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Doane Cemetery, Hawley MA. March 9, 2013

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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My housemates went up to the Maine Coast this weekend for some night photography, reminding me that it was a New Moon ’round about tonight and tomorrow night.

Well, I can’t get away, but thought I’d find something closer to home which might make a suitable subject for taking advantage of a clear, moonless night.

I headed up into the hills to get away from cities, towns and highways, but you know, there’s nowhere really, really  dark in Massachusetts. The best I could manage was to get to a high meadow in the hills, find something worth shooting and work with the ambient light.

I settled on the Doane Cemetery in Hawley, beautifully situated on a dome of farmland off of Forget Road. The faint glow of distant Pittsfield tainted the horizon, and I knew that with a long exposure to get the stars, it would be a compositional element. So I looked for a foreground element with enough presence to stand up to the background light.

I settled on a tall monument, which I lit with about five seconds of “light painting” from a small LED flashlight. It was a bit clumsily done, but with the camera a foot off the snow, evaluating the image meant laying in the wet snow, which I could only do a couple of times before I was soaked and had to call it a night.

Next time, it’s full gear and a foam pad for this old boy!

Anyway, here’s the best of several images – taken with a 16mm lens, ISO 6400, f/8, 30″ exposure:

Blog Doane Cemetery

I was surprised at how little of the sky I got with my 16mm lens; seems to me it looked somewhat grander when I last took night shots up at Acadia National Park in Maine this past autumn.

Oh well, I like the image anyway, and without buying a wider lens, that’ll have to be good enough! 😉

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Working on the Chickley River. December 9, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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The Chickley river in Hawley took a massive hit from Tropical Storm Irene over a year ago, and has since been cleared of storm debris and redirected into a channel which doesn’t threaten Route 8A.

But the clearing left the river looking more like a canal than a wild river; Hawley’s head of public works had all obstructions removed, and deepened and straightened the channel. Locals protested, but up here in the Hilltowns, there are plenty of people in positions of power who don’t give a crap about girly stuff like fish habitat and letting Nature be Nature.

Thankfully, several State agencies stepped in and imposed a program of re-naturalizing the river, rebuilding it to where it might not only return to being a viable hatchery for native species, but might also stand a chance of surviving future floods.

Here, an ET&L excavator is replacing boulders previously removed from the riverbed and adding contours to the banks to slow seasonal run-off:

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The banks are still a mess, and I expect the raw spots to be colonized by fast-growing invasives like Japanese knot-weed, which was taking hold here before the flood and will likely take advantage of the open space afforded it.

But at least there will be trout habitat, and something in the channel to slow the Spring floods:

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This work is nearing its end, and the sad turbidity of the worked-in water will give way to the clarity of winter, only to be followed by Spring’s reworking of what Man has done.

I feel bad for the people of Hawley, many of whom objected to the inappropriate channelization of the river, and all of whom (and their children and grandchildren) will be paying for the bond needed to fix this avoidable mess.

Phall Pholiage Photos! October 10, 2012

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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.

Between The Rains. August 12, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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After an unusually long dry spell, we seem to have entered the it-rains-every-day phase of our screwy New England weather cycle.  I can water the garden during dry spells, but keeping everything from rotting when we have too much rain is a bit more problematic.

Still, the wet weather has its advantages; our rivers certainly need the water, and if we’re going to have anything like a foliage season this year, so do the forests.

And the vistas of mists rising from the valleys is interesting to photograph, such as in this evening shot of a homestead in the Pudding Hollow section of Hawley:

There’s too much wrong with that photo for it to ever hang on a wall, but it’s passable for blog viewing.

Besides, while I have tons of other photos to process, I haven’t anything else ready to post, and I don’t want you all to fall asleep on me!  😆

Lupines. May 31, 2012

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The lupine fields up in Hawley have come and gone, their transient blossoms buffeted by wind and beaten down by storms.  I saw them nearly  there, then went back with my camera to find them past their prime.

Still, I set up beneath threatening skies to shoot a few images before the heavens opened up, and just barely made it, though I spent a good while mopping things dry when I got back to the car.

These images are a bit rough; the light was low and the breeze had picked up in anticipation of the coming deluge, so I shot fast and low, bringing up the exposure in post-processing and losing the presence of a well-taken photograph.

Lupines in a Hawley meadow:

…along a country lane:

…and this shot, just as the skies opened up, of daisy fleabane peeking out from beneath sensitive ferns in the lupine patch:

The vibrance of the ferns was eye-catching, and the sky dramatic, even if the conditions were sub-optimal.

Oh well.  The blooms are past their peak, and my next opportunity will have a different calendar year attached to it.  But for now, these shots will have to do.

Thanks to Elliot for his contortions on short notice; he tilted and swung like a champion, and then sat patiently as I applied a variety of hand held graduated filters to tame the sky.

 

 

Forge Hollow Meeting House. January 19, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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Here’s a rather austere snippet of the Forge Hollow Meeting House taken this January:

It’s like a reflection about a vertical axis, but not completely so.  Finding what’s not reflective is like a puzzle which is still surprising me.

Beyond that, this photo asks me questions.  How were those two doors used?  One in, one out?  His/Hers?

I don’t know, but I thought I’d throw this out to you before I throw this out.  I don’t see it in a frame, but I’m glad I got to see it.

Berkshire Ramblin’ January 18, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Here are a few shots from my recent wanderings, wherein I reveled in our newly-bestowed winter.

A Buckland barn viewed through a screen of thickly falling snow:

This pair of uncharacteristically-colored silos always makes me smile, paired as they are with the adjacent Family Plot.

As the snow thinned, I got this shot of barn doors wearing their Winter Whites a ways farther up the hill:

This, by the way, is very near where the snow-covered piano sits out under a tree.

And later on in Upper Hawley (on a road which is wisely much  less traveled,) a simple shot of a winter scene with the skies clearing just in time to not produce a sunset shot worth sharing:

Prudence should have turned me back, but the way forward was mostly downhill, so it couldn’t get that bad, right?

Right???

I love it when there are no power lines or guard rails, and just enough of a track to assure me that I’m not the Last Living Fool in the world.

😉

“Freeze At Last, Freeze At Last…” January 13, 2012

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Well, we failed miserably at our stated intention of having a White Christmas, but it looks like we’re working our wintry way toward a White Martin Luther King Day.

Let me know if you detect a hint of irony there.

Not that it’s entirely “in the bag” – we only have a couple of inches from last night’s weather event, and a bit more predicted for tomorrow – but still, it’s as close to Winter as we’ve gotten since October!

I took a ride up into Hawley to catch a few views of the white stuff before nightfall.  Along Route 8A, stately white pines stabbed skyward beneath a burden of heavy, wet snow:

It was the kind of snow which insists on not being shoveled despite its low loft, and even when it’s plowed, can render a steep driveway a Triple-Black-Diamond run:

The sign here reads “Eggert’s Folly,” and it’s rated Most Difficult.   I took their word for it.

The new coat of white rendered a hot property a bit easier on the eyes:

That tumble-down old garage actually sits on a nice piece of property, if you don’t mind being limited to six hours of sunlight a day (it’s in a narrow spot in the deep Chickley river valley.)

But my favorite shot from the ride was this one, of the Chickley burbling along through a relatively undamaged section of the elsewhere devastated river:

I’m always amazed at the vivid greens proffered by snow-sopped rivers; it often (as here) contrasts with the monochrome surroundings of wet wood and white snow.

We’re expecting a bit more snow tomorrow, followed by blistering (but seasonally appropriate) cold, which I hope will provide me with more traditional winter shots, with sparkly landscapes beneath Arctic-blue skies.

Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

😉

 

 

Up In Hawley. January 2, 2012

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Specifically, at Tregelley’s Fiber Farm, a large Chorten/Stupa overlooks a dramatic view of the Deerfield river valley to the north:

 

Forget Me Not. January 27, 2011

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Driving around yesterday, way up in Hawley, I turned down Forget Road looking for rural scenes to photograph.

I came across this, a small cluster of trees in a landscape of high fields, just before sunset – Doane Cemetery:

The snow was deep, and I post-holed out among the stones, being too lazy to put on snowshoes for such a quick stop.

Many of the markers were too old to read, and I found it ironic that they were out here on Forget Road.

But I could read the name of Charlotte Wells, whose smaller stone is on the right in this photo:

…next to her husband’s larger and more ostentatious memorial.  His name has been erased by time, and remains only on Charlotte’s stone, as she was called, “Charlotte, wife of ________ Wells.” Two hundred years ago she was regarded as little more than his possession; now she can name or not name him, as a witness wishes.

I wish to remember Charlotte, no longer anonymous.

The sun went down, and what I had envisioned as an interesting black & white photo essay blossomed into this:

It was as if the snowy fields had somehow ignited:

I actually took some of the color out of that one.

Goodnight, Charlotte.