Monday, August 31, 2015


Torrington, Connecticut

I couldn't get Blogger to operate this morning, and some formatting features still aren't working this afternoon—the town name, above, should be aligned right but that control isn't available. These two are from a walkabout yesterday that lasted less than an hour because the weather was much worse than I realized, muggy and upper 80s F.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Car Wash

Clifton Forge, Virginia

From February. Exploring the Shenandoah Valley after teaching a workshop, getting the New England road salt washed off my car, because it was five bucks with a fill-up. However, the convenience store clerk hadn't opened the car wash yet, so she had to go out with the key and asked me to mind the store while she was gone.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Cool-ie Neck Wrap

Waterbury, Connecticut

Once again the Dehaze, "effect," (working in Lightroom) let me increase the transparency of the window reflections without changing their shape or making them go away entirely.

Self Portrait

Union City (Naugatuck), Connecticut

The shadow, reflected light from a car bumper, on the Rt. 8 sign.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pictures in the Windshield

Waterbury, Connecticut

When I tried the very first versions of Lightroom as it was first introduced, I seriously disliked the interface and the whole approach. However, the current version is so much improved that I wish I'd taken a look sooner. I'll continue to use Bridge>ACR>PS for some work but I think I'll transition to working in LR for most digital capture. Haven't yet experimented with printing directly from LR.

Meanwhile, one of the new tools in ACR/LR is "dehaze" which is meant for helping pictures shot in hazy conditions, but it also works like a charm for reducing window reflections. I didn't want to eliminate the reflections here, but wanted to see into the interior better than the unmodified file. It's a little like being able to apply a polarizing filter after the fact, in post.

As always, you can click the picture to get a larger more legible view.

Red Tile Roof

Waterbury, Connecticut

It's an auto repair place now but it would be interesting to find out what it was built to be.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Classic Vehicle

Waterbury, Connecticut

For many years, the vanity plates you could order for Connecticut vehicles older than 15 years said, "Early American." Completely ridiculous.  Not counting native Americans, European immigrants to New England Early America predate the automobile by three centuries. It got even more silly when you saw "Early American" on a Volvo or Honda. Recently I noticed that some other people might have pointed out how stupid that designation was, because the vanity plates now read, "Classic Vehicle." (Click on the picture area to get a larger, more legible view.)

Belle Financial Aid

Waterbury, Connecticut

For those who don't know the difference between, "that" and, "who."

You can click on the picture to get a larger, more legible view. If anything seems a bit odd it could be because I'm finally experimenting with Lightroom instead of using Bridge>ACR>Photoshop, making web files with LR's Export function instead of my custom Batch Action.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Waterbury, Connecticut

Went for a couple hours of photo walkabout after picking up cat supplies at the PetSmart outlet in Waterbury. Interesting cloudy mid-day light. For some reason everything seemed to click into place. There will probably be quite a few posts here from today's shoot.

City Trees

Naugatuck, Connecticut

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Garden Party

Washington, Connecticut

Yesterday evening's garden party after the final concert of the season for the Washington Friends of Music and the New Baroque Soloists. Quite a setting for a party, too.

Friday, August 21, 2015


Seymour, Connecticut

Many substantial residences in the old industrial towns in New England have been broken up into multiple apartments. This leads to modifications of the internal structure, and sometimes quite complex utility arrangements, in this case the cable feed. I'm going to make a point of looking for more of these. I'm intrigued at how picture of these modifications and adaptations can contain, or at least imply, a lot of visual backstory.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Torrington, Connecticut

Another look at sultry summer weather in late July, the air building up for rain from sheer humidity.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Union City, Connecticut

Not on the roadside, but in a town park at the side of the Naugatuck River.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Long, Sharp, Fast, Cheap: Pick Any Three (techy post about lenses)

 Washington, Connecticut

I've always been a short lens photographer, at least in my personal work, though of course I had to use long lenses for many situations over decades of professional photography. Recently I've been doing some pro bono pictures for the Washington Friends of Music, a non-profit that puts on concerts by the New Baroque Soloists. The concerts are staged in a classic, beautiful, church on the Washington Town Green. But there's only so many times you can show a view of the church interior on their blog before it gets boring. So I wanted to do tight shots of the players and hope to get a bit of the intensity they bring to their playing. However, the area below the pulpit where the musicians play is really dark on summer evenings. In the old days, I would have gotten out my 180mm f/2.8 Nikkor—and had a terrible time getting anything on b&w film, much less color.

I don't have anything equivalent to the 180 for the m-4/3s digital capture equipment I use now. But, as long as I've been making pictures I've always, a couple times a year, usually May and October, done long lens landscape work, dealing with the color of those seasons and compressed perspective. So, I do have a Lumix 45-200, f/4-5.6, Varifocal. I couldn't justify $1300 for a pro-grade long fast lens to do those landscapes, especially since if you put the 45-200 on a tripod and stop it down to f/7.1 it works just as well...for about $250. That 180 Nikkor cost me something like $500 35 years ago.

So then I started thinking. At the equivalent of 180mm, that lens is around f/4.5-4.7. Pretty slow. But, unlike the classic 180, it also has Optical Image Stabilization. So slow shutter speeds can be used, which opens the possibility of shots where, say, the musician's face is crisp but the bow hand is blurred. This might have a low success rate, but so what, it's free (digital) film.

Nice effect. The camera that I could use the 45-200 on gives results at ISO 3200 that blow away anything I could have done in the past with T-Speed (Tmax P3200), much less any fast color film. Plus, at 4/3s format and f/4.7, the depth of field is much greater than a 180 on film at f/2.8, which could give a whole different look to this sort of picture. The Lumix GX7 also has a (really, not hype) Silent mode, so I could shoot during even the softest passages of music without anyone being distracted by me.

So, if I were doing this professionally instead of as a donation to a local non-profit, I'd order up one of these right away. But I've enjoyed seeing what I could force the 45-200 to do.

One more interesting sidelight. The GX7 has incredibly accurate, and even more important, reliable, AF. I thought I would be clever and set the AF to Face Detection, but it didn't work. Why? I realized that shooting from the balcony, which does wonders for simplifying the backgrounds, I'm looking at the faces at about a 45° angle, and that seems to be enough to confuse the algorithms.


Naugatuck, Connecticut


Naugatuck, Connecticut

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Power Out

Woodbury, Connecticut

I wonder why the lights went out?

Lights and my 27" Thunderbolt display went dark about 3:30 this afternoon. Tina tells me that Marshall (he's a cat) jumped out of his perch in the window just before the power cut off.  Clear blue sky, no wind. I needed to get something in town, got this far, turned around and went the long way. Coming back the long way I had to explain to a trooper at a roadblock that I lived "this side of the tree." Then  I walked out to the corner of our property and a couple dozen yards beyond, to find this view and take a snap. The word was out that it would take 4-6 hours to fix, but fix what? They've got to get the tree out of the road, but I was amazed to find not only the power, but the cable back on (maybe the cable was never severed but how would I know without electricity?) when I walked back into the house at about six. A pole went down, so we should be prepared for a possible power drop (if it carried a transformer, I don't know if it did).

This is a problem here in Southern New England, where much of our land is "ledge" a legacy of glaciation. Enormous oaks (this looks like one from a distance) and maples manage to sink enough roots to sustain growth, without an appropriate root system for structure, because they are basically growing in topsoil on cracked granite with subsoil in the cracks. It's amazing that anything grows here. I think I'll post this now, before there might be another connection problem about the utility pole that has to be replaced.

Lawn, Truck, and Garages

Union City, Connecticut

There was an interesting comment exchange about yesterday's shot from the plaza in front of the pizza place. (The first time I encountered a pizza joint claiming, "wood fired pizza," I misread the extremely poor signage as "wood fried pizza," and wondered what the hell that meant. I've used the term ever since.)

The exchange was about multiple things going on in a picture, in just some of it, while a lot of it might seem empty, but it works anyway. Of course that only happens if the places where nothing seems to be going on, do, in fact, have agency, and that somehow resonates with the action points.

What's the history of mowing the lawn here? What's the connection between the background overgrown place with the red and white antique truck and the hedge of bittersweet, and the adjoining property? Here in the foreground, it looks like someone was interrupted while doing a precise lawn mowing, burning it to the ground when it's only a few inches high so it won't have to be done again soon, but had to stop and go do something else. The garage would seem to be from the lawn mower's property, but is decades into the problem that someone, probably three owners ago, spray painted cedar shingles. The awful pigment could eventually wash away and leave the cedar shingles. It may even be a plan.

There's always a lot going on if you look.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Silenus and the Infant Bacchus Take a Selfie

Williamstown, Massachusetts

With thanks to Christophe Veyrier and The Clark.

We drove up to see the hugely enlarged Clark museum today for my birthday. What a lovely present.

The Van Gogh show is fantastic, if you are able to go to far Northwestern MA in the next weeks while these shows are up, don't miss it. As you move through the galleries you are first amazed at the raw talent of the young Van Gogh. Then you watch him explore, seeming almost to invent individual painting styles for specific subjects painted the same year. Then you watch him go mad. Suddenly the hospital pictures, and later, come into focus as the work of a consummate artist who suddenly finds himself permanently on LSD.

The other special show is the actual Whistler's Mother, along with two rooms of Whistler's drawings and prints. Seeing Whistler's Mother in person is a trip. The painting is mesmerizing, but you get to notice little things like the framed print on the wall above her, which is a tour de force—not only does it read like an etching, but you can tell that it is framed under glass...


Waterbury, Connecticut

I'm not generally fond of harsh sunlight, but some subjects thrive on it.