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Posts from the ‘Urban Trees’ Category

Winter in the Forest

It isn’t over yet.







Let us hope that spring arrives soon, when it is supposed to arrive.

Celebration of Trees Exhibition – Photoplace Gallery

Several years back I wrote a blog post about one of my favorite trees, the Newton Apple Tree on the campus of Babson College.  It was a wonderful contemplative tree located right in the middle of the busy campus.  In spite of being in the middle of everything it was still a peaceful oasis.  The backstory is that it was supposedly a descendent of THE Newton Apple Tree, the one that inspired Sir Isaac to think through gravity.  Roger Babson, founder of Babson College, was a Newtonophile big time and had the resources to pull something like that off, so it could be true.  But we, many of us who worked there and some students, cherished the tree and would have done so regardless of its lineage.  Alas, aging and construction meant the end of the tree a few years back, which I was honored to be able to chronicle while saying goodbye.

The penultimate image, “Goodbye Isaac” was chosen recently by juror Tom Zetterstrom for inclusion in Photoplace Gallery’s current exhibition, Celebration of Trees.  I am honored for Isaac to be included in such an interesting exhibition.


You can read about the exhibition and the Gallery here.  If you’re interested, at that link you can order a copy of the exhibition catalogue.  The Photoplace Gallery is a wonderful exhibition opportunity created for emerging fine art photographers.  They are located in Middlebury, Vermont and definitely worth the trip.  I couldn’t leave off though without a picture of Isaac in more pleasant times.


It’s Still Winter at the Quabbin Reservoir – And a new Gigapan

It probably should not come as a surprise to anyone in New England, but this winter is obviously not giving up without a fight.  It should be a nice spring morning and really it is.  It’s just that it is snowing.  Again….  Photography brings solace, so here are some more photo thoughts from the Quabbin Reservoir, the Winsor Dam area inside Quabbin Park.  You can  click on the images for a better view.





Black and White somehow feels like a presentation more appropriate to the mood though.



And for those interested in the details, here is a panorama taken from the Bridge of the ice and the budding reflections we can see in the puddles left by a recent rain.  If you want to see it really large, you can find it on Gigapan here.


Is it spring yet?  No.

More Snow….

When given lemons, make lemonade, right?  What if one is given a freight train loaded with lemons.  Such is our situation here.  Nothing else to do but try and create some interesting art.  The lemonade I’ve come up with so far.  My strategy here was to isolate and simplify, while still capturing the kind of art that only nature, sometimes in interaction with humans and sometimes on her own, can create.  My most recent batch of lemonade:









Enjoy the snow.  Fourteen more inches of it in the next two days.  Is that really necessary?

Why We Do What We Do

I was doing some photographic work in Elm Park, in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts earlier this week in spite of the heat.  While in pursuit of a particular shot, a couple walked by, disgruntled apparently, and began to complain about the cost of renovating the Park.  I wasn’t quite sure what I did to deserve that, but the experience gave me pause.  As I’ve described in this blog before, the Park, one of America’s oldest, was getting to be quite shabby.  In spite of my love for the shabby, clearly an update was in order.  Updates do cost money.  Addressing that issue first, as a business school professor, I would also add that a major American city without a nice park downtown is going to take a severe commercial hit.  Parks are good for business, believe it or not.  Elm Park is no exception.  But I understand that money is tight for many people and certainly they’re free to question this particular investment.

I’ve been trying to make the case with images like this one that the Park has a value beyond the commercial.  This common ground, open to everyone who cares to go there, represents an experience that matters.

Elm Park, Worcester MA

At the same time, I’ve been reading a book by Lenswork Editor, Brooks Jenson.  In The Creative Life in Photography, he raises a number of good questions about the connection between art and experience.  As he points out, useful art often asks more questions than it answers.  Why did I choose to present the Park in this way?  Why did I choose to use an infrared camera to capture the image instead of doing a typical color shot?  I think one has to choose a media that somehow captures the experience in question and hopefully communicates it to others, but that process is fraught with ambiguity.  Infrared and more generally monochrome, what we used to call black and white, has a particular strength when it comes to capturing design.  It’s good at capturing shape.  The design of a Park, if you will the lines and shapes of the shore, the bridges, the paths, the trees and the few buildings are laid out in fashion that is visually powerful, regardless of the season.  This is not lost on those who design parks, artists themselves.  None of this is done by accident or on a whim.  Compare this scene to an open flat field.  An open flat field may be relatively inexpensive to create and maintain, indeed.  Those are good places for ball games, to be sure.  Of course, the north end of Elm Park includes a playground, but that’s a bit different from the purely open field.  Most of the Park is laid out for something else.   I believe that purpose is in part to help us collect our thoughts.  In a park such as this you’re in the city and not at the same time.  It is a different world, if only for a brief moment.  Is it worth it?  It is to me.  Of course, your mileage may vary.  Stay cool.