Monday, October 29, 2007


This morning when I went out to get the paper I found the begonias and cosmos had been hit by frost. That is at least a month later than our usual first killing frost. Often I can shoot photos of autumn leaves with frost but this year the leaves are nearly all down before the first frost hit.

Winters in the North Country of NY are always unpredictable. A lot of people believe in the predictions the Old Farmers Almanac makes but they overlook all the times the Almanac is way off. The only prediction I would make about winter weather is "we will have some". I can remember a winter when it was below zero day and night for six weeks straight. I also remember two Christmases with temperatures in the 60s. I have photos of the aftermath of blizzards as late as April. There was one winter it stopped snowing any significant amount before New Years and I didn't use my snow shovel at all during the next calendar year. What snow fell was only an inch or so each time. We just walked/drove through it until it melted or packed down, usually within a few days. It didn't snow enough to bother shoveling again until after the next New Years. What will this winter be like? Judging by its start it will probably be mild but I won't put any money on that bet.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Digital Panorama Photo

Yesterday I took a walk and as I crossed the river I decided to shoot a photo of a small section of the waterfall by the bridge. I had to go out to a point on the shore that was below the falls and after shooting that photo, I realized that this was a natural site for shooting a panoramic view of the river and bridge. The full sized image is made up from 16 frames. They were all handheld shots so I made no attempt to blend them. If printed full size it would be over 78" wide and almost 19" tall. If you click on the small one above, you will see a greatly reduced copy but hopefully big enough so you get the idea.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It Must be a Record

The begonias in the pots on either side of my front gate are still blooming, happy and healthy. We still have not had a frost. We can usually expect a frost as early as Sept. 1st. We almost always have a frost before the end of September. There is no frost in the 5 day forecast either.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Worlds Within Worlds

As of March 2008 I'll have been a photographer for 50 years. I began with an Ansco Readyflash that shot 8 photos/roll on 620 film. I still have the camera. They don't make film that size anymore although I could re-spool 120 onto 620 spools if I wanted. I don't. I've graduated from two schools of photography, taught photography in one of them and in evening courses. I was a 'pro' for a short while when young but it's a tough way to make a living and I had a family to support so I have relegated it to a passionate avocation for most of my life.

Recently I had the notion that I would like to pursue an MFA in photography in my retirement. I found an accredited school on the West coast that has an on-line MFA program and I inquired about it. Aside from the cost being prohibitive (it's hard to justify spending about $40K in borrowed money for a degree in something you don't plan to make a career of) I decided after reviewing their program that it wasn't a good match for me anyway. They proudly advertise that they train 'conceptual' artists. I'm not into conceptual art even if, as they claim, it is the 'dominant' art form today. My concept is that I'm a visual omnivore. I don't limit myself to a particular subject matter or way of working. If something catches my eye, I'll photograph it and share my vision of it with anyone who cares to look. I try to make images that convey the experience of being there.

I looked up some of the people whose work they train photographers to emulate and found several who are billed as "one of the most influential photographers of all time" or words to that effect. Now in my 49+ years of continual study of my craft I have encountered the likes of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Caponigro, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and literally dozens (maybe hundreds) of others, Muybridge, Curtis and on and on and on. The list seems endless as tens of thousands of their images swirl through my memory. The funny thing is, I never heard of any of these photographers the school lists as being the most influential of all time until I started researching this MFA program. I don't know who they've influenced and looking at their work... they wouldn't have influenced me even if I had heard of them sooner. I'm sure if an accredited MFA program and the galleries think these people are "influential" they must be to someone but I still don't like their work and have no desire to emulate them. If I had $40K I'd rather spend it on the photography I like doing and am proud to share with my audience than to learn to produce work I dislike.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Tooley Pond Rd.

As promised here is a photo from my trip on Tooley Pond Rd. I had to play with it a bit. It wasn't as sharp as I wanted but the end result is okay. It has been 'simplified' to get rid of extraneous detail, thus the 'painting' look. I was primarily attracted to the flow of water and the pattern it made as the various small streams converged. The rocks and leaves are a nice counterpoint to the water, a mix of permanence, temporary and motion.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Magic Season

In the movie industry they talk about "magic hour", the hour around sunset when the light is wonderful. For landscape photographers autumn is the 'magic season'. Combine the magic hour and the magic season as in the photo I took of Connery Pond or the above one of the waterfall at Wilmington Notch and you get double magic. This is a scan of a slide I took about a week ago.

For an autumn that started out to be unpromising I've had a pretty good fall photographically speaking. In its early stages it was a definite case of making lemonade but this last week the leaves that turned brown early had fallen and the remainder turned fairly bright colors. I had an excellent day on Tooley Pond Rd. on Tuesday. Perhaps I'll post one of those tomorrow. If you like my photos (which are copyrighted) I'd be happy to sell you a print. I don't make any money at this but it would be nice to break even.