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Eagle Street. February 1, 2013

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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A view of downtown North Adams which always catches my eye:

Eagle Street

My preferred shot would be with my 16mm lens from the middle of the road, but I’m chicken to go stand out there with my back to oncoming traffic…

A Venture Into Black and White. October 29, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Uncategorized.
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A quick shot of Susan at a horse farm in Stockbridge, MA:

I’ve been following the work of a few B&W photographers, and they’re affecting the way I look at things.

Enter 2012. January 1, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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Well I totally blew off blogging through the Holidays.  My ‘puterbox was relegated to a deep-freeze room to make way for food and guests, and I really couldn’t sit out there with a coat and hat and gloves and think cogent thoughts, much less type.

So, to make up for lost time, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy New Year, etc., etc., etc.  Please excuse my unbridled enthusiasm – the overtly commercialized nature of this time of year has left me somewhat (!) cynical.

Still, I’m grateful to report that my older daughter is doing well on the West Coast, my younger daughter is doing smashingly in Boston, and I’m newly among The Unemployed.

That latter bit of info manifests as a double-edged sword.  I’ll have paltry dollars to deal with life’s exigencies, but plenty of time to follow my Muses.  Let’s hope that results in a Great Leap Forward on the artistic front, though at this point I’m depending on Mother to provide me with some semblance of winter to replace Ugly Season with the purity of newly fallen snow.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of the details I’ve pried loose from the desolate brown landscape we’ve thus far called “winter” hereabouts.

Rocks, Rivers and Ice:

That’s a shot of melting ice along Pelham Brook in Rowe, MA.

And here’s another:

I especially like the distribution of weight in the second one.  The light balances the dark in a very comfortable way.

So Here’s to the New Year, fraught as it is with potential and peril, obstacles and opportunities.  We Old Farts have seen a lot of this before, and many of us remember what it took to set our Ship of State on a more proper course in the late 60s, and I dare say we’ll do it again, and with a vengeance.  I mean, it’s not OUR futures we’re standing up for, as our futures are largely behind us.  But coupled with our desire to secure a better future for our kids is an acknowledgement that with every passing day we have less to lose and more to gain from pursuing truth and beauty and justice.

2012 is another chance to make a difference, and I intend to try to do exactly that.

Please say you’ll join me.


Starlings By Starlight. December 30, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Well, perhaps not starlings, but it sounded poetic, didn’t it?

Tonight’s pilgrimage to our local supermarket yielded this image of a flock of little birds bedded down in the scrub trees between the parking lot and adjacent Route 2:

They sat beneath the gibbous moon for their ten-second portrait without twitching.  It’s a miracle!  😉

Housemate and Friend Holly has me seeing more of my subjects in black and white, which totally suits this dismal season.

I hope you agree.

In A Black And White Mood. December 27, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Uncategorized.
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Ah, December in the Berkshires, Solstice in the Snow, a White Christmas…

…but Oh, Wait – it’s still Ugly Season.  The mud has finally frozen, but there it sits in all its crap-colored glory, unfettered by the unbearable lightness of being an Actual Winter.

Not exactly what a would-be photographer wants to see this time of year.

But then, desperate necessity is the mother of devious invention, and if the pristine hues and simple palette of the season won’t cooperate, fuck ’em.

Enter Black and White.

Here are a few images I thought were worth seeing in B&W, some new, and one old but heretofore not posted in this vampirically drained format.

The side of a house in Shelburne, decorated with a hank of cord hung on a protruding bit:

This caught my eye while I was on my way to photograph more of the old Fords rakishly adorning the meadows at the Goldthwaite Farm, such as this one:

I’ve dubbed her “Eileen,” for obvious reasons.

And while I was conjuring this bloodless gallery of discarded rogues, I thought of this photo of a hay wagon, previously shared in full color, but which I always thought had the tonal range to make an acceptable  black and white image:


That’s how I’m handling my Snow-Jones.  I’m trying to live in the present I’m presented with, rather than lamenting the loss of the scenes I’ve spent most of a year anticipating.

Perhaps the near future will send me some snow, but if it doesn’t, so be it.  I’ll find some reason to push the shutter button, and sort it all out later.

Ruins. December 11, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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In the Great Southwest, they have Spanish mission churches with their roofs collapsed, ghost towns with their tumbleweeds, corrals overgrown with cacti.  They make compelling images for photographers who can get there.

But I’m not there; I’m here in New England, where the ruins of the industrial Gold Rush pock the landscape, bleak and beautiful in their fall from grace.

The walls of a former factory in Turners Falls stand defiantly in the last light of day:

This was a collaboration between Elliot, who contributed considerable “shift” to turn the vanishing-point-effect into a statement of this structure’s weight, and Photoshop’s ability to convert an image to black and white and emphasize portions of the color spectrum.  The skies were sub-optimal but still worth pushing the button.

To avoid signs and fences, I cropped this to a 4X5 aspect ratio (is that what the Big Boys call it?)  I would have climbed atop my vehicle and simplified the process, but I was on a one-lane, one-way bridge and didn’t think that was the polite thing to do.

This is a venue I hope to return to a little earlier in the day, when the skies have something more to say and this north-facing facade has a bit more light on it.

More Photos From The Edge. November 6, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, climbing.
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Here are a couple more photos from Saturday’s “bouldering session” out at Farley Ledge, of which I was an observer rather than a participant.

I went there hoping to capture some essential quality of that activity rather than an overview of it, and at some point booted my ISO way up to 6,400, meaning that the photos would be “grainy,” but still possible in the waning light of a late afternoon in November.

Now, action photographs (and this ought to qualify as “action”) are normally shot at really fast shutter speeds to freeze the action, but in this case I wanted to call attention to a specific part of the photo, and didn’t care if the rest of it disappeared into the visual morass.

The results are indeed tightly focused on a small region of the photograph.  I’m not sure how they’ll translate to this low-fi Blogosphere world, but in the scaled-to-print world, they were more than satisfactory.

Anyway, here’s Breyton putting the moves on Babies With Rabies,  a notable V10 (difficulty rating) boulder problem at Farley.

The start, with both hands crimping a shallow hold on the belly of the beast:

…followed by a foot-hand exchange, with individual fingers making room for the incoming heel-hook as Breyton moved up the lithic swell:

It wasn’t really possible, in the low light of a November eve, to freeze this frenetic action, so I chose instead to go for the hand-foot switch, letting the rest of the photo soften a bit.

The overall effort of this attempt on Babies  warrants a photographic go in better light.  Maybe I’ll get an invitation to the party at some future date, as the “bouldering” season in these parts extends well into early winter.

Jon, Hayden, Breyton, thanks for your patience as I horned in on your community of people covering each others’ backs.  I wasn’t much help, unless one considers illumination as “help.”

Short Bus Mystery. January 5, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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So way up in Colrain, along the side of a dirt road which dead-ends at a farm up in the hills, sits this Short Bus, bleached virtually white by its idle time and grown in amongst saplings of ever increasing girth:

Details tell a tale, but the message is muddled.  The smokestack reaching from the roof at mid-frame suggests a live-in Keseyan “Further,” while the back end’s heavy welded platform and cement mixer suggests…


Ah, Colrain, font of mysteries and birthplace of the tooth brush.