Photographs by Frank

12 June 2022

Around the Yard on a Sunday Afternoon

This afternoon I took a short stroll around the yard just to see what was up.

There were a few odes about and a number of swallowtails nectaring on Joan’s garden flowers. Speaking of garden flowers, the poppies have really ‘popped’ in the last several days.

The frog is a resident of the small pool I built this spring*, hoping to attract wildlife (especially birds) to photograph without attracting the local bears (as would putting out seed for the birds). I have yet to find the time to ‘stake out’ the pool and see what, if any, birds come by but this frog moved in within a few days of my filling the pool with water.

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* The wooden handles on our wheelbarrow rotted out and were unrepairable. Of course the plastic tub was still in good shape so I disassembled the wheelbarrow and plugged the holes in the tub where the bolts pierced it. I then buried the tub in the ground and added some strategic rocks to cover the exposed plastic of the tub. Joan added some plants to further naturalize the setting and now we have a small ‘water feature’ out near the greenhouse.

27 April 2022

Harrisville Details

Yesterday morning I picked up my last load of compost for the season. This final load was destined for Joan’s cousin Suzy who lives near our abode. Since I had no fixed schedule, I meandered vaguely in the direction of home. Of course, I had my camera with me.

As I drove, I noticed the nice texture (at least in some directions) in the clouds and went in search of a foreground for the interesting clouds. I ended up at Halfmoon Pond in Hancock, near the Harrisville border (see the first photo, below). The textured clouds did not last long. The overcast built steadily and it began to drizzle.

Knowing that Joan had to make a trip to Harrisville Designs, and with the lunchtime approaching, I called Joan and arranged to meet her at the General Store for lunch. After lunch Joan headed to the yarn pushers for what she needed and I wandered about the village to make photographs.

Harrisville, NH is a quaint, well preserved old mill town. It is among my favorite places to make photos. Since the weather was not suitable for grand landscapes (think low, thick overcast and intermittent drizzle), I concentrated on the details.

It was almost 5PM before I got the compost delivered.

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10 April 2022

Remnants… of last year’s flora.

Filed under: Early Spring,Garden Flowers,Monadnock Region,Still Life — Frank @ 9:00 PM

Warning… photography talk ahead!

A week or two ago, I noticed the wizened, remnants of three cone flowers that had grown up last summer close to the back wall of our garage.

As I went about life I mulled over ideas on how to make a photograph of these stems. Many ideas stewed in my brain. Eventually, I decided that the three stems lit with harsh light and positioned close to the background (to get nice shadows) might make an interesting photograph.

This afternoon I headed outside with scissors in hand and brought the three cone flowers and a nearby sprig of goldenrod into my studio.

Placing a subject close to the background creates problems in that it is impossible to throw the background out of focus while keeping the subject in sharp focus. This means that every small flaw in the background sticks out like a sore thumb.

I initially and unsuccessfully tried a piece of light gray craft foam that I often use as a background. Every speck of dust showed and worse yet, the texture of the foam was evident in my first test frames. I switched the background to a sheet of hot press (i.e. very smooth) watercolor paper. This seems to have worked well.

Here are the final photographs.

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24 June 2019

More Experiments

Filed under: Garden Flowers,Summer,The "New" Yard & Environs — Tags: — Frank @ 11:00 PM

I have a shoe box full of random lenses mostly salvaged from various devices over the years. This afternoon, I took the usual lens out of the camera obscura and tested each lens from my box by holding it up to the opening in the box. Most of the lenses resulted in horribly out of focus images and will require more work — making lens tubes to fit them, etc. — to see if they can be focused on the ground glass.

However one lens, a single convex lens (flat on one side and convex on the other), in a convenient aluminum frame threw a decent image when held against the opening. I taped this lens in place and headed out to the yard to experiment. I did not stay out too long as the mosquitoes were fierce.

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15 June 2019

Flowers (in the Studio)

Filed under: Garden Flowers,wildflowers — Frank @ 7:14 PM

This afternoon Joan brought me a lady slipper that she had knocked off its stem while rummaging around behind the took shed. Of course, I headed to my basement studio to make a photograph.

While I was at it, I also snipped one of the irises in the garden that I had noticed earlier and made a photograph of it too.

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27 May 2019

Garden Flowers in the Studio

Filed under: Garden Flowers,Summer — Frank @ 10:00 PM

A few days ago, I realized that Joan had at lease nine (and probably more) varieties of daffodils growing around the yard.

I headed out with scissors in hand to collect enough specimens to make a composite three-by-three matrix as I did with maple leaves a week or so ago. *

Today, while photographing the dragonflies, I noticed that the irises down by the vegetable garden were also in full bloom. Thus, just as darkness fell, I snipped an iris and I took it to my basement studio which was still rigged up from photographing the daffodils.

I’m thinking of keeping the studio set up for flowers all summer and the scissors close at hand. There will be many more garden flowers coming along in the next few months!

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* This time I set up a black cloth for a background. The tricky part of photographing on a small table top with a black background is keeping extraneous light from spilling onto the background and thus making it gray instead of deep black. It took a number of pieces of cardboard used as flags to do the job, but done right, the background require only a small about of “fixing up” in the computer.

16 May 2019


Filed under: Garden Flowers — Frank @ 11:08 AM

This amaryllis has been sitting in our bay window for some weeks now. I look at it over Joan’s shoulder every time we sit down for a meal. Every day, I say to myself “I should make a photo of that.”. Well today was that day!

I taped a black cloth to the window for a background, moved the plant far enough forward so that it was well lit from the sides and made five exposures total… two to get the highlights properly exposed and three at different f/stops to bracket the depth of field.

It took me less than a half hour to go from digging out the black cloth to making this blog post. Ain’t the digital age wonderful?!

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15 May 2019


Filed under: Autumn,Garden Flowers,Spring — Frank @ 12:05 PM

One day last week, Joan came home with a flat of pansies for her garden. I was struck by the amazing variety of different shapes and colors. I snipped off a few flowers (she will never notice!) and brought them in to my “studio” (i.e. the table in the basement). I photographed each flower individually and, after cleaning up the background a bit (pesky dust spots!), I composited the three frames using PhotoShop.

This image reminded me of a project I began last fall, but had not gotten past the “collect the specimen” stage. Last October I collected a number of fallen leaves and glycerinated* them. They have been sitting in a pile for months. After finishing the pansy composite, I was inspired to finally photograph this collection of leaves. The final images you see are, again, composites.

The grid image is what I had envisioned the seven or eight months ago when I collected the leaves.

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* Autumn leaves look very nice when you collect them but they are hard to photograph since they are not flat. One can press the leaves to get them flat, but, in my experience, they become brittle as they dry and thus hard to handle. They also do not stay flat for very long. Glycerination is the solution to the problem. By coating the leaves with glycerol and pressing the leaves between two glass plates one gets supple flat leaves that stay flat and therefore easier to photograph.

Springtime in New England

Filed under: Garden Flowers,Landscapes — Frank @ 12:00 PM

Ahhh… springtime in New England!

How come that statement never conjures up visions of warm sunny weather?!

Yesterday, we awoke to snow on the ground. Not much… just enough to cover the bare ground in the garden and coat the vehicles. But it is the middle of May!

The snow was gone by mid-morning.

After lunch, I headed out on some errands. I wanted to get materials for building an electric fence. I want to try to keep the bears out of the bird feeders. Additionally, the paper for the Limrik had to get from the mill to the printers and for some reason they don’t make it with legs!

While I was out and about, I stopped and made two photographs.

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22 May 2018

Rainy Day Colors

Filed under: architecture,Garden Flowers,Monadnock Region,Spring — Tags: , — Frank @ 6:00 PM

After finishing my errands this morning, I took a stroll (with camera in hand) around downtown Peterborough in a light rain.

The light was dull and flat, it was not a day for black and white photos, but the rain did make the colors really pop!

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