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By Request. November 30, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Peter Gill in comments was kind enough to use the word “please” in his request for more climbing shots, so here they are.

Pete Ward climbing at Farley ledge in Erving:

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…working a route which has only been climbed a couple of times previously:

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Clipping before launching into the crux moves:

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…and then going for it:

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Not a clean ascent, but he’ll get it next visit.

This was great fun to watch. I love shooting in the geometry of Farley Ledge, and had fun being on a rope again (those shots to come.)

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Workin’ It. November 30, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Action/Adventure.
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Pete Ward working a sport route in Western Massachusetts:

…on a bitchin’ cold day. Pete W and Pete C got shut down by thin moves and frigid fingers, but will be back on a warmer day to have their way with it.

With a day of prep work, I’ll have a better angle on this action, and pictures to prove it. 😉

This post may get expanded as I process more of the photos from yesterday’s shoot.

Good Morning! November 29, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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6 comments

Two shots as the sun came ’round the bend.

Crack O’ Dawn, No Witnesses:

…and then, this:

Sunrise over Hawks Ridge in Charlemont.

That’s from Gizmo at 400mm. And no, I didn’t boost the colors; as a matter of fact, I reduced the vibrance by 10%.  🙂

Maple Sugar. November 27, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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4 comments

A light dusting of snow shrouds an old sugar maple up in Windsor, MA:

Pardon the “spottiness” of the sky, it’s snow passing in front of my lens.

First Snow. November 27, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Here in Charlemont, the high pastures saw a nice fine snow fall throughout the day.

Local horses seemed oblivious:

Horses in a pasture up at The Warfield House, a beautiful local venue for dinner or events.

Thanks to Gizmo for these shots at 400mm, with a 2X tele-extender for the close-ups.

Moonlight Magic In Shelburne Falls! November 26, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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10 comments

Despite being a convert to Reverend Billy’s Church of Stop Shopping, I’m also a strong supporter of my local towns, and have of late taken frequent opportunities to promote the events and little businesses in said hamlets.

The most recent of such events was Shelburne Falls’ Moonlight Magic, which was a Black Friday affair (so much for my membership in the Church of Stop Shopping.) The whole town gears up for this night of sidewalk sales in a candle-lit setting.

Aside from the considerable pre-planning coordinated by the Shelburne Falls Business Association, the day begins around noon with our local high school students building the luminaries which will light the night:

Hundreds of these sand-weighted candle lanterns will be placed throughout the village and lit at sunset. They create a beautiful aura for this community event.

The village was striking enough as sunset approached:

…but destined to become even more so after the light left the land:

At any rate, the late afternoon was spent setting things up, with the main (Bridge) street closed to vehicular traffic:

Merchants set up tents and product displays:

A magician appeared on the steps of Memorial Hall and conjured an appreciative crowd:

Storefronts came to life:

Vendors showed their wares:

…The smell of a variety of foods filled the air, including this wood-fired pizza offering:

A parade motivated from the Buckland side of town, lead by the Expandable Brass Band:

…and a Snow Princess in a white convertible:

…riding past a Steel Bridge Santa:

…and followed by the Serendipity Stilt Walkers:

…and of course, a magical lady tying balloons:

…into hats for happy children:

And all the while, upstairs in Memorial Hall, Fred at Pothole Pictures kept a loop of Looney Tunes going:

…perhaps the most fun way I could envision to get warm between tours of The Street.  🙂

All in all, it was a truly magical night of friends and lights:

I hope you’ll excuse the ghosts and noise in these silly-long exposures, but it seemed to me that existing-light photography was the way to go for this event, and that was the price I paid for photographing it this way.

A Horse, Down In The Valley. November 23, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I snagged this passing shot of a grazing horse in the low pastures of Amherst, where horses inhabit paddocks once cropped by dairy cows:

It’s a bitter-sweet sight, with these proud beasties being confined by fences, but still it excites me. Horses are such elegant beasts, patient in their captivity, yet holding on to what makes them wild.

I wish that we Humans could present ourselves that proudly.

A Seat Of Honor. November 20, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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Mr. Cat doesn’t spend all that much time here. He lives in Arlington and comes here most weekends, and for most of his Summer Vacation. That he spends here in the country, playing in the barn and out in the garden, lawn and surrounding woods. Thank God he’s street-smart and stays out of Route 2, or he couldn’t roam here without getting flattened.

Well, this week I happen to have the company of Mr. Cat. I’m allergic to the extent that I can’t hold and pet him in the way he wants, but between the involuntary bouts of petting and scratching and hand washing, I try to make him feel welcome.

At night it gets cold here, and when his mommas are here he sleeps with them. But given my allergies,  I try to make him comfortable without inviting him to bed.

Lately I’ve taken to getting the kitchen wood stove borkin’ and pulling an upholstered chair up close enough to be cat-comfy. Mr. Cat wastes little time settling in:

I’m sad to not be able to get physical with Mr. Cat the way he likes, but that feeling is assuaged by believing that he sleeps comfortably in the absence of mammal-to-mammal contact.

Golda’s Lament. November 19, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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“Herschel, YOU IDIOT!  NOW look what you’ve done!

“I TOLD you not to turn left, but you HAD to turn left, didn’t you?? DIDN’T YOU!!!  Mother always said you were a crappy driver, and now look, LOOK at the mess we’re in! Mother was right, I should never have married you, you’re a CRAPPY DRIVER who will NEVER AMOUNT TO ANYTHING, NEVER!!!

“Now YOU go get us some help, and make it snappy! I’m going to SIT RIGHT HERE UNTIL YOU COME BACK WITH HELP! There are BEARS out there, Herschel! You don’t expect me to go out there with BEARS, do you?? You IDIOT, Herschel!

I have a feeling that Herschel just kept walking…

More views of the Autumobile from a past post, with a possible back-story.

Because enquiring minds abhor a vacuum.

Playing with Elliot in the back woods of upper Monroe.

Where there are bears,  you know.

A Visit To Dunbar Brook. November 12, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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My friend and housemate Lizz and I took a ride out to Upper Dunbar Brook this past Sunday. Ostensibly, we were churning the fluids on her little truck Ubu, who has been sitting idle in the driveway for a couple of weeks, but really we were just out joy-riding, as we overgrown kids are wont to do.

To kinda set the mood, this was a drive out a wash-board dirt road with enough big rocks and “thank-you-ma’am” erosion bars to keep vehicles with lesser clearance at bay, ending with an encounter with Dunbar Brook at a place where it tumbles through a steep set of cascades.

The afternoon light was nice as we glided to a halt in the little dirt pull-off for the brook, and we both had big smiles on as we shouldered packs full of lenses and headed down to the water.

As it turned out, I needn’t have bothered with the pack; I had Elliot on the box, my Canon 24mm Tilt-Shift lens, and he found more ways of seeing this patch of place than I had time for.

We started with a couple of “overview” shots, kind of getting the lay of the landscape, if you will. The brook tumbles through a little tunnel which probably used to be a natural bridge, but has collapsed into its current presentation of left-side rock set against right-side ledge:

This is a decent example of Elliot’s capabilities. I spun the “tilt” function 90 degrees, then “swung” the objective (front-most) lens 8 degrees right, planting the plane of sharp focus just right of my camera and dialing the focus out until the image was crisp from the lower right through the upper left, with the opposite corners losing crispness. The result, as I appreciate it, is to focus the eye on a series of visual elements which makes me feel like I’m right there in the moment (it’s that mental compilation effect I’ve talked about recently.)

I used the same “swing” to get this larger view of the same scene:

…with the intention of drawing a viewer’s eye right up the crisp middle, while the edges of the photo release the eye by dint of their softness.

I hope that worked as intended.

Just a bit down river, the view excluded the arch but showed the geological tumult of these New England rivers:

This is with Elliot’s forward element spun back into “tilt” mode, and the plane of sharp focus planted along the scene with about a degree and a half of downward tilt. I’m painfully aware that this blog platform won’t show you the details of what that means, but I’m doing this as much for me as for you, and the high-resolution version of this shot totally knocks me out.

Hey, I’m disappointed by my efforts often enough that I feel entitled to gloat on the rare occasions that I get it right.  😉

I’ll end this little self-indulgence with a couple of details which  I liked, including this shot of a stranded pot-hole:

…and this detail of a little cascade, the only shot I have which is from Ollie, my 24-105mm zoom lens, as I needed his compositional flexibility to get what I wanted:

That’s an in-focus shot of a fast-moving subject. Parce that as you will, or just call it “art” like I do.

And that is all.