Bay Journal

Chesapeake Notebook

News, notes and observations from the Bay Journal staff.

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Poo powered tractor plows forward

We’ve written plenty about the power of manure, how innovators across the region are turning its excess into energy and even profits. But what if the power produced by a manure-to-energy plant was used to not only keep the lights on but also plow the fields?
Enter the methane-fueled tractor.

This pie-in-the-sky piece of machinery is becoming a reality in parts of Europe where fuel costs, stringent emissions regulations and the lure of an “energy independent” farm are driving it closer to production.

During a recent trip to Europe, I had the chance to visit a farm outside Turin, Italy, where this tractor, made by CNH Industrial’s New Holland factory nearby, is being used each day. (They even let me take it for a spin.)

Whitney Pipkin
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Summer Fun: Great beaches on Virginia's bayside eastern shore

Earlier, we talked about Maryland beaches. Now, we turn our attention south to Virginia.

I haven’t spent as much time in Virginia, but I’m impressed by what I’ve seen of the state park and natural area system. Beautiful, well-managed parks, with kayaks and bikes to rent, and lodges for sleeping for those who don’t like camping.

On the Eastern Shore, three beaches come to mind.

Rona Kobell
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Summer Fun: Quick beach getaways

I admit it - I sort of dread beach vacations.

Or, really any vacations to anywhere.

When you have kids, vacations are more work than working. There’s no break time. And my kids, ages 10 and 4, are not fans of the long car trip. We always forget something important, like that extra pair of shoes or the eczema cream. And my littlest one doesn’t sleep well outside of her own room.

But I do like the beach. So, beach day trips become the perfect solution. Plus, much cheaper if you don’t have to spend the night. And since I live in Baltimore, I mostly go to Maryland’s bayside beaches. (But I’ve been to Virginia beaches, too, and will tell about them in my next post).

Rona Kobell

Picture This

Tips from veteran Chesapeake Bay photographer Dave Harp about how to capture the perfect images from your outdoor travels.

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Pond paddle provides lovely setting for photos

I always try to get out and make some photos on the solstices and equinoxes,  and an assignment to illustrate a story about Trap Pond allowed me to chase the morning light there a few hours after this year’s Autumnal equinox.   It’s an amazingly beautiful patch of wild Delaware near Laurel and will be featured in the November issue of the Bay Journal.   The pond, created in the 18th century to power a saw mill to convert the trees into board feet of lumber,  is the epicenter of the northern most stand of bald cypress trees in the United States.   The relatively young trees in the middle of the pond were planted in the 1930’s when the water level  was drawn down to allow the trees to grow.    Once they’re heads are above the water they seem to do fine in an aquatic environment.  Be sure to look for a more complete story about Trap Pond State Park by Tom Horton in the November issue of the Bay Journal.

David Harp
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Order of Chaos

Photographers go to great lengths to make order out of chaos. A good photograph has a strong point of view, clean lines, generally good composition. In this case chaos IS the point. Anyone who has ever witnessed a flock of snow geese erupt into flight knows that the sight and sounds of those birds says chaos to the extreme.    This flock was photographed with a 200mm lens, 2x tele extender, Olympus E-5 camera, 1250/sec. @ f5.6. ISO 200. The scene was made at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge just after sunrise, thin cloud cover.

David Harp
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January morning along the Choptank River

It was a very cold pre dawn January morning along the Choptank River.   Out to capture some winter scenes (since we didn't really have winter last year). I found this ice encrusted plant and made a photo in the early morning light.    Wanting more drama in the photo I waited until the rising sun barely kissed it and made another exposure. Sometimes is pays to wait for the light.Both photographs were made with an Olympus E-5, 12-60mm lens at 21mm.  

David Harp

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