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Geese. May 24, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I know, they’re everywhere, and they shit all over the place.  But here in the Wide Open, they’re just another of the critters wandering about.

A Momma and Children:

By way of Gizmo.

Dooryard Alliums And Guest. May 23, 2012

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This evening, with the light unfortunately waning:

A ruby-throated hummingbird amidst our dooryard flora.

That’s by Gizmo, from a chair on the porch.

The Garden, So Far. May 22, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Dinner with TCR.
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Our garden is slowly planting itself, using my enthralled hands.

In the west yard:

In this photo, Brussels sprouts, onions, tarragon, broccoli, sage, strawberries, asparagus, rhubarb, lacinato kale, rainbow chard, celery, radishes, carrots, several squashes, dill, leeks, peas, beets, beans and garlic.  That leaves two and a half beds for the rest of our summer guests…

In the dooryard, the new raised beds now hold garlic, basil and five kinds of tomatoes:

It’s not done, but it’s getting there.

Flowers to follow, and there will be lots of them.

Susan’s View. May 22, 2012

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This afternoon the showers broke, and beneath stormy skies, I snapped this photo of bugleweed in my Susan’s yard:

I was dressed to be seen in public and not to do nature photography, so this was a rush job, with me kneeling briefly in the rain-soaked grass and bending down with my head a foot off the ground.  A tripod set-up was warranted, but not to be.  Rather it was hand-held with Elliot at about 5 degrees of tilt, no shift, f/20, 1/30th of a second, no image stabilization.  Sorry about that last bit.

This is a lovely view down into the Deerfield river valley at Shelburne Falls, and has the potential to catch some great skies.  River fogs and sunrises come to mind.

At any rate, I expect to see this in many lights.

Piglets. May 22, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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‘Tis the Season.

Piglets on a farm in Shelburne:

…here with Mom.

Here without:

…eating everything green it could find:

And accompanied by every barnyard’s Overseer:

They’re cute little buggers, but when they get bigger they’ll be delicious.

This is the reality of farm life.  Raise it, kill it, eat it, don’t get overly attached.  And please understand that that’s very different from not appreciating the part our prey plays in our lives.  If we’re carnivores, if we eat beef or pork or poultry, we couldn’t do better than patronizing the family farms dotting our countryside.  Locally, it’s not cages and cubicles, it’s not force-feeding of the wrong stuff.  It’s green grass and sunshine and attentive care from people who are committed to something much more sustainable than Factory Farms.

Cute piggies become delicious pork, and fuzzy chicks end their days on a spit over a barbecue pit. It’s called a “food chain,” and we’re a link in it.  Understanding that is important to either accepting it or changing it.

Dooryard Irises. May 21, 2012

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Here in The Berks, it’s an odd bit of a season, somehow suspended in between Spring and Summer.  March gave us 80 degree temps and a false start on the growing season, then April whacked us with stiff frosts.  It felt unnatural, and hung a lot of local plants out to dry, so to speak.

Still, some of the heartier specimens have pulled through, like these irises in our dooryard:

…fronted by their neighboring Alliums.

The bumblebees are loving these guys, just as hummingbirds are digging the alliums.  They’re a joy to watch on a warm evening, sitting on the porch and listening to the river run.

At any rate, that’s what’s happening just outside of my front door.

Thanks to Elliot for capturing it.

A Visit To The Bridge… May 18, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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…of Flowers, of course!

I’ve been photographing here for enough years so that I now seldom bring my camera when visiting.  Our town’s art spaces and galleries are full of images from here, some magnificent, some pretty OK.  And frankly, I’m not looking for a place in that queue.

But still, whenever I’m in town I find the short walk across the Bridge of Flowers to be irresistible, and if  I don’t have my camera with me I regret it.

So the challenge becomes to take a photo I haven’t before, to see things a bit differently.

Enter Elliot, and the prospect of limiting  the area of sharp focus rather than increasing it.  It’s counter-intuitive for me, as I usually try to extend my depth of field in my landscapes, but the distinctly non-planar landscape of The Bridge demands a somewhat different approach.

Well, enough words, and on to the images from yesterday, some more pronouncedly limiting focus, some laying a plane across petal-tops.  All the result of my undying love of The Bridge.

The depending blossoms of Solomon’s Seal:

A blossom on a bush peony which would easily fill both of my hands:

Alliums, thigh-high and beaming:

Azaleas (at the far end of the A’s):

A sprig of blue lupines:

…all taken on a breezy day, with a great deal of effort expended to counteract that fact, except for in this image of wind-whipped wisteria wound around a bit of superstructure:

I courted both the stasis of the woody vines and the kinetics of the dancing leaves, and am happy with the take-away.

All of these were hand-held, experiments as it were in tilt-shift photography, and encourage me to get back there with a tripod and attempt to do it right.  A more deliberate approach might yet yield fresh images.

Sycamore. May 18, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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An over-arching sycamore branch frames the dawn along the Deerfield river:

I’d hoped for a foggier atmosphere, but hey, you gets what you gets.

The Curious Juxtaposition… May 15, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Politics and Society.
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… of a Sow’s Ear and a Pope’s Nose –

…seems like it ought to suggest some sort of Cosmic Truism, but for some reason I find myself uncharacteristically at a loss.

As an aside, my tags will show that I’ll stoop to any depth to troll for hits.  😉

Rockin’ Robin! May 15, 2012

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Tweedly-Deedly-Deet.      🙂

A feisty robin has been supervising my planting of our garden, knowing he’ll be rewarded with bugs and worms as soon as I get the hell out of his way:

His rounds take him to a perch atop the water station I’ve set up to make garden management easier.  This allowed me to pre-focus and wait for a shot:

I’m still working the bugs out of my system for super-tele shots.  These are at a focal length of 800mm (400mm from Gizmo, plus a Canon 2X Tele-Extender III.)  The Extender negates the auto-focus on this particular lens and slows it to a maximum aperture of f/11, and the whole mess is huge, which contributes to vibrations from mirror flip-up.

At 800mm, any vibration is unacceptable, so I need to tweak this system.  Perhaps a combination of live-view focusing, mirror lock-up and a cable release will yield better results.