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Winter Landscapes from the Southtowns

January 31, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400 Black and White Negative Film.Mamiya 645Fomapan 400 This is a loose continuation of my winter series: Winter StranglerWinter is Here (Again)!, and Winter is Here! The whole series is connected not only by winter but being around the Southtowns of Buffalo, NY and photographed with a medium format Mamiya 645 camera on black and white film. The sad reality of winter in these parts is that sunshine is way too precious and most days are of various shades of gray. various tones of gloom. On the few passing moments when blue sky shows up I am tempted to rush for color film and capture the sight for perpetuity but a look to the west often quickly squashes my hopes as I see the gloom rolling in. This often happens in the morning when the low rising sun has a chance to get under the clouds. Sometimes that light can be so dramatic and tricky that it tricks me into thinking that the gloom from the west are not heat clouds but a rather pretty dark shade of blue sky. And then sun hops above the clouds.

Basketball Hoop, Western New York Winter. Snyder Road, West Falls, NY. Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer.Basketball HoopWestern New York Winter

Basketball Hoop, Western New York Winter, Snyder Road, West Falls, NY
Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer

On days like this snow is a huge bonus. While the sky may be dark and gloomy snow on the ground cleans and brightens everything up. Up is down and down is up. The light comes from the ground.

Car Repair Shop, Western New York Winter. Center Street, East Aurora, NY. Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer.Car Repair ShopWestern New York Winter

Car Repair Shop, Western New York Winter, Center Street, East Aurora, NY
Mamiya 645 1000s, Foma Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer

The Southtowns of Buffalo, NY are in the so called snow belt, the area to the east of Lake Erie that gets most of the lake effect snow. Thus they also provide picturesque winter scenes, whether they are scenic landscapes or ordinary scenes along the small country roads people take daily on their commutes to work. Do they see it all though?

Old Shed in the Field, Western New York Winter, Emery Road, East Aurora, NY. Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer.Old Shed in the FieldWestern New York Winter

Old Shed in the Field, Western New York Winter, Emery Road, East Aurora, NY
Mamiya 645 1000s, Foma Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer

That's one of the reasons I like photography. It helps me pay more attention. I see things, I look for things that I would otherwise overlook. And I see history passing through my mind, things changing, things getting older, and once in a while a new thing popping up. Barns and sheds usually slowly give in to time, eventually collapsing. But here and there, even if rarely, a beautiful new barn pops up and brings a huge smile. Maybe it's knowing it will be there for me to watch forever.

Emery Park Pergola, Western New York Winter, East Aurora, NY. Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer.Emery Park PergolaWestern New York Winter

Emery Park Pergola, Western New York Winter, East Aurora, NY
Mamiya 645 1000s, Foma Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer

The car is parked in a lot now and we're on the foot through the beautiful Emery Park south of the village of East Aurora, NY. And even here it's a twofold story. There's scenic nature, always reliable, always beautiful. And then there is the human side of things, the structures people build. I really appreciate some of the local parks and the fact that the towns, counties, and state usually try to build things in a way that blend better with nature even if those choices are not the cheapest. Look at this stone pergola. Isn't it some much better than some quickly raised shelter? While not on these photos, I was very pleasantly surprised recently as some bridges were being repaired in Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park, NY, and their side walls were wrapped in stone. It gives the parks charm and it makes them happier places to those who pay attention.

Aging Stone Bridge, Western New York Winter, Emery Park, East Aurora, NY. Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer.Aging Stone BridgeWestern New York Winter

Aging Stone Bridge, Western New York Winter, Emery Park, East Aurora, NY
Mamiya 645 1000s, Foma Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer

On that note here's an example of the potential contrast. There's a beautiful old stone bridge crossing the creek but it has fallen into disrepair and will need to be services. Meanwhile, a simple wooden bridge was laid down nearby to keep the trail open. Will the stone bridge be repaired to bring smiles to future generations or will "lack of funding" make this one history? I hope it can be repaired. It would be another reason to smile in this wonderful park.

Freezing Waters, Western New York Winter, Emery Park, East Aurora, NY. Mamiya 645 1000s, Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer.Freezing WatersWestern New York Winter

Freezing Waters, Western New York Winter, Emery Park, East Aurora, NY
Mamiya 645 1000s, Foma Fomapan 400, Kodak XTOL Developer

I started with doom and gloom of the Western New York Winter but found happier topics along the way. And as I am getting to the closure of today's philosophical post I can see a very small gap in the clouds. And guess what's visible through it! Indeed, a blue sky!

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

Do you enjoy reading my photography blog? Would you like to see more photographs from Buffalo and Western New York? Visit my Buffalo Cityscapes and Buffalo & Western New York Landscapes and enjoy! If black and white is your cup of tea, why not head over to the World without Color photo collection? And finally, if you enjoy looking at winter scenery, I have the Winter collection just for that purpose.

Snow Covered Spooky Winter Wetlands, Orchard Park, New YorkSpooky Winter WetlandsWinter Snow Covered Winter Entrance to the Wetlands Woods, Orchard Park, New YorkWinter EntranceWinter Through the Winter Landscape, Creek in Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York (NY)Through the Winter LandscapeWinter

Snowy Birdsong Gate in Winter with a Reflection in the Creek, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York (NY)Birdsong Gate in WinterWinter Branches and Trees Dressed in White Snowy Coat for Winter, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York (NY)Branches Dressed for WinterWinter The Creek Guard in Winter, A Old Tree in Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York (NY)The Creek Guard in WinterWinter

 


Ribbit, Ribbit, Croak, Croak

January 23, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

For today's post I am going with a complete change of pace. While I do have a photo gallery dedicated to plants and animals on my website it is the smallest one of them all. Now it will be two pictures bigger!

Sun-Tanning Bullfrog, A bullfrog basking in the warmth of the waning sunshine of the setting sun.Sun-Tanning BullfrogLast Bits of Sunshine

Sun-tanning bullfrog basking in the warmth of the waning sunshine
(The Original/Old) Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR, 400mm, 1/800 at f/5.6, ISO 220

We have a favorite three-mile loop through local wetlands that's great for walks and runs. For variety and beautiful scenery there are three ponds along the way too. That's how we describe where we are on the trail. So here we're by the second pond and in late afternoons it is surrounded by bullfrogs soaking in the heat for the night. I always see them and try to make it by without scaring them. I figure if it were me I would not want to jump into the water yet either.

Peeking Bullfrog, A bullfrog peeking out above the surface of a small pond enjoying the last warm rays of the setting sun.Peeking BullfrogLast Bits of Daylight

Bullfrog peeking out above the surface of a small pond enjoying the last warm rays of the setting sun
(The Original/Old) Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR, 400mm, 1/800 at f/5.6, ISO 450

This evening was different though. Instead of a walk or a run I picked up my camera, a long lens, and slowly walked the trail backwards to get to the second pond faster. And the slow mode of operation continued on location too. I tried to stay low and kept my distance at first, grabbing a few safety photos, then inching forward. And again and again. As usual there were quite a few bullfrogs to photograph each posing differently and using a different strategy for camouflage. I looked for those that were surrounded by greenery for a more picturesque photo. Too much mud did not seem to do it for me.

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

Do you enjoy reading my photography blog? Would you like to see more photographs of the animal kingdom? Visit my Nature - Animals & Plants and enjoy!

Japanese Macaque, Animal KingdomJapanese MacaqueAnimal Kingdom Iguana of Fence Post, Animal KingdomIguana of Fence PostAnimal Kingdom Eye contact with a coyote in the light of setting sun in Sonoran Desert, Arizona (AZ).Coyote in the DesertAnimal Kingdom

 


Same Beach Different Mood

January 18, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Zero Image 35mm, Wooden Pinhole CameraZero Image 35mmPinhole Camera In my last post The Photo at Your Back I talked about some of the creative options a photographer has on location. One of them was using a pinhole camera. In today's post I decided to close the loop and share what difference that can make. The photograph below was captured with a 35mm pinhole camera. Those are not the most popular ones as the resulting photographs are more blurry than with larger formats and yet the cameras are not that much smaller.

Right there lies another creative option - the choice of format. However, this choice is usually made ahead of time and not on location. At least I don't bring all of my formats at the same time. On the contrary, for the last few years, I have really enjoyed a limited choice. Not only does it help me focus on photography instead of fiddling with gear it also offloads a lot of weight from my camera bag which my back appreciates a lot and so do I.

Pinhole Take on the Lava Rocks at Waiohai Beach. 35mm Zero Image Pinhole Camera, Ilford PanF+ 50 Black & White Film.Pinhole Take on the Lava Rocks at Waiohai BeachPinhole Photography

Pinhole Take on the Lava Rocks at Waiohai Beach
35mm Zero Image Pinhole Camera, Ilford PanF+ 50 Black & White Film.

What do you think? Does a black and white pinhole rendering change the mood of a scene a lot? If you are curious enough to find out, you can go a few posts back to Tropical Sunset and compare. It's pretty wild, isn't it?

Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you! (#etbtsy)

Makawehi Lithified Cliffs, 35mm Pinhole Photograph on Ilford PanF Black and White FilmMakawehi Lithified CliffsPinhole Photography Shipwreck Beach, 35mm Pinhole Photograph on Ilford PanF Black and White FilmShipwreck BeachPinhole Photography Ke'e Beach, 35mm Pinhole Photograph on Ilford PanF Black and White FilmKe'e BeachPinhole Photography

 

 


The Photo at Your Back

January 16, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

In my last post from Hawaii (Tropical Sunset), I showcased a beautiful Kauai beach lit up by the warm light of the setting sun. My focus was on the obvious point of interest. Who would not fall in love with a golden sandy beach, palm trees, gentle surf, and for a bonus some pitch black lava rocks. The opportunities in situations like these are endless and one can experiment with so many different photographic techniques.

Shutter speed plays a huge role changing the look and feel of the ocean. Go for a long one and the action melts into a peaceful mist. Go the other way and a very short shutter speed freezes the droplets of the surf showing the energy charged water hitting the coastline. Then the choice of a wide-angle lens versus a telephoto one will completely change the message in a photo. And for a yet another twist one can reach for a macro lens and focus on the little things that often get overlooked. Then there also is focusing and depth of field to be explored. Another alternative can be going for a less literal or an abstract photograph and introduce camera motion during the exposure. And these are just a few examples for a more unique photo of an often-photographed place. And what place is not photographed often these days?

And then there is the another quite simple alternative as long as we keep our eyes open. Too often do we get so focused on a specific subject that we become blind to the other subjects around. And very often, a great photo, or even the better one, is full 180 degrees at our backs. While I don't always remember this, I have been trying to stay aware of this for many years now. Finish with your primary subject, keep your camera handy, and simply turn around. What do you think?

Kauai Beach Boys, Waiohai Beach, Kauai, Hawaii.Kauai Beach BoysWaiohai Beach, Kauai

Kauai Beach Boys, Waiohai Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

It was no different this particular evening at the Waiohai Beach. I had spent quite a while taking advantage of the beautiful sunset light and explored the beach per the above. I also had a pinhole camera loaded with black and white film for a different take on that evening. And I had fun and left with several photographs that I really like and that will remind me of the experience for years to come. However, as the light faded, and I felt satisfied with the wonderful photographic opportunities the location had offered I turned around and started walking away. That is until I saw the scenes that I am sharing with you here today.

Too Blue to Surf, Waiohai Beach, Kauai, HawaiiToo Blue to SurfWaiohai Beach, Kauai

Too Blue to Surf, Waiohai Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

The combination of dusk and artificial illumination provides a whole different opportunity and look. The time after sunset and before night turns black is called blue hour and is an intersection of reality and visual trickery. The warm artificial light clashes with the cool natural light and our brains magically blend the two together for a nice but not all that striking view. However, things turn out differently when the photographer decides to set the overall white balance based on the warm artificial light. And digital cameras actually do that quite automatically in real time. The result? The cool background becomes even cooler and turns blue, creating a truly striking contrast with even more visual impact that the original scene. A limitation of the media becomes its strength. Even though it's clearly a manipulation it appears that blue hour photography has been able to retain its appeal for a long time and definitely outlasted some other techniques that proved to be short-lived fads, like overdone HDR tone-mapping. Or maybe that is just my wishful thinking because there is still quite a bit of this genre, and many smart phones default to such scene rendering. 

Next time you finish your primary photographic objective, don't pack up yet. First, turn around. You might be (pleasantly) surprised.

Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you! (#etbtsy)

Previously from Hawaii: The Beginning - Seaside Pinhole Photography - Tropical Clichés - Windy Drama of a Tropical Morning - Quite an Ad - Searching for Sun and Warmth - Not Your Sunrise Cliché - So Peaceful - Some Morning Drama - Farmland in the Canyon - Further up Waimea Canyon - At the Edge of Kalalau Valley - Tropical Sunrise - Tropical Sunset - The Photo at Your Back

Paddling through Life, Canandaigua City Pier, New York (NY)Paddling through LifeCanandaigua Lake Buoyed, Canandaigua City Pier, New York (NY)BuoyedCanandaigua City Pier On the Water, Canandaigua City Pier, New York (NY)On the WaterCanandaigua Lake

Road Trip Travel Photography, Route 66: Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari, NMRoute 66: Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari, NMRoute 66 Road Trip Route 66: Dodge, Santa Rosa, New Mexico (NM)Route 66: Dodge, Santa Rosa, NMRoute 66


Winter Strangler

January 09, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

It seems that I forgot one more photo in my last Winter is Here (Again)! post. I thought about including it along with the next batch but something did not feel right. Thus, I am sharing a short one today to correct the omission.

Green Lake in White, Winter in Orchard Park, NY. Mamiya 645, Foma Retropan 320, Kodak XTOL.Green Lake in WhiteWinter in Orchard Park, NY

Green Lake in White, Winter in Orchard Park, NY
Mamiya 645, Foma Retropan 320, Kodak XTOL

Foma Retropan 320 has quite a pronounced grain that comes through strong even in the medium format photos. It's definitely a personal preference but I also think the subject matter either works with this type of film or it does not. In the case of snowy landscapes I like the combination quite a bit. What do you think?

Thanks for visiting, ...

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

Do you enjoy reading my photography blog? Would you like to see more photographs from Buffalo and Western New York? Visit my Buffalo Cityscapes and Buffalo & Western New York Landscapes and enjoy! If black and white is your cup of tea, why not head over to the World without Color photo collection? And finally, if you enjoy looking at winter scenery, I have the Winter collection just for that purpose.

Barn and silos in white in winter storm in Buffalo and Western New YorkBarn and Silos in WhiteWinter Broken tree in winter storm in Buffalo and Western New YorkBrokenWinter Snowstorm over three roofs, winter storm in Buffalo and Western New YorkSnowstorm over Three RoofsWinter

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