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Reflections. May 9, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Here are some shots of reflected scenes, now that the wind has finally  died down.

From North Pond up in Savoy, red maple catkins viewed through an evening fog:

The muted forest amplified itself in the tannic waters:

Up the shoreline, three locals drank beer and waited indifferently for the fish to bite.  One of them, seeing my camera, put down his Budweiser and mooned me.  But I was too slow to inflict that horror on you, and just got this view of the “action:”

And lastly, a shot from this afternoon, of a sunken walkway at the edge of a pond in New Hampshire:

It was far less foggy, but the composition caught my eye.

I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed finding them.




Mount Washington. February 9, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I spent this past weekend in New Hampshire, ostensibly to enjoy the Mount Washington Valley Ice Festival, but truth be told, I’m not much of a climber these days.

I mean, I still dabble in it, but not much I’m going to do will compare with the stuff I did in my younger days.  Time hasn’t ravaged me as it might have, but neither has its effect been inconsequential; my shoulders are shot, my right ankle is a mess and my waist is no longer 26″.

But perhaps the most telling sign of my aging is what I appreciate about climbing.  I love the movement, and have all but given up roped climbing, preferring instead to climb easy terrain smoothly and steadily, unencumbered  by the technicalities of rope work and building anchors; I love the views, preferring to climb somewhere beautiful rather than somewhere famously difficult.

And I’m not into risk for glory’s sake.  The weekend sported two nights of slide shows and videos of Famous Climbers doing the nearly-impossible in the most unforgiving of styles, treading the razor’s edge between Cover Shot Immortality and  a page three obituary.  It left me more sad than excited, more moved to introspection than motivated to raise the bar on my own accomplishments.

And it left me thankful that I have another avenue of expression besides creating dicey new routes, which I’ve had the privilege of doing in Days Past.  I have my camera, and a few people who seem to enjoy looking at my photographs, giving me the perfect excuse to blow off the climbing and just cruise around taking pictures.  🙂

I’m also blessed with the company of my friend Lizz, my housemate and another climber/photographer of similar vintage, who has no problem letting go of the Glory Days in favor of a day behind the lens.

So Saturday was spent driving and hiking and snapping photos of Beautiful New Hampshire, not the coastal version with the lighthouses, but the higher and drier White Mountains.  We got up before sunrise to catch that event below the flanks of Mt. Chocorua, and though the skies were unspectacular and it was an easy ten below, we did manage to snap one or two off.

Mt. Chocorua at sunrise:

…followed by a hasty retreat to the heat of our vehicles and a yummy breakfast back in town.  We wavered about where to go next, then settled on a trip up Crawford Notch to the higher climes of Fabyan Station and Bretton Woods and views of Mount Washington.

We got up there mid-morning, and despite the increase in altitude the hours had worked their magic and the temperature was much more manageable.  I got this shot of Mount Washington from the south going up Crawford Notch:

…and this one from farther west, up by Bretton Woods:

Mount Washington is on the right, with Mount Adams (my personal favorite) on the left.  I was jazzed about the lenticular clouds forming over both peaks and being driven off eastward by the winds at higher altitudes, as lenticulars are wont to do.  Also in that last photo is the Mount Washington Hotel, a gorgeous place to drop a few pence and the place where the Bretton Woods Accords came to be in 1945, establishing both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  I have mixed feelings about both, but the Hotel is historic and beautiful and available, albeit at a price.

Mt. Washington’s summit was in and out of the clouds, with its buildings and structures coated in wind-driven rime ice:

…courtesy of Gizmo, by the way.  This piece of terrain embodies both Heaven and Hell, depending on conditions, and I have to say I’ve been there to experience both.

Now, neither Lizz nor I are Born Lookers, and roadside vistas don’t really satiate us.  So we headed back to the Mount Clinton road, found the Crawford Path trailhead, and ‘shoed up for the hike up toward the Mizpah Springs hut.  It was by now mid-day, but we determined that we’d go as far as time allowed.

The hike was steep, the snow was deep and the whole situation was magical:

Given our time constraints we didn’t quite make it up to treeline, but rather caught gimpses of the northern horizon through the trees:

It was a day well spent, even if the photos were less than spectacular.

On Sunday we hit the cliffs for a bit of climbing; film at eleven.  😉

Last Weekend In New Hampshire. January 20, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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On a day trip with my friend Lizz.

She drove, I slept.  It was pretty cush.

We struck a glancing blow to a sunrise in Portsmouth, then headed on up to The Kank(amagus Highway) and the trailhead for Champney Falls, a cool spot where, on a good year,  there are some radical ice climbs.

The weather was great for hiking, and my lame ankle held up well for the hour-or-so approach.  The trail was well packed and the walking was easy, though at times icy.  I focused on my footwork to avoid tweaking my damaged joints.

We got to The Falls in time to find a small group of guys top-roping thick ice at the left end of things:

It looked like great ice, thick and steep, but it wasn’t the thin stuff the place was known for.

We dropped our packs and broke out the cameras and started playing with the light.

Now, Lizz and I met each other as ice climbers, and we both have decades of mindful experience under our belts.  So it’s hard for us to stand around and watch  people climb, especially when they’re sketchin’ and looking insecure.

And these guys were.   It’s probably not evident in this photo to a non-climber:

…but Lizz and I were fairly crawling out of our skins watching them, and we made a tacit agreement to put our points back on and polish up our Mad Skillz so we might be of some use as role models in these situations in the future.

Anyway, here are a few more shots from the day.

Ice on a blue sky wall:

Dendritic icicles in the stream bed:

Frau B. setting up a shot:

…and what she saw:

…a distant Mount Tripyramid (we think. There are a ton of tightly-packed peaks in The Whites.)

We ended the day down at the Swift River:

…well-frozen, that.

Then we stopped at Rocky Gorge Scenic Area.   The footbridge over the river:

Not the best light, but it was what it was.

All in all, a great day, topped off with a quick dinner at a brew pub/smoke house, and a nice nap on the ride home.

Thanks, Lizz.  😉