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Block Island 2013

June 28, 2013

This year we skipped the tandem ride from Brooktondale to Block Island on our tandem recumbent tricycle.  Why?  Not enough time devoted to training, too much time devoted to photography, lots of rain in the spring—assorted reasons.  But we didn’t skip our vacation on Block Island.  We loaded our van with our own two single tricycles (and the cart) and drove to New London, CT.

Two trikes, a cart, and assorted luggage

Two trikes, a cart, and assorted luggage

Tim unpacks the van

Tim unpacks the van

Trike on ferry_DSC1119

Trikes loaded on ferry

Tim on the ferry_DSC1127

The sign that we’re on our way to Block Island

Tim sets out from the ferry_DSC1128

Loaded for a very short trike trip to the Schneider’s house

trikes and house_DSC1130

Unpacked and ready for three weeks away from Brookondale

Our first week at Sheila and Jack Schneider’s house would have been our tandem trip week—and the weather was wet and rainy.  One more reason we were glad we weren’t riding.  I thought about starting this blog that week but was distracted by a long-awaited goal—it was time to say goodbye to my iWeb web page (for Susan C. Larkin Photographs) and start a new web page.  IWeb is no longer supported by Apple and Tim said my page looked “old”.  Wordpress would have more features.  But I didn’t want to start.  I didn’t know how to start.  Last semester I took an online class in making WordPress webpages and did the work project—a pet rescue page—but I never started my own page.  Some of you might be pointing out that this tandem blog is a Word Press page.  My response is that it is a blog, but not a static page.  There are lots of reasons I can create for not starting something new.  But somehow after months of stalling I was ready to start.  So instead of starting this blog, I completed  (with lots of help from Tim) A Closer Look: The Photography of Susan C. Larkin.  I welcome likes and comments to my new page.  Publicity is a good thing:-)

But what about the rest of this trip?  Did I lock myself inside this wonderful house and do nothing but computer work?  Not at all.  My Block Island Project this year was to walk around the island—on the beach.  Some people accomplish this in one or two days, I think with the help of automobiles—one at the beginning of the walk and one at the end.  I wasn’t ready to even think about such a trek.  We didn’t have a car on the island and we weren’t staying all that near the start or the end of the hike.

Block Island

Block Island

I made the trip in small segments.  First I rode to the starting place and left my trike.

Trike at end of Chaplin Road—start of the hike
Trike at end of Chaplin Road—start of the hike

Next I walked along the beach—enjoying the sea air and looking for photographs. At the end of my walk I made my way back to my tricycle and rode home again.  The next day I resumed where I left off. I had two cameras this year.  First I had my iPhone, the same camera I took last year.  The new vacation camera (Tim got it for me for my birthday:-) was a SONY Cyber-shot DSC-RX100.  I wanted a camera that was better than the iPhone but not so large as my Canon D50.  I am now a permanent vest-wearer with an iPhone in one pocket and the SONY in the other.  For this blog I took all the photographs of hands (more about that in a bit) with the iPhone and the rest with the SONY.  It isn’t as good as the Canon D50, but it’s smaller.  I can control the focus, take photographs in RAW, it has a full-sized sensor, and it takes movies!  I’m very happy with my new camera.  It’s always with me.  I also brought a new tripod—a SLIK Sprint Pro II, thanks to the recommendation of Manuela Amzallag.  Thank you Manuela.  I love the new tripod for travel.  It’s large enough and light enough to suit my needs. I started a journal of my beach trips, but after I over-filled the GPS map (which I was going to transfer to the computer and include in this blog, but forgot the cable), I gave it up.  Following are a few highlights, in no particular order.  I also visited some of my favorite trails.  There are over 25 miles of trails (plus the beach which is open to the public all the way around) on Block Island.

Entrance to walking trail by Fresh Pond

Entrance to walking trail by Fresh Pond

SONY close-up of a milkweed flower

SONY close-up of a milkweed flower

Trail down to the beach.  Not all that easy-going.

Trail down to the beach. Not all that easy-going.

Beach with lots of people and racing sail boats

Beach with lots of people and racing sail boats

Beach with no people

Beach with no people

Rope along the beach

Rope along the beach

A focus-stacked photograph of a rope along the beach.  I made it with images from the SONY and Photoshop on our laptop, just to see if I could do it.

A focus-stacked photograph of the rope along the beach.
I made it with images from the SONY and Photoshop on our laptop, just to see if I could do it.

A vertebra I found along the beach.  Another focus stacked photograph.

A vertebra I found along the beach. Another focus-stacked photograph.

Cecropia moth I found along the beach.  It was alive and quivering in the wind.  I moved it to a place with a bit of shelter from the wind.

Cecropia moth I found along the beach. It was alive and quivering in the wind.
I moved it to a place with a bit of shelter.

Rocks on the beach

Rocks on the beach

Beach rocks stacked in a cairn.

Beach rocks stacked in a cairn.

Swallow homes along the bluffs

Swallow homes along the bluffs

Baby chickadee that dropped by our house (and later left).

Baby chickadee that dropped by our house (and later left).
I know this isn’t a beach (or trail) photograph, but how could I leave it out?

Bluffs

Bluffs

Vegetation losing its grip

Vegetation losing its grip

Beach treasure

Beach treasure

Beach treasure for hand photographs

Beach treasure for hand photographs

What hand photographs?  I started the hand project last year in photography class.  With my teacher, Harry Littell’s, encouragement, I have been taking hand photographs with my iPhone.  Here are a few I took on this trip.

The rust makes a wonderful background for a transparent hand.

The rust makes a wonderful background for a transparent hand.

More rust and a nut to turn on the underside of the wreck.

More rust and a nut to turn on the underside of the wreck.

Different piece of metal on a different beach with another nut to turn.

Different piece of metal on a different beach with another nut to turn.

I found a good background on one side of a gravestone in an old graveyard.

I found a good background on one side of a gravestone in an old graveyard.

A newer gravestone with some editing in Photoshop

A newer gravestone in and older-appearing image

We stayed on Block Island for three weeks, but during the second week I made a short trip off island to Albany.  Harry Littell entered several students’ photographs in the SUNY Art Exhibit in Albany in Fall, 2012 and Spring, 2013.  Three of us were nominated for the SUNY Best in Show exhibit at the NY Museum.  On June 18 SUNY held a reception for all students who had pieces in the show.  It was an opportunity to see other student work from across the state, and Harry gave me instructions, “When you go, take lots of pictures.” So I did. I left the island on the morning of June 18.  Instead of taking the ferry, I did something new—I flew!

I left the island this time in a plane—New England Airlines flight from Block Island to Westerly, RI.

My flight—New England Airlines from Block Island to Westerly, RI. When we got on board, the pilot took attendance by reading our first names. I talked with my seat mate about her walk around the island.  Her advice, “Be careful of the tides.”

Plaza in Albany—looking down at the NY Museum

Plaza in Albany—looking down at the NY Museum

Cyntia Cantu's photograph in the SUNY exhibit.

Cynthia Cantu’s photograph in the SUNY exhibit.

Caitlin Londa and her photograph in the SUNY exhibit.

Caitlin Londa and her photograph in the SUNY exhibit.

Caitlin took this picture for me—Susan and eight hand photographs combined in one image.

Caitlin took this picture for me—Susan and eight hand photographs combined in one image. I followed Harry’s instructions to take lots of photographs—note my photographer’s vest.  When the officials came around to greet each student, they almost skipped me—they thought I was a photographer!  Maybe I should have skipped the vest.

Memorial to Emergency Service people who have died while in duty.

New York State Emergency Medical Services Memorial.
I was moved by the memorial—by the people already there and by the spaces left for for the future.

Ithaca section with memorial to William Chapin.

Ithaca section with memorial to William Chapin.

I stayed overnight in Albany (thank you Jean McPheeters for suggesting a hotel near the museum) and visited my friend Louise Clarke in Providence the next day.  I left the van in Point Judith and took the ferry back to Block Island.  It was an interesting two days away and I was especially glad to see Louise—but I was also glad to be back.

Our final adventure was a visit to the island by a group of Stanley Steam Cars.  They arrived on the ferry last Tuesday and spent the day touring the island.  We met them at the ferry with camera and questions.  I left out the pictures of antique cars I took at the NY Museum, but this set wasn’t just parked!  I’ve never seen a steam car in motion before.

First steam car off the ferry.

First steam car off the ferry.

Another model

Another model

The engine

The engine

Tim gets a lesson in how to use the controls.

Tim gets a lesson in how to use the controls.

Tootling around the parking lot.

Tootling around the parking lot.

And that’s the story of our three-week stay at the Schneiders’ house on Block Island.  It’s a wonderful place to spend the month of June.  Roses are everywhere.

Thank you Sheila and Jack.  We hope to see you again next year.

Sheila's rose, ready to bloom.

Sheila’s rose, ready to bloom.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 28, 2013 11:48 pm

    Glad to hear you finally got smart and did not ride that bicycle to the island! I’ve always thought it was much too dangerous. Anyway, glad you got your ocean/island fix for the year! Your photos are lovely, Suzy.

  2. June 29, 2013 12:29 am

    Thanks for sharing your Block Island experiences one more time … with a whole new perspective. Enjoyable as ever. I got a kick out of your steam car postscript; there was one down the street from our house when I was growing up, and it seemed to be about twice as tall as most cars. Your photos continue to make me dream of someday visiting “your” island. Love from an admirer (Lee)

  3. June 29, 2013 6:57 am

    John and Lee,
    Thanks so much. It was a wonderful holiday. It’s fun for each of us to have a trike. While I am walking around on beaches and trails, Tim is racing around the island. He has figured out how to ride 30 miles in one trip.

  4. Marghie Kimbell permalink
    June 29, 2013 10:28 am

    It is fun to see if I can recognize spots on the island that I visited as a child by boat. Great picture of Tim contemplating island fix. A beautiful place in any decade. Thanks for sharing pictures and adventures.

  5. June 29, 2013 11:13 am

    Thanks Marghie. I think I’m reliving my parents’ need to spend time by the sea shore. Whatever the reason, we’re always glad to be here.

  6. Melissa Groo permalink
    July 1, 2013 10:29 am

    Wonderful images, Suzy. I particularly like the butterfly and the hand images. And can’t wait to check out your new web site.

  7. Roni Fuller permalink
    July 1, 2013 5:46 pm

    It is different, but still a splendid look at a unique place. I missed the comments on ice cream and clam chowder. Suzy, you continue to grow as an artist, and I am very impressed. Thanks for sharing your lives and adventures and artistry.

  8. Susan Larkin permalink*
    July 1, 2013 6:38 pm

    Melissa and Roni, Thanks to you both. My eyes, I hope, are learning to recognize potential backgrounds that will work for hands. Next I have to figure out the story that goes with the images. I missed the ice cream reports too. But I figured we didn’t “earn” the ice cream because we drove to Block Island:-) My treat this year was breakfast out every morning at Bethany’s Diner (at Block Island Airport) – Breakfast at Bethany’s! 🙂

  9. Louise Clarke permalink
    July 8, 2013 11:32 am

    Susan—never responded to this great post. Thinking of you again as I revisit it and our “support” lunch—somehow I must find myself a support group here in Providence—or maybe if I can’t, a good counselor. The constant flux of Liz’s life makes my head spin. But perhaps also keeps me on my toes, God willing.

    Miss you and Jean and Abby so much.

    Louise

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