Month: December 2009

Pond Mountain

Pond Mountain

Kent, Connecticut. The Connecticut chapter of The Nature Concervency maintains this 800 acre preserve. This day it was 18 F out and the windchill was well below 0. In other words, it was seriously cold. David and I took the two hour hike just to get out and I wanted to see how hiking in extreme cold would be. Not too bad but taking gloves off to take pictures has to be planned carefully.

This is a beautiful spot and I hope to return to it in each season. It’s accessible enough so that photographers with long (and heavy) lenses would find it easy to hike in and set up on the shore to catch herons, egrets and the other water birds calling this lake home in warmer seasons.

Do new post-pantsbomber TSA security directives kill inflight WiFi?

Do new post-pantsbomber TSA security directives kill inflight WiFi?

I hope this settles out soon. Gary is flying on a United PS flight (WiFi) today I’ve not seen him online yet which might mean United took it offline. We’ll know when he gets to the other side.

The problem here is not what happens on the flight, it’s that the pants bomber got into the system in the first place. We need better security so people like this can’t get into the system. His US visa should have been revoked the minute his father called the US Embassy.

David, Loren, Gary, and Richard on Caleb’s Peak

David, Loren, Gary, and Richard on Caleb's Peak

On the Appalachian Trail between Kent and Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut. We’ve done this hike many times recently but it’s so good we decided to do it again to introduce Gary to it before he flies home to Oregon tomorrow. We had a great day, less ice than we thought, more mud but no problem and it was warm enough so we didn’t have to wear heavy clothing. We’ll all miss Gary but we know he’ll be back for more adventures in the summer.

First Congregational Church, Washington, Connecticut

First Congregational Church, Washington, Connecticut

Almost every town in New England has one of these traditional Congregational churches and while they look great in daylight they also look great lit up at night. The coldness of New England winter and the traditional white exterior offset the warmth of candle-lit windows.

I’m not a Christian nor do I belong to this church but churches like this one are like wormholes back through American history and as such, I’m both fascinated by them and feel moved when I’m inside them.

It’s been a tradition in our family to go to the late Christmas Eve service at this church to both sing and hear Reverend Cheryl Anderson deliver a "Christmas meditation" (better known as a sermon). If this church is a wormhole back through American history Cheryl acts as a tour guide or facilitator helping those of us who come on Christmas eve to understand the Christmas story in a larger context and connect it to everyday ideas. I almost always come away from her sermons thinking which is just what she wants. She’s quite an amazing person and my entire family hasn’t missed one of her Christmas eve sermons in over ten years.

Freezing on Bear Mountain

Freezing on Bear Mountain

Richard, David, Loren and Gary on Bear Mountain, Connecticut.

Our friend Gary is visiting for the Holidays and what better way to introduce him to hiking the AT than a quick jaunt in snow up Bear Mountain. The hike went very well but on top of Bear the wind was so strong that a 24 F day turned into a -10 F day. I had to weigh down the table top tripod with a rock to stop the camera from blowing away. We lasted maybe ten minutes up there, then retreated to an Appalachian trail lean-to down off the mountain for lunch.

Loren, Dave and Richard on Caleb’s Peak

Loren, Dave and Richard on Caleb's Peak

On the Appalachian Trail between Kent and Cornwall Bridge. Dave just got back from the Virgin Islands (poor guy) and Loren and I decided to "break him in easy" with this hike we just did. It’s a great hike, starting at Rt. 341 in Kent and having lunch and turning around at Caleb’s Peak where we are here. It’s about 7 miles round trip and the terrain is varied and beautiful. It was 24 F when this was taken and my hands got cold again. However, this day I had hand warmers all fired up and they really helped. Still, taking pictures in the cold is a skill that I’m not sure I want to hone.

Camille Seaman: This Other World

Camille Seaman: This Other World

Wonderful images of sky, ice, penguins and more. She’s a master of natural lighting and shoots both film and digital. Note: it’s a flash site that’s particularly tough to navigate but the images are well worth it. She talks about her equipment in the frequently asked questions section of the site (see the menu).

Interview here: Natural Lighting Techniques from Camille Seaman – Fine Art Photography.

[via Edward McKeown]

Vowl Meet Vowl, a very small app that displays random…


Vowl is a free Macintosh application from stevenf (Panic) that given a tag or list of tags will display a random flickr slideshow in a window on your computer. Simple, clean, well designed and fun.

If you click on an image you go directly to that image on flickr.

If this becomes popular it will hopefully push people on flickr to use tags more effectively. Most flickr users have little idea of the power of tags, both within the flickr universe and with apps like Vowl, outside it.

Cold hands on the AT

Cold hands on the AT

North of Kent, Connecticut. Loren and I decided to do the stretch of the Appalachian Trail from Kent to St. John’s Ledges again. It’s a great hike and great hikes are worth repeating. It’s about an eight mile hike total.

When I took this picture I had to take my gloves off and between sitting there for fifteen minutes to eat lunch and taking gloves off in 28 F weather, my hands got really cold. Both Loren and I suffer from Raynaud’s phenomenon which means our hands and fingers get cold faster than normal.

Luckily for us we brought hand warmers and were able to get them inside our mittens. I’d never used them before and while they took a bit of time to heat up, once the heat started they worked like a charm.

Taking pictures in winter, even with fingerless gloves is a serious problem and once my hands get cold they take a long time to warm up. Gotta remember to work faster and get mittens back on sooner.

Canon PowerShot G11 review

DP Review has just posted their Canon PowerShot G11 review.

They give it a mixed review, mostly positive.

I find the camera fine for it’s price point and place in the world of higher end point and shoot cameras. It’s almost perfect for what I use it for.

My only complaint (so far) is that the rear wheel and rocker controls take some getting used to and more than once I’ve had to back out of choices I didn’t need to make. This is happening even more in cold weather as I lose fine coordination with my hands on cold days.

Still, I’m happy with the camera and recommend it for anyone needing a higher end point and shoot for hiking or travel or everyday use for a non-DSLR user.

PostSecret and The Apology Line

PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death and God

This is a beautifully produced short movie. Great idea, artfully shot and edited. There is also a blog: PostSecret.

It reminds me of something called The Apology Line which I heard about as a segment on This American Life. The Apology Line was a creation of the conceptual artist Allan Bridge.

Here’s a wonderful short film which is loosely based on Bridge’s work:

[via Jon Moss]

Olympus PEN ad with Kevin Spacey: “I don’t want to be the camera guy”

Olympus PEN ad with Kevin Spacey: “I don’t want to be the camera guy”

This is a new push to make the micro four thirds system a standard by positioning it as the small yet powerful camera system (the un-Leica) for people who don’t want to come off as gear heads or tourists. This ad works well although it might be considered a tad elitist in some circles.

Not sure where he got the second (pancake) lens from. Looked like it was in his back pocket.

[via Digital Photography Review (]