Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 Memories

I thought I would do a 'top 10' or '10 favorite photos' from 2018 but as I scanned my files for the year I realized I couldn't conveniently get the group to equal 10. For starters, I made 2415 photos (that I kept for one reason or another) and that is a lot to pair down to 10 unless I decided to go with a category. That would rule out many that I really liked, not necessarily because they are "art" but because of the connection that I have with the subject through the process of making the photographs. If I went with only one category, there wouldn't be 10 in many of the areas that I have ongoing projects. Others are part of a group for panoramas, HDR or focus stacking. And then there are the 'record shots', simple snapshots to remind me of something or as a reference for drawings. Also, no single category would span the year. So I decided to take a virtual trip of memories through the year with brief explanations of each one. It is an eclectic lot starting with my primary subject matter above, the Adirondack landscape. Note: these are not all in chronological order.

The lead photo is of Whiteface Mt. from a farm field on Norman Ridge. I hope the farmer doesn't mind and I certainly would not have gone into his field if there were Posted signs or if there had been a crop growing but on the 22nd of April it just brown stubble and I wanted to position that copse of trees to frame the mountain. The leave no trace admonition, "Take only photos..." and I didn't even leave footprints.

The next image was made along Rt. 458 between Santa Clara and the junction with Rt. 30. Over the years I have found several good subjects along that stretch. This one is at the point where there is a road cut through the rock diagonally opposite a turnout/rest stop. The date was Feb. 17th. I had gone to Saranac Lake to see the Ice Palace and stopped to make this image on my way home. I liked the overall pattern, the colors in the ice and the twigs sticking through the snow in the foreground.

Jumping ahead in time again (May 25th) is this black and white image of Narcissus in one of my flower beds. The bulbs were a gift from a fellow photographer/potter friend Ron Larsen of Crary Mills. I take a fair number of flower photos every year, to the point that it has occasionally been suggested 'enough already' on FB, but I love flowers as subjects because they are photogenic and (if the wind isn't blowing) they are very cooperative. I was attracted to the sweeping curve this group creates and although it was a tossup between the color original and B&W I decided that the monochrome version accentuated the pattern better.

A day later I was in the Adirondacks and stopped by Mt. Pond which is one of my favorite places. I'm not sure what kind of tree it is with all the orange flowers and dangling seeds but I liked the color contrast against the yellowy greens of the evergreen next to it.

June 6th found me at the VIC at Paul Smiths where I happened on a very nice patch of Bunchberry right next to the parking lot. Like the photo of the Narcissus, this was a tossup whether to post the color or B&W version. I think perhaps my early years in photography being all B&W have biased my taste. Whatever the excuse I went with it again.

The next demands to be in color. It is a Gaillardia plant (AKA Blanket Flower) in my sister's garden. She is a retired florist with a degree in ornamental horticulture and keeps an amazing country garden. I could easily post ten photos of that but...

One of the ongoing photo projects I mentioned above is details of cars, mostly old/antique cars. I made this one at the antique auto show in Ives Park in Potsdam which is held every year alongside the craft fair during the summer festival. It is the hood of an old Ford truck. The owners were planning restoration but I'm not at all sure restoration could make this more visually interesting.

On the 18th of July, two friends and I climbed Whiteface Mt in celebration of the 25th anniversary of my completion of the ADK 46 High Peaks on July 17, 1993. We went a day late because the forecast was for thunderstorms on the 17th and a mountaintop is not a place I want to be when there is lightning. It turned out to be a fortuitous delay because I would not have seen this the day before. In all my years of hiking climbing in the Adirondacks, this was the 1st time I ever encountered Amish. They had been driven up to the parking area in a van by an "English" (non-Amish) friend/neighbor and climbed the last half mile up stone stairs and open rock.

I spent several weeks this summer hiking the Stone Valley Trails (just down the hill from my house) and some other local trails almost daily as part of a fitness challenge. The photo below is of O'Malley Brook as the morning sun was breaking through the trees above it. The trail crosses that bridge at the top.

You might be tempted to think this photo, also from Stone Valley, was an autumn picture but it was made on the 10th of August. The bright early morning sun reflecting off the trees on the opposite shore gave the water the yellow color which contrasts nicely with the bluish cast of the rocks which are in shade.

The following two are from another local trail, the Red Sandstone Trail that runs from Hannawa Falls to a bit above Potsdam. As with the old truck picture, they are part of another continuing project of texture/pattern photos. The concrete is part of the supports for the penstock that channels water to the Sugar Island power station.

Meanwhile back on the Stone Valley trail is the following group. I shot a lot of mushroom/fungus photos during the weeks I was participating in the hiking challenge. I finished in 3rd place for my (over 70) age group I'm pleased to say. The 1st mushroom image is unique in that, like the Amish on the mountaintop, I have never seen the likes of this before. I saw many mushrooms of this variety this summer but this is the only bearded one of any kind that I encountered. Attempts to find something like it on the web proved futile. Perhaps I just didn't use the right search terms but nothing I found looked remotely like this.

This group of three has to be one of my fungus favorites. Their simple perfection of form, sheltered from wayward hiker's boots by a tree root appeals to me.

Back to B&W for the next. This is along the edges of the Raquette River. I liked the reflection of the grass and other plants as well as the clouds in the sky.

These pines are on an island in the river. Made on the 24th of August, you can see some early color on the deciduous trees on the opposite shore between the branches just left of center.

Again, a theme I like, incorporating earth, water, and sky all in a relatively intimate view rather than in a grand sweeping image.

I cropped and converted this river view to order to reduce it to almost abstract forms.

The willow tree below stands alongside the West Parisville Rd. in a low wet area. Although I prefer walking wooded trails I sometimes walk the rectangle of roads in front of our house. This is around the corner about a half mile or a bit more from my home. I was taken by the feathery, almost birdlike foliage and the lines of the dead limbs hanging down.

Barnum Brook Trail, Paul Smiths VIC. This view is looking upstream from the bridge that crosses the Brook on that trail, evergreen needles and leaves on the water's surface with reflections of the trees and sky above.

There is a walking trail in Potsdam, part of which is on Fall Island in the middle of the village. This deck juts out over the river below the dam. On my second visit there I found this lawn chair that someone had left. I moved it to align with the deck in a symmetrical composition.

A hay rake or perhaps a tedder on the fields on the Plains of Abraham along the Loj Rd. I generally avoid including modern things in my Adirondack landscapes but the alien look of this machine contrasted with the wild mountainside in the background appealed to me.

In that same area but nearer to the beginning of the Loj Rd, this very orange tree stood in the midst of a golden island that the farmer had mowed around.

The two above, as well as the following three, were made on October 10th when I went to the waterfall on Cascade Mt. The first photo is of the upper part of the falls as seen from the shore of Lower Cascade Lake.

The next is the bottommost section. There is a rough herd path to the base of the falls made considerably rougher after a landslide several years ago. Once upon a time, there was a hotel on the bit of land between Upper and Lower Cascade Lakes and their water supply was a reservoir at the base of this waterfall. When I first visited there, before the landslide there were remnants of the dam and pipes. A part of them remain, but it is much less evident than it was. I have a few historical photos of the hotel and the concrete pad in the picnic area is where it stood. It was damaged by blasting when Rt. 73 replaced the narrow road along the lakes and was later torn down.

Mushrooms again, these in the brook bed below the base of the falls.

Shortly after Indigenous Peoples Day*/Canadian Thanksgiving I hiked the new trail that had been created up Van Hoevenberg Mt. I had climbed several times before on the old trail from the South Meadow Rd. including once in the dark to photograph the sunrise. When I arrived at the main summit area this was the view that greeted me. The young lady is Heather Uvvani and her dog Luca. The view across the autumn landscape was awesome.

I will close with this photo from my own yard, the crabapple trees in the driveway island after a recent snowfall. These trees are frequent subjects throughout the seasons.

I hope you enjoyed my photo memories from 2018. There are others I could have chosen, and probably would on a different day. May you all have a great year in 2019.

*Officially known as Columbus Day, but he was a genocidal S.O.B. who enslaved, raped and slaughtered the indigenous people he encountered to make himself rich. He totally wiped out one entire group when they resisted him and had to import slaves to run his moneymaking enterprises. I do not recognize the holiday set aside in his name.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

One of our crabapple trees this morning with snow and two remaining leaves.

The title of this post is in no way meant to exclude anyone from my best wishes for whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year. On the contrary, I wish everyone a happy time through this season and a wonderful 2019. As the days begin growing longer again my mood brightens and I hope yours does too.

2018 was not the best of years for us and for others that I know but I am looking ahead and hope for the future. Most of my hiking plans did not happen in 2018 so that list will just get redated for the coming year. In addition, I am planning on applying for a fellowship in photography and a residency. I am still considering doing a workshop in close-up/macro photography. I hope all my readers have plans as well. Happy holidays. 

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Winter Crabapples

Winter crabapples. The deer are having a feast from our apple trees. We rarely see them because they come around at night but their tracks are all over under the trees.