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March, Going Out Like A Lamb. March 30, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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I know, that’s not exactly  how they say it, but that’s how it is.

I stopped by Wheel-View Farm in Shelburne this Thursday AM to see their Spring lambs and perhaps take some photos.  The weather was, as predicted, grey and drizzly, but I’d previously spoken to the owner and arranged to be there, so  I went.

The sheep were in a dark barn, the weather being inhospitable to the young’uns, and the photos weren’t really what I’d hoped for, but the little lambs were so cute, I found myself speaking motherese and snapping away happily at celestial ISOs, resolving to deal with the quality issues later.

Here’s a newly shorn Mom decrying the attention I was lavishing on her twins:

“Go bother Junior, he’s over there playing “Hop On Pop.'”

And so he was:

Owner Carolyn grabbed one of the little ones to hold in the light so I could catch his sweet face, but when he saw my camera, he looked a little suspicious:

When he finally relaxed, he was just as cute as you’d imagine:

Soft, too.  🙂

The calves are due soon, so I’ll be back there in the next weeks to try to share that with you.

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A Hawk In Amherst. March 28, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Making a turn from the State road onto the secondary (or is it tertiary?) road leading to Amherst, I saw a hawk in a tree, found a place to turn around, and went back to try to get a photo.

Well, of course, Hawk wasn’t giving it away, and so flew off to a less visible spot in the edge of the woods.  But it was close enough to the road to get this look at it:

I took a few shots before making myself obvious enough to get Hawk to move to where he was a bit easier to see:

…and eventually Hawk flew off:

…and I drove on.

Missing Mr. Cat. March 28, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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9 comments

Mr. Cat had the dubious luck of being left in my charge for the past two weeks, while his Mommies scoured Southern California for photos worth sharing (they succeeded in spades, which will be another post.)

Now, I have an allergy to cats, but not all cats being equal, Mr. Cat affects me less than most, meaning my lungs don’t fill up with blood and I don’t die in his presence.

Yeah, I’ve been close to the edge in that scenario, and moved into my car at one point to avoid certain death.

Anyway, my time as Supervisee of Mr. Cat was splendid, and I so grew to love The Boy that I’m missing him greatly now that he’s at home in Arlington, MA.

Fortunately, I snapped a couple of photos of him so I wouldn’t be totally bereft in his absence.  Mr. Cat napping on a chair near the wood stove:

And let me ask you, if you were a female kitty, would you say “yes” to this face?

I would.  That’s the sexiest kitty I’ve ever seen, and I’m hardly embarrassed to admit it.

So I’m all drippy with anticipation of Mr. Cat’s return to Tai Farm, and will keep you posted as that occurs.

Non-Seasonal. March 28, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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5 comments

Here’s a shot from the Mount Holyoke greenhouses which  I like enough to share:

…just a wee taste for those of you wanting warmer weather.

A Mighty Oak. March 27, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Along side a country road in Shelburne, a great oak stands sentinel over a pasture:

Its position up against a piney hillside made it hard to photograph with any clarity of form, so I did a bit of a walk-about to get it silhouetted against the afternoon sun:

It’s a magnificent specimen, fully six feet through in its trunk, with an eighty foot crown:

I bet it’s old.

These are courtesy of my 16-35mm L-series lens, one of my favorites for getting close to really big things.  I don’t use it enough, and this shoot reminded me of how much I like it!

Slackin’ With Herons. March 26, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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OK, so I’m slackin’.

Actually, I’m buried under the job of being unemployed, and trying to get my photography act together so it provides at least a piece of my economic puzzle.

“Job counselors” are telling me that it’s a shitty time to “try to get into” photography, but my heart isn’t having any of that.  Consequently, there’s a fair amount of swimming upstream in my immediate future.  Wish me luck with that.

In the meantime, I spent the last of yesterday’s daylight hours standing veeeeeery still at the edge of a pond in Orange, MA waiting for a heron I’d seen on the drive-by to return to its nest.  The sky was densely overcast, and as sunset approached and the light grew dimmer I booted my ISO ever higher, lamenting the loss of acuity I’d certainly have to deal with in the post-processing.  But such was the price for maintaining a fast enough shutter speed to capture a bird in flight.

Just when it was getting too dark to continue the effort, the heron returned, and I got these shots:

…as well as a big fat tick deeply embedded in my groin.

Ah, the price we pay for our art.

Anyway, if I’m scarce in these parts, it’s because I’m trying, really  I am, to get my foot in the closing door of professional photography.  And being unemployed gives me both the time and the motivation to try hard.

 

 

 

 

I’m Gonna Miss This. March 22, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in music.
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3 comments

I just got an email from the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, NY (next to Albany) about an upcoming show I can’t make.

But I checked out their promo video, and liked it so much I thought I’d share it with you.  Those of you who come by regularly know that I’m a fool for a cappella groups, and Vox Audio certainly scratches that itch for me.

Here’s their tribute to their sound man, a much-overlooked part of any live act.  They pay tribute with love and humor, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Enjoy!

Back From The Dead/ Mt. Holyoke Redux. March 21, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Well, I seem to have survived my epic encounter with contact dermatitis.  It still ain’t pretty, and I’m still twitchin’ like an Irish step-dancer with crabs, but I’m moving in the right direction, so All Is Well here in Runtville.

That having been said, it’s time to resume showing you my (our) visits to the Mount Holyoke Flower Show of 2012.

They have a LOT going on there besides the seasonal presentation, on accounta it’s a sprawling complex of greenhouses with all of the gears and chains necessary to control the environs for a variety of plant types:

This is no light-weight operation.  The pros who run this place with the help of lots of enthusiastic students do a spectacular job!  The year-round offerings range from sub-tropical paradises, humid halls of palms:

…with their features so different than what we here in the Northeast are used to:

Great figs, enveloping and supplanting their predecessors:

Strange trees sprouting what looked for all the world to me to be Muppets:

…and extravagant broad-leaf specimens with dark, sultry hues:

Then, within a few paces, the scene changes to one of arid abundance:

How miraculously incongruous!

This is my favorite part of the Mount Holyoke greenhouses, perhaps because it so contradicts the season, perhaps because I wish I was in the grand spaces of the American Southwest.

At any rate, the details are luscious, and I did my best to capture them.

Succulents filled with dew:

…and sprouting flowers:

Cacti pushing out tiny blossoms:

Thick, complex roots and branches speaking of a desire to survive where life is unwelcomed:

Rotund structures sequestering water for drier times:

All in all, it’s a spectacular place to spend an afternoon or two.  Plenty of space for kids to get into it:

Honey bees noodling about fragrant blossoms:

And lots of just plain beauty:

Thanks for your patience as I’ve struggled to get this out.  It’s been a bit of a roller coaster here at Chez Runt.

 

 

 

Indisposed… March 16, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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…Well, temporarily, and minorly when compared to the real troubles others face on a daily basis.

But I thought I should apologize for the gap here, between my intro to the Mount Holyoke Flower Show and its follow-ups.

Seems my recent gardening/hedgerow cleaning efforts put me in contact with something vile and poisonous.  I’m presently down for the count, barely able to type through the convulsing shivers of itching and burning, unable to touch my head because my swollen arms won’t bend that far, and sleeping fitfully only with the aid of some gone-by percoset I found while grubbing frantically through old bags of meds from past misadventures (remember the fore-arm x-rays?)

I tried three times to deal with this gently, homeopathically, but finally caved and got a prescription for prednisone, which has taken the situation down a notch, and as long as I’m moving in that direction, I won’t be jumping off any bridges.

Plus, my car croaked, and the only bridge within walking distance isn’t guaranteed to do the job right; with my luck I’d be more likely to become an uninsured paraplegic.

Oh, did I mention that I’m uninsured because I’m now unemployed, and just heard that my job won’t be coming back?

Life is good.

Somewhere.

Sorry, no photos of this train wreck.  If you saw my arms and torso, you’d hurl.  And if you remember the Michelin Tire Man, you don’t need to see a photo of Cunning Jr.  Suffice it to say that he won’t be going out to play any time soon.

Mt. Holyoke’s Spring Flower Show! March 13, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Most of March (through next weekend, as I’m posting this) sees Mount Holyoke College’s annual Spring Flower Show at their Botanic Gardens, a sprawling series of greenhouses just east of the campus’ center.

It’s a refreshing departure from Smith College’s staid cattle-call, which is happening concurrently.  Smith’s greenhouses are beautiful, but the elbow-to-elbow death-march through their tightly choreographed presentation makes me want to bleat out loud.

By contrast, Mt. Holyoke is a refreshing walk in the garden, whether it’s white or brown outside the glass.  And the atmosphere is mellow; sure, bring that tripod right in (I didn’t this time,) there’s plenty of time, lots of room.

It was casually inviting enough to coax me in both on Saturday, with my daughter Ursula, and on Sunday with my sweetie Susan.  Both visits kept me rapt and focused on my work, with frequent excited interactions with both of these enthusiastic co-conspirators.

The entry takes one past impressive Amaryllises like this Rilona:

…to a series of greenhouses filled with fragrant beauty:

The weather was unusually mild for March in Massachusetts, and their windows were fully open, allowing lots of honey bees to love their floral hosts:

INCOMING!

TOUCHDOWN!

We in the Northeast are struggling through an epidemic of Colony Collapse Disorder, but there were still quite a few honey bees about to spread the wealth of this beautiful collection of specimens.

The air was filled with the fragrance of thousands of blossoms, and I inhaled deeply of the bounty.  Freesia were abundantly represented:

I have too many shots of these to share, lest I drive you away screaming.

But really, it was the blossoms which I was there for:

I lost that one’s name, and may add it later.

Being Spring, corcuses were well represented:

…and tulips, the mainstay of Spring floweriness:

All this and more characterize this flower show.  More shots will follow, as I’m presently going blind sifting through this stuff.