Photographs by Frank

15 November 2022

Leadmine Road

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region,November — Frank @ 10:45 PM

A few weeks back I discovered Leadmine Road in Nelson and Sullivan and the view of Mount Mondanock from there.

On Saturday morning, I went back with my camera but the weather did not cooperate. When I left the house there were nice scattered clouds about, but by the time I got to Nelson the skies were solid overcast. The trip was not for naught as I had a chance to chat with Jeff whose family owns the field across which lies access to the best views. Jeff is glad to allow folks to walk to the back of his field with its spectacular view. (He even has posted a sign on a tree inviting folks to email him with comments.)

Yesterday evening I checked the weather and the forecast looked good (scattered clouds) for the early this morning. I awoke before sunrise this morning and was out the door before 6:30, headed again for Nelson. The temperature was 22 deg. F.

Alas, as the sun rose, I could see that the skies were mostly clear with only a few thin clouds present. Such is the life of a landscape photographer!

I persisted none-the-less. I figured that I could, at least, see how the sun lay on the land at this hour.

When I got to the field, I donned my blaze orange (it’s deer season after all), grabbed both my regular camera and my camera obscura*, and headed out across the field. I made my first exposure just after 7:00 and spent a little bit less than an hour photographing. The temperature was 28 degrees when I returned to the truck and headed towards Harrisville for breakfast at the General Store.

When the light is poor for making photographs (as it was this morning), I find that the camera obscura often gives more interesting images than a regular camera. This was true this morning. Most often, I present my camera obscura photos in black and white. However, this morning, I was struck by the nice contrast between the cool blue skies and the warm brown grass of the field. Thus, I present these as color images.

These photos are, I doubt, “definitive”. I’ll be watching the weather and making further trips to Nelson over the coming weeks and months. Having such an interesting scene at a relatively short distance from one’s house is a boon. Great photos often come when one has the luxury of repeated visits.

The distant mountain in #1 and #3 is Mount Monadnock; the body of water is Silver Lake. The barn is Jeff’s.

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Leadmine Road #1
Leadmine Road #1
Leadmine Road #2
Leadmine Road #2
Leadmine Road #3
Leadmine Road #3
Leadmine Road #4
Leadmine Road #4

* For new readers, the camera obscura is a primitive optical device invented in antiquity. It consists of a box, a lens (or sometimes a pinhole), a mirror and a ground glass upon which the image is projected. I have added a shroud and bracket to my camera obscura that allows me to photograph the ground glass with a small digital camera. As one can see here, these images have a unique look.

10 November 2022

Two New Cuprotypes

It has been three weeks since my last post. I figured that I ought to post something… anything. So here goes!!!

November is often a slow month for me photographically. The landscape is dreary gray and brown. The odes are done for the season. However, I have made exposures on four days since my last post. I just hadn’t found time to write here.

One of the ‘distractions’ has been some more cuprotype experiments. However, a couple of days ago, I decided that it is time to stop doing experiments and, instead, to make some ‘art’.

Yesterday evening I printed two negatives using exposures I made about a week ago. This morning I printed these negatives as cuprotypes. My intent was to tone both prints with the iron (II/III) toner that yields an interesting blue-black print. However, I decided that I liked the cemetery gate image as the native brick-red. Thus, I did not tone this print further. One need to be flexible when making art!

These images are both 6×7.5 inches on 8×10 inch paper. The gravestones are on Legion Lenox 100 paper and the gate is on Rives Heavyweight paper.

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Gravestones (Harrisville, NH)
Gravestones (Harrisville, NH)
Cemetery Gate (Nelson, NH)
Cemetery Gate (Nelson, NH)

20 October 2022

Late Foliage Season

Filed under: Autumn,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:10 PM

Foliage season is winding down here in southwestern New Hampshire… it has been a good one.

Autumn foliage is always tempting to photographer and I am no exception. This time of year the camera goes with me whenever I leave the house. I don’t always make photos, but when the light is right and the scene attractive, I pause to admire the beauty and make a few exposures.

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Blaze of Red
Blaze of Red
Barn in Autumn
Barn in Autumn
Waterside Color
Waterside Color
Autumn Blueberry
Autumn Blueberry
Late Autumn Hillside
Late Autumn Hillside
North End of Gregg Lake in Autumn
North End of Gregg Lake in Autumn

These last two photographs are panoramas made by merging three frames in the computer. Displaying panoramas in the blog is always a bit wonky; right click on the images and open them it a new tab/window to see them best. (Printing them is tough too… they will easily print about three feet long.)

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North End of Gregg Lake in Autumn (three frame pano)
North End of Gregg Lake in Autumn (three frame pano)
Crotched Mountain, Late Autumn (three frame pano)
Crotched Mountain, Late Autumn (three frame pano)

27 September 2022

Two New Cuprotypes / Teaching Announcements

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Cuprotype,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 11:05 PM

I have not had much time for photography over the past several weeks. We have been doing major maintenance (replacing flooring and other carpentry projects) at our cabin on Gregg Lake. These days, I am not much good for anything else, including photography, after five or six hours of hard physical labor.

I did, however, steal a few hours on Sunday and Monday evenings to make some cuprotypes. I coated paper on Sunday and made the exposures yesterday.

The pear image is the first image I conceived as a cuprotype from before I triggered the shutter. The scan doesn’t do the actual object justice, which is not as grainy as seen here.

The Antrim Grange is the oldest building in town. It is currently sites at the foot of Meetinghouse Hill. It was originally built (in 1785) as the town’s first meetinghouse at the top of Meetinghouse Hill and moved to its current location when the Grange purchased the building in 1894. The building is currently undergoing some much needed maintenance.

On a different note, I have agreed to teach a two-day workshop on cuprotype at the Vermont Center for Photography (VCP) in November, details here. Additionally, I will also be teaching a class titled “Lightroom for Beginners” at the VCP (three weekly sessions) at the end of November and early December, again details here.

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Pear Pair
Pear Pair
Grange Hall
Grange Hall

2 August 2022

Unmatched Set

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Still Life,Summer — Tags: — Frank @ 5:00 PM

It is tomato season and blueberry season at our house. We have tomatoes ranging in size from softballs to marbles and all sizes and colors in between. We also have blueberries… large, cultivated ones from the two bushes in our yard and small, wild ones picked on Pitcher Mountain. Additionally, the corn is in at the Tenney Farm.

Life is good!

28 July 2022

Mid-week Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , , — Frank @ 10:00 PM

Yesterday afternoon I spent roughly four hours (2-6 PM) looking for odes (ode-ing?). The temperature was in the low 80s F and the skies mostly clear. I visited two sites, spending a bit less than two hours at each.

My first stop was the Harris Center property on Brimstone Corner Road in Antrim (a.k.a. part of the old boy/girl scout camp, depending on how long you have been around!). Here, I walked down the road to its low spot where the beaver pond outlet crosses the road.

I spotted my first odes when I got to the now rapidly regrowing log landing. There were several blue dashers, a few female common pondhawks and a couple of calico pennants present here. There was also a lone yellow dragonfly that cannot identify. (I know I have seen this species before, but it just isn’t coming to me know… a symptom of old age, I guess!)

In the stream just below where it crosses the road there were many (two or three dozen) ebony jewelwings of both sexes and a small number of variable dancers, including two pairs flying in tandem.

Across the road and along the shore of the large beaver pond, I observed a single male slatey skimmer and a couple of spreadwings.

My second stop was the Cilley Family Forest in Greenfield. (This land was once part of the Robertson farm. The Robertsons are Joan’s cousins.) Here, I walked down the road to the field by the river and then over to the railroad bridge across the Contoocook. In the field I observed a single blue dasher, couple of Halloween pennants and a couple of male widow skimmers. Over on the bank adjacent to the rail bridge, I saw a single female common pondhawk.

All-in-all, the total number of odes (except for the Ebony jewelwings) were low has seems to be generally true this summer. However, I did see a nice selection of different species while I was out.

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Blue Dasher (imm. male or female?)
Blue Dasher (imm. male or female?)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Slatey Skimmer (male)
Lyre-tipped Spreadwing ? (male)
Lyre-tipped Spreadwing ? (male)
Northern Spreadwing (male)
Northern Spreadwing (male)
ID Needed
ID Needed
Calico Pennant
Calico Pennant
Common Pondhawk (female)
Common Pondhawk (female)
Blue Dasher (imm. male or female?)
Blue Dasher (imm. male or female?)
Halloween Pennant (imm. male or female)
Halloween Pennant (imm. male or female)
Closed Gentian
Closed Gentian
Widow Skimmer (imm. male)
Widow Skimmer (imm. male)

The first ten of these photos were made at the Harris Center property; the last four at the Cilley Family Forest.

17 June 2022

Chick Vigil (Thursday Edition)

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 9:13 PM

I know that today is Friday… but sometimes things get busy!!

Late Wednesday evening we had multiple reports of a long, loud territorial spat between two loons. Thus, we were a little apprehensive about what we would find when we headed out for a look early Thursday morning.

However, our fears were quickly put to rest as we observed all four loons (two adults and two chicks) on the main part of the lake to the east of the town beach. The birds were behaving normally… adults diving, chicks bobbing and fresh fish served up.

The loon family was too far away for decent photographs, so this post it text only. Sorry about that!

15 June 2022

Chick Vigil (Wednesday Edition)

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , , — Frank @ 6:00 PM

We have two chicks!!!

I arrived at the lake this morning at a few minutes after nine and watched the nest for three hours. It was immediately obvious that there was a chick on the nest. Every so often the adult would lift its right wing and I could see movement under the wing (see the video below, for an example).

At one point the chick moved around in front of the adult and headed into the water. It spent a few minutes in the water (hidden from my view by the emergent vegetation) before climbing back up on the nest and the protection of the adults wing. The adult never left the nest during the three hour I watched.

Two pairs of walkers happened by while I was loon sitting and both mentioned that there was a loon with a chick on the main part of the lake over by the road. The loon, I could believe*, but I was skeptical about the chick. After all, I was watching a chick and an adult sitting on the nest which surely still had the second (unhatched) egg… right?

WRONG!!!

Shortly after noon, I decided that I had enough excitement for the day and headed for the truck. However, before packing things away, I decided to go see what was up with the second loon. (I had heard it call twice while watching the nest.) Much to my surprise there it was, over by the road, accompanied by a chick!

My guess is that one adult headed out with the firstborn chick while the second adult waits for the newly hatched chick to strengthen a bit at the nest.

I ran back to the truck for the camera to document the pair in the harsh, directly overhead, noontime sun.

I am anxious to see what tomorrow brings.

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Adult Loon on Nest (upon arrival)
Adult Loon on Nest (upon arrival)
Adult Loon with Wing Raised, Chick Under Wing
Adult Loon with Wing Raised, Chick Under Wing
Chick Remounting the Nest
Chick Remounting the Nest
Settling Back In (after swim)
Settling Back In (after swim)
Second Adult and First Chick #1
Second Adult and First Chick #1
Second Adult and First Chick #2
Second Adult and First Chick #2

Video of loon on nest with chick under wing

* Although one has to be careful, a few years ago (during the summer we had our first loon nest on Gregg Lake in living memory) I had a fellow tell me that there had been nesting loons on the lake for a number of years and he had seen them out on the lake with five or six babies! I am pretty sure he had mistaken Canada geese for Loons.

14 June 2022

Chick Vigil (Tuesday Edition)

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 12:34 PM

We have a chick!!!!

This morning (Tuesday, 14 June 2022) Joan and I arrived at the lake shortly after nine. An adult loon was sitting on the nest, but we immediately knew that something was up. The adult was very fidgety with their right wing moving about. Sure enough, as soon as we got our optics (Joan’s spotting scope and my camera) set up we could see a small brown lump under the partial upraised wing of the adult (see the first photo below, look very carefully)… a chick!

Shortly after we arrived both the adult and the chick left the nest and spent most of the next hour in the water. They never strayed more than a few feet from the nest. Joan, with a better angle and more magnification was able to see the second egg still in the nest unhatched. (It is not unusual for two nest mates to hatch a day or two apart).

The chick spent the majority of its time in the water during the hour we observed them. However, the chick climbed up under the adults wing and onto its back twice. The adult (with chick aboard) did mount the nest and settle in for a brief interval before entering the water again.

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First Sign of Loon Chick
First Sign of Loon Chick
Adult Loon and Chick #1
Adult Loon and Chick #1
Adult Loon and Chick #2
Adult Loon and Chick #2
Loon Turning Egg
Loon Turning Egg
Loon Examining Chick
Loon Examining Chick
Adult Loon and Chick #3
Adult Loon and Chick #3
'All Aboard!'
'All Aboard!'
Adult Loon and Chick #4
Adult Loon and Chick #4

13 June 2022

Chick Vigil

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer — Tags: — Frank @ 1:00 PM

By our calculus, there should be loon chicks arriving this week. In order not to miss this crucial event, we are planning to head down to the lake each morning to see what is happening.

This morning we arrived at the lake’s edge just after ten and spent an hour observing. When we got out of the truck we were excited to see a loon in the water near the nest, suggesting that maybe eggs had hatched. False alarm… by the time we walked the couple of hundred feet to our usual observation spot, the loon was back sitting on the nest.

Twice in the next hour, the loon stood up, examined (rolled?) the eggs and sat back down. Other than that the only action was the usual wary loon-on-a-nest carefully watching its surroundings.

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Loon On Nest #1
Loon On Nest #1
"First Shift"
Loon On Nest #2
Loon On Nest #2
"Second Shift"
Loon On Nest #3
Loon On Nest #3
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