Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays

It's that time of year again. I'm happy to see that there is less rancor this year over how we wish one another peace and good will, which after all is the main theme of the season regardless of your religion or lack thereof. I considerably less happy with the recent weather which delayed the arrival of our holiday guest and is eating up our wood pile at a frightening rate. All said though we got less ice & snow than some. We lost power briefly during the night last night but many others have been without it for 2-3 days and some of those won't likely get it back until the coming weekend. That will certainly dampen the holiday spirit for them and the crews that will be working straight through the holiday to get power restored. It does give us cause to remember how much we depend on each other for the things that make life easier.

The photo is of decorations on our back porch. The lights on the trees are enhanced with Topaz Star  Effects. The text overlay is standard Photoshop technique using a bevel (contour & texture) with added satin effect. None are at the default settings. I played to get the look I wanted.

Wishing you all a great holiday whatever your reason for celebrating even if it's just because you enjoy it. After all, you don't need a reason to be happy.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


We had our first heavy snowfall of winter last night and this morning. It isn't actually winter yet according to the calendar but mother nature isn't much for calendars. She prefers to be spontaneous. As I age I have mixed feelings about winter. For one thing it's a lot of work in the cold. I spent several hours today clearing 7-8 inches of snow off our driveways and paths to the barn & bird feeders. It was cold enough that even with Hot Hands in my gloves my fingers got cold.

Snow does simplify things visually and the longer I photograph the more I like simple uncluttered images. Before I started my snow removal project I went out in the yard with my camera. This is a shrub that grows by one corner of the front porch. The snow caps on the dry flower heads were appealing to me and I made several exposures. This one is the best with a nice clean background of snow as well as the crown of snow on each flower head.

Canon 7D with 18-135mm EFs lens. Please do not re-post or use the photo without permission. Share by giving the URL to this page.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Karsh & Heisler - A Review

I bought two books on portrait photographers recently and because of the similarity I decided to review them together. Although the Karsh book is sub-titled "A Biography in Images" that could describe both books although the Heisler book would more aptly be called a retrospective. The format is similar in both, a series of photos with text about the image, the person photographed and the making of the photograph although not technical information (Camera used, f/stops,film, etc.). There is some casual mention about lighting or other aspects of the shoot for the photos but if you are looking for a "how I shot this" book you will be disappointed. I wasn't looking for that and wasn't disappointed in either book.

I bought the print versions. The Gregory Heisler book is also available for Kindle but in my humble opinion the photos need a large print book for their full impact. Both are printed well on high quality paper and nicely bound coffee table sized volumes.

I read one criticism on a forum that the Greg Heisler portraits were too editorial and not a personal expression or "art", an unfair criticism I think given that Gerg Heisler's portraits were in fact editorial assignments. He brings to them a degree of art but working within the constraints of a client always brings some level of expectation from the client as well as the constraints of the sitter. The story of the cover image (Muhammed Ali's masseur) in particular demonstrates Greg's ability to deal with such constraints and still get a powerful and revealing portrait.

Yousuf Karsh was a commercial photographer as well and many of the portraits in his book were also made for magazines although I personally see more of Karsh in his portraits than I see of Heisler in the Heisler book. It's a matter of degree and is subtle, varying from image to image but overall Karsh seemed to transcend the 'assignment' to a greater degree than Heisler. The Karsh book also includes a brief biography and some non-portrait photos at the beginning which helped give context to the portraits that followed. I came away from the Karsh book feeling like I had met the photographer rather than simply going to an exhibit of his work.

If you are interested in portraits of (mostly) famous people and learning a bit about what it was like to encounter each of their personalities as a photographer I highly recommend both books. I don't have links to Amazon and don't get any 'affiliate' fees from them if you buy either book. In fact, although I got them through Amazon, if you are fortunate enough to have a local bookseller who stocks them I encourage you to buy them there. As much as I like Amazon they have killed off many local bookstores to the point that there aren't any near me who carry this sort of book.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

First Snow

We had our first real snow of the winter last night and today. There have been a couple of half-hearted attempts previously, one resulting in a dusting that didn't last but this is the first that required clearing the driveway. The forecast was for 8" to a foot but we ended up with only 4" by late afternoon and that was more slush than snow since the precipitation was a mix of snow and rain.

Of course I'm a sucker for snow on trees and two of our apple trees still retain part of the bumper crop of apples from this summer. The combination makes for great subject matter, a contrast of seasons, the color of apples against the monochrome of winter. I was after the overall impression so I added a digital filter to emphasize the pattern and color while reducing unnecessary detail.

I'll be reviewing a couple of books on portrait photographers soon. I have to finish reading the second book so it will be at least a day or so. Stay tuned.

Update 11/28/2013 Thanksgiving Day bonus photo.

Canon 7D, Photoshop and Topaz filters.

Please respect my copyright and share by directing others to the URL of this page. Do not repost without my express permission. Thank you for being honest.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Working in Layers

I've been spending my evening working on some photos that I shot earlier this fall. I have a treatment of layering 2 or more filter effects and altering the blending mode and transparency to emphasize the qualities that attracted me to the subject. I won't go into detail because there are a lot of variables in what I do depending on the image but if you haven't tried working in layers with different filters on each layers I suggest you experiment with it.

If you are a "get it right in the camera purist" please don't comment how I could avoided processing in Photoshop by doing "X". After 56 years of photographic practice I'm well aware of how to do all sorts of things in camera but I happen to enjoy using Photoshop. If you don't that's fine. To each his/her own.

These two images are processed more heavily so that they don't look strictly "photographic". I doubt the full effect will be visible on the small JPGs I am posting here but if you click on the image you'll get a larger version that will give you a better idea of the effect.

The top image was shot on a walk near my home. The second on is at Mountain Pond in the Adirondack Park, one of my favorite places to visit in the Adirondacks.

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Mini Exploration

I went to Catamount Lodge today to a workshop and arrived early. I had never been there before. There is a very nice small stream flowing through the woods between the highway and the lodge. Because I was early I decided to poke around for a few minutes looking for photo possibilities. I found some in the stream including the photo above. I have made a number of images in this vein of the years, images that look below the surface of water but including surface detail and reflections of the sky above.

Photographed with a Canon 7D and an 18-135mm EFs lens. Please respect my copyright and do not re-post elsewhere. To share refer to the URL of this page.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

No Excuse Part II

I heard that autumn color was at peak in Keene Valley so I headed down that way. On the way I stopped between Upper and Lower Cascade lakes where I found these lovely birches and young Mountain Ash. A bit further on I found a bright red vine over light grey rocks. I'm a sucker for anything that is red.
From there I went on to climb Owl's Head Peak and was rewarded with some good color if somewhat dull light.

Finally I came home via Wilmington Notch where I met this fine pine on the banks of the Ausable River.

As always, please respect my copyright. Share these images by giving the link to this page. Do not copy or re-post. Thank you for your honesty.

No Excuses

It's been weeks since I posted anything and I have no excuse. I'm not even sure why except that I've been preoccupied with chores. This will be a 2-in-1 day set of posts to catch up.

The first set of photos are from my final lean-to hike of the year. My friend Rick Reed went along and unlike the first trip this year we had a dry day. On the way to the trailhead we were greeted by a beautiful sunrise along the Loj Rd. There wasn't as much to clean up as last trip and I left a box of crayons with the register just for fun.

Heart Lake was smooth as glass when we hiked by on our way to the lean-to.

On the way out we climbed Mt. Jo which overlooks Heart Lake. Although he has climbed all 46 High Peaks Rick had never climbed Mt. Jo before.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Heart of Photography is Openness - A Book Review

I just bought a photo book that I love. It is "Small Island, Big Pictures" by Alexandra de Steiguer. Alex has spent sixteen winters as caretaker on a group of islands off the New England coast, alone. She thinks, explores, writes and photographs with a medium format camera. Her photographs are nothing short of wonderful. The written part is spare, like the winter islands she photographs, an appropriate compliment to the images without distracting from the visual experience. And that's what this book is, a visual experience of a place at a time that (mostly) only she sees.

Discussing her photography she says that even the making of the photographs can be an intrusion on the experience of being there and that "Without the camera, I loved being outside. It didn't matter that the light be 'just right', or the day dramatic. Only with the camera was there a certain expectation. I spent more time looking than appreciating, more time searching than seeing."  I know the feeling. Probably the most important 'trick' or technique a photographer can learn is to see through the camera as if it weren't there. To reach the point when the camera is merely a note taking tool, a means of saving a moment in time and space. That is the real craft of photography at its finest and Alex de Steiguer has mastered it in this fine collection of images.

The book is available through http://www.alexdesteiguer.com/portfolio/pages/her+new+book. Her website URL is http://alexdesteiguer.com/

The usual disclaimer: I do not know Alex de Steiguer. I requested and received her permission to use the photo above in this review which I chose to write wholly of my own accord after purchasing the book. The photograph is the property of Alex de Steiguer and the review is copyrighted by me. She may use it if and as she wishes, all others are prohibited from reposting without permission.

Shameless Commercialism

But it isn't for me, it is for our Arts Council. They have created a 2014 calendar featuring the work of several member artists (including moi but I don't get money from it) in order to raise money and/or new members. You can get one by joining for $50 or you can just buy the calendar at this link. Please mention that you were referred by me.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Moon Again

Last night as I was going out to take in the bird feeders* in I spotted this scene and dashed back to get my camera. It was shot with the Canon SX 50 handheld 1/15th sec. Judging by the tree at the right I'd say the image stabilization worked pretty well. I love the colors of the sunset afterglow.

*We take in the bird feeders at night because the raccoons get into them if we leave them out.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Not the drinking kind of moonshine but it has an intoxicating effect on some poets anyway. I shot this photo during an evening shoot of some daylilies. When the sun went down too far for more handheld photos of flowers I looked up and noticed the moon. I learned some years ago that the trick to photographing the moon so that you can see the 'face' is to shoot it at the same exposure as you would for full sun* because the moon, which is your main subject, is in full sun. Of course if you wait until it is too dark that means everything else is underexposed and black. That brings up the second trick which is to shoot the moon at twilight while there is still enough light and color in the sky and of course a few clouds help too.

*Exposure for full sun is f/16 at whatever your ISO is for the shutter speed. I.E. ISO 100 full sun exposure is f/16 @ 1/100th sec. Some photographers like to open up one stop to f/11 but too much exposure will wash out the detail and you'll just get a white disk. Try both to see how it works for your camera.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Wild about Wildflowers

I wandered out into my back field this evening to look for wild flowers. The first that I encountered was this Queen Ann's Lace. I shot a couple of frames before this but I particularly liked the way the cluster of blossoms seemed to flow downward when seen from this angle. It is very suggestive of lace on the front of a lady's dress.

Canon 7D on a tripod with an EFs 18-135mm and and extension tube. Processed to B&W in NIK SE2 and duotoned in Photoshop CC.

Please respect my copyright and do not repost without permission.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Twenty Years Later

Yesterday I climbed Whiteface Mt in the Adirondacks with a small group of friends. The trip was in celebration of the 20th anniversary of my completion of the 46 High Peaks. I had finished on Whiteface on a chilly damp day in 1993 but yesterday was quite the opposite, very hot, high 80s to 90° F and very humid. Once we reached the top it was pleasant enough with a strong breeze to cool us but the trip back down was even hotter and more humid than the climb. I took 4 liters of water and drank it all by the time we got back down.

I took the Canon G11 and a polarizing filter that attaches with some adapter tubes. I wanted to keep my pack as light as possible considering the heat and climbing about 3100 feet in 4 miles. We took our time, averaging a bit less than 1 mph. The view above is from near the Weather Station looking South. The photo below was made from the promontory in this view looking North.
I'm planning to do the trip again for the 25th anniversary although I may hitch a ride back down on that trip, or not. Who knows? If I can stay in shape to climb I should be able to walk back down too.

Below are the celebrants: Dave Allen 46er (finished two years ago), Rick Reed 46er (finished five years ago), Yours Truly and Ron Reed, Rick's twin brother and aspiring 46er. With a bit of luck and good health we should all be 46ers when we do the 25th anniversary climb.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Climbing Mountains

I'm going to repeat my final 46er climb up Whiteface on Wednesday, the 20th anniversary of my completing the 46. I've been walking several miles/day in preparation but the hills around here, while steep for this area, are no comparison to climbing a mountain so I decided to climb Azure today because, for a "little" mountain it is a stiff climb. It was miserably hot and humid. By the time I reached the summit the front of my shirt was totally sweated out. I looked like someone had hit me with a garden hose. There was a decent breeze on top though and I got cooled down after a bit of time taking photos on the summit.

The photo is of a glacial erratic that sits on a ledge overlooking a steep drop off into a valley with several ponds. I decided to process it as a B&W in NIK Silver Efex 2 and then I toned it in Photoshop using the Duotone mode before converting it back to RGB. The only file format that recognizes Duotone is PSD and that's no good for emailing or posting to the web. I've been leaning toward B&W for some time now, a return to my roots I guess, and it worked well for this image.

There are a few more color images below. All were made using a Canon 7D with an 18-135 EFs lens. All are copyrighted. Please do not repost without permission.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Thoughts on Aging and Attitude

The photo is from four years and almost nine months ago. I made it on the way to join my friend Rick Reed who was completing his climbs of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks on Whiteface that day. It was my pleasure (and honor) to present him with a 46er pin when he reached the summit (see http://www.adk46r.org/ for an explanation of 46ers). I post it today because it is the same peak on which I finished climbing the 46 in 1993 and I will be repeating the climb as a 20th anniversary hike on the 17th, a little less than two weeks from today.

In the process of preparing to do this I have on occasion suffered a bit of self doubt, thoughts about being 20 years older, can I still do this, etc. Upon expressing them I have heard some of them echoed by others. On the other hand, inside my head I hear my eldest brother Bruce who was known for saying "there's no such thing as can't", On my daily walk this evening, which is longer than the distance up Whiteface, albeit not as steep, I pondered the business of age and concluded that there are three aspects to aging.

The first is chronological, the calendar, and you can't do anything about it nor in a larger sense does it matter. Time supposedly passes, that's how we experience things, but realistically all there is is NOW. The second aspect is physical. Our bodies do wear out with the passage of time but we have considerable control over how and how quickly they wear out. Abuse your body in any of a number of ways and it will wear out more sooner. Eat right, exercise (motion is good for you), generally take care of it and it will last longer. The third aspect is mind/attitude, the thing my brother was talking about. We have (almost) total control over that. I threw in the 'almost' because some of us will suffer from things like Alzheimer's. For most of us though, we choose our attitude when we wake up in the morning and with each encounter throughout the day. We can stay interested in life and the world, we can stay positive or  not. It is our choice. I've known people who were young in mind well into old age while others were mentally old at 40. Research has shown that learning new skills (learn to dance, learn to play a musical instrument, learn a new language) keeps our minds young.

Our attitude is key for keeping our bodies in shape but I think there is a part of our brain that is like Hal in Space Odyssey 2001. It has a 'prime directive' to preserve our body which it interprets as seeking ease and comfort above all  else. Unfortunately, that is not always what is best for our physical well being. The Hal part of my brain tells me it's too hot to go for a walk and I have to shut 'Hal' off, listen to Bruce's voice instead and go anyway. So my thought for the day is ignore the calendar and adopt an attitude of caring for yourself and the world, and a attitude of "I CAN". See you on the mountaintop.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nothing New Under The Sun?

There may be nothing new but if you haven't already seen it, it is as good as new. This flower was new to me this morning. It's a Deptford Pink according to my Audubon guide. I thought when I spotted it that it must be related to the Maiden Pinks I'd been photographing in my back field but there are distinct differences so I had to look it up. I don't recall ever seeing this variety before and I'm quite certain I've never photographed any of them before. So I end the month of June with a 'new' flower.

Canon SX50, Lightroom & Photoshop CC

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Into the Mists

Yesterday I did one of my lean-to maintenance hikes. I adopt a lean-to in the Adirondacks that is about 4 miles in from the trailhead. The adopter does clean up and minor maintenance to the shelter and the adjacent camping area. My friend Rick went with me.

The forecast was for a 30% chance of rain and I had hoped it would hold off until late in the day so we started early. The photo above was made at 7 AM looking across the Plains of Abraham so we knew as we drove in the Loj Rd. that we would see rain and we did. I think I can safely say we got all of the 30% that was forecast, about half of it in one 15-20 minute downpour. Fortunately we were at the lean-to when the downpour occurred so, although we got wet, we didn't get drenched.

This is my 22nd year as a lean-to adopter. It allows me to 'give back' as they put it, a way to contribute to the welfare of the Adirondack wilderness that gives me a lot of pleasure, not to mention a lot of photographs. It also gives me a sense of ownership over what is actually public land, a proprietary feeling of concern for preserving it for future generations. Part of that proprietary feeling is a sense of indignation towards those who willfully disrespect this gift of nature.

That indignation got exercised yesterday. There is, and has been for several years now, a ban on campfires in the High Peaks area. The first thing we discovered on arrival at the lean-to was an elaborate fire pit built by digging a hollow in the ground and placing a ring of rocks that had been taken from the stream around the edge of the pit. There had been a No Fires sign on the front post of the lean-to but it had been cut away around the nails that held it and apparently burned in the pit along with tin cans, glass and other trash that any fool should know doesn't burn, leaving a charred and ugly mess for Rick and I to haul out.

We bagged up the trash and dismantled the fire ring, returning the rocks to the stream along with the stash of firewood that the builders had piled nearby. We delivered a new register (the old one was falling apart) and headed back out by 11 AM taking a detour to Rocky Falls on the way. I'm sure I've posted pictures of Rocky Falls before but here's another. It was a good day to be in the woods, but then, it's a rare day  that isn't.
The panorama at the top was stitched from 4 frames. All photos were made with a Canon G11.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Out Standing in my Field

A photo of a bumble bee on some Cow Vetch. The field is really coming alive with wildflowers. The former owners mowed the field every year with a brush hog and not much grew there last year. I spread some wildflower seeds Monday to encourage even more variety. If I start to get trees and shrubs where I don't want them, I'm remove them selectively rather than just mowing everything. I'm not a big fan of mowing where there's no real reason. Back when I first retired I spent the first summer taking walks along the country roads around where I lived and photographing the wild flowers along them with my first digital camera, an Olympus 4040. Part way through the summer I discovered that the sides of the road had been mowed by the town highway department and wrote this:

In The Shadow of a Goose

Two weeks ago there were wildflowers
on the shoulder of this country road,
and as I walked along that day I stopped to photograph
Queen Ann’s Lace, Mayweed, and Bladder Campion.

Purple clusters of Vetch and
pink trumpet blooms of Bindweed
climbed the tall grasses
reaching for the sun.

Then the highway department came through,
a big tractor pulled a huge mower
that cut anything smaller than your thumb
leaving in its wake a mass of mangled green.

Now, the grass is getting tall again,
almost as tall as it was, and ragweed is thriving,
but the wildflowers are gone from the roadside.
It’s neater now, everything the same height and all green.

The wildflowers are still in bloom of course,
just over the fence, in the farmer’s field.
Here on the public right of way,
things are neat and orderly, not wild.

Off to my right a dozen or so geese rise from a wetland.
They fly across the road, between me and the sun.
The shadow of a goose passes over me,
over the fence and over the wildflowers in the field.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

More Wildflowers

More flowers from my back field. These are Maiden Pinks. I first spotted them while driving the tractor and from that height they looked like a pink version of Blue Eyed Grass. The blooms are a similar size and there are no obvious leaves off the sides of the stems. Upon closer inspection though there are significant differences aside from the color. Photographing flowers this small on a breezy day is a challenge. I'm laying down in the field with the tripod legs spread out horizontally, I get the distance, framing and focus just right and just as I'm ready to trip the shutter a breeze makes the flower bob wildly in and out of the frame. Patience! It settles down and I refocus, perhaps readjust the framing too and try again. Sometimes it takes several tries. Occasionally I discover after getting the images into the computer that they are all slightly blurred but it works often enough and I keep doing it because I like the results when it works.

The Rough Bedstraw was another new wildflower out in the field yesterday (the white flower mixed in with Blue Eyed Grass below) and on the way into the house I photographed the Chives blooms (bottom photo). They aren't wildflowers but I like any flowers.
All were made with a Canon 7D, 18-135mm EFs lens and extension tubes. The images are copyrighted. If you wish to share them with others please respect my copyright and refer them to the URL here. Do not repost without permission.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wildflower Afternoon

While carrying some limbs I had pruned from our shrubs back to the woods I spotted some blue eyed grass in the back field. It is one of my favorite wildflowers. When I was a little boy (a VERY long time ago) I used to pick handfuls of them for my mother. For those not familiar with them, they are a small flower, no more than 3/8s of an inch across, on a flat stem and they often grow in clumps (see below). It was a bit breezy so I had a hard time getting sharp photos. The flowers kept bobbing out of the frame, moving just as I tripped the shutter and blurring the image. I shot a whole series of one flower with a bee on it but the wind blurred every frame. I posted this one to Google+ where someone has decided that by default every uploaded photo should get "enhanced" by their software before it appears on their page. It made this image brighter than I wanted and added sharpening so that it was over-sharpened. I searched through the settings page and turned off that feature for future uploads but I can't fathom why Google thought their software could automatically make better aesthetic decisions than I can. That should have been an 'opt-in' feature, not an 'opt-out' one. Flickr has made some changes to their site too but at least they don't try to "auto-improve" your images.
Some other flowers from the back field: Sheep Sorrel
Hoary Alyssum
And a Common Pussytoes gone to seed.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rainy Days

We've been getting a lot of rain lately. It's at the point where the next person who tells me 'we need it' will get the response "no, we don't". I've been working on some images from several weeks ago using Lightroom, Photoshop and PostWorkShop 3. The Clivia above is the latest. I have modified it using the Topaz filter set and PostWorkShop in layers to create the texture. The original photo was made in our livingroom. The plant sits on a stand in front of a west window which was the only light source.

Our local Arts Council is having rainy days lately with their budget falling far short of expenses, a combination of increased costs and cutbacks in support from patrons. The county has stopped contributing at all and other sources of support have cut back severely. We're at the point where we may have to close our shop in Potsdam if we can't raise more money. To that end we are seeking donors, new members, setting up special events, whatever we can to make a buck.

The Council has a website at http://www.slcartscouncil.org/ . As you can see on the site the council does a lot of things in and for the community. As Beka, our director says "It is the arts that make us civilized". The council provides an outlet for local artists and craftworkers but also classes and other events and entertainment. If you are a resident of St. Lawrence county we would appreciate a donation or becoming a member which will also get you the newsletter of all the Council's doings. You can donate or join through the "Support Us" link on the website. If you don't live here but would like to donate/join anyway, we'd love to have your support.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Spring Flowers

I've been playing with PostWorkShop 3 again, this time with a  photo of some violets that I photographed last week on the Stone Valley Trails. The photo actually has several filters applied in layers to get the effect above, first in Photoshop using two different Topaz filters and then in PostWorkShop with two more. I don't see a lot of work being done with PostWorkShop and that is too bad in my opinion. Although most of the effects are way over the top for my taste you can tone them down by varying the opacity and blend mode just like layers in Photoshop.Used judiciously it is possible to get some very nice effects. I particularly like the engraving style layered over painting effects as I did with the image above. I like this photo even without the filters but I feel that they add a bit of interest that enhances it.

Remember that if you click on the image you will see a larger copy. Please respect my copyright and do not repost without my permission.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Sudden Spring

We have a sudden burst of spring in the North Country and I have been doing a lot of yard work. Friday I decided I needed a day off and drove South to the Adirondacks to relax, make some photos and see a new show opening in the Adirondack Artist Guild Gallery in Saranac Lake. My first stop, as is usually the case, was at Mountain Pond where the leaf buds were just beginning to open creating a multicolored haze on the deciduous trees over the pond. Spring color is often more varied, although less intense, than autumn color. It can run from silvery grey greens to yellow greens to orange and several shades of red. If you can find a vantage point overlooking a mountainside when the buds are at their fullest before opening it is quite a sight. I suspect that an experienced forester could inventory the trees by simply counting the tree tops of each hue.

I spent some time Both going and returning home, sitting on the shore watching the light play on the water and made a few exposures of the color and reflections..

The show, called The Wild, Wild West, was paintings by Sandra Hildreth that she made in her travels to western parks. I believe they represent her best work so far at least among her paintings that I've seen. If you are in Saranca Lake between now and May 28th I suggest you stop in the gallery and see her show. As always there is other work by the Guild members hung as well.

When I am just cruising for photos with nothing particular in mind I end up photographing a lot of roadside scenes and details like the image above. I didn't really see the "5" when I was shooting it but instantly saw it went I imported the photo as did Diane when I showed it to her. It was her first comment (without hint or prompting). I suggested that it might actually be an "S" for Supermoss but she's sure it's a "5".

The last photo of that day is this one of some evergreens (White Pines?) on an island near the Santa Clara bridge whose needles are turning orange, a bad sign that the trees are sick, perhaps dying. Aesthetically interesting but ecologically dismaying.

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