Google+ Photo or Flickr or ???

I have a server via an ISP from which these pages are served. I don’t have a really good image display program that I can install on the server, however. So, I’ve been looking at what’s out there. I know that we have Flickr and Google’s Picasa (now Google+ Photo, I think). There are other services, too. Some are free and others pay-for. I was curious about which of these were better for my needs.

Also, I’ve already run up to a limit on the number of files I can have on my ISP’s system, so I need to be frugal going forward. Using someone else’s file sharing service solves this problem.

So, because of my recent interest in Triptychs, where I created 20 or so images, I uploaded an identical set to each of the two services (here and here). I’m not sure if one is better than the other for general things, but I found that, with Flickr, I can embed a slide show into other websites (like this one). It’s done through a website called Flickr Slideshow.

Created with flickr slideshow.

 

You simply insert the HTML code that’s provided and you’re done. Why did I look into this? Well, Flickr has its own full screen slide show feature. When you are looking at a collection of images and click on the full screen slide show icon, it’ll start the show. The problem, for me, was that the displayed images didn’t fill the screen. The aspect ratio was wrong and images were cropped. Also, they started inserting advertising. So, this little trick of using the embedded code gets around this limitation. Unfortunately, the embedded code will bring you to the Flickr page, which gives you the full-screen slide show option and then you’re stuck. The trick is to not do that but, instead, just hit the full-screen icon (four arrows) in the bottom of the control panel. (You’ll see this if you hover your mouse over the image.) Flickr Full Screen IconIt would be simpler of Flickr fixed this aspect ration and cropping problem from within their own site. For now, though, Flickr may have the edge in which of the two services to use. I’ll keep checking one versus the other. Oh, and you can order prints from the Flickr site. Not so for Google. I’ve read, though, that if you want full rez images, you need something else because Flickr limits you in image size. I use something like Snapfish for this.

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Crazy For Triptychs

In my last post, I started off discussing the HD format and how it’s grown on me and how one way to better utilize portrait oriented images taken in that aspect ration is to do triptych presentations. So, this morning, I went through some of my older images and began organizing. Most of my images are not already 16×9, so I cropped to make them so. I’m basically testing if I like this way of displaying images. Here are some results.

Flowers and Bokeh

Flowers TriptychEveryone has pictures of flowers. What’s not to like. Well, they can get tedious. I’m not sure that this grouping is the best, but it’s what I had available. But, if there are many, many flower pictures in your collection, keep your presentation short and sweet. This may, therefore, be my last one of flowers. And, one more thing. That bokeh thing really should be a big part of flower pictures, don’t you think?

HDR at Woronoco

WoronocoTriptychA while back, I went through and HDR phase. In Woronoco, which is part of Russell, MA, has some run down buildings. This series of images is from a trip there. I’m thinking that the background image may need to be more transparent to make the three stand out. But, as I’m growing weary of HDR, I think I may just leave it alone and never do another.

Clouds

Sky Study 2 Triptych PortfolioI have a good view of the sky from my front yard. This study of clouds shows their dark side, of course. But, the colors that come from the heavens are always there, just waiting to be observed and enjoyed.

Sky Study 1 Triptych PortfolioAnd here we go with a brighter golden view. What’s not to like.

Fish Eye On Webster Street

Worcester Wide Triptych PortfolioBack when I had a fisheye lens, I visited Webster Street with a group of photographers. I could have straightened the barrel distortion with software, but I like the effect. Also, when you straighten things, you lose some of the wide.

Spencer, MA

Spencer MA Football Field Triptych PortfolioHad a chance to visit the Spencer, MA football field. I was up there (it’s on a hill) photographing for a friend who was scouting locations for a movie. I like the symmetry of the building atop the stands.

SpencerFireHydrantsTriptychWhen I lived in Spencer, I often would walk the hills there. It was a good workout. One day, I had a small camera and fixated on all the red fire hydrants. If it hadn’t been for the camera, I probably would have just ignored them.

Spencer Ice Storm Triptych Portfolio

I remember a terrible ice store in early December when I lived in Spencer. The northern part of town (as well as the state, I suppose) lost power for many days. You can see here the damage that the ice did. So many trees on power lines. The work crews had a tough time of it.

Tree Reflections

Tree Reflections Triptych PortfolioI like this combination because it goes from weird to straightforward depending on how still the water is.

Well Worn And Weathered

Old Siding Triptych PortfolioPaint and wood, made for each other but weather works its magic and the deterioration can then become quite interesting and beautiful.

A Bit Of History Withering Away

BethlehemSteelTriptychSpeaking of deterioration, the once great Bethlehem Steel Mill is also withering away from neglect. Had a chance to visit Bethlehem, PA one day and was quite impressed with what is left over from better days. While there, we heard that the Smithsonian had been doing a survey of the site to see how to preserve its history. I would love it if they had tours.

Three Ways Of Seeing The Same Thing

One Barn Three Versions Triptych PortfolioThis time, I decided to make a single image into a triptych using some image processing to get different effects. What attracted me to this barn in the first place was how busting at the seams it looked because of the hay.

Ice Fall Along Rt. 8 In Connecticut

Ice Fall Along Rt 8 CT Triptych

While cruising around western MA, my brother and I drove south on Rt. 8 into Connecticut. We saw this ice fall and we jumped out to photograph. My brother was a bit more adventurous. His trust in the strength of the ice was more than mine. I’ve never seen his shots of this ice fall. Maybe now he’ll show me.

Chair And Sunlight Study

Chair Study Triptych Portfolio

Went to visit a fellow photographer’s studio and saw this posing chair in the corner. I liked the way the light hit it and struggled to find a group of images that would fit the triptych theme. All the original shots were made horizontally so I had to slice bits out of three images to tell a story. I chose the story of the eye can go from the chair and out through the window. Kind of trippy…or should that be triptychy?

Water Colors

Water Colors 2 Triptych Portfolio

I love Fall in New England. I don’t know if we have the best. Other parts of the country can claim that if they like, but I believe we do. The fun in this triptych and the next is in how water enhances the imagery.

Water Colors 1 Triptych Portfolio

My Takeaway…

So, my takeaway from all of this is that, when I shoot verticals (portrait mode), I’m going to make sure I give some thought to additional images that support a triptych presentation. Finding a common theme after the fact is harder, although not impossible. But finding one while you are shooting, well, that’s part of the creativity challenge. I think it should be easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kicking Around With 16×9

I’ve always liked wide. That’s true for lenses and, now, it’s becoming true for aspect ratio. I’ve been spoiled by HD TV where the native aspect ratio is 16×9. I don’t know why, but that’s what we ended up with and it’s kind of neat. I use DSLR’s using APS-C format sensors. That’s a 3×2 format, which isn’t too far off from 16×9. I guess if you are a square format fan, then these wide things are a bit of a shock. Interestingly enough, the Micro 4/3 format went in a more square-ish direction. So, if you shoot a lot of that and then try to view on an HD monitor or TV, you cut off a lot.

Here’s a recent image for kayaking on the Connecticut River in Springfield, MA…

Kayakers Under Memorial Bridge

…and I think that, as I was composing, even with the APS-C aspect ratio, I had the wider 16×9 in mind. Maybe not, but certainly I wasn’t thinking square.

Of course, the problem with wide is that to print it on something like 8×10 or 11×14, you end up cutting off some of the paper. Personally, I don’t mind that. It may make framing a bit tricky, but even that’s not a huge problem. To do it right, you should mat and cutting your own mat is fun. The mat, then, could be sized to a more conventional format. Or, you could just get frame sections and make anything you want.

Window Washer At Springfield CourthouseGoing for a vertical, on the other hand, presents some problems. Here’s a street scene shot on the same day as the kayakers. This one is 2×3, the default ratio for APS-C. If I were to use the 16×9 format, it would be a bit odd being so tall and narrow.

So, does this mean I give up on portrait oriented images because I’m leaning toward 16×9?

Nope. Not at all. You shoot what feels right, crop to whatever you like, and let the rest just play itself out.

But, there is one area where portrait orientation comes up against an interesting problem. That is in the area of display devices that do not support portrait display. What are they? Well, your HD TV for one, probably your computer display. Tablets and smart phones are OK in that you can flip them to the correct orientation. But, if you have a killer image that begs to be displayed in a portrait orientation, what do you do?

Triptychs To The Rescue

This got me to thinking that, maybe there’s an opportunity buried in this problem. What about triptychs? These are three panel display. They don’t have to be a panorama split into three, as is sometimes the case. They could just be a portfolio of three images that have some theme uniting them.

RGB Portfolio

Maybe, going forward, as I shoot in a portrait orientation, I’ll start thinking about taking extra shots with which to make triptychs that display nicely on HD devices. FWIW – the collection in this triptych is a study of red-blue-green and tied together by virtue of window and sky.

 

 

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Something from 2007

DSC_5186-PC-red lips-cropped copyWent out on a photo trek with a Worcester group, they were hosting a Trash The Dress day using models and donated wedding dresses. I was the old timer that day and some of the folks looked at me as if I had some special skills, as if I had been doing this all my life. Truth is, I’ve been photographing a long time, but rarely with models. So, this was a new to me as it was to them. Still, I felt awkward directing the men and women who were there to pose. After a while, I got more comfortable, but I think that’s because of the experience of the models. They made it easy.

In this photo, the three models had been in the warm Rhode Island waters and I walked up and did my thing. I don’t think I even tried posing; they just fell into this composition naturally. My only real creative contribution was post processing a few things. In fact, it was because of my having learned something new about Photoshop that I was perusing old photos to see if I could apply my newly learned skill. When I saw this photo (again) in my collection, I pulled it up and make some additional tweaks with presets and add-ons.

FYI – the woman on the left was there not as a model but as a beautician. While working in the tent doing makeup on the models, one of the photographers asked if she’d be willing to pose, too. She said, “yes”, and we were quite happy that she did.

So, what was my newly acquired skill? …well, it had something to do with layers, masks, and selections based on color. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do it right, but no matter, it’s the result that matters. Why did I need to do this? …the model in the middle had red eye shadow and blue lipstick. I liked the all-red look more.

So, now my challenge is to go out and shoot more material, do more Photoshop, post here, and repeat as often as necessary.

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Watkins Glen Revisited (and Corning and Eastman House)

Spent a couple days with a couple members of our newly named photo group, CRABS (Casey, Richie, Art, Bob, Steve). Specifically, Steve and Art accompanied me on a trip to Rochester, NY. I had always wanted to visit the George Eastman House Museum. It’s sort of a photographer’s pilgrimage kind of place, what with George having invented modern photography. For us, it was an overnighter because we wanted to have as much time at the museum as possible, but not two whole days. So, we decided to go through Corning and Watkins Glen in New York and see stuff there, too.

Corning Museum, Corning, NY

Art and Steve At Corning Curved Mirror

Art’s explaining the principal of focal point?

At one of the Corning exhibits, there’s a large curved mirror. They are trying to demonstrate how such mirrors create focal points. You are asked to stand at a certain spot and walk towards your reflection in the mirror. You start off seeing yourself upside-down, but as you walk forward and pass the focal point, your image instantly flips. It’s pretty neat. Steve is a big guy and the mirror made him so much more so. Couldn’t help but snap a photo.

Art's Face Through The Water GlassArt And Steve At Look More Closely BowlThe sphere filled with water was irresistible and creates the kind of distortion you would expect. Steve and Art had to follow the instructions which read, “Look more closely”.

Art and I were both pointing our cameras into the sphere and one of the Corning Museum employees came over, laughing at how we looked. She offered to take a picture if we’d only had a third camera (Steve wasn’t nearby). Fortunately, Art’s cell phones was all she needed.

Dueling Cameras Corning Museum

Photo by Corning Museum employee.

Eastman House Museum, Rochester, NY

Elephant Head at Eastman HouseThe museum has two parts. There’s the photography museum, which includes lots of photographs and photo technology displays, and then there’s George Eastman’s home, which is awesome. You can go online as see more of it. To me, this photo with the elephant head was interesting because it’s the room containing two organs, South and North. Eastman was a fan of music and had it playing in his home throughout the night; the organs used paper rolls to play a variety of recordings. Eastman thought having two organs would add a new dimension to the sound when live musicians played.

There’s a movie that runs on a loop in one of the display rooms and explains about the organs and changes Eastman had to make to get things just right with them. This room, which was massive to begin with, had to be stretched about seven feet to accommodate his idea of what an ideal music room should be. This was done for an amazing amount of money, too, but he didn’t care. He could afford it. To him, it had to be just right.

And by the way, the elephant head is a kind of sculpture, not a real one. Throughout the house, there are many elephant related items. Eastman must have been a fan.

Watkins Glen

Here’s where our trip’s magic happened. In the middle of our traveling about, we spent time at Watkins Glen, NY. To some, this place is known for its race track. In fact, during my first visit there many years ago with my wife, that’s all I knew about it. Lee and I had gone because we wanted to check out the Finger Lakes with their vineyards and quaint towns.  While there that first time, I saw signs to the park and the gorge. Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow.

I was happy to be able to get back again and show it all to Art and Steve. On the drive into New York, we knew it was going to rain. That’s a good thing as I had hoped for rain. The worst would have been a sunny day. Photography would be a constant battle with deep shadows and blown out water highlights. As it turned out, we had clouds and little rain. Cloudy days can be a hit or miss kind of things. If too heavy, things look drab. Thin clouds are best for canyons and gorges, I think. We had happy clouds.

Art In Watkins Glen Gorge

You can see in this smart phone photo that the sky is bright and the shadows are soft. That’s pretty much perfection. The deep gorge walls have visible detail, for the most part.

The gorge, itself, has been well maintained by the State and its paths and bridges are easy to walk. There were lots of visitors this day, but not so many that they were getting in the way of our photography. The trail is about 1.5 miles and has plenty of stairways to climb.

DSC_0809 - Watkins Glen Gorge Spring Greening - 1200hI remember how I felt when I walked up from the car towards the gorge entrance, where there is a set of stairs going through a tunnel in the rock wall. Climbing out of the tunnel, you see water rushing through the gorge below and it kind of takes your breath away. Even though I had seen it before, it still had this affect.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

The trail is flat but not level. It does rise in elevation via many sets of stairs. Because of the water that occasionally drips from the walls, the path is wet underfoot. There are even muddy spots, but not so much so that you’d object to walking through them. We carried our cameras and bags without too much fear of anything important getting wet.

Bridges take you from one side to another in the gorge. Because the natural erosion of the walls has made foot paths which the trail builders enhanced, the bridge work got you to where you needed to be. There really wasn’t any dangerous place; that is, you can’t fall in (unless you do something really stupid).

DSC_0768 - Watkins Glen Gorge Shafted Light - 1200h DSC_0764 - Watkins Glen Gorge Shafted Light 2 - 1200h DSC_0796_799_800_801_tonemapped-1200h DSC_0787_8_fused-glow-straight-1200h

There are two places where you actually walk under the waterfalls. I didn’t photograph these, but we sure did stop and enjoy the refreshing mist that enveloped us here. From a distance, you wonder if you could even fit behind the falls, but you can.

For the most part, throughout, you can just walk, stop and enjoy the view, walk some more, and do it again. I remember a couple times where a “take your breath away” moment happens, and then just 10 feet later, there’s another one. The walls of the gorge hide these treats, gifting them a step at a time. It is magical. Really.

Walking out, we decided to take the Indian Trail, which follows the top of the gorge and offers some viewing platforms. One such spot had a stream of water coming off the opposite ledge. We each saw something different from it. Art used a telephoto lens to focus on the upper part of the stream. Steve had a medium range zoom and I saw him make several photos of various spots. I think, as a photographer, you’re ability to pre-visualize an image may be influenced by the lens you have on your camera at the time. I happened to have a slightly wide lens. I liked the following composition, not so much because of the streaming water, but because the leaves in the tree on the left were still a Springtime light-green. It’s one of my favorite colors in nature. So, I chose the wide view.

DSC_0816 - Copy-1200wIt’s really not a wide angle shot, really, it’s more “normal”. It worked for me because of that pre-visualize thing. To me, there’s a hint of Ansel Adams inspiration going on. I think his spirit was whispering in my ear.

Art And Steve At She-Qua-Ga FallsCandids And Waterfalls

In Watkins Glen, outside of the gorge park, there are other waterfalls. Although we didn’t set out to try to find them, we didn’t manage to stumble across these two. The one on the right is She-Qua-Ga Falls. The one below is Aunt Sarah’s. It’s funny that, if you look quickly, they seem to be the same. The bottom part, especially, looks that way to me. But, we can attribute this to the fast ocean floor, and the layers of sea mud, that made up the rock layers over which the water flows. If I were a geologist, I might be able to read these as one can read the rings of a tree. Suffice it to say, I’m just happy to have been able to visit this beautiful place…and with such good friends.

Photo by Art Danek

Art took his smart phone, guessed at the composition, set the phone down on a rock by the Montour Falls sign, had the three of us pose, and hoped for the best. He got this shot on the first take. This is what skill and preparation (aka “luck”) can do.

 

 

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Jenne Farm Revisited

My Photo Gang at Jenne Farm

Had a chance to fool around with the new Photoshop CC that I’ve just subscribed to. It’s available at a discount price and I couldn’t resist. Later, when the price goes back to normal, I may reconsider. (It’s not like I do Photoshop professionally anymore.) I also have Paintshop Pro, and one may wonder why more than one photo editor. Answer? Because it’s there.

I was testing out how NIK Filters integrated with Photoshop. At first, it didn’t. A visit to the Internet got me straightened out. I decided to apply a wet plate look to this photo. Normally, a wet plate wouldn’t be a panorama. That’s because wet plates were pieces of glass (like 4×5, 5×7, 8×10 maybe). You’d have to have some strange, long and narrow glass and even stranger view camera to put it in. But, with computers, I can do this. I like how it turned out.

The back story is that this photo was taken when the June Hike Club Photo Gang went to Vermont for a long weekend a year ago (see my other post for more about this). We trampled all over the farmer’s field to get shots of the iconic farm house. Later, when we went down to the farm to buy some honey, we chatted with the farmer. He told me folks were always trampling his grass. He didn’t like that. I thought to myself, “well why the heck have one of the most photogenic farms in the first place?” …and besides, he had a box near the trample-spot for donations. We probably donated $20 in all (maybe more). So, no guilt. I’m sure that box makes more for him than a bit of trampled grass.

Oh, and as far as Photoshop versus Paintshop are concerned…strengths and weaknesses for sure. I like both.

BTW – I’m pretty sure this photo was one of the Photosynth jobs from the app by Microsoft that is only available for iPhones. This is why you get such a wide pano affect. I certainly no longer have a Nikon lens that could do this.

FWIW – why did I chose the wet plate look? Here is why…

Wet Plate Solution

…you can see in the color original that the Photosynth software didn’t blend the individual captures all that well. There are exposure differences (you see lines in the road bed and grass) that would require a lot of blending to merge. The wet plate effect, on the other hand, adds a lot of this kind of intentional error automagically, so the ones that are already there just seem like they belong. Yeah, I’m lazy.

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Amazing Smart Phone Cameras

I am just amazed at the quality that’s built into a camera that I have with me almost all the time, now. It’s my smart phone. I have used an iPhone in the past, and now have an HTC Android phone. When the time comes, I may go back to a new iPhone. The manufacturers keep adding amazing new features and, even now, I’m not taking full advantage.

Lately, I’ve been shooting some open mic events I’ve attended. I play and sing at some, myself, but I use my phone to capture what other folks are doing. This shot is one I took under terrible lighting conditions. The stage was bathed in a green light and the phone recorded what it saw…but green light on skin? Yuck.

I knew that this image would have to go to black and white because of that…

Geraldines 20130805

Open Mic Performance At Geraldine’s In West Springfield, MA. (Click for original size image.)

Shortly after I shot this, I made a video recording with the same phone. After all, I was just standing there and all it required was the click of a different icon so, why not?

I managed to capture the last verse of the song, Wagon Wheel. Bobby D (on the right) sings this beautifully by himself most of the time, but this night, a bunch of the other “regulars” invaded the stage and accompanied.

I was leaning against a short wall in front of the stage and used that to prop up the phone. It was at the perfect height and the wall reduced the normal camera shake you’d get under these conditions. Luckily, no one walked in front of me and I got a useable video, too. Sweet.

Anyway, it wasn’t until I was reviewing the images on my 27 inch LCD monitor that I realized how much this image reminded me of Kodak 35mm Tri-X film. This was the ISO 400 speed B&W film that had a graininess that made prints come to life. The cell phone image, on my screen, was actually larger than what I would normally print from a 35mm shot. (I would typically go for 5X7 up to 11×14…with the LCD screen, the image was much larger.

Oh, and the image was a crop from the original. If I had been closer the resolution of the final image would have been even better. Sweet.

Perfectionists might quibble about the hot, burned out parts of the image (like the shiny guitar). Some might have gone into the enlarger for better contrast control. I was never into that too much. I like the photo as it is.

(The musicians, from L-R: Rich 2, Kenny B., Acoustic Dave, Brian C., and Bobby D.)

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Higgins Beach Trip

Had a chance to spend a couple days up in Maine at Higgins Beach. On the way, we visited Portsmouth, NH. So, there are some photos worth sharing as a result. At the top is a panorama of Pebble Beach near Portsmouth, along Rt1A near Odiorne Point State Park. Click here to see the Photosynth version. These photos don’t really tell the story, though.

Cairn Art at Higgins Beach Cairn Art at Higgins Beach

It’s a collection of rock art in the form of cairns. I didn’t count them but there were likely 40 or more. Some were as small as a few inches tall.

The next stop was Nubble Light. I didn’t plan to photograph this because I’d been there before and the magic happens early in the morning or late afternoon. But, as it happened, a couple of kayaks came by. I had my iPhone handy so I did what I could. I liked what I got.

We eventually got to Higgins Beach in time to enjoy low tide and the amazingly large beach area that forms. There’s a comforting feeling you get when you look out into the vast span.

The tide comes sweeping in and covers over most of the visible beach here. The water is quite shallow.

Many years ago, a ship got beached and there was enough damage to it that it was abandoned. As this was low tide, we had a chance to see its skeleton. She was the Howard W. Middleton launched in 1883 from New Jersey. She was a 145 foot long ship that carried coal. The visible part was about 50 feet long. We were told that with the tides and shifting sand patterns, more or less of this ship is exposed over time. So, these photos only tell part of the story.

The ship ran aground in 1897 at the mouth of the Spurwink River whose waters help sculpt Higgins Beach making it a very popular spot for surfing and fishing.

We ended our trip visiting a lighthouse in Portland called Spring Point Light. The lighthouse is on a breakwater and you can walk out to is. It sits up high and when you walk around it’s base, you are surrounded by water. It’s an interesting experience.

 

 

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June Hike Club Photo Adventure 2012

Many years ago, I used to hike in the White Mountains with a group of friend. We did this each June. We called ourselves the June Hike Club. After about 10 years, I got more interested in the photography I was doing while on the hikes. Then, my tendency to get leg cramps made much of my hiking happen in the seat of a car.

I’ve had a long hiatus since those days, but this year, I managed to get this June thing going again. Instead of the Whites, we concentrated on the Greens…the Green Mountains of Vermont.

Jenne Farm

A good number of my previous images have included weird HDR techniques. I still do this and many of the following images use this technology. However, I’ve moved away from the weirdness. In fact, this sign photo has the most aggressive effects applied. It’s a bit Crayola Crayon colorful, but I find it interesting.

This sign is at the Jenne Farm in Reading, VT. This farm has been photographed by countless photographers over the years. It’s one of those iconic scenes from Vermont. I chose not to include an image of the farm because I really didn’t find one I liked.

We drove down to the Jenne farmhouse to buy some maple syrup and chatted with the owner. I asked him about how he gets along with photographers. He said he was OK with them for the most part. He doesn’t like it when his hay field gets trampled by the photographers because he doesn’t have the right kind of hay machine to scoop up the grass. On the other hand, he likes the contributions that the red box gets. (We made sure we put in some dollars…and we bought a half gallon of syrup between us.)

Barnet, VT

River Scene in Barnet, VT

In Barnet, VT, a small stream crosses under the bridge in the foreground in this scene. There is a nice waterfall here. I made some video captures for B-roll from that spot. I was intrigued by the scene in the background. I liked the silos and train tracks there. You can see the trains better in this next view.

RR Siding Scene in Barnet, VT

Looking Skyward

We had been battling cloudy weather most of the days we were in Vermont. We had to work with rain, too. As it turns out, I like photographing in the rain. But, it was mostly the nice clouds that made our photos interesting.

We were quite lucky because the clouds often cooperated by producing dramatic skies. Sometimes, rain clouds are just bleak and boring. This time, they were magical.

Clouds along Rt 2, VT

The clouds are from a grab shot I managed to get as we were driving. I shot this through tinted glass. I’m amazed it came out.

Roadside Finds


A lot of the time, we just stumbled upon interesting things. My brother, Art, spotted these bird houses and asked that we stop. He saw the front view of this collection but, as we were turning the car to get off the road, I opened my side door (both he and I were sitting in the back of the van). I took a liking to this haphazard display on the end of the stack. I raised my camera, made a photo, and forgot about the capture until much later. I liked it enough to punch up the colors and want to present it here.

When I saw Art’s images of the bird houses, I actually liked his version a bit more. We may be posting all of our images together in an online album. He may include it there.

Rock of Ages

We had planned to photograph covered bridges on this day, but we got sidetracked. We ended up in Barre, VT, and then later in Graniteville, which is nearby. That’s where you can find the Rock Of Ages quarry. I have the following photograph from that visit. There are so many nice shots one can make there on the tour they let you take. This was my favorite. I had to wait for the skies to open up and the sun to create the right kind of shadows on the rock face.

Rock of Ages Quarry in Graniteville, VT

The water here has an eerie color. Part of that comes from the fact that there is very little (or no) oxygen in the water. You can see similarly colored water in the lake photos in British Columbia. I don’t know why there’s no oxygen there. Here, I imagine it’s the quarry operation that contributes to this condition. Also, there’s a layer of granite dust in the water suspended about eight inches from the surface of the water. They use pneumatic drills to help cut the granite and the dust, itself, is a byproduct of this type of drill. It’s quite deadly when breathed, so they try not to do that anymore. They have to wash everything down with water for safety.

East Orange, VT

We ended up in East Orange, VT at one point. We drove along some dirt roads to get there (we spent a lot of time on dirt roads). The dirt roads in Vermont are very smooth and quite passable, much better than here in Massachusetts.

I really liked the church we found in this small community. We also found some interesting barns, an old house that looked like it was ready for recycling. My favorite view of the church is below. I also liked this barn that follows it.

We stopped at a few barns along the way throughout Vermont. Each photographer managed to get different and interesting views. I shot very few barn pictures, though. But, that’s just me.

Church in East Orange, VT

Barn in East Orange, VT

How to Find and Photograph the Photo-Scenics in Vermont

We had been following instructions from a booklet written by Arnold Kaplan about 20-30 years ago. It described the “tripod holes” in Vermont. These are scenics that are so popular, you could probably see the holes that countless photographers’ tripods make.

We were using the information in the booklet as a guide. We were curious about his recommended scenes. One of his recommended locations was Peacham, VT. He said that you had to find the general store in the center of the town, then follow a dirt road up a hill, find the right back yard, and ask someone’s permission to photograph the village. We never found the right yard, but managed to go back to the town to see what we could find on our own. We drove down an “interesting” road toward a cemetary. I managed to get this shot when someone in the group spotted a rainbow on our right side.

Rainbow and Water Supply Pond in Peacham, VT

I had followed my brother out along the road heading up to this field to get a different view of the rainbow. He stopped by a sign and telephone pole there. I wandered a bit further. I managed to find this fence in the foreground. I liked the composition. Later, at home, he liked my capture so much that he helped me work for over an hour doing all sorts of imaging manipulations to get this look. Thank you, Art!

Covered Bridges

On our first day, when we arrived in Woodsville, NH, where we spent our nights, we asked about covered bridges. We found out there were two nearby. The first was right in Woodsville. As we explored it, we encountered a light rain. I looked down at the water running below the bridge and I liked the reflection pattern and the raindrops. I thought I could get creative with it.

Later on, I also made a panoramic “photosynth” with my iPhone. You’ll need to download some software from the Photosynth site to be able to view this on your computer. (I’m guessing Mac and Windows only.) Check it out.

On our last day, we decided to concentrate on covered bridges and the Jenne Farm. Here are my bridges…

Covered Bridge near Tunbridge, VT

Moyley Bridge near Chelsea, VT

Poison Ivy

A word about poison ivy. On our last day, we were at one of the covered bridges in Thetford, VT. I was photographing YIG (Yellow Intel Guy) and placed him on the ground near some cascading water. I got down on the ground with him to get this closeup. That was a mistake. Apparently, there was poison ivy there, which I’m very allergic to. I now have arms and legs covered in itchy skin. Thankfully, I have a good supply of Calamine and Benadryl. (Here is a photosynth of that bridge.)

Here’s YIG-gie and proof of my dedication to the photographic arts…artists are supposed to suffer, aren’t they?

Click on YIG to see the June Hike team slideshow.

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Wahconah Falls

Once again, the New England Photo Oddities Photography group had a field trip and I was able to tag along and do some work that resulted in a contribution here. The falls are in Pittsfield State Forest in Massachusetts in the town of Dalton. For us here in the western part of the State, it’s a relatively short drive. I had never been there before and was quite surprised and how beautiful the area is. The falls are quite photogenic, too. You can walk up and down along the river and photograph different parts. I didn’t have to walk far to get my shots and was tempted to go further. I think I’ll save that for another time.

I’m trying to wean myself off of HDR grungy looking images. This time, I used a more reserved setting in doing the HDR work. It’s called Painterly and I think it works as advertised. I still did additional tweaking after this step. I can’t help myself, I guess.

I also managed to test out a new camcorder we bought for our cooking show project. I wanted to see how it would handle the contrast range that’s usually a problem when shooting stuff like waterfalls. Here’s a link to the clip…

Wahconah Falls Video

One disappointing thing I found myself having done? …I left YIG at home. So there are no photos of my yellow buddy to share.

Learn more about Wahconah Falls here.

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