Jake Egbert Photography Blog

Ticket to Ride - In Concert - Old Lyme - 2012

I just happened across the Ticket to Ride concert in Old Lyme last year, to my surprise and delight. This year, however, we arrived on time and on purpose!

The annual Beatles concert was presented by Koffee Works of Old Lyme and took place outside their shop under a beautiful sunset. Ticket to Ride has had a good year so far. They appeared on the local Fox affiliate and they are rumored to have spent quite a bit of time in the studio of late (fingers crossed that their laying down tracks for an album). It seems like that work in the studio is paying dividends. These boys from Liverpool have really tightened up their harmonies and polished up their chords! They sounded fantastic and they once again had this crowd twisting and shouting over and between the painted lines of the bank parking lot late into the evening.

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Old Lyme - Memorial Day Parade - 2012

May 28, 2012 -- An Old Lyme tradition resumed again today under sunny skies, a welcome contrast to the drenching rains that caused the cancellation of the 2011 event. Parade participants marched in front of cheering crowds from the firehouse on Lyme Street to the parade terminus at Duck Creek Cemetery. The closing ceremonies incuded, among other things, performances by the Lyme Old Lyme High School Marching Band, essay readings, a flag ceremony, and a 21 gun salute followed by Taps.

I posted photos of this event right after Memorial Day and LymeLine.com ran some of them when they were fresh and new!

This annual event is one of my family's favorite aspects of living in small-town Connecticut. There is a real sense of community as we see people we know from school, gymnastics, and little league scattered up and down Lyme Street.

The whole town seems to be involved in the parade. Everyone first meets at the parade staging area as many families have kids marching with a band, baseball team, scout troop, etc. Then the parade rolls by, kids throwing candy, other kids scrambling to pick up candy, parents and spectators waving and snapping pictures. Then, the whole town gets up and follows the parade down to the cemetery for the Memorial Day ceremony. Afterwards, the parade sort of reverses course and we all follow the marching bands back to the firehouse where the whole event started! After enjoying free hot dogs and soda on the apparatus floor of the firehouse, residents are welcome to wander down to the Lyme Academy for the antique car show and an impressive array of sparkling automobiles.

LOLMS Marching Band - Anchors Away, played 100 times!
(Mrs. Wind, the band director, will not listen to this song again for a few years, except in her nightmares!)

A patriotic parade watcher

This one was twirling the foot with the sandal in time to the marching band music

The New London Firefighters Pipes and Drums

Three-volley salute

See you next Memorial Day!
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PopArtsBall - Lyme Academy

Last month I was invited to photograph a fundraising event at the Lyme Academy in Old Lyme, CT. The PopArtsBall was an Andy Warhol themed silent auction, dinner, and dance held under large tents and in the main gallery at the Lyme Academy. Tickets went for $150 each and the event sold out at 350 participants. This soiree was clearly above my pay grade, but I had a great time documenting the rich and beautiful as they partied the evening away, all for a great cause. Proceeds went to scholarships for art students at the academy, as I understand. Who knows, maybe I'll be invited to more of these parties in the future...
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Lynde Point Lighthouse Sunset

I was scanning through photos tonight and these shots of the Lynde Point Lighthouse in Old Saybrook caught my eye. On October 6 I was headed home from baseball practice with my son and we just had to stop and capture this sunset. I set up a tripod and let my 8-year-old trip some of the 6 to 10 second exposures, so I guess he technically took a few of these. I have to admit I am thrilled when I see my kids getting excited about this stuff.

We missed the really brilliant moments of the sunset by about 5 minutes so as good as these look they could have been incredible.

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An Evening at Pilgrim's Landing

One evening back in July I was headed home pretty late from work and I noticed distant lightning flashing against what appeared to be a very clear night sky. I was up late already so I grabbed my camera and tripod and headed for Pilgrim's Landing on the Connecticut River near my home. Here are a few of the pictures I captured from the river's edge while an impressive storm front approached but never really arrived (I guess it passed to the North of us). It was sort of eery standing in the dark watching the clouds and the distant lightning while I waited for camera exposures. I was using a small flashlight and every time the light touched the shallow water it became a roiling mass of tiny eels. I assume they were American Eels as I know they are native to the local rivers. Unfortunately, my attempts to photograph the eels didn't turn out very well in the low light.

Bridge to Old Saybrook

Very similar to the first shot, this exposure resulted in a completely different color temp. I struggled to choose between these two shots for a fair photography contest... I chose this one and won a third-place ribbon at the Guilford Fair.

For a dark cloudy night, there were sure a lot of stars showing through


The canoe landing
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LOLMS - Harmony In the Middle Concert

The LOL Middle School closed out the school year in style last June. One of the classy events of the final weeks of the year was the Harmony in the Middle Concert. Bands, choruses, soloists, and duets performed in a concert held in the beautiful new school courtyard. Parents, students and faculty gathered together to enjoy food, conversation, and great musical entertainment. Hopefully this was not a one-and-done event. I'd love to see it become a lasting tradition!

While most parents sat and watched the concert, the students mostly mingled near the refreshment tables.

The Flute Section


Every middle school band should have a bass player


Mrs. Wind



Yes, we see you!

Saxophone at Dusk

Sundown closed the concert
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The Day Irene Came to Town

After nearly a week of watching the news, tracking the storm path, and preparing for Hurricane Irene to arrive on the Connecticut coast, arrive she did! Sometime around 5:30 AM we lost power and noticed that the storm was in full swing. The trees were whipping about crazily in the merciless onslaught and the house was being peppered with leaves and twigs. Thankfully, none of those big trees decided to come into the house to escape the storm!

After the tropical storm had passed (without power we didn't know it had been downgraded from a hurricane for a couple of days) we ventured out to take a look around. We were amazed by the sheer number of fallen trees! We were convinced it would be weeks before electricity was restored. For some reason, we actually got power back very late Sunday night (which I blogged about here), but much of the surrounding area didn't have power for around a week.

Here are photos of a few of the more interesting calling cards that Irene left for us in the areas in and around Old Lyme.

Boston Post Road was blocked in several places.

These cables were down for several days...

Our northward adventure ended here on Sunday afternoon. I couldn't believe the cables were still intact...

Residents began to take inventory of the damage and wondered how long they'd be without power.

Another casualty of the wind.

This damaged tree landed about 900 miles from Chicago...

Go Away Irene - 8-28-11

None of us remember seeing this tree on our beach before the storm.

There was still quite a bit of wind on Sunday afternoon.

This amateur news crew was on the scene

Sand, rope, and floats indicate the path the storm surge took around the corner of this beach home.

Buoys by the Barby

This area is roped off because, apparently, it is not safe for swimming...

Our now sand-bound picnic pavilion

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The Dark Night - In Irene's Wake

I have always been impressed by the sheer number of stars I can see on a clear night here in Old Lyme, CT. However, the night sky that followed Hurricane Irene was particularly impressive. With power out all day Sunday for miles around there was almost no discernible glare on the atmosphere from ground lighting. With flights in all the surrounding major cities grounded, there was not a single jet visible in the sky and no con trails anywhere.

I shot some long exposures and was mesmerized by the results I was getting.

In the earlier pictures you can see windows in my home lighted by a battery powered lantern on the ground floor and by a green glow stick in the upstairs bedroom (I couldn't even detect the light upstairs with my naked eye). The intermitent rows of clouds were really moving across the sky and the trees were still being whipped around by the wind. I left the shutter open while I went into the garage to rummage around in the minivan for my earphones (might as well listen to a book while standing for minutes at a time in the silent pitch-black night) and I captured the red LED arm band I was using to see the camera settings along with a surprising 90 degree shift in the direction the clouds were moving.

I captured the Big Dipper, Polaris, and the Little Dipper in several shots and then decided to see what I could get by shooting a few of the infrequent cars that ventured by on the highway.

I set up on the edge of the highway and started my first shot there, wondering how long it would be before another car wandered past. I was just settling in when the big street light right over my head burst suddenly (and loudly) to life, blinding me and nearly causing an involuntary bowel release! The house across the street was the next to explode in a blinding flash, followed in quick succession by each of the other homes on my street. I quickly aborted the shot I was making, certain that all the extra light had ruined it. Turns out I consider that particular shot a keeper. It serves as a reminder of how it felt to be standing out alone in the pitch black night after a day full of uncertainty and destruction when, against all odds, the power was restored. The adrenaline from the initial shock of the light and noise (ever noticed how loud street lights really are?) was soon replaced by an almost euphoric joy! We lost power early in the morning and based on the hundreds of downed trees we'd seen in the area I was convinced we wouldn't have power for days or weeks. (In fact, four days later there are homes within a mile of us that still don't have power.) Cell service was out and since we're on well water we didn't even have cold showers to look forward to in the coming days.

With the power unexpectedly restored my late-night photo shoot was abruptly ended. I headed back inside to reconnect the fridge and freezer to the house current. I plugged in cell phones and set alarm clocks. Then I spent over 20 minutes getting our well pump restarted.

What a day!

Latern in the Window

90 Degree Wind Shift
This shot was long enough to show the apparent rotation of the stars around the North Star off to the left of the frame.

Clouds fleeing over the neighbor's house

None of our trees fell in the storm, luckily

Big Dipper, Polaris, and the Little Dipper

Another shot of Ursa Major and about a million stars.
Can you tell which one is the North Star?

I like the effect of the lighter branches whipping around in the wind.


Long exposure rudely interrupted by the sudden restoration of power!

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Ticket to Ride - In Concert

Quite a crowd gathered in front of Koffee Works in Old Lyme this past Saturday evening to watch Ticket to Ride, Connecticut's premiere Beatles tribute band. These mop tops put on a great show! Also, my neighbor Dave plays George, which is pretty cool. As usual, I took too many pictures and then processed them in Adobe LightRoom. Let me know which one's you like. Also, check out the band website at tickettoridect.com.

Beatles through the Koffee Works window

Over the hedge

A four-legged fan and her(?) person

In case the band loses track of which guitar cases belong in their van...

Ringo loves peace

A great way to spend a summer evening

The show included a costume change at intermission

There was some twisting and shouting going on in the audience

I wasn't the only photographer there


True fans


Another four-legged fan

More fans

George (my neighbor) and John. George can really wail on that guitar!

They have a few instruments to choose from.
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After the Fireworks

After the sparklers and the fireworks had all burned out it was time to clean up. I left my camera on long exposure while we gathered up the leftover singed casings. I was pretty happy with a few of these. Do you have a favorite?

This was a shorter exposure where the stars appear pretty crisp.

This was a bit longer and captured two aircraft.
(Also, more lights were on in the house as the little people were scrubbing off the deet and heading for bed.)

Nice Evening

You can see the beginning of star trails in this longer exposure.
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The Best Fireworks Nineteen Dollars and Ninety Nine Cents Can Buy

Being that we can't buy real fireworks (legally) in our area I am pretty stingy with the amount of money I am willing to shell out for ground-bound fountains. That doesn't mean we didn't enjoy our little fireworks display. I was a bit disappointed that even the whistling devices were missing from our assortment this year, but my wife and the neighbors did not miss them!

Up close and personal with the *Giant Golden Shower*

Smaller than a AAA Battery...

Ooh, Sparkles!

It looks like the street is spewing lava.

Four AAA fountains

A few more tiny fountains

The *Grand* finale
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Graffiti on Fire

As part of our 4th of July celebration we broke out the sparklers and covered the neighborhood in brilliant temporary graffiti!

I asked one of the kids to bring me a flashlight while I was getting set up for sparklers and fireworks. Success!

Ghostly feet all over the street

The flaming swirling vortex of doom!

A 3D signature?

This one *is* a signature

Possibly my favorite of the sparkler set
Stay tuned for the fireworks show!
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5th Grade Graduation

5th grade graduation was another great opportunity to shoot candid event photos. I enjoyed seeing my daughter and her friends in the culmination of their elementary school experience.

It was a challenge to get clear pictures in the low light so I cranked the ISO up to support a faster shutter speed. Then, at the recommendation of a friend I downloaded a 30-day trial installation of Adobe Lightroom and tried it out on this batch of photos. One thing I like about Lightroom right out of the gate is its ability to reduce the graininess and noise caused by the high ISO. Once I adjusted one picture I could easily paste the settings across all the other similar pictures at once and then just make minor adjustments. I can see how this could become a major time saver. It would (will?) be a pretty hefty investment to purchase in another 20 days, though if (when?) I decide to purchase the program.

Please note the exits

Listing a few defining attributes of Center School

Hand shake for a diploma

A hat for Mr. Pomroy

No, thank *YOU* Mrs. Walters!

You're not leaving without posing for your parents!

Stage presence!

Mr. Pomroy - The "Cool" Principal

Citizenship Award Winner

A Proud Mom

Why so blue... er, red and blue...?

The graduates leave in a flurry of flash bulbs

Citizenship Award - An Exclusive Close-up

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Center School 5th Grade Presents: The Wizard of Oz

So, I followed the paving stone path on into Center School last Friday evening where I was treated to the fantastic 5th grade production of The Wizard of Oz. There were two significant challenges to photographing this event. First, there were very few lights on the actors for much of the production, which made it quite difficult to get clear pictures. And second, there is no air conditioning in Center School which resulted in some very hot and uncomfortable actors, audience members, and photographers. Seats by windows in the gymnasium were at a premium because the outside air provided some relief from the heat and humidity.

I found that there was lots more light near the back of the stage than there was up front so I ended up shooting some from backstage and from the wings to try and get some clear shots. This had the added advantage to putting me close to a few windows and open doors and the extra ventilation they provided(here I discovered a few of the more clever kids also trying to escape the heat while they waited for their next scene).

I was pretty happy with some of the pictures I got of the performance and I hope that the participants find the gallery enjoyable.

Here are a few of the highlights along with a link to the extensive gallery of the production and the after party.

Center School - Established 1935

Ding-dong, the witch is dead!


More munchkins!

I'll get you my pretty! (And your little dog, too!)

If I only had a brain...

Follow the yellow brick road...

Please don't pull the mane. It's real!

I've meeeeeelted!

Clever kids escaping the heat

Farmer Joe tries on a top hat

My favorite picture of the evening. The curtain call began before everyone was ready. It was delightful to see the all-smiles cast scramble for their places. Bravo!

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Don't Rain On My Parade

It was a Memorial Day parade to remember...

The town gathered in the rain this morning in the hopes that the weather would clear enough for the annual Memorial Day parade. This is an event that we look forward to every year. We waited and waited but it was not to be. The parade was eventually called off and we'll hope for better weather next year!

It was raining when we left home so I wrapped my camera up in plastic bags and decided to try getting some interesting pictures, regardless of the weather.

Here is a gallery of the pictures I took, along with a couple of favorites from the rainy morning.

Scenes from the Ballpark

Do you still shoot in Auto mode? Up until recently I shot almost exclusively in my Nikon D-90's 'P' mode. 'P' - It's like Auto mode only for cool kids. The Nikon has such good automatic settings that it turns out consistently good results.

Then my friend Amy (who happens to be a fantastically talented photographer) challenged me to shoot my son's next baseball game in fully manual mode. She speculated that once I really tried to teach myself to use the manual settings I would never go back to auto. I was a bit skeptical and more than a little bit intimidated but I embraced the challenge.

That was fourteen days ago. Several hundred (thousand?) photos later I can definitely say I will never go back to shooting in Auto mode. I actually find that I ruin a lot more pictures this way but I really like the ones that I get right.

Here are a few captures from my first foray into full manual mode.

How many Rangers does it take to open a bucket of balls?



Fans, young and old, enjoy an evening at the ballpark

Safe or out?

You make the call!

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Duck Through a Window

Driving around Old Lyme I see lots of things that make me think, "That would make a nice photograph." Fortunately for me, I often have a camera so I can test my theory. Here are a few shots I snapped from the window of my car. I pulled off on a side road and shut the engine off for a few minutes as I watched a couple of ducks enjoying a seasonal pond created by Spring rains, some of which began to fall while I was thus engaged.



This hen is a bit tougher to see than her mate.

This drake was holding a stick in his bill and using it to preen himself when he wasn't shaking water from his back.

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Inflatable Turkey

I took a day off work a couple of weeks ago and I picked the kids up after school. On the way home we saw this tom turkey chasing one of his lady friends through the forest off of Whippoorwill Lane. We see turkeys all the time, but we don't always see them puffing themselves up like a toasted marshmallow. We took a small side trip to photograph the display of puffed plumage.





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