Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weeds, Farm, Clouds

Granville, New York

St. Albans Cove

St. Albans, Vermont

Around eight last Friday evening. Lake Champlain was calm, but on the local news they were talking about the possibility of severe erosion damage to the shoreline and islands. Until last night, back home, we had only a battery radio as a source of news, with the power out and the roads closed because of storm damage.

There was some flood damage in Connecticut from Irene, especially along the southern coast, but the vast power blackout was mainly caused by tree damage to power lines. In many parts of Vermont where we've recently been working, looking for agricultural landscape material, the flood damage is devastating. Whole towns are nearly wiped away, along with the roads that serve them. Also the towns in and around the Adirondack park where I've done a lot of work in the past few years. A lot of the places where I've photographed and that Tina has painted are going to be irrevocably changed by the storm.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Weeds, Gray Barn, Morning Mist

North Petersburg, New York

Friday morning, heading for western Vermont.

The power went out here just before seven Sunday morning. It just came on just now, about eight Tuesday night. The big HP printer didn't like being down for more than two days, coming up making nasty fan noises that call for an orderly shut down and another restart, at least. No direct damage here from the storm, other than the effects of two and a half days without power.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Window Treatment

Hinsburg, Vermont

The Good News Cafe. Pizza, crab cakes, and other things, advertised on the sandwich board out front. Tina thought any place that eclectic was bound to be good, and it turned out that way.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

That's the Way to Do It

Route 22a, North of Bridport, Vermont

Seen on the road at 9:30 this morning in west central Vermont. Some people know how to take a hurricane seriously.

Morning Fog

Woodbury, Connecticut

Friday, August 26, 2011

St. Albans Drive-in Theater

St. Albans, Vermont

I lucked out on the light when I found the St. Albans Drive-in Theater. So often when I find an interesting theater the light is all wrong, it needs morning sun instead of afternoon, clear sky when it's overcast, or sometimes overcast to set off a screen against a mountainside. But around 4:00 this afternoon the clear sunlight and deep blue sky to the east were just perfect to show off the structure of this theater's screen, along with the ticket booth and the concession stand. I like the shadows on the sign from the lights. It framed up nicely with Route 7 and some long tree shadows, using the 8x10 Deardorff with 240mm Apo Sironar S. The white screen is the least interesting aspect of this venue, so I'm delighted to have the light perfect for this angle.

Farm Equipment

Woodbury, Connecticut

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Friday Night, Revisited

New York, New York

On August 17, I posted a version of this picture made from the in-camera JPEG file. Adobe Camera Raw was not yet supporting files from the new Panasonic Lumix G3 I used for the picture, so I was shooting Raw+, working from the JPEGs and archiving the Raw files. I did some adjustments to the files using ACR 6.4.1 since it can be set to work on JPEG files.

This morning I discovered that Adobe Labs has released a late Beta (Adobe Photoshop Camera Raw 6.5 Release Candidate) along with a matching new release of the DNG converter program, so I immediately downloaded and installed them. Then I ran the whole folder of "G3 downloads" through the converter and into a new folder. The files are significantly smaller after being converted to DNG, and operations in Bridge run much faster on these DNGs than they do on the native Panasonic files.

A first glance at the files in Bridge as interpreted by ACR 6.5 showed, as expected, the more "open" tonality I prefer to the harsher tonal scale of the JPEGs, along with smoother transitions in color saturation. The next things I wanted to see were how well ACR dealt with relatively high ISO, and with difficult mixed-source light. This was shot at 1/60th @ f/1.7, ISO 1600, and the light was about as crazily mixed as you could ask for.


This is a 100% crop from the picture (after you click on it—the frontpage presentation is altered), using just ACR default capture sharpening and no attempt at noise reduction. While of course there is visible noise, it's tight and even. The un-interpolated file at 300 ppi will print at 11.5x15.3" and this slice would be about 2.5 inches wide. I haven't had a chance to do any test prints yet, but based on examination of the full size file at 25% view I expect it to look really good. Good enough to make me want to test at higher speeds and see how much farther up it can go.

Public Service Announcement

Torrington, Connecticut

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Roxbury, Connecticut

A show of large oil paintings by Risa Korris, at the Minor Memorial Library Gallery.

More Reflections, from Outside In

New York, New York

New York, New York

That's about it for photographs made in New York around the edges of the August 13-14 Platinum workshop.

Monday, August 22, 2011

From Inside Out, IV

New York, New York

New York, New York

Nobody Told Me...

It was posted seven months ago, but I just discovered that a Facebook gallery is up showing activities at my November 2010 "Introduction to Platinum" workshop at The Center for Alternative Photography. There are snapshots made during the workshop, along with scans of prints made by the participants. The gallery is sort of fun. Follow this link to get there.

From Inside Out, III

New York, New York

Grand Central Station, Platform 112

New York, New York

Sunday, August 21, 2011

From Inside Out, II

New York, New York

New York, New York

From Inside Out, I

New York, New York

 Reflections are often fascinating. A lot of the pictures here, especially the Shop Windows series, look at the way window reflections interact with the view through the window. A rainy morning in New York last weekend got me looking at what happens when you are on the inside, looking out, but also seeing reflections back into the room behind you.

New York, New York

Thursday, August 18, 2011


New York, New York


New York, New York

So, you've got a beer that tastes pretty much like club soda. If you tell people that it's really wonderful, will they believe you?

New York, New York

Maybe if you tell them often enough, like every other street corner.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Topsy Turvey

New York, New York

Sixth Avenue in the thirties, Saturday evening.


photo © 2011, Lyle Allan

Lyle Allan stopped by the workshop Saturday afternoon and helped coach the participants through their first attempts at coating paper and exposing palladium prints. He also got to play with my new Lumix G3 and snapped this shot of me with one of the workshoppers, inspecting a partially exposed print in the split-back contact printing frame.

Yellow, Red, Blue

New York, New York

Third Avenue in the upper eighties, 6:40 AM.

I'm lucky to be able to stay at a friend's apartment on the east side in the lower 90s when I teach at The Center for Alternative Photography. First, because the honorarium a not-for-profit workshop center pays is not exactly compatible—not at all compatible—with New York hotel prices. Also, it means that Friday evening, Saturday morning and evening, and Sunday morning, I get to walk about 70 blocks of New York sidewalk, because CAP is at 30th just west of Park. To the millions of people who live there that might not seem like much, but because I don't get "into town" all that often (I spent much more time in Manhattan as a teenager growing up just twenty miles to the west than I do now) all that sidewalk seems fresh and interesting to me.

This was Saturday, a big shopping day, but the gates on these shops are hours away from opening. New York keeps adolescent, night-owl, hours. The workshop center insists on running the sessions from ten in the morning till six at night, which throws off my circadian rhythm as much as several time zones worth of jet lag.

But that means having, invariably, woken up at about quarter-to-six, I can dawdle and wander around practically forever making my way down to CAP.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Third Avenue Shop Window

New York, New York


New York, New York

I expected nothing on the digital capture front around the edges of this weekend's Pt/Pd workshop. I have a nice long walk from the workshop location to my crash pad, about three miles uptown. But this time I didn't think anything was going well. But you never know. This is the fourth frame of the day, walking from Grand Central to the workshop center at 30th street, with a 40-pound pack of stuff for the workshop (and a couple changes of socks and underwear) plus a portfolio case with the paper supply we'll use, and a set of sample prints. It was also raining, but not hard, so I had a camera around my neck so I could stop and try something like this.

The rain got worse all weekend. I love working in rain, when I can prepare for it. But dealing with it around the edges of orchestrating an intro to platinum workshop, well, it won't have been a very productive time for this blog.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Danby, Vermont

It was an impressive change in the weather, but no storm or rain materialized.

Friday, August 12, 2011

In the Woods

Morris, Connecticut

Made this past Wednesday afternoon, with the 7x17" Korona. A storm front was coming in and the breeze was picking up, moving the lighter vegetation around while the tree trunks stayed still for the 30 second exposure. Luckily the camera stayed quite still as well. The Korona's a bit on the flimsy side for working in the wind.

You can click on the picture to get a better view, use your browser's back button to return.

WP is going on autopilot now through the weekend while I teach a workshop down in New York. Comments will be posted but I won't be online again until Sunday night.

Smoke 'em if You Got 'em

Barre, Vermont

Still another two pictures from the municipal parking lot behind the stores on the northeast side of Main Street. This is something that happens now and then, a cluster of photographs that seem to work, all made in a short space of time in a restricted area. In fact I spend a great deal of time looking for interesting situations, without hitting a lot of pay dirt. Then suddenly a particular time and place seems to offer something no matter where you look. It's not limited to digital capture, either. A lot of my large format negatives come in clusters from a specific time and place. I might have stopped, looked, and not set up the camera at dozens of potentially interesting spots, only to find that when a place does call for the Deardorff or the Korona or the Folmer & Schwing, there often will turn out to be more than one picture to make.

Barre, Vermont

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Weeds Redux, XXI

Grafton, Vermont

Right across the the dirt road from the sign in this morning's post.

Grafton, Vermont

Route 121

Grafton, Vermont

We wanted to go from Grafton to Londonderry, and Route 121 was by far the shortest course (there aren't a whole lot of roads in rural Vermont). As we started, though, a sign announced "twisting unpaved road, next 12 miles." Sounded like fun, and it was.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Generous Gardener

Woodbury, Connecticut

 This garden is adjacent to a very small house. It used to be tended by a man who looked old when we moved here twenty years ago. Going past daily on my morning walk around the block I've seen a middle aged woman watering the garden, and another time the man, looking really old now, out looking at, maybe hanging out with, his garden.