Horses, The Jumping Kind. July 3, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in Action/Adventure.
Tags: Allie, Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens, Canon 400mm f/5.6L lens, equestrian photography, Gizmo, horse jumping, horses, Northampton MA
I stumbled upon this equestrian gathering at the fairgrounds in Northampton the other day, wandered in and snapped a few off before moving on.
One from Gizmo, hand-held at 400mm:
And some shots from Allie, my 24-105mm L-series zoom:
This one is cool for having all four off the ground, a testament more to the speed of the horse than the height of the jump:
In that last shot, the horse and rider had just cleared the jump at left at high speed, wheeled and attacked this jump while still making the turn. I don’t know if that’s considered “good form,” but it sure was exciting to watch!
Along The Connecticut. June 21, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
Tags: Canon 24mm f/3.5L TS-EII lens, cow vetch, daisies, flood plaines, grass, Hadley MA, hay, hay bales, Lake Hitchcock, mowing, Northampton MA, potato fields, round bales, Singh-Ray filters, tilt-shift photographym graduated filters
I had occasion to head toward Amherst today, with the intention of showing some of my photos to a restauranteur who expressed an interest in having them on his walls.
Well, that didn’t work out – something about a “family emergency.” That could, of course, be the case, but it’s so cliched I can’t help feeling slighted.
Anyway, having carted my wares all the way down river, I spent the late afternoon scouring the lowlands for more raw materials, knowing that the transition to Summer would produce some sort of blossoms and at least a little bit of atmospherics.
What I found was tall grass:
…laced around the edges with roadside randomness, including a LOT of Cow vetch:
This hot, dry week we’re experiencing is ideal for harvesting hay, and the grass is beautifully high, so farmers down in the valley are making hay:
Much of Hadley isn’t exactly flood plains of the Connecticut river, but more accurately viewed as the bottom of Lake Hitchcock, gone for ten millennia but still evident by its sediments. The land is rich despite having provided several hundred years of legendary productivity.
Haying happens several times per growing season, depending on growing and harvesting conditions. Rain makes it grow, but dry conditions are necessary for cutting and baling, and the two don’t always coincide.
This, though, looked like a really productive mowing:
This farmer was good enough to welcome me into his field to take these photographs. He was working for his living, and stopping for a stranger was an added task on this very hot and humid day. I greatly appreciated his permission to shoot.
Here’s The Man round-bailing the cut, dried grass:
These round bales are tied up and dropped out of the back of this baler, whereas traditional rectangular bales are packed, wrapped and pitched into hay wagons being dragged behind the operation:
But this is Hadley, rolling lowlands which don’t flood seasonally.
Across the river to the west is Northampton, where Spring flooding is common. The flatlands have been harrowed and planted and harvested and flooded in a cycle extending for centuries.
These days they grow corn and potatoes there, with a bio-diverse fringe of invaders separating the field roads from the crops:
That looks like wild mustard and lettuce, with mullein piercing the skyline. I love mullein – it looks like the pacifist’s version of yucca or agave, all cuddly and hippy-friendly (they smoke it, you know!)
One of a zillion types of daisies found locally piles up between the tires and the ‘taters:
Again with Mount Holyoke’s crowning Skinner House in the distance.
Another of the volunteers which dot these dusty fields is the ubiquitous cow vetch, here seen with Mt. Tom shaping the skyline:
I think what keeps drawing me back to this decidedly lowland place (a strong hour from my hill town home) is it’s suggestion of something farther west, perhaps a view of the Heartland, maybe even something higher and drier, the alti-plano of Wyoming or Montana.
I know that if you’re from there you’re pointing and laughing, but still, it’s a feeling I get, and I’m playing with it.
All of these shots are from Elliot, my Canon TS-EII tilt-shift lens, and most benefit from the use of hand-held graduated filters to bring the brooding skies further into compliance with a photo’s useful dynamic range. This combination is really my Standard Operating Procedure for landscape photography, though my 24-105mm zoom Allie lives on the box in my daily travels.
Thanks for hanging in there for this longish post on a place I’ve photographed numerous times before. I keep hoping for exceptional light or some remarkable bloom, but I’m meanwhile thankful for whatever the place gives up.
Arch Guitar. May 31, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in music.
Tags: arch guitar, Canon 24mm f3.5L TS-E II lens, Elliot, Elliot. tilt-shift photography, farmers' market, Northampton MA, Peter Blanchette, street entertainers, Tuesday market
At Northanpton’s Tuesday Market this past week I was delighted to find that they had entertainment. Not John and Mary singing folks songs, but Peter Blanchette playing his own creation, the Arch Guitar.
Now, if you’ve been reading for any while you know I’m an old softy, so I’ll just admit to crying in public. This was some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard, and certainly the most beautiful music I’ve heard from three feet away.
Mr. Blanchette is world renowned, and on the brink of flying off to Europe for another widely anticipated tour. And if you’re selling out classical guitar venues in Spain, you might just be considered to have made it.
I asked permission, then stepped around the bowl where people were dropping change and dollar bills to get these shots:
This creation of his, the Arch Guitar, is the sweetest monster I’ve ever seen, with eleven strings and a fretboard you could launch planes off of:
This man is a genius, pure and simple. Know his face:
…and, if you have three minutes, hear his genius:
I spent longer than this dialing in these photos, but given the entertainment, I wasn’t in a hurry.
Again, Elliot delivered, hand-held and unfiltered.
Great good luck to Peter on his upcoming tour.
And thanks to Elliot for his hard work, and to YOU, my readers, for humoring my divergences into things which are hard to categorize.
Tubers! May 31, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Dinner with TCR, Politics and Society.
Tags: beets, Canon 24mm f3.5L TS-EII, carrots, Elliot, farmers' market, Northampton MA, radishes, roots, tilt-shift photography, tubers, Tuesday market
This past Tuesday afternoon I stopped in at the Tuesday Market, a farmers’ market downtown in the little Massachusetts city of Northampton. It’s in a cobbled courtyard behind Thorne’s Market, and it hosts a dozen farms/farmers proffering their produce and plants. I threw Elliot on the box and went to see what might be seen.
It was cool, very much like so many other farmers’ markets I’ve been to in these parts, but perhaps a bit more up-scale – not the vendors, as they’re all of the earth, but the shoppers. They were decidedly more urbane than most I’ve seen at these things, with clean-faced children named Dakota and Montana and Leaf. I spied a beautiful little three year old angel with green eyes and vibrant red curls sipping a fruit smoothee and asked her parents if I might photographer her. They proudly said “yes,” but Step Two was asking her, and she said “no.”
So you get tubers.
Beets, carrots, radishes red and white:
Sweet, organic and ripe with the love of the gardener.
Elliot liked the beets, and demanded that I take one more shot at a 6 degree swing:
…canted to 2 and 8 o’clock. I’m satisfied with the result.
Both of these shots are from Elliot, hand-held and unfiltered. I’m liking E as a candid lens, though I usually shoot him on a tripod, and frequently with hand-held filters.
This market delivered a surprise which I’ll probably post next!
Tax Day, Northampton MA. April 17, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
Tags: 99%, apathy and youth, Northampton MA, Tax day action
There was an “action” today in Northampton, wherein the 99% made our voices heard:
Something struck me about the dozen or so participants:
…that is, they were almost all dust-farters like me.
They were the same people who had occupied the streets and commons back in ’70 to protest the Vietnam War.
Back then we were college students. These days, the local college students brush by with their heads down, busily texting their friends about the ass-hugging jeans they’re on their way to buy.
Note To Kids: We Old Folks won’t be here to wipe your asses all that much longer. It’s time to start paying attention to your world.
It’s just a thought.
First Night, Northampton MA. January 2, 2012Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.
Tags: First night, Northampton MA
Between Holiday commitments and a snail’s-pace internet, I’m just getting to posting this shot from First Night in Northampton, Massachusetts:
It’s not a great photograph, but still, it conveys a bit of the wonder and good will of the evening’s festivities.
Here’s hoping it portends 365 better nights in the year to come.