01.11.2015 Slabs of Ice

Over at Mark Graf’s blog, I am often telling him how jealous I am for the slabs of ice that he finds.  Yesterday while walking along the Middle Branch of the Swift River, I found a few piled up atop a rock in the middle of the water.  These aren’t nearly as spectacular as Mark’s nor is the background, but I’ll settle for these right now and hope to find some more exciting subjects as the winter wears on.

Ice-Slabs--Middle-Branch-of-the-Swift-River-011015-700WebI was weak this morning and stayed in rather than go out in sub-zero temperatures again.  Mary Beth needed to leave around 8:30 and we wanted to keep the woodstove stoked and the house warm.  And Murphy needed company.  There is snow and possible ice forecast for the morning, so this may be it until next weekend for my chances to make more photographs.  If it is just snow and not blowing…..  🙂

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About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Black and White, Intimate Landscape, Landscape, Nature Photography, Quabbin, Water, Western Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts Waterfalls and Cascades and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to 01.11.2015 Slabs of Ice

  1. Just Rod says:

    Glad you have some subjects again. I like the contrast between the slab area and the bush.
    Keep warm.

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  2. Hi Steve…. Seldom do I prefer b&w digital, but this one works. There’s ample deep black and bright white to overpower the typical dullness of the million shades of gray that we so oft see in the digital universe. If only we could rekindle tri-x and diafine.

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    • I am pretty happy with the depth of the black water, Eb. This river is usually pretty dependable that way. The”color”version is also pretty monochromatic. I never worked with black and white film since I was a child with a Brownie.

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      • Seriously, Steve…. Never b&w film? That’s a pity. A photographer with your eye and sensitivity would have done wonders with the medium. I absolutely loved it. I’m convinced that digital technologies just can’t match the art of silver halide, gelatins, and red-filtered light.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t argue with that, Eb. There is something special about a print from a bath of developer and stop. I did have a darkroom for color using the Cibachrome process and do not miss the smell and collection of liquids that needed disposal. But there was a different level of satisfaction back then.

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  3. Mark says:

    Well I like this Steve, and I haven’t been out since New Years day – so kudos to you. I like how dark the water is to emphasize the stack.

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  4. Andrew says:

    Not weak Steve just sensible. I read Eb’s comments on B&W digital with interest. I don’t have the same reservations but I do think there is less fun and magic about digital. It has many advantages and of course people buy loads of software to emulate what we had in days gone by. There is perhaps more art in film than digital (“discuss” as they say in the exams). However the final arbiter is the content not the process. My main gripe about digital is how little (I include myself) we now print because other than the real enthusiasts, it has been reduced to gazillions of thoughtless ‘snapshots’ and selfies. I shall await the flame throwers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wholeheartedly agree that it’s the content that matters most. However, the critical element in the visual Art of b&w — the technical artistry created in the darkroom with red filters and hand painting of the light onto the photo paper — is not the shades of gray, but the contrast and interplay of the blacks and whites in the image. Digital transformation in its logical cleverness creates too many shades of gray — thus the drama and nuance of the scene is lost.

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      • Andrew says:

        I don’t disagree Eb. I like strong contrasts in B&W. Most of my own presets are in that mode. It is more dramatic and there is a lot of the bland out there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • As I mentioned earlier, I don’t disagree, Eb. But it is possible to emulate the old processes faithfully…it’s just that most are not patient enough to give the image the time and attention it deserves. Many brag about the speed at which they can produce the image and complain about the time required if it exceeds a few minutes. Modern software (is there any other kind?) reduces the time spent and, I think, removes some of the art that should be inherent. I use a combination of algorithmic software (Nik) and selective adjustments created through channels and other tools to tweak things to my satisfaction. Some images require more or less time. I don’t print every image, but many are printed.

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    • There isn’t anything in what you said to merit flames, Andrew.
      Thanks for the support for common sense. It’s a quality that I am rarely accused of demonstrating.

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      • Flames? What am I missing here, Steve?

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      • The end of Andrew’s first comment, Eb. As if anyone here would be rude to the kind lad.

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      • “I shall await the flame throwers.”

        Somehow I missed that preemptive strike at the end of Andrew’s post. I suppose any disagreement with Andrew’s premise, however slight or respectful it may be, brands me as a flame thrower. That just breaks my heart. If I’d caught that line, I’d never have responded. My error was the assumption that respect for and honor of one another’s work is a given in this forum, and that we’d come to discuss ideas and techniques, not engage in flames. Even the intimation of such on my part…. Well, as I said, it just breaks my heart.

        O well, the better thing I suppose is to just write “great capture’ or “wonderful image” or some such automatic kudo and be done with it.

        Farewell.

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      • Eb… I would put my well-being on the line that you were not the target of Andrew’s comment. I am sure he was responding to comments that are often seen elsewhere.Quite often in other venues, a statement such as Andrew’s draws rebukes and harsh replies. I would have little doubt that it was meant in jest and I would be shocked if it is otherwise. Enough from me….I will let Mr. Ha ease your pains.

        I certainly value constructive criticism and honest opinions about my work and I am sure he does also. We have often dropped a suggestion to each other indicating we think that things might have been done better captured or processed otherwise. I am always disappointed, to a degree of course, when I get a simple “Nice shot” here or on FB or anywhere. I’d rather hear someone’s true thoughts.

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  5. Jim in IA says:

    Go with the floe.

    Lots of good conversation today about photography. There is no end to how people view it and work with it. As with any creative endeavor, there are many ways it affects us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nope. Never felt a thing. The last one I felt was centered in Chicoutimi, QC quite a few years back. When I visited California in the late 80s, there was a mild earthquake. I never felt that one either. My brother had taken us to Point Lobos and we were riding back to Fairfax when it struck. Damned shock absorbers.

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  6. I have to chuckle at your slab-envy, as I have glacier-envy. Sometimes in winter when I go out to Illinois Beach State Park I see huge sheets of ice pushed up onto shore, and mini glaciers. But when I go, the whole scene has always been grey grey grey. Recently someone had an image of these ice formations that looked like they came straight out of Nat Geo from the arctic, with green glowing ice and all! Boy, was I jealous. Ah well. I think these slabs of yours are very nice 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know what else I am envious of, Melissa? Starved Rock State Park. Are you near that? I’ve seen some wonderful images of the park through all seasons and it looks like a fantastic place. So does Illinois Beach State Park. http://www.pbase.com/raymathis/image/96193364
      And, thanks to you, I am now envious of your place as well. 🙂

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      • It goes both ways, doesn’t it? I was also going to mention my envy of your streams and waterfalls, and was so pleased when I came across one not far from here. Not at all as grand as the ones you photograph, but still, water going over rocks. 🙂
        I’ve been to Starved Rock~it really is pretty cool. I live about 1 1/2 hours north of it, and 45 minutes west of IBSP. My daughter and I went there this afternoon hoping for some glaciers. Instead we had very dark skies over the lake, with huge waves! Very exciting.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Melissa’s “envy of your streams and waterfalls” made me think of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”:

        I love thy rocks and rills,
        Thy woods and templed hills;
        My heart with rapture thrills,
        Like that above.

        Curious, I searched to see who wrote the words, and in the relevant Wikipedia article I found that “Samuel Francis Smith wrote the lyrics to ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee’ in 1831, while a student at the Andover Theological Seminary in Andover, Massachusetts.” How about that unexpected connection back to Massachusetts?

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      • Massachusetts has produced a lot of our country’s culture from the earliest times when the majority of its citizens were located here and much of the educational opportunity could be had here as well.

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  7. As you know Steve and Andrew, I’m quite a fan of B & W or monochrome if you prefer. This one is excellent in my humble opinion. It looks so cold there. I’m glad you had a moment of weakness or are you feeling weak as in ill, weak? There are times you just need not push yourself.

    As an aside- the odd thing about cold weather is that my legs get very weak. This began when I was in my 40’s. It is very weird so I don’t stay outside very long.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not ill, Yvonne. But the cold combined with responsibilities kept me home. I have only mentioned it to Andrew privately, but Murphy has cancer. It was diagnosed in October and he was given a short prognosis. He has done well so far and we value every day he has remaining. So making sure he has company is important to us and, whenever possible, we make sure he is not alone and comfortable. He is at least 15 and sleeps most of the time anyway, but he is more at ease having someone nearby. He has always been that way, but seems a bit more needy now.

      That is odd what the cold does to your leg strength. Good thing you live where you do then, Yvonne.

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      • And, BTW, it was very cold and I am glad it shows in the image. I could have “blued” it up to convey a colder feel, but like the effect of Black and White very much.

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      • Oh Steve, I’m so very sorry that Murphy has that d–m big C. He means so much to you and Mary Beth. I hope he keeps going for as many days that he is comfortable. It is not easy to lose a special pet. I don’t know any words of comfort at this time but that you are doing exactly what you should- to be with him. To have you near is all that matters to him. I am sure that little dog has always known your love for him. Please get some pics of him even if he is sleeping. You won’t be sorry that you did.

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      • Thank you for those words, Yvonne. I have been taking pictures of Murphy. He does not like the camera much, but I have been able to get several. I am not sure I want to get more of him sleeping at this point as it will look bad. But I do have some of him sleeping next to Mary Beth or alone with his head sticking out from the covers.
        I posted one this evening on Facebook and will share it here tomorrow.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, no not any pics if he is looking really ill. I would not want you to do that. Will look forward to seeing Murphy’s photo on the blog.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I understand the need to be home to keep the stoves going. In response to a question you asked about our frozen drain pipe … we did have the furnace set to 60F while we were away. The single thermostat is in the living room and the kitchen got down to perhaps 55F. The pipe which solidified was in a north-facing wall and although the cavity was insulated, the pipe lay against the exterior plywood, with insulation to the inside. I think it would have been better to lay the insulation against the plywood and place the pipe to the inside. In any case we did, finally, thaw the pipe last evening. It was nice to have water in the upstairs bathroom once more. I don’t think we’ll have to modify the way in which we do things here … for I don’t see any prolonged periods away from the farm in my winter-time-future. By the way, the image you have provided today makes me think those waters were awfully COLD. D

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    • The situation you describe is just the same as we experienced with the pipe at work I mentioned. Against an outside wall. The same thing happened in the warehouse where, for some reason, the pipes for the hot water heat system ran along the outer wall and over the doors to the rental spaces. One burst one winter in the neighborhood newspaper office and made quite a mess. Needless to say, the system was re-plumbed.
      I don’t know what your future change of scenery’s schedule is like, but it doesn’t sound like you have too many more winters left there.
      Cold indeed. The boots that went through the ice into the water had chunks of ice stuck in the lace eyelets and the microspikes were caked.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lyle Krahn says:

    Look like pretty nice slabs to me.

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  10. shoreacres says:

    I’m really sorry to hear about Murphy, Steve. And I understand the desire to be around. When I came home early from my Christmas travel, I found Dixie Rose’s food and water dishes empty, and her litter box uncleaned, thanks to a young pet sitter who really wasn’t expecting me for another day. I was beside myself — the thought crossed my mind that if I can’t find someone good to care for her, I’ll just stay home. I had a woman who was a dream – responsible, caring, well-accepted. But, she moved to Washington state. Sigh.

    Anyway, this photo is especially nice. I notice there’s still a bit of fringe ice around the slabs, but what really caught me was the silky-smooth water, and the faint reflection of the slabs. I was interested in the discussion up above, too. I don’t know if we’d met when I was pairing some of my poetry with images taken by Judy Lovell, a nature photographer in Florida. You might enjoy looking at this gallery of her black and white bird portraits. She’s one who’s set herself the task of learning how to do wonderful things with digital, and she’s certainly succeeding. And you’re right — she says patience is the key ingredient.

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    • We had someone watch our first beagle, Cassie, and that worked well. But our second, Dixie also, couldn’t be left with anyone and had to be kenneled. The same with Murphy. His kennel is attached to his vet’s office, so we always knew he was in good hands.

      I am pretty sure that I was not seeing your posts then, so I will check out the link later to see Judy’s images.

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  11. Even before reading Ebenezer Baldwin Bowles’s first comment, I had a similar thought about the effectiveness of the rich blacks and bright whites in your photograph. Your little white island jumped right out of the dark river at me.

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