Category Archives: documentary

crabbing in september.

johnny gowe scoops up a crab from his trotline in broad creek — neavitt, md.


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Filed under documentary, photography, watermen

marylanders grow oysters.

attempting to revive the oyster population.

tred avon river oyster sanctuary — oxford, md.

a few weeks ago i had the opportunity to learn more about chesapeake bay oysters, while on assignment for maryland life magazine. they are running an article on marylanders grow oysters, a project that aims to foster a diverse oyster reef through community action. i spent the morning with chris judy from the maryland department of natural resources as he collected oysters grown by oxford residents in the tred avon river. 150+ volunteer oyster growers tended nearly 900 cages, yeilding approximately 250,000 oysters.

i also visited the horn point oyster hatchery at the university of maryland center for environmental science to document their production of oyster spat for research, restoration, and educational projects. i thoroughly enjoyed learning about these programs and the process, and im very excited to read the article when it is published!

horn point oyster hatchery ::


Filed under documentary, eastern shore, magazine, photography

child life services.

playing doctor.

meg, a child life specialist at children’s hospital, provides support to patients.

children’s national medical center never ceases to amaze me — their stellar team provides exceptional care and service for countless brave little patients that are need medical treatment. along with some of the best doctors in the world, children’s has amazing support staff and specialists that aid in child care. on an average day, 60-80 children have surgical procedures at children’s national medical center. child life specialists are available to provide psychological preparation and emotional support before, during and after procedures. the specialists are outstanding + compassionate people, trained to help children and their families understand and cope with illness, treatment and hospitalization. additionally, child life specialists employ fun therapeutic play with patients that help to de-mystify surgery and make “playing doctor” a true learning experience. watching meg with the patients and their families in the moments leading up to surgery was inspiring — bravo to her and all the amazing people who devote their lives to improving care for sick children!

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Filed under children, CNMC, dc, documentary, photography

goodwin house.

living the good life.

one of the many fabulous, photogenic residents of the goodwin house.

a few weeks ago i was given the opportunity to work with the american association of homes and services for the aging — AAHSA — documenting a day in the life at one of their communities. AAHSA has a clear and admirable mission :: healthy, affordable, ethical aging services for america. AAHSA is an association of over 5,500 non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing policies, practices, and research that empowers aging americans to continue to live life to its fullest potential. i was intrigued and excited by the project — spending a day talking with residents, capturing spontaneous portraits, documenting daily activites, and providing a glimpse into life at a local retirement community.

the goodwin house far exceeded all my expectations of a continuing care community — honestly, i wasnt sure what to expect. offering everything from independent residences to assisted living to full-time care, i found the residents to be a diverse and fascinating group of people. i experienced an immediate feeling of comfort, and a true sense of calm and well-being at the goodwin house. the light-filled community areas were decorated beautifully, and residents sat and chatted with each other, poured over the morning paper, enjoyed coffee, and worked on puzzles. outside i met gardeners actively tending to their plots in the community garden — caring for everything from roses to ripe tomatoes in the morning sun.

i was smitten with the incredible art studio where aspiring artists learn and experiment with painting, pottery, mosaic, and various other art forms. additionally,the woodworking studio blew my mind — i was so impressed! of course i loved checking out the library, computer room, chapel, and dance studio. peeking in on a dance class i was thrilled to meet an incredible 90-year-old sky diving enthusiast who shared her experiences with me. exploring the gym + indoor pool i chatted with the “mermaids” who were doing water aerobics and they told me about performing at events throughout the community!

truth be told, i absolutely fell in love with everyone i met — these self-proclaimed citizens of the world inspired and amazed me with their stories. from the retired professors to the brand new artists, the life-long partners to the newlyweds who recently found love, and the two brothers who escaped from nazi germany to the states years ago and found their way back to each other as neighbors in this community, i was in awe. everyone i met was so happy and full of life — so obviously thriving in such an ideal environment conducive to enabling and embracing individuals of all interests, in all stages of retirement. one man i met was active and healthy, living in one of the apartments, while his wife received full-time care just a few floors above him. in this way he was able to maintain his independence and still live with her, surrounded by a supportive community. i was struck with the same thought over and over — how everyone should have the opportunity to live somewhere like this when they retire, and im truly thankful that organizations like AAHSA are committed to making that possibilty a reality.

with many thanks to the gracious people who let me photograph them, below are just a few of my favorite images from my day at the goodwin house –enjoy!


Filed under documentary, NON-PROFIT, photography

oyster recovery partnership.

ORP project :: le compte bay, choptank river.

captain david leonard uses a power dredge to reclaim silt covered oyster shells.

every spring for the last few years maryland watermen have joined forces with the maryland department of natural resources (DNR) to rehabilitate the oyster beds throughout the chesapeake bay. oyster shell rehabilitation is a project that involves reclaiming silt-covered oyster shell from specifically targeted oyster reefs using power dredges.

established by the oyster recovery partnership (ORP), this project aims to restore oyster habitats through a “dredge and release” program – as the dredge drags along the bottom it breaks up oyster clusters, giving them more room to grow. it also jostles the shells and creates clean surfaces for the oyster spat to attach and develop.

ORP collaborates with management agencies, including DNR, NOAA, and the army corps of engineers, as well as individual experts and scientists to develop ways to increase oyster hatchery production across the region. in recent years ORP has enlisted maryland watermen, who they feel “have the necessary boats, equipment and knowledge of the bay to bring local experience and expertise to our projects.”

ironically, these watermen have been facing increased scrutiny for the aforementioned power dredging – blamed by many of the same experts for “destroying oyster beds.” when in fact, programs like ORP have proven that power dredging are good for the oyster beds and can possibly do more to restore oyster populations than sanctuaries. according to senator colburn “dredging works the bay bottom which in turn prevents oysters from being silted over which suffocates and kills them,” additionally, bunky chance, president of the talbot county watermen’s association confirms that “every place we have used this equipment, they’re [oysters] coming back. every place we’re not, they’re barren.”

chance also addressed recent legislation, such as the oyster restoration and aquaculture development plan which encourages private oyster cultivation and would arguably put the watermen out of business, in a piece that recently appeared in the baltimore sunoverfishing not to blame for oyster woes. he argues that “watermen have been doing aquaculture on their leased bottoms with little or no success for many years” and that “watermen are not against sanctuaries, aquaculture or what is being referred to as the “poachers” bill….What they are against is how the Department of Natural Resources has handled this new plan.”

the watermen simply want to continue working on the water and providing for their families. more than anyone they understand the problems facing the bay and agree that something must be done to help restore the oyster and crab populations. they have consistently demonstrated their adaptability and respect through cooperation with laws and regulations which pose strict limits on their season and catches. furthermore, by working with the DNR and ORP they have proven that their methods are non-destructive and, if given time, may prove to restore the oyster population after all.

*  *  *  *  *

on the last day of the ORP’s oyster shell rehabilitation project i arrived at the oxford dock just after 5am and climbed aboard the workboat amy lynn. i introduced myself to captain david leonard and his son brian on the 45-minute trip along the choptank river to le compte bay where we would spend the day dredging along with dozens of other boats. for the next 8 hours i watched as david lowered the massive power dredge onto the bottom and retrieved countless heaps of oyster shells, rocks, mud, crabs, and occasional rubbish. he and brian would pour over each load, sifting through and tossing everything back overboard, returning it to the bottom. the project aims to break up oyster clusters and release the shells from heavy mud and silt so that spat can easy attach and grow. david noted that there were a good amount of oysters and felt the area would be good for harvest, if in fact the water was right for spat. recently the salinity has decreased in many areas, rendering the water too fresh for oysters to flourish. i appreciated how david shared his opinions and experiences over his life-long career as a watermen. i spent the entire day enthralled with the work and stories of this seasoned waterman – feeling a surge of anticipation each time he retrieved the dredge and even more passionate about the plight of this endangered trade.

i can’t thank the captain enough for taking me aboard amy lynn – it was a phenonmenal experience and i can’t wait to get back out on the water…next up, crabbing!


*  *  *  *  *

…more from my on-going watermen project…

choptank to the railway :: neavitt to tilghman aboard the dreamer.

environmental matters committee :: SB 342 :: eastern shore watermen rally in support of senate bill 342.

oyster recovery partnership :: ORP project – le compte bay, choptank river.


Filed under documentary, eastern shore, photography, st michaels, watermen

choptank to the railway.

neavitt to tilghman aboard the dreamer.

day break on dreamer with captain johnny.

a few weeks ago i hit the waters of the bay for the first time aboard the workboat dreamer. captain johnny gowe guided us along the choptank river from the neavitt dock to the tilghman railway, where he was headed to work on his boat. during the week or so following oyster season, workboats fill the marina ready to be inspected, painted, repaired, and cleaned up before they start crabbing. ideally, the boats leave the water only once a year – their sturdy fiberglass hulls are able to weather the wicked winter ice that so easily damages the older, wooden boats.

en route to the marina railway we passed watermen getting a jump on the crabbing season which started earlier this month. i was impressed watching them steadily work the trotlines, catching blue crabs one at a time, swiftly flipping them from the net into the basket. in stark contrast, the clam boat looked far more complicated – with a conveyor belt system for retrieving and sorting the little razor clams that make excellent bait for crabbing.

no matter what they are catching – oysters, crabs, clams – watermen generally work alone, spending long, solitary days on the water and i loved this brief glimpse into their world.


*  *  *  *  *

…more from my on-going watermen project…

oyster recovery partnership :: ORP project – le compte bay, choptank river.

environmental matters committee :: SB 342 :: eastern shore watermen rally in support of senate bill 342.

choptank to the railway :: neavitt to tilghman aboard the dreamer.


Filed under documentary, eastern shore, photography, st michaels