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What is Winter?

January 01, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Happy New Year everyone! Yes, it is January 1, 2024 as another year has bit the dust. Looking around, it is hard to believe it is January in Western New York. On my customary New Year's Day walk, there was some very gentle dusting in the Chestnut Ridge park but for the most part, all remains in wet green. Just the grayness and gloom reminds me of the season.

Thus, instead of fresh 2024 pictures, let's look at what landscape looked like two months ago on November 1, 2023 when winter made its first visit, and it was the prettiest one this season yet. Sure, a bit too early at that point as nature was still in colorful fall mode but that also made it so pretty. Scroll slowly, take your time, and I hope you enjoy the scenery.

Getting out of the door can be a challenge when one feels lazy even when the outside is clearly hinting to get out. It's usually worth it. And this morning, no doubts were left as soon as I pulled into the parking area and stepped out. Who wouldn't love a welcoming scene like this!

Welcome to Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New YorkWelcome to BirdsongWinter's First VIisit

Welcome to Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

As I made the turn in the above photograph I was faced with some magical low fog that immediately peaked my interest and I spent a lot of time on the meadow before even entering the woods, which is where my interest usually lies. The trick was to show off the mystery of the fog without losing the image altogether. Long focal lengths intensify the low visibility so I explored different looks that way. Things also looked quite different front or back lit. And the fog itself kept rolling around the meadow becoming weaker at times and really dense in other moments. I felt like chasing ghosts.

Frosty & Foggy Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New YorkFrosty & Foggy BirdsongWinter's First Visit

Frosty & Foggy Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

When I indulged in fog enough I finally entered the woods. There's a boardwalk right away crossing a small but crucial creek. It is along that creek that a lot of my favorite scenes lie. My eyes used to be drawn to the left side for years thanks to a broken tree trunk forming an A over the creek. But something was different on this visit and my eyes went right first. The creek leading into the woods with some greenery on its banks and the white power look like taken straight out of a fairy tale.

Fall vs Winter along the Creek, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.Fall vs Winter along the CreekWinter's First Visit

Fall vs Winter along the Creek, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

And then the look left. No more A, nature has reclaimed that old formation. It will take me a while to get used to its absence. It will also give me an opportunity to look for something new. Or did that happen already, like the photograph above?

Fall vs Winter along the Boardwalk, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.Fall vs Winter along the BoardwalkWinter's First Visit

Fall vs Winter along the Boardwalk, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

I usually completely ignore this side path to enter or exit the park as I have no reason to go to the road, or to come from there. This morning, I paused, stopped, and find the view irresistible. Nature all around but the utility post in the distance along with the wires providing clues to a road going along and thus civilization not being far.

Utilities Running By, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.Utilities Running ByWinter's First Visit

Utilities Running By, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

The set up for the next photograph was intense, about to step out from the shadows into the light. The water and land were bathed in the warm light of the rising sun. Very bright, yet, still low enough and gentle to allow for a photograph like below despite all of the whites. The snow was helping brighten the shadows but made it trickier not to overexpose the sunlit area.

White and Colorful, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.White and ColorfulWinter's First Visit

White and Colorful, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

And then right back into the woods and a spot that won me over the years. The creek and the tunnel of trees leaning under different angles always make me stop and contemplate the purpose of living. And this. morning, the covered colors and the fresh bright white power gave the same scene yet another look. Even now in the photograph, I enjoy following the creek from the foreground slowly into the back passing under the trees and enjoying what Mother Nature created there.

Creek through the Seasonal Woods, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.Creek through the Seasonal WoodsWinter's First Visit

Creek through the Seasonal Woods, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

My relationship with the old willow is not as far along as the creek scene above but we are slowly getting there. Some days I see a photograph some days I see frustration. I was happy about what this early November day presented though. The light snow and higher than usual water level created a picturesque scene indeed. The reflections drew me in and I did the usual photo dance to position things just right to take advantage of them.

Creek Curve, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.Creek CurveWinter's First Visit

Creek Curve, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

Next a more ordinary scene as I was approaching the end of the loop walking through the narrow trail winding its way through the trees. Despite the canopy over my head the snowflakes found their way all the way to the ground and I was hoping to capture the mood in a photograph. They are subtle but they are there if you pause long enough to let the scene in.

Cold & Snowing along the Trail, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.Cold & Snowing along the TrailWinter's First Visit

Cold & Snowing along the Trail, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

Soon after I came to another favorite scene of mine. I had photographed the bench many times and from many different angles. Then it suffered form disrepair and was missing a leg for a long time. And this morning I noticed it was back in its full glory. And wow, the view it was providing was nothing short of glorious! It felt completely unreal! Such a total contrast between two different seasons, as if I photographed the foreground a month before the background. It was still fall on my side of the pond but time slipped into winter on the side opposite. Wow, what trickery!

The Birdsong Bench, Two SeasonsThe Birdsong Bench, Two SeasonsI often photograph this bench along the path in Birdsong Park, always trying to find new ways to capture it. This morning, nature did that for me. Isn;t it amazing how the near side of the pond is in fall mode while the opposite is all in winter white?

The morning was cold, frosty, gloomy, and snowy. Despite these adjectives the trees of Birdsong Park in Orchard Park, NY also looked quite magical. Fortunately, the layer of snow and ice was just enough to decorate but not too much to cause damage.

The Birdsong Bench, Two Seasons, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

And here we come to the last stop along the Birdsong Park loop and an alternate view of the seasonal dichotomy from the photograph above. I feel the seasonal contrast is more subtle in the photograph below but it is still rather awesome. I wonder though, how would someone else than me see the photograph. Would they even notice the two different seasons in one photo? Or would it be completely obvious and not subtle at all? How does the meaning of a photograph change when someone else than the photographer looks at it? And how does it change when different people look? What would their short descriptions look like? Would they be similar or very different?

Birdsong Pond, Winter or Fall, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York.Birdsong Pond, Winter or FallWinter's First Visit

Birdsong Pond, Winter or Fall, Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, New York

Thanks for stopping by and may the new year be kind to all. Any chance people could get along a little more?

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! For more travel photography, my Travel Photography gallery offers an interesting mix of places all around. And for more black and white photography hop over to the World without Color photo collection.

Film photography: Color of Wood, Rural Western New YorkColor of WoodBarns in Winter Film photography: Rural Colors of Winter, Rural Western New YorkRural ColorsBarns in Winter Film photography: Rural White Winter, Rural Western New YorkRural White WinterBarns in Winter


Spring Prequel to Fall Sequel

December 19, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Flexaret V, Twin Lens Reflex CameraFlexaret VTwin Lens Reflex As one follows the park loop through the woods a wonderful big meadow emerges about one third of the way through. In the middle of it an old well house stands and right next to it used to stand a tall tree with a crooked top. I used to call it The Watchman. Unfortunately, The Watchman succumbed to age and weather and was eventually cut down completely. As I follow the curve out of the woods my eyes still automatically go to the well house and to the empty position where The Watchman used to stand tall. After a moment, my eyes start to wonder around scanning for a few other remaining old faithful trees. Unfortunately, their numbers are dwindling.

The pine below is one of them. At least I think it is a pine. However, on a walk just a few days ago all of the pines around still had their deep green in the needles while this one seemed quite dry. Is it not a pine? Is it a different king of a pine? Or is it slowly dying too? I took some close up photos and will try to get to the bottom of it. I hope that when spring comes it will find its green again!

Pine on the Big Meadow, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New York.Big Meadow PineChestnut Ridge Park

Big Meadow Pine, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a medium format Flexaret V TLR on Fomapan 200 Black & White Negative Film

Another favorite subject of mine are the old deteriorating well houses. The deteriorating part is not. I wish there were funds and will to save them as they complement the natural environment of the park very well. The county has done a great job maintaining the bridges and keeping their stone walls instead of installing ugly guard rails so maybe there's hope. I am not sure though. These old shelters no longer fulfill any function and thus may be left to their fate. As this playing out I still have time to enjoy looking at them and documenting them in my photographs.

Well House in the Woods, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New York.Well House in the WoodsChestnut Ridge Park

Well House in the Woods, Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a medium format Flexaret V TLR on Fomapan 200 Black & White Negative Film

And why the prequel title? You'll see when the sequel is out. Thanks for stopping by!

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! For more travel photography, my Travel Photography gallery offers an interesting mix of places all around. And for more black and white photography hop over to the World without Color photo collection.

Twinkle in the Trees in Birdsong Park, Orchard Park, NY.Twinkle in the Trees in BirdsongBlack & White Lower Niagara River Rapids - The Wave Crash, Nikon F4, Kodak Double-X 5222 Black and White Negative FilmLower Niagara Rapids - The CrashBlack & White Celoron Lighthouse in Black & White near Jamestown, NY. Nikon FE and Ilford FP4 film.Celoron Lighthouse in Black & WhiteBlack & White


Scenic Cole Road

December 12, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

35mm Nikon F4 Film Camera, AF 50mm f/1.8 LensNikon F4Nikon F4, AF 50mm f/1.8 Fall is wonderful to be outside, period. This day, the mode of transportation was a motorcycle and the location the rural roads south of Orchard Park, NY. I have picked a few photographs from the wonderful Cole Road that follows one of the local ridges and provides some beautiful distant views as well as roadside points of interest.

Since colors were the focus I had a camera loaded with Kodak Portra 400. And while I like the old manual cameras for my black and white photography I often go more electronic and automatic with color photography. I think it started with family portraiture where I did not want to rely on my not so great sight and neither did I want unfocused photographs that my family love so much. I guess that extended beyond portraiture. With color film, I'll usually be out with a Nikon N75, an F4, or more recently a Minolta Maxxum 5. For this ride, it was the big Nikon.

I have a fancy padded compartment for my cameras when out and about on the motorcycle. I stuff snow pants in the seat bag completely filling it and then squeeze the camera in the center giving it plenty of padding on all sides and hopefully protecting it from all of the motorcycle vibrations.

Leaning Tree on Cole Road, Orchard Park, New York. Nikon F4, Kodak Portra 400, C-41.LeaningCole Road

Leaning Tree on Cole Road, Orchard Park, New York
Photographed with a 35mm Nikon F4 on Kodak Portra 400 Color Negative Film

On both its northern and southern ends Cole Road features steep climbs and the peak of the ridge rewards those that make it. I must say, doing this on a bicycle would likely be the most rewarding way but I admit I have not done that yet. Writing this is merely planting a crazy seed for a distant future. And crazy it is, don't believe me? See this color-coded topographical view of the road.

Cole Road Topographic MapCole RoadTopographic Map

Cole Road Topographic Map

Feel like a challenge? Don't let me stop you! At almost exactly the peak of the road, at 1,594 feet (486 meters) the church and the view below will greet you and it will literally be down hill from there. While I was motorized and thus my legs were not objecting, seeing the ominous clouds rolling in made me wonder whether I'd make it home dry or drenched. I really loved the dramatic light though with sunshine overhead and on the church and darkness beyond. Opportunities like this cannot be passed up on and I obviously made a photo stop.

Church on the Hill, Cole Road, Orchard Park, NY. Nikon F4, Kodak Portra 400, C-41.Church on the HillCole Road

Church on the Hill, Cole Road, Orchard Park, NY
Photographed with a 35mm Nikon F4 on Kodak Portra 400 Color Negative Film

Other than the beautiful road itself and the stormy drama there were quite a few other beautiful spots to pull over for, enjoy, and photograph. Lone trees are such a photographic cliché but in my opinion for a good reason. They are so eye-catching, and each so different. Too much for you? No point following this post any further.

Golden Top Tree, Cole Road, Orchard Park, NY. Nikon F4, Kodak Portra 400 Color Negative Film, C-41.Golden Top TreeCole Road

Golden Top Tree, Cole Road, Orchard Park, NY
Photographed with a 35mm Nikon F4 on Kodak Portra 400 Color Negative Film

It's always great to get some remaining greenery in fall photographs. It sets the warm colors off and balances the landscape better. Not much was left in the scene above but just enough at the bottom portion of the tree crown to separate the tree from the field. Compare to the tree below.

Tree of Gold, Cole Road, Orchard Park, NY. Nikon F4, Kodak Portra 400 Color Negative Film, C-41.Tree of GoldCole Road

Tree of Gold, Cole Road, Orchard Park, NY
Photographed with a 35mm Nikon F4 on Kodak Portra 400 Color Negative Film

In the final scene, the landscape fully matured for the fall season and the incoming weather provided a perfect background. I really could not have asked for a more productive collaboration!

Enjoy The Beauty That Surrounds You! #etbtsy

References: Color-coded topographic maps

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! For more travel photography, my Travel Photography gallery offers an interesting mix of places all around.

Yellow Alley at Emery Park, New York (NY) near East Aurora and Buffalo in the Fall - Autumn.Yellow Alley at Emery ParkFall Roads Knox Farm State Park Alley in the Fall, East Aurora, NY, near Buffalo, NY.Knox Farm Alley in the Fallfall Roads Old Water Tower in the Fall with Colorful Foliage All Around, Nikon N75, Kodak Portra 400Old Water TowerFall Roads


Darkroom: A vintage truck the traditional (old-fashioned) way

December 06, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

It's nice to find time to take the analog photography all the way from a location to a print without modern technology in between. I enjoy the process very much and it is a very relaxing experience. Unlike many of our day-to-day activities rushing should not enter the picture here. Rushing would not be rewarded. Thus, settling in for a darkroom session with a goal of hopefully leaving with a single photograph is not unusual.

REO Gold Comet 4x6, Darkroom PrintREO Gold Comet 4x6Darkroom Print

REO Gold Comet 4x6
Traditional Black and White Darkroom Print on Ilford MG IV RC Portfolio

And this time, it ended up being two! Sure, the same frame on the film but still two different photographs. FIrst, a 4x6 print on RC paper followed by an 8x10 print on fiber paper. With some math in between getting the right exposure for the second photograph after raising the enlarger up was not too involved. However, with both fiber and RC I am still learning to take the dry down more seriously. I always tend to fall in the "how much can it really darken" line of thought only to be proven wrong once it does. I hear people take their prints to a microwave to give them a quick dry to be able to assess the change. It also takes the print out of the darkness and artificial light into natural light. I will take that step more seriously. After all the work to get to the print why skip a simple step at the very end? See, rushing does not get rewarded here!

REO Gold Comet 8x10, Darkroom PrintREO Gold Comet 8x10Darkroom Print

REO Gold Comet 8x10
Traditional Black and White Darkroom Print on Ilford MG IV Fiber Paper

I hope to find more time for the darkroom through the holidays and into the next year. If you follow my blog you will be able to see how successful that turns out to be. Well, that is assuming I will not run way behind with the blog post. Let's see!

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! For more darkroom prints, head over to the Darkroom gallery.

Previously from the darkroom:

Roofs & Chimneys. Prague Castle, Czech Republic, a hand-made traditional silver gelatin darkroom printRoofs & ChimneysDarkroom Print Chimneys, Prague Castle, Czech Republic, a hand-made traditional silver gelatin darkroom printChimneysDarkroom Print (New) Castle Stairs, Prague Castle, Czech Republic, a hand-made traditional silver gelatin darkroom print(New) Castle StairsDarkroom Print

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Welcome to Knox Farm

November 13, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

To Paul, who loved it here.

I have a friend who does not like fall. I am more average than that. While I love black and white photography and love it more and more as the years go on I also love fall. It's the peak of what nature has been working on all year long. It's a celebration of sorts. And if that is not enough to grab a camera and head out and capture it there is one extra motivation, especially living in Buffalo, New York. After the colors of fall we're in for 6 months of gray. So yes, let's grab a camera even on a rainy day and see what some of the places around look like.

Welcome to Knox Farm State Park on a rainy fall day, East Aurora, New York.Welcome to Knox Farm State ParkKnox Farm in the Rain

Welcome to Knox Farm State Park
Nikon F4, 50mm f/1.8, Kodak Portra 800

And look, we're also back to stone walls and the human touch in beautiful landscapes, just in a different wonderful place. To me, the welcoming scene to Knox Farm could not be more picture perfect. I postcard advertising a perfect combination of elements to enjoy.

Road through Knox Farm State Park in the Fall, East Aurora, New York.Road through Knox Farm State ParkKnox Farm in the Rain

Road through Knox Farm State Park
Nikon F4, 50mm f/1.8, Kodak Portra 800

Pictures really bring back memories. Quite often, one look at a photo even from several years back and I remember the whole set up. I remember the weather, where I parked, what my frame of mind was and what went on. And since I usually have more than one photo from a photo outing they help me reconstruct more of the story.

Old Chevrolet Truck in the Rain at Knox Farm, East Aurora, New York.Chevrolet Truck at Knox FarmKnox Farm in the Rain

Chevrolet Truck at Knox Farm
Nikon F4, 50mm f/1.8, Kodak Portra 800

And that story allows me to be there again for another brief visit. Could that be why I enjoy photography? And it's been a while that I have been into this crazy passion of mine. I got sucked back into it around 2005 so it's going on 20 years. My path through photography has been winding through many different directions that you had a chance to follow if you return to my blog once in a while. But photography it still is nevertheless and the variety of options one has makes it so wonderful.

Between the Fences of Knox Farm, East Aurora, New York.Between the FencesKnox Farm in the Rain

Between the Fences
Nikon F4, 50mm f/1.8, Kodak Portra 800

One of the options is photography the old-fashioned way, the analog way. Yes, I mean photography on film. And I have been in that phase for a while now too, since about 2018. I bought a Nikon FE in 2015 and my first steps were careful at first, just feeling around. Looking at the archive on my computer now I only filled up a single roll that first year. Five rolls followed in 2016, back to just one in 2017. And then it exploded! Sixty rolls in 2019 and onwards and upwards it has been from there.

2023 has been a bit of a slow down in capturing new photographs. I have been thinking of what to do with all of the photos. I would like to give them a better life than collecting physical dust in film sleeves or digital dust on the hard drives. I am still figuring that part out. I struggle with social media. I think that is where photos go to die. I don't have any official statistics handy at the moment but how long do people look at each photo as they scroll through their feed? I suspect it is less than one second. And after a day or so the algorithm chases new content and buries yesterday's photos for good.

Why is that? Is that solely because photographs are everywhere and we're simply overloaded and possibly even tired of looking at yet another photo? I just did a quick internet search and it's possible that close to 2 trillion photos are taken every year. With almost 8 billion people on the planet Earth that makes 250 photos per year per person counting infants and all other people who are not in a position to take photos. Or is there more to it? Wow, where did my mind go today and how did this simple post about fall colors get so philosophical?

Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you! (#etbtsy)

Fall Colors at Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora, NY, near Buffalo, NY.Fall Colors at Knox FarmFall Colors Red Cottage across Snowy Winter Field, Knox Farm, East Aurora, New York (NY), Zeiss Ikon Contessa, Kodak Colorplus 200 FilmRed Cottage across Winter FieldWinter Vibes Knox Farm State Park Alley in the Fall, East Aurora, NY, near Buffalo, NY.Knox Farm Alley in the FallFall Colors

Tiny Red Cottage in Winter, Knox Farm, East Aurora, New York (NY), Zeiss Ikon Contessa, Kodak Colorplus 200 FilmTiny Red CottageWinter Vibes Beautiful Spring Sunrise at Knox Farm, East Aurora - Buffalo, NYSpring at Knox FarmSpring Mood

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