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The Grrrlz Of Summer. June 17, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Summer brings the wildflowers out of the woods and into the meadows.  There, they face the reaper’s blade, as most of the grasslands in these parts get cut and baled several times during the warm season.

So it falls to me to be attentive to the rhythms of the seasons, and of the farmers who wring a living from them; a week early and the blooms aren’t happening, a week late and they’re in the feed.

Today saw me taking the long way to everywhere, snaking my way across the Eastern Front of the Berkshires in convoluted lines, connecting every reflecting pool and flowered meadow I could think of that was remotely in between me and Mount Greylock, my intended destination for the afternoon.  I was hunting, you see, for something to share with you.

Up in Windsor, I got lucky.

Good Old Windsor, high and wide and starkly beautiful, a no-bullshit place of wind and sky and visual gems tucked amidst the casually unremarkable vastness.  This is one of the places where I first learned to get down on my belly and look harder.

Today, I beat the reaper, though just barely; every field I passed on the approach had either been hayed or had a tractor taking it down as I passed.

So I was pleased to top out on Windsor Mountain and find the meadows along Route 8A to be flush with flowers.  At the Moran Wildlife Management Area I pulled over and suited up prior to wading out into the waist-high grass, donning a Tyvek coverall duct-taped at the ankles and dosed with DEET.  I’ve been treated twice so far this year for Lyme disease, and now that I’m without health insurance, another go-around isn’t an option.

The sky wasn’t dramatic, but rather a patchwork of cotton-ball clouds in a deep blue firmament.  Still, it provided a passable foil for the flowers below.  Here blue flag irises and ragged robin punctuate a field of buttercups stretching over the horizon:

Across Route 8A hawkweed and clover held sway, barely contained by a stockade of spruces:

I love this place.  Wildflowers in Spring, meteorological drama in Summer, and some of the wildest Winter scenes I’ve seen in the East.

Both of these are from Elliot, with my tripod splayed low to the ground in an effort to Freeze the Breeze.  Between three and five degrees of tilt gave me acceptable depth of field without the longer exposures necessitated by smaller apertures, thereby mitigating the wind problem.  And I brought the skies down with a two-stop hard-step ND graduated filter.

Then it was onward to Mt. Greylock, which I’ll save for another post.





Irises On The Bridge. May 28, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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It happens that as I write this the irises on Shelburne Falls’ Bridge of Flowers are blooming spectacularly.  If you’re in the area, take a little time to visit.

If you’re not  in the area, consider taking a little time to see what I saw on a recent visit.  I know, you can’t smell them (they’re glorious!) or feel the wind against your cheek, or see the smiles of old folks with walkers or little children pointing with chubby fingers, but at least you can share in the beauty which envelopes us here this time of year.

A typical blue iris, in typical splendor:

These are no less amazing because of their ubiquity, and each one I passed called me to smother my face in its beauty:

Even the standard Blue Flags courted the affections of their neighbors, like this rose bud which couldn’t resist sneaking a kiss:

And there are irises of many colors besides blue, such as this tangerine beauty:

…and these virginal white lovelies:

…and their little tenants, bees and bugs and beetles:

Of course there are a lot of other flowers in bloom on The Bridge, but I’ll leave them for another post.

This one’s for the irises.


Dooryard Irises. May 21, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Here in The Berks, it’s an odd bit of a season, somehow suspended in between Spring and Summer.  March gave us 80 degree temps and a false start on the growing season, then April whacked us with stiff frosts.  It felt unnatural, and hung a lot of local plants out to dry, so to speak.

Still, some of the heartier specimens have pulled through, like these irises in our dooryard:

…fronted by their neighboring Alliums.

The bumblebees are loving these guys, just as hummingbirds are digging the alliums.  They’re a joy to watch on a warm evening, sitting on the porch and listening to the river run.

At any rate, that’s what’s happening just outside of my front door.

Thanks to Elliot for capturing it.

Hump-Day Dump! June 16, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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Here ’tis, the proverbial photo-dump.

You know, the stuff which doesn’t tell a story, but which you hate to delete without giving it its moment in the sun.

Dark blue columbines along the road in Savoy:

Orange hawkweed at a cemetery in upper Windsor:

Yellow Flag irises in a beaver swamp in Shelburne:

…and Blue Flag irises in a meadow, these back in Windsor, and set against a field of Ragged Robin and Buttercups:

The weather’s been un-June-like, rainy and cool.  Here the mists rise over a field in Charlemont:

I know, it’s grainy, but it’s a hand-held shot on a dimly lit evening, and consequently at a stupid high ISO.

And a bit later, a sunset as the clouds blew away:

Not a calendar shot, but perhaps worth sharing before I recycle it.

Hope your week is going well as we crest this thing and set our sights on sliding down the other side.

In Our Dooryard. June 3, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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Poppies and irises sway in the breeze of an early summer day:

Just a quick shot to let you know I’m still alive.