Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween, Memento Mori

Headstones 10-12-2008 11-22-49 AM

It is Halloween, that time of Trick-or-Treat, El Dia de los Muertos, All Soul’s Day and the annual SMU burying ground post.

Old burying grounds in New England can be beautiful this time of year with the trees turning, the leaves on the ground and smell of autumn in the air. This year, we are having exceptional colors in New England.Headstone 10-24-2010 11-39-58 AM

This year, I have put together a collections of headstones from the 18th and 19th century in chronological order to show the progression of funerary art. New England has some of the oldest burying grounds in the US and here in Essex county, we have several that are well preserved. We have a rich tapestry of epitaphs in which are woven the warnings of the fragility of youth, the promise of resurrection and messages of love.  You may want to pause this to read the headstones yourself. I hope you enjoy this little piece.

But on this Halloween, memento mori. Keep a holly stake handy, get the garlic out of the kitchen and pack your silver bullets.  The familiars are all around tonight.

Headstone 10-24-2010 11-42-26 AM

Scenic Sunday

Friday, October 29, 2010

Forgotten Photo Friday, Memento Mori

Shot in 2008, this forgotten photo begs us on this All Soul's Weekend, Memento Mori.

Headstones 10-12-2008 11-32-15 AM

This is truly a Forgotten Photo Friday. I was culling through my headstone photos and stumbled a photos from a trip to Boston. In it, I found a shot that I took of a headstone in a graveyard along the Freedom Trail.

I’m not going describe this headstone. Just pretend that you are in Boston and you have found this old, historic graveyard and you are exploring it yourself. Walk up to the headstone and look at it for yourself. But bear with me, I was with a few people just taking snap shots and not realizing what I was looking at I just pointed and shot, muttering something about the crappy lighting. (The photo was taken at 11:00 am, the lighting is harsh.) But then, we are lucky to be able to see a work of art like this, aren’t we?

Now your job is to translate the Latin phrases!Headstone 9-21-2008 10-59-7Headstone 9-21-2008 10-59-03 AMHeadstone 9-21-2008 10-59-8 Headstone 9-21-2008 10-59-9Headstone 9-21-2008 10-59-6

I really do get excited when I find historical headstones. It’s not that I’m a morbid guy. It’s just that this time of year, there is an aesthetic to the graveyards in New England. I think of these headstones as art for the living, not the dead. After all, for the most part, it is the living that carve these stones, it is the living that decide what to put on them and it is the living that stops by to visits them. And for me, the autumn is the perfect time to explore New England graveyards. I might even whistle.

Stop buy later this weekend as I show you headstone art from the 1700s to the late 1800s and you can see how it has evolved.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fisherman’s Rest

Today I’m continuing our local cemetery tours with a stop by Beechbrook Cemetery in Gloucester. This is this is an interesting place because you will find war veterans from the Spanish-American war, a section for the Elks members and well as the Moose. But when you think of Gloucester, one must think of the men that went to sea to put fish on the table of the world. Headstone, Fishermen 10-24-2010 11-00-09 AMHeadstone, Fishermen 10-24-2010 11-02-8Headstone, Fishermen 10-24-2010 11-03-14 AM

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Visit to an 18th Century Vermont Graveyard

It is the end of October, and that means that it is time to visit cemeteries to take in the colors and prepare your mindset for All Soul's Day.©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

I visited cemetery in Vermont at the end of September. The early graves of New England often had headstones and five feel behind the headstone a footstone. These two graves are marked 1795 and 1807 and are showing urns and weeping willows, both important symbols in funerary art.  ©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

The right headstone from above showing the willow and urn.

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

I was taken by these two graves of children. What caught my eye was the position of the footstone, which was only about two and a half feet from the headstone. It must belong to a child.headstones 9-25-2010 10-49-58 AM

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

The headstone is inscribed,
“In Memory of Charlotte
Daughter of
Major Elihu
& Mrs. Hephibah Field
Who Died August 22 1794
Aged 2 years
9 months
& 22 Days”

Next to her rests “Jane Sophia, Daughter of Elihu & Pamelia Field, Died Aug. 27 1819, AE. 3 years 6 ms” Here we see a transition of materials and styles of headstones in the twenty five years between the children. It makes me wonder, is this the same Elihu Field? A man who lost two children and possibly a wife?

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse©2010 ShootingMyUniverse ©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

In the mid 1800’s, in this cemetery, we still see a rather flat, two dimensional carving stile, by 1879, we begin to see a more three dimensional carving with this wheat motif.

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse ©2010 ShootingMyUniverse
I wonder if there is any significance to whether they have gone to rest with the right hand or the left? In any event, it was a lovely day to be in a solitary cemetery in Vermont.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Little River, Gloucester

Part of the estuary system that makes up the Annisquam River, the Little River is a small branch that extends towards West Gloucester.

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

Visit Watery Wednesday

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Church in Ipswich

With the end of October approaching, we still have great patches of colors in Essex county and Cape Ann. This church is located in Ipswich, Massachusetts.DSC_0134

Friday, October 22, 2010

Forgotten Photo Friday, Sanderlings

One of the best shorebird photo shoots I ever had was with this group of Sanderlings I took in September of 2008 as the sun was setting. I was in the mud and had birds all around me. Sometimes after a session like this I want to throw my gear away because it would be hard to top these shots. They are all full frame and unaltered.  ©2010 ShootingMyUniverse ©2010 ShootingMyUniverse©2010 ShootingMyUniverse©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A little of the local color

The fall foliage is finally coming to Gloucester.


This is one of the red maple trees where I work. It was this group of trees that reminded me four years ago when I returned to the East Coast that I was back in New England.  Foliage 10-17-2010 9-07-40 AM

This is Babson Reservoir. It is about 10’ feet below the spring levels.Babson Reservoir 10-17-2010 9-53-58 AM

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Last of the Dragons

October is half gone. It seems like just yesterday I was out shooting the first dragons of the season. Now I’m shooting the last. These are Autumn Meadownawks. The red is the male, the brown is the female. Because it was cool, the dragons were a bit lethargic and I was able to shoot some macros with my point-and-shoot.

Dragonfly, Autumn Meadowhawk 10-17-2010 11-17-37 AM Dragonfly, Autumn Meadowhawk 10-17-2010 9-20-38 AMDragonfly, Autumn Meadowhawk 10-17-2010 9-28-39 AMDragonfly, Autumn Meadowhawk 10-17-2010 9-22-42Dragonfly, Autumn Meadowhawk 10-17-2010 10-10-11 AM

This year, I have created a dragonfly calendar for my personal use and have it available for anyone interested. It is okay if you it buy in bulk. Really, there is a price break if you order four or more. I have three calendars available for 2011. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Eurodam

Last Wednesday, the Eurodam parked itself in the front yard again. I caught it just as the sun was rising. Note that there already is a good deal of fishing boats coming and going early in the morning. DSC_0013DSC_0015
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