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Fire! September 28, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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We’re driving through the predawn darkness, velvety, thick, silent.  I’d like to catch a sunrise, and Susan would like to catch me doing so.

I have a spot in mind, up in Windsor where spruce forests crowd ankle deep around cool bogs and tall grasses wave from rolling fields, having overgrown and outlasted carpets of Spring wildflowers.

But we’re late.  I strain forward in my seat as if to beat the spinning of the Earth.  The blackness cupping our headlights loosens its hold and phantom spruce spires appear against a graying sky.

Damn! It’s a lot more overcast than I had hoped – high clouds are a plus when shooting sunrises, but these look to be a bit much.  I begin to doubt the wisdom of getting up at 4:30 and hope I’m not dragging Susan along on a fool’s errand.

We speed ahead as jagged silhouettes coalesce into twisted spruces and cat-tail bogs rendered in shades of Kansas gray.

And then, just as the trees part and a high meadow appears on our left, it happens – the monotone clouds turn pink, grow brighter, and burst into…


Fabulous flames fan out from the furnace of the Sun as it rolls over the horizon, forcing itself into the crack between Heaven and Earth.

We careen to a jostling stop on the sloping shoulder and I fumble with my tripod and change my camera settings.  Why am I never quite ready when this happens???

I get the shot, but just barely.  In a minute the land is lit and the palette changes to oranges and purples and the grasses green up.  Not that that’s a bad thing, just different:

Too soon, with little fanfare, the show is over and it’s morning up in Windsor.  The spiky phantasms become spruces and birches and swamp maples cloaked in their fall finery, their feet lovingly tended to by the last wildflowers of summer:

Across the road a gently bowed meadow of green grasses gone to rust cradles a blanket of morning fog, and through a growing break in the clouds we’re given the gift of a gibbous moon:

We stand silently watching ’till we’re interrupted by rude grumblings from our stomachs.

It’s time to go find some breakfast.

Summer Wildflowers. June 6, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Summer is a time for wildflowers which grow in open spaces.  Roadsides run riot, and fields flower furiously between mowings.

Here are a couple of early examples of that.

Ragged Robin rages in a high meadow in Windsor:

That one is courtesy of Elliot, my Canon TS-E lens, and exhibits relative clarity from about ten feet to infinity despite being taken on a windy afternoon, thanks to a fair degree of tilt and shift.

This next one, a field of buttercups up in Ashfield taken the next day, is courtesy of the same lens without the shenanigans, that is, no tilt or shift, just a straight-on shot, as there was nothing in the foreground which needed a close focus:

New England isn’t the best venue for a T-S lens, as it’s not particularly planar – one is much more likely to find suitable subjects on the plains of the Midwest or in the deserts of the Southwest.

But we make do with what we have, don’t we?