Fall is rightfully thought of as photography season in many respects, and that’s for one reason, which can be summed up in one word: color. Since so much of my work is now in black and white, it can be a bit challenging to get into the spirit of the season. But it is infectious and one might say, came to me. Here are a few favorites from this year, for your enjoyment. I truly hope that everyone notices, and appreciated the changing seasons. Those beautiful colors, like so much of our climate related experience are indeed vulnerable as we move ahead. But for now…
Cold evening air over the warmer land and lakes kicks things off for us. Early fall, Patch Reservoir, Worcester.
It’s been another of those rolling foliage experiences. No real crescendo, some trees just seem to turn earlier than others. Above and below at Babson College, just last week.
That can make for it’s own interesting interplay of colors. Increasingly, I seem to note that it’s not only the trees that get into the act. Some weeds can be pretty spectacular themselves.
This was from June Street, in Worcester, site of a construction project. Hopefully the old stone wall will survive. These weeds, probably not. We also get help though from late season flowers. These tough guys have to survive some pretty chilly nights. Again, from Babson…
One of the great things about fall is that it isn’t winter! At least not yet. Opportunities for fishing are still to be found. (From Elm Park, in Worcester, an old friend…)
But at some point, it’s time to go.
When you’re close to a great location, return visits are often very rewarding. You can develop a level of intimacy with place. You start to suspect that you’ll see things differently along certain paths. And of course, you experience the location in different weather and different light. So back to Elm Park (Worcester, MA, USA) we go, once again accompanied by the increasingly trusty Nikon V1. Love that little camera and it fits right into the overcoat pocket. For those who want to know, the lens that is usually on the camera is the 10 – 100 mm zoom. It’s really a power zoom for video, but it covers a lot of territory, focal length wise. That range is the equivalent to 28 – 280 mm on a full frame 35 mm camera. The reflections in the pond continue to call out, as though they have a life of their own. (Click on the image for a slightly better view.)
Honestly, not a lot of photoshop post processing here. Pretty much point shoot and print.
I did, however, flip all three in terms of orientation. When you’re standing on the shoreline, the reflections are of course upside down. Here’s the old Fire Alarm Building along Park Ave. This is actually a two image panorama.
One of my favorite photography books of all times is “A Ramble in Olmsted Parks” by the great Lee Friedlander. You can see a nice slide show representative of that wonderful work here. There is something about those great parks, including in central Massachusetts, our own Elm Park, that inspires in one a desire to ramble. Of course, technically this is not an Olmsted Park, as its founding in 1854 predates Olmsted’s work. However, his firm was involved in its redesign a bit later, so we’re going to take poetic license and say it is (sort of) one of his great parks. (If you click on these images, you’ll get a better view. This first one is a panorama so you really should give it a try.)
No matter, the works of the great park building artists of that period all pointed toward an integration of the urban and the rural, hence the idea that these are good places to hang around. Making what you see visually pleasing was part of the deal. Nice lines, water and trees.
These designers also had a sense of humor, which I appreciate.
Happy Valentine’s Day to my Valentines!
Technical Note: These images were all taken with the Nikon V1. The V1 was introduced as Nikon’s first mirrorless offering last fall, and greeted with a ridiculous level of controversy. This isn’t a gear site, so I won’t bore you with the details but suffice it to say, it is easy to criticize a camera that you have never used. (I guess that goes for anything doesn’t it.) I, and many others, are finding the V1 to be a able, small, quiet camera with very competent lenses, capable of rendering colors beautifully and printing easily up to 13 by 19. Oh and it has blindingly fast autofocus and takes nearly broadcast quality video. It won’t replace my DSLRs, but it is the first small camera I have ever bonded with, and I’ve tried them all. (Just ask my Valentine!)
I’ve been inspired by Elm Park, in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts, for many years. In so many ways, it mirrors the the beauty, the potential, and the struggles of life. (Click on the horizontal images for a better view.)
It was born in idealism and is chronically underfunded. It’s inhabitants, wonderfully urbane trees, flourish in the spring and summer, put on an incredible light show in the fall, and then have to withstand the winter. But, they seem, mostly, to make it through. At least they have each other.
It’s nice to have them around.
(Technical note: All images created with an infrared converted Nikon D200, converted to black and white in Nik’s Silver Efex Pro.)
Worcester, Massachusetts, for those who don’t know, is currently at ground zero in a major battle against an invasive specie, the Asian Longhorned Beetle. This particular critter probably joined us via wood palette, courtesy of global commerce. Here are a few links that will give you more information about the pest and the battle if you’re interested. We paid a visit recently to the front lines of the battle, Dodge Park, in the Burncoat section of Worcester. Here’s what we saw. (Click on the image for a better view.)
(You can see the full sized panorama posted at gigapan, and get geographic coordinates for the shot here.) If you take a visit to Dodge Park via Google Earth, this is not what you’ll see, at least not yet. Their most recent satellite photos will show a park that is completely forested, largely with maples. All of the maples and other susceptible trees were cut down in the past few months from what I am told. You don’t see any stumps in this image because the stumps have to be ground up as well. The Beetle can’t live in ground wood evidently, so the wood can actually be repurposed to an extent, in this case to make paths through the now rather Martian looking landscape. It’s quite eerie there. The good news is that the State’s Division of Conservation and Recreation is now involved in doing some replanting. This is a big park though, and recovery will take some time.
The battle is not without controversy. The taking of the trees, which is actually a Federal (Department of Agriculture) and not a State decision obviously has a terrible aesthetic and natural set of consequences. Indeed, as reported in a recent Boston Globe article, some scholars question the value of some fights against invasive species. (Though evidently very few question the value of the fight against the Beetle.) What is at stake of course are the economic consequences of not fighting the Beetle, including the loss of the maple syrup industry in Vermont if the critters make it that far north (a possibility to be sure) as well as significant impacts on the lumber industry. Government intervention to stop the spread of disease is as old as humanity and often quite necessary, though at the same time, painful.
On the other hand, it is difficult to know what we could possibly do to stop an invasive such as Pine Needle Scale, which I’ve written about frequently. The reality is, the Red Pines will die, and other species will reclaim their place in the sun. Perhaps the question as to whether or not to fight an invasive isn’t the only one we should consider. Another question might have to do with lessons learned. On our visit to Dodge Park we had the pleasure of chatting with a DCR supervisor who was happy to answer our questions. She said that one of the factors that promoted this particular epidemic was the Great Worcester Tornado of 1953. The tornado passed through this part of the City and obliterated much of the standing shade trees. Replanting at the time relied heavily on one particular species of maple, a species highly susceptible to the Beetle. Mono species populations packed in too tightly are in general more vulnerable to the spread of disease. This is true of Red Pines, Maples and who knows what else. Diversity, in the face of global travel and global warming, is likely a very good thing.