Friday, December 7, 2012

Dredging at Quonset

Dredge No. 53 - Click for larger image
Today I had the opportunity to go out onto the bay (via tugboat) and visit a dredging operation off of Quonset Point. I was very impressed with the entire operation, especially with the accuracy with which they are able to control the dig. The captain told us that they can dig as little as a tenth of a foot off the bottom and have dug trenches as deep as 150 feet! The clamshell bucket in the picture below will pull up "two dump trucks full' of dirt in a single bite. If you look at the barge tied along side of the dredge in the picture above and you can see that it is split in half. That is how it empties, they the haul the dirt to a spot about 6 miles west of Block Island, 9 miles south of the Rhode Island shore- an eight hour trip from this location. A truly incredible operation. Thanks to everyone at the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company for their great hospitality

Digging Water - a demo of the bucket
The dredge company logo

Early Morning Light

Early morning rocks - Click for larger view
I shot this the other morning when I took the picture of the house in the post below. I was experimenting with HDR and ND filters around the Old Stone Dam waterfall in the early morning light. I liked the way the sunlight was warming up the rocks around the cool colors of the water. This is an HDR shot of 5 exposures which I developed in Photomatix and Photoshop. Not the best composition and it really doesn't have a subject that sticks out, but I like the action of the water and the contrasting colors.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hope Valley Morning

Hope Valley Houses - Click for larger view
I got down to Hope Valley early this morning and took a lot of shot around the Old Stone Dam and as I was walking back to the car this view presented itself to me... I liked the light and the New England feel to the scene.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dawn at 60 MPH

The Windmills of Providence - Click for larger image
Almost every morning as I commute to work I see the most wonderful weather along the way and especially as I cross the bay's head at Providence. And of course I am on the highway and traveling at 60 MPH so have little chance for serious photography. This morning, through drippy windows, shooting without framing, with one hand on the wheel, I got this shot.  Just before the sun came up the light was perfect. This shot has everything you could want in a photo, mood, fog, smoke, the American flag, oil tanks, the 3 new technology wind turbines (Made in China and paid for with stimulus money) and of course Cheaters Gentleman's Club. God bless auto mode. . . .

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stop Motion trip to Ohio

This stop motion video was shot June 5th 2006. It was shot using an Apple iSight taped to the dashboard of our rental car as Edrex and I drove from Rhode Island to Cleveland, Ohio. The iSight was attached to my Mac Powerbook and I was using iStop-Motion software. We captured at the rate of one frame per second, saving every half hour or so to an external hard drive.  The powerbook and external drive were plugged in to a power inverter. This video represents less than half of our trip, as we then went on to Illinois to visit my brother and back to Rhode Island, recording the whole way. I wish I had todays technology to play with... not even HD. The sound track is Mmm Skyscraper by Underworld  And as a simple observation, well after the fact, I seem to pass everything on the road!

The route

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Tapestry during Hurricane Sandy - Click image for larger view
We were fortunate here in Pawtuxet Cove as the tides never got as high as predicted and we were well protected from the east wind. Tapestry road out the storm with ease and no harm was done. Others here in Rhode Island didn't fair as well as there was a lot of damage. This photo was taken by aiming my headlights toward the boat from the flooded parking lot. The water level got about three feet above the high tide mark. The pilings as the end of my finger piers only had a few feet left on them before the water began to recede. Our big fear was that the docks would have floated over the tops of the pilings.  The pilings along the main dock are much taller so I don't think we would have gone far.  I had put out extra storm lines and dropped the anchor off the bow. Sorry for the grainy shot but I pushed the ISO all the way up. There was no power here in the neighborhood so it was really dark.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shirley's Mushroom

Shirley's Mushroom - click image for larger view
Sometimes you can spot the shot from a long way off. As I was driving into Shirley's driveway I saw this mushroom along side and immediately saw the color and composition and just what lens to use. Sometimes it works out like that.. mostly it doesn't.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ben and Pappa, and Nana - Stacking Wood

We got a load of wood and moved it from the street to the patio and stacked it. Ben thought it would be a great idea to do a stop motion time lapse of all the incredible manly action. This video runs about 2 and a half minutes but spans about an hour and a half in real time.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Mount Hope Bridge Video Followup

So while I was at the Mount Hope bridge I took a lot of video and I edited together this two minute spot that we blasted out to our concrete customers. Good response so far. . . It is quite a process and I spoke to the site foreman today who said that they got a very good finished section, and they are really loving the Stik-It.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mount Hope Bridge with Vibco Vibrators

Mount Hope Bridge - Click image to view interactive panorama
The Mount Hope Bridge connects Bristol Rhode Island with Portsmouth, Rhode Island and was constructed in 1929.  I was down here today delivering some of our Vibco Vibrators to a company that is refacing the piers. We were working on the Portsmouth side. It was a beautiful day and I got to climb all over the construction site with my cameras and of course the vibrators did their job perfectly.

Bucket of concrete - Click image for larger view
The concrete (and me) was transported to the bridge pier by barge in these large buckets and then lifted up to be emptied into the forms.

Vibrator in operation - Click image for larger view
Here is one of our Vibco Vibrators in operation.  This is an SVRFS-4000 aluminum model with our new suction mount we call the 'Stik-It'. The ease of operation was surprising and the movement and consolidation of the concrete was fantastic. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium

The Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium - Click image to view panorama
I shot this panorama while traveling this summer and just now stitched it together. The 'tourists' in this panorama are Gauthier, Carol, Bea and Bob. 

The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is one of four British and Commonwealth memorials to the missing in the battlefield area of the Ypres Salient in Belgian Flanders. The memorial bears the names of 54,389 officers and men from United Kingdom and Commonwealth Forces who fell in the Ypres Salient before 16th August 1917 and who have no known grave.

Governor Lincoln Chafee

Governor Lincoln Chafee - Click image for larger view
Every once in a while you are in the right place a the right time. Yesterday I attended the Business Expo in Warwick and got this shot of Governor Chafee as he was being interviewed by the local media and under the bright lights of the TV cameras. I was shooting with my Nikon D300s, 50mm f/1.4 lens, 200 ISO  This time the shot turned out as I had envisioned. It is very fulfilling to capture a moment in time and have everything come together as you see it through your own eyes, and have the ability to share with others so easily. Thanks for stopping by. . .

Tom & Debbie

Old Friends, Tom and Debbie
This past weekend our good friends Tom and Debbie came to visit from South Carolina.  We hadn't seen them since the summer of 2001 when we visited them on their farm in Tennessee. So much has happened since then that we really had a great time catching up and reliving good times. We met Tom and Debbie when we were cruising the Great Loop in 1999-2000 and have been friends from that point on. You can read about our adventures on the Great Loop at is the website we kept while cruising the Great Loop)  This past weekend we cruised the Providence River aboard Tapestry, went to a polo match in Portsmouth (USA 11 - Italy 5) and to Waterfire in Providence. Sunday morning we had breakfast at the Seaplane Diner (a favorite) and toured Newport from Fort Adams and Ocean Drive to Cliff Walk and finished up with supper at Flo's Clam Shack. A great weekend but it is the friends that make it special.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Just Bikes

Cycle tourists in Belgium
I have put together a small gallery of cycling photos here. I was enamored with the cycling when we were traveling through Europe. It seemed as though everyone was on bikes so the link above will take you to a gallery of a variety of bicycle photos. Enjoy

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Today is another day

Today is another day - Click for larger image
I am beginning to sort out some images and have taken so many recently that I have been procrastinating which is never a good thing. Since our return from vacation it seems as though every day has been filled with other things. Today is no different, but I thought I would try to post something. It is 9:30 in the evening, just finished writing out some bills and now have a few minutes to mess about.  The photo above is a sunrise over the Kickimuit River while we were riding at anchor over the Labor Day weekend. A good sunrise like this just restores faith in so many aspects of life...always be thankful for what you have. I got up that morning to watch the sun come up while the others slept. I figure I can sleep just about any time and these sunrises only come along every now and again.. might as well get up and take a peek. Glad I did.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A couple of bikes

Finally found a use for that typeface - click image for larger view
I know I must have mentioned it before but I was absolutely amazed at the bicycles that everyone was using. The picture above was taken in Bamberg, Germany and we saw these postal bikes in every town and village and country and of every color and variety. It really does make sense the can carry a lot and are easy to park - check out that 'kickstand'.

Blue Cargo Trike - Click image for larger view
I like this trike pictured above because it is typical of every bicycle even though it is a tricycle. It has fenders (mudguards) and a fully enclosed chain, a dynamo for lights, front and rear (no batteries used here) a ding-dong bell, and this one has drum brakes. Very utilitarian! The owner has taken the saddle and just might be surprised to find that flat rear tire when he/she returns. Even thought this is a step through frame I have discovered that this style of frame is not necessarily gender specific in europe.

This is only the start - I am sitting here updating the blog because I have the time right now waiting for other projects (on other computers) to render and most of my images are on the drive on the other machine. . . so here I am with not nearly enough bike pictures.

Uniworld River Empress

The Wheelhouse of the River Empress - Click Image to view Interactive Panorama
More from the trip to Europe -- I shot this panorama in the wheelhouse of the Uniworld River Empress while at the dock in Wertheim, Germany. I was amazed at the technology and and how compact and tidy the wheelhouse is. This entire house retracts downward for passage under bridges.  The hatch in the ceiling is for the Captain to stick his head our for the final approach, then he ducks down to pass under the bridge to pop his head out once the ship has passed through.

I should note that we are indeed back at home and back to work. I know I have been neglectful to the blog, but since our return I have been tied to a tree and was unable reach the keyboard. . . . (now that's a good excuse)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Belgian Coke. Hmmmmmmmm

Coke machine at Brussels Airport
Thought I would post this as a warning not to drink Coca Cola in Belgium - this is just not right!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Belgium - Day 20

The Trenches near Dixmuide - Click image for interactive zoom view
Although we had a fun filled day today it was an emotional day for a few reasons. We got together this morning with Gauthier and Bea and toured Flanders and many WWI memorials including cemeteries and the trenches near Dixmuide, and the memorial in Ypers. I am amazed at how much WWI means to the good people of Belguim and that they have not forgotten the lessons that the war has taught. So many lives lost on all fronts. . .  And it was sad to say good by to Gauthier and Bea af having been reunited with them in person. Thanks for all of your hospitality.

Soldiers not forgotten - Click image for larger view
We spent the evening with our friends Marleen and Paul and their son Bert.  Paul made Belgian Waffles that were out of this world and that started an evening of camaraderie and laughter. Thanks Paul and Marleen for being such good friends. This will be the last post from over in the land of beer, waffles and lace, as we fly back tomorrow and should be home in the evening. What a great time we have had. Thanks Bob for everything.

Mmmm Waffles!! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Brugge - Day 19

Brugge Canal - Click image for larger view
Today our friends Paul and Marleen stopped by the B&B to start our day and we sat around and chatted for a while. Carol, Marleen and Bob had a chat around the table while Paul and I had a Photoshop talk. . . What a great way to start the day!  We then did a walking tour of Brugge (I am now using yet another spelling, but this is the correct Dutch spelling-pronounced bru-ga) We visited churches, chapels, museums and saw lace being hand made.. I was amazed at the skills required. We had a great lunch  and afternoon refreshments and we even got in some shopping and a ride through the canals, thanks again to Paul and Marleen.

Lace bobbins 
My afternoon refreshments

Flowers along the canal

Puppy in the window

The walkers in an alley in Brugge - the yellow jersey is in the lead

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Belgium - Day 18

Carol and Gauthier 
During the summer of 1967 Carol worked in the tobacco fields of Canada for her Uncle. During that summer she became friends with a Belgian student named Gauthier who was also working the tobacco fields. They had many good times that summer and during the past 45 years they have corresponded through letters, cards and more recently email. Today, for the first time in 45 years, Carol and Gauthier were reunited. Gauthier is a great guy and spent his day showing us Belgium and that was great fun. I am leaving this post with just the two of them as it was a reunion to remember. We ended our day at Gauthier's seaside home where he and his wife Bea and their daughter Astrid gave us a wonderful supper and a great evening of reminiscing.

Looking at old photos

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Brugges - Day 17

Lovers Park, Brugges - Click image for larger view
Today we arrived in Brugges after a rather long ordeal with trains getting here, but once the travel part was done we were met by our friends Paul and Marleen. Paul relieved us of our luggage and delivered it to our B&B while Marleen gave us the best walking tour yet, through this fantastical town of Brugges. (I should note here that I have elected to use this spelling of Brugges as opposed to the French spelling, Bruges, and for no particular reason) We walked through town and saw so many things from beautiful flowers to church spires and horses pulling carriages. We passed the one remaining brewery and had coffee and chocolate in a small cafe. A beautiful city but the best was yet to come as Marleen and Paul invited us to dinner.  What a great evening we had as we discussed everything from the wars and politics to dog poop and cameras.... and Marleen had made the best fish soup, Mmmmmmmm, thanks Marleen. But I did come away with a bit of camera envy. . .Thanks Paul. . .

The Begijnhouse, a place for women - Click image for larger view

The Brewery Sign

Typical Brugges Canal

Carol's Coffee and Chocolate

Dinner with Friends at Paul and Marleens house - Click image for larger view

Monday, August 13, 2012

Amsterdam Days 15 - 16

Carol and Bob in the garden of Lizards - Click for larger image
Yesterday we arrived in Amsterdam and I discovered that the Power adapter that Radio Shack sold me doesn't work so I am working with just the battery power I have left in the computer. So this will be a short post. Arrival was fine, found the hotel OK and it is a pretty cool old place. So far we have taken a canal boat ride, toured the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House and had dinner in the open air and even picnic'd in our private garden. Having a great time in Amsterdam and trying to stay clear of the 'killer bikes'.

Canal Boat, Amsterdam - Click image for larger view

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cologne - Day 14

Final dinner with new friends - Click image for larger view
Today was our last day cruising and this is the crew we have been hanging out with - from left to right
Me, Jeanne from Calgary, Bob, --Anita, Anne and Doug from California and Carol on the right. Although we have met many many people onboard, this is the group that has bonded and toured together. It was a fun if a bit bittersweet dinner aboard (we reserved the special table) this evening.  Today we toured Cologne Germany - the home of Au de Cologne and the biggest cathedral in Germany. So I bought some Cologne in Cologne (I smell so much better now) and Carol got to visit the Cathedral (which I enjoyed as well) and today we had the funniest tour guide to date - a standup comic who really knew his history.

Inside the cathedral in Cologne
As I mentioned the cathedral was awesome and though-out this trip I have been amazed at the antiquity of things man made, where the craftsmanship is extraordinary and the object was made centuries ago. Here in this cathedral there is a wooden cross from the tenth century and some of the windows date back to 1264 and it took a few centuries to actually build this.  What are we building today that will last a thousand years or more? Not much I say.  In the USA if you car is 25 years old it is considered an antique (not just a used car) which is crazy. Anyway, the cathedral was great, and there were lots of Monks in red robes wandering around inside soliciting $$$ which you can deposit in a wooden box hanging around their neck. . . something like 25,000 people visit the cathedral EVERY DAY!

Bride and organ grinder - click image for larger view
We also saw a bride at the Rathaus (city hall) and people in funny clothing and an organ grinder..weddings are strange here. This is about the forth bride we have seen at Rathaus's over the past couple of weeks. Apparently you have to get married (in a wedding dress and all) at city hall first then you can get married in the church later.  Sometimes the same day sometimes much later. We even saw a pregnant bride. . . and our guide was embarrassed for her. Every town has a Rathaus and every tour guide thinks this is a point of hilarity to say 'rat house' then chuckle and say 'no no really it is rat house, but no ve do not keep our rats dere.'

Rhine sunset - Click for larger image
After dinner our little group went up on the top deck, at the bow, and watched the sunset. We are now in the Netherlands on the Rhine and will be docking in Amsterdam at 4:00 am. This was the first viewable sunset as we are far enough north now that the sunsets at 9:15ish. The river here is very industrial and lots and lots of shipping going on. We left Cologne today at 12:30 and have been in heavy ship traffic since. More tomorrow from Amsterdam, providing a good internet connection.

Friday, August 10, 2012

St. Goar, Germany

St. Goar, Germany - Click image for larger view
Today we cruised the Rhine River through what is call the the Rhine Gorge - the gorge took well over two hours to go through and during that time we passed the town of St. Goar. I am taking a moment here to salute my Dad, who in March of 1945, was here in St. Goar. He told us many times of his days here during the war. His first few days were days of waiting and wondering about when they would cross the Rhine to fight. It was so quiet they weren't sure if the Germans were even there on the other side in St Goarhausen. When the decision was made to go, the Germans opened fire with their huge guns and pinned down the 89th Division for another three days. Dad told stories about this town, the gunfire and the small boats and described it so well that I recognized it immediately. What he didn't say, and maybe didn't know was, that this area has the steepest hills and the swiftest and deepest part of the Rhine. This little town is just as I had imagined and I  imagine that today it looks much as it would have durning March of 1945 - So here's to you Dad, your boys are proud of all you did for our country and understand just a little bit better today about your time here in Germany.

NOTE: At some point I will post a whole gallery of the Rhine Gorge - I took over 450 photos of the castles and scenery - but the connection is poor aboard ship.

Heidelberg and Frankfort - Day 12

Heidelberg Market Street - Click Image for larger view
On this day we took a bus to Heidelberg to tour the old castle, the largest ruins in Germany, and then to have some time just to wander the town. It was a great day by all standards and we even had the local fare of Sausage and Chips with a local brew.

Mmmmm - sausage & chips
We spent the afternoon walking around shopping and visiting churches then back to the bus and on to the boat and then a cruise to Frankfort. After supper we walked into town with Doug and Anne and Jeanne -it is a big modern city and we had just a great evening just hanging out. Although I was developing a cold and today as I write this I am very groggy and have been all day.

Heidelberg Castle - Click image for larger view

Carol exploring the Jesuit Church in Heidelberg - click image for larger view

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wertheim, Germany - Day 11

Carol at Glass Blowing Demonstration - Click image for larger view
Today we stopped in Wertheim (pronounced veert-hime) and it is by far the most charming little town we have visited. My connection here is limited so this may be a short post. The morning was spent cruising and we had a glass blower com on board and he gave a demonstration. Glass blowing is typical to this town. Carol was selected to give it a try and she did great and made her own ornament. (with a little help for the pro) We arrived here at noon, had lunch and then went off on a walking tour. The boat is literally in town and you can walk around the entire town in about 10 minutes but we took an hour and a half and learned about the history of the town. The Bob, Carol, Doug and Anne and I walked up the hill to the castle and climbed all the way to the top of the tower... it was a very long climb but the view was worth it. We then walked back down to town where we went exploring on our own. Bob, Doug and I had a locally brewed beer in the town marketplace and even found a bike shop. They had a lot of bikes but still no cycling jersey for Benny. They did have a big blue box outside which was a bicycle tube vending machine. (see the gallery) Carol and Anne headed back to the boat to do some Nordic walking and once The guys got back to the boat Doug and I took a couple of bikes and rode along the river to the next town and back. After supper this evening we had a zither concert. . . hey, stranger things have happened.  Below is a link to a gallery - (which took forever to upload) - which had about 50 images from today (I shot several hundred) straight from the camera - no time for processing tonight.

View of wertheim from castle - click image for larger view