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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:


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:


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


A faster shutter speed captures the kinetics of the flow:


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:


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:


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!

It’s Cold. January 4, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Yup, it’s winter, and it’s cold.

Go figure.

I shouldn’t be surprised, you know, seeing as it’s January and I’m in Massachusetts.  But we haven’t had significant snow since Halloween (!) and that two-footer lasted a whole two days.

So I’m stuck here freezing my butt off with nothing pretty to photograph, at least nothing white and sparkly and pristine like early winter is supposed to be.

Thank Gawd for rivers and streams, where at least the illusion of winter manifests in the details:

Pelham Brook in Rowe, a 2.5 second exposure on a cloudy afternoon.

Tomorrow will be in the ‘teens until at least noon, so I might try to snag a few more of these.

That is, if my fingers cooperate…  😉

We Interrupt This Travelogue… February 1, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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…to bring you this weather update:

We got six inches of new snow today, trending toward freezing rain as it tapered off this evening.

But Wait, There’s More!

Starting around midnight tonight, Momma Storm will follow Baby Storm into our region, dumping another 1 to 2 feet on us, depending on how much of it comes down as sleet and freezing rain and how much turns out to be the Fluffy Stuff.

Now some people dislike snow, and to them I say, “You’re in the wrong place, my friend!”  Though in my travels today (oh yes, I did!) most of the folks I came across were smiling broadly while visions of sugar plums and cross-country skiing danced in their fuzzy hippie heads.

Anyway, if it’s snow we’ll all be squealing like little piggies, and if it’s freezing rain, it will look like this:

Thems iz blackberries under glass, taken in [the real] Florida before this present atmospheric hiccup.

Either way, I’m digging this winter, and expecting to spend a significant part of tomorrow up on the roof, lightening the load and substantially reducing the distance from there to the ground below.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog reading.


Bog Pond, Savoy,MA. January 12, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I got up to Bog Pond this afternoon, where I had previously photographed the sastrugi in my last post, mostly because I thought I’d missed an opportunity to walk around and see what the winds had wrought, knowing that we’re about to get a fair snowfall over the next twelve hours (it’s already begun,) and that the place would be significantly different tomorrow.

My walkabout proved to be uneventful and only minimally inspiring from a photographic point of view, but I found the solitude to be almost spiritual; the ice was highly textured and unexpectedly three dimensional, while the thin snow, carved into wind-scoured ridges and troughs, crunched and whined beneath my boots and ski poles.  I half expected a sudden glimpse of wildlife going about its business, perhaps a bear or big cat scavenging for a snack, but was disappointed on that count.  It may be that their superior sensitivity to things like the incoming storm had driven them to shelter, or more likely I was just too clumsy and noisy to earn an invitation to join to their polite society of locals.

In any event, I took a few photos, such as this one of the floating vegetative mats of leatherleaf, bog cranberries and other such things which make up the unique flora of Bog Pond:

The ice itself was a riot of cracks and crazes  and lumps and bumps of undiscerned origin:

By the time I took this one I’d been trouncing around on the Bog for at least an hour and had learned what  I needed to know – stay out of the yellow spots, which were soft enough to be preying on the snow above them, and stick to the smoky blue patches.  Failure to adhere to this rule resulted in wet boots and slowed progress, neither of which was a good thing here in the high country, where getting it right means getting home with all one’s fingers and toes intact.

Tonight we’re going to get a nice winter storm and, if the internets are to be believed, a healthy heaping of snow.  I hope they’re right about that – it will be beautiful!

Thanks again to Elliot for these shots; I don’t think I’d have gotten them without his ability to lay down a plain of focus on my surrounding reality.

It’s Winter! December 30, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Like most of the Northeast, we’re having a bit of winter here in The Berks.  It’s pretty up in the hills, with scenes like this one, a late afternoon shot of a shoulder of Spruce Hill up in Florida:

We didn’t get as much here as many nearby areas did, but the roads were nonetheless slick with blowing snow for a couple of days, and the streams descending through hushed cascades offered me an opportunity to break out Gizmo for a few close-ups:


That last one was taken beneath a heavy overcast; I really liked the textures and palette which came through.


Meanwhile, Up River… December 12, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Saturday turned into a pretty nice day, with thin clouds interspersed with breaks of sun.  I left my sunrise shoot in Shelburne Falls and headed up river to enjoy the nascent winter scenery.

The Chickley river in West Charlemont was looking pristine, with its ice hummocks steeped in deep-green waters:

Its tributaries, cascading over ledge drops, built ice castles along the way:

I really dig the forms ice takes as streams plunge and burble their way toward the sea.

We have a lot of that around here, with our abundance of topographical relief, and our innumerable rivers and streams.  Be patient with me, as I’m in love with this stuff and bound to get repetitive as the winter rolls on.

Encased. November 26, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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It rained last night, and as the temperature hereabouts was just above freezing, all we got was wet.

But up The Trail from here, in the incongruously named town of Florida, it was a decidedly different scene.  Trees bent double under a winter’s weight of ice.  Below them, the ground-level denizens held their breaths beneath a transparent blanket as if striking a pose:

This little blossom of Pineapple Weed, usually found in summer, was just coming out in this environment of Nine Months of Winter, and wasn’t likely to be pollinated this time ’round.  Guess that’s how it goes up there in the hills.

So winter’s coming, and with it, a whole new aesthetic.

I’m psyched.  😉

Burnett Pond. November 24, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Got out to Burnett Pond in Savoy the other evening, a spot not quite visible from the road, but nonetheless worth a visit or two.

The ice is just beginning to form up there (Savoy’s a “hill town,” whereas I live in the Deerfield river valley) and I found a few views worth setting up for.

Here’s one, perhaps my favorite [who in God’s name leads with ‘their favorite??’ ], a reflection of ice forming beneath a nascent sunset:

The pond was still enough to see past the coalescing ice to its shallow shoreline bottom:

…to the wind-whipped ripples of golden sand beneath a textured slurry of water in-between states:

Finally the sunset did its thing, coloring the sky in hues of citrus and garnet:

It’ll be colder tonight, and at the risk of boring you, I’ll be up way before dawn in search of ice.

Icing On The Pond! November 21, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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A fringe of ice appears along the shore of a pond high up in Savoy:

December’s coming, and with it, I expect we’ll see an end to this aesthetically challenged Season of Brown.

I’m looking forward to it!

It’s A-Comin’! November 8, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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…Winter, that is.

Last night the wind blew and the sleet and freezing rain pelted the house; this morning’s ride over the mountain to work was slow and nerve-wracking, as I’m waiting ’till after my December auto inspection to put my studded snows on.

Still, I’m a big fan of winter.  I’m amazed by it, by the aesthetics of shimmering ice, of the remnants of Autumn entombed in sparkling light, of steely skies swirling over a landscape lit by the long, low rays of a cold sun.

I broke out Elliot to snag this shot on the way home:

I’m always struck by that deep-blue-horizon thing which happens as a storm recedes eastward.

I’ll apologize ahead of time for boring you all to tears with this stuff, but I just can’t get enough of it, and Lord knows I need the practice !  😉