Photographs by Frank

21 December 2022

2022 Winter Solstice Print

Those of you who have been following this blog for some time are probably familiar with my ‘Winter Solstice Print” tradition; if you are not I refer you to this post, where there are some details.

This year’s print (the tenth) is a cuprotype, titled “Two Pears”.

In late August, Joan picked the remaining pears from the tree in our yard because the local squirrels were decimating the crop. I had been experimenting with cuprotype since early August. Watching these pears on the kitchen counter for several weeks, I decided that a photograph of the pears was an apt subject for the warm tones of cuprotype and went to work. The exposure was made on 13 September 2022 in my basement studio.

This scan does not do justice to the originals which do not have the ‘grain’ seen here. However, I seem to have neglected to save a print for myself and thus can not make a better scan!!!

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!

12 June 2022

Flag Leaves

Filed under: Misc.,Still Life — Frank @ 9:30 PM

A couple of days ago I cut two stalks of ‘grass’ while I was out and about. I thought that they might make a good photograph.

This afternoon, I set up the stalks on our deck railing and made some photographs. I envisioned making black and white photos of the stalks and eventually salted-paper prints.

As I was framing up my first exposures, I had an epiphany… the leaves attached to these stalks are “flag leaves”!

I recently learned about flag leaves from the current issue of The Limrik, Antrim’s quarterly community newsletter/journal. It just so happens that Joan is the managing editor of this esteemed publication. I am, by virtue of being married to Joan, the photo editor and business manager.

One of the articles in the June 2022 issue is about the “Flag Leaf Bakery”, a new bakery that will be opening soon in downtown Antrim. During Joan’s interview with the owners of the bakery they described the origin of its name. I quote…”The name “Flag Leaf” comes from the last leaf to develop on the wheat stalk before the seed head forms. The emerging flag leaf signals the end of the plant’s vegetative growth phase and its photosynthesis provides a large fraction of the energy needed for seed production.”

I am not sure if the stalks I collected are wheat, but the leaves attached to these stalks are clearly flag leaves.

Life is full of interesting convergences!

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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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19 February 2022

The Stones

Filed under: Misc.,Still Life — Frank @ 9:30 PM

I have a habit of collecting smooth stones as I wend my way through life. I picked up the stones shown here on the shores of Lakes Superior and Huron near the end of our trip this past fall. They have been sitting in a pile the garage since we arrived back home waiting to be photographed some day.

Today was that day. The weather was lousy this afternoon (snow squalls and cold) but the basement was warm since we started up the wood stove this morning. Thus, I spent some time playing with my rock pile.

The grid of stones is a composite. I photographed each rock individually and combined the images in Photoshop. It is easier to get consistent light across each stone that way. The stones are all small… roughly the size of quarter to a half-dollar.

Some of the stones used for the stacks are a bit larger, but none of the stacks is taller than about six or seven inches.

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29 December 2020

Apples – No Silicon Involved

Filed under: Still Life — Frank @ 6:45 PM

We have had a bag containing the last of the season’s apples on the counter for the past few days. Just before Joan began turning the apples into applesauce, I convinced a few of the more interesting heirloom apples to sit for their portraits. Somehow, a lone pear also found its way into the mix.

These heirloom apples might not look particularly appetizing, but looks can be deceiving.

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2 August 2020

Early Saturday Morning

Yesterday morning, one of the photo groups I belong to met (in Brattleboro) for the first time since March. We met outdoors in a park, wearing masks, etc.

I got up early and left the house before seven hoping to catch some good light and make some photographs. My first stop, as I headed west on Route 9 was “the truck”. This derelict truck sitting in a roadside field in Stoddard has been a favorite subject since it appeared a few years ago.

The light was just perfect and I spent fifteen or twenty minutes photographing “the truck” and its neighbor. I just discovered “the neighbor”, a second derelict truck maybe fifty feet from “the truck” and hidden from the road by some trees. I have no idea how long “the neighbor” has been there. I’ll be going back as the light on “the neighbor” will be best late in the day.

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After breakfast at the diner in Keene (with outdoor seating) my next stop was the Stonewall Farm in western Keene. I took a short stroll around the farm and found lots to photograph.

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My original plan was to make a third stop at the Chesterfield Gorge. However, I looked at the time and decided I did not have time. This was the correct decision as I made it Brattleboro with about twenty minutes to spare before our 10 AM get together.

11 March 2019

Oh Fig!

Filed under: Still Life — Frank @ 10:11 PM

Joan and her cousin Liz have a fig tree. In the warm weather it is planted (in its pot) outside in the flower bed by one corner of the house. It spends the winter in our basement.

The fig tree must be thinking that spring is coming since it has started sprouting leaves and figs. The other day Joan decided that it might be time to give it some light. Hence, it is now living just inside our front door. It may be there for some time since there is at least a foot of snow on the ground.

This afternoon, the soft directional window light attracted my eye and I decided to make a photograph of a small portion of the fig tree. I hung a black cloth behind the branch I selected and made a few exposures.

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24 February 2019

Old Shells

Filed under: Still Life — Frank @ 12:59 PM

We have a basket containing artifacts brought back from Hawaii in the late 1800’s by some of Joan’s ancestors who were missionaries there. Among the contents of the basket are a number of large (4-6 inch) shells. A few of these made good subjects on a cold gray February afternoon.

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Beware… photography talk head! I made these photographs using a single light source (at camera left) and a reflector (either a piece of white cardboard or a piece of cardboard covered with wrinkled aluminum foil… nothing fancy) to fill the shadows. The background was a piece of black seamless. However, in the end, I replaced the background with uniform black in PhotoShop. It is hard to keep light from spilling on to the background with a small tabletop “studio”. Thus the original background was various shades of gray and speckled with dust. Not the look I wanted.

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