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Sunset, Moonrise. January 24, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Politics and Society.
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Half-moons are an odd lot; if they’re waxing, they rise mid-day, like the two idle classes here in America.  If they’re waning, they rise around midnight, like the graveyard-shift working poor and the junkies and the lost souls whose fortunes are likewise waning.

But I digress.

Here’s a shot of Friday’s sunset on tracks in the snow:

…and Saturday’s mid-day moonrise:

Given a good polarizer and cooperative weather, this last week approaching the full moon makes for what are to me the most interesting moon shots.

Enjoy!

Back To Black. January 22, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I’m playing with my capabilities here, mostly because I can, but partly because it just does me.

Tobacco barns on the plains of Hadley:

I hope that looks to you at least a little like it looks to me, which is pretty cool.

But, whatever.  It’s a photograph, for you to take or leave as you see fit.

Namaste.

Images From My Day. January 22, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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I hit “snooze” three times, yet still got  up before the dawn, made a pot of coffee, and got out in the pale light of a pre-dawn day.

The route 8A bridge over the Deerfield awaits the coming sun:

I noodled around today, running errands, shopping for groceries, and winding my way back home through the hills of Franklin County, stopping to take this picture of working horses at a farm in Savoy:

They were totally serene in the afternoon air, coming to see me and my camera with smiling souls and gentle breath.

The day wore on, though, and I sought higher ground to witness the setting of the sun.  Here are a couple of shots from up on Windsor Mountain:

Roadside wires:

And a spray of light as the sun tucked itself away:

It was overall a sad day, me being unemployed and impecunious, but it had its moments.  James Taylor on WAMC public radio, raising money for Haiti; a warm wood stove awaiting my tending, and the makings of a good dinner in the fridge.

I have nothing to complain about, and everything to give thanks for.

Have an appreciative evening.

– Ralph

Another Black and White. January 21, 2010

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A barn in Hadley, with the requisite collection of dead trucks and resting tractors:

Doubtless better full-sized, as most things are.

Sleet On Birches. January 21, 2010

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Hey, it’s butt-ugly, but that’s what there was:

Sorry.

Last Weekend In New Hampshire. January 20, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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On a day trip with my friend Lizz.

She drove, I slept.  It was pretty cush.

We struck a glancing blow to a sunrise in Portsmouth, then headed on up to The Kank(amagus Highway) and the trailhead for Champney Falls, a cool spot where, on a good year,  there are some radical ice climbs.

The weather was great for hiking, and my lame ankle held up well for the hour-or-so approach.  The trail was well packed and the walking was easy, though at times icy.  I focused on my footwork to avoid tweaking my damaged joints.

We got to The Falls in time to find a small group of guys top-roping thick ice at the left end of things:

It looked like great ice, thick and steep, but it wasn’t the thin stuff the place was known for.

We dropped our packs and broke out the cameras and started playing with the light.

Now, Lizz and I met each other as ice climbers, and we both have decades of mindful experience under our belts.  So it’s hard for us to stand around and watch  people climb, especially when they’re sketchin’ and looking insecure.

And these guys were.   It’s probably not evident in this photo to a non-climber:

…but Lizz and I were fairly crawling out of our skins watching them, and we made a tacit agreement to put our points back on and polish up our Mad Skillz so we might be of some use as role models in these situations in the future.

Anyway, here are a few more shots from the day.

Ice on a blue sky wall:

Dendritic icicles in the stream bed:

Frau B. setting up a shot:

…and what she saw:

…a distant Mount Tripyramid (we think. There are a ton of tightly-packed peaks in The Whites.)

We ended the day down at the Swift River:

…well-frozen, that.

Then we stopped at Rocky Gorge Scenic Area.   The footbridge over the river:

Not the best light, but it was what it was.

All in all, a great day, topped off with a quick dinner at a brew pub/smoke house, and a nice nap on the ride home.

Thanks, Lizz.  😉

Swallowing The Bitter Pill. January 20, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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Ultimate Spawn (a.k.a. Supergirl 2 for those of you who visit The Pagan Sphinx,) called me tonight to commiserate about the loss of one of our Massachusetts Senate seats to Scott Brown, a liar, fraud and tea-bagging douche-nozzle of the highest order.

And as a newly minted intern at The Boston Globe, she pointed me toward this Globe commentary by Brian McGrory, which replaced a little bit of the sting with a little bit of a smile.

Needless to say, the piece, which wasn’t particularly flattering to Mr. Brown (or the Massachusetts electorate) drew skads of flack from Tea-Party zombies, to which I was prompted to add my thoughts:

“Well said and creatively put, Mr. McGrory, though it appears from quite a few of these comments that you should have arranged smaller words into shorter sentences.

The REAl take-away from this electoral idiocy ought to be that abandoning the progressive Democratic base in favor of capitulation to Theocrats and the Radical Reicht is a lose-lose proposition; Dems lose elections, and we all lose to the enrichment of the Corporacracy.

Scott Brown is a Palin-esque sock puppet and, as Willie the Shake so aptly said, the “idol of idiot worshipers.”  He’ll be gone soon enough, voted off our Blue Island in time for the new season.”

No doubt I’ll have raised a few hackles by morning, but hey, it’s the least I can do given the current situation.

Welcome To Vermont; Please Go Home. January 18, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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Not marked “Dead End,” a Vermont road nonetheless terminates in an abrupt snow bank, with an explanatory sign:

“Class 4 Highway beyond this point.”

I got out and stomped around a bit, but saw nothing more than what’s in this picture.

Apparently, “class 4” refers to a rather narrow person on snow shoes.

Outsourced. January 18, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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First to the American South, then to Mexico, then to God knows where – our union jobs, our manufacturing jobs, the ones kids came out of high school and followed their Dads into, set for life, as long as they had the backbone to do the deed.

They’re gone now, and their respective edifices are being torn down:

And so it goes, and so it goes.  We relinquish our grasps on what’s real in favor of what’s promised, always to be denied by those who stand to gain from the Global Shuffle.

The little town of Erving, along the Millers River, loses, as Wall Street rakes in the chips.

And so it goes.

We Almost Missed It. January 18, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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As part of a day trip up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Frau B. and I hoped to snag a few sunrise pictures at the shore in Portsmouth.  As we got off the highway and headed for the water, the sky grew red and roiling, and we savored what we weren’t set up to photograph.  By the time we parked at seaside the sun had just broken the horizon and the clouds had lost their light.  I grabbed Eliot but left the tripod in the truck – this was either going to happen in about the next minute, or it wasn’t going to happen.

My rule of thumb in quickly changing compositions is to fire off a shot, then fine-tune my settings, thanks to the instant replay capability of digital.  At least that way I have something from the moment.  So this first one is underexposed, but I liked what I saw, so I kept it:

I didn’t mess with that color, just cropped it.  I got lucky (well, made an educated guess) with the focus, which can be hard for me in low light, especially with the “tilt” requiring checking both near and far points of focus.

Lizz was set up to my left among some rocks, so I headed on over.  She tends to know what she’s doing, and  I’m happy to learn by following her around.

My goal for this outing was to use Eliot as much as possible and hopefully get quicker with it.  I’d found a website with tilt-tables for the common focal lengths of tilt-shift lenses, based on height above the plane of focus (the Hinge Rule,) and though I could only assume that the values would result in a horizontal POF, I’d memorized a few of the larger ones and had Eliot set accordingly.

This one was at a degree and a half, three feet off the plane of the water:

The increasing light made focusing easier, and it seemed that the table was working!

I was really pleased with the cloud reflections on that one.

With the sun breaking free of the horizon, the remaining color was in the other direction.  The rocks were ruddy with the dawn:

Low tide was good to us, despite being too late for the spectacular predawn show.