The bluff sustained considerable damage once again after the recent nor’easter. Plantings and netting were destroyed at one section, large amounts of the bluff dropped to the geotubes and the runoff once again was prominent.

You can see more and larger photos on Nantucket Erosion at http:www.nantucketerosion.com .

_MG_2916

_MG_2929

_MG_3103

_MG_3069

_MG_3149

_MG_3170

_MG_3295

_MG_3335

_MG_3230

The Nantucket High School Whalers football team enjoyed a great comeback year under new head coach Brian Ryder, ending as Mayflower League Small School Champions with a record of 8 wins and 3 losses. High school football may be much the same in most parts of the country, but how many teams must board a boat for a 2½ hour ride for away games? It’s all part of being a player or a fan on Nantucket.

Although they started with a 7 game winning streak, the Whalers were hampered by injuries to several key players late in their season, winning 1 out of the last 4 against their toughest opponents.

The links below will take you to a presentation of our photographs of the 2014 season. They are best viewed on a big screen! The videos loop, but stop playing when you scroll past them. You can scroll through the smaller images or you can click on them to enlarge. A second click will reduce them to their original size. You can also click to enlarge and then use your arrow keys to advance through all  at that size. On mobile devices, tapping on the small images will do the same, and swiping the screen will take you through the collection.

Nantucket Whalers – Part One.

Nantucket Whalers – Part Two.

_MG_8902

The Whaler defense waits for the play near their end zone.

Tagged with:
 

The Sankaty Bluff and the SBPF’s adjacent geotube installation endured some 24 hours of rain immediately before Thanksgiving, with bluff and installation showing greatly different results. The tubes, recently redressed after suffering huge losses of sand from the envelope covering them, survived the weather with only a short section again exposed on the north end. The bluff itself did not fare nearly as well, with sediment and vegetation washing away or dropping in chunks down to the top of the tubes. As more of the bank washes away, it becomes increasingly evident that the damage comes from rainwater pouring over the edge and out of the face below the surface. Much of the fine sediment finding its way to the bottom is of a strongly contrasting color and texture, making it easy to see the source and follow its path.

More and larger photos are on Nantucket Erosion.

_MG_2424

 The edge of the bank retreats around the SBPF’s viewing pen at the former site of “Bluff House”.

_MG_0176

This spot is particularly vulnerable because of the relatively uncompacted fill used in the old foundation hole. The cut gets wider week by week.

_MG_0178

The fine sediment coming from the face of the bluff spreads north and south as it reaches the top of the geotubes. A large clump of brush and dirt finally let go and slid to the bottom.

_MG_0195

The viewing pen and the nearby cut as seen from the beach. The observer lends scale to the extent of the erosion.

_MG_2501

The gray swath below the edge of the bank becomes more obvious as time goes by. The swath is sediment that oozes from the face, presumably from the wetlands across Baxter Road. There are other places like the one pictured above where the flow is strong enough to form a stream as it goes down the bank.

_MG_0198

One can see the material flowing away from the bank.

_MG_2528

This clump of brush held on for months before finally being undercut by the runoff.

_MG_2778

The above photo was posted on February 8th, 2014. It shows plumes of unpermitted sand dumped over the side next to and in front of the cottage “Swept Away”. The stain on the sand envelope covering the tubes proves that the runoff will run under anything applied to the face, continuing to erode it.

_MG_0211

This is the same location on Thanksgiving day, less than 9 months later. None of the sand gone from this area was taken by wave action or toe erosion.

_MG_2563

Yard after cubic yard of pit sand has washed down to the top of the tubes. The flat face of the eroded sand shows where a machine cut into it while filling the numerous voids and crevices that carved through the installation.

_MG_2629

The gray layer of fine sediment is easily seen approximately 10′ from the top of the bank. Also easily seen is the path that the oozing material is taking to reach the top of the envelope.

_MG_2652

There were three concrete footings hanging over the edge here until recently. Some time in the last several weeks one of them dropped half way down the face. It can be seen  as the diagonal line under the foot of the photographer.

_MG_2811

The north end of the structure is the first part to feel the effects of wind and waves. The recently redressed envelope is already shedding sand, exposing the second layer of tubes. The jagged edge near the top reveals a 6″ drop in its cover.

_MG_2886

Another photo from February 8, 2014. This is the slope on the face of the sand envelope as shaped by the original contractors. It’s obviously shallower than the angle of repose of the sand plumes and bare bluff behind.

_MG_0266

This is the angle created by those who recently dressed the structure. It’s very steep, beyond the natural angle of the sand on the bank, and more of an abrupt obstacle to any waves that make it that far up the beach.

_MG_0292

It’s interesting and instructive to observe the differences in the photo above and the one below, both taken Thanksgiving day, 2014. The photo above shows the natural condition of the bluff with no engineered structure at its base. The one below is typical of the bank along the entire length of the geotube installation.

_MG_2661

Tagged with:
 

The prodigious amounts of sand, soil and sediment were not the only things washed away from the Sankaty Bluff after last night’s high winds and heavy rains. The notion that the geotubes below provide any protection from the chief cause of the bank’s erosion is forever stripped of its logic. The dramatic changes to Sankaty Bluff could never be missed by anyone observing the place for the shortest of time. The most casual of observers would recognize that considerable amounts of Baxter Road real estate are running down toward the sea. Nevertheless the proponents of the geotube installation,  ostensibly undertaken to halt the decay of the bluff, sing its praises as an unqualified success even as the narrow strip of land in front of the remaining structures disappears. Touting  ivory tower engineering, making vague references to science and citing Massachusetts environmental law while declining to address the obvious causes of the bluff’s erosion is absurd on the face of it. While the greatest cause of damage to the bluff was plain to see long before last night’s rain, it is screamingly obvious today: it is runoff from the top. That is Sankaty Bluff’s plain truth. What is to be inferred from this apparently willful avoidance of fact? It may be that the nearly 900′ length of geotubes is no more than a straw man attempting to get his foot in the door in pursuit of an approval for the much longer rock revetment. Otherwise one would expect dismay over the failure of the geotubes to have any effect on the erosion. If the goals are to merely gain legal sanction and set precedent, it makes sense that so little attention is paid to the real dynamics of the bluff.

More and larger photos are on Nantucket Erosion.

_MG_2177

The morning after the storm shows a heavy accumulation of rainwater on the east side of Baxter Road.

_MG_1680

The former site of “Bluff House”, with standing water near one of the largest and deepest cuts into the bank.

_MG_1688

Dark sediment from the bank colors the top of the geotube envelope and the many fissures carved into it by the runoff.

_MG_1689

ConCom Commissioner LaFarge inspects the damage done by the water pouring from the top of the bank. Note his boots stuck deep in the mire.

_MG_1754

Standing water remains on the face as fine sediment oozes from the bank below the surface adjacent to Baxter Road.

_MG_1708

The vastness of this erosive cut and the number of fissures in the installation below show the effects of this and other rains.

_MG_1814

The cut to the north of cottage “Swept Away” has dropped a huge amount of material to the top of the tubes.

_MG_1827

While the installation may interrupt the flow of sediment, it eventually makes its way over and through the sand envelope on its way to the remaining beach.

_MG_1860

Two things are clear from today’s photographs. One is that there is a remarkable variety to the types of sediment coming from the bluff, the other is that great volumes of material are coming out of the bank that were not merely laying on the exposed face. What is happening within the bank when this material flows outward? Cubic yards of materials no longer under the surface of house lots or the road itself? Ever-widening wetlands? While it’s certain that a lot of the bluff face is dropping, it does not account for all that accumulates below.

_MG_1878

The pedestrian access to the top of the geotubes.

_MG_1910

The geotubes’ sand envelope ravaged by rainwater.

_MG_2053

The 4″ PVC pipe intended to handle the runoff that caused this chasm was deformed by a landslide during the storm.

We are expecting high winds this afternoon and night coming from the southeast. I made a trip in the rain this morning and will go again after the high winds to assess the situation.

More and larger photos are on Nantucket Erosion.

_MG_1659

Tagged with:
 

There is a saying among those who love the outdoor life – “Take only photographs, leave only footprints”.  What will your legacy be on Nantucket? Will you leave its shores in their natural, wild state or will you forever change our beaches to try to save what can’t be saved?

_MG_4258

How we would love to see our beaches left – with only contrails and footprints as a reminder that someone was here.

_MG_1474

How the SBPF and some of our board of selectmen think our beaches should look. This beach would make any redneck proud – it has an elevated dirt road and a dirt on-ramp.

 

Which beach will we leave for those who come after us?

Tagged with:
 

Fog on the moors, a huge moon and clouds, – the view from Bean Hill.

Click on the thumbnails to see the larger photos.

 

 

Tagged with:
 

A new Stop & Shop will be in by May. The foundation encompasses the entire old parking lot. Here’s a few iphone 6 plus shots of the construction –

nov9_14-1

nov9_14-1-2

nov9_14-2

nov9_14-2-2

nov9_14-3

Tagged with:
 

A beautiful day after the storm (not a proper nor’easter) brought us out to see how the Sankaty Bluff fared through two days of high winds and rain. As one would expect, there were considerable losses from the wind that howled straight down the beach, the waves that angled in from the northeast and the rainwater that came directly down the face. The weekend’s wind direction was shown by the patterns in the sand as clearly as by any compass. The rain runoff made itself known by the continued carving of the bank’s face, while the work of the waves was revealed by the wholesale removal of sand from the envelope covering the geotubes. The two exposed tiers of tubes may make for dramatic imagery, but they are still not the story of the bluff erosion. The tubes are beach-swallowing distractions that divert the attentions of proponents and opponents alike, with one side proclaiming victory because the tubes remain intact, the other crying failure because they are once again exposed. Throughout all of this declaiming, the bluff runs into the sea over, around and through this engineered installation. Today the tubes look like a battle-scarred fortress, but it was a battle that played out short of the bluff’s toe. One can see from the beach to the south of the installation that the waves barely touched the bank in a few places, only pounding the man-made structures because they are so much further seaward.

More and larger photos are on Nantucket Erosion.

nov2_14-2

South of the geotubes, another property has been filled and netted in an attempt to maintain the bluff edge.

nov2_14-3A

The scale of the installation is evident in this photo of Project Manager Jamie Feeley and Peter Kaizer shooting elevations to determine the amount of sand remaining.

nov2_14-3

This jagged edge is the result of waves meeting the flow of runoff sediment at the south end of the tubes.

nov2_14-4

The south side of “Swept Away”, losing more by the week in spite of being under the “protection” of the geotubes.

nov2_14-4A

The north side of the cottage does no better.

nov2_14-5

The runoff is carving straight back through this hedge on the line between two properties.

nov2_14-6

A curious line of bricks. Once a sidewalk to a house long gone?

nov2_14-8

A sizable chunk has split off over this old foundation footing.

nov2_14-10

Part of the first tier, a scour apron, and a substantial length of the second tier of tubes are uncovered after two days of weather.

nov2_14-11

What we once called “The Elephant”, the clay knob on the north end of the installation, looks more like a rhinoceros these days. Before long, what was once a prominent landmark will be indistinguishable from the rest of the bank.

Tagged with:
 

The bluff at Sankaty is showing the effects of two days of rain, wind-driven tides and 70 mph gusts. The geotubes were recently dressed, but this storm has wiped away vast amounts of sand from the front of the installation, just in time for the scheduled November maintenance. The bank itself has been providing its own “sacrificial” material since last winter’s installation, giving up sand, soil and clay at an unprecedented rate, most notably right where the geotubes are located. Now it will be necessary for the SBPF to bring in more sand from the island’s pits. The last 10 months have proven that the Sankaty Bluff continues to do what it has always done: give itself up to the the ocean, feats of engineering notwithstanding.

More and larger photos are on Nantucket Erosion.

_MG_0982

The cottage called “Swept Away” sits between two very deep erosive cuts. The cottage, or what may be left of it, will soon be on its own promontory as the land washes away around it.

_MG_8661

The town’s answer to runoff erosion? This curb diverts most of the water flowing from its northern half to one of the deepest eroded cuts, one that is devouring the bank in front of “Swept Away”.

_MG_0951

The lower end of the curb with the water collecting and spreading toward the bluff edge.

_MG_8627

The main section of town-installed curbing. The rainwater flows fairly quickly from each end to the middle. By observing small bits of debris in the water, it’s easy to see the speed and direction of the flow. It’s also easy to see that the puddle should be much larger than this after so many hours of rain. It’s no bigger because the water is disappearing down the crack in the pavement. No need to guess where it’s going from there…

This embarrassing attempt to address the erosion of Sankaty Bluff begs an explanation. What did the planners think was going to happen to the water diverted a few dozen feet by the asphalt curbing? Who is planning these attempts and what are they using as criteria? Would it not be more efficient to simply throw money over the bank?

_MG_8639

The wind-driven waves have washed the sand away from the front of the geotubes. The dark color of the covering shows that the soil from the bank has washed over much of the installation.

_MG_8652

A close-up shows the path of the runoff over the tubes. The jagged line to the right is the edge of the eroded beach immediately past the tubes.

_MG_0991

One of the large cuts into the bank caused completely by runoff. There is absolutely no toe erosion involved.

Tagged with:
 

The first hour of a storm that will be creating high winds here. Dirck and I had a difficult time taking these photos as the gusts were very high.

More and larger photos are on Nantucket Erosion.

IMG_8625

_MG_0850

_MG_0889

_MG_0926

_MG_8620

_MG_0936

The nor’easter missed us but we are facing a more pressing event as the Massachusetts DEP will soon make their decision on whether they will uphold the Nantucket Conservation Commission’s decision. Please join us in signing this letter from the Nantucket Coastal Conservancy to Governor Patrick.

Click here to sign letter.

_MG_9896-2

Tagged with:
 

It has been nine months since the substantial completion of the geotube installation below Sankaty Bluff. There have been few changes in circumstance at the site from February until now. There has been no threat from the ocean, while the run-off from the top has steadily and rapidly eaten away at the bank. We did an extensive photographic survey today in anticipation of four days of rain to provide a baseline for comparison at the end of the week. Comparing today’s photos to those taken on September 21 shows that the major blowout on the north side of Swept Away is not much different, but the erosion on its south side and at the former site of Bluff House near the viewing pen has increased. The contour of the bluff face near the northern end of the installation looks much changed as well.

We began writing about the problem of erosion from the top of the bluff before the geotube installation started. The blog entry dated December 15, 2013 says “Runoff from the top, rather than a battering ocean, has opened a large cut that has dumped a considerable amount of top and subsoil down onto the beach.” Ten months later, the only action taken to address this problem has been a short line of sand bags, subsequently replaced with an interrupted run of asphalt curbs corresponding to two badly eroding areas. The curbs don’t look at all promising, as they are separated by Swept Away’s driveway, and end exactly at the lowest and wettest part of Bluff House’s empty lot. Given that the curbs will not make rain run-off disappear, it’s logical to predict that they will instead gather it and concentrate it in the very places where the worst of the erosion is occurring.

More and larger photos are on Nantucket Erosion.

_MG_7863

The answer to rain run-off over Sankaty Bluff? It’s not clear what is expected of these strips of asphalt given that the amount of rainwater will remain the same, only to be redirected a very short way.

_MG_9809

The curb ends at the lowest point of this empty lot. As we have shown in previous photos, the water travels diagonally from this area to the left of the bush at the edge, carving one of the deepest cuts in the face of the bluff.

_MG_9421

The cut by the viewing pen continues to work its way toward the road.

_MG_9517

South of the geotubes: Some of the recently installed netting is under stress near the top of the bank. The netting is stretched and beginning to tear.

_MG_7809

The netting bellies out at the bottom due to the sand underneath working its way down the face.

_MG_9667

The top of the envelope covering the tubes is narrowing as sand washes away from the face.

_MG_9711

Not much has changed in a month just north of Swept Away, but the high vertical component of the bank does not bode well for its stability.

Tagged with:
 

The Whalers are 4-0 for the season. They won their homecoming game against South Shore 25-0.

_MG_7253

 

_MG_7225

 

_MG_7232

 

_MG_7288

 

_MG_7312

 

_MG_7424

Tagged with:
 

We had a photograph on the front page of the Boston Globe today in an article about the geotubes.

globe

Tagged with:
 

We visited Baxter Road this afternoon  to see how the Sankaty Bluff has been faring at the end of the season. The geotube installation is much the way it’s been lately, undisturbed by the Atlantic, while the bluff continues to suffer serious erosion from the top. Today’s drizzle was already enough to create small streams running along the edge of the road, searching for ways over the edge. It has clearly been finding those ways, as there are several new break-outs joining the deepest one next to the erosion viewing pen at 87 Baxter.

More and larger photos are on Nantucket Erosion.

_MG_8746

A line of sand bags is part of the attempt to divert the water from 91 Baxter, the scene of several very deep erosive cuts in the face of the bluff.

_MG_8749

A light rain collects and begins its way across the empty lot toward the edge of the bluff.

_MG_8491

The face of the bluff at 91 Baxter. This huge cut has divided itself into two parts, the newer section now eating away at 93 Baxter next door.

_MG_6631

The heavy erosion at the juncture of 91 and 93 Baxter mocks the 4″ PVC pipe meant to handle the run-off from the road.

_MG_8629

The other side of 93 Baxter shows continuing, extensive losses due to surface and subsurface run-off. The bank at this and other locations is near vertical at the top, meaning that it will find its angle of repose in sudden, dramatic fashion during the heavy weather and freeze/thaw cycles of the winter.

_MG_6644

Additional voids appear near the top of the bank just north of 93 Baxter. More of the hedge has fallen, and the oozing gray sediment colors a larger part of the bank.

_MG_8535

Is this to be our wetland scenic view going forward? If the maintenance is as frequent as the damaging rains, the beach will look more like the Madaket Dump than the edge of the ocean.

Tagged with:
 

They didn’t use our photos after all! Sorry for the false alarm.

NBC Nightly News, Sunday Edition will use some of our photographs of Sankaty Bluff in a feature on climate change airing Sunday, September 21, 2014. The broadcast will be at 6:30 pm est.

bluff_house

 

I wanted to apologize for the scarcity of posts lately. We have been busy with other photography commissions. However we are working on our letter to MEPA and the DEP concerning the appeal of the ConCom decision  and we will soon be collaborating with the Nantucket Land Council on projects involving hard armoring on the island including the geotube installation.

We will have bluff updates as soon as possible and are also working on several art projects that we are completing.

_MG_7190

Tagged with:
 

I will always remember the first time I saw Orange Street. I loved the curve of the street from the hill with the rows of houses stair-stepping down.  I was enchanted by the captain’s houses, built close together and close to the street. It was all new to me coming from Texas with its sprawling subdivisions. I recently spent some time exploring Orange,  Fair and Pine streets and photographing the architecture of neighborhoods with houses over 200 years old. The modern world intrudes with cars and telephone poles lining the streets. I found a Smart Car parked by iron hitching posts. The architecture goes from fancy to funky the further from town you get. I watched people working on houses, working in houses and working on their vacations.  I found many friendly people who were willing to stop and chat and a number of them graciously allowed me to take their photo. You can view the slideshow by clicking on the link below.  ~ Sharon

 View Love, Nantucket 

love

 

 

 

Tagged with:
 

The Massachusetts DEP and EPA held a joint site visit and public hearing today on a vacant lot that was once the location of a Baxter Road house. The occasion was part of a Notice of Environmental Review for the SBPF’s “Baxter Road and Sconset Bluff Stabilization Project”.  Accepting public comment for the DEP was Jim Mahala, and for MEPA, Enviromental Analyst Purvi Patel. The hearing was largely an opportunity for proponents and opponents to preach to their respective choirs, swaying no one. As one official put it, “This is the first ‘onsite’ I’ve been to that wasn’t actually on site!” Few of the attendees took the time to peer over the edge of the bluff, let alone venture to the beach itself to see the geotube installation that is the subject of this environmental review. After the public input, DEP’s Jim Mahala, ConCom’s Jeff Carlson and Town Counsel George Pucci went down to the the installation to see the conditions first-hand.

Although the event was taped for the public record, the best opportunity for input is by emailing Mr. Mahala at DEP and Ms. Patel at MEPA. They may be reached at these respective addresses:

Jim.mahala@state.ma.us

purvi.patel@state.ma.us

_MG_6186

DEP representative Jim Mahala (center) speaks with members of the Nantucket Conservation Commission prior to the hearing.

_MG_6190

An estimated 100 people attended the hearing at 97 Baxter Road.

_MG_6217

Mr. Mahala addresses the attendees.

_MG_6226

DEP’s Jim Mahala on the geotube installation with ConCom Administrator Jeff Carlson. (photograph by Dirck Van Lieu)

 

While this weekend’s work on the Sankaty geotubes may appear to be an attempt to make the installation look good in advance of Wednesday’s visit from the Massachusetts DEP, it looks more like the destruction of evidence, evidence that the tubes have not been challenged by the ocean, have had no effect on the highly active run-off from above and done absolutely nothing to protect the bluff from erosion. A new feature of this dressing-up is the many machine trips along the top of the installation, around the south end and across the front on the beach. Prior to this exercise, there were huge mounds of sediment on top the tubes, deep cuts through them, and additional fields of sediment arrayed along the ocean side. Now the mounds are gone and the beach has been sanitized by careful grading along an approximately 20′ wide swath between tubes and water. The work was apparently about more than just filling the fissures in the sand envelope. Much of the evidence of the impact of the run-off erosion has been minimized or eliminated altogether.

It’s ironic that the builders got the material for this maintenance courtesy of the bluff itself. Virtually all of the sand and sediment used to fill the fissures in the envelope was from what washed down to the top of the tubes. The sand plumes conveyed to the site for that purpose remain untouched, as shown in the photos below.

More and larger photos are on Nantucket Erosion.

_MG_4790

A well-traveled path. Many machine trips were made between the top of the geotubes and the face of the envelope.

_MG_5966

More than just a route, the beach was the site of a fair amount of grading work not necessary for the re-covering of the tubes.

_MG_1317

Photo taken on August 3rd shows one of several deep, wide deposits of sediment from the bluff in front of the tubes.

_MG_4804

August 17th: The beach has been extensively graded along half of its length, eliminating much of the evidence of top-down erosion.

_MG_5974

Is the beach contributing to the installation instead of the installation contributing to the beach?

_MG_1018

A prodigious amount of “former bluff” collected on the top of the tubes, photo taken August 3, 2014

_MG_0975

Another large volume of mostly native material (not pit sand) dropped to the tubes. This was redistributed by machine 2 weeks later, leaving the delivered sand untouched.

_MG_5983

The re-dressed top of the geotube installation. As shown by the undisturbed front edge of the sand envelope, the elevation was not lowered by scraping material off to fill fissures and otherwise maintain the envelope. All the fill for that purpose came from the eroded bank itself.

_MG_5984

The eroded parts of the bank show vertical faces where the machine scraped away material. The plumes of delivered sand still slope directly to the surface of the envelope.

_MG_4801

In spite of a professed interest in preserving the bluff, homeowners’ contractors are again digging into its face for fill.

Tagged with:
 

Last night a brief summer storm passed over Nantucket, lighting the skies with bolts of lightning. We hurried to Tom Nevers and stood on the site of the old Navy base at the point where the road drops abruptly to the beach below. The sun had set but the sky to the west still held some light and color. We joined another local couple who informed us that we may have missed the best of the display, but there was still more to see.  As the sky darkened and lightning danced across the ocean, we were joined by a man and his son who had left the golf course to see the show. Moments like these we enjoy the most, times when a group of us stand and admire the beautiful world we share.

Tagged with:
 

A weekend of substantial rain washed more of Sankaty Bluff onto the beach, carving deeper into the face along Baxter Road and spreading sediment over, around and through the geotubes installed last winter. The recent weather has once again underlined two facts: the the bluff’s greatest current threat is run-off erosion from the top, and there has been no notable toe erosion (the geotubes’ raison d’être) in the area for a long time.

The sediment from the bluff, so unlike the fill from the mid-island pits, is finer and darker than the sand, giving the beach the look of a vast marble cake. As the rills cut ever closer to the road, huge volumes make their way to the ocean. The different colored materials that remain intact in front of the tubes show that the waves still come nowhere near washing up against the armoring.

More and larger photos are on Nantucket Erosion.

_MG_0856

The bank, from the the former site of Bluff House to Swept Away, is only partially fronted by geotubes, but the erosion from the top is the same whether “protected” or not.

_MG_0884

The ends of the installation are sloped, ostensibly to provide pedestrian access to the top of the tubes.

_MG_5382

The north and south ends of Swept Away are major collection points for run-off, and as a result, are major areas of erosion.

_MG_0975

The volume of sand and sediment at the bottom of this cut is far more than would fit back in it, so it must be coming from other places.

_MG_0997

The path to the sea.

_MG_1018

The north side of Swept Away. As the bank is eroded back on both sides, the house will find itself on a peninsula of sorts. It is evident that this much material is coming not only from the bluff face.

_MG_1388

The stream from the north side of Swept Away has cut more than 5′ through the sand envelope.

_MG_1402

The folding rule rests against an exposed geotube near one of the seams that run along its length.

Tagged with:
 

We have spent several seasons photographing the carnival that comes to Nantucket in the summer. The small and shabby midway appeared this year after the film, comedy, and wine fests and before the music and dance fests. There is no way to make this event fit the Chamber of Commerce image of Nantucket – you can’t slap a whale tail on it, you can’t make it precious or preppy. It is a carnival after all, with carnies and bad food and tired rides. It’s dead until the people get there and it takes lots of them to bring it to life. The small crowds are made up of locals, seasonal workers and a few vacationers, less lily white than the Lilly Pulitzer crowds elsewhere on Nantucket. The most remarkable thing about it  is how like every other carnival it is.

When we went back this year to photograph this event, we were struck by how little effort was  put into maintaining the happy illusion. It felt like everyone was too tired to try. The Ferris Wheel was mostly unlit and every ride seemed to be missing lights. Some rides had been downgraded from cars that were colorfully painted to plain white, unlit cars. Light bulbs were out everywhere. A few workers were friendly, others seemed depressed and still others were downright hostile. The poor lighting meant that the shadowy places were more obvious, the darkness was easier to see. Our photos show noticeably less joy on the faces at the current carnival, and little of the enthusiasm of the attendees two years ago. A few even show the menace we felt from some of the staff.

We began this series to show the small patch of magic where, once a year, we agree that an inflatable shark is worth the $10 or $15 to win it, and that fried dough is a treat even if we will never think of it again until next July. This year though, we were confronted by more shadows and less magic, represented by the missing lights and the dark silhouettes. We looked at our pictures at night after reading news stories of children blown apart, raped, hanged and shot from the sky. Children on the world’s midway at night – the darkness hidden in the shadow of the lights. If we have ever loved one child, we have loved them all and  wish we had held them closer and hope that we have never added to the darkness. We wish the world was better. We know the darkness is there, yet we do too little.  We avert our eyes from the carnies, agreeing to the bargain. It’s just a carnival.

“…and the shining is as thick darkness.” Job 10:22

View Carnival

Nantucket_Carnival-1

Tagged with:
 

We drove past the Carnival at the fairgrounds to a favorite stretch of beach last night. Dirck had only taken the time after dinner to pull off his boots and grab his fishing rod. It’s always a pleasure in the summer to find a quiet beach to enjoy after navigating traffic and crowds all day. Last night, a friend was there with his dogs. He and Dirck visited and cast a few times while I wandered around photographing. We all took time to enjoy the glorious sunset.

spectacle, nantucket

spectacle, nantucket

spectacle, nantucket

spectacle, nantucket

spectacle, nantucket

spectacle, nantucket

spectacle, nantucket

Tagged with:
 
Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.