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This Afternoon… January 21, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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…in Williamstown, Lizz B. and I checked out a farm southwest of town and found some interesting out-buildings on a cold and somber day:

This is another one of those places which was doubtless once grand, but now its half-dozen buildings are held together by the vines which are taking them apart:

Their weathered exteriors look ancient:

…but their insides remember better days:

We got chilled to the bone, lost patience with out toes, and retreated for a heated drive to another place I know, a farm for sale below Mount Greylock:

Lizz homed in on an old truck I’ve photographed before:

…while I explored farther afield, having been told their was another grand old beast in the woods down below.

And so there was – a long lost cousin of the truck up above.  They told it not to go down to the Wooly Swamp, but it wouldn’t listen, and now it’s paying for its youthful impetuosity by spending eternity mired in muck and entangled in thorns:

I do  hope you children are listening!

Back at the ranch, we looked inside the larger barn to find a coven of tractors casting spells on all who entered.  They made me render them in black and white:

I swear, I was powerless against their magic…

We’ll doubtless be back to this place soon.

The tractors insist!

Monochromes. January 7, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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I just read a magazine article about monochrome photography and thought, “That’s what that farm in Williamstown was like.”

I got out there this past Thursday, turned into an untracked driveway, looked for signs of life.

No one.

Just an array of barns and out-buildings standing dream-like in the swirling snow:

Weathered barns and decaying fences told of a former life:

So many doors, which lead to who remembers where?

And now, they’re trellises for whatever vinaceous species seek out their support:

The wood weathering, the rest rusting it’s way through the years:

And beyond their walls, the Berkshires watch it happen:

All of these are Elliot’s work, with a bit of jostling and jiggering from me.  The weather was wet and windy and I couldn’t get too fancy, but I used some hand-held filters in some of these.

The result of the ubiquitously gray palette and the flat light are all monochromes,  though only one of them is actually rendered in black and white.  I think of monochromes as photos with shallow but enticing palettes and dynamic ranges, though that last one stretches the “range” part a bit.

I really liked the way Elliot worked this day, getting both the architectural shots and the details.  I felt in control of what we were doing.

It occurred to me on the carry back to the car that I’d gotten pretty close to some of my subjects, and  I wondered about Elliot’s minimum focusing distance.  I hadn’t previously thought of him as a close-up lens, and didn’t really know how close I could get with him.

As a matter of investigation, I took this photo of a wide-board fence grown over with lichen, which will reduce it to compost in a season:

The blog doesn’t do the detail justice, but it’s pretty good at well under a foot.

This lens  continues to surprise me.  The more  I use it, the more uses I see for it.  This last photo is an example of something extra Elliot can do, as is that first shot, where I seriously restricted the plane  of sharp focus rather than trying to extend it, turning it vertically to draw the eye to the ladder and loft and softly falling snow.

For Elliot (and for me,) this was a good day.

What I Saw. January 5, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Today’s Roll-About beneath steel gray skies looked like an exercise in futility until I got westward to Williamstown, where a few views inspired me to get out into the wind and snow squalls and contort Elliot into action.  Here’s some of what I got.

Fences in a pasture:

A red barn in light wind-driven snow:

Those two had a bit of “tilt” to get the front-to-back focus I wanted, as well as an array of hand-held graduated filters.

This next one, though, was an impromptu portrait of a horse who came over to greet me, changing my plans and necessitating some hasty manual work:

What a sweetie, though he’d likely bite me if he heard me say that!  🙂

More later from today’s foraging.  I’m undecided as to whether they’ll be color or B&W, so give me a little while.

Wending Our Way Winterward. November 8, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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A dried basket of Queen Anne’s Lace emits a wind-driven thrum as it lords it over a meadow of grasses already laid down by our recent preview of winter:

It was 60 degrees here today, and I can’t help thinking that this field hit the mat sooner than it should have.  But then, two feet of snow in October will do that to you.

That’s from Elliot, in Williamstown.


Life Goes On. September 1, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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Life does indeed go on (for those who lived through Irene, including me) and there’s still a lot to be grateful for.  Like this field of goldenrod in Williamstown:

Looking at this, it’s hard to believe the valleys to the east and north are so devastated.  Perhaps the lesson to be learned is that sometimes one needs to focus where the emotional sustenance is.

Bull Thistle. August 18, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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Summer is bloom-time for Bull thistle in these parts:

This is the largest of our common thistles, with robust shaving-brush-size flowers atop stalks reaching five or six feet in height:

Despite the gnarliness of its spiny foliage (a thicket of this stuff would be impenetrable; thankfully, it isn’t that gregarious) I love this stuff for its bold color and I-Dare-You attitude.

Bumble bees love it, too!

These last two shots were taken with Ziggy; the first was courtesy of Elliot.

While Noodling My Way Home… August 2, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I accidentally (sorta) went West to Williamstown, lured by tumultuous skies and a bad case of Latent Photo Wood.


Anyway, conditions looked right for a shoot, so I affixed Elliot to my box and got jiggy wit it.  It was windy as hell (is hell windy??) so I eschewed the tripod, figuring the world was shaking faster than I ever would, and snapped one off at 7 degrees of tilt:

Spotted Joe Pie weed below a shoulder of Mount Greylock.

And Queen Anne’s Lace in a cornfield nearby, presenting its umbels in a sufficiently planar way to suggest a tilt-shift take:

Purple lustrife, the little invasive bastards, illuminated a view of cornfields and clouds:

All of these are hand-held and wingin’ it, panning about to plant that plane of sharp focus on something I knew the name of, except for this one, which was tripod-mounted and grad filtered (albeit hand-held) and swung about eight degrees right:

I dug the densely algied surface of that swamp, and managed to get the Lustrife and snags dialed in fairly sharply.

Gawd,  I loves me some Elliot!  🙂

Then, alas, it was homeward through a driving rain to not  mow the lawn.

Funny how that worked out…

Random Shots. May 10, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Here are a few shots I took recently which didn’t really fit into any particular group, but were fun enough to share anyway.

The Deerfield River on a beautiful Spring day:

God smiles on our local wind turbine:

A silo alongside a railroad track in Williamstown:

Ominous skies, taken from our driveway and here rendered in black and white:

…and lastly, a first-quarter moon, short one day:

Sorry for the visual schizophrenia, but some days that’s just how it is!

Forty Acres And A Ford. April 22, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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As ominous thunder clouds roll across he evening sky, an errant ray of sunshine finds this old farm truck in the fallow fields of a farm in Williamstown:

I’m fond of scenes with brooding skies behind sunlit foregrounds, and have a couple of venues scouted for after-the-storm shots as the Green Season progresses.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently awful about an occasional fluffy white cloud:

…I just prefer the emotional impact of threatening weather.

Go figure.

Ruby Tuesday – The In-A-Pinch Edition. June 29, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Ruby Tuesday!.
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Well, it’s been busy hereabouts, so I’m bustin’ out a shot from last week, a bit of a dullard, but still, there’s a subtle Rubiliciousness to it:

The gatehouse at a reservoir in Williamstown, round about sundown.

Sorry for the photographic paucity, but if I left you Jonesin’ for more, visit Mary over at Work of the Poet.