Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Friday, December 29, 2006

Yale Dogwoods, New Haven, Connecticut

A Short Walk in a Small City

Wednesday morning while I was listening to Morning Edition, a public radio non-commercial from a public-spirited supporter of my local public radio station informed me that the Canaletto in London show at the Yale Center for British Art would close on the 31st. Whoops! Tina and I changed our schedules and headed down to New Haven. The show was fascinating. My first reaction to the pictures you encounter on entry was to start giggling. I had to whisper about these large (40x60 inch?) canvases, "oh my goodness, they had oversharpening in the 18th century!" Canaletto's paintings have a count-every-blade-of-grass, realer-than-real rendering that reinforces the adage that if you want to please a client, give 'em detail, detail, detail. Little reproductions in books don't give you the flavor you get from seeing the originals. But he also has a wonderful sense of humor. Huge impressive palace and courtyard, with two servants beating a rug against a wall in the upper right corner. Impressive mansion and grounds, with wash hanging over a balcony. Parade of the Horse Guard in some fancy square, with a cartoonish fat man almost dead center. View of The City through one arch of an under-construction bridge, with a beautifully rendered bucket on a rope hanging, upper right.

And then there are the Cappricio paintings. Titles like "Imaginary Landscape with Palace," which is good enough as is, but the title doesn't hint at half of what's imaginary. I looked for unicorns, and then realized he's too subtle for that. Everything in the pictures is real and possible, or perhaps plausible is a better term, but everything is somehow off-kilter, skewed and crazy. Scholarly curatorial plaques in the last room explained Canaletto's sublime mastery of perspective, which went to the point that he employed multiple vanishing points in some of his panoramic compositions (but made them all converge on the same horizon line) to maintain drawing of buildings while rendering an impossible field of view. But the curator neglected to point out that one of the things that makes the Cappricios so whacky and wonderful is that he plays very fast and loose with vanishing points, disorientingly heading them every which way. Great fun. Wish I could do that with photographs.

On the way back to the parking lot, walking past the Yale living quarters with their faux-medieval castle walls, thinking of Caneletto, I noticed this:

Yale Birds, New Haven, Connecticut

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Green Tree, Hidden Valley, Washington, Connecticut

A Walk in the Woods on the Day After Christmas

The winter woods on a cold rainy day strike me as simply wonderful, whether I take pictures or not. These shots were made just for my own entertainment, but also relate to the technical series I'm publishing over at TOP (see link in sidebar at right). Here are some more:

Green Trunks, Hidden Valley

Curvey Trunk and Little Hemlock, Hidden Valley

Along the Shepaug at Hidden Valley

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Waterbury, Connecticut


I don't think I'll ever get tired of looking at the way late light bounces off the windows of one building to the facade of another. There's a wonderful glowing yellow color to the reflections in the orignal that balances nicely with the cold white and black of the wall, but it will probably be lost in the translation to web viewing.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Hidden Valley, Washington, Connecticut

Twisted Trees

I want to keep this web log centered on pictures rather than technique, but viewers who are following my posts at The Online Photographer, centering on my acqusition of a new camera, will be interested to know this was shot, hand held, at 1/8 second exposure. In the full size file (before interpolation down and JPEG compression for the web) the bark is extremely crisp and detailed.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Carmel Hill, Woodbury, Connecticut

Solstice Light

Mid-afternoon of the shortest day in the year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Woodbury, Connecticut
Clearing Fog

There's almost a sense of cotton-candy color here, the exaggerated look I've always disliked about a lot of color photography, but the thing is, it actually did look like this on my way to the post offfice.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Watertown, Connecticut


No, that's not sensor dust. Those are crows, flying around and roosting in the tree. They're just a distraction in a web-resolution image, but they'll really look wonderful in a print—the shapes are motion-blurred but well enough defined. The shape of this field, and the trees at the edges, just never looks the same from one day to the next. So I keep going back and looking again.

PS: A lot of visitors here also frequent Mike Johnston's blog THE ONLINE PHOTOGRAPHER, but for those who don't, or haven't been over there recently, yesterday Mike put up the first in a series of technical articles I'm publishing there. This one is called "On Buying a Camera."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Woodbury, Connecticut

Morning Fog

I hope that the faint but clear outline of the sun's disc will come through on most viewer's monitors after the file has been converted for web viewing. This farm has been a multi-generational favorite for local painters.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Torrington, Connecticut
Color Balance?

It's a mystery why the same public service announcement would wind up on both halves of a twin billboard, but the fact that one is pale green and the other pale magenta might give a hint about different aging time.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Thomaston, Connecticut


Sometimes you just have to wonder if anyone at the outdoor advertising company pays the slightest attention to which ads go up next to each other when there are double boards.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pond's Field, Roxbury, Connecticut

Roxbury International

Found myself near Painter Hill again yesterday and stopped in the late afternoon light to photograph the little airfield.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Painter Ridge, Roxbury, Connecticut

Evening Light

Strange conditions driving home from the mother-in-law's 90th birthday party yesterday.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Painter Hill, Roxbury, Connecticut

Winter's Here

We've had an incredibly warm autumn here in southern New England, but last night the temperature dropped well down into the teens (that's something like -9°C) and it never got up as high as 20°F during the day. Of course that's about what the temperature should be in early December, but it's a bit of a shock when we've had temperatures near fifty every day up until now.

I had to do some errands today, and noticed this familiar place looking, well, very "wintry." I find winter frustrating. I just don't like winter light. Doesn't matter whether I'd like to make pictures in color or b&w, use film or digital capture, I simply don't think anything looks good—perhaps I mean looks right—in this pale, wan, harsh light. But Painter Hill, in the next town over, somehow seemed to personify what noontime winter light is all about. Did it so well that I wanted to make a picture. I find that while I still don't like this light, I do kind of like the picture.

While most of the field is planted in corn, a long strip at the right is groomed short, as a runway for the covey of light aircraft that live in and around a Quonset hut hanger near the edge of the road. Locals call it "Roxbury International."

Friday, December 08, 2006

Torrington, Connecticut

The building is long and narrow, hugging the river that provided power for manufacturing businesses back in the 19th century. The storefronts are being remodeled for new businesses. The large white dish reflected in the window is the downlink for the local newspaper, housed across the street.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Monday, December 04, 2006

Torrington, Connecticut

Shop Window

It says that it's a jewelry store, but the display window is filled with religious objects. There are also hand-written political posters (Bush Lied, Thousands Died) taped to the glass. I want to go back during business hours and learn a little bit about the people who run the place.

Chantal asked in a comment what the store's name was, so I looked in the files and found another picture of what proves to be O'Sullivan's Jewelers.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sperlonga, Italy, 1970

Fishing Village

Sperlonga is a place I remember as a vertical village. The town clung to the side of a cliff, a warren of stucco buildings connected by vertiginous stairs. The cliff's feet sat in the sea and fishing boats were constantly coming and going. It's recorded that the Emporer Tiberius had a summer villa here. I think the two boys are about to go fishing.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tokyo, 1969

Graphic Novel

Traveling on a scholarship in 1969, I was startled to find that in Japan adults everywhere could be found reading comic books. The graphic novel has made its way to the United States since then, but as someone who'd never read comics even as a kid, back then I found the phenomenon quite baffling.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Friday, November 17, 2006