Monthly Archives: October 2012

Happy Halloween!

A Seagrass Fantasy for your Halloween enjoyment!

Filmed at Brace Cove during Hurricane Sandy, October 29, 2012. Created for Good Morning Gloucester. Music composed by Camille Saint-Saëns ~ Carnival of the Animals.

Have Prius–Can Do!

I wrote this post several days ago. Westport was hit very hard by Sandy.

Let’s hope Westport is spared coastal flooding from Hurricane Sandy

The upcoming planting week for my newest project, The Mary Prentiss Inn, a beautiful inn in the heart of Cambridge (more about The Mary Prentiss Inn later) has been disrupted by Sandy. One of the nurseries I work with cancelled delivery and wanted to reschedule, but not until after the 5th of November. By that time I’ll be knee-deep planting Willowdale for the spring of 2013. I didn’t want to disappoint my clients and postpone work until later in November. What to do? Have Prius, will travel.

Much has been written about the super fuel efficiency of the Prius (saving me much, much $$$ over the eight years I have owned a Prius), but rarely do I see mention of it’s fantastic carrying capacity when the back seat is made flat. People look at me in disbelief when I tell them I have transported trees and (smallish) sofas in the back of my Prius so I thought you’d like to see.

125 Boxwood plants, with room to spare in the front passenger seat

Friends often tell me I need a truck or a van. Perhaps when an auto manufacturer designs a 22k truck or van that gets 45 miles to the gallon (when loaded to the max), I’ll consider. In the meantime-have Prius, can do!

Westport is one of the most exquisite New England towns you will ever see. The topography is such that the farmland runs to the ocean’s edge. Through community and conservation groups, Westport is earnestly endeavoring, and succeeding, in preserving its historic and agricultural heritage–as we know in Gloucester, it is very intelligent when communities work together to help protect and preserve their farmers and fishermen.

The Bayside Restaurant ~ Charming little spot to eat in Westport, across the road from Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary. The Bayside offers a complete menu, including many delicious seafood entrees and Homemade Pies!

Super Fresh Rhode Island Calamari

You can see why Sylvan is one of my top five nurseries, not only for their exquisite plant stock, but because they are located about a hundred yards down the road from Allens Pond Wildlife Santuary.  In autumn, after the coastal Monarchs depart Cape Ann, they fly south and next congregate in the Westport area, in and around Allen’s Pond and Horseneck Beach.

Allens Pond ~ Hurry Monarchs and Get Going! October 26, 2012

From the Trustees of Reservations website, “In many towns throughout Massachusetts The Trustees of Reservations have worked in partnership with the state’s Department of Agricultural Resources to help preserve family farms. Nowhere has that work been more successful than in Westport, where the partnership includes the Westport Land Conservation Trust and the town. Together, the groups have protected 13 farms in Westport over the past five years, including two dairy farms, two Christmas tree farms, an organic fruit and vegetable farm, a beef cattle operation, and even a piggery. There are now a total of 28 preserved farms in Westport, encompassing over 2,100 acres.”

Westport, Massachusetts

Superstorm Sandy Gloucester

Filmed around Gloucester’s eastern most shores at noon during high tide on October 29, 2012 during Superstorm Sandy. Mother Ann Cottage fared well (the house next to Eastern Point Lighthouse), the swans were tucked in near the dock at Niles Pond, seagulls found shelter against a seawall, and the backshore road was still open (although jammed with sightseers) at the time of filming. Created for Good Morning Gloucester.

Music composed by Antonio Vivaldi ~ Le Quattro Stagioni, Opus 8, Concerto 2 in G Minor.

Korean Daisy and Pollen-dusted Bee

Blooming today are the gorgeous Korean daisies. From a tiny little rooted-cutting passed along from a friend, we have masses and masses of these old-fashioned beauties. I share them with all my clients and not only do they love them for late season color and fragrance, but so do the bees and butterflies on the wing in autumn.

Click to view larger to see the pollen clinging to its eyes and body.

Korean Daisy (Chrysanthemum ‘Single Apricot Korean’) and Pollen-dusted Bee

Joey Ciaramitaro Receives Community Builder Award

Joey Ciaramitaro Receives Outstanding Community Builder Award

Highlights from The Open Door Autumn Breakfast ~

My friend Joey Ciaramitaro received the “Outstanding Community Builder Award”–so well-deserved, as anyone who reads or is involved with Good Morning Gloucester knows. His love for the people of Gloucester and for our community is evidenced a hundred times a day through his commitment to the stellar community blog Good Morning Gloucester. We who are GMG contributors are so fortunate to share in his passion.

Award Receipients

Guest Speaker Amanda Donovan

Open Door Executive Director Julia LaFontaine and Senator Bruce Tarr

Wooly Bear Caterpillar

I am often asked about the Banded Wooly Bear caterpillar and questions range from, “Why am I seeing a Monarch caterpillar in the fall” (the Wooly Bear is not a Monarch caterpillar) to “how will the Wooly Bear survive the winter?”

The Wooly Bear caterpillar is the larva stage of the Isabella Tiger Moth. They are typically seen in autumn as they search for a place to curl up for the winter–under a rock, log or leaf debris or in the chinks of bark. The heavy coats of members of the Acrtiid family of moths help them overwinter, along with their ability to produce a natural sort of antifreeze called cryoprotectant.

Banded Wooly Bear Caterpillar (Pyrrharctia isabella)

The following spring, the caterpillars emerge from their winter nap, begin to feed, form a cocoon (pupate) and emerge as the adult form of the Isabella Tiger Moth. Female Isabella Tiger Moths deposit their eggs on a wide variety of plants including birch, elm, maples, asters, sunflowers, spinach, cabbage, grass, and plantain; all caterpillar food plants. In our region there are usually several generations per year and it is the last generation of the growing season that over winters, nestled in, well-hidden and wrapped in their furry coats.

Fun fact from wiki: Caterpillars normally become moths within months of hatching in most temperate climates, but in the Arctic the summer period for vegetative growth and hence feeding is so short that the Woolly Bear feeds for several summers, freezing again each winter before finally pupating. Some are known to live through as many as 14 winters. 

Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella)

Isabella Tiger Moth image Courtesy wiki

Video: Gloucester’s First Wind Turbine Transported Through the Inner Harbor

Filmed on October 15th, 2012. I began filming the barge carrying Gloucester’s first wind turbine at daybreak, from Niles Beach, as as it was being prepared for transport through the inner harbor. Leaving Niles, I jumped in my car and raced over to Rocky Neck to catch the barge as it was rounding the Paint Factory jetty. The barge moved slowly and majestically through the harbor, dwarfing the wooden clapboard homes and working waterfront buildings. The sky was mostly overcast, and when the sun shone briefly, the metal siding of the tugboat Orion and the steely gray cylinders shimmered in the early morning light.

I then zoomed back to my car and drove to the Jodrey Fish Pier, which was a great vantage point to film as the barge was approaching it’s destination, the Cruiseport launching site.

At the State Pier, many people were photographing and marveling at the enormity of the wind turbine. The largest turbine section purportedly weighs over a million pounds. Shree Delorenzo, co-owner of Cruiseport, reports that she had to engage a structural engineer to ensure that her dock could withstand the weight of the turbine, along with the two cranes, and the counter weights.

The London Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Opus 21.

Created for Good Morning Gloucester

Special thanks to Joey Ciaramitaro, Mayor Carolyn Kirk, Sheree Delorenzo of Cruiseport, and Mark Baldwin, Baldwin Crane.

Liv Ullmann to Speak at The Cape Ann Community Cinema Saturday October 27th at 7:30pm

New England Premiere for the documentary film Liv and Ingmar at the Cape Ann Community Cinema, Saturday October 27th at 7:30 pm. Tickets for the Ullmann event are $20.00 ($17.50 for Members), and benefit the Cinema. More about the film can be found at www.LivAndIngmar.com, tickets atwww.CapeAnnCinema.com.

Liv and Ingmar is an affectionate yet truthful account of the 42 years- and 12 films-long relationship between Ullmann and Bergman. It is a rollercoaster journey of extreme highs and lows, constructed as a collage of images and sounds from the timeless Ullmann-Bergman films, behind-the-scenes footage, still photographs, passages from Liv’s book ‘Changing’ and Ingmar’s love letters to Liv. Ultimately, this film is a homage – a candid and humane look – not only at two of the greatest artists of our time, but also at two wonderful human beings, two inseparable friends and soul mates.

Ingmar Bergman is the legendary Swedish master filmmaker, and their incomparable relationship is told entirely from Ullmann’s point-of-view.

TWO NOT-Outrageously Priced Eye Glass Solutions

Solution #1 for Women

Kate Spade Eyewear

It was recommended that I purchase a pair of reading glasses one level less than my ordinary prescription, to help prevent eye strain while at the computer. I was utterly dismayed at the outrageously expensive price of eye glasses at the optometrist, as well as at the retail shops. I simply do not understand why a slender sliver of mass produced plastic has to cost $300. plus dollars, without the lens. Less expensive alternatives can be found at the pharmacy and places like Target, but I have never had much luck with fit or in finding an attractive style.

Without much searching I entered the Kate Spade website. Price for reading glasses: sixty-eight dollars. I ordered several versions thinking that I would keep the one I liked best. I absolutely loved them–comfortable, well-made, and in beautiful shades of tortoise shell. I liked both so much I kept the two pairs. The glasses come in a cheery apple green case, which makes them easy to locate within the deep depths of your purse.

Solution #2 For Men and Women

When my husband asked for help in finding a new pair of glasses, I was more than happy to assist. He has owned the exact same Buddy Hollyish style glasses for well over thirty years. To emphasize how non-materialistic is my husband–he has also owned, and it has been in continuous use, the very same key chain, a brass tag from the Savoy Grill at the Savoy Hotel in London, for over thirty-five years.

I had read about Warby Parker eyewear and thought Tom would love the fact that he did not have to go shopping (his absolute least favorite activity). He went to the Warby Parker website and picked out five pair in five minutes, part of their home try-on system. The trial glasses arrived in a few days. Shipping is entirely free, both directions with both the trial glasses, and with the pair ordered. Tom’s eye doctor phoned in his prescription and the glasses arrived within two weeks, for the grand total of 95.00. The new glasses look great and he reports they are much lighter and more comfortable than the heavier glass of his old frames. And they come with a smart looking hard clamshell case and cleaning cloth.

For every pair of glasses sold by Warby Parker, a pair is provided to someone in need.

iPhone 4s self photo

Filming B-roll for My Monarch Documentary

Stills from my B-roll. Click images to view larger.

Niles Pond October Sunrise

One of the most gorgeous, interesting, and enjoyable aspects of filmmaking I find is shooting B-roll. I am swamped with design work, organizing lecture programs, and hoping to finish the edits on my Black Swallowtail film very soon, but there is no better time of year to shoot B-roll for my Monarch film than autumn in Gloucester; the light is simply stunning, and what I like to refer to as “atmospheric.”

Niles Pond September Sunrise

B-roll further tells the story in a beautifully subtle, and alternatively not so subtle, manner and gives the project a sense of place. While filming and waiting, for example, for birds to take flight (whether swans or homies) I have my still camera readily available.

Salt Island Sunrise

The most extraordinarily beautiful things occur spontaneously. I feel so very fortunate to see, and in turn share, the natural world through the camera lens.  Only several weeks ago while filming a spider’s web in a tree, capturing the filaments of silky webbing dancing in the light of the setting sun (with the pinky schooner Ardelle and the Dog Bar Breakwater in the background!), the web’s maker came cavorting through the scene, with a capture of her own!

Eastern Point

Kent Christman, Master Carpenter

Several weeks ago I visited my friend Kent at his wood working shop in Cambridge. You may recall that we featured his wife Lyda Kuth and her beautiful new film, Love and Other Anxieties, this past summer.

It was my lucky day because Kent had just completed a commission for this exquisite table and was setting it up to show his friend Norm Abram (This Old House). The table is both a dining table, when fully assembled, and a collection of stand alone side tables. I thought readers would like to see not only snapshots of the table, but the way in which Kent documented the fabrication of the custom table–an exceptional example of both an instructional how-to and marketing tool for designers and builders. From the initial concept mock-up to the laser engraved labels, Kent beautifully photographed every step of the construction process in Link to Custom Table Fabrication Process.

Kent Christman

Before and After Photos Willowdale Estate and Thank you Manchester Garden Club!

Willowdale Estate April 2008

In preparing for the lecture I presented for the Manchester Garden Club, which was held at Long Hill in Beverly, I came across several “before” photos of Willowdale Estate, from the spring of 2008, which was the year I began working on the gardens. By the way, the Manchester Garden Cub ladies could not have been more welcoming, and enthusiastic about my program. Thank you Constance and Marne for inviting me to speak to your lovely group, and for all your kind assistance!

Taming the Wisteria Willowdale Estate Spring 2008

I’ve learned over the years to always take the all-important “before” photos. My lecture attendees, clients, and prospective clients, love, love to see the transformation documented!

Five months later, September 2008. We created a “wisteria arbor” that guests could pass through.

Willowdale Estate May 2012

Take Action to Stop Privatized Fishing Programs, Protect Jobs and Coastal Communities

Sign This Petition Please. Thank you!

The video that was posted on GMG yesterday, The Problem with Catch Shares, from www.fisherynation.com, provided a link to this very handy and very easy petition, which took all of thirty seconds to fill and to send. Learn more about catch shares and Fair Fish.

After signing the petition, an opportunity is also provided to conveniently share on twitter and FB.

 

Protect Jobs and Coastal Communities, Take Action to Stop Privatized Fishing Programs

Under the guise of conservation, a system called “catch shares” is being pushed by the government and larger members of the fishing industry alike to make a public resource, our fish, like private property. Traditional, small-scale fishermen are being pushed out of the industry as these shares are handed out for free with most going to larger, industrial fishing operations. Worldwide, catch share programs have meant fewer jobs for fishemen – and the effects spread to whole communities – fewer fishermen means less dollars for local shops, restaurants and more. For consumers, it can mean lower quality fish and a further reliance on industrially processed foods.

Privatization leads to consolidation – not conservation. Tell the government to stop privatizing our oceans now and save our traditional fishermen and coastal fishing communities!

Learn more about catch shares and Fair Fish

The Problem with Catch Shares is a very brief video (4 minutes), which explains in a nutshell the problems with catch shares, which even I, as a non-fishing type woman can understand. Although not a fisherwoman, I want to help protect the people and jobs in our community, and believe that when people come together they can make an impact. I love to cook and serve fresh fish for my family, and when purchasing fresh fish for our table, I want to know that it comes from the hard working local fishermen, rather than supporting some enormous corporate entity. Don’t you?

The following is the message that will be sent to Senators Kerry and Brown and Representative Tierney:

Turning the right to fish into a tradable commodity in the private market has grave consequences for coastal communities. Under the guise of conservation and economic efficiency, many fishermen, their crew, and those in related communities are likely to lose their jobs. At a time when our nation faces a high unemployment rate, we should not deliberately be putting more people out of work.

The privatization approach to catch shares gives away public control of our fisheries resources and favors big business in the initial handouts. This makes it more difficult for small-scale fishermen to stay in the fishery and for new entrants to join.

To avoid this, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration should retain control of our fisheries resource for the benefit of the public and allocate access to it in a fair and equitable manner that respects historical fishing communities. A Fair Fish program would allow fishermen to rent the resource in the same way that other public resources are managed. As shares are retired, they would be returned to the government who could keep costs at a reasonable level for new entrants and those seeking to rent additional quota. Programs could be designed to benefit fish, fishermen and the public.

Images from my close-up photography workshop

Native Flowering Dogwood ~ Cornus florida rubra

I am so excited to be teaching my photography workshop. I’ve created an over arching superstructure for the class, from covering camera and photography basics, relevant to close-up photography, onto very specific techniques for capturing wildlife, and even more specific tips for individual species of butterflies.

I’ve been pouring over thousands upon thousands of photos and with over one hundred photos for the slide presentation, each technique will be comprehensively illustrated.

Several of the students have emailed and I am looking forward to meeting everyone. I hope to see you there.  Nature in Focus.

Eastern Tailed-blues ~ Everes comyntas

The Eastern Tailed-blue is a relatively small species of butterfly with a total wingspan of approximately one inch. It was at first very surprising to find a little group, of about a dozen or so, wandering around this pink zinnia. Eastern Tailed-blues are very skittish and generally a challenge to photograph well. I quickly realized that they had all recently emerged from their pupal cases. Butterflies emerge from their chrysalides with wet crumpled wings and generally cannot fly until their wings are thoroughly dry. I took advantage of this fact and just snapped away while this unique opportunity presented itself.

From Germany to Logan to Gloucester, for Monarchs

I sent the following to my friend Joe a few days ago (Joe is the creator and Editor-in-Chief of the blog for which I am a daily contributor, Good Morning Gloucester): Thought you would like to know–Several days ago, at sunset, I was filming B roll at the Eastern Point Lighthouse. A German couple was there, with binoculars, and they had just arrived from Germany. I asked what they were looking for and they said, “Monarchs,” because they had seen all my butterfly postings on Good Morning Gloucester. Sometimes I think I am posting TMI about butterflies, but I thought you would think this pretty funny, and amazing; straight away from Germany to Logan to Gloucester, for butterflies!

To the lovely couple from Germany that was at the Lighthouse yesterday: Come on down to the dock to get your Good Morning Gloucester sticker and meet Joey C, the creator of Good Morning Gloucester. He’d love to meet you!  Captain Joe and Sons is located at 95 East Main Street.

A Roaring Time was Had by All!

Gerald Fandetti, Senator Bruce Tarr, Briar Fandetti-Forsythe

Last evening was a combined celebration of the ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion of the Willowdale Estate Coach House AND the 5th Anniversary party for the estate. Willowdale is a shining example of the Massachusetts Historic Curatorship Program. Senator Tarr was there to show his support for the curatorship program and to congratulate the family on their tremendous success.

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The hostess and guests were dressed in smashing 1920’s inspired costumes, champagne and crazy delicious refreshments kept the party-goers energized, a swing band had the joint jumpin’, the tent was beautifully illuminated and aglow, and the garden glistened in the warm misty rain.  A roaring time was had by all!

Briar Forsythe, curator and proprietor of Willlowdale Estate

The Roaring Twenties, or as the French dubbed the period “Années Folles” (“Crazy Years”), was the time during which Bradley Palmer entertained in high style at Willowdale Estate, formerly referred to as the Bradley Palmer Estate. Willowdale Estate is the absolutely ideal venue for a twenties inspired celebration!

Thank you Kate for the Black Swallowtail Chrysalis!

Last week while filming on Eastern Point I had the pleasure to meet Kate, who works at Wolf Hill. She was with a friend and they were looking for butterflies through binoculars. I had seen Kate often at the garden center, but never stopped to chat. We were talking about all things butterfly when she mentioned that she had a Black Swallowtail caterpillar on a parsley plant back at the nursery office. She offered the caterpillar to me and I gladly accepted. My Black Swallowtail film is nearing completion but there was one missing piece to the story.

Black Swallowtail Chrysalis ~ Green Form

The swallowtail chrysalides that I had on film were all greenish gold. Oftentimes the Black Swallowtail chyrsalis will turn a woody brown, but no matter how hard I looked, I could not find a woody brown chrysalis. Not showing the brown form, I knew, would confuse viewers, especially families who are interested in raising swallowtails.

Kate’s caterpillar pupated while she was away from work for a few days. When she returned she found the chrysalis had wandered from the parsley plant and it had pupated on the razor thin edge of an envelope-as office caterpillars are want to do. Well, you guessed it–the Wolf Hill pupa was the brown form!

Black Swallowtail Chrysalis ~ Brown Form

I know it is said often on the pages of this blog, but Kate’s thoughfullness goes to show once again what a beautiful community is Gloucester–stunning visually, and most special of all, are the beautiful, kind-hearted people who call Gloucester home.  Thank you Kate!

Not finding a brown chrysalis is a relatively escoteric problem, to say the least, but I think you will agree that the two forms of the pupal case are remarkably different in appearance. In this photo you can see where I have taped the envelope behind a tree trunk in order to film. This is how you would find the chrysalis in a more natural setting.

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There are several openings  remaining in my Close-up Photography Workshop at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, which will be held this coming Sunday morning at 9:00 am. I would love to see you there! Follow this link to register.

Capturing a sharply in focus close-up of a butterfly, especially one in mid-flight, is one of the greatest challenges of photography and I will be revealing techniques such as these, and more; techniques that have taken many, many hours over many years to perfect. All the photos I have shot in the past year and a half were taken not with a zoom lens, but were shot with a 23mm prime lens. I am typically photographing within a foot’s distance of the butterflies!

Fujifilm X series cameras pose their own set of challenges, especially when shooting close-up. Fujifilm X series owner’s especially may find this class helpful.

Farewell Monarchs

Inquiring minds want to know, “Where do the Monarchs go?” I am often asked this question, not by children, but by adults. Most children have studied, or are studying, the butterfly life cycle and the have some degree of knowledge about the Monarch migration. The reason the majority of adults never learned about the Monarch butterfly migration is because the great mystery of their winter destination was only discovered as recently as 1975! The Monarchs that are journeying through Gloucester at this time of year travel approximately 2,000 miles to the transvolcanic mountaintops of  south central Mexico, near the town of Angangueo. I have the National Geographic issue from 1975 that tells the tale of one man’s determination, including all the scientific intrigue that goes with great discoveries, and I will try to post more about this fascinating story in the coming weeks.

As everyone who reads my blog probably knows by now, I am in the midst of shooting my Monarch film. What you may not know is that I have written and illustrated a book that tells the story of this most exquisite of creatures and its extraordinary journey. I am hoping to find a publisher. Just putting this out there ~ If anyone knows a friend of a friend of a friend, or has a suggestion for a very high quality publisher or top-notch agent, please let me know. Thank you.