Sunday, January 31, 2016

Canyon Light, Picture and Setting, #14

Little River Canyon, Alabama

Down at the floor of the canyon, after a precipitous hike from the rim (see Jan. 12 post for view from above). The late afternoon light caught the delicate early spring foliage and gave a sparkle to the river surface. A tight shot across the river with a 14" Commercial Ektar on the 8x10 Deardorff showed the sense of the canyon floor better than a broader view. On the way back out I began to wonder if I'd gotten really out of shape over the winter, working my way up the precipitous path. Then I noticed a fisherman who had headed up the trail a few minutes before me. He was a good twenty years younger, and carrying only fly fishing tackle. I was gaining on him. So I didn't feel quite so bad.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Monterey Dawn, Picture and Setting Series, #13

Monterey, Virginia

More from back in the spring of 2000, two at first light along Rt. 220 at the far western corner of Virginia, near Monterey. Conditions were just right for the fog to linger more than an hour before the sun burned if off, long enough to work at half a dozen different locations in the vicinity.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Tuckasegee Wesleyan Church, Picture and Setting, #12

 Tuckasegee Wesleyan Church, Tuckasegee, North Carolina

Another shot, this one from my White Churches series, from the day in 2000 where my notes have gone missing. Again, the digital snapshots from the minicam I was carrying give enough information for an identification. Even in April the Carolina sky is filled with what farther north would be a midsummer noontime haze. Like my Drive-in Theater series, the pictures are about landscape settings as much as the structures themselves. In this case, mostly about the southern mountain setting.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Clearing Storm, Picture and Setting Series, #11

Steestachee Bald viewpoint, Blue Ridge Parkway, Waynesville, North Carolina 

Another 7x17 from April of 2000, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, looking for pictures showing first signs of spring. On this one the digicam snapshots were really helpful because for some reason my notes on this trip simply don't include this day. Never got transcribed? I dunno. But the three snaps clearly identify the negative and remind me about the weird lighting—because the sun had burst through the storm clouds behind the camera while most of the view was shrouded in murky storm light.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Livelystone Church: Picture and Setting #10

On Rt. 16, south of War, West Virginia

While on the road searching out drive-in theaters in 2005, I became intrigued with the ubiquitous but varied white-painted churches seen everywhere along the road. The theaters required work to be found, especially back before I had GPS or many of the surviving theaters had any web presence. The churches required no searching though, they're everywhere. The problem was to stop and look and decide if any individual one was distinctive enough either in structure or situation, to make for a picture. The two series of pictures grew in tandem. This is one of my favorites, made with the 8x10 Deardorff and 165mm Super Angulon.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Canyon Spring: Picture and Setting Series, #9

Little River Canyon, Alabama

From Spring of 2005, down under the cliffs, by the Little River near the southern base of the canyon. I'd been to the National Preserve in February, (see post Jan. 12) and decided to return for Spring flowering. I managed to get in touch with the resident Ranger, who was enthusiastic about the idea and began sending me progress reports in March, complete with digital snapshots. I headed down in early April. This is one of many 8x10 and 717 pictures I made trying to capture the sense of the first burst of Spring.

Record snapshot made with a pocket Fuji digicam.

This is copied from a palladium print I made last week, working from a digital negative, printed on Fabriano Artistico Natural White.

Monday, January 25, 2016

UNICORN CROC—Picture and Setup Series, #8

Anderson, South Carolina

Back to some new installments of the Picture and Setup series. Moving through Alabama and Georgia, then through South Carolina in April of 2005, I spotted this derelict convenience store on rural two-lane Rt. 28, between Abbeville and Clemson. Midday light was harsh but that seemed just right for the subject. Also this was just right for the 7x17-inch Korona and 305mm G-Claron. My notes mention that it was right at an intersection with Asaville Church Road, so I used AppleMap this morning to check it out. The satellite image doesn't go to the highest resolution, but it's obvious that a ruined building of the right size and shape is still standing here.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunrise after the Storm of the Century

Woodbury, Connecticut

We were clearly right at the northern edge of the big storm. 2-3 inches of soft fluffy snow at 10°F this morning. Think I'll wait till it gets up about 25° or so before I scrape if off the driveway.

Bombs Away

Torrington, Connecticut

From a walk around the north end of town, which used to be an industrial manufacturing district. Usually when I spot a marking like this there'll be a bunch of them scattered around a neighborhood, especially with stencils, but this is the only one I saw in the area on an afternoon last July.

Friday, January 22, 2016


Woodbury, Connecticut

We needed to pick up a local paper yesterday. They're still decorated.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Naugatuck, Connecticut

The train still runs, just a few times a day, along this track that follows the river along the Naugatuck Valley.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Knights Oil

Willimantic, Connecticut

A classic old gas station design with white tile panel siding and a single service bay. It's at the edge of the built-up part of town, surrounded by strip malls and the three or four large, 6-12 pump "convenience stores" that put it out of business. Seems to have later served as headquarters for a heating oil and burner service company, but that too is gone. The convenience stores have lots of pumps, but no service bays at all.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dollar General

Torrington, Connecticut

A forlorn shopping cart on a dreary overcast late November day. There was was no Dollar General store anywhere nearby that I could see.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

"Detail, Shepaug at Hidden Valley," (Picture and Setting Series, #7)

 Washington, Connecticut

Back in 2000 I was working on a large series of pictures in Steep Rock Preserve, all done with large and ULF cameras intended for Pt/Pd printing. The Shepaug River winds through the main section of the preserve and many of the pictures combined river and forest views. For this one I concentrated on a detail of the riverbed. Less isn't always more, but sometimes...

Saturday, January 16, 2016

On Gaudineer Knob (Picture and Setting, #6)

Gaudineer Scenic Area, (Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks) West Virginia

Exploring the northeast corner of West Virginia back in 2000, where I learned there are quite unusual environments on surviving mountaintops that haven't been lumbered, mined, or blown up. Some are high enough in altitude that they support an ecosystem that matches those several hundred miles to the north, looking very much like some of the forests you encounter in New England. The reference snap isn't from the horizontal shot I liked best from the session, but from a vertical picture centered on another tree not far away. It still serves to identify the shots. The state scenic area information sign fills in some more of the details.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Cowee Mountains Overlook (Picture and Setting Series, #5)

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

The haze that turns the Blue Ridge area blue long predates industrial air pollution, and it's pretty much a constant year-round. This spot isn't the highest point on the Parkway, but as the sign shows it's within a hundred feet or so of the high spot. I've been back to this overlook several times in different seasons and have found dramatic differences in the mood that can be captured. This was late afternoon, but still well before sunset, in spring of 2000.

A bit of web searching last evening turned up the depressing fact that currently this is one of the few overlooks at the southern end of the Parkway that has been maintained enough to still provide a view. The last time I was down there, in 2005, I noticed how overgrown much of the area had become over five years. I wonder if now, ten more years on, I'd recognize some of the places I've photographed here.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Falls of Hills Creek (Picture and Setting Series, #4)

Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

In July of 2000 I was traveling through West Virginia from Virginia, heading to Ohio, but the road sign for this National Forest caught my eye and I found myself hiking in with the 7x17-inch Korona.

The Korona is not meant to be turned on its side, but with care it can be done. I had spring clamps to help secure the front rail and braced two tripod legs against the park railing. It was late morning and the sun was just breaking through the forest. Fifteen minutes later and the light would have been hopeless chalk and soot, but I was able to get two sheets before that. Snapshot of the park service sign was a helpful memory jog.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Patti I Heart You—Picture and Setting, #3

off Rt. 68 East of Bowling Green, Kentucky

After working at Little River Canyon in Alabama in February of 2005 and shooting at several drive-in theaters in the area, I headed north through Tennessee (more theaters) and into Kentucky. After spending a night at Bowling Green I moved east on back roads in an early morning rain and spotted this storage silo with messages. The flat farmland couldn't be more different from the forested canyon.

The digicam snapshot proves useful again. I thought this had been back in Tennessee, remembering it eleven years later, but without digging out my shooting logs or transcriptions, the sequence of snapshots quickly established time and place. Today, even though I have good digital equipment, I tend to do these record shots with my iPhone. Partly because it's right there in my pocket, but also because the snaps get not only a time/date stamp, but a (usually accurate) location notation for town, though not state. Close enough to help with tracking.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Picture and Setting Series, #2

 Little River Canyon National Preserve, Alabama

The Little River is unusual in several ways, beginning with the fact that it runs along the top of Lookout Mountain, in northeastern Alabama. Another is that it has carved an enormous canyon through sandstone cliffs on a winding course south. A third is that it is a National Preserve, not a National Park. That means it is, well, preserved, but not publicized like the bigger parks, so it's much less crowded. It's also much less actively managed. There's a ranger station in nearby Fort Payne, and there are a few built-up observation areas and platforms along with a recreational area at the foot of the canyon. But mostly it's just open space where you can, carefully, get right up to the rim of the canyon walls, or climb down precipitous pathways to the river.

In mid-February of 2005, I'd just discovered this wonderful place and was making some pictures, and planning to return for the peak of spring blossoming. I was able to find interesting camera positions with no guard rails or other interferences with the view. I wanted to get a sense of the scale of the place along with the feel of the cold winter light to contrast with pictures from return trips later, in other seasons.

8x10 set up with a wide (165mm SA) lens, looking upriver, from over a point where the course makes nearly a 90° turn to the east.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Picture and Setting Series, #1

Sunrise, Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Beginning in early 2000, years before I had any "serious" digital cameras, I began to use a pocket FujiFilm camera as a large format photography accessory. I was holding off as long as I could on an expensive digital camera because I suspected that any professional digicam I bought at that point would be obsolete right about the minute it was amortized by assignment work.

I'd shoot each LF setup, including the camera, so I could see which format I'd been using. This proved a great help in tracking sheet film from road trips, which of course ends up as loose negatives with no sequence built in. The digital snap also carried a time stamp, so it could be closely matched to my shooting logs. I could use the browser window of digisnaps to sequence and number my large format negatives (5x7, 8x10, 7x17, 12x20). I also found it useful to make other identifying shots, like road signs, the local post office which always has the town name, roadside historical markers, or anything else that would help with context for the pictures.