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Rainy Day Bouquet. September 30, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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It’s been raining all day here in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts; this little bouquet of sunflowers from Susan’s garden brightened my return home:

I hope it brightens your day as well.  😉

There Be Dragons! September 29, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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Yesterday, on the way home from work, I stopped by the Post Office to check on the mail, and found a dragon.


It was on the concrete stoop by the door, quivering ineffectually in the shadows of us Loomin’ Humans, not flying away as I nearly stepped on it.  Strange, I thought.

I retrieved the contents of my PO box and returned to find it still there, and decided to intervene on its behalf.  They are, after all, magical, and have graced my world with hours of mystery and amazement, and helping a Little Thing in trouble seemed the natural thing to do.

I coaxed him onto my finger (sorry, ladies, but that’s just the sense I got of it) and continued homeward as he made short, clumsy flights between my hands and my jeans.

At home I transferred him from my pinkie finger onto the fading bloom of one of Susan’s sunflowers, thinking it might make a more peaceful portal for a child of nature about to embark into The Mystery.

He was beautiful there, his iridescent green stripes playing against the bold yellows of his bed, and seemed to settle down a bit from his previous jittery state.

I broke out my camera to share him with you:

His eyes were huge, and I wondered what they were seeing:

I watched him on and off ’till bed time.

By morning he had crossed over.

Go in Peace, Little Guy.

Fire! September 28, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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We’re driving through the predawn darkness, velvety, thick, silent.  I’d like to catch a sunrise, and Susan would like to catch me doing so.

I have a spot in mind, up in Windsor where spruce forests crowd ankle deep around cool bogs and tall grasses wave from rolling fields, having overgrown and outlasted carpets of Spring wildflowers.

But we’re late.  I strain forward in my seat as if to beat the spinning of the Earth.  The blackness cupping our headlights loosens its hold and phantom spruce spires appear against a graying sky.

Damn! It’s a lot more overcast than I had hoped – high clouds are a plus when shooting sunrises, but these look to be a bit much.  I begin to doubt the wisdom of getting up at 4:30 and hope I’m not dragging Susan along on a fool’s errand.

We speed ahead as jagged silhouettes coalesce into twisted spruces and cat-tail bogs rendered in shades of Kansas gray.

And then, just as the trees part and a high meadow appears on our left, it happens – the monotone clouds turn pink, grow brighter, and burst into…


Fabulous flames fan out from the furnace of the Sun as it rolls over the horizon, forcing itself into the crack between Heaven and Earth.

We careen to a jostling stop on the sloping shoulder and I fumble with my tripod and change my camera settings.  Why am I never quite ready when this happens???

I get the shot, but just barely.  In a minute the land is lit and the palette changes to oranges and purples and the grasses green up.  Not that that’s a bad thing, just different:

Too soon, with little fanfare, the show is over and it’s morning up in Windsor.  The spiky phantasms become spruces and birches and swamp maples cloaked in their fall finery, their feet lovingly tended to by the last wildflowers of summer:

Across the road a gently bowed meadow of green grasses gone to rust cradles a blanket of morning fog, and through a growing break in the clouds we’re given the gift of a gibbous moon:

We stand silently watching ’till we’re interrupted by rude grumblings from our stomachs.

It’s time to go find some breakfast.

Ruby Tuesday/Dinner With TCR! September 27, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Dinner with TCR, Ruby Tuesday!.
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September – Fall colors, crisp nights by the fire, my birthday (!), the Harvest Moon…

And, of course, The Harvest:

…in this case, heirloom tomatoes in our organic garden!

These are among my favorite pleasures as Summer melts into Autumn.  Let them come out ugly, cracked, strangely lobed… just let them come out!!

These red and yellow beauties will be great canned and made into sauces, as Miz LuMena does so wonderfully:

…but right now a couple of them are going to join a few of our garden’s other offerings, cilantro, red onion and deep purple hot peppers, in a swim with invited guests Organic Corn and Back Olives; they won’t know they’re in the “deep end” until the olive oil and balsamic vinegar begin to rise around them, and by the time the Gorgonzola crumbles arrive to finish the job, it will be too late for them, and dinner time for me!

With a couple of free-range chicken thighs grilled over an oak fire, this will be a fine easy dinner for a September evening:


Thanks to Mary over at Work of the Poet for hosting this fun meme.  🙂

The Bissell Covered Bridge. September 26, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Took a quick ride yesterday morning to the Bissell Covered Bridge, a local landmark.  After a long delay characterized by political wrangling pitting fiscally conservative (and, frankly, pragmatic) folks against those who wanted to see a complete historic restoration, the Bissell is now nicely refurbished; in fact, it’s just about entirely rebuilt:

At 92 feet in length it’s not big by New England standards, but then, neither is Mill Brook, which it spans:

The old, broken dam above the bridge is currently spilling very little water:

…though in the Spring it’s quite impressive.

Inside, this structure is amazing – complicated roof trusses create repetitive patterns:

…while the clean lines of the “long truss” design allow for window-like openings with views of the fall foliage:

The three-inch thick oak planking on the bridge deck is rock-solid and silent to drive over, unlike many older structures; time will tell how it holds up.

My favorite view here is looking downstream, where a beautiful little gneiss gorge carves its way steeply down through a forest of oaks and black birches:

All of these shots were courtesy of Elliot, my 24mm TS-E II lens, with very little tilt (I was able to shoot at relatively high f-stops and didn’t need it,) but lots of shift to control perspectives.

This spot provides photographic subjects in all seasons; you can expect to see more of it here at LBT.  😉

A September Night… September 23, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Uncategorized.
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…by a fire in the dooryard:

A long exposure self portrait.  The cool nights of late are just right for a nice fireside sit!

Harvest Moon! September 22, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Last night’s moonrise over Mount Massamet at Shelburne Falls:

It was a day short of full, but I shot it anyway because of the likelihood that tonight will be cloudy.


Morning On The Deerfield. September 19, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Frau B. and I got up before dawn on Saturday to try for some “Sunrise on the Deerfield” photos.

Turned out that the sunrise was a good deal less spectacular than it might have been, but the location where we set up was still productive.

The river was low enough for me to ford it at a thigh-deep rapid, and with a full compliment of camera gear on my back, the swift water provided something of an adventure.  I used a piece of “beaver wood” as an upstream support and crossed tripod-style to the rocky shallows on the opposite side, arriving dry and jazzed, thanks to a pair of felt-soled hip boots I’d thought to bring along.

With the sunrise fizzling, we turned our attentions to details closer at hand.  I found these chickory blossoms curling inward against the cool mists of morning, and with the time pressures of an exploding sunrise removed, took the time to set up Elliot at an eight-degree tilt.  I tweaked the angle to get a decent focus from about a foot on the right to the distant skyline at center left:

Mists rose from the upstream waters as Mount Todd appeared and disappeared in the clouds rising through the steeper valley upriver from us.

The trees here have begun their seasonal transformation to Technicolor, and though the shoreline foliage has a long way to go to “peak,” an occasional scarlet leaf can be found drifting down river or clinging to anything which emerges as the dam-released water drops, in this case a birch log:

I dug the reflection in that scene enough to look for more of the same, and discovered that the so-so sky looked more intense in this reflecting pool:

Things were still enough in this shot to use my 16-35mm L-series lens, one of my favorites.  A long (several seconds) exposure gave me enough depth of field to capture both the reflected clouds and a very distant Frau B (opposite bank center, in a green shell jacket.)

All in all, it wasn’t a wasted trip despite the uncooperative sun.

A later post will show you this river in a much different light.  😉

And The Winner Is… September 19, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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…Mr. Cat!

Mr. Cat’s main job (aside from supervising his three otherwise helpless Humans) is to keep the Rolling J Farm as close to rodent-free as is feline-ly possible.  This he does admirably, presenting us most days with at least one trophy and often donning this air of Kingly Nonchalance.

You gotta love a Cat with attitude!

I’d feel bad about the daily body count of Rodentia,  except that the little bastards eat the insulation off our wiring and poop in our food.

Besides, it’s nature, and who am I to argue?

A Healthy Self-Image. September 18, 2010

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Them uppity Frogs ain’t got nothin’ on the good country folk up in the local hill town of Savoy, MA:

And yes, it’s really good water when it’s flowing a little better than it is right now.