Tuesday, April 27, 2010

field trip to Sky Meadow

To the members of the New Haven Camera Club -

I've been a member of the NHCC for enough years to know that we only have 1 meeting - a competition - in May each year, yet somehow I did forget this fact and it wasn't until late in our meeting Monday night that I realized that I had scheduled our trip to Sky Meadow (in Belchertown, MA) for Saturday, June 19th, this year, but did not come to the meeting prepared to make an announcement to that affect nor did I have a signup sheet ready. My sincere apology for that! ALso, our field trips are open only to paid up members of the club.

So, for those who have been to Sky Meadow before, you know the drill and what a wonderful 25 acres Les Campbell has. Birds, flowers, old barns and sheds, a pond, etc, are on the property and we have been going to visit Les and have a fieldtrip there for many years now. For those of you new to the club or who just have never made the trip, it is an annual ritual we all look forward to. Les will be 85 this summer and he is still spry and photographing. His gallery with many of his famous images will amaze you, and you may even wish to purchase one of his pictures while you are there. Les developed a system for photographing hummingbirds many years ago and he gratiously sets his rig up and folks take turns sitting on the rig in hopes of a great closeup of a hummer there every year.

I will have a sign up sheet at our next meeting and more information for you but I think what we have done in the past has worked well and we will keep it pretty much the same this year. First, we will all meet at the commuter parking lot on Devine Street in North Haven, almost opposite Health Trax. (Devine Street is a very short street between State Street and Hartford Turnpike. If you do not live in the immediate area, you can access it via I-91 by taking Exit 10 and then the very first exit off of that. You will be facing Health Trax and Devine Street at the light at the end of that first off ramp. Turn left and then turn left again into the commuter parking lot.) We like to shove off at 7:00 AM sharp, so be there by 6:45 AM. We drive up making one stop along the way for "coffee and" as well as to use a restroom, and then continuing on to Sky Meadow. We all donate $5.00 to Les to help him maintain the many bird boxes, plants, the pond, etc, and just for the pleasure of spending the day at his homestead, which has been in his family since approximately 1820. Since we have a 75 mile drive, it helps if we have as few a number of cars in the caravan as possible, so I will make up an email group and frequently send short emails to let folks know what is going on. This will also give you a chance to set up some car pools. We all have lots a gear what with camera bags, tripods, etc, but if we can get 3 or 4 folks to drive up in onw car, that helps keep everyone together. Naturally, those who ride up in someone else's automobile should make an offer to the driver to cover gas, etc, in exchange for the ride.

You need to plan on bringing your lunch since there are no restaurants in the immediate facility, plus Les has a picnic table in the shade by his gallery. You are free to stay as long or as short a time as you like (okay, you HAVE to go home when it gets dark!) so bring a good lunch, shoes/boots and clothing that you would wear on a hike in the woods, etc, and plenty to drink, although Les's gallery does have running water and yes ladies, he has a small bathroom there too! A hat and insect repellent is always adviseable as is a little suntan lotion.

Again, my aplogy for not realizing that we only had one more meeting and not preparing a formal announcement and having a signup sheet for the April 26th competition meeting. As I mentioned above, I will have that signup list at the next meeting. If you do sign up, PLEASE print email addrelss clearly and also add your telepone number, INCLUDING area code so that I can contact you before the trip.

Gary Prestash

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