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Posts tagged ‘Goodnough Dike’

New Publication in Black and White Magazine

I just wanted to pass along that my one of my Quabbin Portfolios, Constructing Quabbin, received a Merit Award from Black and White Magazine and as a result, a number of images from that portfolio has been published in the June edition.  I’m honored by the selection.  The portfolio should be published on the magazine’s web site shortly.  You can find the magazine and ordering information here.  However, the web site presentation has not yet gone live, but the magazine is available at places like Barnes and Noble and some independent bookstores, so I thought I’d pass this along.  Being on the road and far from any bookstores, I haven’t seen it yet myself and as a result, I don’t know which images they’ve published.  So, here are a few of the images they have to work with, as a special sneak preview.  Thanks again to  Black and White MagazineHunt_140406_Hunt_140406_093054-Edit

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Late Winter at the Quabbin Reservoir – Photoessay

It is supposed to be spring here in New England, but it isn’t really.  It snowed yesterday a bit though it quickly melted.  The wind howled last night, but it has calmed down today, leaving us with a new burst of unseasonably cold weather.  This is global weirding, though some claim it is proof that there is no global warming.  The earth looks flat from where I sit but it isn’t.  When they started the Iditarod in Alaska, they had to import snow to Anchorage.  But it remains cold here.   Nevertheless, we went out on two occasions in an effort to look at the landscape in a different light.  We were cold, but not disappointed.  Some photo thoughts from late winter at the Quabbin.  First at Goodnough Dike.

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Hunt_150315__DSC3326Hunt_150315__DSC3337It proved to be too early to be able to look at the story underneath the snow at Dana Common.

Hunt_150319__DSC3361But the light was working with the trees, juxtaposing old and new.

Hunt_150319__DSC3375These old trees have seen a lot.  They seem to be saying that they aren’t finished just yet.

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Though some seem to be close.

Hunt_150319__DSC5726And some, such as these red pines (below) at the Spillway, are gone, but the late winter light tells something of what remains of their story.

Hunt_150315__DSC3301So it is late winter.

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But soon….

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The Dike in Winter

I remain challenged by the great structures that hold back the waters of the Swift River, creating the Quabbin Reservoir.  They are big, but also quite beautiful in their own way.  What has become clear is that you have to get out there to photograph in many different conditions, varying the light, the sky, the wind, etc.  We had a fairly decent snowfall earlier this week, which presented the opportunity to explore Goodnough Dike, inside Quabbin Park (Ware, Massachusetts) in a new way.

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The snow was pristine.  Coming from the city, where of course the snow turns grey (and a variety of other colors) very quickly, it was refreshing to see a kind of purity.  That purity, however, was disrupted by a young man, probably around ten, who decided he wasn’t going to take the road up to the top of the Dike.  He was going straight up.

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He did make it.  A testament to Yankee fortitude perhaps.  His trail begins at the bottom of this image.  Enjoy the weather.

Context and Ambiguity

This summer, I set out to develop a better understanding of creativity as it relates to entrepreneurship, but also to my own photography.  So naturally, I’ve probably been less creative. Ironic I know.  I have been reading, a wonderful way to spend the time.  Most recently, I’ve been working my way through Brooks Jenson’s The Creative Life in Photography.  Brooks is the publisher and editor of LensWork Magazine, one of the most important outlets for good fine art photography. I had the pleasure of doing  a portfolio review with him last year, and I’m still working on the lessons gleaned from the experience.  In his chapter on Photography and the Meaning of Life, he rants as I believe he would say about trivial photography, photography that emerges from the psyche of the photographer and more importantly does not involve an effort to say something that will be meaningful to others.  He then offers a simple, but incredibly powerful exercise:  If you had five minutes left on the earth, or five minutes to talk things over with God, what would you say?  (This is a Kindle book, so the page numbers are strange, this “at” Location 1247.)

That’s quite a challenge.  The point he is trying to make regarding photography, I think, is that when an image is displayed, we’re asking someone else to stop and look at it, to take their precious time and give it to the artist.  Is it worth it?  He feels that too often, it is not.  Time to look in the mirror I suppose.  What would I say?  As a trained academic, I would probably try to take up as much time as I possibly could, so I’d probably want to make quite a few points.  One in particular though, is that things are not always as they appear to be.  That we need to stop and look more closely.

It’s rained quite a bit recently and we’ve gone out to photograph regardless.  Once you get used to it you quickly see that the rain causes the greens and reds to appear deeply saturated.  No Photoshop necessary.  The stand of trees here was beautiful. (Click on the images for a better view, particularly if your on one of the retina displays.)

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However, the graphical pattern that makes this stand of trees so beautiful is the result of unwise forest cultivation.  The trees are dead, from Pine Needle Scale, a problem I’ve discussed before.  In reality, most of what we see is actually fairly ambiguous.  Which means that we can interpret things anyway we wish.  Frightening, isn’t it.

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This beautiful country road is the back side of Winsor dam, a massive expression of the sheer will of humans to overpower the forces of nature.

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The boulders along the shoreline are yet another manifestation of engineering prowess, not millenia of tides and waves, at Goodnough Dike.

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And this little guy was hiding out right in the middle of a 2500 ft long dike.  How did he get there? Great question.  And he was not alone.  He had friends as well.  I think he knew what he was doing. Perhaps these images trivialize the point but to state it more clearly, they remind me that we are intimately connected with our environment, an environment that we have shaped and continue to shape.  Everything you see here has in some way been influenced by humans.  It is interesting that a great deal of beauty has resulted from that influence, at least as can be seen at these locations, after a nice rain.  Of course, that’s not always the case, regardless of what some might think.  It is important to understand the context of what we see in our environment.   That’s our job.  Thanks for listening.  I think my five minutes are up.

“Shooting Through” at the Goodnough Dike

This is a dike, the Goodnough Dike at the Quabbin Reservoir, inside the Quabbin Park.  (Click on the image for a better view.)

OK, so it’s a picture of a dike with Lens Flare.  But ignoring that, fascinating?  Maybe not.   It’s a long straight, now empty road.  Don’t dikes have a job, like holding back billions of gallons of water?  Where’s the water???  What to do?  Always try looking behind you.  If I turned around pretty much at this spot, what would I see?

Got rid of the lens flare, and everything isn’t quite so long and straight anymore, but where’s the dike?  I then remembered a lesson taught to me by the great nature photographer Tony Sweet.  He was actually referring to flower photography when he was stressing this point, but the technique of “shooting through” has wide applicability.  Find something to fill the space that is interesting, adds to the composition.  Trees, in addition to their other many wonderful characteristics, make great frames, for the primary subject.

Got our dike back.  Time to move on.

Tech note:  Shot in infrared on a converted D200, converted to black and white in post processing, Lightroom, Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex Pro.