Axe Women Loggers of Maine

Women loggers competing at the 200th Topsfield Fair, in Topsfield, MA

Cutting slices of wood with large, loud, chainsaws

Axe throwing contest. – See the axe over the Stihl logo headed for the bullseye,

Slicing a log with a 2-person crosscut saw.

Undercut with a competition axe.

Log rolling


Glass Towers: Boston’s Seaport District

seaport district

The seaport district of Boston

Today I visited the seaport district of Boston. I have not found a good reason to go there until recently, when it struck me that the walls of green and blue glass might make some good images. Not long ago this chunk of the city was where you came to park your car for $5.00 per day — cash only. Several hundred acres of gravel dominated the landscape. You could eat locally harvested seafood at Jimmy’s Harborside, Anthony’s Pier 4, and the No-name restaurant. Fishermen off-loaded their catch on Fish Pier where it was promptly auctioned to restaurant buyers and re-sellers.

That’s all gone now….


Year-round photos at Ipswich River

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

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

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.