04.20.2015 Me and the Beav

Before I drove by the barn in Hadley yesterday, I was in Petersham for sunrise at Harvard Pond.  The sky was clear of most clouds and just a few dotted the horizon although there were quite a few to the north.  There was a nice spring chill in the air and a slight breeze, but all in all I had a nice quiet start to the day with just a relatively friendly beaver for company.  Maybe it was even the same one who stopped by to say hello last fall.

Harvard-Pond-Beaver-041915-700WebHe or she swam by me countless times and only slapped at me once which I took as a friendly gesture rather than a “scram you!”.

Before that image, I was waiting for the sun to rise.  There was no rich dawn glow in the clear sky, so the sun was to be the subject of the morning.  I usually get a lot of flares when shooting into the sun, which is true of most sun photographs, and decided I would try the thumb trick to eliminate flaring…a procedure that requires two exposures…one for the scene and another with your thumb sticking down into the frame and blocking the sun thus eliminating the source of the flares.  The two are then combined with the flares and thumb being masked out.  It was my first effort and the main lesson I came away with was to not wear gloves.  The backlighting sun highlights all the little fibers and made things worse rather than better.  Maybe it would have been different with nylon gloves or leather, but I was wearing micro-fleece.

So instead of my first thumb combo, this is my first use of Nik’s Tone Compressor for single shots.  There was minimal flaring in this earlier shot…the later captures with the sun higher in the sky made the flaring much worse and in several places where it just could not be corrected.

Harvard-Pond-Sunrise-041915-700WebThe beaver was swimming around in front of me but managed to stay out of the scene while I was shooting.  Good manners that one.  :-)

Today we are getting some needed rain after several warm lovely days.  I am sure next weekend will produce the first flowers of spring here in the neighborhood…not counting the daffs and croci.

Posted in Central Massachusetts, Fauna, Landscape, Nature Photography, Sunrise, Water | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

04.19.2015 Hadley Tobacco Barn Door

Something a little different for me.  This collapsing disintegrating door caught my eye as I drove through Hadley this morning.

Hadley-Barn-Door-041915-700WebI guess if I wanted to be cute, I could say that this door represents me as I age and sag under the weight of my years.  I was cuter when I was younger.  :-)

Posted in Black and White, Intimate Landscape, Landscape, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

04.18.2015 Rattlesnake Hill in a Fog

I was hoping for a partly cloudy start to the morning for a nice sunrise.  Instead there were thin clouds banking the horizon which created a milky sky that held a little color for a short time at dawn.  Some of those clouds were also in the valleys in North Quabbin, so I worked on this view looking north toward Rattlesnake Hill.

Rattlesnake-Hill-in-a-Fog-3-041815-700Web

For a change…I was overdressed.  It warmed up nicely this morning…and I saw Hepatica flowers.  :-)

Posted in Landscape, Nature Photography, Quabbin, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

04.14.2015 Tonality Tuesday

Back to work today after a gorgeous weekend.  Although it may shower a little this morning, the temperature stayed up in the 50s overnight and it will be another comfortable day.  I’m starting to believe.  :-)

I missed Monochrome Monday, so I dub this Tonality Tuesday.  Here’s another from the archives.

White-Trillium-BandW-042911-800White Trillium aka White Wakerobin (Trillium grandiflorum).

Have a nice Tuesday, everyone.

Posted in Black and White, Closeup Photography, Flora, macro photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

04.12.2015 It took a while….

but I finally shot some images of what must be the most photographed waterfall in the area here.  This is Slatestone Brook Falls which is literally right next to the road, Falls Road naturally, in Sunderland, MA.  Many moons ago, could be as many as 40 years, this waterfall was on the cover of all the NYNEX phone books for Western Massachusetts.  I would guess that it is possible that every person with a camera who has ever driven by here took a photo of this waterfall.  But…every image I saw on the interweb here was filled with green or else in B&W.  So I shot it in dried leaf brown.  :-)

Slatestone-Brook-Falls-041215-700WebI did a few selections which I will post later.  I hope to get permission to go on some private property to shoot it from the left side but I was here around 6 am today/Sunday and that’s not the best time to knock on someone’s door.  :-)

Posted in Landscape, Nature Photography, Waterfalls, Western Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts Waterfalls and Cascades | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

04.11.2015 Spring melt

I think we’ve finally made it to Spring.  The calendar said it was spring a few weeks ago, but the weather just caught on and I believe it is all good from here.  There is still snow and ice in the shadier parts of the woods, but I noticed this west-facing hillside as I drove along a road that gets enough sun so there was only a bit of the white stuff around.

Cave-Hill-Waterfall-041115-700WebInitially it was my intention to visit some vernal pools and, hopefully, find some sign of salamander or newt activity.  But on Rattlesnake Gutter Road, which is named for the geological feature that had snakes rather than disemboweling them, there was still a lot of ice and snow and the pools were partially frozen so a few more days remaining for the migration and mating. As for “Gutter”, see this post by Steve Schwartzman concerning the roots of the word.

With no herps to shoot, I settled for this view of trees in a diagonal lineup.  I liked that aspect as well as the others just behind in a second line.

Rattlesnake-Gutter-lineup-041115-700WebThis is a less than attractive time of the year.  What snow remains is dirty and covered with fallen debris from the trees.  The ground is soggy and only the moss offers any hint of greenery.  But it will just be a few days or a week or two for the arrival of ephemerals.

Posted in Intimate Landscape, Landscape, Nature Photography, Waterfalls, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

04.06.2015 Ninety-nine and a half will have to do

We missed out on the blood red lunar eclipse here in the northeast on Saturday.  Very little was to be visible anyway, but it was overcast so even totality would have been unseen by us.

I went to a favorite location for the full moon, Mount Pollux, yesterday morning knowing that most of the moon’s fullness was still with us and made this image at dawn.

April-Moon-at-Mount-Pollux-040515-700WebI was not alone as there were several folks wrapped up in blankets who had walked from a nearby house for Easter sunrise. It was pretty chilly and breezy which I guess caused them to head home as I was leaving and before sunrise happened.  It was a subdued sunrise.

And for those who don’t mind a little rowdy music….

Posted in Landscape, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments