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An Erratic. February 8, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in climbing.
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Somewhere along the ridgeline north of Route 2, a glacial erratic sits in a deciduous grove.  It’s pretty spectacular, given that it’s all alone out there, a chunk of pristine granite parked a bit above its schistose host stratum:

If you’re a climber/boulderer, there’s plenty to do there to justify the 20 minute approach. I expect half of the possibilities to crack the double digits, which will mean nothing to most of you, but everything to those who “boulder.”

This is the ideal time of year to go there; no bugs, the sodden approach is stiff as a mackerel, and no bugs.

Did I already say that?  Well, yeah.

A Road Rebuilt. December 15, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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Route 2, the main east-west corridor along Massachusetts’ Northern Tier, has been closed through Savoy and Florida since Tropical Storm Irene took her pound of flesh from it this past August.

While local state highway engineers proclaimed this road closed for the next five years, I insisted that it had to be open before winter, and suffered their snide, derisive laughter.  After all, I was just a hired surveyor.

Today, December 15th, 2011, Route 2 reopened, thanks not to me (though I helped) but to the resolve of our Governor Duval Patrick, who demanded that it be so and unleashed all of the resources at his command to see that it would  be so.

The long washout which I previously posted, with its guardrails hanging in space, is now a finished roadway:

The bridge between Savoy and Florida has been patched up, though it will be substantially rebuilt in the coming year:

There’s a lot more work to be done, and in fact it’s on-going, but meanwhile the road is passable.

As National Scenic Byways go, it’s presently butt-ugly, but that will change with time, if the repairs hold up.

And therein lies the caveat:  the rush to reopen meant that “right” was subjugated to “right now.”  Plans were cobbed together, general principles were employed where specific circumstances should have informed, and problems were glossed over in service of moving forward at any cost.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see much of this work destroyed by Mother Nature in the next year or two, though I’m hoping to be proved wrong.

Time will tell.

In the meanwhile, kudos to the common folks who did the work, three shifts a day, seven days a week, from then until now.

A Hawk and Horses. March 2, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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A hawk:

…and some horses:

And that is all.

G’Night.  🙂

Consolation Prize. February 18, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I’m a loser, Baby, but don’t kill me just yet.

After getting skunked in my quest to capture a full moon photo Wednesday night I thought I’d get up early enough Thursday to catch moonset.

So with only four hours sleep I popped out of bed at 5am, microwaved a mug of joe and headed for the high country.  A very hazy moon was just ducking below the hills to the west, and I figured if I hustled I’d have a clear view of the horizon as Luna took her last bow.

But “clear view” was the kicker; turns out my hazy glimpse of Her Fullness was to be my last for the day.  The western horizon was a solid mass of clouds, and though I got to the vantage point I’d planned on, there was nothing to be seen of her.

All was not lost, though – I’d noted that sunrise would be about an hour after moonset, giving me enough time to get across Florida to Whitcomb Summit to catch that phenomenon, if indeed it was worth catching.  For some reason that spot has yielded some of the most amazing raspberry skies I’ve ever seen in the East, and most especially in winter.

I wasn’t disappointed.  The eastern horizon was just cracking a wry red smile as I arrived, and I had time to set up and snap away until I got this:

It was another iteration of the corrugated clouds of the night before, painted pink through a fortuitous gap between Heaven and Earth.

I did nothing to that shot in post-processing other than to bring the levels up; the clouds were moving quickly and a long exposure wouldn’t do, so I under-exposed it at two seconds.

As consolation prizes go, I was satisfied with this one.

Then I was off to brew a fresh pot of coffee and pitch another porch full of firewood.


Full Moon, Fuller Clouds. February 16, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I tried to get some shots tonight of the rise of the almost-full moon, but thick clouds moved in as the appointed hour approached.  I thought the mission was to be a total loss, without even a sunset to show for my travels.

But then, crossing over the hills of high Florida on the way home, the clouds overhead gathered into pleats and folds, as though the frontmost one had encountered an impassable place and was brought up short.

I availed myself of the first place I found to pull over, these atmospheric anomalies generally being short-lived, and threw on a lens which I thought might fit the unfolding scene.

I got off this shot of Mount Greylock beneath what should have been a sunset:

… before the light shifted and the clouds bellied up a little farther north.  I threw my kit back into the car and sped up Tilda Hill Road for this one, with the light fading:

Again, the scene changed even as I panned my camera to the south, and again I sped off across Route 2 chasing the ever-shifting ripples.

Then, through a gap in the overhead blanket, the moon appeared:

…too high for a good moon shot, but nonetheless interesting as a landscape element.

At last I packed things up and drove home beneath the thinning clouds, arriving at Berkshire East ski area in time to capture one more 30-second moon shot:

It wasn’t the kind of moon shot I’d been looking for, but rather something totally unexpected.

I guess you never know.



Winter Views. January 28, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Here in The Berkshires we’ve been getting a pretty good dose of Winter.  It reminds me of the Big Snows of my childhood memories, and frankly, I like it.

January has been both snowy and icy, with the trees up in the hills encased in ice for the last many days.  Here are a few shots of that.

Mount Greylock, our highest point, from a distance:

That’s the Veterans’ Memorial Tower and the AMC’s Bascomb Lodge on top taken from miles away, courtesy of Gizmo.

A roadside maple magically encased in ice fog:

A barn slumbering in the stillness of snow:

Farm machinery takes a break:

A logging operation awaits warmer weather:

The main road to/through Upper Florida glows in late afternoon:

A fox’s trail through deep snow:

And finally, as the day ends, a look back toward where i began:

Despite the travails of winter living in these parts, the beauty of it keeps me here.

Thanks for sharing my day.


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.   😉

On The Road Home. April 7, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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…And later that same day (as the previously posted sunrise,) a patchwork of clouds provided this Westward view:

Taken (again) as I got up to Florida from the day’s job site in North Adams.

While She Lay Sleeping. April 7, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Fifteen hundred feet below these “valley clouds,” the Deerfield River is unaware that the Berkshire hilltops are basking in the light of a new day:

…taken on my way to work today.

God bless Florida, Massachusetts, a town of paradoxes and extremes, and the home of nine months of winter and three months of piss-poor sledding.

March Waxing Gibbous. March 26, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Between periods of foul weather and moonly vapidity there sit a few days, weather willing, of gazing in wonder at the waxing gibbous moon, with its long shadows and bright peaks.

Here’s a view of said orb:

…juxtaposed against a big spruce in upper Florida.  Gizmo’s pathetic depth of field ought to be forgiven, given its adherence to its mission of bringing the distant near.

Such are the limitations of long lenses, and the products of their particular parameters.