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A Show In Ashfield. October 5, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I’ve been getting my photography “out and about,” as they say, and have recently sold a few pieces. I have a few nice old car and truck pics on the walls of Chef Rob Watson’s Lone Wolf Bistro in Amherst, MA, and a few of the young ladies I’ve shot at horse jumping meets have purchased prints.

It’s not enough to pay the bills yet (I’m still digging food out of the cracks in my kitchen floor) but it’s all moving in the right direction.

I currently have a show up at Elmer’s Store, Restaurant and Gallery up in Ashfield. It’s broadly Autumnal themed, designed to coincide with the town’s great Ashfield Fall Festival which runs this Saturday and Sunday. If you’re in the area and have a chance to visit, please do – I highly recommend their breakfasts, especially the hash – yum!  🙂 ‘ll be on their walls for most of October.

For those of you who don’t live close enough to visit, I’m posting the show’s ten photos here (hey, it’s a virtual world, non? ) for your viewing pleasure.

All of these shots have appeared here before, but never as a group.

Corn and Oak, Hadley MA:

Chickley Gold, Charlemont MA:

West Branch Storm, Deerfield river, Readsboro VT:

Deerfield Dawn, Charlemont MA:

Windsor Hay Wagon, Windsor MA:

Irrigation Ditch, Hadley MA:

Catamount Cascade, Colrain MA:

Autocar Light, Bernardston MA:

Black Brook, Savoy/Florida MA:

Forest Fog, Plainfield MA:

All of these images are printed at 12″ X 18″ and matted and framed at 18″ X 24.” They’re archival presentations with 100-year inks, acid-free/pH-buffered mats and backing and Conservation Clear UV-protective glass, and are available for $275 plus tax (where applicable) and shipping.

If you’re interested, email me: ralph@ralphmunn.com.

Or better yet, stop by Elmer’s Store for a great meal and a look-see.  🙂

And now I’m off to photograph some rock climbing adventures.


Miss Hemlock’s Knotty Bits. February 24, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Miss Hemlock may be old, but her knotty bits are still impressive:

The inside of this ancient (several centuries old) hemlock is studded with the “knots” which gave roots to her lower branches.  Heart-rot and time have revealed them to the casual passer-by, such as me.

And Elliot, who notices such things.

Winkle Picker! February 19, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in music.
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Well, a new “tradition” got its start this weekend in Ashfield, MA: Winkle Picker!  It’s ostensibly  a Mardi Gras-themed celebration with music and food and related festivities, though the name was chosen to allow plenty of latitude for future explorations along different lines (I mean, it doesn’t really pigeon-hole the thing, does it?)

This year’s line-up included Cajun food served at the excellent Elmer’s, a restaurant/store in the center of town; Cajun cooking classes, a museum display of Cajun/Creole/General Mardi Gras costumes, and two musical events – an afternoon show headlined by Chris Smither and an evening event capped off by Buckwheat Zydeco!

I had the good fortune to go to the afternoon show, with the ticket being a Valentine’s Day present from my sweetie-pie, Susan B.   Thanks, Sweetie!  🙂

And as I’m trying to learn new tricks, I brought my camera.  I’m not versed in photographing people, and want to take every opportunity to practice.

The show was opened by Andy Friedman, a singer/songwriter from New York City:

He did a commendable job, and we’ll doubtless be hearing more from him.

The Main Event, though, is in a rare class of musicians who spin words into gold, alternately tickling you to tears and ripping your heart out with them:  Chris Smither is a master at telling quintessential truths in ways you never heard before and will never be able to forget.

Here’s Chris and his part-time sideman, whose name I’ve shamefully misplaced (he deserves better) and can’t find anywhere:

He joined Chris for half a dozen songs mid-way through a loooong set, and really added a nice sound, hauntingly hollow and as tasty as it gets:

But mostly it was Chris’ house, held in the palm of his hand, singing his ass off and stomping up a whole rhythm section in his trademark one-man-band style:

It was a more intimate setting than when last I saw him play (at the Green River Music and Balloon Festival,) and I dug in at the left edge of the stage with my 24-105mm L-Series lens, which worked well at this distance of perhaps sixteen feet:

The room was daylight-bright with visual distractions behind the performers, so I shot everything two full stops under-exposed, then played with the levels in post-processing to get these results.

Thanks to Mr. Smither for a brilliant and moving performance, and for allowing me to get in this close.

And people, if he comes your way, don’t even think about it, just go.   You won’t be disappointed.

Big Old Trees. February 17, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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Well, they’re not big like Sequoias, or old like Bristlecones.  But here in the Northeast, where everything from vehicles to homes to fuel used to be produced from wood, the ancient forests were all but gone  by the late nineteenth century.  In Southern New England forests were nearly nonexistent, except where the terrain rendered them inaccessible.

So it’s rather amazing to find a stand of Old Growth Forest in nearby Ashfield, occupying a gentle knoll along side a very old road.  It’s doubly so if one considers that these stately trees are white pines and hemlocks, very desirable woods (the hemlocks for their bark tannins,) and that the property they’re on has changed hands between numerous loggers and lumber companies over the past many years, including a trio of local brothers who set up a sawmill right across the street from them!   It’s presently owned by Hull Forest Products, which is preserving it in an undeveloped state.

And here they are, still looming proudly over Sears Meadow:

There’s a spectacular number of board-feet of “lumber” here, growing straight and true:

The larger ones have a CHC (“chest-height circumference,” a standard forestry measure of girth) exceeding the reach of two grown men (that’s three  of me! )

And they’re tall , disappearing through their lofty canopies as if to poke out the sun:

But with great height comes great peril; lightning finds them long before their more common brethren, splitting them from tip to toe, blasting bark away in jagged lines:

…allowing access to insects and fungi, which do what the lumber barons left undone:

This fatal wound will soon fell this magnificent hemlock, and as with all things which live in the forest, it will find its place in the circle of life, sleeping with its ancestors, feeding its progeny:

And so it goes, and so it goes.  The closed system agreed upon by Mother Nature and Father Time is harsh but beautiful; learning to live within it is essential to our survival as a species.

Let’s hope we figure that out before it’s too late.

All of these shots were taken with Elliot, except for the fourth one, which required the wider view of my 16-35mm L-Series zoom.

Thanks, fellas!