Category Archives: Photo Projects

Mystic, Connecticut: More Than A Famous Pizza Shop

Sunset along the Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut

I’m not sure what attracted me to Mystic, Connecticut.  It wasn’t ‘Mystic Pizza,’ the pizza shop made famous by the movie by the same name.  I haven’t seen the movie, although I was familiar with the name.  No, it had something to do with something I had once read or heard about ‘Mystic Seaport.’  And we found it to be an excellent home base for our short but busy exploration of Connecticut.

The Mystic River Highway Bridge over the Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut. The Steamboat Inn on the left side of the photo is where we stayed.
The Mystic River Highway Bridge over the Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut
View of The Steamboat Inn along the river in Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic Seaport is the name of the Mystic Maritime Center, which bills itself as “the nation’s leading maritime museum.”  I’ll write about our visit to the museum in a separate post, so for now I’ll just talk about the town of Mystic itself.

The Mystic River Highway Bridge over the Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut
Morning in Mystic, Connecticut

The town of Mystic itself proved to be a quaint, albeit busy, seaside town.  The Mystic River flows through the town, and there is a drawbridge on Main Street that opens once per hour to let sailboats and other larger vessels pass through.

Morning along the river in Mystic, Connecticut
Morning along the river in Mystic, Connecticut

We stayed at the Steamboat Inn, a small B&B right next to the river and the drawbridge, and it was the perfect location to explore the town while still making it easy to get out of town to see other places.  I loved being able to walk out the door and photograph in the early morning, while Kathy caught a few extra Zs in our room.  I’d get back in time for coffee and breakfast before starting off on whatever we had planned for the day.

Sunset along the Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut
Morning along the river in Mystic, Connecticut

We’re not big shoppers, so a few hours wandering around the town on afternoon was all the time we needed.  We did buy ice cream, and yes, I did take a few obligatory photos of Mystic Pizza.  There were several good restaurants within walking distance, including one we visited twice.  S&P Restaurant & Oyster Bar impressed us so much on the first visit that we went back a second time.  Fresh fish, excellent service and a decent wine selection is what we look for, especially at the coast, whether it is the northeast or the southeast.  It fit the bill nicely for us.

Morning along the river in Mystic, Connecticut
Replica village at Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut

In addition to the Maritime Museum, we ventured over to Groton, on the Thames River, to visit the USS Nautilus.  The Nautilus was the first nuclear powered submarine and, among other feats, was the first to complete an underwater crossing of the North Pole.  I remembered reading about the sub as a kid, and at one time seem to recall having a toy or plastic model.  That was a long time ago!  Photos from that visit and from the Maritime Museum are included in the gallery 2021-09 New England Part II on my Adobe Portfolio page.

Mystic Pizza, restaurant made famous by a movie in Mystic, Connecticut

A Little Bit Of Rhode Island

Distant view of the Claiborne Pell/Newport Bridge from Narragansett, Rhode Island

Some might say that it is hard to do a lot in Rhode Island, but I don’t think that is true.  While it’s a small state, it packs a lot into a small area.

Waterfront homes along Ocean Road in Narragansett, Rhode Island

We had originally planned to just spend a day in the state, but when we made a last-minute adjustment to our itinerary we were able to add an overnight in Narragansett before backtracking just a bit to Connecticut.  Narragansett is a lovely seaside town with lots of beautiful waterfront homes, without the hustle, bustle and big money of Newport.  We spent an evening and most of the next day exploring the town as well as Cape Elizabeth and the Port of Galilee.

Waterfront homes along Ocean Road in Narragansett, Rhode Island

And I had my first of many Lobster Rolls!  It wasn’t the best one I had, but you never forget your first one. 😉

Fishing boats in the Port of Gallilee in Narragansett, Rhode Island

On our drive from Mystic to Rockport, MA we passed through Newport.  We had originally wanted to overnight in Newport but were put off by high hotel prices and low availability.  When we drove through we quickly realized why – it was the first day of the annual Newport International Boat Show!  Duh – our research had not discovered that. 🙁  So we gritted our teeth, drove through the crowded streets and out to Fort Adams State Park for views of the Newport Harbor, the Claiborne Pell/Newport Bridge and views back toward Narragansett.  As it turned out, we were very glad to have spent the extra time in Narragansett, as we would have ended up really shortchanging the state without it.

Seagull on Narragansett Bay in Narragansett, Rhode Island

By the standards of a Rhode Island local, we certainly missed a lot.  I’d be happy to return someday, possibly even to Newport.  But we saw and photographed enough to “check it off the list” and moved on to the rest of New England.  More to come, soon!

Point Judith Lighthouse near Narragansett, Rhode Island
The Beavertail Lighthouse overlooking Narragansett Bay near Jamestown, Rhode Island. The lighthouse, built in 1749, is the nation’s third oldest.
Fishing boats in the Port of Gallilee in Narragansett, Rhode Island
The Claiborne Pell/Newport Bridge over Narragansett Bay in Newport, Rhode Island
The Narragansett Towers, built in 1883, are the only remaining part of the original Narragansett Pier Casino. One of the most recognizable landmarks in Narragansett, The Towers currently hosts weddings, dances, dinners, plays, and fashion shows. Its location, adjacent to Narragansett town beach, makes it an ideal venue for social events.

Postcard From Mount Washington, New Hampshire

At the summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire – 6,288 feet. 30 degrees, 40 mph wind and blowing freezing rain!

Blue skies and sunshine just wouldn’t have been the right way to experience Mount Washington, said to have the “worst weather in the country” according to some.  We saw no sunshine today, and in fact were amazed at the strength of the blowing snow, ice and wind at the summit.  We rode the cog railway – no way were they letting cars to the top in those conditions!

Lots of fall color around, although we were faced with a lot of fog, rain and tourists.  Photos to follow, however!

Freezing conditions at the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire

A Little Dinghy

Dinghy and reflections in Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Kathy & I are enjoying a little downtime this afternoon before we pack up for the short drive up to Acadia National Park tomorrow.  It’s been on and off cloudy and rainy, but still a good day for getting out with the camera.  I love working with a prime lens when walking around town, and used the 35mm 1.4 for this shot.  It’s pretty nice in color, but I’m excited to actually have a B&W version that works for me.

Dinghy and reflections in Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Lighthouses Galore!

Hendricks Head Lighthouse on Hendricks Harbor. Viewed from Dogfish Head Beach near Southport, Maine

Tired of lighthouse photos yet?  Not me!

When I started thinking about photographing the Maine coast, naturally the first thing I thought of was lighthouses.  In anticipation of a day just like today, I purchased a variable neutral density filter.  Today was my first chance to really try it out.  It seems to work best on cloudy days and with long-ish lenses.  It makes a mess on my wide-angle 10-24 lens except at the most gentle settings, darkening the corners dramatically.  Works pretty well on the longer end of the 16-80 but works really well on the 55-200.  I got a little buffeting from the gusty winds but a 3.5 second exposure like this one worked pretty well.  I processed it using the Classic Chrome profile in Lightroom instead of my usual Velvia-based preset.  I think it shows the raw power of the wind and surf.

We were very glad to have been on the water yesterday and on land today!  Gusty winds and rough seas would have made for an unpleasant journey today!

Morning In Mystic

Morning along the river in Mystic, Connecticut

In order to show that I did, in fact, get my self out of bed at a photographically productive hour, here are a few photos from around town this morning.  Sunrise was 6:23 and I was out the door about 6:10, uncharacteristically early for me without a good reason.  Fortunately I got some pretty decent results!

And yes, I did take a photograph of Mystic Pizza, although we haven’t eaten there. 😉

View of The Steamboat Inn – our lodging  during our stay here – along the river in Mystic, Connecticut
The Mystic River Highway Bridge over the Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut
Morning in downtown Mystic, Connecticut
Morning along the river in Mystic, Connecticut

A Hidden Gem In Little Rock

The Old Mill in the T.R. Pugh Memorial Park in Little Rock, Arkansas

I took pictures at more places in Arkansas than this, but it was such a special morning that I wanted to do a separate post.

The Old Mill in the T.R. Pugh Memorial Park in Little Rock, Arkansas

The Old Mill is a historic re-creation of an 1880’s water-powered grist mill located in T.R. Pugh Memorial Park in Little Rock, Arkansas.  I didn’t confirm this by watching, but it is reportedly featured in the opening scenes of the classic movie “Gone With The Wind.”  In addition to the mill and the beautiful gardens surrounding it, the park features sculptures by Senor Dionicio Rodriguez and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Old Mill in the T.R. Pugh Memorial Park in Little Rock, Arkansas

We lucked into a nearly perfect morning to photograph the mill.  It was fairly early on a Sunday, the air was a little misty with a nice overcast and the flowers were blooming nicely.  I don’t use a polarizer as much as I should, but as soon as I started composing I realized that I had better put it on.  It made all the difference, saturating the colors and cutting the reflections.

The Old Mill in the T.R. Pugh Memorial Park in Little Rock, Arkansas

I had to work around some construction activity that was happening on the hillside to the left (my left) of the mill and a few people that wandered in.  The bare hillside and orange construction fencing limited my compositional choices, but I still came away with a few nice photos.  I took some photos with the hillside in the background anyway, and may one day soon try my hand at Photoshop to “repair” some of the damage.  My skills are pretty basic so we’ll see how that goes.

The Old Mill in the T.R. Pugh Memorial Park in Little Rock, Arkansas

I haven’t taken the time to make photographs like these too much lately, but it is a good reminder that I still know how and to get out and do more of them! 😉

Oklahoma is OK

“Yukon’s Best Flour” mill located on Historic Route 66 in Yukon, Oklahoma

One of the five new states we visited on our Southwest road trip was Oklahoma.  I’ll be the first to admit that we didn’t try real hard to find places to stop, but it was getting close to the end of the trip, it had been a long day, and we ended up losing a couple of hours due to their silly “exact change” toll road system (long story!).  Otherwise we might have spent a little more time in the Tulsa area, as what we saw from the freeway made it look pretty nice.

Oklahoma Route 66 Museum on Historic Route 66 in Clinton, Oklahoma
Oklahoma Route 66 Museum on Historic Route 66 in Clinton, Oklahoma

We did manage to drive through Yukon, famous for being the birthplace of Garth Brooks.  And we spent a little time in Catoosa, primarily to see the Blue Whale, a kitchsy Route 66 icon.  And we grabbed shots of a few other places just to prove we were in the state.  All in all we only ended up with 53 photos from Oklahoma, and that includes a few of Kathy’s “out the window” pictures.  Not exactly our best effort, but it got the job done.  We hope to make more trips out west to see more parks and visit our friends out there, so we’ll likely have more opportunity to visit the state.  In the mean time, we’ve placed a check mark next to Oklahoma! 🙂

Train station and post office in Catoosa, Oklahoma
Train station and post office in Catoosa, Oklahoma
The Blue Whale of Catoosa, a Route 66 roadside attraction in Catoosa, Oklahoma
The Blue Whale of Catoosa, a Route 66 roadside attraction in Catoosa, Oklahoma
Welcome to Oklahoma

If You’re Really Bored

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument in Arizona

For those sweating out the latest heat wave or monsoon, or someone who just has some time on their hands, I’ve completed posting galleries from our recent Southwest US road trip to my Adobe Portfolio page.  There is some stuff there that I haven’t posted here (yet) but a lot of it just expands on photos I’ve already shared.  Just be aware that there are 1155 photos over 11 galleries! 🙂

The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bachman-Wilson House at The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas
Riding the Sandia Peak Tramway to an elevation of 10,378 feet.  Albuquerque, New Mexico