Mystic Ship Yards

Those of us who live here, in Connecticut, visit Mystic and the Seaport often.  The town main street has all the usual shops selling upscale tourist trinkets. It is also the home to one of the last sailing ship repair and restoration organizations. Shipwrights trained in the traditional building techniques maintain ships owned by the Seaport Museum as well as other historical vessels from around the east coast.

Since we have many regular viewers from across the US and around the world I thought these photographs of the ships and docks in winter might be interesting. When warm weather arrives I will revisit the shipyard and museum.

Mystic CT Sailing Ships
Mystic CT Sailing Ships

Mystic was a center of ship building from the 1600s until the early 1800s. Ultimately the steam ship and the industrial revolution centered in New England changed that. Ship building ended and factories opened.

Mystic CT Sailing Ships
Mystic CT Sailing Ships

The Mystic Museum and Seaport opened in 1929. The Preservation Shipyard owns the last wooden whaler sailing ship, Charles W Morgan. Also they are responsible for 16 unique sailing ships. Currently the Mayflower II is in port for a 2 year restoration.

Mystic CT Sailing Ships
Mystic CT Sailing Ships

These shots were taken looking up the Mystic river, from near town center, towards the narrows where the ships dock and shipyard buildings are.  The river itself is small and shallow. Most ships are towed up river.

Mystic CT Sailing Ships
Mystic CT Sailing Ships

One last piece of vital information, or movie trivia, there really is a ‘Mystic Pizza’ as in the famous Julia Roberts film. But no, she doesn’t work there.

Respectful Snow

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

The following is presented with my utmost respect and gratitude.


Almost Missed The Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is one of the most beautiful and imposing birds in New England. Eagles, Osprey, and Blue Herons are the shots all New England photographers want.

If I hadn’t turned my head at the exact moment this Heron stretched his wings these pictures would never have been taken. I also need to thank the drivers behind us for not running me down as I threw myself from the car. I should have become a hood ornament at that moment.

IMG_7275The bird had perched on a small scrub pine on the edge of a marsh. If he had remained in the reeds he would have been invisible.

IMG_7326Blues are the largest North American Heron and have a head-to-tail length of  36-54 inches (91–137 cm). The tallest and heaviest of the Blue Herons live in New England. He might not have been bigger than me, but that was the impression I got.

IMG_7297Herons don’t fly. They levitate into the air and simply glide away.

IMG_7298I am grateful this particular Heron sat and watched as I stumbled around photographing him. The bird was very patient with us and we left him alone in the marsh after a few minutes.





You Can Always Use Gulls

When all else fails “You can always use Gulls“.

Around Connecticut there is never a shortage of some type of Gull. They always put up a good show. Better yet, very photogenic.

During the winter here there are times you don’t find that ‘thing’ you started out to photograph. A dark sky, dull horizon, and bright (or dirty) snow can ruin any day of shooting.

Connecticut Gulls

Connecticut Gulls

When I have been out for awhile and running empty I know “You can always use Gulls“.

The other day I was sitting on a large log on the shore. Sunny, which is rare now, and not too cold. My subject was on hand. So here they are in black and white which worked well with the shadows and reflections.

Connecticut Gulls

Connecticut Gulls

Connecticut Gulls
Connecticut Gulls

Special thanks to Connecticut photographer George Savic for the reflections idea. I saw these shots and thought of his great photograph.


Little Guys Left Out Of Photos Lately

As a rule the small birds are easy to find but hard to shoot. An Eagle flies fast, yet its in a smooth motion. The little guys are perpetual motion machines. They never sit still for very long.

Once spring comes the trees will fill out making it all the harder to get a clean photograph. While I can I want to get as many images as possible.

Black Capped Chickadee

Black Capped Chickadee, click to enlarge

Gold Finch
Gold Finch

River Coyotes, A Second Meeting

A few days ago after photographing landscapes several miles down river we made a quick stop closer to home.

It was the end of the day and there was a chance of an Eagle sighting before dark. I hoped to get a few more good images before they move to the island nesting areas.

No Eagles, however 2 Coyotes were walking down the frozen river.

IMG_7014I walked along the same path, on the bank, photographing as we moved down stream. Even though they knew we were there they ignored me paying more attention to anything behind them.  I got the impression they were being followed. I didn’t see anything and maybe they were just being Coyote  cautious.


This pair have a routine I think. Like the previous meeting the larger dark Coyote climbed the bank and walked through the woods. The smaller stayed in the open.

I went as far as I could and finally just watched as they tried to find ice thick enough to stay on the river. It looked like they were also heading towards the islands down river.

It was a great way to end the day.

Geese Of A Different Color

Winter is a challenge to photograph. Color is lost with light glaring on the snow and ice. Add water to the mix and a camera will see things very different than your eyes.

A flock of fast moving geese with little color becomes a different subject entirely when done in black and white.

Black and White Geese Formation – Click To Enlarge



TPJ Photography