Photo by Gerard Romano


Gerard Romano of Port Jefferson Station snapped this photo in the Village of Port Jefferson on Jan. 15. He writes, ‘As I took a walk for a bit of fresh air along the Danford Hotel pier the seagulls were bracing themselves against the stiff breeze. I used my 18-200mm lens to frame one with the Stony Brook University research vessel Seawolf as a bokeh backdrop.’

Microplastic scooped from the surf off Kamilo Beach, Hawaii, where there seems to be more plastic than sand. Photo by Erica Cirino
Erica Cirino

Northport-East Northport Public Library presents a virtual program via Zoom titled Exploring the Pacific Ocean and Beyond: A Discussion about Plastic Pollution, Science, and Solutions on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m.

Science writer and artist Erica Cirino has explored many of the oceans, lands, and ecosystems of the Earth with a single purpose: find out the truths about plastic pollution and what it is doing to the planet, wildlife and people. Ms. Cirino will share her findings and testimony as a journalist, illustrated by amazing photography, during the presentation. Open to all.

Registration is underway at Code: NENA979

Questions? Call 631-261-6930.

Photo by Susan Kerr

Nocturnal animals and human night owls may rejoice! On the winter solstice, people can witness the Earth’s longest night and shortest day of the year for their respective hemispheres. For individuals living in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice generally occurs between December 20 and 23 each year. Those in the southern hemisphere experience the winter solstice between June 20 to June 23.

‘Stony Brook Harbor on a Winter Solstice Day’ by Susan Kerr/Dec. 21, 2020

1. Not only will the winter solstice occur on a specific date, it also occurs at a specific time when the Earth’s semi-axis tilts furthest from the sun. This corresponds to when the North Pole is aimed away from the sun on the 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth’s axis. At this point, the sun also shines directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. The information and trivia site Mental Floss says the solstice happens at the same moment for everyone on the plane. However, the hour it occurs depends on your time zone.

2. Areas of the Northern Hemisphere can have varying lengths of day and night on the solstice. For example, New York City may have nine hours and 15 minutes of sunlight on the winter solstice. If that upsets New Yorkers, they may be happy to be outside parts of Finland, some of which get less than six hours of sunlight on the solstice.

3. The word “solstice” is derived from Latin and means “sun stands still.” It was chosen to describe this cosmic phenomenon because the solstice sun seemingly appears in the same position at noontime for several days before and after the winter solstice – at its lowest point in the sky.

4. It is easy to mistake the solstices for the equinoxes, which also occur twice a year. However, the equinoxes occur in fall and spring and mark when the sun is directly above the equator and night and day are of equal length.

5. Despite the winter solstice indicating the beginning of the astrological winter, it may not be the coldest time of the season. Usually those temperatures are reserved for January and February.

6. The Farmer’s Almanac reports that many cultures marked the arrival of the solstice as a time of death and rebirth. Early man also kept track of the days by observing the sun’s position in the sky. In fact, historians believe Stonehenge was created to monitor the sun’s yearly “movement.”

7. Many traditions associated with Christmas originated during Pagan celebrations for the winter solstice. For example, Scandinavians would burn a juul (yule) log in the hearth in honor of the god Thor. Thor’s job was to bring the sun’s warmth back to the people.

While the winter solstice and the lack of sunlight synonymous with it may not be something everyone looks forward to, there is a silver lining. Following the winter solstice, the hours of sunlight gradually increase by the day, eventually paving the way for the spring equinox.

Photo by Tom Caruso


Tom Caruso of Smithtown snapped this photo while in Port Jefferson on Nov. 27. He writes, ‘It was nighttime and my wife and son were strolling down the streets in the village taking in the holiday sights. I spotted this doll in a shop window and the lighting perfectly painted the doll’s face against the darkened store’s interior. I couldn’t resist it.

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The Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack recently announced the winners of their 27th annual Gurwin Photo Contest. Thirty winning photos were chosen from among more than 450 entries for permanent display in the 460-bed nursing and rehabilitation facility. 

Taking top prize of Best in Show this year was Jan Golden for her photo “Happy Family.” Best in Show runner up was Barbara McCahill for “Three Amigos.” Both photographers are from Stony Brook. 

In light of the times and in the interest of safety, the awards ceremony was held virtually via Zoom, and included video commentary by winning contestants. Zoom participants enjoyed a slideshow presentation of the year’s winning selections, as well as winners from past contests. 

The virtual format made it possible to have winners send in prerecorded videos of themselves, offering an inside look at the story behind their photos, their love for photography and their thoughts on what it means for their photos to be selected as winners in the Gurwin Photo Contest.

Gurwin’s renowned photo contest is much anticipated each year. The striking photos hung in the Center’s Tiffen Gallery — named for perennial contest sponsor The Tiffen Company after founder Nat Tiffen — are a signature element of the warm and welcoming environment at Gurwin. Each year, winning portraits are added to the gallery, with older photos moved to resident units for year-round enjoyment. 

More than 1000 photos now adorn the walls of the nursing and rehabilitation center and are admired daily by residents, staff and visitors alike.

Tony Lopez (Tony Lopez Photography) and Chris Appoldt (Chris Appoldt Photography) served as judges for the contest. Residents and staff members also participated in the selection process, choosing winners in the “Resident/Staff Selections” category. 

Photos not selected for display are utilized by Gurwin’s Therapeutic Recreation team as inspiration for art therapy projects, as well as for reminiscence programs for those with memory impairment, deeming every submission a “winner.”

“The community support we have received since the Contest’s inception nearly three decades ago is remarkable and serves to enhance the beauty of our Center,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of the Gurwin Healthcare System, of which the Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is a part.

“The installation of the new artwork throughout our Center is something we all look forward to, and we are particularly touched by the continued support of the community during such a challenging year,” he added.

The Gurwin Photo Contest opens each year for submissions on February 15. Information on the contest can be found at

Best in Show

‘Happy Family’ by Jan Golden/Stony Brook

Best in Show Runner-up

‘Three Amigos’ by Barbara McCahill/Stony Brook

Action/Sports Category

Grand Prize

‘Barrel Racer’ by Frank DiBenedetto/Coram

Honorable Mention 

‘Fighter Planes Chasing Eagles’ by Jane Solomon/Old Bethpage

Altered/Enhanced Category

Grand Prize 

‘American Eagle’ by Mike DiRenzo/East Yaphank

Honorable Mention 

‘Boat Ride Around’ by Ellen Gallagher/Melville

Children’s Category

Grand Prize 

‘Sibling Love’ by Debbie Monastero/Bohemia

Honorable Mention 

‘Here I Come’ by Sarah Holmstrom/Smithtown

Landscapes Category

Grand Prize

‘Richardson Highway’ by Carol Goldstein/Setauket

Honorable Mention 

‘Napali Coastline’ by Deidre Elzer-Lento/Northport

Long Island/ NY Category

Grand Prize 

‘The Hot Dog Stand’ by Robert Guido/Huntington

Honorable Mention 

‘East End Americana’ by Dianne Booth/Bohemia

Nature Category

Grand Prize 

‘Blue and His Fish’ by Carol Goldstein/Setauket

Honorable Mention 

‘Solo Bloom’ by Jan Golden/Stony Brook

People Category

Grand Prize 

‘Torah Scribe’ by Herb Knopp/East Northport

Honorable Mention 

‘Calling It a Day’ by Tom Caruso/Smithtown

Pets Category

Grand Prize 

‘Best Friends’ by Sarah Holmstrom/Smithtown

Honorable Mention  

‘I Got Caught!’ by Deidre Elzer-Lento/Northport

Still Life Category

Grand Prize 

‘Workbench’ by Robert Oliva/Smithtown

Honorable Mention 

‘Just Hanging’ by Deborah Jahier/Huntington Station

Travel Category

Grand Prize 

‘Queenstown’ by Meghan Scherer/East Northport

Honorable Mention 

‘Three Brothers’ by Carol Milazzo-DiRenzo/East Yaphank

Wildlife Category

Grand Prize 

‘Dinner Time’ by Debbie Monastero/Bohemia

Honorable Mention 

‘Puffin Interaction’ by Bobbie Turner/Bohemia

Student Category

Grand Prize 

‘Alone in the Unknown’ by Anne Koszalka/East Williston

Honorable Mention 

‘Aspen After Dark’ by Joshua Sukoff/Huntington

Resident/Staff Selections

‘Can I Help You’ by Alan Sloyer, M.D.

‘New Mother’ by Bobbie Turner

‘Baby Kit Fox Leaving Its Den’ by Chuck Goodman

‘Facetime Surprise’ by Michael Oross

Photo by Tom Caruso


Tom Caruso snapped this photo of a young whitetail deer in a meadow at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve in his hometown of Smithtown on Dec. 6. He writes, ‘I followed a small herd of deer for a while and was amazed by how comfortable they were with my presence. I snapped this picture of the smallest deer as it took a break from grazing to check me out. It was a great experience getting so close to them.’

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Photo by Gerard Romano


Gerard Romano of Port Jefferson Station snapped this colorful photo in Stony Brook on Nov. 19. He writes, ‘This seasons fall foliage has been quite colorful. A short walk into Avalon Nature Preserve near one of the little wooden walk bridges offered some stunning images when taken with a wide angle lens.’

Send your Photo of the Week to [email protected]com