The River Charles
by Francis Gardino

My webpage for the great River Charles in Boston and Cambridge which winds and pans around with miles and miles of trees and bushes of Seasonal Color, Shapes and Lines.

This page is a product of dozens of years of wandering up and down the Charles River, both on the Boston side, and on the Cambridge side.  Since I've lived in the Brighton section of Boston (which used to be called "Little Cambridge"), for the last 22+ years, I frequently travel along or over the river to get any and everywhere.  During these trips I've seen the light and seasons of the Charles in many variations from "dark and deserted" to "brilliant and overwhelmed" with people.  

It's not uncommon for there to be miles of Charles automobile traffic along the entire stretch of Storrow Drive on the Boston side.  All it takes is a little rain or snow, or a Boston Pops concert on the Esplanade or a game at Fenway Park or the Boston Garden (by any other name).  There is usually not as much traffic on Memorial Drive on the Cambridge side, but it will get a bit slow around rush hour going west near Harvard Square or east near the Longfellow Bridge.  In the summertime and during the "Head of the Charles" boat races , they close off traffic on Mem Drive from Prospect Street to the Mount Auburn hospital to allow students, faculty etc. and locals to use the road for roller skating, bicycling and other healthy type activities.  They also close off Storrow Drive from Leverett Circle to the Fenway exit on the 4th of July.

Along this stretch, the most beautiful locations are the Esplanade with the Hatch Shell and the Community Boating Inc. club (of which I am a lifetime member), the stretch in Cambridge with over a hundred old Sycamore trees, and Soldiers Field Road across from Harvard Stadium.  In general, I've managed to stay clear of the worst traffic and enjoy the best experiences of the many river-related occasions.

The photos below represent some of my best views of these locations minus the millions of people.  They are also the reasons that many of the millions of people visit the Charles along with the boats, symphony orchestras, cannons and fireworks.  Please scroll to the right to see the entire length of the panoramic photos  -  FG

Charles in Spring

some are panorama photos - scroll to right ->

Charles White Weeds

Charles Flowers

Charles After the Head

"Shell Seat"

Charles in Summer

some are panorama photos - scroll to right ->

Big Tree near Harter

"King Lear" photo inspired by RAN the Japanese film version by Akira Kurosawa

Downed Tree

"Ophelia's Madness"


"Polonius under a Curtain of Brush"

Herter Entrance

There's a lot of "Natural Living Tree and Brush Theatre" near the Publick Theatre in Herter Park.

Herter Dance

"Midsummer Day's Dream"

Herter Jungle

Sometimes they are just about the bushes,

Charles River Shrub

and trees,

Deep Charles Brush


Hay Bales by the Charles

and plain old bales of hay on the banks,

Summer over Purgatory Cove

green, green water...

A Perfect Day

or the "Perfect Day" on the banks of the Charles where there is no better place to be on a Sunday afternoon.

Charles Summer Afternoon

or in the river in your boat of choice.

Triplet onthe Turn

I call this one "Triplet on the Turn" but it's the same guy at slightly different times as I shot the individual pieces of stitched panorama.  So I guess you could say that I captured time moving in this photo.

Brighton Bank

Boston Bank Boathouse

Charles River Run

Sometimes it's just about hanging out with the Sycamores...

Charles River Kiss

"The Kiss"

Sycamore Run

Anderson Bridge

and waiting for the glow...

Harvard Geese

or the geese...

Three White Towers

Charles Bridge

Weeks Bridge Wide

Mem Drive Apples

and Memorial Drive Apples!

BU Bridge

and being amazed by time's toll on man's intervention...

BU Tracks over the Charles               BU RR Bridge          

or man's toll on man's intervention...

Mem Drive Jungle

or exploring the chaos...

Goose Path near BU Bridge

temporarily recovered...

Old Mem Drive Fence

in a constant victorious battle with man...

Charles Willows

and the serenity...

Charles Pond

and symmetry.

You are Here

Where Are You Going?

"Harmonius Gounds"

Charles River Tree Shadows

Charles Foot Bridge

Charles River Pond Canoeing

You Got Me

"You Got Me"

Charles Esplanade - Fiedler Statue

"Arthur's Un-aristocratic Dream Fulfilled"

Longfellow and Mass Ave Bridge

"Mass Ave. and Longfellow Bridge Panorama"

Charles Tree Goin Down

"I'm Goin Down"

Charles River Spats

"Spats on Mem Drive"

Mem Drive near MIT

"Background for a 3D Rendering"

Boston Skyline at Dusk

"Cannot Drive by this One" without panorama-ing

Deep Dusk

nor this one ever...

Pre Boston Pops Night Time Panorama

"Night Time of the Pops 2009"

Boston Pops Fireworks 2008

"Boston Pops Fireworks 2008"

Pole Drawing on the Charles

"Pole Drawing"

Hatch Shell

"Orange Hatch Shell and Bike"

Arthur Fiedler Foot Bridge

"Arthur Fiedler Footbridge"

Longfellow Bridge

"Longfellow Bridge from the Cambridge Side"

Longfellow from the Boston Foot Bridge

"Longfellow Bridge from the Boston Side"

Lower Charles Panorama

"Zakim and the B&M Railroad Bridges"

Charles in Fall
some are panorama photos - scroll to right ->

Watertown Willow on the Charles

"Willows in Watertown"

Autumn Charles

"Fall Leaves Near Herter"

Charles Falls in Watertown
"Falls in Fall in Watertown"

Charles Fall Down, Go Boom

"Polonius Exposed"

Charles Oldies

"Actors Off Stage"

Charles Birch

"Birch Tree Heaven"

Charles Reflections

"One Last Row"

Charles Twigs Cleaup

"Twigs Near the Elliot Bridge"

Sycamores in Fall

"Sycamores at the Cusk of Fall and Winter"  -> scroll  ->

Charles in Winter

some are panorama photos - scroll to right ->

Dark Park under the Zakim

Brown Trees on the Bend

Brown Trees on the Bend

Cambridge Boathouse

Cambridge Boathouse

Berries in the Snow

Brighton Red Berries in Winter

"Snow Berries by the Boathouse"

Charles Snowbank

Winter over Purgatory Cove

Charles Winter Tree

Charles Canoes

Eliot Bridge

"Cambridge Elliot"

Cambridge Side Between the Boat Houses

"Between the Boathouses"  -> scroll ->

Causeway Panorama

"On the Causeway"

Cambridgeside Longview

"Former Lotus 123 CharlesView"

This page is dedicated to my dearly departed Uncle Charlie who would hang his fishing pole over any pool of water.

also see ...
"Down by the Riverside"
2010 Digital Photograph Exhibit at Marblehead Art Association