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A Detail. January 6, 2013

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Sorry to have been absent – life, as you know, intervenes.

Anyway, here’s an abstract of water flowing over rocks, taken earlier this winter season at Dunbar book:

Dunbar Detail Blog

There are many things about this photograph which please and intrigue me, none of which are easy to explain. And as it’s late, I’m just going to let you fill in the blanks.

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.

Dunbar Brook, After The Flood. November 20, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Dunbar Brook comes down from the high country of Monroe, spilling into the Deerfield river.

This past summer season it swallowed all Tropical Storm Irene offered it and transformed into a raging torrent, eating its banks, sucking in miles of forested terrain and clogging the culvert at River Road, then finding a way around, blowing out the road and stranding the little community of Monroe Bridge.

They weren’t entirely cut off, as the road over the hills through Rowe survived, but were nonetheless cut off from the south in an impressive display of the power of Nature Scorned.

I hiked up the Dunbar Brook trail on Saturday, cataloging the devastation in my mind but leaving my camera tucked away.  Innumerable stretches of the river were laced with a thick cloak of fallen trees, the water below barely visible.  Without some fiduciary incentive to removing this mess, I expect it will stay in place until it rots.

And I’m not entirely decrying that outcome; Irene was an Act Of Nature, even if our carbon-spewing civilization contributed to the mix.  It’s just that I’m mourning the transformed visage of a stream which had come to grips with its surroundings, settled down, grew moss in all of it’s damp niches and smoothed the rough edges to produce the landscape I’ve  been rediscovering through my photographic eye these past few years.

I hiked an hour upstream past snags of uprooted trees and unfamiliar gravel bars until I came to a place where some semblance of my old stomping grounds sat knee-deep in the flow of the present, and for old time’s sake, snapped these two photos off.

Dunbar Brook, just about like it used to be:

…but with the addition of a tiny cairn atop the prominent pointed rock in the background.

Hey, Life Sucks, And Then You Die, unless you leave a mark.  So I’m good with that little cairn.

A bit upstream, the flow was a bit less braided, tumbling through a narrow channel to produce this view:

It’s difficult to imagine this little stream doing the damage it wrought downstream, but as we move farther from the norm of the past, we had better get used to it and be prepared to deal with it.

That’s all for now.  Good night, my faithful visitors.


A Walk. October 18, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.

Well, first a drive up the Deerfield river valley, winding between rugged ridges cloaked in the colors of Autumn:

Then a walk up Dunbar Brook in the cool of twilight:

It was peaceful and quiet, the rustling of beech leaves and burbling water interrupted only by an occasional owl calling down from the hillside:

Going back today, I think.