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Lupines. May 31, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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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.



A Visit To The Bridge… May 18, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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…of Flowers, of course!

I’ve been photographing here for enough years so that I now seldom bring my camera when visiting.  Our town’s art spaces and galleries are full of images from here, some magnificent, some pretty OK.  And frankly, I’m not looking for a place in that queue.

But still, whenever I’m in town I find the short walk across the Bridge of Flowers to be irresistible, and if  I don’t have my camera with me I regret it.

So the challenge becomes to take a photo I haven’t before, to see things a bit differently.

Enter Elliot, and the prospect of limiting  the area of sharp focus rather than increasing it.  It’s counter-intuitive for me, as I usually try to extend my depth of field in my landscapes, but the distinctly non-planar landscape of The Bridge demands a somewhat different approach.

Well, enough words, and on to the images from yesterday, some more pronouncedly limiting focus, some laying a plane across petal-tops.  All the result of my undying love of The Bridge.

The depending blossoms of Solomon’s Seal:

A blossom on a bush peony which would easily fill both of my hands:

Alliums, thigh-high and beaming:

Azaleas (at the far end of the A’s):

A sprig of blue lupines:

…all taken on a breezy day, with a great deal of effort expended to counteract that fact, except for in this image of wind-whipped wisteria wound around a bit of superstructure:

I courted both the stasis of the woody vines and the kinetics of the dancing leaves, and am happy with the take-away.

All of these were hand-held, experiments as it were in tilt-shift photography, and encourage me to get back there with a tripod and attempt to do it right.  A more deliberate approach might yet yield fresh images.

Field Of Dreams. June 9, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Up the hill from here there’s a high valley known as Pudding Hollow, a beautiful little spot with a dozen or so houses, a picturesque stream and some grand views to the north.  It’s well known for, among other things, a field of lupines which is in bloom this month:

The property owners have been very accommodating about photographing their fields, so long as people are respectful and don’t trample or pick the flowers.  On my most recent visit the skies didn’t really deliver what I was looking for, but then, it’s hardly fair to complain about beautiful weather:

Those are both courtesy of Elliot, though the non-planar nature of the subjects made them sub-optimal candidates for tilt-shift photography.

I’m keeping an eye out for conditions with a bit more “atmospherics,” though; a calm morning with rising mists might obscure some of the flaws in these compositions and add some needed drama.

I guess time will tell about that idea.

Lupines In Hawley. June 9, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Up in Hawley sits a lupine field which has been growing for years, planted by a woman whose children are presently quite elderly.  It’s a magical place, set in a hollow in the hills (Pudding Hollow, to be precise,) and catches the clouds on days like today:

A short while back my friend Lizz and I visited on a sunnier day, and the blooms were spectacular:

I was particularly taken by the coral ones:

…and by their juxtaposition with other wildflowers like this buttercup:

It’s a really cool spot, and with the short window of lupine blooms, has to be appreciated while the appreciatin’s good.

And I’m happy to be able to share them with you.

Ruby Tuesday: Random Photo Dump. June 8, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Summer flowers of a Ruby Hue.

Water lilies, gone by and left with their reddened stumps:

…and at water’s edge, mountain laurel in full bloom:

Then, on the ride home, a patch of lupines in a country yard:

Not exactly wild, as they were sewn straight outta Johnny’s Seeds, but they certainly were Rubilicious!

Thanks to Mary over at Work of the Poet for this fun meme!

A Few Columbines. July 4, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.

Yeah, it’s the Fourth of July, but the words are still stuck in a viscous slurry of resentment and rage.

So rather than embarrass myself with an ill-thought-out rant about what the fuck is wrong with our country on its 232nd birthday, here are a few pictures of lupines along the Bridge of Flowers.

It’s not quite nature photography, but it’s farther still from the tirade I’m sparing you from.

Just a bit of beauty to “take the edge off,” as it were.

Saturday, 6AM. June 8, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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The alarm sounds a blessed hour later than on weekdays, and instead of the Monday-through-Friday routine of hitting “snooze” at least once, I’m up, stumbling, microwaving the last of yesterday’s coffee as I throw on yesterday’s clothes and head out the door, putting the shower and shave on hold.

Outside, I’m predictably enveloped in a blanket of white as the overnight rains rise from the lowlands in a pageant of visual nothingness, drawn upward by the dawn into the waiting arms of Father Sky.

I should have been earlier, but I’m not. The Sun is rising, and I’m not where I need to be, but I’m trying, turning left across the river, right across the railroad tracks and winding uphill at an undignified speed.

Through the intermittent slapping of windshield wipers, I try to gage the movement of mist-shrouded grass. Are those leaves trembling, or is it just me, my anticipation, a pressure-wave of my passing?

Another left, then another, and I slow to a quiet pace, throw it into neutral and glide to a stop just past a small farmhouse whose kindly old occupant I hope not to disturb. She had been gracious on our first meeting, and delighted that I found such joy in the field of lupines her mother had planted; I don’t want my return to be an imposition.

“Come back next weekend, they’ll be just about right,” she had told me, her memory strong, her images clear, her history with this place informing us both. I thanked her then, and I thank her again now.

I tumble from my car into the still air, the mists of morning surrounding me, the sun coming over the eastern skyline, and stand before a field of pink and blue spikes, perfect, as she had told me a week earlier that they would be, and work quickly to capture the scene as Jesus Rays break gloriously through the damp air of the surrounding forest:

She gave me this gift, a gift her Mother had given to her, a gift I now share with you.

Thank You, Mother Earth,

Thank You, Father Sky, and

Thank You, Mother of the Lupines.


Yet More Reasons Why I Live Here: June 18, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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‘Cause it’s purdy:


…and it’s cool here when it’s hot out…


And because there are enough of us progressives here so that I don’t feel like a Stranger in a Strange Land.

I’m a lucky guy.