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A Bog Pond Outing. February 13, 2013

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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6 comments

Way up in the hills from my valley home sits the town of Savoy, and a big patch of Savoy Mountain State Forest (parts of which are found in other adjacent towns.) It’s a land of boreal forests and wind-swept ponds, usually frozen long before their valley counterparts.

This past weekend I got up there with my sweetie Susan for a few hours of snowshoeing.

The weather was perfect, cold enough for physical effort but not so windy as to risk exposed skin. We strapped on our ‘shoes in the pull-off at the pond’s spillway, she learning about the bindings of her new shoes, me trying to adjust mine to a pair of felt-pacs which I usually don’t wear with them. I spend a majority of my outdoor time in steeper terrain and generally use a stiffer, more technical boot.

The skies were an amazing shade of blue, with high clouds doing a choreographed dance across the firmament:

FB Sky Detail

We headed across the pond, marveling at the sculpted snow, breathing deep the cold, clean air:

Bog Pond_7517

Susan took to her snowshoes without a hitch, and was having a great time:

_MG_7516

Heheh!  🙂

She took this photo of me in my element, the Great Outdoors:

At Bog Pond

We’re both so packed full of warm accessories, I have boobs!

A great white birch along the shore looked spectacular against the deep blue sky, and I couldn’t resist snapping this one off:

_MG_7594

We took a little detour into the mixed shoreline forest, here captured in a black and white image which I hope conveys the quiet weight of the winter woods:

Savoy Forest B&W

I took the B&W aesthetic back out onto the pond, capturing this image of a waiver of ghosts rising from the wind-tortured snow:

A Waiver of Ghosts

..and this one of a very low sun illuminating the underbellies of some interesting wind-sculpted features:

_MG_7607 B&W

I’m amazed at the difference between these two images, with shadows defining the first and light delineating the second.

My apologies to those of you who already saw some of these on Facebook, but this forum serves as a more accessible record for me, rather than just being a point in the torrent-stream of Facebook.

This was a beautiful afternoon of being outdoors and sharing that with my sweetie. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed the excursion.

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The Mists Of May. May 4, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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This past week has been cold and rainy, putting my gardening plans on hold and sending me out in search of the mystical images which arise in these conditions.

Here are a few which fall into that category, all from Bog Pond up in Savoy, MA.

A mat of peat and associated shrubs floats in the mist on a foggy evening:

Shoreline shrubs frame the view:

While Autumn is widely regarded as the Northeast’s colorful season, I’m a fan of the subtler colors of Spring, which are startlingly fresh and vibrant if one opens their mind to them:

…and then, the light levels dropped and the scene faded to gray.

And so it goes, and so it goes.

A Road Rebuilt. December 15, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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Route 2, the main east-west corridor along Massachusetts’ Northern Tier, has been closed through Savoy and Florida since Tropical Storm Irene took her pound of flesh from it this past August.

While local state highway engineers proclaimed this road closed for the next five years, I insisted that it had to be open before winter, and suffered their snide, derisive laughter.  After all, I was just a hired surveyor.

Today, December 15th, 2011, Route 2 reopened, thanks not to me (though I helped) but to the resolve of our Governor Duval Patrick, who demanded that it be so and unleashed all of the resources at his command to see that it would  be so.

The long washout which I previously posted, with its guardrails hanging in space, is now a finished roadway:

The bridge between Savoy and Florida has been patched up, though it will be substantially rebuilt in the coming year:

There’s a lot more work to be done, and in fact it’s on-going, but meanwhile the road is passable.

As National Scenic Byways go, it’s presently butt-ugly, but that will change with time, if the repairs hold up.

And therein lies the caveat:  the rush to reopen meant that “right” was subjugated to “right now.”  Plans were cobbed together, general principles were employed where specific circumstances should have informed, and problems were glossed over in service of moving forward at any cost.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see much of this work destroyed by Mother Nature in the next year or two, though I’m hoping to be proved wrong.

Time will tell.

In the meanwhile, kudos to the common folks who did the work, three shifts a day, seven days a week, from then until now.

Bog Pond, Savoy. December 14, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Jeez, these short days barely give a guy a chance to pull out the box after work!

Still, if one can think of a spot to get to in the next half-hour of light, one might snag a shot which works.

Tonight I scurried up to Bog Pond in Savoy State Forest, where the ice was trying to form:

Not much happening there, except for the slow passage of time.

That one’s courtesy of Elliot, with about three degrees of tilt, and three hand-held filters in the face of a frost-nipping breeze.

I can dig it in retrospect, but at the time my fingers demanded that I cry.

Good thing I’m bigger than my fingers.

B-Team Mug Shots. October 26, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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12 comments

Here’s a slightly sorry line-up of Usual Suspects who didn’t quite make the cut – photos which have sat around long enough on my desktop so that it’s time to either use ’em or lose ’em.  They’re not my best work, but just as we Plain Folk deserve to find happiness, these photos ought to be seen before being recycled.

A riverside granite outcrop in NH:

Wet Paint taken not far from there:

That NH She-moose in a casual moment of herbaceous bliss:

And another framing of North Pond in Savoy:

There.  Now I can clear these stragglers off of my desktop without feeling like I abandoned my children without acknowledging them.

 

North Pond, Savoy MA October 14, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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It rained again all day at work, letting up a bit at the end, and I thought things might have an interesting look up at the ponds in Savoy State Forest.  So I went up there, threw on a pair of waders, and wandered around the shoreline of North Pond, stopping and hunkering over my camera when the rain thickened, setting up and shooting when it lightened up.

I was fortunate that the breaks were relatively crisp, allowing me to use hand-held filters without them getting overly wet.

The results:

A reflection and sedges in between bouts of wind:

High Country granite catches a maple leaf in a cove:

With each bout of wind a floatilla of fallen leaves paraded across the surface, passing through my tripod:

This little parting of the clouds brought a stiff breeze and a steady parade of surface confetti in the waning light:

That was a four second shot, and with the light disappearing and the rain returning, I made my way back to the car.

And that’s what I got.

Weekend Round-Up. September 18, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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6 comments

Some shots from this weekend, which was lots more work than play, but nonetheless coughed up a few keepers.

I knocked off working around the house with time to take a ride through nearby Southern Vermont to see where things were bad and drop a few bucks at local businesses; they’re really going to need some support from those who can visit or send something ahead.

Well, I tell ya, they don’t call me “Mr. Softie” because I need the Little Blue Pill, but rather because my heart breaks when I see others’ suffering, and I had tears in my eyes going through Wilmington.  What a mess, homes and buildings washed away, the main drag a sodden wreck.  If you know of organizations keyed into helping, I ask you to participate.

Anyway, I’ve got enough disaster pics to string together into a Hollywood block-buster, so instead I took pictures of the changing foliage, like this one along devastated Route 100 in Readsboro:

Some red happening there, despite the crappy light.  That was taken from atop my car to get over the roadside mess.

Here’s some Vermont Beef getting just salty enough to be worth grilling:

They were intent on Hoovering that salt block perched on the rock, and I thought they made cute food, so here they are.

More scenics –

North Pond in Savoy, trying to grow some colors:

It’s a long way from “peak,” but that’s Today’s Version.

And here’s a shot of Bog Pond in Savoy MA, taken patiently between the agitated tail-slaps of  the local beaver, who apparently disapproved of my presence:

North Pond was an Ollie capture, while this last shot was courtesy of Elliot.  I like his ability to get that foreground pond lily as well as the rest of the shot, and hope to get something more as the colors evolve.

And then, of course, the sun set and the stars came out, with a nascent moon threatening to rise:

That’s all kinds of beefed-up, ’cause I haven’t yet figured out my Korean substitute remote shutter release.  This may be the shot that makes me dive headlong into debt for the real Canon remote, which comes complete with instructions and a a five-hundred-dollar-plus price tag!

 

 

Tannery Brook. July 24, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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My recent excursion to Tannery Falls in Savoy, MA made me long for a return visit a bit earlier in the day, and this being so accessible to me, I indulged myself and went back yesterday.  Here are two more images I thought might be worth sharing.

First, a cascade in a deep cleft above the main falls sees no direct sunlight other than this late afternoon blessing:

…and a cairn built in the pool below the main falls catches similar late-day light:

That one is courtesy of Elliot, with 3+ degrees of swing imparted to his objective eye.

The water flow here is minimal at this point, though that’s subject to changing with the weather, and will doubtless increase as Autumn paints the place in shades of gold.

Not that I’m looking forward to Fall or anything…

😉

Falling Waters. June 17, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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It’s been a rainy week here in Western Massachusetts.  Not full-on rainy, but rather, storms blowing through most days:

Lots of these anvil-shaped summer storms, lots of morning fogs.  Lots for the farmers to be thankful for as the planting season swings into high gear:

Streams which are frequently dry this time of year are cascading down from the hills:

…turning things pretty verdant:

Those last two shots were taken on Mount Toby in Sunderland; the next two are of Black Brook in Savoy:

…on a rainy afternoon after work:

Beyond the forest’s edge, the flowers of the fields soaked it up, exploding in riots of color:

…with daisies reaching up past red and yellow hawkweeds and clovers, toward the eventual sun breaking through steely skies:

If we get a modicum of sun over the next few weeks, this will be a stellar growing season.

But then, this is New England, so we’ll get what we get.  😉

Thanks to Elliot for most of these shots, and Ollie for the rest.

 

 

 

Sun Through Clouds. January 13, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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As I was coming back over the hills this afternoon, the sun was struggling to break through blowing patches of mid-level clouds as winds whipped snow-burdened branches and filled the air with glistening crystals.  Six f-stops of graduated filters brought down the sky enough to capture this shot of a field in Windsor:

…and a bit later…

[I’m vamping for some space here

because these two pictures look horrible together,

though they look good separately,

so  I hope you’ll scroll through the site

and view them independently]

…this one of the forty inches reported in Savoy:

Both of these were timing challenges; to precisely position grad filters, the sensor needs to be exposed for “live viewing,” and can be damaged by straight-on sun shots, so most of the set-up had to occur while the clouds were thick enough to totally obscure the sun, with the final capture occurring just as the disk of the sun became apparent through the thinning clouds.

At any rate, the snow was deep, the light was fun, and once again, I dug it.