Photographs by Frank

27 January 2023


Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region,Winter — Frank @ 10:00 PM

Back at Christmastime we had about fourteen inches of snow on the ground. Then it warmed up and several periods of rain washed most of it away. Early January was just dry… no snow, no rain. Then, over the last roughly two weeks, we have had three snow storms. The first ‘event’ dropped about a foot of sticky snow. Several days later we got another seven or eight inches of similarly sticky snow. Two days ago we got another two inches of snow followed by heavy rain.

The good news is that the last storm finally cleared the snow off our solar panels. The bad news is that all of that heavy, water-laden snow from the front of the house landed in our driveway! Snow with traits similar to concrete cannot be moved with the snowblower. Thus, I had to use our Snow Bull, a walk behind snow plow we bought a couple of winters ago just for times such as this. The problem was where to put all of the snow. Let’s just say that there is quite a pile towards the end of our driveway and that we won’t be getting the camper out of the driveway early this spring!

Anyway, after the second storm, I took a short walk around the ‘neighborhood’ and tried to find interesting patterns amongst the snow covered trees.

14 January 2023

Mount Monadnock, Etc.

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region,Winter — Frank @ 10:30 PM

Last Monday after lunch, I headed out to photograph Mount Monadnock from Leadmine Road in Nelson. The weather was promising… scattered clouds and nice light.

On the drive over, I decided to head to another favorite Monadnock viewpoint in Marlboro before continuing on to Nelson. I never made it to Nelson. The constantly changing clouds kept me busy for well over an hour and by that time the light was beginning to fade, so I headed home.

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Two Photos

Filed under: Landscapes,Winter — Frank @ 9:45 PM

Most of the time I take a camera with me when I leave the house. One never knows when one will come across something interesting to photograph. However, my trip to the grocery store a couple of weeks ago was one of those times when I went camera-less… much to my chagrin.

On my way home at dusk, we were treated with a spectacular sunset. As I was driving by this riverside farm field covered in frozen flood waters, I was ruing the fact that I lacked a camera. I was well past the field when I remembered that I did, in fact, have a camera with me… my cell phone! I turned around and made the photograph you see below. It came out okay for a phone photo.

The second photo (below) was made a few days ago while standing on the stone arch bridge on Beard Road. We have had a lot of rain along with bit of snow recently. Thus, the brook was raging. I really wanted a much lower viewpoint, but upon noting the ice and snow covered rocks along the shore I opted for the safer spot; old age does that to you!

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6 January 2023

Three New Salted-paper Prints

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Landscapes,Salted-paper Prints — Frank @ 6:30 PM

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening in my basement dim room. After my recent flirtation with cuprotype*, I have returned to making prints on salted-paper. I made three useful prints.

The three exposures shown here were made in December. The first is another view of Mount Monadnock and Silver Lake from Leadmine Road in Nelson. (I am still working to get the ‘perfect’ exposure of this scene, but this one is pretty good.)

The second exposure is an example of the adage which circulates among landscape photographers… i.e. “Remember to look behind you.” The rock outcropping in this photo was off to the right near the camera when I made the first exposure.

I have probably made as many exposures of the outcropping as I have the grand view of the lake and mountain. However, the light on the out cropping is really only nice in the morning. Whereas, I think one can make nice photos of the grand view in either morning or evening light.

The third print is of a new (to me!) barn in Harrisville. One my way home from a previous trip to Nelson, I followed another landscape photographer’s adage… i.e. “Turn down any dirt road you come across.” Many times these are just roads through the woods with nothing of particular photographic interest. Sometimes, though, you find interesting barns!

The first print is my standard ‘large’ size (a 6×7 .5 inch image on 8×10 inch paper). The other two are 4×5 inch images on 6×7.5 inch paper; my standard small print.

All these prints were made on Legion Revere Platinum paper. This paper is specifically made for alt process printing and is somewhat less expensive than the Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag I usually use**. So far, I am liking this paper a lot except for the shipping***.

The odd paper size for small prints comes from the way I cut up large sheets of paper. It is my habit to buy paper in large sheets; 22×30 inch sheets are a common size. This allows me the most flexibility in sheet size for various project. However, my standard way to cut up the large sheets yields six 8×10 inch sheets and four 6×7.5 inch sheets from a 22×30 inch sheet with zero waste.

Enough technical talk! Here are the prints:

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* I’m tempted to return to cuprotype in the near future. There have been some interesting developments in the ferricyanide toning step yielding cleaner highlights. I also want to perfect cuprotype on cloth.

** The Revere Platinum is about sixty percent the cost of the Platinum Rag. Otherwise the two papers are quite comparable. They are both heavy (300/310 gsm) smooth, bright white and contain no carbonate buffers. The last feature is important for most alt process printing. When one uses papers not specially made for alt process printing you need to pre-treat papers to remove the carbonate present in most watercolor or printmaking papers. This is not difficult but it adds an additional step to the process.

*** I buy most of my paper from a small company (Acuity Papers) that sells only art paper. When I say ‘small’, I mean ‘small’. As far as I know the company consists of two brothers. Anyway, these folks really know how to package large sheets of paper so that they are not damaged in shipping. However, they do not stock the Revere Platinum.

Thus, I ordered the Revere Platinum from B&H Photo, a large, well-known photography/camera store in New York City. B&H is a great company to buy from. However, they clearly know very little about safely shipping large sheets of fragile paper.

For the first shipment, the package of 22×30 inch sheets was rolled up and stuffed into a nine inch square (by roughly 40 inch long) box. The entire stack of paper was crimped as it was carelessly rolled up. Furthermore, the plastic wrapper was torn and tattered. B&H, to their credit, were very easy to deal with and issued a RMA including a prepaid shipping label quickly. Of course I had to wait for them to receive the return and resend another package. They took my complaint to heart and shipped the second package of paper flat. I’ll spare you the details (which included FedEx misdirecting the package) but it arrived in barely acceptable condition. I am hoping to convince Acuity to stock then Revere Platinum by the time I need more!

1 January 2023

Year End Outing

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 6:00 PM

On Friday, I headed out to Leadmine Road hoping to make a photo of Mount Monadnock/Silver Lake before the current warm spell removes all of the snow. The skies were okay but the light was miserable. I think that the sun is just too far south this time of year to nicely illuminate the north face of the mountain. I did not make any exposures of the grand view but I’ll keep trying.

I did, however, make a few photos of the rock outcropping near where I like to stand for the distant view and a few of the woods road near where I park the truck. On the way home, I stopped by this hilltop barn in Harrisville that I recently discovered.

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21 December 2022

Sunny Winter Solstice

Filed under: Landscapes,Winter — Frank @ 10:15 PM

I had a meeting this afternoon at the Vermont Center for Photography. Leaving the house just before eleven, I took a very (and I mean very) indirect route* to Brattleboro. I did not make many photos but I did stop in Newbury, NH and photographed the snowy/rime-y peak of Mount Sunapee. I stopped in Chester, VT for a late lunch. After lunch, I made some photographs in the center of Chester before heading to Brattleboro. I was only a half hour late for my meeting!

One nice thing about photographing on the winter solstice is that the light comes in at a nice low angle… all day long. All of these photos were made between noon and 3 PM. Try that at the summer solstice and you are likely to make yucky photos.

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* Take a quick look at a map if you want to see just how indirect!

10 December 2022

Searching for Mount Monadnock

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 11:00 PM

This afternoon, after lunch, I headed out to see if I could make another photograph of Mount Monadnock from Leadmine Road in Nelson. It was mostly cloudy but the skies were not solid gray. I was hopeful.

I spent about a half hour at this ‘usual’ spot and then decided to see if I could find other views of Mount Monadnock from down near Silver Lake. My search was for naught. Looking at a topo map when I got home, I now realize that the road along the lake shore that I explored was oriented poorly. However, a few minutes with the map provided me with a number of ideas for further expeditions the next time the weather cooperates.

On the way to Silver Lake, I make a brief stop to make photos at Childs Bog. I have passed this view of Mount Mondnock many time but had never stopped because there is no good place to pull of the road. Today, I risked a brief stop and made a few exposures with the camera obscura in the rapid fading light.

Ever the optomist, after my drive along the west side of Silver Lake, I headed to a favorite Monadnock view in Marlborough. However, I did not even bother to get out of the truck as the light was gone.

I turned around and headed home. As I passed by the Chesham train station, I found another tattered flag. I have been collecting photos of flags for a number of years… a long term project, that I have not fully ‘put together’ yet. This flag/barn is not new to me, I photographed it back in 2018. The flag was in perfect condition then.

Arrrgh…. $#&*!$## computers! I just previewed this post and discovered that something as broken in the mechanism for displaying programs. Sorry about that! I’ll try to figure out a fix at soon as I can.

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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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* 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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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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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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