Dec 29, 2009

Gale Force Winds

These shots were taken in high winds where I could not hold the camera steady. Most were shot at extreme zoom focal length from within our rocking Jeep as we got blasted by sand from the beaches. Please forgive the graininess. See photos below, click to enlarge.
The night before last the wind began to pick up and the temperature plummeted. It was an arctic high blowing down our way, pushing steady 40 mph winds gusting 55 to 60 mph, short of a hurricane, but windy. With the wind chill factor the temperature was + or - zero. A normally placid Long Island Sound was whipped into a froth, seas reaching 8 - 10+ feet, endangering shipping. I got an early shot of a tug keeping a barge from running aground just north of Greenport, this before the storm hit it's stride. The tumult in the water tossed the small stuff (bait fish) around out of control making it a field day for the gulls having a feeding frenzy.

At Southold Town Beach the wind was so strong that I couldn't force the door of our Jeep open, but this fellow trying to impress his girlfriend made it out and grabbed a sign post just before being whisked off his feet and on to the hood of his car. That's show biz!

Here a tanker is in shallow water, 30 - 40 feet just off the Mattituck Inlet Jetty. It promises to be a long night for the captain of this vessel, fighting the broadside winds just off a lee shore.

Dec 21, 2009

It's Official, Winter, Day One 12/21/09

Some are calling our biggest snow event of all recorded time (National Weather Service) a blizzard but I think it's been more of a snow storm when compared to storms in my mother's youth. She remembers her father stringing a wire from the house to the barn so that he and the boys could get back and forth safely without losing their way in a blizzard that lasted for three days! We did get a full two feet of snow here on the North Fork and experienced some white-out conditions when gusts up to forty miles per hour occurred, swirling snow sideways and every other possible direction including up. High drifts have been removed from parts of Main Road where the wind with unobstructed fetch over farmland acreage scooped up snow and dropped it where it was most inconvenient. These spots have to be continually cleared until the wind dies down.

One beautiful side effect of the wind on snow is the way in which it sculpts free form shapes playing with light and shadow, making it a delightful wintry wonderland.


Near white-out driving conditions. At night it was totally unsafe.

Three drift sculptures captured on a country lane in Southold Town. Please click on photos to enlarge.

For more My World Tuesday photos from around the globe click here.

Dec 17, 2009

Finally... a nearly clear day!

A shot of the greater Greenport harbor from the commercial fishing trawler docks.

Standing at the head of Southhold's Town Creek.

Town Creek home.

For more Sky Watch Friday photos from around the globe, click here!

Dec 9, 2009

Dad's Sunset -- Long Island Sound

My Father has gracefully passed away. I'm remembering so many things from my childhood. He will be missed by us all.

Nov 22, 2009


Joe catches me taking a shot of him while a fishing boat rumbles just off shore.

Nov 20, 2009

Solitude on the Sound

Solitude on the Sound

Cry of Distant Gulls

The Calm on Peconic Bay

Fall Comes to the Apple Orchard

For many more Sky Watch Friday photos from around the world, click here.

Nov 12, 2009

Tuesday Morning

Tuesday morning was unseasonably warm for November at 62 degrees. There was no perceptible wind, no sound other than the gentle lap of wavelets, nothing but the changing light in the sky to the east. Nature colored these skies and needed no help from me. I was the only one there but I didn't feel alone.

For more wonderful Sky Watch Friday photos, click here.

Oct 30, 2009

Autumn Comes to Dam Pond Maritime Reserve

Dam Pond Maritime Reserve, an area of 36 acres in East Marion, is best known for birders during early spring, mid fall, and winter migration as a place to see over-wintering land birds and water fowl. There is salt scrub and grass, hardwoods and now a grassland restoration project. It is a wonderful shallow tide pond that exits into Orient Harbor. A very narrow sandbar is all that separates the pond from Long Island Sound, yet it has been there through storms and tides as long as anyone can remember. It's a unique spot... well worth a visit.

Oct 16, 2009

Lights Enroute to Gardener's Island and the Race

Recently we put the boat in at Greenport Harbor and headed due east to do some fly casting on and beyond the Plum and Gardiners Islands flats. The day was a bit hazy and the air had a little bite to it. We were hoping to catch blue fish, striped bass and false albacore (little tunny) but the weather from the northeast two days earlier had put them down and only the "albies" were spotted under a flock of gulls hitting the water to eat the scraps left by the marauding fish. I fought one briefly before it managed to get unhooked, a risk I take by using only barbless hooks which do almost no damage to the fish I want to release. Only their egos are hurt. The day was not a total loss however. I had my camera and squeezed off a few shots of the light houses we passed along the way and enjoyed the companionship of my boat mates and an excellent packed lunch to be eaten at slack tide waiting for the change to incoming.

Long Beach Bar Light (Bug Light)

Little Gull Light

Plum Island Light

Orient Point Light (the Coffee Pot)

Plum Gut at slack tide with the Coffee Pot to the extreme left and Plum Light on the right. The water goes through this two mile wide gut with depths from 60 to 200 - 300 feet. My brother Bruce would remember a white knuckle passage we made several years ago. Click here for a video made from a powered sailboat fighting the current.

For more photos and commentary about this area and north to Connecticut see Matthew Housekeepers excellent blog "Soundbounder".

Oct 15, 2009

Sky Watch Friday - A Goodbye to Summer

It is so very, very difficult for me to say goodbye to summer. I'm at my happiest and feeling my best during the days of blazing sun and warm waters, early dawns and late sunsets, the natural progression of crops ripening each to be enjoyed in it's own turn. I preserve as much of it as I can for the months of cold when I need a reminder that this will pass. I cling to summer for days after the autumnal equinox has come and gone and rime frost has twinkled on the grass. At last my cold fingers just can't hang on anymore and I have to let go.

For more Skywatch Friday photos click here.

Oct 2, 2009

Sky Watch Friday Photos 9/30

I went down to the inlet as soon as I could the other morning with 2 fly rods. I had a 9', 9 weight with floating line and an 8', 6 weight with an intermediate sinking tip. The purpose was not to catch fish but to practice my fly casting to avoid embarrassing myself badly when casting with my father-in-law who was to arrive very shortly for two weeks of fishing the migrating striped bass on the flats near Gardiner's Island, around the Ruins and in The Race just east of Plum Island. As light gradually came into the sky I was struck by how ominous it first appeared. Fortunately I had my camera. Unfortunately I'd been too loaded down to bring a tripod, hence, a second series of grainy shots (where's my quality control!) that seemed too dramatic to pass up for a Sky Watch Friday. Please bear with me...

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Oct 1, 2009

North Fork Herons

These birds were all photographed in the early to midmorning and at considerable distance and with out a tripod which could explain why the shots are so grainy. Still, I wanted to share them. The Night Heron below was my first sighting of the species.

The Black-crowned Night Heron, sometimes referred to as Black Capped Night Heron. Click to enlarge, note the beautiful orange eye.

The Great White Egret sometimes referred to as Great White Heron.

Sep 17, 2009

Early Morning Sky Over East Creek

Early Birds

Moon in the West

A Rosy Hue

For more Sky Watch Photography please click here.