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International. April 30, 2011

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Yep, an old International truck, now relegated to the Back Forty, but still likely to start if one puts their shoulder to the task.  The year I don’t know, but it’s waiting patiently in a nearby field, up to its axles in the offerings of years:

Fogs were rolling by as I set up to shoot this mobile matriarch, but cleared just before I took the photo.

Behind it is Schmit’s Farm, roadside purveyors of the finest corn you’ll ever sink an ecstatic tooth into.

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Small Wonders. April 29, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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This time of year, mosses and lichens pitch their particular brand of woo by flaunting their engorged reproductive structures amidst the decaying detritus of Last Year’s Models.

Here are a few examples of what you might see if you were as low to the ground as I am (well, ok, I got down on my belly to see these intricate tableaus so you wouldn’t have to!)

Spore-bearing structures swell on a common moss:

(I called the photo “moss flowers,” but in fact mosses and lichen far predate the evolution of true flowers.)

Many types of small evergreen plants co-mingle in the moist forests of the Berkshires:

The new grow through the old, presenting a range of textures and colors:

Some spore structures are club-like while others resemble the flagellae of, um, much “higher orders” of life:

These whip-like structures are calyptrae,  and are spore bearing.

…and still others present as fleshy pink protuberances on a sea of baby-blue scales:

And to think that all of these amorous apparitions disappear at the straightening of a spine!

The moral:  Tread lightly on Mother Nature; Get Down and Go Slow – or you might never know what world of beauty just dissolved beneath your feet!

Reflections. April 28, 2011

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I’ve been watching for reflections to photograph, either in ponds or in puddles, but it’s been quite windy lately in these parts and the reflections haven’t been very clear.

Tonight, after a day of hard rain / thunderstorms, I got a little lucky with this shot of sunset settling into a puddle on a nearby flooded lawn:

The whole scene materialized rather quickly, and I was too rushed to really get it right.  Still, it was a learning experience, and I’ll be keeping an eye on that spot for return engagements.

Thanks to Elliot for his tilting contributions to that one.

More Signs Of Spring. April 27, 2011

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Driving through Rowe the other day, I checked out the fen where I’ve photographed Northern Pitcher Plants before.  A week before it was graced with a thick layer of snow-ice, a reminder that winter lingers a little longer in the high country; now it was not only ice-free, but sporting some impressive frog-egg masses!  I resolved to return for a photo before the eggs hatched, and yesterday I did just that.

The Rowe Fen, with Frog Eggs:

I’ll have to visit regularly to see if I can capture a hatch.

It’s Turkey Season! April 26, 2011

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No, not the one with the Pilgrims and the cranberries – it’s turkey hunting  season here in Massachusetts.

And I just happen to have gotten this good-ish shot of a big old Tom in a pasture up by the Vermont line yesterday:

They’re really colorful, and so ugly they’re almost cute!

Anyway, there were two of these Toms gobbling and strutting and spreading their tails to try to woo a gaggle of females, but I didn’t see either of them getting lucky; whenever they got close, the girls they would fly up into trees and laugh at them.

I have to thank Gizmo for this shot – these bad boys weren’t going to come anywhere near me, this being hunting season and all.

It’s Bridge Season! April 25, 2011

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Things are starting to get colorful on our local landmark, the Bridge of Flowers in sweet little Shelburne Falls.

Here are some blue-ass whatchacallits under some other thing:

That’s fancy horticultural lingo for “I don’t know Jack.”

But I do  know that the crocuses and daffodils are out, and it’s looking good:

I know, you folks are going to strangle me if I don’t figure out some new way to photograph this place.

I’m working on it.

Black Squirrels! April 25, 2011

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When I was younger, black squirrels were seen in these parts only in the city of Westfield, an hour and a half south of here.  Now they seem to be extending their range, which is cool with me (not that they asked.)  They’re close cousins to our ubiquitous gray squirrels, but somehow look more like wild animals oughta.

That’s according to me, of course.

Here’s one I saw in Hadley over the weekend:

Cute, huh?

And The Fog Rolled In. April 25, 2011

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It rained all day today, not hard, but enough to keep the views at bay and my camera in its case.

Then, approaching home, it lightened up a bit and as I drove along the Deerfield river a thick fog came rolling down the valley.  I’d been waiting for a fog with a venue in mind for a photograph, so I ducked into the East Charlemont boat ramp to turn around, and stumbled onto a pair of geese gliding silently out of view:

I hustled down to Gardner Falls, actually a dam downstream from the village of Shelburne falls; I wanted to set up below the dam, not much above the upstream water level, and see what that looked like in fog.  As the fog bank rounded the bend like the ghost of a great snake, it looked like this:

This was just a “test shot,” but this place has potential; I can see getting there before sunrise to catch sky reflections, or keeping an eye on it when the Autumn colors come in.

At any rate, I’ll certainly be back.

Late April Snow. April 24, 2011

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Woke up Saturday morning to something of a surprise – two inches of new snow!

Now some  folks weren’t amused; it’s been a long winter, and they’re understandably ready to be done with it.

Still, if you’re open to a little joke from Mother Nature, it was kinda pretty:

I just smiled and loved it; what else is there to do?  😆

Taken in the high pastures of Shelburne in a light rain.

Sunday was considerably more Spring-like, and I gardened comfortably in a tee-shirt.

Thank you, Mother Earth.  Thank you, Father Sky.

And Happy Easter!

Mt. Williams. April 24, 2011

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Mount Williams looms over Williamstown as clouds and sun dissemble the evening light:

That is all.