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Ice-Out. January 31, 2013

Posted by littlebangtheory in Action/Adventure.
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Temps in the 50’s and a heavy rain overnight have flushed the Deerfield clean of its frazil ice, as well as its shoreline shelf ice. All of it went over the dam at Shelburne Falls:

January Thaw

It’s looking a lot like a Spring thaw there; hope that wasn’t it!

As a side note, I had occasion to cross the Connecticut river this afternoon, and got a chance to wave “Buh-Bye” to said ice!  🙂

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Children Of The Corn. January 31, 2013

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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A flock of birds forages for food in the fields of Hadley, MA:

Cowbirds, Hadley

Their precision flying was fun to watch but difficult to capture; this shot was at 1/2500 sec and still  lacks clarity!

Dark Horse Finals – Women’s Problem #1! January 28, 2013

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Here are a few shots from the Jan 19th Dark Horse Bouldering Finals, a climbing competition staged at the MetroRock Climbing Center in Everett, Massachusetts.

Some but not all of the amazing women who threw down during this exciting night of climbing theater!

Isabelle Faus:

Isabelle, Prob 1

Galina Parfenov:

Galina, Prob 1

Molly Gaynor:

Molly, Prob 1

Angie Payne:

Angie, Prob 1

Meagan Martin:

Meagan, Prob 1

…all moving like dancers on a vertical stage.

It was amazing to watch and photograph, even though I wasn’t happy with my take-home. I went two days early to scope out the venue, assure my shooting stances and determine which lens would work best – climbing gyms are reeeeeeally dusty environments, and changing lenses isn’t a great idea.

But when I showed up for the comp, most of the stances I’d been “given” were occupied by the video crew, as was the overhead access between stances. I was stuck in one spot, with a lens which only worked for one of the three problems.

Oh well. I got what I got.

More to follow.

Pressure Ridges… January 27, 2013

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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…form in the frazil ice on the Deerfield river:

Pressure Ridges

Sunset in East Charlemont, courtesy of Elliot.

Strangely, we’re heading for a fifty-degree day on Wednesday, followed by a return to winter temps. I’m hoping this will lead to some uncommon visuals.

 

Brrrrrrrrr! January 23, 2013

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Well now, this  is winter!   🙂

We got a fresh inch of snow overnight, not enough to shovel, just enough to freshen up the older snow pack. And with a daytime high in the ‘teens assuring clear, crisp air, it seemed like a good time to scout some river scenes.

I headed up the Cold river a bit after noon, beneath blue skies and scuttling clouds:

_MG_7404

The valley is still a tangled mess from Irene, but winter disguises her scars.

I’ve always liked the way tumbling rivers look when they rise up around snow covered rocks, saturating their marsh mallow hats, turning them into emerald slushies, washing them down river like slow moving ghosts. This cold weather grows the well-anchored ones into wonderful ice islands:

_MG_7382

Quartzite cobbles complement the color scheme, wavering from below the fast-moving surface:

_MG_7384

A faster shutter speed captures the kinetics of the flow:

_MG_7402

The wind was brutal, and after an hour of walking the river bank, my fingers had had enough, despite my beefy gloves, and I headed back to the car, noticing on my way down river that the moon was rising. At the car I put Gizmo and his little buddy Tele on the box and got this:

_MG_7412

I packed it in, cranked the heat and ran a few errands.

My day ended with a drive home along the Deerfield river, where I snagged this shot of the frazil ice building it’s tortuous tangle as the sun disappeared behind the near hills:

_MG_7415

That one’s from Elliot, with a degree and a half of tilt and a hand-held three-stop graduated ND filter. It took me all of fifteen minutes, by the end of which my tripod had frozen into the river, my fingertips were wooden and I had wind-whipped tears frozen to my cheeks.

Good thing I spent all those years climbing ice, or I wouldn’t have enjoyed that one bit!  😉

Well that’s all for now, friends. I have 909 shots from last weekend’s climbing competition to process, so I’m off to work!

Midnight, Saturday Night. January 20, 2013

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I spent a long day in the saddle this past Saturday, driving to Everett MA to photograph the finals of the Dark Horse Climbing Competition at the Metrorock Climbing Center.

The ride home was fueled by adrenaline and caffeine, both of which were at ebb tide as I rounded the bend a mile from home.

Then I noticed something a bit unique, and pulled over to photograph it for you:

_MG_7378

…precisely at midnight. It could only have been more Cosmic if I had just pulled into my driveway, but alas, I wasn’t there yet.

I considered trying to take another shot at 22mph, but given the precision of focusing and the need for a vibration-free exposure, I chose life.

Horse In Snow. January 20, 2013

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Here’s a shot I took a few days back, of a horse up in Stamford VT, just over the border from Clarksburg, MA. I posted it on Facebook (yeah, I’m being sucked over to the Dark Side) but neglected to blog it:

Blog Snout

That’s the “fun shot,” but as serious photographs go, I like this one better:

Stamford Horse, Blog

This beautiful boy was hanging out way over by yonder barn when I called him in by gently, almost silently, telling him how beautiful he was.

Yeah, he might have just been curious about a movement over by the road, but then, there’s a LOT of movement over by the road.

And it makes great sense to me that animals would have retained many senses and sensibilities which We Humans have allowed to atrophy in favor of a more precisely communicable language.

To date, conjecture about animal communication has spawned a dearth of research, but provides grist for the mind-mill of musings about what exists beyond the horizon of our conscious appreciation.

I realize I’ve been largely absent from the blogosphere for the past week; I’m trying to build a photography website (no it’s not yet ready for viewing,) and the “common wisdom,” if one can conceive of such a thing in the Tea Party Era, is that a Facebook presence is key to any kind of commercial success, which I’m sorely in need of. So I’ve been posting more stuff there than here, for which I apologize to my faithful readers.

In defense of my slacker blog ethics, though, I’d like to point out that this is my 1800th post at Little Bang Theory. Thank you, friends, for keeping me going this long and far!  😉

Long Hollow Bison Farm. January 20, 2013

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Dinner with TCR.
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Down in Hadley there’s a place I like to check out once in a while, a farm where American Bison are raised. They’re impressive beasts:

Bison Eye

They’re big. In fact, the old bulls are HUGE.

And they take the job of protecting their calves seriously – don’t expect to sneak up on them unnoticed:

Bison Herd

They’re majestic in the snow, and look totally at home in the winter weather.

These animals area raised for meat, and if you’re an omnivore, it would be hard to get better meat than this – grass-fed, roaming big fields, protected from predators (other than us.) I know some people object to the practice of people eating animals, but since it’s more common than not with people world-wide who can afford it, I have to conclude that there’s something of nature in it.

I’ve been trying to get a more blizzard-y photo of them, but they’re an hour’s drive away, and while that’s close for us “hill-town people,” it’s still a dicey drive in a heavy snow.

Time will tell if I succeed.

A Local Farm. January 9, 2013

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Along the way yesterday, I came across a cool local farm.

OK, I didn’t exactly “come across” it – I hoped to get a few photos of this place, a very organic mix of buildings and animals along a dead-end road in Buckland.

Well, as it happened, I ran into the owner, who gave me a tour!  🙂

He had hogs in a little barn right off the road:

Hog Farm

Quite a few of them, from full-grown to this year’s model:

Hogs and Barn

They were cute up close, in a swineish way:

Snout

Gotta love that snoot!  🙂

…and cattle, including this painfully skeptical one-ton bull:

Skeptical Bull

Normally, one wouldn’t cross the fence to visit such, but his Farmer-Dude assured me he had been bottle fed by his Momma, and was gentle enough to approach.

This side-o’-beef licked and slobbered my pants into the next wash as I scratched his coarse head with one hand and snapped this photo with the other:

Bull's Eye

I dug it, though I stuck to my car seat on the way home.

There were also sheep, cute little buggers too, but when I tried to take their photo, their Guardian Llama reared up in my face:

Llama Alarm

Word had it he’d lost several of his little charges recently to coyotes, and he wasn’t in the mood to humor strangers.

I had a great time talking to the farmer, a kindred spirit who wasn’t shy about proclaiming himself to be a Socialist (!) in this land of hicks and hippies.

This was a cool interlude in my day, weaving between hill-town hicks and the hippy peace-niks.

Ah, Life in the Berks!  🙂

A Walk In The Woods. January 7, 2013

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I sprawled in the snow to take this:

_MG_6278

My sweetie Susan helped me up and brushed me off.

GAWD  I love that woman!  🙂