Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumn in the Adirondacks

I just completed an "Open Studio" event as a guest at the Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center. I drove down to the VIC from home each day and back after. Each day the leaves got more colorful and they are about at their peak color right now. The photo above was made on the way home this evening in a light rain. The forecast is for rain all night and most of tomorrow. I hope it doesn't knock down too many leaves. I'd like to be able to go shooting on Tuesday.

The color is quite impressive this year, the best I've seen in at least 4-5 years and it is a bit of a surprise. They forecast dull colors because we had such a dry summer but we've had rain recently and apparently just in time to make great color. I'm most impressed with the reds. They are very intense and there is a broad range all the way from deep burgundy to lighter reds and orange-reds. Also there is a high  ratio of reds to oranges and yellows compared to past years.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Waiting (impatiently) for Fall Color

I went back the the Adirondacks on Friday looking for fall color. I had seen a posting on the Adirondack Mountain Club's Facebook page that it was at 50-60%. A friend and I did a loop around Whiteface (Gabriels>Bloomingdale>Franklin Falls>Wilmington>Lake Placid>Saranac Lake) and didn't see nearly that amount of color anywhere. Maybe 20% some places but we didn't get any real autumn color shots. The Heart Lake area must be a cold pocket where leaves turn early.

We explored the flume in Wilmington Notch. I had been there several times before but Ron hadn't. He was the one who spotted this rock and I thought it was a good candidate for B&W. The water was running over it, falling off three sides and also through a horizontal crack under it creating a two layer cascade on the downstream side. Be sure to click on the image to see the larger version.

I did get some color photos although not autumn color. We stopped by Moose pond en-route from Bloomingdale to Franklin Falls. I took a short walk down the trail that goes around the lake (going left from the boat launch area) and made this image.
It is characteristic of Adirondack trails and the light was perfect. The only editing other than some minor dodging and burning was to stitch two vertical frames to get the square composition. My 18-135mm wouldn't take in all the height and width I wanted so rather than switch to a wider angle lens I shot two and combined them. I saw this as a square image anyway. I've often wished that some camera maker would make a compact camera with a large square sensor. A digital Mamiya 6 (36MP) would be awesome. I wouldn't need or want face recognition or any of those other bells & whistles they are loading up cameras with these days. I don't use most of the "features" on my 7D. I suppose GPS would be nice but I rarely forget where I've taken a picture. Anyway, as you can see, there wasn't a lot of fall color.

I'll be demonstrating photo editing at the Paul Smith's VIC next Friday and Sunday 10am to 4pm and 10am to noon on Saturday as part of the Adirondack Artist's Studio Tour they are hosting. If you are in the area, drop by and say hello.

All photos were made with a Canon 7D and an 18-135mm lens. They are copyrighted. Please do not copy or re-post without permission. Prints are available. Email me for details.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Day of Chores & History

In between my photo outings I have chores like mowing the grass which is what I did yesterday afternoon and this morning. We did a bit of exploring after lunch today going to Russell, the place that our road is named for. Since moving to the new house I've learned that the road (Russell Turnpike) that passes in front of our home was one of the first three roads built in this area.  The other two went from other areas to Russell.

The road out front went from Lake Champlain near Westport to Russell from where there was access to the St. Lawrence river. It was called the Northwest Bay Road then and transited many sections of current road that are familiar to me on my excursions to photograph in the Adirondacks. During the War of 1812 (during which my twice great grandfather Stephen was in the Vermont militia) this road was used by the military to get from Lake Champlain to the St. Lawrence and there was an armory in Russell.

GG Grandpa moved to this area after his service in the war and it is an odd feeling to realize that his first visit to the area probably involved a march past where I now live and took him over sections of road through landscapes that I now photograph. It is doubly strange because a maternal grandfather  (James) spent time in the Adirondacks as a tourist in the early 1900s and I have photographs he took of Barnum Pond, one of the places  Stephen would have passed on his military travels and one I too have photographed numerous times including this one.

The photo above is not from the route of the Northwest Bay Rd. but isn't very far afield. It was made in Wilmington which is a bit North of Lake Placid, one of the communities that was on the route. It is another image from my latest excursion. Made with a Canon 7D and 18-135mm lens, 1/10th sec. @ f/29. I did the B&W conversion in Lightroom 4 and toned it in Photoshop CS6.

Addendum: Sept. 13 - I did some web searches this morning and found a map of the Westport to Hopkinton portion of the original road. That is the route that I usually take when I go to the mountains to photograph. Without knowing it and without intending to I have been following in Stephen's footsteps.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Life in the Past Lane

I read the funnies daily and "Shoe" is one of my favorite cartoon strips. A few days ago the setting was Roz' diner where an old bird was reminiscing about the past and Cosmo asked Roz what he was going on about to which she replied "He's living life in the past lane". I know some people like that, people I used to work with before retiring. Whenever we get together they inevitably end up talking about the past.

I don't spend a lot of time thinking or talking about the past. We all do of course but I try to minimize it. A lot of my past wasn't all that great and I'd rather focus on the future anyway. Today though I realized there's more than one past lane. Besides the reminiscing lane there is a subliminal lane of memories that affect our future actions based on the past kind of like programming. It came up as I was moving some pottery items, pyrometric cones and bisque ware from our old house. I had been pondering whether I should sell my wheel and kiln and not pursue pottery any more. I haven't done it in years and lately had harbored doubts about my ability to do it again but seeing and handling the pots I threw 20 some years ago reassured me that I could do it again. So, to borrow a motto from the Obama campaign, FORWARD! It may take until next spring to get it organized but my pottery will rise again.

I will continue photography of course. The photo is of a beaver pond in Wilmington, NY. I found it on a trail I hadn't ever explored before under what I consider typical autumn Adirondack light. Canon 7D on a tripod, 18-135mm EFS lens, 1/8th sec. @ f/22.