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This Afternoon… January 21, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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…in Williamstown, Lizz B. and I checked out a farm southwest of town and found some interesting out-buildings on a cold and somber day:

This is another one of those places which was doubtless once grand, but now its half-dozen buildings are held together by the vines which are taking them apart:

Their weathered exteriors look ancient:

…but their insides remember better days:

We got chilled to the bone, lost patience with out toes, and retreated for a heated drive to another place I know, a farm for sale below Mount Greylock:

Lizz homed in on an old truck I’ve photographed before:

…while I explored farther afield, having been told their was another grand old beast in the woods down below.

And so there was – a long lost cousin of the truck up above.  They told it not to go down to the Wooly Swamp, but it wouldn’t listen, and now it’s paying for its youthful impetuosity by spending eternity mired in muck and entangled in thorns:

I do  hope you children are listening!

Back at the ranch, we looked inside the larger barn to find a coven of tractors casting spells on all who entered.  They made me render them in black and white:

I swear, I was powerless against their magic…

We’ll doubtless be back to this place soon.

The tractors insist!

Monochromes. January 7, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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I just read a magazine article about monochrome photography and thought, “That’s what that farm in Williamstown was like.”

I got out there this past Thursday, turned into an untracked driveway, looked for signs of life.

No one.

Just an array of barns and out-buildings standing dream-like in the swirling snow:

Weathered barns and decaying fences told of a former life:

So many doors, which lead to who remembers where?

And now, they’re trellises for whatever vinaceous species seek out their support:

The wood weathering, the rest rusting it’s way through the years:

And beyond their walls, the Berkshires watch it happen:

All of these are Elliot’s work, with a bit of jostling and jiggering from me.  The weather was wet and windy and I couldn’t get too fancy, but I used some hand-held filters in some of these.

The result of the ubiquitously gray palette and the flat light are all monochromes,  though only one of them is actually rendered in black and white.  I think of monochromes as photos with shallow but enticing palettes and dynamic ranges, though that last one stretches the “range” part a bit.

I really liked the way Elliot worked this day, getting both the architectural shots and the details.  I felt in control of what we were doing.

It occurred to me on the carry back to the car that I’d gotten pretty close to some of my subjects, and  I wondered about Elliot’s minimum focusing distance.  I hadn’t previously thought of him as a close-up lens, and didn’t really know how close I could get with him.

As a matter of investigation, I took this photo of a wide-board fence grown over with lichen, which will reduce it to compost in a season:

The blog doesn’t do the detail justice, but it’s pretty good at well under a foot.

This lens  continues to surprise me.  The more  I use it, the more uses I see for it.  This last photo is an example of something extra Elliot can do, as is that first shot, where I seriously restricted the plane  of sharp focus rather than trying to extend it, turning it vertically to draw the eye to the ladder and loft and softly falling snow.

For Elliot (and for me,) this was a good day.

Fading Away. July 9, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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Our old barns took quite a hit this winter, with greater than average snowfalls collapsing many of the weaker ones, and plenty more seeing significant damage.  If these winters keep coming on like this, we’ll soon be seeing a substantially changed rural landscape from what we now have.

So it seems an appropriate time to pay attention and catalog The Way It Was before the opportunity is lost.

A big old barn in Conway took a hit this winter, and may not stand another:

This is a working farm, and it hurts to see them lose assets as they’re struggling to stay afloat.

The best of luck to them, and to all of the farmers out there working long and hard to keep us fed and provide for their families.

Back At’cha! April 10, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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OK, I’m up and running, albeit at half throttle.  My friend/housemate/photography mentor Lizz has found a way to convert my photo files to a form which I can process.  The longer-term fix is way more spendy than I can undertake at present, so I’ll be posting either what Lizz converts for me, or largely unprocessed jpegs.

Come to think of it, it wasn’t all that long ago that all I posted was jpegs!  I guess that goes to show ya how quickly one can be spoiled by the finer things in life, like Photoshop!

(That’s a full-on plug,  Adobe – are you listening??)   😉

Anyway, enough B.S., here are a few shots from the past week.

A snow squall on the way home from work on Monday gave up this shot of a farm truck in Williamstown:

…followed a couple of days later by this Springtime display on the lawn of a rusting Double-wide:

A very nice lady was pleased when I asked if I could photograph her lawn, bringing home the awareness that people with McCain/Palin bumper stickers on their cars can be good people despite their political failings.

And just down the road, I got this shot of a garage with an assortment of trophies tacked up on its front:

I don’t suspect these folks voted for Obama either, though I can’t say for certain – the only ones home were the cats, who were charming enough:

…with apologies to Steve for stealing his pet name for this pet photo!   🙂

And lastly, another Old Truck:

because I can!

So now it’s off to bedG’night!


Up Country. February 26, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Trucks sleep up in the fields of Shelburne after the last big storm:

Cattle daydreaming about green grass in Hawley:

A workhorse grown coarse and shaggy for the season:

…while in the valley below, Salmon Falls saves itself for Spring:

It’s a little farther along down in the flat-lands of Franklin County, but even here there’s a change in the air, a feeling that Winter is dying as Spring struggles to be born.

The Promised Barns. January 21, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I mentioned last night that I had a couple of “barn shots” to put up, and after a bit of processing, here they are – two barns up in Florida.

First, a horse barn:

The sky was kinda nice right then…

…and second, a big old barn at a dairy farm nearby:

I don’t know if this farm is still working; I don’t recall ever seeing cows in their fields.

Both of these were hand-held at higher ISOs and, frankly, taken from my driver’s seat – it was getting late and the air was filled with waves of blowing snow, and I just took what I could get from the warmth of my car.

Tomorrow, if I have the nerve to get out in the pre-dawn cold, I’ll be getting some shots in upper Hawley.

Wish me luck.   😉

A Barn. January 5, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Politics and Society.
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Graves’ barn, to be precise, though I didn’t ask them for permission, so don’t tell them (both of you) that I used this photo:

I did nothing to this one after pushing the button, which says a lot about tilt/shift photography; the usually unavoidable vanishing point inherent in photographing tallish structures was herein turned into a vertical splay, giving a weight to these otherwise elusive structures.

This is all shift, no tilt, and as photos lacking a strong foreground element go, I like it a lot.

In The Snow. February 26, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Late winter is frequently a bluster here in the Berkshires, and this past week has proven to be true to form.  Storm upon storm has dumped feet of heavy, wet snow on us, denying us power, heat, light and water, and in cases like mine, even access to our homes; the berm of slop thrown across my driveway by plows plying Route 2 was a yard deep, fifteen feet wide and as heavy as lead.  Plus, there was no place to pull over and try to shovel, with the plows constantly rounding the bend on which I live.

But still, despite a growth of stubble and an unhygienic aire, I found the storms to be cleansing, healing, and beautiful.

A home up in the hills of Cheshire:

A nearby rural lane:

Stone monuments on a knoll above Ashfield Lake:

…and a barn in the farmlands of Shelburne:

I wandered long past dark, waiting for the plowman to come and let me into my driveway.  I got there in time to snap this shot of yet more snow descending from the heavens:

…that last one taken through my windshield.

I love winter, despite its tribulations.

When This Was A Farm… January 28, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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…I was a barn.

Yeah, really.  Tall and proud, straight and true.  Full of dairy cows, surrounded by pastures, not this scraggly forest you see here.

But that was then, and this is now.  My people spent long hours trying to patch things up with wishes and prayers and sweat, and when the sun went down, more hours around the kitchen table, scratching at pads with short pencils, cipherin’, and always coming up short.  There were arguments and tears, and lectures from the young’uns about government subsidies and Archer Danniels Midland, whoever that is.

And then the bankers came, and I closed my barn doors in an effort to shut out the pleading, but it didn’t help, and the bankers won, and my people left.

I’ve wondered what happened to them for some time now, but as far as I know, they just sort of disappeared.

I miss the old days.

Ruby Tuesday – More Snow! December 14, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Ruby Tuesday!.
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We could be seeing a pattern emerge here.  I mean, it’s not officially winter, but it sure looks like it as one peruses our rural landscape.  The ground is white, the skies are predominately gray, and everywhere the pallet is dabbed with Ruby!

A hedgerow in a Montague field:

A couple of barns, the first in Hawley, taken during Sunday’s snow storm:

…and the second taken a couple of days earlier during a stretch of fair weather in Montague:

The silo on this one was completely overrun with bittersweet, giving it shimmering Ruby highlights in the late afternoon sun.

And finally, another sunset infused these stubborn apples with an unearthly glow:

This was taken high up in the hills of Shelburne near the Colrain line.

If you enjoyed these, please visit Mary over at Work of the Poet for more itterations of her delightful Ruby meme!