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A Quickie. April 1, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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On the way back north from Saturday’s visit to The City, I pulled off in Northampton to see what was shakin’ in the fields down by the airport.  I found a little patch of Bugleweed, Ajuga reptans,  blooming well ahead of its usual June appearance:

That’s courtesy of Elliot and a hand-held reverse grad ND filter.

That was about all I could manage in the still-relatively-barren expanses beneath dismal skies.

The forests and fields are confused, with mid-summer temperatures interspersed with snow and sleet events.

I can’t say that I blame them…

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Expecting Spring. February 26, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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The fields outlying Northampton ought to be deep in snow this time of year, anticipating the annual floods which accompany the Spring thaw.

But they’re not.  They’re silt-laden from the waters of Irene, cracked and dried in the subsequent sun, and anticipating nothing beyond longer days and warmer temperatures:

The Holyoke Range recedes into the east, with Mount Hitchcock appearing as the high point, though it’s not quite that.

With nothing to melt in these parts and scant snow cover up north, I’m not anticipating much of a Spring Surge on the Connecticut river, the once-proud benefactor of the fertile farmlands of its namesake valley.

Again, I wonder what this is all coming to.  Change happens whether we participate in it or not – I’m not lamenting the change, but rather wondering if we’re causing it to happen faster than the rest of Nature can adapt.

This is a bit more of Elliot’s handiwork, though the foreground fodder was barely worth noticing.

Stormy Weather. May 7, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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It’s been raining a lot here this past week.

Now, I’m not complaining – Spring rains give us wildflowers and fresh green grass ad the promise of a bountiful garden.

But I’m struggling to keep our lawn mowed and get that garden into the ground without wallowing in mud; I guess my idealized vision of the bucolic country life is being challenged.

Ah well, history recalls that the lawn will  get mowed and the garden will  get planted, and in the interim I can pass the time wandering the countryside looking for emotionally kinetic vistas to photograph, such as this storm flowing along the northern horizon, dropping its liquid gold on the fertile fields of Franklin County:

The view from the fallow corn fields south of the Northampton Airport.

Now I’m off to dump a bucket of compost onto the heap where the garden is supposed to be, and if my shoes aren’t soaked by the time I get there, I’ll be firing up the ride-on mower; if they are  wet, I’ll just have to fire up the Toyota and go look for consolation prizes.

Namaste.

The Hitchcocks. March 27, 2011

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That would be Mount Hitchcock, straddling the border between Hadley and South Hadley, Massachusetts, and here seen presiding over the flood plains along the Connecticut River:

The foreground puddle is a remnant of melting snow; these fields will be plowed for corn when they’re dry enough.

…and Lake Hitchcock:  The plains of Northampton and Hadley are vestiges of the lake-bottom varves, or seasonally deposited sediments, laid down by the Pleistocene-era Lake Hitchcock, which stretched about two hundred miles from northern Vermont to southern Connecticut between 15,000 and 12,000 years ago.  The lake eventually found a path around its terminal moraine dam down by present-day Rocky Hill, CT and the lake drained, leaving only the current Connecticut River in its place, here seen passing beneath the Cooley-Dickenson Bridge between Northampton and Hadley:

This is another example of a failed sunset foray producing something else worth looking at, at least for me!

Noho Arroyo. March 26, 2011

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Every once in a while an image appears to me which seems like it’s more representative of some place other than Western Massachusetts.  That happened last evening while mucking through the now-drying cornfields of southeastern Northampton.

Here’s a shot which, had it been on a grander scale, might have been taken in the American West:

I was cruising for a sunset which didn’t really materialize, but one takes what one can get, no?

Courtesy of Elliot, my TS-EII lens.

Two Moons. March 18, 2011

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Taken tonight, just before sunset, from the muddy fields along the Connecticut river in Northampton.

First, with a hillside of hemlocks and birches:

…and then, after running through ankle-deep muck with Gizmo slung over my shoulder, this one with the Skinner Park Summit House in the frame:

I’ll clean the shoes tomorrow; tonight I’m gonna look at these for a bit, then hit the hay.

G’night, my friends.

More Valley Shots. March 4, 2011

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Here are a few shots from a recent evening down by the Connecticut river.

First, a view from a corn field near the Northampton Airport:

…with the Seven Sisters range receding into the distance.  Courtesy of Elliot, my 24mm Canon TS-EII lens.

This expanse of flood plain is broken only by widely spaced tree rows…

…and the occasional farm out-building:

Here’s a view of the sun setting over that same area, from across the river in Hadley:

By the end of the month there’s a strong possibility that much of what’s in these photos will be at least partially under water –  the plains of Northampton are outside of the levee system which protects the town proper.

More on this as the waters rise.

Amherst Orchid Show, 2011. February 28, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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OK folks, it’s time for Our Yearly Orchasm!

The Amherst Orchid Show, held again this year in Northampton (!) is a sight for winter-weary eyes – a large room full of outrageous form and color, and stuffed full of delighted Flower Zombies milling about and muttering, “Oh, Harold, look at THIS one!”

At first glance it’s a cacophony of color:

…but like much of what’s complex in the world, it divulges its secrets to those willing to take it apart.

A constellation of stars rode high above a ruby sunset:

…as a choir of Angels descended from their Heavenly trellis:

…and a family looked up in slack-jawed amazement :

There were simple single blossoms:

…and some that were fantastical in form:

There were Lady’s Slippers:

…and classics of the family Orchidaceae:

There were interesting pairings of climbers:

…and standers:

…the depths of which caused palpitations in otherwise staid admirers:

…and still others which challenged Elvis for the title of King of the Velvet:

…and some so other-worldly as to seem like beautiful fictions:

I think that’s my favorite shot from the day.

A lot of these takes were in the 15-30 second range; I’d love a chance to get in there without the crowds milling about, as even the breezes of passing people caused enough motion in the more delicate specimens to make photographing them a low-probability prospect.  Nonetheless, I got better shots this year than last, and I’m pretty jazzed about that.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed viewing these as much as I enjoyed taking them.

G’night, now!

😉

Happy Valentine’s Day! February 14, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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To all of you with love in your life, a big hug.  And to all of you still looking for that special person to go the rest of the way with, an even bigger hug!

And to My Susan, this ice sculpture, found outside of Spoleto Italian Restaurant in downtown Northampton:

It may be a made-up, commercially motivated holiday, but hey, any excuse to say “I love you,” ya know?

😉

Downtown Northampton. December 23, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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Our local urban mecca, rendered in the stark light of a small city night:

I caught the current crescent moon in that one.

Plain ol’ urban shots:

Not my standard Nature fare, but rather more play with Elliot.

Hope you don’t mind the digression.