landscape

Not Quite Sunrise

I had a vague idea that I would get up this morning and head over to Hammonasset State Park for a sunrise walk with the dogs. The new camera is so much more sensitive to different kinds of light that I really wanted to see what the results would be.

However, I utterly failed to get out of bed anywhere near sunrise, so I had to settle for taking the dogs there late morning, after their 6 month checkups at the vet.

I also met up with Jeremy for part of the walk, and we went out the "nature trail" all the way to where it ends, overlooking a marsh plain.

Here's Comet in front of those same rocks.

Afterwards, I went over to the Supply Ponds because the dogs needed a good rinse, and there's no fresh, clear water for them to dunk themselves in at Hammonasset.

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After the Frost

Just over two months ago, I snapped a picture of these woods from this very spot, and I ruminated on Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" because the woods were so yellow then.

Now, after the first frost, I returned with the dogs, for a little Christmas Eve celebratory hike while Andy was working.

But it wasn't all landscapes and ruminations. We were out in the woods for quite a while, so I had plenty of time to keep working on my skills with my new camera. I got a lot better at using the autofocus on a charging dog, and I did some experimenting with shutter speed and  some auto-exposure settings to try to get bright, golden glow on the running dogs.

I used center-weighted exposure values and a center-biased autofocus, so I had to center the moving dog in frame each time. However, the new camera picks up a lot more light (a full frame sensor) and a lot more data (higher resolution sensor), so the options for cropping are more varied.

It can be difficult to catch a dark gold dog when the light isn't shining from behind the photographer. You tend to get underexposed, dark regions without detail on the dog himself, while the surrounding the landscape is properly exposed.

I've been working on using that less-than-ideal light to give the dogs a fringe of gold while keeping the dog himself properly exposed and letting the background get washed out a bit. I got a couple of good ones.

I have no shame about posing dogs for a photo, but this time, Comet posed himself. He ran up ahead, jumped up on that rock, and stood like a proud lion while I fiddled with camera settings.

The new camera also lets you use an iPhone as a remote. it shows you what the camera sees right on the iPhone screen and lets you trigger the shutter and even change a couple of settings. So I set up a teeny tripod on a rock and posed us. You can actually see the phone in my left hand as I trigger the shutter.

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Bluff Head


Today, Jeremy and I continued our exploration of Guilford Land Trust land by heading up to Bluff Head. I realized that I'd actually been up here more than a dog's age ago with my old friend Jill, but I wasn't sure until we reached the part of the path that goes along the edge of the cliffs.

Comet and Jax were a bit too eager about roughhousing close to the edge while Jeremy and I were taking a break, so they had to practice down stays a little ways back.

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Before the Frost

When you read the words of Frost's poem, you think at first that he's taking a bit more poetic license than he really is. Some woods really do turn yellow during some weeks of some years. By calling the woods yellow, he's calling us to a more specific place and a more specific time than you might think at first.

There was a moment in which the roads diverged, and Frost, pulling a Frost, grabs it with "yellow." I might have written a whole paragraph about the way your feet disturb leaves and the prickly dusty smell of it in that particular part of fall when it's mild and dry. Frost just says "a yellow wood" and makes you imagine it yourself again each year.

But the wood's only yellow here and there where the soil's right and the trees are young. Some places it's evergreen with white pine, and the needles cover the forest floor. And other places there are meadows turning sere with brightly colored reds and oranges at their borders.

What Frost doesn't say is that the roads diverge again and again, some in the yellow woods, some where the milkweed has burst and thrown its seeds in the wind, and some where the dogs kick up the decaying leaves and pick the muddier path for you.

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On the Sound, But No Fury

It might be September, but there's still a healthy chunk of summer left. Ever since my attempt to go around Falkner Island was cut short, I've been wanting to go back out and actually go around the island at my own pace.

So today, despite a steady breeze and some significant chop, I went out and circled the island. I even tried to check in on Facebook, but despite the fact that I had adequate reception on my phone, Facebook didn't have Falkner as a place I could check in, and it wouldn't let me add it. Oh well.

The terns have mostly moved on. I only saw one, and he was no longer in breeding plumage. Aside from a handful of cormorants, the island was totally quiet.

A little ways away from the island, though, it's not so quiet. These actually go, "bing, bong, bing bong" incessantly, just like in movies. They're also a whole lot larger than you might think.

I know that it's probably not that amazing to anybody else, but I still admire whoever thought up an external clapper powered by the movement of the ocean.

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