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Spring, Almost… March 19, 2013

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Today, Monday, is two days short of the official start of Spring.

But this is Massachusetts, where we don’t care about no stinking calendar.

So the day began with our yard threatening to “green up,” the grass nearly bare of snow.

While making breakfast, I snapped this shot of deer grazing out past our slumbering garden:

Blog White Tails

…taken through an unfortunately filthy window, as Winter tends to render them before a real Spring cleaning. I didn’t have the proper lens on hand, so this is a severe crop of a larger photo. All-in-all, I’m satisfied with the result.

I spent the bulk of the day loading split wood onto the porch in anticipation of the predicted winter storm, then bombed off to Berkshire county to deliver a framed photo to my friend Tim. I was pleased by his reception of the piece and humbled by his refusal of the Good Friend Discount.

Thanks, Tim. I’ll remember that.

On the way home the weather caught up to me, and by the time I hit Charlemont it was snowing:

_MG_7909

We’re expecting 10″ or more, and judging by the way it’s coming down, we might not be disappointed!

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Brrrrrrrrr! January 23, 2013

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Well now, this  is winter!   🙂

We got a fresh inch of snow overnight, not enough to shovel, just enough to freshen up the older snow pack. And with a daytime high in the ‘teens assuring clear, crisp air, it seemed like a good time to scout some river scenes.

I headed up the Cold river a bit after noon, beneath blue skies and scuttling clouds:

_MG_7404

The valley is still a tangled mess from Irene, but winter disguises her scars.

I’ve always liked the way tumbling rivers look when they rise up around snow covered rocks, saturating their marsh mallow hats, turning them into emerald slushies, washing them down river like slow moving ghosts. This cold weather grows the well-anchored ones into wonderful ice islands:

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Quartzite cobbles complement the color scheme, wavering from below the fast-moving surface:

_MG_7384

A faster shutter speed captures the kinetics of the flow:

_MG_7402

The wind was brutal, and after an hour of walking the river bank, my fingers had had enough, despite my beefy gloves, and I headed back to the car, noticing on my way down river that the moon was rising. At the car I put Gizmo and his little buddy Tele on the box and got this:

_MG_7412

I packed it in, cranked the heat and ran a few errands.

My day ended with a drive home along the Deerfield river, where I snagged this shot of the frazil ice building it’s tortuous tangle as the sun disappeared behind the near hills:

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That one’s from Elliot, with a degree and a half of tilt and a hand-held three-stop graduated ND filter. It took me all of fifteen minutes, by the end of which my tripod had frozen into the river, my fingertips were wooden and I had wind-whipped tears frozen to my cheeks.

Good thing I spent all those years climbing ice, or I wouldn’t have enjoyed that one bit!  😉

Well that’s all for now, friends. I have 909 shots from last weekend’s climbing competition to process, so I’m off to work!

Forest Arriving Too Late To Save A Sinking Field. January 7, 2013

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Twilight up in Windsor, MA:

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And that is all.

Winter At Last! December 27, 2012

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Last weekend we had a taste of wintry things to come – frozen ponds:

Plainfield, Snow

…snow in the hill towns:

Spruces in Windsor

…and roads obscured by blowing snow:

Blizzard

I slid off that one going about twenty MPH (not at this exact spot) and did a nose-plant in a six foot ditch. Coulda been worse; I threw it in 4 wheel drive and kept going. The incident added to the deterioration of the lower plastic panel on my front bumper, which needed replacing anyway.

Hey, everything still works and I’m not injured in the least, so that’s a great outcome for a zero-friction event!

This morning, though, was the real  start of winter:

Snowy Morning

We got upwards of a foot of this beautiful stuff. Looks like Susan and I are going snow shoeing!  🙂

When it came to shoveling our cars out, my younger daughter Ursula (visiting from Boston) was a champion:

Ursi Shoveling

The snow was somewhat heavier than we’d hoped and stuck annoyingly to our shovels, but we toughed it out long enough to get the cars cleared with enough clearance for our plow guy to handle the rest.

Thanks, Ursi, and Thank You Father Sky!  😉

Berkshire Ramblin’ January 18, 2012

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Here are a few shots from my recent wanderings, wherein I reveled in our newly-bestowed winter.

A Buckland barn viewed through a screen of thickly falling snow:

This pair of uncharacteristically-colored silos always makes me smile, paired as they are with the adjacent Family Plot.

As the snow thinned, I got this shot of barn doors wearing their Winter Whites a ways farther up the hill:

This, by the way, is very near where the snow-covered piano sits out under a tree.

And later on in Upper Hawley (on a road which is wisely much  less traveled,) a simple shot of a winter scene with the skies clearing just in time to not produce a sunset shot worth sharing:

Prudence should have turned me back, but the way forward was mostly downhill, so it couldn’t get that bad, right?

Right???

I love it when there are no power lines or guard rails, and just enough of a track to assure me that I’m not the Last Living Fool in the world.

😉

Winter Views! January 15, 2012

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Mid-January is a heck of a time to start  posting seasonally appropriate views of winter…  but hey, it’s better late than never, as they say!

Snow coats everything in the high valleys, which are sheltered from most of the wind:

That’s along route 8A between Charlemont and Plainfield.

If you’re driving around in these conditions and need to find a rest-room, the bushes might be your only option.

Or, perhaps not:

Look for this on the right as you detour up West Hill Road.  🙂

And of course, some color combinations are just plain striking beneath the heavenly blue dome of a winter sky:

A working farm in the rolling hills of Shelburne.

These are all from Ollie, whose 24-105mm zoom range allowed me to compose from the driver’s seat, or at most from a very short walk away.

More to follow, as I make them presentable.

“Freeze At Last, Freeze At Last…” January 13, 2012

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Well, we failed miserably at our stated intention of having a White Christmas, but it looks like we’re working our wintry way toward a White Martin Luther King Day.

Let me know if you detect a hint of irony there.

Not that it’s entirely “in the bag” – we only have a couple of inches from last night’s weather event, and a bit more predicted for tomorrow – but still, it’s as close to Winter as we’ve gotten since October!

I took a ride up into Hawley to catch a few views of the white stuff before nightfall.  Along Route 8A, stately white pines stabbed skyward beneath a burden of heavy, wet snow:

It was the kind of snow which insists on not being shoveled despite its low loft, and even when it’s plowed, can render a steep driveway a Triple-Black-Diamond run:

The sign here reads “Eggert’s Folly,” and it’s rated Most Difficult.   I took their word for it.

The new coat of white rendered a hot property a bit easier on the eyes:

That tumble-down old garage actually sits on a nice piece of property, if you don’t mind being limited to six hours of sunlight a day (it’s in a narrow spot in the deep Chickley river valley.)

But my favorite shot from the ride was this one, of the Chickley burbling along through a relatively undamaged section of the elsewhere devastated river:

I’m always amazed at the vivid greens proffered by snow-sopped rivers; it often (as here) contrasts with the monochrome surroundings of wet wood and white snow.

We’re expecting a bit more snow tomorrow, followed by blistering (but seasonally appropriate) cold, which I hope will provide me with more traditional winter shots, with sparkly landscapes beneath Arctic-blue skies.

Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

😉

 

 

On A More Pastoral Note… January 10, 2012

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A couple of B-Team landscapes from this past week, which haven’t yet found a place in the ‘sphere.

Sunset along the Deerfield:

Dig the Jesus rays!

…and a moon rising over Pelham Lake in Rowe:

Not exactly what Winter usually looks like in these parts, but then, the camera doesn’t lie, unless you ask it reeeeal  nice.  😉

Fading Away. July 9, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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Our old barns took quite a hit this winter, with greater than average snowfalls collapsing many of the weaker ones, and plenty more seeing significant damage.  If these winters keep coming on like this, we’ll soon be seeing a substantially changed rural landscape from what we now have.

So it seems an appropriate time to pay attention and catalog The Way It Was before the opportunity is lost.

A big old barn in Conway took a hit this winter, and may not stand another:

This is a working farm, and it hurts to see them lose assets as they’re struggling to stay afloat.

The best of luck to them, and to all of the farmers out there working long and hard to keep us fed and provide for their families.

Up Country. February 26, 2011

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Trucks sleep up in the fields of Shelburne after the last big storm:

Cattle daydreaming about green grass in Hawley:

A workhorse grown coarse and shaggy for the season:

…while in the valley below, Salmon Falls saves itself for Spring:

It’s a little farther along down in the flat-lands of Franklin County, but even here there’s a change in the air, a feeling that Winter is dying as Spring struggles to be born.