Lately I haven’t had the time to shoot a lot. And sometimes when I have, it’s just been too damn hot, humid or rainy. The desire is there, but the circumstances just won’t work for me. That’s why I love it when something great presents itself right outside my door. This time I mean that literally. For the first time since I’ve lived in this house, I found some indian pipe in my yard. Woo hoo! These beauties are 3 steps from my front door. So great. Well kinda. They’re under a little pine tree and the branches were murder to shoot around. I did though.
Oh and in case you’re wondering, the colors in these is totally natural. I didn’t add anything. I’ve never seen such intense purple in these flowers before. Pink, yes, purple, no. So I was double excited about finding these. They’re not the best indian pipe shots in my portfolio, but there were a lot of limiting factors, mostly the background which only really worked in a limited arc. Otherwise very distracting undergrowth or my house, which doesn’t make a great background.
So anyway…that’s what I’ve got for now. Sorry so sparse. This full time employment thing is really cutting into my photography time. I do have some more paddling shots, but they’re not so terrific. Eh, maybe I’ll put them up. Who knows. Anyway, if you feel like looking at more indian pipe shots, click on the category indian pipe down there and you’ll find all the posts!
Several weeks ago, I bought myself a kayak. I’ve wanted one for years, but never bought one. Sure, I’d paddled a couple of times with other people’s boats, but never owned one. Now I do it’s allowing me a new way to engage with nature and my photography. Here it is – a Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 (12 foot, recreation boat) –
At first I didn’t really dare to bring my camera with me, but I have worked up some skill and some confidence, so I’ve begun to bring it with me when I’m out. Of course the first time I brought it, I forgot to put the memory card back in. Doh! In a way it was funny. Still had my iPhone with me though, so all wasn’t lost. Here’s the Powwow river –
So on my next outing, I remembered the memory card! Again, I chose a slow-moving river, this time the Contoocook which is a really pretty river and because it’s dammed quite a bit, a lot of it is great for quiet-water paddling. For most of the day, I kept the GH3 in a drybag, but then toward the end of my session, I kept it on my lap. It got splashed, but since it’s weatherproof, it doesn’t matter. I may not keep it there going forward, but for a quiet river it was fine. When I really had to paddle hard into the wind and chop, I put it back in the drybag. This first one is from a side channel I explored for a bit. It got narrow at one point, but I paddled through and look at what I found –
Isn’t it amazing? Without a kayak, I’d have never seen it. I sat for a while, just floating and soaking up the atmosphere. It was a bit like a fairy story – an enchanted pool or magic glade. Dragonflies and damselflies kept me company. On my way back out to the main channel, I turned back to catch these ferns in the sunlight. I wish there’d been a bit of cloud cover to soften the harsh sunlight, but I still like the way they’re lit up. And the reflection.
Paddling upstream didn’t yield any keepers, but drifting down current did. I would drift for a bit and try for compositions on the bank. The light and the ferns kept me shooting. And the reflections are just a bonus.
Bright sun isn’t the best light for photography, but I think it can be managed if you’ve got strong, colorful subject and balance to your composition. I drifted into some pickerelweed and kind of sat for bit, hunting a good shot. I’m pretty happy with this since it illustrates the perfection of the day –
This section of the Contoocook is dammed to make the Powder Mill pond and part of the joy of paddling here is going under this gorgeous covered bridge. I couldn’t resist shooting it (with a couple paddlers underneath) even though it’s a New England cliche, could you have kept the camera down?
So that’s my first full day on the water with the camera. I’m not 100% into a groove or routine, so I forgot my polarizer and binoculars, but overall I think I’m getting into the swing of it. I’ve started a new category here on the blog for future kayak posts. More water adventures to come!
On the same day I visited Pulpit falls (from my last post) I went to Fay Falls in Walpole. It’s a haul for me to trek all the way over there, so a two-for-one was definitely the plan. It meant I couldn’t really explore much beyond the falls, but at least I know where they are and won’t spend too much time looking for them and bushwhacking. There is a trail leading near to Fay falls, but it doesn’t go all the way. Basically you find the brook and listen, then follow the sound of the water.
The gorge for Fay falls is really steep and long and so I had to switchback my way down into it. When I got to the bottom I was a ways downstream from the falls themselves, but the rock formations and the water’s tortured path were pretty interesting. I wish I could have spent more time down there, but it was slow going, I hadn’t actually seen the falls yet and I was pretty sure it would rain any second.
So here they are –
Aren’t they grand? I was shooting from on top of a couple of huge boulders right at the pool there. Unfortunately there is also the wreckage of a dead tree down there, making for a really disordered foreground and a big obstacle to shoot around. I made the best of it though.
Strangely, the water here is not tannic like most other brooks in southern NH. I know what causes water to be tannic (organic compounds in leaves and other detritus leech out of the water and stain it, just like the tannins in tea do), but I don’t know why one brook is tannic and another, maybe within a mile, isn’t. Since it’s a relative rarity in this area, I think I’ll be back to it and explore down the gorge a bit.
Anyway, just after I shot this, the rain started in earnest so I hiked up and out of the gorge back to the car. Good timing overall and I have a couple new places to explore further. Not too shabby.