Sunday, August 30, 2009

Late Summer

New England can be a very weird place to live. We always seem to be gearing our activities towards the next season. One week ago we had our only blast of real summer: temperatures in the mid 80s with dewpoints in the mid 70s. In other words I worked up a solid sweat just blinking my eyes. What was I doing? Putting my firewood into the barn for the winter. It seemed quite ironic to me.

I had a chance to visit Colorado for 10 days in July. I also was able to visit Acadia National Park right after that. There are new images from both trips up on my website

Today, after finishing some chores, Holly and I went up to MacLeod Pond in Catamount State Forest for some photography. the new road that the state built does not appear to have increased the negative impact many feared that it would. It is still as beautiful as ever. Here's one of the images from this afternoon.

I hope your weekend was as nice.
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Best $99 I Have Spent in a Long Time

I'm stubborn. I have been experimenting with HDR since I first bought my digital camera a year ago. The potential for the technique is huge and works really well in situations where a split ND filter would leave a line in the image or would have a dark top of a tree.

However, my results have been mixed. I've been using the Merge to HDR feature in Photoshop. Some of the merged images are pretty nice, but all too often the images appear gray and dingy no matter what I do for adjustments. Over the year I have read several reviews of Photomatix Pro but, (this is where the stubborn come sin) I have continued with Photoshop. So, I downloaded the free trial and ran some tests. After the first try I was sold. The best $99 I have spent in a long time.

Here are a couple comparisons:




I'm not sure if it's just that I wasn't skilled enough during the conversion from a 32 bit to 16 bit image, but the Photomatix adjustments are very intuitive and the results are , as you can see, pretty convincing.

I hope you liked the images and thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I have discovered another thing that I really like about shooting digital. The flexibility to change as the conditions change.

I recently took an evening wander out to the Great Meadow National Wildlife Refuge, one of my favorite places to go at the end of the day. I took the opportunity to try my hand at a little bird photography something I had not really tried before due to the limitations of my film choices. Velvia 50 is a really wonderful landscape film, but catching a Great Blue Heron in flight in fading light is probably not going to happen. By boosting the ISO to 800 and opening up to f8 I was able to freeze the bird in flight handholding my 70-300.

Great Blue Heron in flight:

As I wandered around I found a bird I had never seen before....a Moorhen. A man who had been walking along the levee told me where to look. He also told me that one of the birds was "rather chatty" and could be easily seen. Sure enough there was one of the Moorhens wading along the levee in the reeds. I watched and photographed for a good half an hour until the bird moved into a more secluded spot.

Moorhen in the reeds:

What are you looking at?

I also spotted another bird of interest, a mother Wood Duck with her brood paddling around in the shallows. The ducklings cavorted and played with each other while mom kept a wary eye on me. It was fun to watch her herd the young'uns around.

Mama Wood Duck:

Slowly the light faded and the birds began moving to their evening roosts. I reset my D300 to ISO 100 and set up to shoot sunset. The skies cooperated and streaks of magenta painted the clouds. Once the lights went out I headed home.


Thanks for reading!


Well, the big news is that I had a photo published in the Appalachian Mountain Club's monthly magazine "AMC Outdoors". Last November I entered the AMC's annual photo contest. While I wasn't among the winners, the senior editor of the magazine liked my image of sunset taken at Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg, ME. He liked it enough that he asked to run it in the June issue. Here's the image:

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wildflowers 2009

For some reason I seem to be just a step behind the wildflower blooms this year. One of my favorite spots for the first wildflowers is Bear Swamp, a property in Ashfield that is managed by The Trustees of Reservations. December's ice storm wreaked havoc on the place and the area is really a mess. And then it seems something comes up, from the weather to getting a migraine.

Anyway, I did finally get out and find a few stands of beautiful "Painted Trillium". Here's an image from the afternoon.
Painted trillium

They really are beautiful, even more so in person!
Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Here are a couple of others from Sunday. Variations on a theme. Sometimes when the skies don't do much that's interesting, look down.
Marsh Marigolds at the Beaver Pond, Bear Swamp

A Closer Look

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spring Time

OK, it's been awhile. Again. I'm going to try to be better at posting. It isn't like I haven't been doing anything. I've been to the desert, New Orleans, Cape Cod and have new trips planned. Colorado in July for wildflowers, the Cape again, Mt. Washington for wildflowers as well as my regular jaunts throughout the northeast. Should be fun.

Anyway, here are some from this weekend.
Thanks for reading,
Often mistaken for Dutchman's Breeches, Squirrel Corn

Sunset on the Shad in the back yard at the Rolling J

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Among other things, I am an ice climber. It has taken a bit longer than I am used to for the ice to form enough to climb, but I am patient. After an exploratory hike up to Farley on Saturday Chris and I went to the Zoar Roadcuts to play around and get the first swings of the season under our belts.

The original plan had been, after a great dinner at the Hope and Olive and sleep at the Rolling J Farm, to drive to Rumney and climb before returning to Ahlington for dinner and the start of the work week. The only fly in the ointment was we received 10" of new snow overnight and driving when we needed to was not very safe. So, we played at Zoar and drove back early. Here's a shot of Chris topping out on one of the climbs at the Cuts.

There should be more coming this coming weekend.