Autumobile. September 28, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
Tags: autumn leaves, Canon 24mm f3.5 L TS-E II lens, Monroe MA, old cars, tilt-shift photography
I found this noble beast sitting in the woods up in Monroe, MA, in an area which used to be a Department of Corrections work camp:
This is off of a dirt road which is gated and usually locked, but I happened to find it open and chanced an incursion, knowing that there are at least two swamps / beaver ponds which might be showing autumn colors. More on the results of that visit later.
Thanks to Elliot for this perspective, with good sharpness from front to back.
TMI. September 26, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Dinner with TCR, Love and Death.
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This is today’s incarnation of my compost:
I marvel at it daily, but just realized that it’s been years since I shared it with you.
Amherst Block Party! September 18, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, music, Politics and Society.
Tags: Amherst block party, Amherst MA, bungee bouncing, craft vendors, food, human statues, jugglers, Lux Deluxe, Medusa, Ned King, puppies, Rusty Belle, stilt walkers, The Pub, wagon rides, yo-yo
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The First Annual Amherst Block Party happened this past week, and I went down river to get a few shots of the action.
Now, I’m a Hilltown Boy, and don’t spend much time down in the civilized world, but I’ve lately been been tuned in to the activities which draw people to our Western Mass towns. Country fairs and communal events offer a window into life here in the hinterlands, and spreading the word means supporting local businesses, so I’m more than happy to put considerable time into it.
Amherst and Northampton are our local foci for college life, with Northampton being substantially tonier and more expensive (think: Smith College,) and Amherst voicing the Vox Populi of the state-run UMass at Amherst.
Being a product of a brown-collar upbringing and a UMass education, I have a soft spot for the latter.
At any rate, this First Annual Block Party was fun, despite the bumps and potholes intrinsic to any “firsts.”
I arrived in the evening as things were just ramping up, and toured the place. There were vendors:
…and people with puppies:
as well as street performers. Stilt-walkers:
There were wagon rides with big-ass horses:
…and spectacularly capable yo-yo experts:
I spent way too much time watching this magician spin time and space into a fabulous fable. Thanks, Guy.
Somewhere along the way, the light left the land, and the electric artifice took over.
Now, since this was a First Annual Event, I’ll forgive them if they used billion-watt construction lighting. It was painfully harsh, as witness this soft fuzzy poodle rendered in an acid wash:
Every shot became problematic as the night went on, with a slight change of angle essential to tease out each shot in this low-probability situation.
Still, there I was, so I pressed on.
Jugglers played the sidewalk:
…and roped bystanders into risking their noses for a photo op:
This guy’s girlfriend giggled delightedly, though I wasn’t entirely sure who she was rooting for…
Bands occupied a tent on the common down by Triangle Street, including Rusty Belle, with a great singer:
…and guitarist, her husband if I’m understanding things:
They tour regularly in the Greater East, and I highly recommend you go if they come to your town.
Meanwhile, The Pub grilled sliders over a roadside fire:
…as kids defied gravity at the Bungee-Bounce:
…and Medusa painted wash-off tattoos on injudicious children:
The night (or at least my part of it) ended with Lux Deluxe performing down at the band tent:
The audience was totally rapt:
…and for good reason: this quintet totally got me off, with a high energy set of rockin’ originals, tight instrumentation and the class act vocals of Ned King, talented far beyond what his earthly tenure might suggest:
Watch for these folks, and keep Ned’s name in mind. You’ll doubtless be hearing more from him/them.
All in all, this was a great night out, and it’s bound to get even better as it repeats itself into the future.
Roy’s Place. September 12, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
Tags: farm, farm trucks, Ford trucks, Goldthwaite, old house, old trucks, Roy, Shelburne MA
Roy’s place is a bit gone by, as Roy lives up the road with his brother now.
Still, the old farm stands, mostly square and entirely proud.
On the south side of the house:
A weather vane doubles as a lightning rod, keeping the place from being blasted all to hell at the least storm:
In the shadows, a phalanx of Fords reflects the last of the afternoon’s light:
…as one of the old trucks bids the day’s sun adieu:
It’s a bitter-sweet sunset up in Shelburne.
Cast Away! September 5, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
Tags: August 2012, Cindy, island, Maine coast, Mike
…or at least, set aground on an island off the coast of Maine for an afternoon outing with friends Mike and Cindy.
We landed on a little beach a mile off shore, and pulled the boats up above the high-tide line:
Mike and Cindy making it look exotic.
This was a really cool island, typical in that it had a rocky coast, some fields and forests:
…and had been farmed in the not-too-distant past, so that the fields were still defined:
We hiked across the highlands to the opposite shore:
…to where the sea has tormented the rocks into fantastic forms:
The sea dominates here, and high tide markers are gathered from bits of flotsam:
We felt alone with the gulls:
…though we weren’t really; others had the same plans for their afternoon:
Beached boats said as much.
I managed to find island details unsullied by the passing of such as me. A wild coast:
Butterflies on the last thistles of summer:
Sea-worn granite baking in the sun as orange lichen finds a foothold:
It was a wonderful afternoon of sun and surf and solitude, capped off by the hike back to the boats:
…and an easy passage back to the mainland, with the wind at our backs.
Surfin’ The Maine Coast. September 4, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in Action/Adventure, Love and Death.
Tags: Cindy, friends, Maine coast, Mike, sea kayaks, surfing
My friend Mike invited me up to his place outside of Portland ME for a visit, and a chance to get to know his sweetie Cindy.
What a wonderful few days! I slept late, ate like a pig, lounged on the beach and paddled out to an unspoiled island, all in the company of splendid people with generous hearts.
I know Mike from my paddling days, way back in the early 80′s. While my shoulders don’t let me do that anymore, he’s still at it, here surfing the waves on the Maine coast:
That’s not really the ideal surfing rig, being a sea kayak, but then I’ve seen Mike roll an aluminum Grumman canoe in flat water…
It’s a lot more work than your average surfer puts into the mix, though similar in many ways:
…find the energy and ride its crest. It’s kinetic joy!
Our friend Ross took his C-1 closer into shore:
…playing in the breaking waves on this beautiful summer evening.
This was a wonderful way to spend an evening, with the light fading westward as the beach people soaked up the last of the season’s energy:
Thanks to Mike and Cindy for their hospitality, and to Ross for his easy friendship and great humor.
And be forewarned, you Mainers – I’ll be back!
A Pow-Wow. August 27, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
Tags: beadwork, beeding, buckskin, Charlemont, First Nation, Indian Plaza, indians, leather, Massachusetts
A mile from our house sits a sacred patch of land where both local and visiting Indians dig for their roots. It’s called the Indian Plaza.
And before you get too far along the path of thinking I ought to have said “Native Americans,” I’m going to go with the ‘druthers of the people I’ve talked to at these gatherings and use the umbrella term “Indian.” It describes them all without differentiation, and if there’s anything striking about that it’s that they see their commonality as being greater than their differences. Such is, I assume, the outfall of collective persecution.
Anyway, the Indian Plaza was badly flooded a year ago by Irene, taking on five feet of silt-laden water and looking dead as a doornail when the rive receded.
Well, it didn’t die. After months of hard labor by its faithful people, it opened last weekend with a gathering and dance:
There were perhaps a hundred people present, though I confess to being an unreliable reporter of numbers – calculate in a generous margin of error and I’m good to go.
Four or five drum circles provided, in turn, the rhythm and reason for the dancing:
And dance they did:
They danced in a measured pursuit of their heritages, my heritage, shallowly buried in the clutter of the American Present.
It was hopeful, and it was beautiful:
Lame Bull traded for this bear headdress, and wears it proudly.
Stone Elk makes staffs for walking and dancing:
And everyone danced:
It was good to see, a resurrection of sorts and a celebration of life.
The next gathering will be September 1-2, if you’re in the area.
Old Trees. August 22, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
Tags: Charlemont, Hall Tavern Farm, Massachusetts, New England, Old Growth Forest, old trees, white pines
White pines, one of the taller tree species which grow in New England. These are out behind the Hall Tavern Farm in Charlemont:
There are four or five of these great things growing amongst a younger forest – how they were spared the saw is a mystery to me, but they’re inspirational enough for someone to have built a few benches for the contemplative visitor:
Those are both tilt-shift photos, although that gets lost in this venue. The first shot has a good deal of tilt, the second a full boat of swing planted right up the tree and catching the bench on its way by.
Large trees these are, at least for these parts. Two tall men might not reach around them.
I’ll be back.