Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More Flowers


I'm really ashamed to admit that I don't know what flower this is.  I don't know much about flowers, and the only ones I'm confident in identifying are roses, orchids, african violets, pansies and geraniums. I'm lost when it comes to these bigger flowers.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Flower Show



One of the first sure signs that spring will be here soon is the annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show.  I've attended this show for the last few years since it provides a nice opportunity to photograph  flowers, landscape designs, and other interesting items.  Every show is slightly different, however this year I felt the flower displays that were up for judging weren't quite as good as in years past.  There wasn't as much variety as I've seen.  Still it was good show and I'll be posting more.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Castle

Gillette Castle

This looks out of place in Connecticut and might seem more at home in England or Scotland.  The castle here was built by the noted playwright, director and actor, William Hooker Gillette between the years 1914 and 1919.  It was designed by Gillette himself and built from native fieldstone. This is how the castle appears from across the Connecticut River.  The castle and the surrounding estate are now a state park.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Reeds

Phragmites australis

I think I've identified these plants correctly.  It's also known as a common reed and it grows in wetlands all throughout Connecticut and the east coast.  From what I've read there are two species, which look very similar but can be identified through genetic testing.  One species is native, while the other might have been introduced from Eurasia by way of the water in ship's ballast.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Something Different


One doesn't run across dinosaurs everyday.  This guy stands guard at the entrance of The Dinosaur Place at Nature's Art, an attraction located in Montville, CT.  Inside you can learn about fossils, minerals and such, as well as about dinosaurs.  I drive by this place a lot and finally stopped to take some pictures.  



Monday, February 20, 2012

Fishing the Yantic

I was walking along the Yantic River in Norwich, CT and came upon this fisherman.  I hope I didn't disturb him, but I noticed he didn't seem very patient, only spending a minute or two at any particular spot before reeling in his line and moving to another spot along the river.  I exchanged pleasantries with him, but didn't ask how the fish were biting on this day.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Free Wood Chips


After Hurricane Irene came through Connecticut last August, the town here set aside this parking lot as an area where residents could dump all the brush and downed tree limbs.  After weeks of cleanup, the resulting pile of brush was pretty big, probably 25-30 feet tall and covering a good part of this lot.  The town then chipped all the wood, and the resulting pile of chips was almost as tall.  Now the chips are free to anyone who wants them, but load them at your own risk. You can get some idea of how big the pile was  below.  After a couple of more weeks, I'm sure all the wood chips will be gone.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Reflections II


This reflection is seen in the Yantic River, not far from where it flows into the Thames River.  The skies were particularly dramatic on this Saturday in February and reflected well in the still waters of the Yantic.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Reflections


Although now used for recreational boating, this harbor in Norwich was once bustling with boats carrying goods to and from Norwich by way of the Thames River.  One can sail from here all the way into Long Island Sound, which is about 15-20 miles to the south.  In the summer time the slips are all filled with boats, but at this time of the year without the boats present,  the water allows for some nice reflections.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rocks III


I like to photograph rocks. I don't have to worry about them moving and as far as I can tell, they don't mind me taking their picture.  I think these boulders are left over from the last glacier, which left here about  13,000 years ago.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Eagle Scout Project

I have a soft spot in my heart for anything related to Scouting.  To this day, I believe the Boy Scouts of America is the finest program of its kind for boys ages 11-16.  I was involved in Scouting as soon as I was old enough to join, and some of my fondest memories are with the scouts of Troop 21, in my hometown of Maplewood NJ.  I worked on summer camp staffs and earned the rank of Eagle Scout, so I know I little of what Ryan had to do for his Eagle Scout Project.  So from one Eagle Scout to another, thank you Ryan.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Clark Pond

I came across this view in the Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve located not far from where I live.  There are some well marked trails there for hiking.  This pond is man made.  Years ago, ice would be harvested in the winter from this pond to be used to keep the Niantic fisherman's catch fresh. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hawk


I was out for a hike this past weekend with my camera and was able to catch this hawk perched on some wires.  I'm pretty sure this is a red-tailed hawk.  As usual, one never has the right lens and I wish I had taken my 70-300mm along.  This was taken with the AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED and was hand-held.  The picture was also heavily cropped.  I know it's not perfect technically, but it's not that often I can get reasonably close to a hawk.  He posed pretty well for me. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Flag II

Allow me one more headstone, this time from a family cemetery.  Mr Stewart was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and lived till the age of 92, which was pretty remarkable for that time.  He is one of the many Stewarts buried here, the most recent one being interred in 1905, which doesn't seem like it should be over a century ago.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ellen

I wish I knew more about Ellen.  This headstone simply listed her name.  I didn't go any closer or view the other side.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Flag

It's not uncommon in this part of the country to see old cemeteries, dating back to the 1600-1700's.  Many are family cemeteries and I often find them where I least expect them.  North Stonington, I think, has close to 100 of these cemeteries, perhaps even more.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Stone Wall

There are stone walls all through out Connecticut.  Some, like this one, clearly delineate a pasture.  Others mark property lines. I'm sure at one time they all served a purpose but I think most today are decorative.  This particular stone wall was found in of all places, North Stonington. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

No. 100

I see from my list in Blogger that this post will be my 100th post since I started this blog back in October.  I've enjoyed sharing my pictures, and I thank everyone who has looked and commented on them.  I hope you liked what you find here.   Since it is sort of milestone, I thought I would post something a little different and pose a question or two about my photography, workflow, and post processing.  The reason I'm doing this is simple.  I follow a lot of photo blogs, and I find everyone's else's pictures much better than mine.  It could be that I'm my own toughest critic, but comparing my pictures to those I see on other blogs, mine tend to look a little "over processed" and less than natural looking. It could be that others have been at this a lot longer and are much better photographers than I am.  Maybe others think differently, but I'd be interested to find out what others think.  So in an effort to post what I consider to be more natural looking photos in the future, I'm looking carefully at my workflow and the programs I'm using to do the post processing.  I'm also looking at my camera settings at time of capture and how they might influence my final images after post processing.  There are so many variables to control, but I have to admit, I do enjoy tinkering with all the aspects of digital photography.

As an example of what I'm talking about.  This first image is typical of my normal workflow of images in this blog.  It's the jpg image, straight out of the camera, with a curve adjustment, highlight recovery, shadow recovery and sharpening done in Aperture.  I then exported the jpg for this blog.

This next image is the same photo as above, reprocessed from the original RAW file using Nikon's Capture NX 2.   When starting with the RAW file, I eliminated all the camera settings used to produce the the jpg above.  I changed the white balance, did a curve adjustment and sharpened.  I saved the image as a jpg, and  prepared it for this blog exactly this same way as the first image.

I know which image I like better.  There are some subtle differences and I'd like to know what others think.       Feel free to comment on any aspect of the image whether it be subject matter, composition, exposure, whatever.  And finally, if others do a lot of post processing, do you adjust the image for a pleasing image, or to the way you remember the image looking at the time of capture?   Thanks for looking.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Park Bench


There's something about this park bench I don't like.  It doesn't look very inviting to me nor very comfortable for that matter.   I would have to be pretty tired to sit on a cold wrought iron bench on a cold winter's day.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Statue


I found this fellow watching over the East Garden at Harkness State Park.  I think this garden has a heavy Asian influence, as evidenced by this statue.  I'm not sure which Asian god this statue represents though.  It could be a statue of Buddha.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gardens


The pictures show a portion of the gardens at Harkness State Park.  I'm sure they're much more colorful in the spring and summer time, but nevertheless the architecture still looks good in the winter time.  The gardens were designed by Beatrix Farrand, a landscape designer and one of the founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects.  The gardens here have been fully restored and look much as they did in the 1930's, and include some of Farrand's original plantings.

These are views of the West Garden, which have a strong Italian influence.  If fact, it was once referred to as the Italian Garden.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Water Tower


We have been fortunate this year in that the winter has been pretty mild.  This past Sunday, after breakfast at our favorite breakfast place in Waterford, my wife and I took a nice walk around Harkness State Park.  I've posted pictures from here before, and this place is becoming a favorite  place of mine.   I think this is a water tower, although I haven't found out for sure.  I guess one would need a water tower like this to service the 42 room mansion and gardens at this site.