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This Afternoon… January 21, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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…in Williamstown, Lizz B. and I checked out a farm southwest of town and found some interesting out-buildings on a cold and somber day:

This is another one of those places which was doubtless once grand, but now its half-dozen buildings are held together by the vines which are taking them apart:

Their weathered exteriors look ancient:

…but their insides remember better days:

We got chilled to the bone, lost patience with out toes, and retreated for a heated drive to another place I know, a farm for sale below Mount Greylock:

Lizz homed in on an old truck I’ve photographed before:

…while I explored farther afield, having been told their was another grand old beast in the woods down below.

And so there was – a long lost cousin of the truck up above.  They told it not to go down to the Wooly Swamp, but it wouldn’t listen, and now it’s paying for its youthful impetuosity by spending eternity mired in muck and entangled in thorns:

I do  hope you children are listening!

Back at the ranch, we looked inside the larger barn to find a coven of tractors casting spells on all who entered.  They made me render them in black and white:

I swear, I was powerless against their magic…

We’ll doubtless be back to this place soon.

The tractors insist!

Wishing I Was There. March 4, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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My housemate and photographic mentor Lizz is spending a few weeks in the Desert Southwest, chasing the Spring wildflower blooms.  Rumor has it she’s meeting with some success, and frankly, I’m a little jealous – my partial unemployment (a seasonal routine in my line of work) keeps me here but not fully occupied.

And there are only so many photos I can take of my little piece of the world in any given season before I’m ready for a change.

So, in solidarity with Lizz (and to keep from going nuts,) I bought a little “red capped” cactus into which I can disappear whenever I want to feel like I’m in the desert.

Like right now, for instance:

You might be saying, “Hey, that’s not RED, it’s ORANGE!!”  To which I say, “Yup.”  It was the only one among the specimens I saw which wasn’t red, and being the person I am, I dug it.

And until Lizz gets back with her photo-booty, it’ll have to do.

G’night now.

We Almost Missed It. January 18, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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As part of a day trip up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Frau B. and I hoped to snag a few sunrise pictures at the shore in Portsmouth.  As we got off the highway and headed for the water, the sky grew red and roiling, and we savored what we weren’t set up to photograph.  By the time we parked at seaside the sun had just broken the horizon and the clouds had lost their light.  I grabbed Eliot but left the tripod in the truck – this was either going to happen in about the next minute, or it wasn’t going to happen.

My rule of thumb in quickly changing compositions is to fire off a shot, then fine-tune my settings, thanks to the instant replay capability of digital.  At least that way I have something from the moment.  So this first one is underexposed, but I liked what I saw, so I kept it:

I didn’t mess with that color, just cropped it.  I got lucky (well, made an educated guess) with the focus, which can be hard for me in low light, especially with the “tilt” requiring checking both near and far points of focus.

Lizz was set up to my left among some rocks, so I headed on over.  She tends to know what she’s doing, and  I’m happy to learn by following her around.

My goal for this outing was to use Eliot as much as possible and hopefully get quicker with it.  I’d found a website with tilt-tables for the common focal lengths of tilt-shift lenses, based on height above the plane of focus (the Hinge Rule,) and though I could only assume that the values would result in a horizontal POF, I’d memorized a few of the larger ones and had Eliot set accordingly.

This one was at a degree and a half, three feet off the plane of the water:

The increasing light made focusing easier, and it seemed that the table was working!

I was really pleased with the cloud reflections on that one.

With the sun breaking free of the horizon, the remaining color was in the other direction.  The rocks were ruddy with the dawn:

Low tide was good to us, despite being too late for the spectacular predawn show.

Anza-Borrego, Part Three. April 24, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Talk about milking a gig – Part Three, and I may not even be done yet!

This place was a trip, a real challenge for a New England boy, used to forested hills and fields of green.  We had approached Anza-Borrego Desert State Park from the east, driving up out of the Salton Sea, which looked completely uninhabitable to me, then gaining a little elevation into a bowl of desert surrounded by mountains.

They weren’t particularly large until you contemplate their passage.  On foot.

The valley bottom was riddled with shallow “canyons,” drainages where the seasonal rains would gather to grow green things in an otherwise brown world:

A-B canyon with chickory

This desert chickory was cool, having a diferent light than our bluish Eastern version:

desert chickory close-up

And the washes, despite their dry sand surfaces, were awash with Spring:

canyon sunflowers

Climbing up out of the drainages, the desert assumed the angularity of a landscape hewn by the wind:


These lilies were amazing – I loved the tight kinks of their leaves and the intensity of their white blossoms:

lil lily

Frau B suggested that we check out an area promisingly known as the Desert Garden, which proved to be an excellent call:

blue flowers

Blue agaves provided the appropriate punctuation to this landscape of light:

agave stem

…and were in turn accented by an array of wildflowers:


lying skeletons

Chuparosas and ocotillos punctuated the scene, dancing in the wind as we waited to shoot between the stronger gusts:


Eventually it got so windy that we didn’t know whether to hang onto our cameras or our hats:

lizz's hat

…so we packed it up and headed back north.

But that’s another post!