Sep 112016


Looking up inside the Oculus (while others look down)

A few photos from a trip to the 9/11 Memorial, the One World Trade Center tower, and the Oculus at the World Trade Center Transportation hub. Although shot in late August, it is fitting that I’m posting these now, on the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11.

Yellow Rose for Christine Lee Hanson

Fountain at Ground Zero

And here are some additional photos of the Oculus and surrounding buildings, including One World Trade Center:

Oculus and One World Trade Center
Oculus and One World Trade Center

Outside Oculus
Outside the Oculus

Oculus wrap
Oculus Wrap

Oculus curve
Oculus Curve

Designed by renown Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the Oculus and World Trade Center station took 12 years to build and $4 billion in public funds– the most expensive train center ever.

As the New York Times noted, “Calatrava’s original soaring spike design was scaled back because of security issues. In the name of security, Santiago Calatrava’s bird has grown a beak. Its ribs have doubled in number and its wings have lost their interstices of glass…. [T]he main transit hall, between Church and Greenwich Streets, will almost certainly lose some of its delicate quality, while gaining structural expressiveness. It may now evoke a slender stegosaurus more than it does a bird.”

The compromised design and enormous cost of the project led to an ongoing controversy, summarized by wikipedia, with a few quotes:

Steve Cuozzo of the New York Post described the station in 2014 as it was being built as “a self-indulgent monstrosity” and “a hideous waste of public money”. Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for The New York Times, referred to the structure as “a kitsch stegosaurus”. New York magazine referred to it in 2015 as it neared completion as a “Glorious Boondoggle.”

I more or less agree with the criticism, especially given the massive cost and fact that so much of the station interior is made up of high-end shops.  But is was fun to photograph.

9/11 Memorial
9/11 Memorial

The full set may be seen here, on Flickr


Aug 312016

Fire Island Light (illuminated by the late afternoon sun)
Fire Island Light illuminated by the late afternoon sun

A few photos from a week on Fire Island, New York, and various points along the Fire Island National Seashore.  This trip is an annual event going back a dozen years (although not all trips were memorialized with photos). As with most years, these shots document a trip to Fire Island Light, the iconic lighthouse on the Island’s western end, sunrise photos (on the ocean side), sunset photos (on the bay side), beach photos, and some shots with a trusty 7.5mm fisheye lens for my Olympus m4/3. Oh, and the daily ritual of gin and tonics on the Fair Harbor Dock or Bay walk is well documented.

sunrise with seagull
sunrise with seagull

setting sun illuminating the beach grass like fireflies
setting sun illuminating the beach grass like fireflies

the moon hanging on (on the other side of the sunrise)
moon hanging on (on the other side of the sunrise)


In past August visits to Fire Island, at least one day–if not two or three–have been rainy wash outs. But other than some overnight rain and stormy skies the next morning (see fisheye shot below, with bike), the weather was particularly lovely this year. The first few nights, however, it was quite cloudy in the evening, with rain and lightning visible in the distance over Long Island. We were spared the storms but had the benefit of spectacular, cloud-filled sunsets (see the two sunset Bay shots, below, with large dark clouds and boats).

Fire Island sunset number 2
big dark clouds at the blue hour (with boats)

stormy skies (with bike and spoon)_
stormy morning skies (with bike and spoon)

Fire Island Sunset number 1
Fair Harbor Sunset

And a few more shots:

Fire Island Sunset number 5 (on the dock with bike)_finalOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApink bike _croppedRust Never SleepsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAgin and tonic and sunset

walk the dog (in the hazy sunshine)
walk the dog (in the hazy sunshine)

The sun just rose over Fire Island
the sun just rose over Fire Island

Full set may be seen here, on Flickr.

Jul 232016


low tide at Good Harbor (with sun flare)
Good Harbor at Low Tide (with cool sun flare)

I’m quite fond of low tide, wide angle (see e.g. here, here, and here) and fisheye (here, here) beach photos, including those shot into the sun (herehere, here and here). So these recent shots from Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester are no surprise.

the other side of Good Harbor
The Other Side of Good Harbor (click to see large for full effect)

yet another wide angle Good Harbor shot
Yet Another Wide Angle Shot Into the Sun

And finally, here’s a wide-angle, long exposure photo of the southern end of Good Harbor shot with a ND (neutral density) filter about four years ago (the horizontal sky gradient is quite lovely):

good morning good harbor

Good Morning Good Harbor

Jul 172016

quarry and ocean
quarry and ocean

A bright summer weekend in Rockport and Halibut Point. Halibut Point State Park, owned and managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Trustees of Reservations, includes a former quarry seen in the above photo. This Boston Globe article, Cape Ann Park Tells Ice Age Story, notes that the quarry was known for “particularly dense granite that was used to construct the Custom House Tower and Longfellow Bridge in Boston as well as New York’s Holland Tunnel and Brooklyn Bridge.” The depth of the quarry is evident by the water’s deep blue color. In a shallow pond not far away, we also saw three stages of tadpoles.

Halibut Point
Halibut Point



Here are two views of the Halibut Point State Park Visitor Center and Tower, a former World War Two artillery and fire control tower, which, according to wikipedia, was intended to assist in aiming the coastal weapons defending the harbors at Boston and Plymouth.

fortified lighthouse (with cloud)through the trees

This picturesque old shed begged to be processed in sepia (a color version may be seen here).

old shed_sepia
And finally, here’s a shot of Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse. According to Lighthouses of Cape Ann “Straitsmouth Light was built in 1835 to mark the entrance to nearby Rockport Harbor [and] is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard, but the island itself is owned by the Massachusetts Audubon Society as a bird and wildlife sanctuary.”

Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse