Category Archives: eastern shore

blonde (i)photos & other news.

i’ve been busy.

me, on stage for Mortified DC – School’s Out for Summer, 2012
photo by Mary Kate McKenna Photography, LLC

in fact, the last 16 months have been straight up tumultuous. exciting to say the least, and downright harrowing at times. but good – all very good.

i know, i know – moving to kenya, shooting weddings & photo projects all over the states, mexico & africa, becoming a kenyan resident & starting a kenyan business, then narrowly escaping somali pirates, leaving my beloved lamu island, kenya, teaching in india, falling in love, traveling some more, becoming a storyteller, becoming an innkeeper, and taking up woodworking are not excuses for ignoring my blog for over a year…but there are some things you just can’t plan for. sometimes life takes over, and really, i blame my iphone. it’s true – i love having a camera with me all the time that fits in my pocket and takes great images. and i love uploading those photos directly to facebook and sharing them with friends, family & fans. plus, it has helped me begin to separate photography work & photography fun, since that line was starting to blur (in a bad way) after working so hard the past 7 years.

just so you know, all of my recent work from the last 16 months (weddings, portraits, travel, documentary) can be found on the blonde photo | facebook page. if you aren’t a fan, and you want to stay up-to-date on everything i’m shooting & doing, then you should go ahead and click here.

sometimes i miss blogging, but it’s no longer part of my workflow, and i’m not yet sure if i will get it back anytime soon. more so, i’ve been working on my personal writing lately, turning some of my crazy stories into performances, and yes, you can see some of those on my new youtube channel. and blonde brouhaha site! i’m also dreaming up a new website to highlight all of my crazy creative endeavors, but still figuring out how to combine my three loves:

blonde photo | blonde brouhaha | blonde voyage

…and i was serious about everything i mentioned above, especially the fact that i am running a beautiful, historic bed & breakfast, so if you are interested, you can find out more about that here.

and now, for your visual delight, here are some of my favorite blonde (i)photos from the past year.


iphone :: kenya – key west – dc – india – eastern shore – puerto rico


July 19, 2012 · 9:52 pm

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

snapshot :: fly fishing.

learning to shoot the line.

a lesson in fly fishing on the chesapeake bay with captain russ wilkinson.

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Filed under eastern shore, photography, snapshot

love, eastern shore style.

julia + danny :: married! sweetbay farm – galena, maryland.

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Filed under eastern shore, photography, wedding


wednesday night racing.

sailing under penniless’ spinnaker at sunset :: wednesday night races – st. michaels, md.

last week i had the awesome opportunity to join the incomparable janet buck and her crew aboard the sailboat penniless for the first wednesday night race of the year in st. michaels! i’ve been looking forward to checking out the races and was beyond thrilled to view the action from one of the competing boats!

the crew departed out of higgins yacht yard with a new sail and great energy. the weather was gorgeous and the wind was mellow – perfect for my maiden voyage on a legit sailboat!

and best of all penniless finished 2nd in their class! woo! (race results HERE).


2nd place = happy skipper!

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friday night races :: oxford, md :: 050710


Filed under eastern shore, photography


friday night racing.

the view from zoo’s cabin :: friday night races – oxford, md.

talk about a racing week! on friday evening i headed over to oxford and jumped aboard the race boat zoo!

unlike wednesday’s race, it was wildly windy and i took serious refuge in the cabin while the crew kept crazy busy on deck. we whipped around the course and i snapped away while trying to maintain balance and keep myself together! i even shot a few seconds of video before we keeled over and i was doused with spray! talk about exciting! in retrospect it was a fun experience, and the crew was amazing – i’m in complete awe of their dexterity and nimbleness on such a wild ride!


the zoo crew!

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wednesday night races :: st. michaels, md :: 050510

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Filed under eastern shore, 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.

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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!


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…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