Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Inventory (Feline)

We did the annual cat inventory last night; as expected given the economy, we were unable to move any of our current stock, much to the chagrin of our CFO. (Although we did get several offers on the chair.) Nevertheless, we are still able to utilize them for our own purposes, e.g., as space heaters within the paradigm of winter sleeping arrangements, and general amusement.

From left to right: Molly, Betsy, Clark (received as new stock - spring 1999) and Legs (
refurbished - winter 2000). Click on image for larger picture.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Balloon Bottom

One more picture from the Quechee Balloon festival to carry us through the weekend. This balloon made several touches on the water before finally ascending to the cloudy skies. I was shooting with the 70-200mm lens, so I wasn't able to include more of the reflection in the water. I'd tried that type of composition earlier, with the water reflecting the full balloon, but the light was all wrong; too much glare, too many ripples in the water, and the water was too dark because of all the trees along the riverbank.

But the tighter framing here lets me capture more detail in the foliage, makes the vertical red and blue stripes become the main focus, and the rippled water with its truncated reflection is now an anchoring feature at the base of the picture.

And even though you can barely see it, the woman in the peach blouse is giving us a big smile.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Theodore Roosevelt Cage Match

At the time of his death more than ninety years ago, Theodore Roosevelt was apparently thought of as a dangerous man. I mean, why else would you surround his grave with a seven-foot high wrought-iron fence topped with spikes and a deadbolt lock on the gate? What kind of effect did he have on the villagers of Oyster Bay that they would feel the need to keep his mortal remains isolated from the rest of the cemetery?

They built the cage on the top of a hill at the back of the cemetery, far away from the sight of the road. In fact, if it weren't for all the signs pointing to Sagamore Hill, and the Theodore Roosevelt Bird Sanctuary nearby, and the big parking lot with the directions to the gravesite, you'd never know the 26th president of the United States was here at all.

May 12, 2009

Or is he? Perhaps the cage wasn't meant to symbolize the public's final and everlasting restraint of tyranny, nor was it meant to contain TR's vengeful soul or to keep his zombified remains from terrorizing the local citizenry with a big stick, as was originally reported back in 1919. Perhaps instead, it was built to keep the curious and the deranged from digging up the casket to affirm the identity of the contents; to hold the pince-nez and finger his watch chain. Maybe they'd take some dental impressions, too. If there's even a body in there, and not just a pile of rocks, which, according to a new internet theory that Theodore Roosevelt faked his own death, is what you'll find.

I like the idea of a zombie TR wandering the forests in a pair of khaki jodhpurs better, though.

(Author's Note:  Very little of the above is intended to have any historical accuracy.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sagamore Hill

An old colleague from my final days in the printing trade posted a link to Sagamore Hill on Facebook the other day. It was inevitable, I guess; his status updates were a growing compendium of TR quotes. I don't know what brought it on, either, since he's geographically much closer to Puget Sound than he is to the Long Island Sound.

But still it seemed like a good idea to me, I haven't been up that way since the spring, which I reported on in the entry Then and Now. This time around I decided to do some panoramas of the house and grounds.

September 23, 2009

As much as I love the images I get from the InfraRebel, its by-now ancient technology is frustratingly slow. The camera's buffer can only process four RAW images at a time. Shooting the eighteen frames that make up the image above took about two and a half minutes, most of that time spent with the camera to my eye, waiting for the CPU to scurry the pixels and bytes to the CF card.

The pano below, made with the 5D, took less than forty seconds to expose and process eighteen images to the card. With twice the megapixels, shooting RAW and jpeg's. It is amazing what happens in a mere two years with technology.

September 23, 2009

This is the view of the house and the hill as you see it on the drive up Cove Neck Road. The path on the left meanders into the woods, then peters out just below the pet cemetery. If you click on the picture, the larger image will show the striped awnings on the porch and upstairs windows that have been lowered against the afternoon sun.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

US 4 Arch Bridge

June 18, 2009

Another problem with the way I abandoned this blog to my writer's block and general malaise this past summer was overlooking some of the really neat pictures that I did manage to capture.

This is the arch bridge that carries US Route 4 over the Quechee Gorge, about 150 leafy green feet above the Ottaquechee River. I took this picture from the same spot as the VanGoghlaroid version from three years ago. It's actually the only spot along the trail where you can get a clear view through the trees. The way the girders of the bridge stand out amid the foliage in this infrared image really make the picture for me.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Summerfall 2009

With today officially being the last day of summer, I'll offer a few recent shots from Coney Island. Friday was a bright, clear day in New York, with a slight haze off to the horizon. The sun was noticeably into the low angle of winter, giving lots of glare off the water and long, stark shadows even at one o'clock in the afternoon.

Steeplechase Pier

There was a stiff and steady wind off the ocean, strong enough for a burly kite-flier on the pier to tell me he didn't want to let out too much line for fear he wouldn't be able to reel it back in. "Sounds like you're fishing in reverse," I told him.

The Cyclone

I need to come back a bit later in the afternoon so I can make a better pano than this in color. Even though I had the 5D with me, I'd still be dealing with the lens flare on the right because of the position of the sun. Like all of these current InfraRebel pictures, this ten-image montage was shot with the 17-40mm.

The Wonder Wheel

There's an eerie drone in the neighborhood, a low, rumbling hum that I first noticed getting out of the car, and I had parked near 20th Street, across from the ballpark. As I walked east on the boardwalk it seemed to deepen, and I finally realized what it was: the wind blowing through the Wonder Wheel was turning it into a giant, circular tuning fork, radiating a vibrato of despair throughout the deserted remains of the surrounding amusement park.

September 18, 2009

Notice the compositional theme of these four pictures? All of them were shot directly into the sun, with the last three exhibiting typical lens flare across the groupings of the lens elements.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Moonlight in Vermont

September 5, 2009

Well what else am I going to call this entry? On my second attempt of the summer, I was able to get a good base exposure for a clear night one day past the full moon.

This image was made with the Canon 5D, ISO 100, standard picture style, cloudy white balance, on a tripod, of course. I used the wide end of my 24-105 at f8, and had a wired remote (cable release) locked for an exposure time of 390 seconds. The in-camera noise reduction software uses an equal amount of time to process, so the pictures I made that night took a total of thirteen minutes each.

So even after an hour I had very little to show for my efforts, but I like this image.
I wasn't expecting star trails in a six and a half minute exposure, so they were a pleasant surprise. Next time I'll lower the ISO to 50 and stop down the lens some more and try for a longer exposure, and longer trails.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mountain Panoramas

July 8, 2009

Early in July I headed for the mountains, hoping for a clear night during the full moon. Ha ha. We all know how well that worked out, not only for me but for most of the eastern seaboard. I'd been wanting to try some extended time exposures using the ambient moonlight, and there were a couple of places I had in mind. The cloud cover proved to be too much, and neither of my set-ups were worthwhile, however.

But while the clouds (and subsequent rain) pretty much killed that trip I did get the shots of the abandoned car in the previous post, and put together the above pano in the upper parking lot at Snowshed. This was put together from twelve vertical exposures. Take a look at the cloud on the far right and tell me it doesn't look like a human profile.
Sort of.

July 25, 2009

This next one was a few weeks later, during a much more cooperative weekend on the weather front. We took our bikes into Woodstock, about 35 miles round trip, then later in the afternoon took the K1 gondola up Killington Peak. Getting off the gondola at the top I noticed something a little odd. There was a small whiteboard near the operator's station, and someone had written on it:

'Welcome to Mt. Killington. Elev. 4235 feet'

Okay, you're wondering, what's so unusual? Well, it was the elevation. Of a mountain. Written in erasable marker on a whiteboard. Like they might have to change it regularly.

This panorama was also made from twelve vertical shots. Both sets of images were shot handheld using the wide end of a 17-40mm lens. Like all the pictures on this website, you can click on the picture to view a larger version.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

VT 103

I've driven along Vermont Route 103 probably a hundred times now in the last four years, yet somehow managed to never see this abandoned car just outside of Chester.

It is sort of hidden when you come upon it from the south/east. There's a dense line of trees along the road just before the open space where this Dodge sits, just a few yards from the thicket. So it's possible to miss it, but this time something brought my eye to it at just the right moment. That moment, however, didn't include any kind of decent light, so these pictures were made the next morning.

July 8, 2009

As best as I can tell, this is a 1953 Dodge Coronet with a GyroMatic transmission. Unfortunately it's lost its hood ornament.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Quechee, Quechee, Queue...

Another thing we did this summer was to visit the nearby Quechee (pronounced 'kwee-chee') Hot Air Balloon festival. Every year this has been going on, a mere twenty miles from where we are in Killington, but this was the first we were able to stop by.

Hot air balloons take off best when the surrounding air is cool and still, so early morning and early evening are optimal launch times. We were on hand for an and an early morning and later an evening lift-off. The evening event was a bit murky with clouds, but the morning inflation and rising was as crisp and beautiful as one could hope for.

There were about twenty-four balloons in total, all starting off as flat bits of nylon on the ground...

...and eventually, with copious amounts of both fire and air...

And a bit of leverage...

They all get off the ground and literally head off for parts unknown.

June 20, 2009


Sunday, September 13, 2009


Vietnam Veterans Memorial - July 2009

Since I spent the late spring and the entire summer slacking off here at the blog, I figure the best way to redeem myself is to start off with a really strong picture, and certainly the best of the three presented here today.

Washington D. C. in the late summer features an atmosphere eerily reminiscent of the planet Venus, but without all the ammonia. Except in some parts of the Metro. I was prepared for that, and planned an early start the first day after dropping Sherry off. Naturally I hadn't planned on spending the entire morning on the side of I-66 after being the first part of a five-car sandwich. No one was hurt, most of the cars were drivable, including mine, so I wound up getting a late start in the hottest part of the day, while pissed off. Mostly at having to cut short my list: I never got to the Jefferson Memorial, Arlington or the east front of the Capitol.

Ah well. These were a couple of nice shots. Getting the three sets of hands in the first one was pure serendipity; I was concentrating on the girl in pink and the boy in black. The man in white walking in the opposite direction was something I never saw until the last instant. I'll call it the definitive shot of the trip.

This one is pretty nice, too.

And though I didn't get around to the other side, I did manage one shot of the west front of the Capitol, making it almost perfectly symmetrical. It looks so tranquil, doesn't it? You just don't see the two men with automatic weapons on the steps above the curved balcony.

Washington DC - July 2009