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Just Another Sunset… March 8, 2013

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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…from this past Tuesday evening in Hadley, MA:

Tuesday's Sunset

That’s courtesy of my Canon 16-35mm L-series lens and a hand-held three stop reverse-graduated filter.

Taken along a back road behind Trader Joe’s. I’d have posted it sooner, but I was busy getting set up for my show at the AACC on Thursday.  🙂

More Comp Pics. October 18, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Action/Adventure.
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Here are a few more shots from the September WMCC Rendez-vous Bouldering Competition at Central Rock in Hadley, MA.

It was a very active night:

…with people dangling from every possible (or impossible!) surface:

This woman was stronger than dirt, I tell ya.

The participants largely ranged from young to younger. People I would call “kids,” no disrespect intended ( I once was one) threw moves which made this old dust-farter wince:

My ruined shoulders can no longer do this without causing further damage, which I’ve sadly resolved to avoid.

But this was a night for The Unbroken to shine, and they did.

Here’s some of what I saw.

Determination:

Tenacity:

…and power,  of both the XX and XY sort:

You’re welcome.  😉

It was a night of movement:

…intention:

…and the Art of the Static Cling:

… all attributes which will serve these people well going forward, both those who maintain their connection to climbing and those who move on to other arenas.

I’m reluctant to admit that I’m only about half way through the images I captured on this night, but I’ll probably spare you another blog post (unless you ask for it. I know this is outside of most people’s experience, even though it’s been central to my life, and don’t want to beat you about the head and shoulders with my passions.)

Besides, Autumn is fast fading, and I want to get more of that posted before it’s irrelevant.

And then there’s the coming Age of Frost…  😉

A Show In Ashfield. October 5, 2012

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I’ve been getting my photography “out and about,” as they say, and have recently sold a few pieces. I have a few nice old car and truck pics on the walls of Chef Rob Watson’s Lone Wolf Bistro in Amherst, MA, and a few of the young ladies I’ve shot at horse jumping meets have purchased prints.

It’s not enough to pay the bills yet (I’m still digging food out of the cracks in my kitchen floor) but it’s all moving in the right direction.

I currently have a show up at Elmer’s Store, Restaurant and Gallery up in Ashfield. It’s broadly Autumnal themed, designed to coincide with the town’s great Ashfield Fall Festival which runs this Saturday and Sunday. If you’re in the area and have a chance to visit, please do – I highly recommend their breakfasts, especially the hash – yum!  🙂 ‘ll be on their walls for most of October.

For those of you who don’t live close enough to visit, I’m posting the show’s ten photos here (hey, it’s a virtual world, non? ) for your viewing pleasure.

All of these shots have appeared here before, but never as a group.

Corn and Oak, Hadley MA:

Chickley Gold, Charlemont MA:

West Branch Storm, Deerfield river, Readsboro VT:

Deerfield Dawn, Charlemont MA:

Windsor Hay Wagon, Windsor MA:

Irrigation Ditch, Hadley MA:

Catamount Cascade, Colrain MA:

Autocar Light, Bernardston MA:

Black Brook, Savoy/Florida MA:

Forest Fog, Plainfield MA:

All of these images are printed at 12″ X 18″ and matted and framed at 18″ X 24.” They’re archival presentations with 100-year inks, acid-free/pH-buffered mats and backing and Conservation Clear UV-protective glass, and are available for $275 plus tax (where applicable) and shipping.

If you’re interested, email me: ralph@ralphmunn.com.

Or better yet, stop by Elmer’s Store for a great meal and a look-see.  🙂

And now I’m off to photograph some rock climbing adventures.

Cheers!

A Climbing Competition. October 4, 2012

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Last weekend saw the Fourth Annual WMCC Rendezvous, a gathering of local and visiting climbers for a little socializing, exploring and friendly competition.

The weather was wet, so most of the “competition” took place at Central Rock climbing gym in Hadley, MA. Big thanks to those folks for hosting this very busy weekend.

Friday night’s action was a “bouldering” comp, with people of all (well, most) ages pulling down. The routes were steep:

…up artificial rock walls with bolt-on holds:

There was an enthusiastic crowd of spectators and supporters mingling below, and a great atmosphere:

People took it seriously enough to work hard – young kids:

…contortionists:

Apes, which I confess is my tribe:

…and Ballerinas, to quote the late, great Scottish climber, Tom Patey:

Sharply focused spiders:

…and relentless machines:

…plugging along on the undersides of the bouldering cave. That’s some brutish terrain, but it’s not limited to the boys – strong women can play here as well:

…and they did. Great efforts, everyone!

In the end, it was less about “winning” and more about trying for one’s personal best. A lot of yardsticks got moved forward because of the competitive yet totally supportive atmosphere.

And it was great to watch the improbable being made to look easy.

…and the look of competence in a person’s eyes as they latch that final hold:

This shoot was a mix of Ollie and Gizmo, a bit too mixed up to go into. Let’s just say that my sensor needed a cleaning after all of those lens changes in a chalky environment. 😆

The Wild, Wild East! June 25, 2012

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An unexpected tableau on the Great Plains of Hadley, MA:

American Bison being raised for the table.  They’re impressive animals:

 

Along The Connecticut. June 21, 2012

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I had occasion to head toward Amherst today, with the intention of showing some of my photos to a restauranteur who expressed an interest in having them on his walls.

Well, that didn’t work out – something about a “family emergency.”  That could, of course, be the case, but it’s so cliched I can’t help feeling slighted.

Anyway, having carted my wares all the way down river, I spent the late afternoon scouring the lowlands for more raw materials, knowing that the transition to Summer would produce some sort of blossoms and at least a little bit of atmospherics.

What I found was tall grass:

…laced around the edges with roadside randomness, including a LOT of Cow vetch:

This hot, dry week we’re experiencing is ideal for harvesting hay, and the grass is beautifully high, so farmers down in the valley are making hay:

Much of Hadley isn’t exactly flood plains of the Connecticut river, but more accurately viewed as the bottom of Lake Hitchcock, gone for ten millennia  but still evident by its sediments.  The land is rich despite having provided several hundred years of legendary productivity.

Haying happens several times per growing season, depending on growing and harvesting conditions.  Rain makes it grow, but dry conditions are necessary for cutting and baling, and the two don’t always coincide.

This, though, looked like a really productive mowing:

This farmer was good enough to welcome me into his field to take these photographs.    He was working for his living, and stopping for a stranger was an added task on this very hot and humid day.  I greatly appreciated his permission to shoot.

Here’s The Man round-bailing the cut, dried grass:

These round bales are tied up and dropped out of the back of this baler, whereas traditional rectangular bales are packed, wrapped and pitched into hay wagons being dragged behind the operation:

But this is Hadley, rolling lowlands which don’t flood seasonally.

Across the river to the west is Northampton, where Spring flooding is common.  The flatlands have been harrowed and planted and harvested and flooded in a cycle extending for centuries.

These days they grow corn and potatoes there, with a bio-diverse fringe of invaders separating the field roads from the crops:

That looks like wild mustard and lettuce, with mullein piercing the skyline.  I love mullein – it looks like the pacifist’s version of yucca or agave, all cuddly and hippy-friendly (they smoke it, you know!)

One of a zillion types of daisies found locally piles up between the tires and the ‘taters:

Again with Mount Holyoke’s crowning Skinner House in the distance.

Another of the volunteers which dot these dusty fields is the ubiquitous cow vetch, here seen with Mt. Tom shaping the skyline:

I think what keeps drawing me back to this decidedly lowland place (a strong hour from my hill town home) is it’s suggestion of something farther west, perhaps a view of the Heartland, maybe even something higher and drier, the alti-plano of Wyoming or Montana.

I know that if you’re from there you’re pointing and laughing, but still, it’s a feeling I get, and I’m playing with it.

All of these shots are from Elliot, my Canon TS-EII tilt-shift lens, and most benefit from the use of hand-held graduated filters to bring the brooding skies further into compliance with a photo’s useful dynamic range.  This combination is really my Standard Operating Procedure for landscape photography, though my 24-105mm zoom Allie lives on the box in my daily travels.

Thanks for hanging in there for this longish post on a place I’ve photographed numerous times before.  I keep hoping for exceptional light or some remarkable bloom, but I’m meanwhile thankful for whatever the place gives up.

Another Valley Shot. June 8, 2012

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…of a field in Hadley.  The support structure for the tobacco shading is in place, though I’m not sure what’s been planted here.

Still, the skies are dramatic, so I pull over and take this shot:

Thanks to Elliot, with perhaps 1-1/2 degrees of tilt, a hand-held 3-stop reverse ND grad by Singh-Ray, and a foreground boost from Photoshop’s camera raw fill-light function.

Buffalo On The Great Plains… April 17, 2012

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…of Hadley, Massachusetts:

This gruff-looking bull watched me carefully as I approached with my camera.  He was, after all, just being a protective Daddy, but I wasn’t displeased to have a stout fence between him and me.

A proud Momma Bison cleans a newborn (that is, day old) calf:

This little guy is just getting his legs under him:

Sorry ’bout the fence, but I had Gizmo on the box and getting close enough to shoot through the fence wouldn’t have given my the Whole Calf.  I’ll try to get back there while the newborn are still small, and I’ll bring a range of lenses.