I Shoot Horses, Don’t I? November 15, 2010Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
Tags: Eastern States Exposition, horse show, horses, West Springfield
…to paraphrase a movie title from days past.
And the answer is, “Why yes, in fact you do!”
Here are some shots from Sunday’s visit to the “Equine Affaire” in West Springfield, Massachusetts.
This was essentially a horse show in which participants are judged on both their physical attributes and, to varying degrees, their performance. Competitions and demonstrations were held at the Eastern States Exposition grounds arena:
This, I’m told, got pretty exciting at times, including a night-time show involving every sort of high-stepping, stylized movement, trick riding and acts involving way too much fire. There were cowboys on finely-bred stallions:
Gentlewomen on stately steeds:
And, of course, burros:
…for those of us less poisoned by hubris.
Susan was working the stalls, giving demonstrations of therapeutic equine massage. She found a gentle little Gypsy horse:
…who really dug the attention to his stiff neck:
…and another guy whose name I’ve sadly forgotten:
…who, after a brief communication with his therapist:
…got a deep massage which had him twisting in his skin to get at it:
He all but proposed to her on the spot.
I was impressed by the personalities and sentience of many of the horses we interacted with, and I’m looking forward to photographing more of them!
Reflections. November 11, 2010Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
Tags: Plainfield Pond, reflections, sunset, tilt-shift photography, twilight, Windsor
This evening’s sky was dreadfully clear, and thus unlikely to produce much of a sunset. But on a hunch that the wind which had blown moderately all day might die down at dusk, I headed up to some high marshes and ponds to see what there was to see.
The wind didn’t quite quit, but it slacked up enough to get these reflections.
A beaver pond up in Windsor:
Mr Beaver glided through this scene moments after I snapped this shot, but as my exposure time was two seconds, I enjoyed watching him rather than getting all busy trying to photograph him.
Then the sky pinked up, not in a fireworks kind-of way, but rather in a pastel haze kind-of way, and I got these cat-tails posing tranquilly:
A short ways farther down the road, Plainfield Pond was catching the last of the delicate sky, this view being to the North:
That last one’s with a half degree of tilt and a two-stop graduated filter, which gave me a pretty good foreground at a really wide aperture.
Thanks again, Elliot!
Ruby Tuesday – The Chrysanthemum Show! November 8, 2010Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
Tags: goldfish, mums, Rod Stewart, Ruby Tuesday!, Smith College, Susan, Wind Dancer
Spent Sunday afternoon at Smith College, diggin’ the Mum Show with Susan (she has all the best ideas! )
There were more kinds of Mums than I’d ever imagined! Here are a few shots from the day.
Cascading mums, trained on screens which are rolled down a bit every couple of days, making for a wall-size display:
There were lots of people there, it being opening day, but still, I was surprised to run into Rod Stewart:
Heheh, sorry about that…
My favorites, though, were of a variety called “Wind Dancer:”
They came in lots of colors, but I was partial to these butterscotch ones:
And of course, where there are flowers, there ought to be honey bees:
Couldn’t get her to sit still for me, sorry…
Before we left Susan took a little time out to enjoy the goldfish in the Orchid Room:
…and I took a little time out to enjoy Susan by the goldfish pond!
OK, so they’re not all ruby shots, but I thought enough of them were to pass this off as an RT post!
Besides, there’s plenty more Rubyliciousness over at Mary’s!
It’s A-Comin’! November 8, 2010Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
Tags: Berkshires, Eastern Summit, Eliot, Florida MA, freezing rain, ice, tilt-shift photography
…Winter, that is.
Last night the wind blew and the sleet and freezing rain pelted the house; this morning’s ride over the mountain to work was slow and nerve-wracking, as I’m waiting ’till after my December auto inspection to put my studded snows on.
Still, I’m a big fan of winter. I’m amazed by it, by the aesthetics of shimmering ice, of the remnants of Autumn entombed in sparkling light, of steely skies swirling over a landscape lit by the long, low rays of a cold sun.
I broke out Elliot to snag this shot on the way home:
I’m always struck by that deep-blue-horizon thing which happens as a storm recedes eastward.
I’ll apologize ahead of time for boring you all to tears with this stuff, but I just can’t get enough of it, and Lord knows I need the practice !
Boston And… Beyond! November 7, 2010Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
Tags: Boston, BU, Gloucester, graduated filters, Indian food, low tide, rocky coastline, susnset, tilt-shift photography, Ursula
I had a chance to get to Boston today to visit my younger daughter Ursula, who is in her last year at Boston University.
She’s a sweetie, and I enjoyed her company immensely as we drove around Boston on our way to a nice Indian lunch. I’m not a “city guy,” but I absolutely love Boston, as does Ursi – it’s a relatively intimate mix of the Very Old and the Very New:
Tree-lined boulevards surround an array of sky-scrapers, making walk-abouts feel cozy, while an abundance of waterways soften and enliven a cityscape punctuated by copper-trimmed tenements and brownstones:
Ursi would be happy to live there after college, and her ongoing gig at the Boston Globe seems like a pretty good foot in the door.
Our lunch was scrumptious and surprisingly affordable for city fare – $16 for the two of us, with take-home to boot! Ursi was pleased:
It all ended too soon, as Ursi had schoolwork to dive into, and I had designs on photographing the coast before the sun got too far gone.
After dropping her back at her apartment I headed north, more or less. But there are virtually no straight streets in Boston, and as I should have learned from many other such seat-of-the-pants navigational extravaganzas, “more or less” is a low-percentage move in Beantown, invariably devolving into a tour of curving cowpaths and (I kid you not) one-way cul-de-sacs.
Don’t ask. Even if I could explain, it wouldn’t help.
Eventually I found my way to Rte. 93 North, then 95 East to Gloucester on the North Shore. I’d hoped to get there in time to scope out the harbor for photo ops and find some lovely patch of publicly accessible and quintessentially rocky Atlantic coastline, but by the time I finally spied the ocean it was nearly five thirty, when the happy coincidence of low tide and sunset was slated.
I asked a gentleman walking his dogs if there was a legal place to access the shore (it’s largely private, and wandering through the grounds of these old-money mansions is looked upon unkindly.) To my relief he pointed me to a spot “just around the corner,” two lefts and park on the right. Simple enough, I thought, thanking him and heading off.
Ten minutes later I hadn’t seen the side-street he’d named, and took a chance on a turn which looked only vaguely promising, and came upon a secluded beach from which the last stalwart souls were just departing.
I jumped out nearly at a roll, doffed my jeans and slipped into a pair of hip waders, then grabbed my camera bags and literally ran down into the briny shallows, mentally calculating swing angles as I plopped Elliot down in the soft mud of low tide. I muttered something uncivil about the low light as I fought with the finicky focus of the tilt-shift world, then escalated to genuine obscenities as my camera battery went dead. Fortunately I had a spare in my pack and, casting caution aside, I threw the whole bag down in the draining sand and rummaged frantically through it, scoring and making the switch with speed engendered by desperation.
Then, with the light rapidly fading, I got a few quick shots off, hoping without conviction that the focus would be fair and that my hand-holding of up to three graduated filters at a time would produce the fabled Desired Result.
I was pleasantly surprised with my haul, which isn’t as crisp as it might have been with more time, but it is what it is.
Low Tide under a Black Sky:
I got some sky color reflected in the sand by ditching the polarizer at the last minute.
The wind was picking up and the waves seemed to be intensifying as a patch of clouds burst into Heavenly hues of pink:
Over my shoulder a light show was developing behind a spit of pink granite; I grabbed everything and dashed farther down the beach to catch it:
It was intense but brief, fading in minutes to mere placid loveliness:
Then it was just about light enough to pack up and head home, hoping I’d have something to show for it.
I’m not displeased, considering the rush-job and frantic antics of the evening.
And so ended a great day of friendship and photography, two of my favorite things!
The Steel Bridge At Shelburne Falls. November 5, 2010Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
Tags: Berkshires, Bridge of Flowers, Franklin County, Shelburne Falls, Steel Bridge
This evening, with a not-quite-sunset threatening but not materializing:
Behind it are the elegant concrete arches of the Bridge of Flowers.
This view has a postcard-like feel to me, and inspires me to look for similar “feels.”
Today. November 3, 2010Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
Tags: crazing, ice, leaves, North Adams, reflection, sunrise
Sunrise over North Adams:
Hand-held in low light at ISO 3200; sorry ’bout the grain.
After work, high on Mount Greylock, I came across a small stagnant pool:
…and made something else of it entirely. I like the way the elements of this one came together, with the only sunlit vegetation in the scene suggesting a blazing sun and the trees seemingly being re-leaved.
Higher, I caught this detail of icicles adorning a road-cut:
The surface was decorated with a strange, raised crazing which looked alive, and I dug it.
I hope you dig it too.
All shots with my 16-35mm L-series lens which, surprisingly, focused down to about 8″ for that last shot!