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 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.