Snakes, oh my!

Did you ever take a day to go out shooting and at the end of the day, got home, downloaded your memory card…and didn’t find a single image that you’d be willing to show someone else?  Happened to me yesterday.  Granted I wasn’t out the whole day, only a couple of hours, and in that time I only made about 70 or so images.  But still out of that there should be something I’d be happy to show you here, but there wasn’t.

So instead I present this picture, made at a much warmer time.  These fellows are Northern Water Snakes (I think they are anyway, I’m no herpetologist).  The shot was taken at the grist mill on the grounds of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn.  And yes, it is the very inn from the poem “Tales of a Wayside Inn”.  If you’re ever visiting Massachusetts, you owe it to yourself to visit and have dinner at the inn; it’s one of my favorite places to go.

Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson Nikon D200 f4 @ 1/60 sec ISO 100. Sigma f2.8 70-200mm HSM lens @ 200mm Image cropped in Photoshop Elements 10, no other alterations.

Graffiti

Near my house just outside Boston, there is a very nice state park, Blue Hills Reservation. It has miles of hiking trails, many scenic views, lakes for fishing and swimming, picnic areas, and so forth.  It also has graffiti everywhere.  I don’t think the park service even bothers to try cleaning it up anymore and you can hardly blame them I guess.  It might be a worthwhile project for me to hike all the trails and document the ruination of the park.  That would give me something to do for a few years.  This shot is from inside the picnic pavillion near the Chickatawbut Overlook.

Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson Canon EOS Rebel T2i, f4 @ 1/30 sec ISO 400 Post processing done in Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Adobe Camera Raw.

Yarn, Mermaids and Confrontation

Each year in May the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Growers Association sponsors a sheep and wool festival.  Basically it’s a farm show/craft fair oriented, not surprisingly, around yarn and wool crafts.  Many merchants show up from around the New England area to hawk their goods plus there are the usual food and beverage stands, very much a country fair atmosphere.  There are hand made goods available of course, plus tools and supplies for knitters, spinners, crocheters, and whatever else kind of wool related endeavor you can think of.  You can buy hand spun and dyed yarn or for the truly committed (my wife) you can buy raw fleeces freshly shorn from the sheep that then need to be hand carded, spun into yarn, and dyed.  My wife, and many others, do this for fun.

My wife usually goes to the festival every year, and often I’ll go along with her.  The fairground where it’s held is a nice place to walk around and there are plenty of picture taking opportunities.  And I like the country fair atmosphere, it’s a good time.  Usually.

The last time I went I encountered my first ever episode of anti-photographeritis.  Yarn merchants typically have their skeins of yarn laid out on tables or hanging from racks for display, and the color patterns are interesting and beautiful and, frankly, unavoidable if you are a photographer.  There are no posted rules against photography on the site so I was happily snapping away at some displays when I hear, “excuse me, sir, excuse me!  You can’t take pictures of that!”  It was the woman who owned the booth and she was beside herself that I was taking shots of the yarn display.  I mentioned that there were no rules against cameras and she said she didn’t care about that, HER colors were unique and she didn’t want pictures taken of them.  I didn’t realize that I’d just met the first woman in the history of Western civilization to come up with the idea of dyeing yarn.  It wasn’t a discussion worth having, so I put my camera down like a good boy and, like a good girl, my wife put back a few things she had picked up to purchase from the Mother of Yarn Dyeing and we moved on.  It was an annoying and disturbing occurrence and had never happened to me before.  I have to admit, it put me off for the rest of the day and I didn’t really enjoy it.

Here are a couple of shots I took that day.  The yarn is from the Dye Queen’s collection.  Shhhhh…

Copyright @ 2012 Adrian M. Benson Nikon D200, Nikkor f2.8 28-70mm, f2.8@1/25 sec iso 400

Copyright @ 2012 Adrian M. Benson Nikon D200, Nikkor f2.8 28-70mm, f2.8@1/45 sec, iso 400

New Locations

There is a large state park near my house and I decided to walk a different part of it for a change.  This location isn’t too far off of a major roadway, but looks attractive when driving by.  I walked down an access road which promised a good view of a marshy area.  Unfortunately the promise was a lie.  There’s nothing at the end of the road and no access to the marsh.  This was the best shot I was able to make on my short hike.

Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson Canon EOS Rebel T2i, 18-55mm EF-S IS lens. f16@1/50 iso 200. Post in ACR and Photoshop Elements 10.

I was hoping to find an awesome new spot but this didn’t quite measure up.  Stilll, you don’t know if you don’t try.  I think it might be a better spot come Summer time so I’ll try again.

Parris Island, SC

My son just graduated from Marine Corps boot camp, so we were in South Carolina this past week for the graduation ceremony.  Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time for sightseeing but I did get some good images on the base and of the ceremony.  Here is one of the better ones.

Captain USMC -- Nikon D200 Sigma 70-200mm HSM f2.8 lens, f8 @ 1/1000, iso 400 Copyright @ 2011, Adrian M. Benson

The graduation ceremony is quite impressive and if you’ve never been to one and have the chance, I’d encourage you to go.  I’m a 22 year veteran of the Navy, so most of it wasn’t new to me and even I was impressed.  If nothing else it’s encouraging to see the kind of men and women our country can produce.  (Not the kind you read about in the news or see on reality tv.)

Animal Portraits

I see the work of well known wildlife photographers (Moose Peterson et. al.) and think to myself, I know my way around the woods, if nothing else I’ve been hunting for 35+ years.  I can do that.

Well, no I can’t.  Finding animals in the wild is one thing,  getting good photographs of them is something else again.

It seems animals behind bars are more my speed.  I took this shot of a young alpaca who had been freshly shorn at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival a few months back.

Copyright @ 2011 Adrian Benson Nikon D200 f2.8 @ 1/160, iso 400 70mm. Nikkor AF-S D f2.8 28-70mm

Winter Blah…

There’s no snow around here yet, I’m sure it’s coming, but in spite of that it is still winter and that means a serious lack of colorful outdoorsy stuff.  I wandered around a local park the other day though and was able to make a few good images.

Copyright @ 2011 Adrian Benson Nikon D200 f22 @ 1.3 seconds, iso 100 AF-S Nikkor 28-70mm f2.8 ED