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Cape Coral, Florida, United States

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Visit to Kittery Point, Maine

View From Kittery Point Looking Toward Portsmouth Harbor

Cross the bridge over the Pistaqua River separating New Hampshire from Maine and proceed a short way and you'll see the sign off Route 1 for Kittery Point, Maine.  Settled back in 1632, fishermen, hunters and trappers were the first residents of these parts.  Along the coastline stands Fort McClary used as a defensive fortification in the 19th Century guarding the entrance to the Pistaqua River.   The fort is named after Major Andrew McClary of New Hampshire. He was the highest ranking officer
killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. Today, a blockhouse, walls, earthen works and remnants of other buildings along with the tunnel system remain as reminders of what is was like for the young American nation to stand guard against invasion.  That invasion took place in 1812  when once again the United States was at war with England.  The fort was manned for five different war periods:  The Revolutionary War, War of 1812, American Civil War, Spanish American War and World War I.
Today the blockhouse (built in 1844) and remnants of the walls stand at the site.  It is an ideal spot for a day trip with great vistas of the Portsmouth Harbor area.  There are numerous granite blocks in different piles leftover remnants of construction that was never finished. Construction was halted in the late 1800's when the rise of superior naval firepower made these coastal fortifications rather obsolete.  You can also visit the former powder magazine and underground bastion that housed large cannons aimed toward the entrance of the harbor. 
Your journey begins at a tunnel entrance with a series of steps guiding one down into the bastion.  Walking straight ahead you will encounter the outer wall with the gun ports still visible.  It is a dank and wet place and makes one wonder how large 250 pound cannons were hauled down into the emplacement.  Once outside you can walk over the emplacement and enjoy the view of Portsmouth Harbor and even see a myriad of commercial fishing boats, sailing vessels and even a tour boat pass by.  On the far shore you will see the local lighthouse and further south lies the Portsmouth Naval Yard the new outpost guarding our shores in the 21st Century - instead of 250 pound guns you will see nuclear submarines moored for retrofit or repair. 

The blockhouse is also an interesting museum with artifacts and history of life at the fort providing a glimpse into the past.  There are additional buildings in and around the blockhouse area.  Once you are done doing the historical gig head into the town of Kittery Point - it is a well preserved period town with a quaint smattering of period buildings and colonial homes.  You will also see a few lobster places selling fresh lobster right off the boat, bring a few home to prepare for your own lobster feast.  Why did I go back to Kittery Point after all these years?  Well many years ago when Chris was about 10 and Matt around 4 we brought the boys to Kittery Point and they loved exploring the fort and I remember Chris climbing on those rocks.  Besides the period history I had some personal history enshrined in this place.  While shooting away with my Nikon I could still see Chris and Matt running around the place.  Great memories which I will treasure forever. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Everything Looks Worse in Black and White

This past Sunday we embarked on  a whale watch cruise out of Boston Harbor.  A great way to enjoy a beautiful day in the Fourth of July Holiday weekend.  I began to casually shoot away with my camera capturing this scene as we were leaving the Boston skyline  heading for the Stellwagen Banks where the humpback whales are currently feeding.  While processing the capture in Photoshop I came upon the idea of converting the background scenery to black and white while keeping the main subjects in color.  Shades of Paul Simon - I actually started to hum and sing the lyrics to the song he wrote and performed in 1973 "Kodachrome"  (yes I am showing my age again).    In the song he states that "Everything looks worse in black and white."  Maybe it does,  even though black and white photography has an elegant space in the photo world.  However, in this capture I wanted to focus on how sometimes the world around us may seem bland with no color while we operate in a "Kodachrome" environment. We are accustomed to seeing and expecting to see everything in color.  We expect to see "those nice bright colors....the greens of summer....making us think all the world's a sunny day!"   So, my interpretation of this capture is that we were departing the Boston skyline fading to "black and white" while maintaining our "Kodachrome" environment out to sea. And sometimes, the world may not be a sunny day but a droll black and white while the Kodachrome environment is all around us.  Perhaps it also isn't just "black and white" but many shades of grey!  By the way the humpbacks were very active and we did see a pod of whales and they were many shades of grey, beautiful and majestic in their own way!  Hope you all had a festive 4th! 
Song Lyrics: "Kodachrome" Recorded by: "Paul Simon" Written by: (Paul Simon) Album: "There Goes Rhymin' Simon" - 1973. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Close Encounters of the Poppie Kind

Zoey and her parents came for a visit last week,  It has been three months since I last saw her  and I was very anxious to see her again.  The transformation has been remarkable!  Zoey has become her own little person.  She smiles at you, one of those "I am so shy" smiles that just melts your heart.  She also has big beautiful eyes that just swallow you up!  So Zoey and I had some great time together it was almost like starting all over again with the poppie thing but boy did we have a blast. We played "rocketship"  which consisted of holding her in standing position on my knees doing a mock countdown and then bringing her up over my head.  She liked that and I made sure this activity was not conducted after her feeding, the consequences would have been messy at best.  We "conversed" although at times I did most of the talking which is not an unusual trait that I have; however, in time I am certain it will be the other way around and it will be Zoey doing all the talking and I will have to practice better listening skills.  I find this poppie relationship so wonderful and rewarding at times incredulous  that this beautiful work of creation is my granddaughter.  More incredulous that one of my children has children! A sobering thought that gives way to my own aging process and the fact that 61 years has rushed by at the speed of light!  That now,  the things I did with my sons when they were infants I am beginning to do with a grandchild.  I want to slow down from that rush of the past 3 score and1 years and enjoy it.  I want to enjoy every moment I can with Zoey.  I have  visions of taking her fishing in the pond behind our new home in Cape Coral, riding the teacups with her at Disneyworld, so many things I want to do and have her experience.  Of course that is in the future so now I need to slow down and enjoy her as much as possible at this stage where every moment is a new adventure for her.  She is just finding out what the world and all these strange people are all about.  All too soon it was time to leave.  Sad when I have to leave her especially when she throws you that smile.  Well in two weeks I will see her again when we fly to Dallas for her baptismal.  That  will give me another week of  a Zoey encounter of the poppie kind!