can edit and convert RAW files, so it seemed like the time to give it a shot.

The first (digital only) lesson I learned was… the Vivid and Monochrome settings on my camera do not apply to RAW format. Who knew? I took two pictures of everything, one set to Vivid and one set to Mono, and when I viewed them in the Photos app they were the same. Oh well. So I guess that means I’ve reached the end of that little experiment, though I did convert one of each pair of shots to monochrome just for old time’s sake.

We start in Andover at the spiral fire escape that I really couldn’t stop thinking about.


I think I saw three or four restaurants with outdoor dining. Thanks, Andover. Our health appreciates your efforts.


Andover’s post office is cooler than Methuens.


Park Benches Alert… I tried to get a blurry background but it really didn’t work. I should have been closer.


Jen and I ate at Casa Blanca once, many years ago. I think it was good, but there wasn’t much on the menu that appealed to me. That’s my problem, not theirs.


Look, a thrift shop! Think they have some lenses for me?


Now we move to Lawrence where we learned our second lesson. This gives a hint, but I’ll detail it later.


Say hello to the Merrimack River.


Okay, the second lesson I learned was how to use exposure compensation for reals. Note that when I say I learned something about it, that does not mean I used it well. The pics I got are pretty terrible, but I’m pleased because they did the thing I wanted them to do.

This clock tower is just down the street from the mill buildings with the smoke stacks. I think it’s the New Balance building, but I could be wrong. See how the bright sky makes the clock look pretty dark?


It’s actually not as bad as I expected it to be when I saw the image on my little LCD screen. I set the exposure compensation to -2 (I think… or was it positive two? I think it was negative, but just because I said I learned something doesn’t mean I learned it well… as the next two images will prove), then adjusted my shutter speed to account, and then snapped…


Do you see that? The clock looks lighter now! It did what I hoped it would do! Of course the sky is a horrid, white washed disaster now, but I don’t care! The foreground is lighter! It worked (poorly)! WOOHOO!

So all in all it was a successful morning of camera nerdness. While I was in Andover I also finished off the current roll of film in the Ebay Nikon. I now have two rolls to develop. I’ll send those out this week and see how they come out. The first roll was shot entirely in the Aperture priority mode. I really hope they come out. Fingers crossed. After that I am taking a break from film for a while. I’m thinking of trying to get some cheap black and white film by Thanksgiving. I also still need to score a few more rolls for the Disney trip. Until then though, I am digital only.

Where to next? Maybe downtown Lowell? We’ll see.