The Christmas card season is upon us!

I just saw my first pack of Christmas cards head out the door, actually, they were ordered on my Fine Art Gallery and if you are interested in seeing the image, my friend RJ Jeffreys who is a poet and writer shared this on his Facebook page. (link below)

The image is the Richmond Round church in Richmond Vermont. To me, New England and Vermont, in particular, seem to resonate with the seasons. The Norman Rockwell feeling to New England is why Mr. Rockwell spent so much time in Massachusetts and Vermont. That idyllic small town feeling that he captured just resonate in pictures like this.

This image can be found on my Vermont Fine Art America gallery by clicking here.

 

 

Derby Wharf Lighthouse ends up next to a Lighthouse

Derby Wharf Lighthouse is in Salem Massachusetts

No the National Park has not loaned out the little lighthouse at the end of Derby wharf and neither have they added another one next to it. Let me start by showing you the Derby Wharf Lighthouse or what it looked like on a very cold Valentines day at dawn.

Derby Wharf Lighthouse, click here to see it larger or purchase.

Why I’m writing about this is this image printed on a wood backing was purchased from me by a gentleman who used to be a fisherman over in England and today resides near a lighthouse on the coast of (Old) England (versus “New”).
Sue, a woman in Banstead England has been showing my Fine At to her friends and I’ve thusly been sending my New England Photography to England.

Derby Wharf Lighthouse history

Derby Wharf Lighthouse is usually photographed from Derby Wharf which is a part of the Salem Maritime National Historic site in Salem Massachusetts. Derby wharf is named for Elias Hasket (King) Derby (1739-1799) who was one of the richest men in Salem by the time he died in 1799. His father started this wharf in 1762 and was only a third of it’s current length. It wasn’t until 1806, that it would be it’s full length of nearly a half mile out into Salem Harbor.

Derby Warf Lighthouse arrives

It isn’t until 1871 that Derby wharf Lighthouse is built at the end of Salem Wharf. The structure is 12 feet square and stands 20 ft to the top of the cupola.  The light used to be power as an oil lamp with a sixth order Fresnel lamp. At the time it was only one of 17 in the country with the 6th order Fresnel lamps.

Autumn at Derby Wharf Lighthouse

 

Today it’s powered by a solar panel with a red lamp and blinks every 6 seconds.

Salem Maritime NHS

There are no formal tours of the lighthouse but I get to go into it every once in a while during the summer. You see I’ve been a seasonal National Park ranger for 2 years at Salem Maritime and this summer will be my 3rd season.

Please stop by this small but critical National Park and when the Park Ranger giving the tour asks, “Did you know this was a National Park?”, You can tell them that in fact this is the first National Historic site in the nation (March 17, 1938) and I guarantee very few people know that.

 

Lighthouse contest winner

This is an article on a recent contest that I help on my Lighthouse’s of the World, contest on Fine Art America.

This contest had a special twist in that the winner (also the same photographer) also took the 4th place spot and I consider this 4th place to be the real winner.

The winner was Richard Sanford of Gahanna, OH.  His image can be seen here. Art Prints

Richard went into the military in the early 80s, as did I and we both turned into photographers, go figure. 🙂

The rest of Richards online gallery can be seen here.

I have a passion for lighthouses as well and my lighthouses can be seen in my Lighthouses of New England here.

Nauset Light Cape Cod as a digital painting
Nauset Light Cape Cod
 

Winter in Salem MA

I was chosen by the North Boston group that publishes the Salem Magazine for their winter edition cover.

Spring, summer, and winter covers for the Salem Magazine
Salem magazine in three seasons

As you can see, I had a great year snagging three out of four of the covers for the year.

The Spring Cover, first edition

I got the opening cover with a shot of Federal street flowering up for spring. (seen here)

Spring on Federal street in Salem Massachusetts, ,<a href="http://vistaphotography.com/featured/perfect-time-for-a-spring-walk-jeff-folger.html"> purchase it here </a>
Spring on Federal street in Salem Massachusetts, purchase here.

Federal street is a quit old town street. you can find it by walking down summer street and making a left at the funeral home. If you have arrived at the right time you will have many opportunities for colorful spring photographs of Salem in Bloom.

The Summer Issue

For the summer issue, they choose my image of the Friendship after a passing storm for the cover.

Friendship at the wharf, purchase it here

The summer issue shown here with my favorite shot of the Friendship of Salem. This is a replica (finished in 2000) of an East India trader that was originally built in 1797 here in Salem by Salem ship builder Enos Briggs. Today she is maintained by the National Park Service at Salem’s Maritime National Historic site.

The Winter cover

The winter cover was the bandstand in snow on a soft snowy day at dusk. The lights had come on in the Salem bandstand and the snow was falling very lightly.

Salem common in snow,<a href="http://vistaphotography.com/featured/snowy-night-on-the-salem-common-jeff-folger.html"> purchase it here </a>
Salem bandstand in a blanket of snow

The Bandstand on Salem Common is one of my favorite places to stop either during or right after a snow event. With the lights on and the Christmas tree lit for the season, this is one of my favorite images of Salem Common in winter.

 

Social Media and Blogging

Blogging, it’s all about the words

No, technically, blogging is not social media but when it comes to getting the “word” out, blogs can do it better for one reason. WORDS!

Old maple in autumn fall colors but its not about the picture!

For Photographers and artists, search engines only work with words and not your images. Before you start to panic, you do not have to be a Hemingway or poet laureate to do this job. (Lord knows I’m not) 🙂

I started blogging in 2006 when my editor at Yankee Magazine wondered if I would be interested in blogging in the autumn for them. I knew nothing and didn’t research it, I just jumped in and wrote from the heart about what I knew.

Fast forward 10 years and I’m still at it. Why? Because I’ve grown to love it as a form of expression. Is it easy? Sometimes.

Am I a great writer, nah… But I try to write in a conversational style where I can engage my readers.

Starting a blog

Blogs come in all shapes and sizes and most time you can start it out for free. The most important part is finding your voice. Write from your passion, mine is travel and New England Fall Foliage. I started in 2006 writing about scenic fall colors in New England for Yankee and when I left them I started my own blog called Jeff-Foliage.com.

In 2011 I left Yankee and in March I started my own fall foliage blog. By December, that first year, I had 50,000 views and I knew I had found my niche. Five years later, I’m averaging 250,000 views a year.

Starting your first blog

Step 1. Start with an idea of what you want to write about. How narrow or broad you leave it is up to you but mine “New England fall foliage” is pretty narrow and it gets most of its traffic between May and October. The rest of the year it slows way, way down.

If you choose a wider topic, such as New England Photography then it may get more balanced traffic but you are also competing for placement against thousands of other blogs that write about the same or similar subject. If you go with a narrow focus, it’s easier to rated higher in Google but you have to also ask yourself, “how many folks are going to search for your subject”.

Step 2. Pick the platform. You can use many different free platforms like Google’s Blogger or WordPress. I’m not going to teach you how to set them up and this article is just a quick over view. So Google “starting a blog” and see how many articles show up.

Step 3. Choose you first article. Oh No! writers block has set in already? Well Google this as well. Make it about you. All you need is 300 words (less that half a page) and don’t give them an encyclopedia either. A little background on your art and what motivates you. Post you social media links to an online gallery and maybe Facebook and Twitter etc… And you are done..

Step 4. The hard part is to keep it up. The secret is to schedule your time to do it on a regular basis every two weeks, maybe once a week. Get into a routine and away you go.

The longer your blog is out on the Internet, the more views it will get. If you write about things that matter to people you will begin to get a following. If all your posts are I created this today and it’s for sale here, come buy my art…

Well that sounds pretty boring to me so if that was what you planned to write about… please don’t invite me to read it.

Blogs can entertain or maybe inform. My blog Jeff-foliage.com informs people on how to plan for finding fall foliage in New England each autumn. I solve their problems and they come back each year to read my stories about traveling during a New England autumn. Covered bridges, fall foliage, quaint villages and articles to help people find them.

Now what is your blog going to be about?