Saturday, October 31, 2009

Yesterday & Today

Yesterday after replacing some worn tiles on the kitchen floor I went off to find some more at Lowes. Unfortunately I didn't take a piece of one of the old tiles and 'mis-remembered' the color so the ones I picked up are too dark and I have to return them. While there I bought a new storm door for the kitchen entrance. The door we have is a recycled one that I picked up at a local lawn sale more years ago than I can remember. It is in rough shape both from being caught in the wind more than once and from being kicked open as I was carrying Ace out to take him to the vet the day he died.

Today and/or tomorrow I have to play carpenter and install the new one. It's not as simple as taking off the old one and putting in the new one (is anything ever that simple?) because some of the door casing, which dates back to 1876 when the building was constructed, needs repair too. We also have to "kill a buffalo" today which is how Diane refers to our monthly restocking of the pantry when my pension check comes. A busy day ahead.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall Winding Down

Our leaves are mostly down now. I've mowed over the ones in the yard once to chew them up but I'll have to do it again if the rain only stops long enough for things to dry out. With the passing of the autumn color my photo excursions are fewer until we start getting some snow. There's still subject matter available but fewer things look their best in the period between the leaves falling and the start of winter.

I have spent the last few days on a Christmas project which I can't divulge in the blog because the intended recipients are among my regular readers, at least I hope they are.

The photo here is a plant that I got from a friend's garden several years back. It didn't come up at all the 1st year after I transplanted it and I thought I had lost it. I did lose the other transplant (a different flower) that I got from Siew Hwee but this one did come up the 2nd year after I transplanted it. It comes up rather late in August and doesn't bloom until September. It seems to be quite hardy and early frosts do not affect the blooms which continue until the temperatures dip to about 20ºF. Unfortunately I don't know its name but it poses for me very nicely when most other flowers have gone by.

Addendum: I also posted this photo to the forums on Nature Photographer's Network and David Schwaegler ID'd it as a Japanese Anemone.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Last Lean-to Hike?

I participate in an ADK program where you can adopt a lean-to (that's a shelter for my Southern friends) doing clean up and routine maintenance at least twice a year. Yesterday I did my last lean-to maintenance hike of the season, perhaps the last of all. I'm thinking strongly of retiring from the adopter's program. I turn 65 next month. I had thought I'd do it for 20 years but a look at my records shows that I'm only at 17 as of now. Do I want to do this for 3 more years? I still enjoy the outings when I do them but I seem to find it harder to motivate myself to do them. There are just too many things to be done and I didn't get in all the hikes to other places that I planned for this year. The adoption papers for next year will arrive in November. I'll see how I feel then.

The top photo is looking across Heart Lake as I hiked in from Adirondack Loj. The leaves are mostly down but there was a very nice band of soft orange on the slope in the middle ground and some neat cloud wisps kissing the summit of Algonquin. Those reflections on the lake didn't hurt the view any either. The photo below is "my" lean-to, the Scott Clearing lean-to. I'm standing on rocks in the stream (Indian Pass Brook) which is just below the bottom of the photo's frame. The lean-to isn't actually at Scott Clearing which is about a 10 minute walk upstream. The clearing is an old lumbering camp from the 1800s and there are the remains of the rock dam that the lumbermen built there along with some rusting metal parts of an old cook-stove, barrel rings, etc.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A New Adirondack Photo Book

There is a new Adirondack photo book on the scene. I have to start this with a disclaimer because the author, Jim Kraus is friend, we have been out photographing together, he gave me credit in the book for technical assistance and in the back he used a casual portrait that I took of him. He also gave me a copy of the book. That said it is an excellent book of Adirondack photographs. I do have to get on his case about the waterfall on page 82 though. He never told me about that one when we were out scouting places to photograph.

Jim spent 30 years teaching recreational forestry at Paul Smiths College. During his time teaching he took many of the photos in this book to create educational slide shows. He has continued to photograph in retirement. He has lived most of his life in the Adirondacks and has a real love of the place which shows in his images. This is a great book for a quiet evening's contemplation of one of (in my opinion) the most beautiful places on the Earth. I just checked and it is in stock at Amazon and Barnes & Noble so what are you waiting for?

P.S. Disclaimer: The government is getting on the case of bloggers who endorse or favorably review things so in the interest of full disclosure, I have no connection to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble nor do I benefit from any purchase you make there. I do buy stuff from Amazon though.

P.S. to the P.S.: I meant to mention that at least two of the photos appear to have been taken from or of the author's front porch. One you can probably guess. The other might surprise you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

All That Is Autumn Is Not Bright Color


This scene is along the road from Santa Clara to Rt. 30. When I first photographed this location it was under water and the trees which are now fallen were drowning in a beaver pond. I was shooting with film back then. At the time I was attracted to the strange colors that the needles were turning as the trees died (see below and yes, those were the real colors, not Photoshop colors). Either the D.E.C. or nature removed the beavers and their dam. The pond has dried up. Now there is meadow of browns and greys with counterpoints of blackening stumps and fallen trees. I liked the soft waves of the grass amongst the dead trees.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Snow Squall Over Indian Pass

Back to this year's photos. On Oct. 1st I was at Mountain Pond when a snow squall passed over. By the time I got to the Plains of Abraham and the Loj Rd. it was passing over Indian Pass and I managed to capture it. By being patient I caught it at a point when the Pass was clearly outlined beneath the clouds that enveloped the higher peaks on either side (Street and Nye on the right, the McIntyre Range on the left).

I began my photographic odyssey as a photojournalist and a popular saying among photographers at the time was that the key to success was "f/8 and be there". Being there when the moment is right is also a requisite for landscape photographers but we generally prefer a smaller f/stop.

P.S. If you do use a photo from this blog on your desktop, that's okay but I'd appreciate a comment letting me know that you did. Some days I feel like I'm just talking to myself here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another B&W

Last night I was looking through some old photos from 3 years ago. This one was shot into the sun and the combination of the mist and strong back light did bad things to the color. Ansel Adams used to talk about "pre-visualizing" an image, the notion that you had a concept of the final image in your mind before you trip the shutter. As a general rule I have to be thinking in black and white when I want to shoot black and white. It is a bit hard to explain to a non-photographer but I tend to view scenes in terms of the medium I am working in. Artists in general tend to do this. For example I found when I was working in pastel, I saw scenes as pastels.

I shot the above photo on a bright autumn morning when I was looking for fall color images. It was a failure in that regard, the light killing and/or distorting the color. Some photographers might have trashed it as a failed photo but I'm a bit of a packrat so it stayed in my archive until I looked at it last night and 're-visualized' it minus the intentions and expectations that had previously lead me to miss what was really there.

Addendum: Today I spent some more time with the photos from that chilly morning three years ago. I'm not sure why I hadn't done anything with the one below before. I had flagged it to work on but for some reason didn't get around to it at the time. This one I like in color.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Heaven... I'm in Heaven

I spent a good part of yesterday roaming some side roads around Jay, NY. I think I found heaven or at least one of its suburbs. The area has a very nice mix of open areas, farms and other human presence but is surrounded by very picturesque mountains. A river runs through town with a reproduction of the original wooden covered bridge. There is a low waterfall by the bridge. It lacks a small lake but aside from that not much unless you are one of those who can't live without a shopping center.

In the midst of taking photos one of the screws in my tripod head loosened and looseness is not a quality that is good in tripods. I went in search of some Allen wrenches only to be told there is no hardware store. All was well though. A kind gentleman at the local garage tightened it for me. In future there will be an appropriately sized wrench in my camera bag.

The photo was found on a back road but the light was poor when I first saw the scene. I set up and while waiting for the light a dog at a neighboring house began to bark then come toward me. I should note that dogs don't scare me anyway and this one, although he was growling softly (Grrr, grrr, grrr) as he approached, did not have the demeanor of a dangerous dog. I talked to him and let him sniff me before trying to pet him. Long before the light cooperated he and I were buddies.

I'll be the first to concede that the photo does not do justice to the experience of being there. Missing is the quiet, the smell of the air, a soft autumn breeze, a conversation with a couple who were out looking at real estate for their retirement and a friendly dog rolling in the grass by my tripod, all part of the experience but not recordable in a photograph. You'll have to settle for the photo.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

On The Way Home

Coming back from an errand in Jay, NY yesterday I did a bit of photography. Once again I'm posting two images. The first is a place I've been before and posted photos of before but I really like this shot so here we go again with the waterfall at the Wilmington Notch campground.

The second is also a place where I photograph frequently but I don't recall whether I've ever posted any to the blog from the Barnum Pond series. It is a place I have to go by coming home and it is often around sunset. Last night the pond was still and smooth as glass making for great reflections of the autumn color on the opposite shore and St. Regis Mt.

Addendum: If I have a special place in my heart for Barnum Pond, part of the connection is genetic. I have a photograph that my grandfather took of this same point of land just about 100 years ago. I can't help but think about grandpa whenever I stop there.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Pair of Black & Whites

No, not two cop cars, photos. It probably seems strange to convert a colorful autumn photo to B&W but sometimes a composition just works well or better in B&W. A friend suggested the one above. I had already thought about it and done a quick conversion using a Lightroom preset but this evening, after his prodding, I tinkered with it some more.

The one I immediately thought should be B&W when I imported the image from the camera is the one below. The color wasn't much of a factor anyway and I really liked the graphic elements which stand out better in B&W. My photographic roots are in B&W and every so often I revert to old habits.

Autumn Urgency

Fall color comes and goes quickly. If you want to see it and photograph it, you have to be there in the 1-2 week window that it peaks. I spent Thursday photographing in the Lake Placid/Wilmington area. The weather was changeable which is actually good for photography. I don't like a washout rain but occasional showers mixed with periods of sun mean that there are interesting skies. I'll post more from the 172 I took on Thursday over the next week (going back to take more photos next week too) but this one is actually 3 stitched together. Monument Falls isn't high but it is wide. I could have shot it with a wide angle lens bu that would have included more sky and foreground than I really wanted so I went with a stitched panorama instead.

Addendum: I got a note that the photo was not showing. I checked and it had disappeared for some inexplicable reason. In its place was a little grey box that I can't get rid of although I did re-download and insert the photo. Thanks for the heads up eArThworm.

Addendum to the addendum: Got rid of the box again thanks to a suggestion from eArThworm. I actually knew how to do that but was having a DUH! moment earlier.