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Brrrrrrrrr! January 23, 2013

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Well now, this  is winter!   🙂

We got a fresh inch of snow overnight, not enough to shovel, just enough to freshen up the older snow pack. And with a daytime high in the ‘teens assuring clear, crisp air, it seemed like a good time to scout some river scenes.

I headed up the Cold river a bit after noon, beneath blue skies and scuttling clouds:

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The valley is still a tangled mess from Irene, but winter disguises her scars.

I’ve always liked the way tumbling rivers look when they rise up around snow covered rocks, saturating their marsh mallow hats, turning them into emerald slushies, washing them down river like slow moving ghosts. This cold weather grows the well-anchored ones into wonderful ice islands:

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Quartzite cobbles complement the color scheme, wavering from below the fast-moving surface:

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A faster shutter speed captures the kinetics of the flow:

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The wind was brutal, and after an hour of walking the river bank, my fingers had had enough, despite my beefy gloves, and I headed back to the car, noticing on my way down river that the moon was rising. At the car I put Gizmo and his little buddy Tele on the box and got this:

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I packed it in, cranked the heat and ran a few errands.

My day ended with a drive home along the Deerfield river, where I snagged this shot of the frazil ice building it’s tortuous tangle as the sun disappeared behind the near hills:

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That one’s from Elliot, with a degree and a half of tilt and a hand-held three-stop graduated ND filter. It took me all of fifteen minutes, by the end of which my tripod had frozen into the river, my fingertips were wooden and I had wind-whipped tears frozen to my cheeks.

Good thing I spent all those years climbing ice, or I wouldn’t have enjoyed that one bit!  😉

Well that’s all for now, friends. I have 909 shots from last weekend’s climbing competition to process, so I’m off to work!

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A Visitor To Our Yard! December 12, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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This morning, from the kitchen window:

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An Eastern Bluebird surveying things from our asparagus patch, perhaps thirty yards away.

Once again, not “magazine quality,” but still fun to look at. 😉

Along The Deerfield. December 10, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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On the way to the Shelburne Falls post office this morning I spied an eagle in a tree across the Deerfield river from Route 2.

Naturally, I hung a Bat Turn to get a shot.

I took these from my driver’s seat while pulled over on the shoulder:

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That’s from about 50 yards away, with Gizmo’s 400mm and a 2X Tele-Extender, and cropped pretty hard.

I was hoping to get this beauty taking off, but all it seemed inclined to do was preen in the drizzle.  😦

At last it spread it’s wings:

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…but only hopped to another nearby branch.

These were taken at ISO 4000 and f/11, so they’re not technically great. Still, I had fun shooting them; gotta practice that steady hand, especially with no auto focus or image stabilization on this lens!

Farm Truck. December 5, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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This Wee Beastie has made a previous appearance on LBT as “Williamstown Ford:”

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This shot was a Driver’s Seat Drive-By, with Gizmo on the box.

Plainfield, Between Showers. November 4, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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A recent drive through Plainfield had me using a long delay on the wipers as a high-country drizzle thickened the air.

But thick air means a saturation of colors, and I had my photographer’s eye out for something to shoot.

I passed a pasture with horses set against an angry black sky, and thought that would make a nice image. But when I pulled over and got out to shoot, the horses came over to greet me.

Oh well, no majestic white horse set against the dark sky, just a close-up of this lovely girl:

She was just diggin’ life out there in the tasty greens, and fairly ignored me as I lay in the wet grass to get this shot.

That’s from Gizmo, at perhaps twenty feet. I was expecting to take shots of distant horses, but they had other ideas.

Talk Amongst Yourselves. October 12, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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I took this shot this past week, and couldn’t help thinking “political thoughts:”

Like, “Governor of New Jersey Visits Western Massachusetts.”

I gave up writing political rants a good while ago, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still think about it.

Phall Pholiage Photos! October 10, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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More colors from this sub-optimal (but still pretty cool) season.

Locally, some back roads:

A Conway beaver pond:

Bittersweet on a barn in Hawley:

A few Deerfield river shots:

The real color, though, was higher up in the hills. I’d seen The Change coming to Southern Vermont and headed that-a-way, passing through the heights of Rowe, MA on the drive, and stopped off at a seldom-visited beaver pond for a couple of quickies:

I especially liked this shot of orange jelly fungus popping out of a fallen spruce along the pond’s edge:

All of these are from Elliot, bless his little mechanisms.

In Vermont, the best colors were along Route 9 between Searsburg on the east and Bennington on the west:

Of that last bunch, the more expansive views were captured by Ollie, the last two are from Gizmo.

This year, Autumn has been a finicky visitor and seems anxious to be moving on.

Oh well, let her go, I say. Can’t stop her anyway.

I may head farther afield in the next few days, searching for a few last kisses before Bleak November arrives.

(Marco) Polo! October 1, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Action/Adventure.
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Up until this past September, my only connection to the word “polo” was my elementary school indoctrination with the progenitor of the Spice Road Free Trade Corridor.

That changed when my sweetie Susan took me to an honest-to-God polo match, purportedly the only such match open to the unwashed masses here in jolly ol’ New England.

And people, as one of the 47%, I have to say I dug it.

The horses were very cool, little guys with a LOT of physical integrity:

…built for sharp turns, stop-and-go action, and smart as whips. Not your typical horse show dandies, I’d say.

The action was proscribed by rules of play, as in any legitimate sport. I didn’t know those rules, so just dug the action.

Full-on galloping passes:

For the riders, these matches are a mix of athleticism, strategy and butt-kicking riding skills, including one-handed reining (“Western style,” as I’m given to understanding):

Getting a horse to go where you want it to with one hand on the reins and the other swinging a big-ass mallet around its head is a feat which only happens after endless sessions of building skills and a level of trust worthy of much respect.

Given my dearth of knowledge about the game, I’ll let a few photos speak for the participants.

A mounted (and doubtless equally skilled) Ref monitors the action amidst a many-legged scrum:

Head-to-head races result in a ball being passed forward, here seen below the second chair from the right:

Passing back is as important a skill as shooting for a goal:

It’s an elegant, sweaty dance between horse and rider, with total focus a prerequisite to success:

The action speeds from one end of the field to the other, ball, mallets and hooves flying:

…with each strike of the ball being a coordination of horse and hands, and with a little luck, the depression of a very fast (1/2500th of a second) shutter:

For me, this wasn’t just a great introduction to the sport of polo; it was one of those days when the excitement of shooting takes over and everything else falls away. My apologies to my sweetie Susan who brought me to this revelation –  I hope you weren’t left too much alone as I was taken away by the task at hand. But the contagious energy of the charge toward the goal was powerful:

…as was the joy when a struck ball was perceived to be headed for the space between the goal posts:

Thanks to Susan for encouraging me to take a chance on photographing something I knew nothing about, to Gizmo for reeling in most of these shots, and to the Norfolk Hunt Club in Medford, MA for inviting the public in to watch this very special event.

I have a few more shots from the half-time entertainment in the hopper, and hope to get them posted soon.

But that’s enough for now.  😉

On The Cusp Of Autumn. September 24, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Well, it’s that time of year again.

Last year’s Fall Foliage Season was disappointing here in Western Massachusetts – August’s Tropical Storm Irene devastated our rivers and roads, and the colors never really materialized.

So I’ve been looking forward to another chance to shoot Nature’s Rainbow this autumn, so much so that I had to jump the gun and hit the road – we’re just getting started with the show here in Charlemont, but I expected things to be farther along north of us, and at higher elevations.

My housemate Lizz hit New Hampshire’s White Mountains this past weekend for an early-season recon, so I went northwest to New York’s Adirondaks.

It’s still early there as well, but up in the boreal forests things are starting to happen.

Route 73 through Keene Valley is a beautiful drive:

A scrim of roadside birches and the occasional pop of color guard the dark mysteries of the great North Woods:

This area, too, is rebounding from the ravages of Irene, as witness the many full-size trees felled by the amazing volume of water which raged down this roadside cascade southeast of Lake Placid:

The “highway” follows a beautiful rocky river, with side tributaries offering visual delights to those willing to go for a short walk:

Moss and ferns festoon the many boulders strewn about the largely cedar and maple forest:

It’s a very rugged part of the State, far removed from the more widely known urban canyons of NYC, and offers great rock climbing on ancient granite, such as Washbowl Cliff:

…here coming into and out of the light as gathering storm clouds boil by. I was fortunate to catch these roadside sugar maples in a patch of filtered light.

Yes, it’s early, but it’s going to happen, a Real Northeastern Fall Foliage Season, albeit perhaps a bit tempered by this summer’s drought.

We shall see.  😉

All of these shots are courtesy of Ollie, my Canon 24-105mm f/4 L-series lens, except for the shot of the waterfall which Gizmo reeled in from perhaps half a mile away, in the rain!

Thanks, Guys!  🙂

Guests In The Garden. September 11, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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Our zinnias have been hosting some winged guests recently. I caught these images of them today:

…and:

Both of these were taken with Gizmo and a 2X Tele-Extender from twelve to fifteen feet away, allowing me to get compressed close-ups without disturbing our guests.  🙂