May 15, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Hooray–our milkweed plants shipped from Missouri Monday and should arrive to Gloucester by Thursday!!!
Plants will be available for pick up at Captain Joe and Sons, 95 East Main Street, Saturday morning at 9:00am and we will be there all morning until noon. Felicia is helping and we will have coffee for everyone. Written instructions will be provided on how to take care of your plants. Looking forward to seeing you all at the first ever Monarch~Milkweed Mug Up!
I did not collect the funds ahead of time. Please everybody, if you ordered plants, be sure to pick-up Saturday morning. I am counting on you!! If the project is successful, we will do this again later in the season, with Seaside Goldenrod and New England Asters, but we can only have another plant sale if everyone honors their commitment. Thank you!!
For more detailed information, see previous posts:
WOW and WONDEFUL—150 milkweed plants ordered!!! (Actually, 190 plants were ordered!!)
May 9, 2013 § Leave a Comment
May 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Thank you to everyone participating in the Cape Ann Milkweed Project!
Monarch Butterfly Nectaring at Common Milkweed ~ Good Harbor Beach
Milkweed may not be for everyone’s garden; even if you did not order plants, you are welcome to come on down to the dock Saturday morning, the 18th of May, and learn more about the Monarch-milkweed connection. The plants are being shipped on Monday the 13th and I will keep you updated on their progress.
April 30, 2013 § 1 Comment
Order Your Milkweed Plants Today!
In case you missed the details see Sunday’s Post: Cape Ann Milkweed Project
Tonight I am placing the order for the milkweed plants. Please get your orders in.
Thank you, thank you to Everyone participating in our Cape Ann Milkweed Project!!!
Newly Emerged Monarch Butterflies. I called these two butterflies the” Twins,” because they completed every stage of their life cycle within moments of each other, including pupating and emerging from their chrysalides.
April 29, 2013 § 1 Comment
Order Your Milkweed Plants Today!
Monarch Chrysalis on Rib of Common Milkweed Leaf
Everyone who wrote in yesterday and placed an order has been recorded. Anyone interested in ordering either Common or Marsh Milkweed today, please place your order in the comment section of this post or yesterday’s post, which explains the project, and includes all details. Don’t forget to specify whether you are interested in Common or Marsh Milkweed and how many plants you would like.
Thank you so much to everyone who is participating. Keep the orders coming!
Monarch Caterpillars Feeding on Milkweed in the Summer…
Equals Millions of Monarchs in the Fall!!!
April 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
COMING SOON! WORLD PREMIER at the
CAPE ANN COMMUNITY CINEMA
FRIDAY JUNE 21, 2013 at 7:30 pm
ADVANCE TICKETS available at Cape Ann Community Cinema
Come celebrate the premier of my film, Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly, on the Summer Solstice, Friday, June 21st at 7:30pm, at the Cape Ann Community Cinema.
As everyone who knows me knows, I have been working on developing this film for nearly two years. It is the first to be completed in the trilogy and I am overjoyed to announce the premier will be held at the Cape Ann Community Cinema. Many thanks to Rob Newton for inviting me to have the premier at his wonderfully unique and super fun movie theatre. I hope everyone will come celebrate this special night with me. I think you will love seeing scenes of our native flora and fauna, filmed all around Gloucester and Cape Ann, on the Big Screen.
The Life Story of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly is a 45-minute narrated film. Every stage of the butterfly’s life cycle is experienced in vibrant close-up, from conception to pupation to metamorphosis. The film is for adults and for children so that all can gain a deeper understanding of the symbiotic relationship between wildflowers and pollinators and the vital role they play in our ecosystem. Filmed in Gloucester.
Note ~ The beautiful music that you hear is my daughter Liv singing and friend Kathleen Adams on the accompanying organ. The song is their improvisation of the Quaker dance song “Simple Gifts.” The soundtrack was recorded at the Annisquam Village Church on the organ built by Gloucester’s own Jeremy Adams. Thank you Liv and Kathleen!
ADVANCE TICKETS available at Cape Ann Community Cinema
Light refreshments, including wine, and beer will be served. I hope to see you there!
April 18, 2013 § 2 Comments
Over the weekend and next several days, when you have a moment, please watch my newest video. I have submitted it to a video contest sponsored by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis from their debut album The Heist. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis created the beautiful “Same Love” video that I posted previously. The winner will be announced after April 8th.
March 30, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Are Coyotes the Cause of an Increase in Lyme Disease?
Struck by the recent interest in coyotes after the fascinating video Two Coyotes Versus One Deer by Shawn Henry was posted on GMG, I became interested in reading various studies and reports about coyotes, wolves, and foxes in Massachusetts and the Northeast. My primary interest at the onset was of concern for the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), which has seen a tremendous decline in numbers. I wondered if the presence of coyotes (Canis latrans) was negatively impacting the Red Fox. In the past, I often saw a Red Fox in the early morning hours trotting along the shoreline at Brace Cove. I wish so much that I had filmed the last that one that I saw because it was a gorgeous scene; a strikingly beautiful creature so completely unaware of my presence and so at home in its realm, investigating rock and seaweed, pausing to sniff the air, and then resuming its journey. The last time I saw a Red Fox in our neighborhood was over three years ago. As I was reading about coyotes I learned the findings of some of the most recent studies indicate that because Eastern Coyotes out-compete the Red Fox, the coyotes are the cause of an increase in Lyme disease. More on that in a moment.
The coyotes that now inhabit every region in Massachusetts are an invasive species. They are a hybrid cross species of the Western Coyote (found west of the Mississippi) and Red Wolf (Canis lupus rufus). “Researchers now believe that the Eastern Coyote is a hybridization between the Western Coyote and Red Wolf many generations ago in the upper Great Lakes region of the United States. It is theorized that as populations of the Western Coyote increased, they were forced to move east and north in search of food. As they moved into Minnesota they crossbred with Gray/Red Wolves and produced a genetically hardy animal able to sustain itself through New England winters.” (Mass Audubon)
Coyotes are not “re-populating” this region because this new species was never in our region.
Eastern Coyotes have extremely broad food habits and many factors affect the coyotes’ diet, including competition with other mammals, abundance of prey, season, and weather. In the Northeast, their diet consists of shrews, rabbits, voles, woodchucks, mice, deer, beaver, muskrat, weasels, squirrels, and carrion. And according to Mass Audubon, “They eat ground-nesting birds and their eggs, as well as reptiles and amphibians. When other prey is scarce they will eat a variety of insects including grasshoppers, beetles and cicadas. When animal matter is scarce, they will eat available fruits including apples, cherries, grapes, and strawberries.”
The rapid invasion of the alien Eastern Coyote has negatively impacted many sympatric native species, as the coyote has assumed the role of top-order predator. The coyote has fundamentally altered the existing ecosystem and various species have experienced population declines as a direct result of their role as coyote prey or from direct competition for food. “Culturally and ecologically significant species including Red Fox decline dramatically in response to increasing coyote populations. Eastern Coyote and Red Fox share many common habitat requirements and occupy overlapping niches. Through time, the larger and more resilient coyote is able to out-compete and displace resident fox populations.” (Department of Natural Resources, Maryland.)
Studies have shown repeatedly that Eastern Coyote predation on deer is minimal. Most herds can handle the coyotes. Typically coyotes have success with fawns that are 4-5 weeks old (after they have become more active and are not by the mother’s side), weakened and sickly adults, and deer separated from the herd. These targets represent approximately one or two percent of the total deer population. While coyote diet studies show consistently the use of deer for food, it does not appear that coyote limit deer population on a regional scale.
Although the population of White-tailed Deer has stabilized, Lyme disease continues to increase. In June of 2012 researchers at the University of California Santa Cruz published their findings from the study “Deer, Predators, and the Emergence of Lyme Disease.” (Taal Levi, lead author.)
The study found that once where there was an abundance of Red Foxes, there is now an abundance of Eastern Coyotes. Even more significantly, fewer coyotes will inhabit an area once populated by more foxes. The greater number of foxes would have consumed a larger number of small tick-bearing animals, primarily White-footed Mice, Short-tailed Shrews, and Eastern Chipmunks, all of which transmit Lyme disease bacteria to ticks. It appears as though it is the Red Fox that once kept the population of these smaller rodents under control.
Even when there is a threefold rise in deer population, study after study now shows that the strongest predictors of a current year’s risk of Lyme disease are an abundance of acorns two years previously. How does that work?
Many acorns = many healthy mice and chipmunks.
Many healthy mice and chipmunks = many tick nymphs.
The following year when it may not be a bumper acorn crop = fewer mice.
Fewer mice and chipmunk = dogs and humans become vectors for the ticks.
While acorns don’t serve as a universal predictor because Lyme disease can be traced to forests where there are no oak trees, the data suggest that food sources and predators of small forest mammals are likely to be valuable in predicting Lyme disease risk for humans.
To summarize, multiple studies suggest that the invasive Eastern Coyote out-competes and kills the native Red Fox population, which leads to a rise in the number of small animals particularly the White-footed Mouse and Eastern Chipmunk, which in turn leads to an increase in ticks that carry Lyme disease. The impact of the Eastern Coyote on native deer population is negligible. And, as many family’s can attest, the impact of the Eastern Coyote on populations of domestic cats and small dogs has been devastating.
Typically the excuse given for unwanted encounters with wildlife is that people are encroaching on the animal’s habitat. That simply is not the case with the Eastern Coyote. The Eastern Coyote is advancing on humans–and they like what they see; no large predators, a reluctance on the part of people to hunt and trap, and an abundance of food. The environmentally and culturally destructive chain reaction caused by the Eastern Coyote invasion is taking on added urgency as the coyote strikes closer and closer to home.
If confronted by a coyote, make as much noise as possible, if attacked, fight back aggressively.
Images courtesy Google image search.
March 30, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Snapshots from last night’s fabulously fun opening at Cape Ann Giclee.
Eaves Family left to right ~ Yianni, Anna, Dimitri, and James
Thank you Anna and James Eaves for hosting the First Ever Good Morning Gloucester/FOB/Cape Ann Gilcee photography show, running now through April 7th. The quality of work in the show is simply outstanding. Come on over and have a look, meet Anna and James, and learn about the services Cape Ann Giclee provides for all your photography and fine art reproduction needs. Cape Ann Giclee is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm. While the GMG show is up through April 7th, they are also open on Saturdays from 10am to 5pm.
March 29, 2013 § 2 Comments
I am going to look into purchasing a large quanity of milkweed seedlings at wholesale prices for anyone in our community interested in cultivating milkweed. If interested, please leave a comment in the comment section, which will help give me an idea, very approximately, on how many plants to order. You can also wait until the fall and sow ripened milkweed seedpods. (Note: Please do not dig up any wild milkweed).
The following timely news release was in my inbox this morning!
MONARCH WATCH ANNOUNCES
‘BRING BACK THE MONARCHS’ CAMPAIGN
“In real estate it’s location, location, location and for monarchs and other wildlife it’s habitat, habitat, habitat”, said Chip Taylor, Director of Monarch Watch. Monarch Watch (www.MonarchWatch.org) started in 1992 as an outreach program dedicated to engaging the public in studies of monarchs and is now concentrating its efforts on monarch conservation. “We have a lot of habitat in this country but we are losing it at a rapid pace. Development is consuming 6,000 acres a day, a loss of 2.2 million acres per year. Further, the overuse of herbicides along roadsides and elsewhere is turning diverse areas that support monarchs, pollinators, and other wildlife into grass-filled landscapes that support few species. The adoption of genetically modified soybeans and corn have further reduced monarch habitat. If these trends continue, monarchs are certain to decline, threatening the very existence of their magnificent migration”, said Taylor.
To address these changes and restore habitats for monarchs, pollinators, and other wildlife, Monarch Watch is initiating a nationwide landscape restoration program called “Bring Back The Monarchs.” The goals of this program are to restore 20 milkweed species, used by monarch caterpillars as food, to their native ranges throughout the United States and to encourage the planting of nectar-producing native flowers that support adult monarchs and other pollinators.
This program is an outgrowth of the Monarch Waystation Program started by Monarch Watch in 2005. There are now over 5,000 certified Monarch Waystations – mostly habitats created in home gardens, schoolyards, parks, and commercial landscaping. “While these sites contribute to monarch conservation, it is clear that to save the monarch migration we need to do more,” Taylor said. “ We need to think on a bigger scale and we need to think ahead, to anticipate how things are going to change as a result of population growth, development, changes in agriculture, and most of all, changes in the climate,” said Taylor.
According to Taylor we need a comprehensive plan on how to manage the fragmented edges and marginal areas created by development and agriculture since it is these edges that support monarchs, many of our pollinators, and the many forms of wildlife that are sustained by the seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, and foliage that result from pollination. “In effect,” Taylor argues, “we need a new conservation ethic, one dealing with edges and marginal areas that addresses the changes of the recent past and anticipates those of the future.”
The above photo of a male (right) and female (left) Monarch Butterflies on Marsh Milkweed is part of the GMG/Cape Ann Giclee photography show, currently on view at Cape Ann Giclee.
March 2, 2013 § 1 Comment
An embarrassment of riches ~ Whether dawn or dusk, when standing on the footpath between Niles Pond and Brace Cove, sometimes I can’t decide which direction to point my camera. When that happens I focus the video camera in one direction and turn and face the opposite direction with the still camera.
This batch of photos was taken on a chilly afternoon in early January, looking first toward the pond, and then heading down to the beach at Brace Cove after a wedge of eight Mute Swans flew overhead and landed in the cove.
The bevy was comprised of six cygnets and parents. The bill of the adult Mute Swan is vivid red-orange whereas the cygnet’s bill ranges in shades from dark gray through muted browns. A black knob at the base of the cob’s (male) bill bulges prominently during mating season; the rest of the year it is often difficult to distinguish pen from cob. Anyone who has ever encountered a hissing, snarling, gnarling, and whistling Mute Swan wonders why they are called mute. Mute Swans lack the vocal trumpeting when compared to other members of the genus. The most beautiful sound the Mute Swan makes is the vibrant throbbing of their wingbeats in flight. I believe this sound is unique to Mute Swans. Click photos to view larger.
Eight Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) at Brace Cove, Gloucester
March 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
In several places along the footpath, there are cuts clear through the granite dune and a sandy beach is forming on the Niles Pond side. Shrubs, wildflowers, and ground covers that help retain the sides of the causeway have been uprooted and washed away.
To read more about what makes this narrowest strip of land dividing Niles Pond and Brace Cove so unique, see JoeAnn Hart’s beautiful story about Niles Pond.
Niles Pond and Brace Cove Footpath Storm Damage
March 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
February 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Last night I gave a talk on Fragrant Gardening at a sportmen’s club in Plymouth. In looking through images to update my presentation, I found two photos that had previously been overlooked. The first photo is of a Painted Lady nectaring at the sweetly scented butterfly bush ‘Nanho Purple,’ which blooms continuously throughout the summer. You can see she is a Painted Lady because of the four concentric circles, or “eyespots,” on the underside of her hindwing.
The second photo is of a Monarch nectaring at New England Aster ‘Alma Potchke,’ taken at a friend’s garden on Eastern Point. Our native New England asters have a wonderful spicy sweet earthy fragrance and are one the most potently fragrant asters found. New England asters bloom typically from late August through September.
The third photo I’ve posted before and it is of an American Lady nectaring at Korean Daisies. You can tell she is an American Lady by her two comparatively larger eyespots. Unlike hybridized chrysanthemums, which are usually bred for color, Korean Daisies are the straight species and are fabulously fragrant. Their period of florescence is from September through October, oftentimes into early November; only a hard frost stops their bloom power.
With just these three beauties, one could have a staggered and continuously fragrant garden in bloom from July through November–and create Mecca for butterflies on the wing.
February 15, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I thought everyone would like to know that a photo of mine, Gloucester’s First Wind Turbine, has been licensed for a million-run children’s textbook on wind farming. I think its pretty exciting that our turbine and Gloucester Harbor will be featured not only in one million textbooks, but in the electronic version of the book as well. Upon publication, the publisher is sending a copy of the book and I plan to donate it to the Sawyer Free Library. This photo was shot at daybreak last October while filming the barge transporting the wind turbine through Gloucester Harbor.
Thanks to a google search, I found this very handy Stock Photo License Pricing for Editorial Use chart and it really helped to negotiate a fair price: Photographers Index
February 11, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I have posted many more photos on my friend Joey’s blog, Good Morning Gloucester, where you will also find tons more photos and videos of local storm coverage by GMG contributors.
February 10, 2013 § Leave a Comment
What do you give your lover for Valentine’s Day?
Why, a Shaque D’Amour, of course!
Where can you purchase your Love Shack?
Gloucester’s Nichols Candy House, naturally!
February 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Thank you Melissa Cox for recommending the fabulous Heather at Kyla Hair Salon. I Love her!!!
I had such a disagreeable experience the last time I visited a salon that it has been nearly an entire year since my last foray. Heather is prompt, lovely, fun, funny, really good at listening to what you would like, and extremely adept–at one time while she was styling my hair, I counted four hair brushes simultaneously in use! It won’t be a year between visits now that I’ve met Heather!
Kyla Hair Salon, Heather Murray, Owner.
33 Pleasant Street
February 3, 2013 § Leave a Comment
January 9, 2013 § 1 Comment
Earlier in the month of November I had filmed three herons feeding simultaneously—the most I typically see at Good Harbor are two at a time. That footage is lost, and perhaps it is just as well because it may not have been the most interesting as the focal length was some distance in order to capture all three in the frame. I found it captivating to see this lone heron feeding alongside the seagulls and ducks, not an event I have often seen. Whenever a dog approached or some other imagined disturbance startled the birds, all would take flight; the seagulls and ducks dispersed and the heron invariably headed to the opposite end of the marsh. This went on for several hours, back and forth, up and down the salt marsh. The Great Blue Heron is majestic in flight, with deep powerful wing beats, and a wingspan of five and a half feet to six and a half feet. Oftentimes difficult to find in the cameras’ lens, the heron’s subdued blue-gray and brown plumage is perfect camouflage against the rocky shoreline, particularly in the pre-dawn light and early hours of sunrise.
“Pavane in F-sharp minor, Opus 50,” was composed by Gabriel Fauré in 1887. Fauré’s “Pavane” obtains it slow processional rhythm from the Spanish and Italian court dance of the same name. The earliest known pavane was published in Venice in 1508 by Ottaviano Putrucci and is a dignified partner dance. The original music seems to have been fast, but like many dances, became slower over time. For this film I looked for a recording approximately 8 minutes in length, although Fauré’s “Pavane” is more typically six minutes long. The origin of the term is unknown; possibilities include from the Spanish pavón meaning peacock.
The following is the same video, only shared on vimeo. I find in both vimeo and youtube you get a better viewing experience if you watch full frame, but i am curious to know what my readers prefer–vimeo or youtube. Please let me know if you have a moment. Thank you!
January 9, 2013 § Leave a Comment
December 31, 2012 § 1 Comment
December 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Last week Craig Kimberley spent a morning editing and assisting me with my Black Swallowtail film project. It’s been great getting to know Craig and I am feeling very blessed that he is interested in working on my project. Because of his knowledge and expertise, I know my film is going to be more beautiful than ever I imagined. Thank you Craig.
Hannah and Craig Kimberley and John McElhenny
Good Morning Gloucester contributor Craig moved to Gloucester nearly a year ago. His beautiful wife Hannah followed six months later as she was finishing her doctoral degree in English from Old Dominion University in Virginia. Hannah was just recently hired for her first professional writing job.
Craig is a freelance Director, DP, and Editor. He is currently working on Trev Gowdy’s Monster Fish on the Outdoor Channel as the Director, Editor, and Director of Photography. He is also currently creating a cooking show starring Tony Carbone. This is Craig and Hannah’s first Christmas in Gloucester together. Welcome!
To read more about Craig and see several of the great videos he has shot for Good Morning Gloucester ~
December 20, 2012 § Leave a Comment
JoeAnn Hart is the author of the novels Addled and the forthcoming Float (Ashland Creek Press, February 2013). Float, set in coastal New England, involves the fishing industry, conceptual art, jellyfish, marital woes, and plastics in the ocean.
Folklore has it that Niles Pond was once in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the closest body of fresh water to the ocean, but I can’t verify it. No matter. Not only does it seem true, but as with other Guinness records, such as the heaviest weight lifted by tongue (27.5 lbs.), it also seems impossible. Yet there it is. This 38 acre pond is separated from the salty Atlantic by a causeway just wide enough for a footpath. There is Niles on one side, neatly defined and calm, and on the other, the pounding surf of Brace Cove. To stand between the two is to feel washed in conflicting emotions. I walk this route with Daisy, my fuzzy mutt who believes herself to be a famed hunter of ducks and likes to splash into the dark pond up to her sternum to stir them up.
Niles is named after the farmer who once owned Eastern Point, the small spit of Gloucester land where I live. Of the many unique features of the intertwined land and waterscapes here, Niles is nature’s odd duck. It is a Massachusetts Great Pond, meaning that it is like a Common, where citizens have the right to graze their sheep, except this Common is made of water. Instead of grazing, it is reserved for hunting, fishing, ice-making, and recreation. Duck hunting is no longer feasible because of all the homes built up along the shore, and fishing is also a moot point because the perch have been eaten by the snapping turtles. As for ice, Cape Pond Ice (“the coolest guys in town”) churns it out for the fishing boats these days. That leaves recreation. I’ve never seen anyone but Daisy swim in the pond, what with those snappers, but there are skaters when there is ice. There was no ice last winter, speaking of breaking records, but that is a topic for another time. The point is, Niles is left mostly in the hands of wildlife, as nature intended.
Phragmites at Niles
But what does nature intend? Does it intend for the pond to be choked by phragmites, the feathery reed that is prowling along the perimeter? In geologic time, Niles was once part of the ocean, an extension of Brace Cove. Over the years, rocks rolled to shore, sand accumulated, and the dune got higher until one day it was shut off from the sea. A natural spring bubbled up and slowly replaced the salt water with fresh. In the 1830’s, sensing that the ocean might want to stake a claim again, Farmer Niles reinforced the 400-foot dune with granite to preserve the pond for ice-cutting and “ornament.” It remains a prime resting place for migratory seabirds, and a source of fresh water for the stealthy mammals of the land, including fisher cats and raccoons. At any given time, grebes, cormorants, and ducks float on the surface, while herons and egrets stand around on one leg pretending to be reeds. The mute swans are probably a human introduction, but they are hardly mute. They hiss and snort and otherwise act aggressively because people feed them, which confuses wild animals and makes them testy. That, and the fact that the turtles pull their cygnets from below and eat them. But the phragmites are more aggressive than either swan or snapper.
According to Fish and Wildlife, non-native phragmites appeared in coastal ports in the eastern United States in the 19th century, probably as seeds clinging to the hulls of ships. Maybe humankind’s natural purpose on earth is to help immobile species move around the globe. It is hard to figure out where we fit in, but in this aspect, we’ve succeeded. The rapid spread of phragmites in the 20thcentury is attributed to habitat disturbance and eutrophication. Raise your hand if you know what that is. It’s over fertilization from the nitrates from lawn fertilizers and phosphates in laundry detergent seeping into the pond. Phragmites are usually an indicator of a wetlands system out of balance. Well, aren’t we all?
Daisy on the path
Niles Pond wants to grow up to be Niles Marsh. Humans want it to stay a pond, as, I’m sure, do those migratory seabirds. A group of residents is working to have the phragmites dredged. But they’re tenacious plants, with stolons like bullwhips. The upside of this tenacity is that they might hold the earth in place when the Atlantic comes calling for the pond. But, again, that is a topic for another time.
Mallards and Cormorants
Daisy and I do not think of all this when we walk. Her mind is on ducks, mine on “ornament.” It’s particularly hard getting out of the house this time of year. I have to leave unfinished work behind in order to beat the early-setting sun, but Daisy and I need the exercise and the mental cleansing. When we get to the causeway, she scrambles down the steep bank of Farmer Niles’ stones in search of her ducks, while I, shedding myself of the day’s challenges, walk that narrow path between internal calm and unleashed energy.
Sunset at Niles
Reblogged from Newfound, the online journal about place for which JoeAnn is a monthly contributor.
December 7, 2012 § 1 Comment
Perhaps the Future Holds a Friends of the Gloucester Harbor Walk Gardens
Available on the High Line webstore, and at the top of my Christmas wish list, is the book High Line: The Inside Story of New York City’s park in the Sky, written by Friends of the High Line Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. 100% of the proceeds from this book go toward maintenance and operation of the High Line.
From the High Line website: The High Line is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for the High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under the threat of demolition. It is now the non-profit conservancy working with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to make sure the High Line is maintained as an extraordinary public space for all visitors to enjoy. In addition to overseeing maintenance, operations, and public programming for the park, Friends of the High Line works to raise the essential private funds to support more than 90 percent of the park’s annual operating budget, and to advocate for the preservation and transformation of the High Line at the Rail Yards, the third and final section of the historic structure, which runs between West 30th and West 34th Streets.
Special thanks to Lucia Droby, COGDesigns Executive Director for organizing the event and for assistance with my ticket!
December 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The Self-publishing Event at the Sawyer Free was packed. Ironically, when the program was held two years ago, moderator Susan Oleksiw said that there were more people in the panel than in attendance, which speaks to the overall dismal state of traditional publishing houses versus the growth of the self-publishing industry. Susan did a great job moderating and each panelist brought to the discussion a different approach based on their individual experiences with self publishing. The sheer range of options is fascinating and anyone facing the challenges of self-publishing would be well served to thoroughly research all.
November 30, 2012 § Leave a Comment
While filming B-roll of gorgeous herons, ducks, geese, and gulls this morning, the homies were particularly cooperative. Click images to view larger.
Come to think of it, the sunbeams, the herons, the pearly pink-hued surf caught in the dawn light, and sand turned-brilliant-gold were also cooperating. It must be my good fortune! Several nights ago on my way home from work I purchased my first ever lottery ticket and, although unfortunate in that I did not win the half billion dollars, I feel fortunate everyday, for our shared beauty that is Gloucester.
November 22, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Tuesday, while filming beautiful B-roll ay Captain Joe’s dock, for my Monarch butterfly project, my friend Joey suggested I ask each lobstermen what they were thankful for. It was alot of fun, as you can see, and although I made this video for Good Morning Gloucester, I thought my readers would enjoy. And as you can see, I also got lots of gorgeous B-roll of lobstermen in action and lobster boats, which will help establish a wonderful sense of place for my film. You can watch the video on Good Morning Gloucester if you’d also like to read all the great comments.
Wishing everyone a happy and joyful Thanksgiving filled with lots of yummy food.
Brought to you by Good Morning Gloucester and the crews of lobster boats The Lady J and The Degelyse, and Brian O’Connor. Thanksgiving interviews with, in order of appearance, Joey Ciaramitaro, Ryan, Skipper Dave Jewell, Brain M O’Connor, Michael, Skipper Tuffy, Sean, and Frankie Ciaramitaro.
I’ve Got Plenty to Be Thankful For, sung by Bing Crosby and How Sweet It Is by Marvin Gaye.
Once again, a million and one thank yous to Joey and Frankie for allowing me to film and photograph from the dock at Captain Joe and Sons.
November 8, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Superstorm Sandy Gloucester ~ The Morning After
Filmed on October 30, 2012, the morning after Superstorm Sandy, at Brace Cove, Gloucester. We were very fortunate to miss the brunt of the storm; Gloucester survived with relatively minimal damage. A heavy, thick steely-gray bank of clouds dominated the sky and the sun broke through for only a brief period. The streaming shafts of sunlight created a beautiful ethereal glow filtering through the atmosphere. The wind was very strong and caused a good deal of camera shake.
Music composed by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg and performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Opus 46: Morning Mood.
October 31, 2012 § Leave a Comment
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.
October 31, 2012 § 1 Comment
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.
October 26, 2012 § Leave a Comment
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.
October 24, 2012 § Leave a Comment
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.
October 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
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.
October 16, 2012 § Leave a Comment
October 8, 2012 § 1 Comment
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!
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.
October 7, 2012 § Leave a Comment
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.
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!
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.
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!
October 7, 2012 § 1 Comment
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.
September 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Click the photo to view larger and you will see the little Monarch flakes heading into the cherry tree. The clustering Monarchs are well-camoflouged by the autumn foliage nonetheless, their silhouettes are clearly visible in the setting sun.
Another passel of Monarchs poured onto the Point Thursday at dusk, carried in by the warm southerly breeze. Overnight the wind shifted, coming in from the northeast, and by day break Friday morning, the Monarchs had flown from the trees, carried to shores further south by the blustery tailwind.
September 19, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Recently I attended a lecture given by an expert in a field to which I am passionately involved. I was really looking forward to this lecture and I have on many occasions actively promoted this lecturer. To get to the point, I was stunned to recognize that the third photo into the slideshow was one of my own photos, and it was presented without acknowledgement. I sat stupefied listening to the rest of the lecture. I hoped that no other photos of mine were part of the presentation. Unfortunately that was not the case. One of the last photos presented was one of my best selling photographs and the audience was audibly moved by the photo. It would have been so simple at that point to say something like, “Thanks to Kim Smith, the photographer, who is here with us this evening.”
The following morning I wrote the lecturer a very polite email stating that I don’t mind sharing my work. I simply requested that he use any one of several photos that I attached for him, with my name discreetly added in the lower right corner. In reply I received a curt and condescending note from the lecturer stating he would delete my photos from his presentation and from his files.
I spent three freezing hours before a long workday in a windy wet field hoping to get that shot that the lecturer was using as part of his presentation. Taking credit, either by claiming it as your own, or by lack of acknowledgement is unethical, at the very least. I really empathize with people who experience more extreme cases of appropriation. Some may find this case to be relatively minor; I found it totally unnerving.
I love to share information and photos about wildflowers and butterflies—as my new friend Hannah says, “You am working for the butterflies.” I blame myself for not watermarking the photos, although I believe very sincerely that most people are honest, have integrity, and give credit when credit is due. For example, when Maggie Harper, the producer from the television show Chronicle, borrowed my Greasy Pole footage, they not only ran my name across the top of the footage, they also provided a link to my blog on the Chronicle website. Maggie had seen the footage on Good Morning Gloucester and contacted Joey, who graciously provided her with my contact information. From the Chronicle link, I received many thousands of hits on my own blog. As another example, when a non-profit national wildflower organization wanted to use several photos for their publication, I gladly said yes, and only requested that I receive a photo credit, which they did provide. I am honored and touched beyond measure that people enjoy my photos and films. My policy is the same as many artists in that I request that if someone wishes to use my work for presentation, that they would please let me know, prior to use.
Enough with all that. Many have written requesting information about this year’s Monarch Butterfly migration. I have been shooting daily hours and hours of video and still photos and will be sharing all. I have figured out how to add a watermark in photo shop, but am hoping to find a more efficient and faster method of adding a signature.
Happy Last Days of Summer!
Many more photos from this year’s migration to come.
September 18, 2012 § 1 Comment
This is definitely not what Lou Reed, John Cale, Angus MacLise, Sterling Morrison, and Michael Leigh had in mind…
The release of the album Transformer was a seminal moment in our cultural history. The first video features David Bowie and Lou Reed with interesting interviews (with the Little Joe and Holly of the song’s fame), film clips, and photographs of the early days. The video ends abruptly, in mid-sentence.
An oft quoted statement attributed to Brian Eno is, ”The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.”
Lou Reed, John Cale, Angus MacLise, and Sterling Morrison were the four original members of the Velvet Underground. Michael Leigh wrote the pulp paperback The Velvet Underground, from which the band took its name. The book The Velvet Underground is about the sexual subculture of the early 1960s.
August 17, 2012 § 1 Comment
Introducing ‘Henry Eiler’s’ Quilled Sweet Coneflower ~
New to our garden this year is the Quilled Sweet Coneflower. The finely quilled sunny yellow petals are simply lovely, as is the overall shape of the plant. The wildflower is a North American native and bears the name of the southern Illinois horticulturist and prairie restoration specialist who found it growing in a railroad prairie remnant.
When lightly rubbed, the leaves of Rudbeckia subtomentosa reveal their sweet vanilla scent. I’ll let you know if it attracts bees, butterflies, and songbirds when the center florets open.
Railroad Prairie Remnants
“…the only remnant of any virgin, unplowed prairie that remains is along railroad tracks. When the railroads were originally built in the 1800′s, if they were going over a natural prairie, all they had to do was lay down the wooden crossties, pack in bed fill, and lay the rails….the remaining right-of-way remained essentially undisturbed. In many locales, a road also was constructed parallel to new tracks, so that the few hundred feet of railroad right-of-way trapped between the tracks and the road remained unplowed to this day, and in many areas has reserved a remarkable diversity of prairie species. In most areas, accidental fires happen fairly regularly, which enhances the vigor of the prairie vegetation.” Larry Lowman, Arkansas nurseryman and native plants specialist.
August 16, 2012 § 1 Comment
Last week the Giant Swallowtail butterfly visited our garden for a brief moment. I ran indoors to get my camera but it had departed by the time I returned. This morning my my friend John, who lives across from Folly Cove, emailed to say he too has spotted a Giant Swallowtail. John and I correspond regularly about butterfly sightings–I love to hear about what he is seeing on the other side of the island– and this is the first time both he and I have observed Giant Swallowtails in our gardens.
One of my readers, Marti Warren, wrote in on Monday that she spotted a Giant Swallowtail Butterfly last week in her garden in Amherst, New Hampshire.
Three easy ways to know whether you are seeing the more common male Black Swallowtail or the Giant Swallowtail.
1) The wingspan of the male Black Swallowtail is approximately 3.2 inches; the Giant Swallowtail’s wingspan nearly five inches.
2) Both the male and female Giant Swallowtails have a band of yellow spots that converge near the apex.
3) Additionally, the only blue irredescence on the Giant Swallowtail is a semi-circular “eyebrow” over the orange and black eyespots.
Let me know if you think you have seen a Giant Swallowtail in your garden recently. If you have a photo, even better!
August 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Tomorrow, Sunday, at noon, is the dedication of the Gus Foote Park. Following the dedication, I will be giving a mini-talk about the butterfly gardens along the walk. A yummy clam chowder tasting is planned, provided by the Gloucester House Restaurant. At 12:45, we’ll Walk the Walk with Mayor Kirk. The theme of Sunday’s walk is Gloucester’s maritime heritage.
Sunny skies are predicted for tomorrow–perfect weather for strolling through the gardens while listening to sea stories. I hope you’ll come join us!
From left to right Peter Sollogub, Principal; Ethan Lacy, Chris Muskopf, Tim Mansfield, and Rosie Weinberg.
Gus Foote, now 82 years young, is a retired Gloucester City Councilman. He represented Ward 2 for more than three decades. In 2011, Gus was reappointed by Governor Deval Patrick to serve another five-year term on the Gloucester Housing Authority .
Gus Foote Image Courtesy GMG 2009
August 5, 2012 § 1 Comment
For Devera, who wrote in asking how to tell the difference between a male and female Monarch Butterfly ~
Click photos to view large.
The first photos shows all male Monarch Butterflies necatring at Seaside Goldenrod. Notice the pair of little black pockets, or dots, on the inner vein of the hind wings. These are pockets of pheromones, or what scientists actually refer to as “love dust,” which the male sprinkles on the female during courtship.
The female Monarch Butterfly lacks the the black pockets on her hind wings. Notice too that her wing veination is thicker and smokier.
During courtship, male and female join, and he carries her to higher ground. This photo shows the male and female mating, with the male above.