Coastal New England
(December 29th-30th 2018)
After a busy holiday season I finally was able to get away for a quick weekend adventure up to the North Shore area of Massachusetts. I got up to Plum Island a little after Noon to search Parker River NWR for Snowy Owls that had recently been reported there. It was my first time shooting in this area and I loved the vibe of the refuge’s habitat, with stretches of yellow marsh grass leading up to beautiful beaches. Unfortunately my first few hours there came up empty for the owls and didn’t snap much besides a scenic shot of one of the boardwalks leading out to the beach. I drove around checking out the locale and stopped by Plum Island Lighthouse. Figured I should check into my hotel room at the Essex Street Inn while it was still light out and walk around the super quaint section of downtown Newburyport. I ventured over to Newburyport Harbor Front Range Light located inside the gates of the Coast Guard station there, making photographing it difficult and using some creativity to shoot through the chain linked fence. Until sunset I strolled through downtown with my camera capturing whatever happened to catch my eye, including Market Square as darkness arrived. My body was needing a refueling and I had to formulate a gameplan for the rest of the night, so I popped into Lexie’s to order their “Green Muenster” (muenster cheese, bacon, avocado, & chipotle aioli).
Nubble Lighthouse in York, ME was covered in Christmas Lights still from the holiday season and was only a reachable 35 miles away, so I made that my first stop of the night. I have been here several times before but this night time visit included insane winds making it much colder and tougher conditions to shoot in. On my way out from the lighthouse I noticed a lobster pot Christmas tree in front of the nearby Fox’s Lobster House and had to capture it as well. Having been in this area over the Summer I wanted to check out at least one other notable spot in this total opposite season before making my way back South and headed 8 miles North to Ogunquit. In warmer weather the popular Perkins Cove is jam packed with cars and tourists, but on this night I was the only one there all bundled up. The infamous footbridge had lights on it and climbed down to the dock to get a cool perspective with one of the few remaining boats in the foreground. On the way back to Newburyport I decided to make one last stop in downtown Portsmouth, a coastal city of New Hampshire that claims to be the 3rd oldest city in the country. Everyone was super friendly, striking up conversations with me to find out what I was talking pictures for and where I was from. There’s a ton of bars, restaurants and shops right downtown that make it a popular destination all year round.
The next morning I woke up early to head back to Parker River NWR to give another try at finding a Snowy Owl. I spent several hours there driving around the refuge and also walking over 3 miles in the sand along the beach with no luck at all. I decided to head 20 miles south to Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA where several Snowy Owls had been reported in the previous week. After walking over 2.5 miles along the beach there I finally came across my first Snowy Owl of the trip roosting on the sand. After about 20 minutes the owl opened it’s eyes and began to eat away at a kill that had been stashed there. No matter how many of these guys I’ve shot over the last 6 winters I still love spending time with them out in the cold crisp New England weather. With a few more destinations in mind before heading back home I started the sandy trek back to my car to get moving. The next goal was to make it down to Rockport, MA and get in position before the early 4:30pm winter sunset. I had been been to this spot previously over the summer but had many more boats in the water around the iconic red Motif #1 fishing shack. I got there around 3pm and was almost immediately greeted with beautiful golden hour light shining perfectly on the marina. I stayed here shooting until the sun dipped below the horizon and the temperature followed suit in dropping as well. The last spot on my list for the weekend was in downtown Gloucester where every Christmas to town puts up a huge lobster pot tree, like many other similar coastal towns. Of course no shoreline New England trip would be complete without some lobster so I stopped in to grab a hot roll before making the ride back to Connecticut and ending another successful trip!