Year-round photos at Ipswich River

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Yesterday my daughter and I took a short hike in The Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary where we visit year-round. I was first introduced to this 2000 + acre mix of forest and wetland in the early 1980’s while working  on photos for a book about country walks near Boston. Click image for full screen view

Early spring near the Ipswich River.

The Ipswich River before the tall green grasses appear. Topsfield, MA

Late fall near the Ipswich River

Late fall, wetlands of the Ipswich River, Topsfield, MA. Subtle hues of brown and grey.

By mid-May the cattails have returned.

October colors along the Ipswich River Wildlife Refuge, Topsfield, Massachusetts

School For Violin Makers

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As part of my tour of instrument makers’ workshops, I made a late winter stop at The Violin Making & Repair program at the North Bennett Street School in Boston’s North End neighborhood. The program accommodates ten students in the three year program who are passionate about working with their hands, using techniques traceable back to the great Antonio Stradaveri.

Click here to see photographs taken at  artisans’ studios making, guitars, brass, flutes, and pipe organs. I am actively searching for a magazine to run this story. Referrals appreciated!

Ryan Hamonds uses a small hand plane to create violin parts at the North Bennett Street School, Boston.

The classroom workshop of the Violin Making and Repair program at The North Bennett Street School, Boston.

Violin Making & repair Department Head Roman Barnas at the North Bennett Street School in Boston, refinishes an old violin

Student Chris Henderson of The Violin Making and Repair program at the North Bennett Street School uses an array of sharpening stones to maintain his carving and cutting tools.

Gabrielle Kramer is a full time student in The Violin Making & Repair program at the North Bennett Street School, Boston. She chisels the back piece of a violin.

Faster Than the Wind — Iceboat on Cape Ann

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Iceboat on Niles Pond, Gloucester

Iceboat on Niles Pond, near the tip of Eastern Point in Gloucester, MA. Iceboats can reach speeds of 50 mph, sailing faster than the actual wind velocity.

Iceboats have been around since the mid 18th century. Today, lightweight racing craft like this one, are still sailed by lovers of speed, the wind, and sailing. Sailors wait for good windy days like today, before the ice has been discovered by skaters.

Under the Zakim Bridge in Boston

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Last night I roamed around the city park beneath the dramatic Zakim Bridge connecting Boston and Charlestown.

The Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge across the Charles River in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a replacement for the Charlestown High Bridge, an older truss bridge constructed in the 1950s

Late Fall Colors In Massachusetts

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It’s been hot here in October — in the seventies for many days — and the chlorophyll has persisted; keeping the leaves green. Until this week when orange, red, and yellow won.

Fall colors in Massachusetts

Fall colors on a cloudy afternoon at Farrar Pond, Lincoln, MA

Fall colors in Massachusetts

Fall colors in Breakheart Reservation, Wakefield, MA USA

Dam Removal

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Recently, I photographed the removal of the first of three earth and stone dams from the Hamant River in Sturbridge, MA. A project 7 years in planning is the result of collaboration between the town conservation commission, Massachusetts Fish & Game, and other groups. The restored free-flowing river will support the spawning of brook trout and the growth of native plants.

Removal of a dam in Hamant River, Sturbridge, MA

Tomatoes and Flowers

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Verrill Farm in Concord, MA draws me in for many visits during late summer when their 48 varieties of tomatoes — mostly heirloom — and the sweetest corn are harvested. As soon as I arrived home I made a pot of gazpacho.

Delicious tomatoes from Verrill Farm, Concord, MA, where 48 varieties are planted.

Baskets of just-picked tomatoes at Verrill Farm, Concord, MA

Assortment of pick-your-own flowers at Verrill Farm, Concord, MA

Pipe Organ Makers — C.B. Fisk, Inc., of Gloucester, MA

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I recently visited the factory of C.B. Fisk, makers of pipe organs in Gloucester, MA. A team of about twenty seven highly skilled craftspeople build instruments that are close relatives of the organs used by Bach in the 1700’s. Superficially, the workspaces resemble common machine shops and woodworking facilities, but there is more than meets the eye. Built to very tight tolerances, a large organ for a church can take up to six months to complete — and that does not include shipping and assembly. A 1/16 scale model of each organ is built by the shop’s designated model-maker, and each organ is dry-fit in the plant before shipping.

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Pipe organ at the Harvard Memorial Church, Cambridge, MA, built by C.B. Fisk, Inc. of Gloucester, MA
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Tony Miscio at C. B. Fisk, Inc., Gloucester, MA, assembling a keyboard for a pipe organ.
Keyboard of a new pipe organ bult by C.B. Fisk, Gloucester, MA
Keyboard of a new pipe organ built by C.B. Fisk, Gloucester, MA
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Nomi Hamada works on pipes for an organ being built by CB Fisk, of Gloucester, MA
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Kate Harrington uses a hand plan to fine tune the pipes for an organ being built by C.B. Fisk, Gloucester, MA
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Carl Klein of C.B. Fisk builds delicate reed mechanisms that generate sound for some of the organ's pipes.
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Tibout Lenfant of C.B. Fisk, inc., Gloucester, MA works on parts for a pipe organ., cutting wood precisely with a drill press.
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Scale model of a church with a C.B. Fisk organ scheduled for installation at Christ Church Episcopal, Philadelphia, PA

Visit my posts about Tippin Guitars, Haynes Flute. S.E. Shires, Co. (brass instruments), and Christoper White Violins.

Amarylis

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Amarylis

Boston Violin Maker Christopher White

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I recently visited Boston violin maker Christopher White in his studio. This is the forth installment of my series on musical instrument makers in New England. The shots may become the foundation for a magazine story or exhibit.

In over 25 years at his workshop, Christopher has made over 150 violins and violas and over 30 cellos. Inspired by the work of Cremona Italy masters Guarneri del Gesu and Antonio Stradivari, all the work is done using hand tools; with the exception of rough cuts made on a bandsaw.

Visit my posts about Tippin Guitars, Haynes Flute. S.E. Shires, Co. (brass instruments) and Christopher’s site.

Boston violin maker Christopher White shows a recently completed instrument, ready to be shipped to a customer.

A violin scroll and peg box in the studio of Boston violin maker Christopher White

Boston violin maker Christopher White stocks domestic and European woods.

The workbench of Boston violin maker Christopher White displays a violin body, top, neck and a shaping frame for bending the sides.

At the workshop of Boston violin maker Christopher White, instruments are displayed in various states of repair and/or completion.