Tag Archives: landscape photography

Lazy or Persistent? Still not sure…..

[I published ths post with the intent of finishing it the same day. Two weeks later, I finally got to it. P]

One thing that should be obvious from a quick tour through my Flickr page is that I hammer on similar compositional elements from familiar/repeat locations. One reason is habit. I habitually walk in the same locations and often have a camera with me. Those locations provide a similar arrangement of terrain/water/sky and I am tweaking my use of them as positive and negative space (or tellimg myself that I am). But another side of the process is the challenge of revisiting the same compositional elements and finding new subtleties in lighting, atmospherics, optical effects from lens/camera choices, and encountering other users of the same space. Ragged Mountain in Southington has been a regular haunt for something like 36 years, and I keep finding new ways to view the same terrain.

Ragged is the slice of cliff seen northeast of Hart Pond, and east of Wasel Reservoir.

The most prominent feature seen from the summit of the Ragged Mountain main cliff is Meriden Mountain. The view is directly south, down the spine of the “Hanging Hills” of Connecticut’s traprock ridge complex. As I developed a better organized digital photo collection I was able to assemble a calendar-sequenced series of photos of that view. Click on it and you can see it as a slideshow and watch the seasons progress. While a true photo-nerdlinger would have taken all the shots with the same equipment from the same spot, I am not that nerdlinger. I probably have enough photographs in my collection to create similar sets for a few other locations. They would be similarly “similar” but not forming an exact time-lapse. But it does raise the question of “process”. I am not sure if I revisit the same spots for any specific reason other than enjoyment and convenience. That would make the collected photos more of an artifact than a conscious work. But I don’t carry a camera around for my health either. What started as a way to combine ¬†photography time with a hike with my dog or walks with my wife and friends has definitely evolved into a search for interesting clouds/skyscapes and flattering lighting of the landscape. A midday hike may be invigorating, but sunrise or sunset (more likely sunset) provides something closer to “golden hour” lighting and more vivid dimensionality.

If the upside of revisiting the same locations on a regular basis is allowing deeper compositional analysis and targeting better lighting and weather, the downside might be working on the fly to make the most of a visit to a new locale. Recently I was on a drive with my wife and we stopped at a pier across from Galilee/Point Judith, RI. It provided a very different view to the north than you get from the east side of the inlet (Salty Brine/George’s), where buildings obscure a lot of the horizon:

Jerusalem, RI

That is a location that might very well be worth revisiting, though it isn’t all that convenient. It might not be the most photogenic, but it does have a good view of a rare South County perspective, the northern horizon. This is one of the shorts where I am tempted to use Photoshop to knock out the clutter on the left side. There is great detail in the clouds but the wide shot and the fiberglass boat are not helping show it off.

The skill that I hone while working with DSLR gear is getting a good digital negative, and improving my skills at manipulating exposure and focus on the fly. That can include looking for an improvised camera support to allow a better HDR series (since I rarely carry a tripod/monopod) or using spot metering to evaluate the range in a scene before choosing a metering method. I have also become less dependent on auto focus and auto exposure. Aside from occasionally forgetting to set the AF/MF switch on the lens back to AF , I feel like I am better able to hit the intended values on the digital file.

In the upcoming weeks I’ll post a few more example images with detail about the conditions and challenges of the shot. Thanks for reading.

Advertisements

Out with the Old, In with the New

Two very similar photos taken from the top of the Main Cliff at Ragged Mountain:

December 29, 2009

3-shot pano 12-29-09

January 9, 2010

3-shot pano 1-9-10

CLICK TO SEE THEM IN FLICKR, and you can see larger sizes there by using the ALL SIZES option above the photo

Taken from almost the same spot, and they even have the same blur from a piece of lint I didn’t remember to deal with in the intervening two weeks! I sprained the heck out of my ankle on the 31st (new years eve day) and didn’t make it back out onto the trail until today. These photos are taken looking northeast from the top of the Main Cliff, and show how a little snow cover changes the look. The 29th was bitter cold and windy, with temps of about 14F and gusts to 35 knots. January 9th was cold and not as windy, 29F and light winds.

Ragged Mountain Project

Happy New Year and I wish y’all a great 2010.

For the new year I’m starting a new blog project…

It has been about five years since I started making an effort to photograph the Ragged Mountain area as part of my usual hiking activity. Ragged has been one of my favorite places to hike and climb and decompress and whatnot for a long time. I started coming to Ragged as a kid, when my hiking and bicycling adventures led me beyond the Meriden Mountain ridge behind my house. That was over 30 years ago. I was about 13 when I rode my bike to the south levee at Wasel Reservoir, and I started hiking into the woods and up to the top of the Main Cliff at that time. By the time I was in high school I had been watching some technical climbing, and even got a chance to toprope a climb with a borrowed harness, with a climbing party that invited me to take a shot at something easy at the Small Cliff. While still in High School I met my good friend Harry White, who was a very active climber. With partners/belayers in short supply I was able to get in a lot of traprock routes, mostly at Ragged and the surrounding crags.

I picked up a lot of experience in rope handling, rigging belays, rapelling, self-belay techniques, and actual climbing… but for some reason I have very few photos from that period. At the time that I was climbing I was also taking a load of black and white photos, doing my own darkroom work, and basically nagging everyone for tips on darkroom and composition techniques. I had a small set of climbing photos in my collection of negatives, but I had a binder full of negs either stolen or discarded while I was at CCSU in the 80’s, and they were in there. I am still finding old sets of photos, and still hope that some kind of classic image from that period shows up. What I have now is about five years worth of digital images and I hope you find some of them interesting.

Over the course of 2010 I hope to post images from the month/season. I will also be making posts regarding the history of climbing at Ragged, my personal recollections and reflections on my experience there, and maybe the occasional “guest post”.