Picking Cape Cod Pix

Last month, while vacationing on Cape Cod, I saw a small, very good exhibit about daguerreotype photography. The show, appropriately, was in a small, very good museum, the Cahoon Museum Of American Art. Before setting foot in the Cahoon I knew zero about daguerreotypes. Now I know a bit. What I learned is that daguerreotypes were the first form of photography widely available to the general public. During the 1840s and 1850s, which were the heyday for daguerreotypes, millions of them were produced. They documented the everyday and the less common aspects of the world.

What I also learned is that the process for making daguerreotypes is a mother. You need shitloads of patience and scientific know-how to turn out the finished products. Trained professionals handled the job in the 1800s, not the average Jane or Joe. You wanted a portrait of your family to be taken? You went to a pro’s studio, or maybe they came to your home, for that to be accomplished.

But time marches on, and sometimes fruitfully. For quite a few years now, any old fool — and I fit the last two words of that term awfully well — has been able to take photographs quickly and easily. Smart phones and digital technology have seen to that. Yup, I just stated the obvious.

How many people around the world are snapping away with their phones? I’m going to guess that the answer is about one billion. If the correct number is far higher than that, I wouldn’t be surprised. In any event, I was part of the snapping-away crowd while on Cape Cod. I took 300 photos, give or take a few, over a 20-day period.

Clearly, 300 is a high number. But I easily could have taken 300 more. I restrained myself from doing so, however, because obsessively photographing events takes away from truly experiencing life. You can get so caught up in photographing everything that catches your eye or seems to demand immortalization, you pretty totally miss out on the bigger picture.

Still, it’s a-ok to stop now and then to grab a shot or two or three. Playing the photographer, after all, usually is fun. For instance, when I began this blog over four years ago I didn’t anticipate that in the near future I’d be getting a kick and a half not only from taking pictures with an iPhone, but from illustrating my essays with some of them. It’s gotten to the point where sometimes I think I enjoy photography more than I do stringing words together. There’s a whole lot less angst involved with the former, that’s for sure.

Now, I’ve previously published two pieces about last month’s Cape Cod excursion, and each contains a bunch of my photos. It certainly seems unfair to me to leave all the rest of the pix sitting within my phone. I mean, those photos are begging to be set free, to travel through the ethers and to pop up on screens around the world.

On the other hand, I just heard a chorus of readers begging me not to loft every damn one of the photos into cyberspace. “Shit, Neil,” they said, “we sort of like you, but don’t try our patience. A relative handful of photographs is all right. Any more than that, though, and we’ll unfollow you faster than Superman can take a piss! Doing his business at lightning speed is one of his super powers, you know.”

Hey, I hear you! Here then are a mere nine previously unpublished photographs. I like them for various reasons. In some cases they portray what to me were unexpected scenes. In others, a feeling of melancholy or moodiness pervades. And the one of birds in flight over Cape Cod Bay was impossible to ignore. By the way, the photo within Land Ho!, a restaurant in the town of Orleans, was the first one I took during last month’s trip, though that isn’t the reason it’s included. The atmospheric ocean of dimly illuminated signs is why it’s here.

Land Ho! restaurant (Orleans, Cape Cod)
White Crest Beach, at the Atlantic Ocean (Wellfleet, Cape Cod)
First Encounter Beach, at Cape Cod Bay (Eastham, Cape Cod)

My wife Sandy and I returned from Cape Cod about two weeks ago. The trip is still on our minds, partly because Cape Cod’s combination of nature, culture, mellowness and good restaurants is mighty fine. If we vacation there again next year I’ll pen more articles about The Cape. And stick plenty of photographs into them. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

A small section of the enormous dunes in Provincetown, Cape Cod
Provincetown village, Cape Cod
Chatham, Cape Cod

As I almost always mention, please don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this essay. Mucho gracias. And, oh yeah, if you click on any photo, a larger image will open in a separate window.

The Blue Trees, an outdoors art/environmental exhibit at Cahoon Museum (Cotuit, Cape Cod)
Hyannis Port, Cape Cod
Nauset Light Beach, at the Atlantic Ocean (Eastham, Cape Cod)

100 thoughts on “Picking Cape Cod Pix

  1. Sheree November 6, 2019 / 12:53 am

    Well, I enjoyed the ohotos and thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Annika Perry November 6, 2019 / 3:25 am

    Neil, three hundred photos in twenty days sounds about right! 😀 What I do after such big trips away is to create a file with only the best pictures to view easily! Wow! Cape Cod sounds and looks amazing. Interesting to learn about daguerreotype photography and thank you for including the link. The photos are wonderful, haunting. Imagine the impact of them at the very birth of photography… it must have seemed like magic!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paddy Tobin November 6, 2019 / 3:46 am

    You were at a wonderful locations, it’s natural to capture the time with the camera, and the photographs are wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. joylennick November 6, 2019 / 6:46 am

    Hi Neil Thank you for the photographs and mention of Cape Cod. There’s just something about the name that conjures up the obvious with pluses,I haven’t read about Daguerreotype photography since my eldest son attended art school. Keep enjoying your travels and snapping. Cheers. x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Martie November 6, 2019 / 7:35 am

    Wonderful shots. They made me a tad jealous but still glad to read that you and your wife had a lovely vacay.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. chef mimi November 6, 2019 / 7:46 am

    I’ve yet to visit cape cod. We’ll get there… Great photos. I first heard about that ancient kind of photography from National Geographic magazine years ago. They’d done an article about the first landscape photographers who trekked around with all of that equipment on donkeys. What a pain in the ass. Ansel Adams, I think. The process was named after a French guy, right? I should still read National Geographic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 6, 2019 / 11:29 am

      Hi. Decades ago I used to subscribe to NG, too. The issues would pile up, mostly unread! It’s a great magazine, worth it for the photos alone.

      Like

  7. Isabelle November 6, 2019 / 8:26 am

    I appreciate your essay about this beautiful island, as well as the pictures that documented the true magic of Cape Cod. Having a dream of moving to an island one day, it’s a delight to get a feel of life on Cape Cod through your insightful article, Neil. Take care, Isabelle

    Liked by 1 person

  8. joyce hamilton November 6, 2019 / 8:45 am

    Love your photos . Always love hearing about the Cape!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Helen Devries November 6, 2019 / 9:49 am

    Your photographs are superb…they bring the area to life for me and have started me reading about it.
    You say ‘obsessively photographing events takes away from truly experiencing life.’ and that rings a bell. In the days when we used to rent out part of our place in France as a holiday home children used to love going with us to pick up the eggs in the chicken runs…and how often loving parents would follow along, filming the event rather than just enjoying it with their kids. As a kid I know I would have prefered Dad to hunt for eggs with me rather than filming me.
    Daguerreotypes….I remember seeing one of the Duke of Wellington in old age and thinking that it gave a picture of him that you could relate too far more than the gloomy Goya portrait or all the triumphalist stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 6, 2019 / 11:35 am

      Morning, Helen. A ton of books have been written about CC. I’ve read a few, including two so-called classics: Henry David Thoreau wrote a book called Cape Cod, and it’s very good. The Outermost House, by Henry Beston, also is excellent.

      Liked by 1 person

    • annieasksyou November 8, 2019 / 6:27 am

      Another delightful guided tour of the great Cape—with the added education about daguerreotypes. Ya can’t scare me with threats of too many photos—keep ‘me coming!

      I especially loved the shot of the Provincetown dunes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, Another Blogger November 8, 2019 / 8:44 am

        Hello Annie. I think that many visitors to Cape Cod don’t even know about those dunes. The dunes are pretty incredible.

        Liked by 1 person

        • annieasksyou November 8, 2019 / 9:16 am

          They are, indeed. I love them so much that when I was pregnant with my first child manymany years ago, I spent so much time on them that I got severely sunburned on my legs. I had to use a strong medication that made me worry: “What have I done to my baby?” Fortunately, she was fine—and I’d go back there in a millisecond—albeit now covered from head to toe.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Jacqui Murray November 6, 2019 / 10:36 am

    Oddly, I am familiar with daguerreotypes, as a devoted aficionado of Old West fiction. I read hundreds of them. It was a revolutionary way of taking photos.

    I do like the photos you’ve posted. I’ll never get to Cape Cod except through your eye, so post away!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 6, 2019 / 11:37 am

      Hello there, Jacqui. The daguerreotype exhibit at the Cahoon Museum included images from the Old West. It’s a small exhibit, but was very eye-opening to me.

      Like

  11. Steve Higgins November 6, 2019 / 11:35 am

    Nice pics but don’t get me started on digital photography, it’s only one of the great inventions of the modern age and as for the guy who thought of putting a camera into a phone: he’s nothing less than a genius!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 6, 2019 / 1:22 pm

      I agree. Phones with cameras in them are amazing. Smart phones in general are amazing, of course. There’s little that they can’t do!

      Like

  12. SandyL November 6, 2019 / 1:34 pm

    Three hundred photos over 20 days is good. I know someone who takes 300 in 20 minutes. The problem is not in the taking, it’s in the sifting through & selecting the keepers. Thanks for sharing your favorites!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ally Bean November 6, 2019 / 1:40 pm

    Your photos are [again] making me want to go to that region. I do have to ask: is there anything left for you to photograph there? How big is this place? I thought it was small and quaint.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 6, 2019 / 4:24 pm

      Hi there, Ally. CC is a peninsula. About 65 miles long. The width varies. On average I would say 10 miles wide. So, CC is pretty big. There’s a lot to see. Some areas are over an hour’s drive from the town we rent in, so we don’t go to those areas too much.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. andrewcferguson November 6, 2019 / 2:44 pm

    As ever, Neil, you echo my thoughts – camera phones are fantastic, but it’s important to still feel the moment in your bones! I see people at gigs now that spend all their time filming the musicians, instead of just enjoying the moment. There are some real keepers in amongst these, and, no, I’ve not wearied of hearing about Cape Cod yet!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. carolinehelbig November 6, 2019 / 6:32 pm

    Great photos. I’m sure it was tough limiting it to nine. Love the one with all the warning signs on the beach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 6, 2019 / 8:23 pm

      Hi there, and thanks for visiting. I was tempted to use a dozen photos in the story. But I restrained myself.

      Like

  16. JT Twissel November 6, 2019 / 7:02 pm

    Makes me miss those fried clams from Howard Johnson’s! Yes, I know – with me it’s always about the grub!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 6, 2019 / 8:26 pm

      I had an unexpectedly delicious clam dish at a large tavern on Cape Cod. Linguine and clams in marinara sauce. It was a lot better than similar dishes in most Italian restaurants.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. sniderjerry November 6, 2019 / 7:11 pm

    Nice pictures…thanks for taking me along by way of your shutter finger. Jerry

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Catwoods November 6, 2019 / 7:45 pm

    I really enjoyed the photos! I’ve never seen Cape Cod; it looks very pleasant there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 7, 2019 / 7:26 am

      Hi. Good to hear from you. The artist was making an environmental statement, among other things. He does projects like this around the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Alan from Paris November 7, 2019 / 5:10 am

    Great pics Neil, makes me want to return to the Cape when the tourist crowd has left. I’m sure bilions of pictures are taken every day so I wouldn’t worry about a “mere” 300 !
    Daguerreotypes were the craze here in Paris in the 1840’s and 50’s as they allowed the numerous nouveau riche who didn’t have old family portraits to immortalize themselves.
    Alan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 7, 2019 / 7:28 am

      I think that you should track down someone who knows how to do daguerreotypes, and have them take your picture! Martine will approve!

      Like

  20. tylerus November 7, 2019 / 6:53 am

    I remember those places so well . . . beautiful photos. 🙂 I’m intrigued by the blue tree (very cool).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 7, 2019 / 7:31 am

      Hi. The blue trees project at the Cahoon Museum was very intriguing, for sure. The Cahoon is a fine museum. I’ve gotten to like it a lot over the last five or so years.

      Like

  21. Des November 7, 2019 / 9:01 am

    Some very nice photos in here, Neil. Thanks for sharing them, I enjoyed them!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Ann Coleman November 7, 2019 / 3:37 pm

    As far as I’m concerned, you can publish as many photos as you like! (Maybe not 300 per post, but still…..)

    Liked by 1 person

  23. tanjabrittonwriter November 7, 2019 / 11:18 pm

    You show greater discernment than I, Neil, both with regard to taking photos, and to posting them. I probably would have reached 300 in one day, and I suspect that at least 290 would have been of birds. 😊🦅

    Like

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 8, 2019 / 7:29 am

      I made up for it by including one photo that has 290 birds in it (the photo from First Encounter Beach)!

      Hi Tanja. By the way, do you know what type of bird is in that photo? I have very limited ability when it comes to identifying birds.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. johnlmalone November 8, 2019 / 3:49 pm

    the Chatham, Cape Cod pic is my pick of the bunch, if you’ll pardon the pun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. alhenry November 8, 2019 / 5:27 pm

    I think you made a wise selection, Neil. All very Cape Cod and I believe there’s a mountain of evidence to back up the statement “Less is more.” My first wedding to long-discarded Husband #1 took place on a schooner just off the coast of Hyannis. I don’t hold the place responsible for that trainwreck, though. The Cape is lovely and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more new Cape photos in about 11-12 months.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 8, 2019 / 9:02 pm

      Evening, Amy. There’s a good chance that what you say in the final sentence will come to pass.

      Enjoy the weekend. Be seeing you.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. George November 9, 2019 / 2:12 am

    You have a great eye and Cape Cod looks wonderfully inspiring. It would be criminal to keep such fine photos confined to your phone.

    Daguerreotypes have a fine artistic quality about them don’t you think? Little windows into a bygone world.

    And I had never realised that lightning fast bladder relief was one of Superman’s super powers. Makes sense though, as you never see him go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 9, 2019 / 9:15 am

      Hi there. My wife and I never anticipated that we would find an area that we would want to keep going back to. But it happened. Cape Cod is that area. We’ve been going there since 1998.

      Like

  27. Joe November 9, 2019 / 7:38 pm

    I’m glad you released from you phone some of your favorite Cape Cod pics. They really help to tell your story without all the writer’s angst.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. SpiritualJourney17 November 10, 2019 / 9:33 pm

    I’ve always enjoyed going away for the weekend to Cape Cod. Thanks for sharing. Any photos of whale watching? ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  29. selizabryangmailcom November 11, 2019 / 1:45 am

    I feel you. I think I enjoy picking out and adding pics to my blogs as much as I do writing them. So it much be even that much more satisfying for you as you take your own pics, obviously.

    I love the dunes on the beach.
    The blue trees caught my eye too, though, like many above. It’s not just that they’re blue, I think.
    It’s because they’re such a rich, luxuriant shade of blue….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 11, 2019 / 7:22 am

      The giant dunes on Cape Cod are a very unexpected part of the landscape. In a way, they are surreal. They cover several miles of territory and never fail to amaze me. Thanks for adding your thoughts, Stacey. Enjoy the new week!

      Liked by 1 person

  30. cath November 11, 2019 / 4:51 am

    I loved the photos, Neil, even the blue trees – which took a moment to adjust to. What a shock. But I still like your words best. Thanks for making me smile 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. ckennedyhola November 11, 2019 / 6:10 pm

    Cool post! I never used to take so many photos, but now, with camera phones, it’s so easy–why not?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 11, 2019 / 8:08 pm

      Hi there, Cecilia. Smart phones are miraculous. They’ve turned a hefty percent of the human race into photographers.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Pam Lazos November 11, 2019 / 10:04 pm

    I have a daguerreotype of my grandfather, Neil. It’s in this cool frame. I wish you could still get pictures like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Fictionophile November 15, 2019 / 10:33 am

    Fabulous photos Neil. I remember the days of film and ‘flash cubes’. Today’s photography is so liberating knowing that you can take as many good quality photos as you like without fear that you are wasting film with your mistakes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 15, 2019 / 4:50 pm

      Flash cubes . . . they were a pain!

      Hi, Lynne. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the weekend.

      Like

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