Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Massachsetts’ Category

Erosion and the Power of Nature

I’ve restated the obvious a few times on this blog. Nature is more powerful than we are. Does anyone still need convincing? Probably, I’m afraid. I don’t.

A now more subtle case in point of course is erosion. Wind and water overpower the land and our human dreams of the conquest of nature. Like many nature photographers, I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to capture erosion, with mixed success. Last fall I was honored to have a number of my erosion images featured at the Aldrich Gallery, Whitin Mill in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. They are now working on creating an online platform for that exhibition.

The move to the creation of online exhibitions in the times of Covid is a most interesting one, saying something about our resilience. We can’t have real exhibitions, at least not quite yet, but we’ll see if we can come up with something else. It’s actually a very creative process, pushing me to move ahead by going back to the creation slide shows, just like the old days. Slide shows offer you an opportunity to expand the narrative to include sound, as well as more imagery than you’re likely to get in an exhibition. I often think about trying to create immersive experiences, without the excessive use of technology. Audio helps (so turn up the volume on your device to about 50%). I’ll leave it to you to be the judge. If you are on a mobile device and can’t see the thumbnail below, you can find the slide show here.

Earth Day, 2020, Gallery Sitka

Earth Day rolls around again on April 22 and it is going to be a difficult one.  Like nearly everyone in the world, we’re hunkered down and trying to stay healthy.  It is so heart breaking to hear that so many are unable to achieve what was once such a given.  And of course, it’s always the most vulnerable and the most disadvantaged who seem to be paying the price, along with those from health care to the grocery supply chain.  I am reminded of lessons I’ve learned from a colleague, an environmental scientist, the put this into some kind of larger perspective.  The point of environmentalism isn’t to save the planet.  The planet will survive, albeit perhaps it will evolve. Nature is stronger than the human race.  We need to save ourselves.

In earlier times, what seems like a thousand years, but was really just a month or two ago, I submitted some work for consideration for an Earth Day Exhibition, at Gallery Sitka.  The juror is Melissa Richard, a mixed media artist and educator.  I’m grateful to have been chosen to show in the exhibition, but now of course, the exhibition will be going online.  I’ll pass the url along when I can.   Thanks to Melissa and the folks at Gallery Sitka.  I’ve mentioned this before, but the power of water is awesome (as in inducing a sense of awe, not as in being really really cool).  Perhaps we should pay it more attention.

Erosion, Croatan Sound #1, 2015

Erosion, Croatan Sound #2, 2015

Erosion, Ocean City, New Jersey, 2010

Upcoming Exhibition and the Power of Water

I am honored to share an upcoming exhibition in which I’ll be participating along with two outstanding photographers, Tess Davis and Scarlett Hoey.  The exhibition, Captured Moments, will take open with a reception on Friday, January 17 beginning at 5:30 PM at the Aldrich Heritage Gallery, at Alternatives Whitin Mill, 50 Douglas Road, Whitinsville, MA.  You’ll see an interesting collection of work which I think really speaks to the exhibitions title, Captured Moments, special times or perhaps times with meaning.  You can read more about the Heritage Gallery, the exhibition, and get directions etc. by going here.

I’ll say more about my work below but first I have to give a thanks and shoutout to Alternatives/Open Sky, one of the largest providers of services to the disabled in the region.  They have been working for many years to get beyond the basic challenges of providing services in an effort to develop a truly inclusive community.  Their offshoot, Valleycast, provides cultural and arts programming that brings together those with and without disabilities.

I’ve been been involved with Valleycast for the past year or so and have been witness to what real inclusivity can mean, and how much we can all grow in the process.  Alternatives is also one of the owners of the Whitin Mill, former home of the Whitin Machine Works, once the largest manufacturer of textile manufacturing equipment in the U.S.  They along with other owners and tenants have been working to revitalize this massive beautiful mill that sits along the Mumford River, and they’ve made serious progress.

My own work includes a series of reflections on the power of water.  As you know if you read this blog, I’m a committed environmentalist.  I’ve had the good fortune recently to meet and work with others who share that commitment and have been impressed by their take on the problem.  We’re not trying to “save the planet.”  The planet doesn’t need saving.  It will be just fine, different perhaps, but it is going to be there regardless of how much we screw things up.  We’re really trying to save ourselves.  All you have to do to get a glimpse of the power of nature is look at what nature does with water.

Croatan  Sound  #1, Manteo, 2015

Hunt_101119-2670-Edit-2-Edit-Edit-Edit

Croatan Sound #2,  Manteo, 2015

Roanoke Sound, Manteo, 2014

Marsh at Bass Hole, Cape Cod, 2015

The Tarn, Acadia Natioal Park, 2018

Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park, 2018

Under the Highway

People don’t tend to know what’s going on under the highway.  Neither did I.I had driven over this location for nearly twenty years before I looked. I’ve mentioned this area before, this is near the head of the Blackstone River in Worcester and Millbury, Massachusetts.  The River winds, looking rather tepid at times, along beside the Providence and Worcester Railroad tracks and under Route 146, the main highway that also, like the River, goes from Worcester to Providence.  Beside the River there also winds a Bikeway, part of the Blackstone Valley National Heritage Corridor.  The Bikeway is lovely in most spots, down here, it is more interesting.  Here’s a short journey.  (My apologies, if you are on a mobile device, you probably can’t see the embedded video directly.  However, go here, and you’ll be able to have a look.)

I’m grateful to have found my way down there, with Chris’s accompaniment of course.  FYI, the sounds you here are the combination of falling water and the echo chamber effect from the semi’s going by overhead.

I find this location to offer a powerful look into the quandary that is our relationship with nature.This is in fact a very beautiful river further south.  It has its own beauty here.But, it also been abused for several centuries.  Now there is a real interest in cleaning it up, and that is happening.  But you can’t go back in time, you can’t reset the clock.  The question is I think, what can we learn from our shared experience?

Working with Color Infrared

This is a technical post, which I never do, so apologies in advance.  I’m actually fairly enthusiastic about some recent developments that I wanted to share.  I have never enjoyed my only rather mundane efforts with color infrared images.  They never looked right to me, only somewhat “cooked” in digital photo parlance.  As such, I typically convert them to black and white and sometimes am pleased with the results.  I”ve been working with a new process for the past several months, and actually published a few results on my previous Earth Day blog.  I have continued to experiment and been relatively happy with the results so I thought it might be useful to share a few details.

The story begins with an e-mail from Kolarivision (my new Infrared camera conversion company with which I am quite pleased) regarding a course they were recommending.  Perhaps bored at the time, I thought I’d give it a try.   The name of the course is Creative Light and Infrared.  You can find out the details about the course here.    I’ll stress up front that I am not a paid endorser for this group, F64 Academy, have never met them, nor talked with them, ever.

The course offers an in-depth exploration of the digital infrared post production process, along with several  accompanying and quite useful tools.  If you’ve done any infrared photography, you know that there are a few significant challenges you face in post production, particularly with color.  The biggest one is that the white balance setting you use in the camera likely won’t hold once you bring an image into your average photo editing program.  It goes all red or at least mostly so.  Worse yet, most photo editing programs don’t have enough range in their white balance settings to be able to fix the problem.  Second, if you’re interested in color infrared images it can be most helpful to effect a “channel swap”, coverting the red channel to blue and the blue channel to red.  I’ve known that for years, but like many photographers was never, ever satisfied with the results.  Adding insult to injury, if you get an image to actually work for you, it is hard to replicate it.

The course walks you through the process of creating a Lightroom/Camera Raw profile that you can apply to your images and effect a nice looking white balance.  In addition, the course provides a set of LUTS that layer on top of the correctly balanced image that will offer you various different channel swapped looks, including looks that are fairly photorealistic. Finally, the course ships with an extensive panel of actions for use inside photoshop, as well as detailed instructions for their use.

So enough with the jargon.  These are from my work with mills in the Blackstone River Valley of Central Massachusetts.  The first two are of the Bernat Mill in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.  The mill burned in 2007.  The last is from the Wilkinsonville Mill in Sutton, Massachusetts.  Wilkinson was an associate of Samual Slater, the first builder of mills in the Blackstone Valley.Hunt_190509__DSC0572-Edit-2Hunt_190509__DSC0576-Edit_DSC0802-Edit-2

This is still a work in process as you can see, but my interest hasn’t flagged so far.  One of the most interesting aspects of photographic work is the almost never ending opportunities for learning that you can stumble across.  Courses like this aren’t cheap, and some are duds.  This one was helpful.  Of course, YMMV.