Faster Than the Wind — Iceboat on Cape Ann

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Pipe organ at the Harvard Memorial Church, Cambridge, MA, built by C.B. Fisk, Inc. of Gloucester, MA
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
Nomi Hamada works on pipes for an organ being built by CB Fisk, of Gloucester, MA
Kate Harrington uses a hand plan to fine tune the pipes for an organ being built by C.B. Fisk, Gloucester, MA
Carl Klein of C.B. Fisk builds delicate reed mechanisms that generate sound for some of the organ's pipes.
Tibout Lenfant of C.B. Fisk, inc., Gloucester, MA works on parts for a pipe organ., cutting wood precisely with a drill press.
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.


Boston Violin Maker Christopher White

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.

Edward Steichen: Twentieth-Century Photographer

An exhibition of the work of photographer Edward Steichen. Showing at The deCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA until March 19.

You may have discovered Steichen as I did in the exhibition catalogue of the great “Family of Man” show, curated by Steichen in 1955. The photographer’s ground-breaking work helped photography gain recognition as an art form in a world of skeptical art critics. Marvel at his dramatic portraits of Hollywood stars, still life compositions, high-fashion, flowers, and city scenes.