Friday, August 31, 2018

Out-takes from Daily Photo Series - #1

I shot this early on during my 30-day self-challenge. The leaf really did land on that log. I did not place it there.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Daily Photo - Day 30

I set out to post a photo each day for at least 30 days and today I have done it. I also intended initially that the photo I posted would be from that day. I missed on that part of the plan once. I will try to continue to post more frequently than in the past although it might not be daily. Whatever else happens, I have a selection of "out-takes" from the 30 days that I could throw at you from time to time in among whatever new images I create.

Today I took a shorter, more civilized hike than my usual jaunts. I went back to the civilized trail in Potsdam that runs along the Racquette River from behind Stewarts to the cemetery and noted a difference in the culture. As I walked along I greeted those I met like I usually do. The women I met, whether alone or in groups, mostly did not respond or if they did, looked away and gave a nearly inaudible reply. If it was a mixed group, one or more of the men responded and asked "How are you doing?". Young male college students tended to grunt a response. I simply waved at runners since they had their phones plugged into their ears and wouldn't hear anything I said anyway. They smiled and waved back.

This differs from hiking deep in the Adirondacks where most people are inclined to stop and have brief conversations about the weather, their hike, the condition of the trail, and occasionally rather long conversations. It just struck me as being interesting that the farther I am from civilization, the more social the interactions with others I encounter are likely to be.

Today's photo was taken from one of the overlooks that are cantilevered out from the river bank, waterlilies growing in the shallow water of a bay.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Daily Photo - Day 29

For a change of pace today I hiked at the Paul Smiths VIC. There are a number of the trails there that I had never done (they have 25 miles of trails. One interesting experience from the day was a passing shower, literally. At one point I heard rain falling but didn't feel any then a column of rain passed by me about 15 feet away. It was probably 20-30 feet across and passed me in less than a minute.

Today's photo is of Barnum Brook, forest litter on the surface of the water with reflections of the sky and hints of what is below. A beautiful natural abstract.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Daily Photo - Day 28

I walked all the way to Colton on the Stone Valley trail again today and did a short additional walk to photograph this building. I had been meaning to photograph it for some time now. It appeals to my love of old buildings. "If I were a rick man..." I would like to restore old buildings like this one. I would have custom replacement windows made with arched tops to match the originals like those on the left section, make all three storefronts match the center one and run the second-floor balcony all the way across with support posts appropriate to the period of the building. Practical? No, but if you are rich you don't need to be practical and it would be satisfying to me.

It was a very hot and very muggy day for a 7+ mile hike to Colton and back. The air was so thick I felt almost as if I should be swimming. Well, that is a bit of an exaggeration but not a lot. The humidity was 86% with a matching temperature. I went on the West trail and returned on the East trail. Note to whoever is the "authorized chainsaw" trail maintainer: Your services are sorely needed on the East trail. There are at least a half-dozen sizable trees down across the trail.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Daily Photo - Day 27

I hiked only 5 miles today, an out and back hike on the Stone Valley trail. This photo was made along the shore of the river at the point where I turned around, Cardinal Flowers growing amongst debris from high water flooding.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Daily Photo - Day 26

I took a longer walk/hike than usual this morning, a total of over 8 miles. It ran well into the afternoon because it was raining for part of the morning. The Weather Channel showed a window of "not raining" between 11 am and 3 pm. They were pretty much dead on and I managed to avoid getting rained on. I decided to walk down our road to the river and then hike the service road on the other side that follows the penstock between the dam in Colton and the power station at the bottom of our hill.

The penstock is mostly steel pipe but where it has to turn or bend down because of drops in elevation the straight pipe is connected by concrete sections. The first photo is of a pattern on the surface of one of those concrete links. I often find interesting abstracts on old concrete.

The second photo is a section of the dam in Colton. All the angles, stairs and railings appealed to me.

I hiked back from Colton via the East trail along the river and of course, I was attracted to MUSHROOMS! What else? But I'm only putting one in this post. I photographed about a half dozen. 8.34 miles of road walking, hiking and photography, all in 3 hours and 25 minutes between rain showers. A good day.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Daily Photo - Day 25

Cardinal Flowers and Daisy Fleabane on a bed of rocks and garnished with twigs. I have made it through 25 days so far. Will I manage 30 days (my original goal) and if I do will I continue? We shall see.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Daily Photo - Day 24

Hiking the Stone Valley Trail again this morning I came on this group of pines with their graceful branches and luscious greens. There is a touch of autumn showing through from a tree behind the pines. I have mixed feelings about that. Autumn is my favorite season for hiking and landscape photography but it means winter is coming too. I'm not crazy about winter, never have been and I like it less the older I get.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Daily Photo - Day 23

Back to my usual trail today but I went farther than usual before turning around. I photographed more mushrooms (surprise) but was determined to [post something that was not fungus for the daily photo. I shot three views of this but made an amateur mistake with all three. One of my maxims, when I was teaching photography back in the days of film, was "A picture is worth a thousand words but all thousand words should be about the same thing". In other words, don't include anything that isn't necessary. In shooting this I tried to include all of the plants (including the Joe Pie Weed) that are reflected in the water. That necessitated including a waterfall that was some distance beyond. Too much stuff. It didn't work so this is rather severely cropped. I also converted it to B&W and played with the tones to make the green grasses stand out more against the rock. Now I have to remember my own advice when shooting future photos so I don't have to work so hard for the result I intended.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Daily Photo(s) -Day 22

I did a different sort of hike/walk today along a multi-use trail that starts in Potsdam behind a Stewart's store and runs along the shore of the Racquette River to the Bayside Cemetery. I chose that trail both because I had never done it before and because It had been raining last night and this morning. Being a groomed multi-use trail I figured there was little chance of getting wet from overgrowth alongside the trail and I was right. It was still threatening rain so I took along a rain poncho, more to protect my camera than me, but it proved unnecessary.

The trail is an interesting mix of woods, shoreline and if you choose, (I did) a loop around the cemetery where there is an impressive sandstone entrance wall with an iron gate and a matching gatehouse. The Celtic cross above tops a section of the wall. The tall grass photo below is farther back on the trail as I returned to town. The sky in both evidence the threat of imminent rain that didn't happen. I had parked in the small park on Fall Island behind the hardware store and walked a bit under 4 miles in all.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Daily Photo(s) - Day 21

Okay, I confess. I am addicted to photographing mushrooms. The thing is, I generally walk/hike the same trail every day for exercise and the things that change most often are the mushrooms. and what a cast of characters they are, all sizes, shapes, and colors. So, here is another small gallery of fungus.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Daily Photo - Day 20

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

Robert Frost

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Daily Photo - Day 19

I set out to do at least 30 days of posting daily photos and I guess I can't get all the way there without mushrooms. The recent rains have really brought out the mushrooms in the woods where I walk. This trio is tiny, the tops about a quarter to three eights of an inch across and the stems about as thick as the lead in a pencil.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Daily Photo - Day 18

Just one today. I shot more but they were not related and wouldn't have made a good group. I hiked along country roads today. It had rained hard last night and I didn't want to get wet again like I did on the Sugar Island hike. Hiking/walking along the road is harder than hiking in the woods though. In the woods, I feel like I am inside a field of natural energy that the forest shares with me to keep me going. Road hiking is draining.

The photo is a willow in the ditch on the opposite side of the road from me. Like me, it has its struggles but I liked its shape, even the broken limbs. I like trees in general but especially those that are surviving in spite of less than ideal situations. I liked the feathery quality of the leaves, the lines of the trunk and the broken limbs. I applied a pseudo-infrared effect to emphasize the tonal relationships. Beauty is not always the result of perfection in form. Sometimes it is in the spirit that shines through struggle.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Daily Photo(s) - Day 17

Today I went to the St Lawrence Center Mall to pick up some work I had in a show that was closing and took my camera along to photograph the Mall. Seeing it today is a strange experience for me because when it opening in 1990 I was in charge of the NYS Employment Service in Massena and our office handled the hiring of hundreds of workers to staff the Mall.
Since then, it has suffered like many other malls from the Internet economy (Amazon, etc.) and only a handful of the original stores remain. One entire section has been walled off. About a dozen stores have been filled with local entrepreneurs but most remain empty and shoppers are few and far between. Despite this, the staff keeps it clean and while I was there one fellow was busy replacing light bulbs that had burnt out. It has the feel of a semi-ghost town, a place that once bubbled with activity and now is fading into oblivion.
Here is a tour of some of the largely vacant spaces.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Daily Photo - Day 16

I walked all the trails on the Northern end of the Red Sandstone Trail this morning from the Northern terminus parking to the tip of Sugar Island including the cross trail and both shore trails, a total of 5.56 miles. It is easy hiking, all level. It was kind of wet though because of all the rain last night. The panorama is a view from the North end of the Island looking North toward Potsdam. The leaf and fern photo was shot on the central trail that runs along an old RR bed.

The piles of stones in the panorama are remnants of old piers for a trestle of some sort but they are a puzzle because they don't align with the old RR bed. There are piles of rocks to the left (out of the photo) that do align and several other rows of rock piles in this area of the river that seemingly go nowhere in particular. I'm going to have to visit the Potsdam Museum and see if they have records of what those rock piles represent.

The shoreline trails are interesting. The central RR bed trail, not so much. It is overgrown with large ferns that the power company beats back line trimmers. The maintenance on the shore trails is apparently left to Laurentian ADK.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Daily Photo(s) - Day 15

I had resolved to post fewer mushroom photos as part of the Daily Photo series but this morning I met this unusual one along the trail on my morning hike. I have never seen one like it before, nor could I find anything like it in Google searches for either "bearded mushroom" or "hairy mushroom". I have seen a fair number of mushrooms similar in shape and color but without the 'hair' which makes me wonder if it is case of fungus (or mold) growing on fungus rather than all the same organism.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Daily Photo(s) - Day 14

I went out to our garden to photograph the sunflowers but today everything is a rainflower. The bees are undeterred though.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Photo a Day - Day 13

I hiked a different trail today, on the same river but downstream toward Potsdam. Much of the Red Sandstone Trail follows the penstock between the dam and the Sugar Island power station. The penstock is supported by steel cradles and periodic concrete supports. One of my favorite sources of abstract images is the surface patterns on weathered concrete, a combination of cracking, lime leaching out for the cracks and occasional surface material such as moss, algae, and occasional graffiti. The top image has a touch of the green paint that covers the steel of the penstock.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Daily Photos - Day 12

How's that for an alien creature?
Today I have 5 photos. I went to the Paul Smiths VIC in hope of finding some Sundew. I was photographing a cluster that I found when a young lady asked what I was doing. I told her I was photographing Sundew and started to explain what it was when she said: "I know, I'm here with a botany class from SLU." Then she asked if I knew what a tiny white flower a little farther along was and I admitted I didn't know. I hadn't seen one like it before. Just then the professor came along and said it was a Sundew flower. The clusters of carnivorous paddles are common he said but the flowers, on central stalks like the flowers on Pitcher Plants, are rare. So I learned something today and spent 45 minutes or so trying to get a photo that showed the entire plant in one photo. It proved difficult. I succeeded but not as well as I hoped. I may have to make another attempt.

The whole Sundew cluster:

A Sundew flower opening.

Another Sundew blossom looking down with the cluster below. The bloom is only about 1" from the lens and the stalk is 6-8" tall so the cluster below is very out of focus due to the shallow depth of field when working that close.

My solution was to photograph it from the side. I found a plant with shorter stems (about 4") so that it all fit in the frame and I could still get fairly close to the cluster at the bottom. I wish te background was not so cluttered or was more out of focus. I may try again.