Sunday, November 27, 2022

Abington, Gloucester and Greyson

We arrived in Massachusetts late on a Thursday. Greyson was very excited to see us but we were just part of the environment by the next morning.

For entertainment, Andy took us to Abington, an adjacent municipality in the South Shore suburbs to see the giant Christmas Place, stocked with everything merry that you can possibly imagine. They have a complex miniature village in the window. A giant nutcracker greets you at the door.

Around it at floor level is a skating pond with a few animatronic elves.

Lots of densely stocked shelves. Easy to leave a small, mostly black camera for a long exposure without being noticed.

Went to eat at Yaz's Table, an Egyptian restaurant that specializes in brunch. We had to wait outside for a table but it was 72 degrees and sunny. Pretty weird on November 4th, but it made the wait pleasant.

It was lovely and the Egyptian-themed food was interesting but they followed one of my least favorite fads. I can't fathom why anyone thinks it's cool to drink out of a container that you can screw a canning lid on. Is this some southern country thing? Ick.

Andy needed new strings so we stopped at Matt's Music, featuring a wide selection of high-end guitars.

Andy was cooking tonight so to Billy's Liquors to get the perfect wine pairing. 

I went to see if they had any interesting materials to make cameras out of.

Back across the shared city limits in Weymouth, a walk with Greyson was the first priority.

Most of the local Halloween decorating was gone except for this rather elaborate tableau.

This fall's tourist destination was the Hammond Castle Museum between Manchester by the Sea and Gloucester, built just under a century ago by a prolific inventor of electronic gear in the early days of radio and television. He wanted it to look like a medieval castle. 

As you come down these stairs to approach the gate, there is a nicely typeset bullet list of items which are not permitted on the grounds which included selfie-sticks and tripods. Well, it's a very small tripod. No harm, no foul, right? 

The building is a pastiche that includes design elements and actual parts of buildings from the Roman Empire through the early Rennaissance.

It was built intentionally to exhibit his European architectural collection, such as the facades from several eras in the courtyard with i-beams supporting the glass roof.

The library, full of leather bound books and archaic musical instruments. Hammond was a bit eccentric. Several of the descriptions of details of the rooms mentioned he was an inveterate practical joker. He designed the ceiling with special acoustics so he could hear whispered conversations from across the room.

It's rare to see a historic house with the kitchen restored. Hammond couldn't stop inventing things. Seeing his kitchen staff struggling to clean pots and pans, he invented this griddle which covered the cooking surface with aluminum foil they could just discard.

A pantry protected by an original medieval gargoyle.

It's located right on the Atlantic shoreline.

There are several manicured terraces overlooking the sea.

Visible to the south are "the rocks and the hard sea-sand" of the reef of Norman's Woe from Longfellow's The Wreck of the Hesperous. I'd never read it before. Kinda gruesome.

We went into Gloucester for a traditional sea coast lunch. Just about everyone else in eastern Massachusetts was also taking advantage of the unseasonable warm November weather. It's hard to make a place jam-packed with SUVs look quaint.

Andy and Kristin belong to a Run Club. They run together Sunday morning. Kristin went and Andy brought us later to the gathering after they'd finished.

The club is sponsored by Barrel House Z, one of two microbreweries in Weymouth, one door away from each other.

Another long walk with Greyson. Isn't he a good boy!

Relaxing under the gazebo. It turned out to be worth it to pack my shorts and sandals.

A good dog in the back yard.

Discussing how to deal with overwintering the winter wheat.

Our splurge night out at posh Grill 151 "right in Weymouth!"  Kristin and I attended Catholic elementary and high schools. We all thought the four gentlemen at the next table were priests.

Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse just happened to be right next to our gate at Logan. Notably we had cloth napkins everywhere we went.

All our flights both ways were in these two-by-two, single aisle Embraer 190s. Much more comfortable than a 737 or A320.

Little Guinness has a .17mm hand-drilled pinhole 24mm from a 24x36mm frame. The film is Kodak Gold 200. The tripods are the pocketable Pro-Master table-top and the easy to pack KF Concept KF-25.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Roadtrip: Mosquito Hill and the Neville Museum

One day in October, Sarah and I spontaneously decided to go to Mosquito Hill. We have been going there for years. Almost weekly from the thaw until the eponymous mosquitos made it impossible in June and then again for leaf peeping until deep snow in December or sometimes in January. I have exposed great amounts of film there to the point that I put together a small book and had an exhibit in their gallery. We hadn't been there since before the pandemic.

In my bag of film in the freezer, there was a 24 exposure roll of Kodacolor Gold 400. I never use ISO 400 film, mostly because the exposures in the sunlight are shorter than you can do manually even with card-waving over the pinhole. I think I found it in the bag with my Olympus XA2 and Canon F-1. It could be left over from our Silver Anniversary trip to Paris and London in 2000. It was a dark and gloomy day so I wasn't too concerned about the exposures. Little Guinness was still sitting on the kitchen table.

The negatives came back a week and a half later (Don't you miss one-hour processing?). I noticed the contrast mask was at least a stop darker than recent negatives. Scanning them, the color balance was, let's say, unusual. There was liberal use of color balance, levels and brightness/contrast, occasionally using auto color for suggestions, some of which I accepted. Dense negatives from fast films in 35mm pinhole cameras can be pretty grainy. Cool! These may be a little more impressionist, if that's OK, Alfred.

On the way up it was nice to see some of our maple friends still doing well.

A double trunk birch that was featured from two directions in my Greening of the Hill series one year. It hasn't done so well.

A row of sumac lines the lower overlook toward New London.

There is a little flat spot with a cliff face rising above it at this point in the ascent.

A colorful little bush illuminating the south side near the top.

The upper southwest overlook featuring the Hillshire Farms sausage factory.

The top of the hill seems to have taken the lead in losing leaves.

I have a weak spot for two-tone leaves divided by a relatively sharp line.

A fallen old one which I think has been down a few years.

Another two-tone face up among it's more desaturated neighbors.

A very wet two-tone clump of grass in the meadow.

A plant in the meadow with one leaf overturned and covered with drops. It had started to rain lightly. Not good for a cardboard camera.

Steve Wittman's Original V-Class Airplane, done on my birthday at Pioneer Airport, got accepted into the Neville Public Museum's juried show in Green Bay. We went up to deliver it and have a look at the Museum. We hadn't been there since Andy was a child. It's a combined historical, scientific and art museum.

It's located on the Fox River. The first European settlement in Wisconsin was just across the road on this side of the river.

There was an exhibit of items in the collection that might have some Halloween interest. This dress was dyed with Arsenic. It contained enough to kill hundreds of people if ingested. 

We were going to Massachusetts later in the week, so I wanted to finish the film and get it to Camera Casino, so you get holiday decorating.

The mantle fully outfitted for the season.

Two optical instruments. The pumpkin's hat projects a witch flying on the ceiling, and you can take pictures with the Nikon. I'm occasionally asked if I ever take pictures with lenses. I do not avoid lenses, Mandrake, but I do deny them my film.

Little Guinness has a .17mm hand-drilled pinhole 24mm from a 24x36mm frame.