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Another Shot From Maine. September 8, 2012

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One that slipped my editor’s noose, though I meant to show it to you. Portland Head Light from near the water line:

Some scrambling involved there, but no real climbing. Just an eye toward being inconspicuous and an efficiency with tripods and lens changes.

Courtesy of Elliot, with perhaps three degrees of swing, and a hand-held ND Grad filter.

Portland Head Light. September 6, 2012

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On my way south from my visit with friends Mike and Cindy in Maine, I drove a couple of curlie-cues to take photos of Portland Head Light, the most photographed lighthouse in the world.

I wanted something a bit removed from the I-phone images which doubtless make up the mass of the action here, so chose to catch as much of the scene as I could with Elliot, my 24mm tilt-shift lens.

Here’s the light through a scrim of beach roses:

…with rose hips vying for attention with the remaining blossoms.

Another shot, with lilies in the mix:

Elliot gave me some advantage here over the point-and-shoots and cell phones, extending my depth of field by a lot. I laid my plane of sharp focus along all the axes of the compass to get these photos, and hope the difference is apparent.

Wave-swept granite below the light:

…beautifully sculpted by the ocean and the seasons over uncounted years. I scrambled over fences and down the steeps to crab-walk along ledges to get a low-tide perspective:

Elliot was delightful in this setting. The verticality of the Maine coast played to his strengths, and hard swings of his objective lens got me what I was there for.

Here’s a classic Portland Head Light shot, but with goldenrod representing in the foreground thanks to Elliot’s contortions:

Thanks, kid. You complete me.  🙂

Truck Patch. July 26, 2012

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A commercial lily farm in South Deerfield:

Courtesy of Elliot, my TS-E II Canon L-series tilt-shift friend, and a hand-held 2-stop graduated filter.

That is all.  😉

Dairy Cows, . July 8, 2012

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Dairy cows lined up behind a fence, expecting (demanding!) to be milked:

The farmer showed up on schedule ( these grrrlz were a bit ahead of him,) dropped the electric fence, and lead a bovine parade up the road to where their udders would be relieved of their burden.

These local dairy farmers work really hard for their bread, with NO days off, obscenely early and late hours, and not a lot to show for their Herculean efforts.  Consequently, they’re dwindling in numbers, and soon, if we don’t all pay attention, all of our dairy products will come from large corporations.

Monsanto manufactures the BGH which makes these shy beasties produce more than the normal amount of milk, but also makes them prone to infections.  Hearing of problems with their genetically-modified milk producers, Monsanto commissioned a study, which concluded that their Bovine Growth Hormone injections for dairy cows resulted in a significant amount of blood and puss in the milk we drink, the milk we feed our little children.  Monsanto addressed this problem by buying the study and burying it.

I’m not gunning to ruin anybody’s day with this kind of news, but rather trying to help us all understand what we’re up against, and how directly it affects us and our families.

Support your local farms, lobby the FDA for tighter controls on GMOs, and resist corporate take-over of our daily lives.

Your children thank you for getting aboard this train.

Thanks to Elliot for this shot; I got the swing wrong and missed the focus on the Dear Ones at photo right, but got a really productive depth of field right down the middle.  I see hand-holding “snapshots” with a tilt-shift lens as kind of a crap shoot which sometimes achieves my goals, sometimes comes close, and sometimes falls flat on its face.  In this case I came close, and the result is more than acceptable.

Cut Flowers. July 2, 2012

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Or, more precisely, flowers to be cut.

Down in Montague MA, at a field managed by Red Fire Farm, workers are tasked with harvesting cut flowers:

Elliot (my Canon 24mm TS-E II tilt-shift lens) managed the front-to-back focus, while a hand-held Singh-Ray graduated filter managed the top-to-bottom dynamic range.

I’m shamelessly naming names here, in the hope that these big companies which make my tools will someday send me schwag.  They do it for others, I depend on their products… sounds like a reasonable wish to me!  😉

At The Rowe Fen. June 13, 2012

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Up in Rowe, MA sits a fen, or basic pH bog, which hosts many hundreds of Northern Pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea.)   I’ve been there uncounted times over the past years to photograph them, with varying degrees of success.

Well, you know, one doesn’t improve by being satisfied with where one’s at.

So today I went back, arriving in late afternoon to find wonderful light slanting through the treetops.

Blue Flag irises separate the fen from the gravel road, and though they were nearly gone by, they were still worthy of a photo:

There’s an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail lighting on the iris just left of center, though it’s hard to see at this size.

In the grass at the fen’s edge, I got this shot of a sluggish butterfly, which looks something like a black Swallowtail, though it’s wings lack the definitive posterior points:

That could be a sign of old age or disease, as the wings tend to deteriorate with age.

The Northern Pitchers were gorgeous in the warm afternoon light, glowing as though illuminated from within:

Their totally unique flowers were red as roses and ripe with last night’s rain:

Before packing up my kit, I got all Artsy-Fartsy and took a couple of 1 second panning shots, hoping for something impressionistic.  While the results of this sort of experimentation aren’t that predictable to me, they were close to what I’d hoped for:

…and:

The first shot in this post is from Elliot, the rest are from Gizmo with a 2X Tele-Extender, giving an effective focal length of 800mm, albeit without auto focus or image stabilization.  I used Live View/mirror lock-up and a two second delay to get steady shots.

Up next:  some animal shots, which have been piling up embarrassingly in my to-post pile.

Northfield, MA June 8, 2012

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A corn field in Northfield, with the Connecticut river at my back:

That’s gonna be a lot of corn.

I wonder where it’s bound.

Taken this afternoon under indeterminate heavens.  By way of Elliot, with perhaps a degree and a half of tilt, with a hand-held filter to bring the sky into range.

Another Valley Shot. June 8, 2012

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…of a field in Hadley.  The support structure for the tobacco shading is in place, though I’m not sure what’s been planted here.

Still, the skies are dramatic, so I pull over and take this shot:

Thanks to Elliot, with perhaps 1-1/2 degrees of tilt, a hand-held 3-stop reverse ND grad by Singh-Ray, and a foreground boost from Photoshop’s camera raw fill-light function.

Truck Patch. June 7, 2012

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On my way home from a photographic art showing in Amherst, the brooding skies cried out for a photograph.  I took rural roads home and drove slowly, looking for a foreground to pair the clouds with.

I settled on a farm field in Sunderland, planted with cabbages and corn:

Another one from Elliot.

Lost And Found. June 4, 2012

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The Deerfield river is widely known as a great trout fishing venue.  It’s fast and cold and relatively clean in the reaches here and above, and has rebounded from it’s Irene Make-Over with astonishing speed.  The section immediately above Charlemont is a catch-and-release area, no bait-fishermen please, and as such is a popular float-fishing destination for several fly-fishing outfitters.

The cardinal rule of Catch-and-Release is DO NO HARM so that returned fish survive and thrive.

So it’s a little bit karmic that this trebble-hook spinner, decidedly not  kind to fish (and frequently fatal) was lost among the logs and rocks just above town:

I hope it was his last one, and that its parting ended someone’s day of fun.

This is from Elliot, tripod-mounted within a foot of the rocks (yes, I was lying down on the job!)  Eight degrees of tilt, with a hand-held reverse-graduated ND filter.

TMI for most of you, but food for “inquiring minds…”