Thursday, October 29, 2009
Rain was the order of the day today, coming down over a multi-state area. I left New Hampshire this morning and purposely followed tertiary roads so that I could really see and experience the countryside. I passed through countless New England farms, which tend to be smaller, but with classic farm houses and barns. There were three covered bridges that found their way in front of my lens. I saw several wild turkeys on the road into Rhododendron State Park (NH). There were also plenty of wild areas - undeveloped and just begging to have photographs taken of the last of their fall color. It's almost like the forests were saying, "We've saved some of our color just for you, but you better hurry and get your shot!". Well, I'm a little late for the peak color, but I still enjoy the more subtle hints of fall. This misty image was shot near Barnard, Vermont, near where I'm staying with friend, Randal and Eilene. He treated me to lunch in the old fashioned general store down the street and then toured me around the area. This image was taken on the road to Hunger Mountain. What caught my eye, besides the fog, was the various diagonal lines in the ridges and treetops.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
It was a cold foggy morning today - perfect for capturing the fall colors of forests. While I photographed several scenes of brightly colored foliage, sometimes a more subtle rendering is the most effective at conveying the desired mood. This was the case in this scene just north from where I'm staying with friends in Hollis, NH.
Today was a super day for photography! I only had to work four hours this morning, so I was able to spend sunrise photographing an old farmhouse and barn in an old apple orchard. Silver Lake, near where I'm staying, had a layer of fog, which made for some moody fall color shots. The morning proved bitterly cold and frost had formed around the edges of most of the foliage. I was glad to climb back into a warm car after photographing the lake and barn! Once I finished my consulting job near Chelmsford, I headed to one of my favorite spots in Massachusetts - Waldon Pond - down near Concord. There's 1.7 mile path around the lake and I took my time enjoying the last vestiges of the fall color season. The smell of fallen leaves was in the air and the temperature had warmed up to perfect conditions for a long walk. I visited the site of Henry David Thoreau's cabin, which at the time was built on land owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The foundation stones for the cabin and chimney were excavated in 1941. There's a marker where the chimney foundation was laid - also stone markers where the corners of the cabin and woodshed were located. He had a wonderful view of the lake and lived there from 1845 to 1847. Traditionally, visitors to the site now throw a stone onto a large pile near the cabin site. I added mine to the pile! In his book, "Walden; or Life in the Woods", in the chapter on Baker Farm, he stated, "Rise free from care before dawn, and seek adventures." That's what I did today - and it felt good!
I'm currently traveling in New Hampshire and Massachusetts in my other life as an engineering consultant, but have had little time for photography until this morning. I decided to find the local Christian church and attend their service before heading back to the client's for more product testing. I arrived a bit early and as I walked around the grounds, I was able to find a few pictures to snap. It's just past peak color here in New Hampshire where I'm staying, but there are pockets of good color and this is one of the better shots of leaves. I like the layering effect from front to back. More pictures to come, as things are starting to wind down job-wise.
Friends Keith and Connie toured us around the area today, showing us many of the historic buildings around Nevada City and Grass Valley. One of the stops was the covered bridge in Bridgeport. This is the longest single-span covered bridge in the United States at 271 feet long. It spans the south fork of the Yuba River and was built by David Isaac John Wood in 1862. The bridge was part of the Virginia Turnpike Company toll road which served the northern mines and the busy Nevada Comstock Lode.
Dewey mornings are great opportunities to capture macro shots of plants and insects. Here's a succulent in Sue's backyard garden that I took with the little compact Canon SX110 IS in "tulip" (macro) mode. This mode blurs the background, so makes the near leaves "pop".
We've been busy visiting friends and family and are on our way back to Colorado and home. While we were visiting my sister, Sue, they had over five inches of rain! Here's another picture taken the morning after. Clearing weather is often the best time for great scenics and I was up before sunrise. When the dew point is equal, or close, to the outside temperature, you'll get fog. This lasted just a few minutes, so I had to work fast to capture the scene unfolding before me.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Here's another shot taken this morning following an all day & night rain. The morning was misty, making for perfect lighting conditions. This rocky area reminded me of scenes from Washington's Olympic Peninsula in the rain forest regions. Just the day before the rains, this moss was dry and grayish brown. It doesn't take long for the moss to re-grow once the rains start.
We're at my sister, Sue's, house for the next few days in North Fork, CA. This picture was actually taken this morning (the 14th) following a five+ inch rain the previous day and night, but I have many more to show you from this area in the Sierra foothills, so didn't want to skip a day. The morning dawned very misty and humid, making for perfect photography of the forested areas, but a challenge in keeping my lens from fogging up in the humid air. This manzanita bush is native to California and has an unusual smooth reddish outer bark. Manzanita is one of the many chaparral plants that typically burn during the fires here.
No, it's not your eyes - just one of my mistakes I assumed would be deleted until I saw it on my screen. This is an impressionistic abstract of Goldenfleece in sister, Sue's, back yard. Goldenfleece is a native plant found in the Sierra foothills - especially following a wildland fire. I was trying to take this without a tripod at dusk and simply couldn't hold the camera still enough. The relatively "in-focus" tree trunk serves somewhat as an anchor for the eye to return to after perusing the rest of the image. It was raining at the time and you can see the angled, almost brush-like, striations in what could be mistaken as an oil painting.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Hi All, today was a very special day! Several months ago, a few of us from Brookhurst Elementary School started to reunite via phone calls and email. The size of the group expanded gradually as we discovered others through Facebook, Classmates and diligent Google searching. One thing led to another and we decided to meet face to face on the day after our high school reunion at one of our favorite hangouts, Marie Calender's Restaurant. We were also able to locate two of our favorite teachers, Bev Kulp and Frank Noe (lavender and blue outfits below), and presented them with signed thank you cards. Many of us not seen each other in nearly 50 years! It was a great time for all as judged by the constant exchange of memories form that period in our lives. One of us organizers even managed to locate a store selling period candy of that era! People who found out what we were up to simply couldn't believe we were actually having an elementary school reunion!
Hi All, Tonight we attended our 40th high school reunion at the Prego Ristaurante in Irvine. There was a handful of people I knew and a whole lot more I didn't, but we had fun catching up with friends from the past. I was pleased to run into one of my favorite teachers, Mrs. Marlys Autry, who taught me English. I must have done pretty well, as she remembered me. She was happy to discover I now write for a living, as well as doing my photography, of course. I surprised her with one of my signed prints.
We attended the local Okoberfest at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim tonight with family members Jack and Irene. I've been fortunate to have attended the "real" one in München (Munich), Germany and this one tonight is quite authentic - only a single "beer hall", though, instead of a dozen. The beer hall is under a humongous tent - largest I've ever seen. It could probably have covered 2-3 family-sized homes. The inside had long tables with an "umpah" band at the end (no tuba, though). Outside the main tent were several booths selling traditional German foods as well as gifts and souvenirs. Pictured above is a cook preparing potato cakes. Below that is an interior shot of the beer hall with the band and dancing.
I love to shoot travel photos in available light, because it avoids that artificial look when using flash. I simply open up the aperture all the way and increase the ISO to 800 or 1600 and fire away. Setting your white balance for incandescent light (in this case) helped render more accurate colors, but if shooting RAW format, this may be adjusted in post-processing.
For more information on the München Oktoberfest (largest in Germany), click on: http://www.oktoberfest.de/en/. This year was their 176th!
Today was the last leg of our trip to California. We had stayed the night in St. George, Utah, and I had a few errands to run this morning - which took me to the older part of downtown. I had parked on Main St. just off Saint Gearge Blvd. and noticed this water trough system along the sidewalk. Looking more closely, I realized it traveled most of the length of the street, which is slightly sloped downhill. This "Water Walk" arts project of random cascades and flowering plants was a joint effort by the City of St. George and the Utah Arts Council. Lovely!
Sheila and I are off to California for a couple weeks to visit family and friends. My 40th high school reunion is this Saturday and - amazingly - several of us from elementary school have been reuniting via the internet and many of us will be meeting each other for the first time in about 50 years! Next week, we'll head up to visit sister Sue in North Fork and long-time friend Keith in Nevada City.
Sheila and her mom had left two days earlier to spend some time with our daughter, Linda, and husband, Robb, in Grand Junction. I met up with them today and we left one vehicle at their house and piled into the Explorer. Just prior to meeting them, I stopped for a break at the Hanging Lake rest stop off I-70 in Glenwood Canyon and discovered the creek flowing from Hanging Lake with just a touch of fall color showing.