As a New Year commences with hope, intentions and goals to be achieved, it is time to put together a plan toward achievement. Some of these goals will be focused on photography, and some of them will be in the area of playing the guitar.
This blog is a step in the photography plan of my goals; and I think it is time to revisit and refine the reasons for the blog. Part of what I hope to achieve through this process is to eliminate some of the barriers that have made for infrequent blog posts.
As a photographer, even a part-time one, I always look to challenge myself, improve my skills and undertake some interesting projects that keep my creative juices flowing. I aim to use this blog as a vehicle to help move these areas along with the hope that some of what I share may be of interest to photographers and creative artists alike.
Expect my posts to vary, as some will be to share some of my photographic endeavors and the thoughts that went in to them, whereas others will be musings about project directions and random thoughts that cross my mind.
‘The Wise Tree’ is part of this post, as one of this year’s projects will involve this tree…
If this blog attains any success, it is to be measured in the feedback that it attracts from readers, and, possibly, what it might inspire others to do and achieve. It’s a journey without any specific destination, but, who knows, we may see some interesting sights along the way.
Of course, we may end up following the road less taken and some posts may even talk about playing guitar, but, with your help, I will try to make it entertaining for all!
The railroad that runs through West Boylston does not carry a large amount of traffic. The occasional cargo train will rumble through town at a rather slow speed; if one gets caught by the train at one of the two grade crossings in town, it is best to turn your car’s engine off and relax, as it will be a while before the crossing clears again.
When I am fortunate enough to meet a train in this way, I enjoy the time to take a closer look at what is passing in front of me. There is much to learn by watching a train pass by. The railroad is a veritable history collection on steel wheels. Ranging from the collection of freight cars and their owners to the cargo that they haul, each train tells a story.
The train may be made up from a large variety of rolling stock from carriers, such as Green Mountain Railroad, Boston and Maine, Pan Am Railways, Bangor and Aroostook, Maine Central, Providence and Worcester Railroad, and the list goes on. Each of these railroads has their own background and current state of success or trouble. Some railroads do well financially, but many small railroads’ fate often hinge on consolidation.
The types of the railcars tell another part of the story: what is being carried. Usually, I see a mix of tankers, car carriers and loads of building wood on center beam cars. One part that is always a mystery, is where the cargo originated and what its final destination is.
Additionally, the train is a rolling canvas for graffiti artists. Often just a stylized writing of the artist’s chosen name or some clever message; occasionally, there is a true masterpiece that rolls by and you cannot help, but be amazed by the talent.
By the time the train completes its passage of the grade crossing, I have been entertained, puzzled and stimulated. It’s time to fire up the engine once more and continue the journey.
During my (then) rather lengthy daily commute, I always opted for the scenic route, which, albeit 10-15 minutes longer, was much more relaxing than using the highways. And it had the added benefit of providing some interesting scenery to enjoy!
One of the points of interest is a set of farms near the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border, one of which literally had a road right through the property of the farm. This did make for slower travel and the occasional scent of true farm life, such as organic fertilization; from time to time, I would stop here and capture something or other.
On this fine day in April, I wanted to get a bit of a wider image of the cows feeding in the very New England farmland (read: large rocks intersperse grass and mud). However, the cows had a completely different idea!
As soon as the cows saw that I had pulled over, they decided to come over and find out what I was up to…after all, there may have been food involved! So rather than getting the wide shot, I got this wonderful close-up of the cows vying for attention.
The interest to capture this image came to me, as I was looking to get some nice sunlight reflected in the pond that is right next to this little building. One of those nice, quiet October mornings when you feel like it might still be Summer.
I didn’t really like the reflection that I could get, given the (self-imposed) constraint of using my iPhone for every shot during the year, and I had already photographed the nicely restored mill building across the road (you can see part of it in the “Instant Grammar – page 3” post and another part later).
So I started looking for something different and my eye was caught by the splash of red from the somewhat dilapidated berries in front of the very dilapidated building. Putting the graffiti in the frame behind the berries allowed for a bit of juxtaposition of nature’s beauty against what can otherwise be created by humankind.
I’m sure that many of you suffer from the same photographers’ malady that I have: tons of images that you have forgotten about! Now, that is not all bad, because I have taken some bad photos in the past (and will take more in the future), which are best forgotten.
On the other hand, my photo editing/processing skills have expanded and improved over the years, so some of those not-so-great photos might benefit from a bit of this new skill level. As I went looking for the source file for a reasonably nice landscape of Peggy’s Cove that I took in 2007, I stumbled across an image at the Bay of Fundy that just never pleased me. If I would take it nowadays, it would be as an HDR sequence, so that I could really get everything I wanted in the image.
However, thanks to the wonderful folks at HDRsoft and the fact that I have played with Photomatix Pro for years, there was the possibility to come up with something new in this image. It is no longer a pure photo, as I went rather painterly on this image, but I really enjoy the mood that is captured here.
Let me know how you like it and about the photos you have resurrected from the past!
On August 13th, we had just finished a very nice dinner at one of our favorite Worcester, MA, restaurants: Bocado (highly recommended). As we were leaving, I had this gnawing thought that something was missing…
Of course! I hadn’t captured my image yet that day!! As we walked out the door at Bocado’s, I noticed that there was a small hole in the wooden fence between the two buildings and took a peek!
What I saw, intrigued me for the lines that were formed by the various surfaces, pipes, bricks, and the buildings, only to be broken by the pure organic texture of nature coming in to play. Luckily, a small hole is enough for an iPhone’s lens, so we get to see the result here.
I still enjoy looking into this image and wondering what lies beyond the fence and who will use the plywood, or what is in the blue container…
On page 4, we find ourselves in the cold of Winter with Thoughts of Spring.
Of course, one may think that those thoughts are a bit premature, given that the image was captured on January 7th and plenty of cold and snow could reasonably be expected… While that is certainly the case, seeing the farm tractor catching glorious sunlight got me thinking of Spring well before its arrival!
In an instant, I knew that the farmer was prepared for the next season to arrive and take on the tasks to get his fields ready for whatever their purpose was to be. It was almost as if Winter allowed me to peek into a diorama of things to come…