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A Frosty Morning. November 7, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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Election day dawned cold, well below freezing. I knew it wouldn’t stay cold all day, so I went for a shoot before I voted.

I was looking for frost, thinking of some wild strawberries I’d photographed a couple of years ago.

I didn’t find exactly that, but I did find some little things worth sharing.

A little frosted primrose:

…and a field mouse’s hole, frosted with mousey-breath:

I got there a bit late, and the ice crystals weren’t crisp.

I’ll try to be earlier next time.

Periwinkle. April 26, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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A carpet of mossy rocks and Periwinkle swathes a sugarbush in Rowe:

…and that is all.

A Walk In A Welcome Rain. April 23, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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It’s been dry here, bone dry, all of the last two months.  The ground is dust, the river is dry, the green shoots of Spring wilt as they emerge.

It ain’t right, I tell ya.

But last night we had a glorious inch of rain, trailing off to showers and drizzle as today progressed.  And while I’m not usually inclined to take a hike while it’s raining, this time was different, a blessing, and I got an early enough start to catch the last of the showers up on a ridge in Rowe, near the Raycroft Overlook.

I won’t say I packed lightly – camera and tripod, a pack full of lenses, and my rain set-up: a wooden stake tripod, big-ass hammer, two bungee cords and an umbrella.  ‘Cause I’m high-tech, you know.

Anyway, I drove as far out toward the Overlook as my oversized beast would take me without risking disaster, then loaded up and hiked onward to where the ridge narrowed to a rib of forest slicing through the fog and mist hiding the valley far below.

It was as magical as it always is in the mist – the last time I was here in these conditions, a big black bear loped by between me and the misty void, and though my vulnerability in that moment was clear, I wished it would happen again.

But it didn’t, and as I made my way through the hemlock forest I kept my senses open for a reason to set up the camera and umbrella.

I found this, a moss covered log so vibrant it startled me, cloaked in green velvet and sporting some newly emergent Orange jelly fungus (Dacrymyces palmatus ):

This is from Elliot, with about five degrees of tilt (!) and a hand-held three-stop ND graduated filter, which was the primary reason I needed the umbrella.  Little bugger doesn’t take kindly to getting wet.

I took a dozen shots, playing with composition and laying the plane of sharp focus in artsy ways, but none of them were more compelling than this simple early take, so that’s what I’m sharing here.

Frosted Moss. December 4, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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Early December has its moments.  Like its frosty mornings gilding the still-exposed Little Things:


Before long the snows of winter will bury this stuff ’till spring.  For now, though, I’ll be trying to get shots of it to share here at LBT.

Hope your weekend was relaxing.

Now, get back to work!


Small Wonders. April 29, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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This time of year, mosses and lichens pitch their particular brand of woo by flaunting their engorged reproductive structures amidst the decaying detritus of Last Year’s Models.

Here are a few examples of what you might see if you were as low to the ground as I am (well, ok, I got down on my belly to see these intricate tableaus so you wouldn’t have to!)

Spore-bearing structures swell on a common moss:

(I called the photo “moss flowers,” but in fact mosses and lichen far predate the evolution of true flowers.)

Many types of small evergreen plants co-mingle in the moist forests of the Berkshires:

The new grow through the old, presenting a range of textures and colors:

Some spore structures are club-like while others resemble the flagellae of, um, much “higher orders” of life:

These whip-like structures are calyptrae,  and are spore bearing.

…and still others present as fleshy pink protuberances on a sea of baby-blue scales:

And to think that all of these amorous apparitions disappear at the straightening of a spine!

The moral:  Tread lightly on Mother Nature; Get Down and Go Slow – or you might never know what world of beauty just dissolved beneath your feet!

Small Wonders. April 17, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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I got out today, between showers, to see which of Nature’s Children might have been coaxed from their seasonal sleep.  All around there were signs of Spring, from green shoots to buds popping in the trees, despite the dampness and the chill wind.  Surveying the gently swaying world, I opted to hunker down for some ground-level investigation.

My first stop was an overgrown stone wall down by the Deerfield, and there I struck Photographer’s Gold – a world of miniature structures clinging implausibly to the weathered schist boulders stacked along the road to Rowe.

Wading into an ankle-deep slurry of last year’s leaves and this year’s run-off, I contorted my tripod in a way which the better ones accommodate and set to work with Ziggy, my 50mm macro lens.

The results were gratifying for an early-season foray – last year’s miniature perennials poking through a bed of lichen:

…the reproductive trumpets of another stage of that lichen:

…and a tiny fern asserting its presence in a crowd of lichens and moss:

These colors are right out of the box, not adjusted in any way; they’re pretty nice just as Nature made them!

Thank you, Mother Earth; thank you, Father Sky.

At A Road Cut. April 8, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Spring’s vibrancy was evident this past week, with above average temperatures yeilding above average results:

Moss on a road cut between Charlemon and Zoar, this shot being from Gizmo, my 400mm L-series lens.

Colors Of Spring. April 3, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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No, not flowers, though there will be plenty of those soon enough.

Today I have a pair of sensorial opposites.  First, the lithic permanence of the granitic gneiss of Salmon Falls:

…the intriguing geometry and variegated colors of which never cease to amaze me; and second, a softer vision – a tiny snippet of a bed of golden moss:

…found glowing in the late day sun, as it is wont to do.  The delicate intricacy of this stuff always stuns me, and I’ll doubtless bore you with it as Spring progresses.  Consider it a weakness of mine, and forgive me my trespasses, as I’ll forgive those who tread unaware on such delicate beauty.

Changing Seasons. March 23, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Between the snows of Winter and the blossoms of Spring sets the season of Mud, with its gray skies and awakening pallette.

Receding snows reveal last season’s corn stubble:

A horse roots for green shoots on a southern Vermont farm:

…and a patch of moss springs to life in the first warm days of the season:

It’s not fully here yet, but it’s coming.

Frost. November 20, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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In this case, mid-morning frost on a carpet of moss in a field where I’m currently working.  The shade of a stand of fir trees kept the frost in place until coffee break, when I gathered my kit and dashed out into the scrub to snag a couple of photos.

I’m glad I did, even though they were quite rushed.

Moss, supporting a sprawl of wild strawberries:

…and a closer shot of strawberry plants gone red as the freeze comes on:

The full-sized versions of these two photos display the temporal layering of successive ice deposits as what looks here to be chunks of Morton salt.  But trust me, it’s good ol’ H2O.

These come our way courtesy of Ziggy, my 50mm Sigma prime lens.