Photography Weekend

I really dislike football, and I really dislike the hype around the Super Bowl, and I dislike it more when the Patriots are involved, because the news stations around here don’t know when they’ve done a story to death. (WCVB, I’m looking at you). To get away from the nonsense, I have my own personal tradition of heading for the Cape to take pictures.

Frozen Charles

This weekend, I took it a bit further. I hadn’t been out in a while, so I drove into Boston on Saturday for a walk along the Charles. I’ve become very sedentary lately, and am feeling like a fatted veal calf, so I wanted to get some exercise. I decided to walk from the Cambridge Parkway, across the Old Charles River Dam to the North Point Park, over the footbridge across the tracks, under the Zakim Bridge, past the New Charles River Dam, all the way to where USS Constitution is docked in Charlestown. I took the camera with me, and decided to try to take some shots which would work in black and white.

When I got to Cambridge Parkway, which runs along the Charles near the Science Museum, I discovered the river was frozen. It was cold but comfortable, but we’d had some bitterly cold weather a few days before. It was a lot quieter than normal — no sound of water lapping at the edge of the water. Just an eerie silence, punctuated by an occasional dull thunk as the ice stressed and cracked.

Boats covered and tied up by the Museum of Science
Boats covered and tied up by the Museum of Science

Frozen Cape Cod

The next day, after a late breakfast I headed toward the Cape. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, just that I wanted some scenery. I hoped I’d see some pack ice, but I wasn’t confident that I’d see any. I wasn’t disappointed.

My first stop was Sesuit Harbor. I’ve never been there before, but harbors are often fertile places for photography. The harbor itself didn’t do much for me, but I drove on past it, and found a beach area by the breakwater. Yes there was ice, yes, there were seagulls, yes, the clouds were starting to break, and yes, I took a fair number of pictures.

From there, I headed to familiar ground. First stop was Rock Harbor, where I found the harbor entirely iced in, with pack ice on the Bay beyond. It was fun playing with the angles and composition.

Next stop was Coast Guard Beach, on the ocean side of the beach. The winter beach is much narrower than the summer beach, and winter storms were already eating into the dunes. I went down from the overlook and walked along the beach a ways; at one point I could see a bit of a break in the dunes by the fork in the road.I have a feeling the road doesn’t have too many years left. As I was leaving the beach, I bumped into a guy who was telling me that the Park Service had carbon dated the cedar stumps the ocean had exposed, and found them to be about a thousand years old.

The last stop was First Encounter Beach on the Bay side, for sunset. By the time I got there, the tide had gone out; there were big chunks of sea ice scattered all over the tidal flats. Because First Encounter faces Cape Cod Bay, to the west, you get a sunset over the water, which is unusual on the East Coast. It was strange to see the sun setting much farther to the left of where it does during the summer; of course, this means it’s setting further to the south.