Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bert the Conqueror in Gloucester

Bert tackles insane thrill rides Bizarro and Catapult at Six Flags New England, then heads to Gloucester to compete in a greasy-pole contest. Catch this episode Wednesday, Aug 4, at 10 E/P on the Travel Chanel.

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Look for me, I’ll be the one on the beach with the black camera.

Self Portrait

This actually came out the reverse of what I wanted. I was hoping for a sharp Blue Dasher and me in the background. ©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

My Blue Dasher buddy hung out with me until I took the self portrait, then he decided he had enough.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Forgotten Photo Friday, American Copper

This is a real forgotten photo. I don’t even remember taking it! The time stamp says 9 September 2009. Go figure!

Butterfly, American Copper 9-20-2009 12-10-48 PM

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Eine kleine Nachtpost

A quick little post before I retire tonight. Just because I didn’t set up a post for this morning.

Sometimes I see the damsels and spreadwings and fell inspired to take the shot. I think, “Ah, this should be easy to identify.” But when I get home, I begin to feel that life is too short to parse out damselflies. This is such a magnificent creature that I feel I must at least spend the time. I’m calling this a Slender Spreadwing.   ©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

Monday, July 26, 2010

Three things from the past.

Three antiques from Quebec

Kodak Film?

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Remember when you could only get 24 or 36 pictures on this “rolls” and you had to send them to a lab with a wad of cash?

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Now unless you are Canadian or a Coloradan, you may not get the significance of why I included this with two film posts. The Quebec Nordiques was the team that moved to Denver to become the Colorado Avalanche. Go AVs!

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Double Diamond Day

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse Becky and I took a trip up to Stowe, Vermont and made our way up the Toll Road, to the top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest mountain at 4439 feet.

The Long Trail, a long distance hiking trail that extends the length of Vermont and is part of the Appalachian Trail System passes along the ridge of Mount Mansfield.

I had been up to the top of Mansfield a couple of times when I was in my 20s. This was the first time I have been back since I moved out west.

I have been to the alpine tundra regions of a few mountains in my day. Mount Mansfield does remind me of the Krummholz habitat of the mountains of Colorado.   ©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

Stowe is a famous ski region in the North East, arguably some of the best skiing. I don’t know, I never had the do-re-me when I was younger for alpine skiing. I used to cross-country ski and I did ski up (yes, up)  from Stowe to this very spot along the Toll Road. But I certainly did NOT ski up this double diamond trail and I sure as hell didn’t ski down it. The resort show in the mid-ground is the where we stayed at during our visit.©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

Looking west, you can see Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Looking east, you can see from the center of Vermont all the way over to the White Mountains in New Hampshire as seen below. ©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

This Black-and-white Warbler Blackpoll Warbler poked his head out for just a second and I was able to squeeze off a lucky shot. This was a TRIPPLE DIAMOND DAY for sure! Thanks Chris for pointing out that I had a photo life bird that almost slipped through my fingers!!!! Chris writes the ever informative Tails of Birding blog.©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

Another summer resident on top of Mansfield is the White-throated Sparrow which has the sweetest song of all the sparrows. This little guy is just chil-laxing in the shade.

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

Scenic Sunday

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Juvenile Barn Swallows

Three juvenile barn swallows landed on the wire outside my window yesterday morning. They hadn’t yet developed the fear of cameras, so I had a little quality time with them. I won’t begin to tell you the challenges I had shooting these backlit swallows!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Forgotten Photo Friday, Tenpound Island

Taken on August 16, 2008, this spectacular cloud formation has never been topped since.

(c)2010 ShootingMyUniverse

(c)2010 ShootingMyUniverse

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Taftsville Covered Bridge

Driving between Quechee and Woodstock, VT along Rt 4, you will pass the Taftsville Covered Bridge. This is a really great bridge over the Ottauquechee river. Of all the places to find information about the bridge, the National Parks Service, the same entity that that was in cahoots to deny Gloucester a place on a quarter, has a great historical write up of the Taftsville bridge and explanation of the truss system of this bridge.

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

This is just half of the bridge, shot on the shadow side. I included it so that you could see the laminated arch.©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

Just upriver from the bridge is the hydroelectric dam put in place in 1903.

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

Visit Watery Wednesday

Monday, July 19, 2010

SMU hits 100,000!

On 19 July, 2010, at 9:47 PM EST, SMU got its 100,000th hit!image

Old Haunts

When I as a freshman in college, I lived on a pretty rowdy dorm floor. The night before I left home to go to university, I watched the movie Animal House. It was proper training for dorm life. I really wasn’t into the out-of-control scene, so I was up for something a little more tame, like joining a fraternity…for some peace and quiet.

At the end of the freshman year, I was approached by a group of guys from another dorm to join a fraternity. But this wasn’t the usual scenario where you got stupidly drunk and slapped with paddles in your underwear. No, this was different. They were recruiting men who were willing to re-colonize a house that was shut down two years earlier and was basically destroyed. We were in effect a bunch of guys joining a fraternity that normally wouldn’t join a fraternity. The challenge was not only to form up a group but to literally put sweat equity into a house that was vandalized. Sheetrock, glass, paint, woodwork, cleaning, scraping, carpet, the whole nine yards.

I loved this house and lived in it from in my sophomore and junior years. I was the Steward at that time. I was responsible for the running of the kitchen. I ordered all of the food, planned menus, kept the budget and kept 25 guys fat and happy.

After six months of having difficulty retaining a cook, two other brothers and I decided we would rotate the cooking duties. Yes my friends, I cooked for 25 guys.

Keeping a fraternity out of trouble is not easy and quite frankly the heyday of fraternities was over in the 60s. Most young men today do not have a concept of keeping a group functioning beyond their own immediate needs and therefore, once again, somewhere down the line, my fraternity closed doors.

But here stands this beautiful building now owned by a private college in town. They owned the building on the left and the building on the right. In a way I am pleased that since the fraternity lost hold that the college was able to purchase it. (Quite frankly, we were a big pain in their ass so justice was served.)

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

I’m happy to say that they have retained the historical green color. As far as I could tell from the paint layers that I saw when I was working on it, the house had always been green. They have repointed the stonework in the back, put in some out buildings and added a new, paved parking lot. There was an UGLY fire escape from the two top floor windows on the right that has been removed.

My room was on the second floor which which included the second floor of the turret and a fireplace serviced by the chimney. They have rehabbed the gazebo except there were circular benches that one could sit on. Every room in that house holds a memory for me. ©2010 ShootingMyUniverse

Looking at the detail, they have done a great job. I did notice that the stained glass window treatments are gone. One thing that I really cannot believe is that there was a red stone hitching post in the front yard that is no longer there. This is a great shame because I have seen pictures of the street and every mansion had a hitching post in the front yard. Our house had one of the few remaining hitching posts.

©2010 ShootingMyUniverseWhat a great old building. The window layout, as funky as it looks, is pretty much the way the house was built. As a physics student, I looked for symmetry in life. This house was everything but symmetrical. But a fraternity full of men that normally wouldn’t join a fraternity is bound to be asymmetrical.

Did you notice how the sky changes color in the pictures above?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanagers occupy a special in my heart. You see, it was one of the first two birds I ever photographed. I was 15 years old and bough my first big-boy camera. It was a Minolta XE-7. I had a 50mm normal lens and I wanted to go out and see what it would do.

I took a walk in the woods and saw a bright red bird and took a picture of it. Then I saw a dark blue bird and took a picture of that. Since I was about 100 feet away and I had that 50mm lens, I didn’t fill up much of the frame. But I learned one of my first valuable lessons of photography. The camera cannot keep up with the human mind, meaning what I visualized was beyond the technical capabilities of my gear.

Later in my very early twenties, we won’t go into how long ago that was, I reasoned that since Blue Jays, Robins and Hermit Thrushes (the Vermont State bird) all had names, the other birds must have names too. I discovered Peterson’s field guides and bought one.

With my new Peterson’s guide in my hand, I thought back on that day when I was walking in the woods and got curious about what those birds might have been. So I dug out the slides and projected them across the room. I got a magnifying glass out and squinted at microscopic images the birds on the wall.  One turned out to be a Scarlet Tanager and the second was an Indigo Bunting. Blurry and faint but you just couldn’t confuse the colors with any other birds.

I’ve come a long way since that day.  However, I have not seen both a Scarlet Tanager and an Indigo Bunting on the same day since! Many summers (and a few moons too) later, I present the image of the Scarlet Tanager as I envisioned it when I was a teenager.

©2010 ShootingMyUniverse©2010 ShootingMyUniverse©2010 ShootingMyUniverse This last photo is the female. Not that good, but still light years ahead of my formative days.

So I give you your second lesson in photography. You can envision your image and you can produce it. Never give up on you dreams, they are more real and obtainable than you may immediately believe.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tenpound Island Fog

This week, we have had fog in the morning. It is not unusual for this time of the year. The fog starts out quite thick over Gloucester Harbor as I get ready for the day.DSC_0001DSC_0007 DSC_0015 DSC_0014

Then by the time I’m ready to leave for work, it starts to lift.


Scenic Sunday
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