Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Un-winter Tree

We are having what some locals are calling an un-winter this year. Sort of like an un-birthday I suppose in that it feels as unreal as Alice's Adventure. Normally we'd have lots of snow by now and January is usually the coldest month of the year. We have had some real cold, down to zero and even a bit below but it has quickly bounced back up each time and overall we are enjoying above average temperatures for this time of year.

This weather doesn't make for good winter photographs though. There is little snow and where there is snow under trees it is littered with twigs and limbs from the ice storm and wind. I went to town today and came home past this tree which I have photographed several times before. Since the last time I took its picture the town highway department cut all the shrubs that had been growing around it. In the process they broke a couple of limbs (a large one hanging on the left side of the trunk and the little one hanging off the end of a limb on the right) leaving it looking lonesome and forlorn. Coupled with the bare field and overcast sky I decided it needed to be rendered in black and white.

I'm fond of trees. They are a favorite subject, especially trees with character and this one definitely has character. Stunted with broken limbs, galls and missing strips of bark it continues to sprout leaves every spring. It reminds me of another tree, now gone (and I never got a good photo of it - darn) that continued to leave out every spring despite a gaping hole through it's middle. There was one narrow strip of bark up one side and that was enough, like some people I've known who keep going in spite of everything.

Friday, January 20, 2012


This photo was after the recent ice & snow falls. It is a small tree growing on a section of slanted rock in the middle  of the St. Regis River at the bridge on the Allens Falls Rd. The river bed here is divided into several channels by these layers of rock up-thrust at an angle. The cracks and crevasses provide just enough soil and water for some shrubs and saplings. It is a rough life though when the river floods in spring as this poor tree shows. I'm always amazed at the tenacity of trees growing in some of the most unlikely and inhospitable places. The Desiderata says that we should listen to others because even the dull and ignorant have their stories. I think trees have something to teach us too, even in their silence.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lingering Ice

We  had two mornings of freezing rain followed by about 5 inches of snow and now we are "enjoying" sub-zero temperatures. It was minus 18º F early this morning, By the time I went out to fill the bird feeders and make some photos of the sun illuminating the ice on the trees we were having a -5º heat wave. The belated advent of winter here has been good for photography though. I went out yesterday on a photo exploration and fond several good subjects. The results are posted at

The trees in the photo above are in my side yard. The wind last night knocked off the snow but it is so cold that the ice is still hanging on. That will change in the next couple of days. The forecast is for rising temperatures with a Tuesday high around 38-40º. Maybe I'll go snowshoeing this afternoon while it's still winter. The way this winter is going, who knows if I'll get another chance.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ice Storm

We haven't had much winter weather this year until last night. Normally we'd have snow in late November or early December. Occasionally we've had snow as early as Halloween that stayed all winter. So far this winter I've shoveled once and it wasn't really necessary then, only an inch and a half. Last night and this morning the weather was more like we'd expect in January, freezing rain followed by snow. All the schools were closed because of a half inch of ice on everything but when the snow arrived it was pretty.

The freezing rain made a lot of folks around here nervous though, a kind of PTSD from the ice storm of '98, five days of freezing rain that took out the power across Northern NY, New England and Quebec for anywhere from a week to a month or more. We were lucky and had our power back after only 7 days. Some communities in Quebec were without power for nearly 6 weeks.

I didn't take many photos back then. When I left for work in the morning it was dark and when I got home at night it was getting dark. When I wasn't working we were spending our time surviving, melting snow on the wood stove for water, living by candlelight, staying warm. Today I could afford the time to admire the ice on the trees. I'm retired so I had nowhere to go. The photo is from my side yard looking back at a neighbor's shed.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year - New Direction

I hate to complain but 2011 was a lousy year for print sales. The pits. Not just for me but for most other nature/landscape photographers I've talked to. Ebooks on the other hand seem to be taking off big time so for the new year I am going to be offering some ebooks starting with an iPad/iPhone version of my Blurb book (link in the left hand column) which is only $4.99 directly from Blurb.

For those of you who have Android or Windows tablets/phones I'm sorry to say that so far Blurb only makes ebooks for Apple products. Apparently they are working on expanding that to Android and other platforms but I'm not waiting. I have bought a program to do the conversion to Kindle, epub, and other ebook formats myself and am looking into the distribution. My new years resolution for photography is to produce a series of ebooks, both monographs like the B&W book and some instructional books. Stay tuned.

If you have an iPad/iPhone you don't need to wait for the Adirondack B&W book. Just use the link. The photo above is from the book. It was made at Connery Pond on an autumn day. The infrared look is actually red filtration that darkened the blue sky and evergreens but brightened the reds, oranges and yellows. If you look closely you'll note that there is another photographer in the scene, in the grassy area to the right.

A new year to make photographs, woohoo! Look out 2012, here I come.