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It’s That Time of Year!
Now that warmer weather has finally arrived here in eastern Massachusetts, the local antique shops are brimming with new inventory, and farm fields are playing host to large-scale flea markets.
Whether you’re an antique lover, collector or photographer, this time of year means one thing — treasure hunting!
This Photographer’s Search
When I stroll these venues as a photographer, I look for a variety of things:
- Small items for macro photography subjects.
- Interesting items for editorial photography subjects.
- People for street photography subjects that can also be used for editorial photography.
- Unusual items that can be transformed into an interesting piece of digital art.
- Items that can be used as backdrops for staging, or for props on a specific shoot.
Every Picture Tells A Story
Sometimes I have a vision in my mind of what I’d like to create. Basically, a visual story for the imagination to enjoy. For instance, I have a series of leather-bound books that date back to the early 1800s. I love their shape, size, color, and aged appearance.
In my mind’s eye I can see an image that incorporates the books stacked in a specific manner, along with just the right pair of antique reading glasses and an antique candle holder or oil lamp.
I have the books, but I need to find the other items to stage the shot. They must be authentic and be of the size, color and shape that I know will enhance the image. So where does someone from Cape Ann go to look for such things?
My Hunting Grounds
I live in an area where I have easy access to many antique shops. However, like anyone else, I believe in the art of the deal. Why pay more for something than you have to when you can negotiate? Especially when that something is an antique or collectible? Here are a few my favorite hunting grounds for interesting items that won’t break the bank.
White Elephant Shop & Outlet
Not too far from my home here on Cape Ann are the White Elephant Shop and its nearby companion shop, the White Elephant Outlet. Located in Essex, Massachusetts, the White Elephant at 32 Main Street has a little bit of everything including antiques, collectibles, jewelry, pottery, tools, books, toys, furniture, paintings, musical instruments, architectural pieces — even a knight in shining armor!
A mile further down the road is the White Elephant Outlet. Only open on weekends (Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 12 noon – 5:00 p.m.), the outlet offers everything at half price.
There’s much to see — both inside and outside — at both White Elephant locations. The inventory changes frequently, so it’s always worth a stop to see what’s new.
Todd Farm Antiques & Flea Market
Todd Farm Antiques & Flea Market on Route 1A in Rowley, Massachusetts, features up to 240 vendors from all over New England and New York. Open Sundays only, this event runs from April 7 to November 24 for 2013. If you’re an early riser, this is the place for you. The flea market hours are from 5:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. However, some vendors do begin packing up around 1:00 p.m. so don’t get there too late if you’re looking for something in particular.
Fell In Love
Last weekend I arrived at Todd Farm at 11:30 a.m. and spotted a very special item right off the bat. Although I wasn’t looking for something like that, when I saw it I knew I had to have it. What was it? Well, I’m going to have to save that for another article, as I have not yet had time to photograph it and don’t want to spoil the surprise. I will tell you, though, it only cost me $5.00 — and I love it. Stay tuned…
One thing to take note of is that the best pickings are typically early in the day. However, the best deals can often be had later in the day when vendors just don’t want to pack everything up again.
Brimfield Antique Show — The Mother Load!
There’s nothing like the Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, Massachusetts, both in terms of antiques and photography subjects.
Held three times a year (May, July and September), this event is a jaw-dropping dream come true for collectors and photographers alike!
As the largest outdoor antiques show in the world, the Brimfield Antique Show features over 6,000 dealers spread out over 23 neighboring fields along a mile stretch of Route 20. It’s absolutely amazing to see.
Mark Your Calendars
2013 Dates: May 14–19, July 9–14, September 3–8
2014 Dates: May 13–18, July 8–13, September 2–7
Believe me, there is nothing in the world like the Brimfield Antique Show. Definitely wear comfortable walking shoes!
Get Your Camera Ready!
So the next time you pass an antiques store or flea market, you might want to check it out with a photographer’s eye. You just never know what you might find that your lens and creative eye will love.
Happy treasure hunting!
~ Liz Mackney
The Crane Estate in Ipswich, Massachusetts, is comprised of three properties encompassing more than 2,100 acres. On this day, my focus was on the property known as Castle Hill – a National Historic Landmark upon which proudly stands The Great House.
The Great House
Sitting high above the Atlantic Ocean, The Great House stands majestically. Just as impressive are the 165 acres collectively known as Castle Hill. The incredible beauty of this location is continually displayed through the attention to detail. From the 17th Century Stuart style architecture of the 59-room mansion, to the rolling landscape and historic gardens, a visual feast exists. Expansive views include not only Crane Beach, but also the sandy shore of Plum Island’s Parker River National Wildlife Refuge across Ipswich Bay. It’s no wonder The Great House is a popular venue for weddings and corporate events.
The Great House is just as spectacular indoors as it is outdoors. In addition to period antiques, features include a grand staircase, a rotunda with painted ceiling, ornate woodcarvings and Italian marble. Needless to say, a guided tour is certainly not to be missed!
2012 Guided Tours Schedule:
May 23 – October 13
Wednesdays – Thursdays | 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Fridays – Saturdays | 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM (except July 4th)
Adults $12, Child $5 (8 years old min.)
Trustees of the Reservations Members: Free
The Grand Allée
Perhaps the most breathtaking landscape feature of Castle Hill is the Grand Allée. Measuring 2,060 feet in length and 100 feet wide, this “rolling carpet” leads visitors from the stately mansion to the scenic ocean vistas.
Statues & Accent Pieces
A stroll along the Grand Allée is never a lonely journey. The many statues standing tall along the way are always there to greet you and guide your way. Decorative accents adorn the walls and gardens.
Every detail and its placement has been carefully considered along the landscape. At the end of the Grand Allée, the ocean views delight. A cozy bench awaits your arrival, beckoning you to kick back, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the scenery.
Stone Structures & Outbuildings
In addition to the Great House, the Crane Estate at Castle Hill also features 21 outbuildings. Many of these buildings are attached to the stone walls surrounding the estate.
Step Into History
Clearly showcasing the estate’s historic past are gates such as these that seem to transition time before your eyes.
Hollywood Come Calling
Perhaps you’ve already seen the Crane Estate at Castle Hill without even realizing it. According to the Massachusetts Film Office, the location was used for filming on several well known projects that included “The Next Karate Kid” in 1993 and “The Witches of Eastwick” in 1986. Reportedly, a turn-of-the-century television pilot for ABC is currently being filmed there now.
Castle Hill is home to some diverse wildlife. From time to time deer and foxes my cross your path. Turn your eyes to the sky and a turkey vulture or red-tailed hawk may soar by. One thing I learned upon exiting the Crane Estate at Castle Hill is to keep an eye on the salt marsh and tall grass along the side of the road. You never know who might be a part of the scenery.
With an early spring knocking on our door, the grounds and gardens of the Crane Estate at Castle Hill will be flourishing before you know it. It’s hard to believe this was all built as a summer retreat for the Crane family back in the 1920s. If you’ve never been here, I suggest you add it to your list of “Places To Visit.” It truly is a sight to see.
~ Liz Mackney
Attention dog lovers and sports fans! On February 4th and 5th*** (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.), Appleton Farms in Hamilton, Massachusetts, will play host to the 2012 New England Sled Dog Races. Grab your cameras and fast lenses — there’s exciting action waiting to be captured!
This year the New England Sled Dog Races move to a larger field off Highland Street. This new location not only offers plenty of room for the races, it also provides space for an entire Winter Festival that will include vendors, games, music and more!
The racetrack is comprised of varying trail lengths — Four Mile, Six Mile, Eight Mile, and Eleven Mile. Click here to check out the GPS Maps created to illustrate the different trails as they weave their way through the woods and across the fields. Each map gives a bird’s-eye view of the action as it moves along the trail. Simply click on the trail length of interest, and sit back and watch. It really makes you appreciate the strength and stamina these incredible dogs need to go the distance!
Sled Dog History
Sled dogs have an interesting history. From the early years as a primary form of transportation and vital means of survival, to vehicles of exploration, and now as the stars of major sporting events. It’s been quite an evolution.
Every sport has its own lingo, and Sled Dog Racing is no exception. Below are some terms and an interesting note culled from the Iditarod’s web site.
- Pedaling - Pushing the sled with one foot while the other remains on the runner.
- Lead Dog or Leader - The dog who runs in front of the others. Generally must be both intelligent and fast.
- Double Lead - Two dogs who lead the team side by side.
- Swing Dog or Dogs - Dog that runs directly behind the leader. Further identified as right or left swing depending on which side of the tow line he is positioned on. His job is to help “swing” the team in the turns or curves.
- Wheel Dogs or Wheelers -Dogs placed directly in front of the sled. Their job is to pull the sled out and around corners or trees.
The Verbal Commands
As the sleds approach and whoosh past you, it’s not at all unusual to here the “musher” yell out various commands to the sled dogs. Knowing what these phrases mean may give you a head’s up on how to frame your next shot!
- Come Gee! Come Haw! - Commands for 180 degree turns in either direction.
- Gee - Command for right turn.
- Haw - Command for left turn.
- Line Out! - Command to lead dog to pull the team out straight from the sled. Used mostly while hooking dogs into team or unhooking them.
- Mush! Hike! All Right! Let’s Go! - Commands to start the team.
- Trail! - Request for right-of-way on the trail.
Note: It should be thoroughly understood that as dogs are not driven with reins, but by spoken commands, the leader of the team must understand all that is said to him and guide the others accordingly. An intelligent leader is therefore an absolute necessity. At times it appears that there is ESP between musher and lead dog. Don’t be surprised if you hear a musher have an in-depth conversation with his lead dog.
There are multiple excellent viewing spots along each of the trails for the New England Sled Dog Races. Photographers are welcome to shoot the event, the only caveat being please do not interfere with the race or startle the dogs by trying to get a shot.
Photographer’s Note: All of the photos featured in this article were taken with a Nikon D300 and a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.
As a spectator, you’ll shoot the race from your perspective. However, some mushers utilize a “helmet cam” and capture the race from their perspective as shown here in last year’s race…
What If There’s No Snow? ***
For the latest info visit the New England Sled Dog Races Facebook page. If Mother Nature continues to be stingy with snow this year, the races will most likely be rescheduled. Despite this year’s slow start with the white stuff, this is New England. Snow will come eventually! I’m sure we all remember last winter…
*** UPDATE: 1/27/2012 – Due to the unusual lack of snow, the races have been officially cancelled for this year.
~ Liz Mackney
If you’re looking for something new to add to your Thanksgiving tradition, then consider the Myopia Club Fox Hunt at Appleton Farms. Located in Hamilton and Ipswich, Massachusetts, Appleton Farms is the perfect setting for this exciting event.
The Essex National Heritage Organization provides a bit of history about this beautiful location…
“Established in 1638 as a land grant to Samuel Appleton, Appleton Farms is one of the oldest continuously operating farms in the United States. Scenic views of rolling grasslands, grazing livestock, ancient stone walls, tree-lined carriage paths, and historic farm buildings are all part of the legacy of nine generations of Appleton family members kept alive through the work of The Trustees of Reservations.”
It’s no wonder why the Myopia Club favors this location for its Thanksgiving Day Fox Hunt.
Prior to the 10:00 a.m. start of the hunt, spectators are afforded the wonderful opportunity to meet both the horses and riders in person. The true stars of the event, however, are the magnificent sporting dogs. Smart, devoted and attentive, these dedicated animals are truly impressive.
Reflecting a respect for all animals, it’s important to note that the Myopia Club Fox Hunt is a “dry event.” This means it does not actually feature a live fox. Instead, a scented pad is dragged through the fields to provide a scent for the hounds.
Steeped in tradition, the Myopia Club Fox Hunt officially beings with a speech by the Master of Ceremonies.
Then… the hunt is on!
Riders follow the dogs across the fields, into the woods, and even over stone walls. The sounds of thundering hooves, and echoing barks, fill the air. The excitement is almost palpable. Once experienced, you are sure to have a worthwhile memory.
Whether you’re a photographer, horse lover, dog lover, sports lover, or simply a lover of the outdoors, The Myopia Club Fox Hunt at Appleton Farms offers something for everyone to enjoy.
Held early in the day, you’ll have no trouble being home in plenty of time to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Better yet, if you feel the need to stretch your legs and burn off that pumpkin pie, you can always head back to Appleton Farms to walk the trails and enjoy the beautiful scenery.