Friday, June 22, 2012

Pulling Weeds

Yesterday, while looking at a friend's flower garden, I found myself pulling her weeds. As a long time gardener it is a habit but as I think about it it is more than that. Many years ago I learned that when confronted with and feeling overwhelmed by problems and situations I found the best remedy is to pick one or more small things that you can actually do something about and focus on getting that done. The key of course is to recognize the things you can actually effect from those you can't. The benefit is that by focusing on what you can do, you both channel your attention away from the things you can't change and you shorten the list of things that are stressing you out.

Pulling weeds is that kind of activity. What needs to be done is simple and direct, identify the plants that don't belong and remove them. When you get done there is the reinforcement of seeing a weed free garden. Any simple chore will do the same if you approach it with focus. So can creative activities like photography. By really looking at the world around you, thinking about it in photographic terms, you step away from stresses and gain power, the power of creating something of beauty and value that you can share with others.

The photo was taken with my smart phone with processing in PostWorkShop3 and Photoshop CS5.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Yes, My Grapes Are Sour

A while back I entered Outdoor Photographer's 3rd Annual Great Outdoors  Photo Contest. I have received an email announcing the winners. I wasn't a winner or even an honorable mention. No surprise there. They had thousands of entries and they were good photos. So what's the sour grapes about? All the winners and honorable mentions were western landscapes. All of them. Every one. A look at the finalists reveals that all but (maybe) 7 are western landscapes. Even the maybe 7, one shot of tulips, several seashores and a couple of others, aren't clearly not western. Come on people. There are great landscapes all over this country. One reason I rarely buy or read OP anymore is that they seem stuck on a particular idea of outdoors and it usually involves the western US. Open request to OP: If you are going to publish outdoor images, could you show a little less bias toward one region?

The photo above was made in Northern NY about 20 miles from the Canadian border (as the crow flies). It was made with a Canon 10D and a 28-135mm lens on an overcast May evening after a rain.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Back to the River

I drove down to Clayton today to see the tall ship Fair Jeanne. There was also a tug boat at the dock and that became the subject of today's photo. It was a grungy working ship but there were some visually interesting details. The Fair Jeanne was a nice ship but more modern than the Lynx which I toured and later cruised on last year. I confess to being partial to the old wooden tall ships. It's purely a matter of aesthetics. Steel hulls and decking look out of place with tall ship rigging, at least to me they do.

The ships were there for a festival weekend that had way too many people for my taste and loud boat races that made wakes that rocked the 100 foot plus tall ship. The promos said there were food and wine booths but the only food booth I saw was pet treats. I did buy a bottle of North Country Red from the Thousand Island Winery booth.

I did find some images on the Fair Jeanne. The one I like best from there is also a detail, a photo of a brass cleat and some rope on the afterdeck.
 Both photos made with a Canon 7D and an 18-135mm lens.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

This waterfall is on a side loop off the trail I take to do my leanto cleanup trips and I usually take that loop on the way out just because it's a neat place. I swam here once many years ago but the water was frigid. I didn't stay in the water very long. Just upstream behind the trees on the right is Rocky Falls leanto. The water was too high to get to it without wading on Thursday and I wasn't in a wading mood.

Since moving I go to the High Peaks by a different route and consequently am seeing different things along the way. On my way home I spotted a sign along the road that said "Historic Church" with an arrow pointing down a side road. I turned around and drove a short distance down the side road where I found this. As I was shooting the photo a woman came out from the building in back and asked if I would like to see inside. Of course I did. One of my personal projects is photos of unusual Adirondack churches. The woman was (is) Anabel Proffitt, the summer pastor and a professor at a seminary in Pennsylvania. She lives in the cabin behind the church during the summer. If you happen to be in the Childwold area go and check out this church. Rev. Proffitt will be happy to give you the tour.
Waterfall photo was made with a Canon G12 and the church photo with a Canon 7D. Both converted to B&W using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

Friday, June 08, 2012

I began my 19th/20th/?? season as a leanto adopter in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks yesterday. I've lost track of how many years I've been doing it. I was shooting for 20 years but I'm not sure I'm there yet. I had a pleasant hike in to Scott Clearing. The brooks were running a little high and the crossing by the leanto was a bit tricky. I made it without falling in like I did last year though and finished my work there without incident.

On my way out I hadn't gone too far when I met two young men (late teens/early twenties) who asked where I was coming form. I told them and then they asked if I knew where the turn off for Street & Nye (two of the High Peaks) was. I replied that I did and that it was "back that way" indicating the direction they had come from. "Where?" one of them asked. "Just after you passed Heart Lake". The one who had asked then said "That must be two miles". "At least" I said, "probably closer to 3." They then wanted to know where this trail went. I told them either Wallface Mt. or Indian Pass. They looked at one another blankly, I said something to the effect of have a good day and left them there. I wondered after if I should have offered more advice. It was clear from their sagging, half empty day packs that they were ill equipped to spend a night in the woods and there was no way they could reach their objectives in the time remaining. It was almost noon and they didn't even know how to find the mountains they intended to climb but I've resolved not to give unsolicited advice so I said no more.

When I got back to Saranac Lake I got a sub and took it to the lake in the middle of town where I made the above photo. I was attracted to the reflection and really wanted to photograph just that but my lens wasn't long enough. I shot this photo and went to change the lens. Before I finished a couple of guys decided to race back and forth in a motor boat and ruined the reflections. Looking off from the park in another direction I found the photo below in which I removed all color except the red in the chairs, their reflections and the two floats. Red was the only color that mattered. The others were just a distraction.
Both made with a Canon 7D, the first with an 18-135mm and the second with an old Tamron 70-300mm. I wonder if I should have offered advice to those guys. I wonder if they got out of the woods before dark.