In this part of New England, the textile industry once dominated. In the towns around where I live can be seen many an old mill. Many of the mills are now abandoned, others have been converted to new uses. This particular mill was once a yarn mill, but in recent decades had been converted to space for dozens of small businesses. About 6 years ago, the whole mill complex was largely destroyed in a fire. The fire started in the middle of the night, so happily there were no casualties. But the businesses were destroyed, and many lost their jobs and livelihood. (It particularly saddens me to think of the many artists who had studios in the mill, who undoubtedly lost years worth of artwork.)
All these years later, the mill is still a burned-out shell. Much of the debris and rubble was cleared out, but large sections of the structures still stand. Here are some photos that I’ve taken on a few different occasions over the past year.
The smoke stack has been converted into a cell phone tower. I vaguely remember that this happened after the fire.
The shell of the rather ostentatious columned façade.
A sign on the fence remaining from before the fire: “No smoking beyond this point.”
I find it a bit eerie to see that remnants of the landscaping survived the fire. Here are some ornamental trees and a hydrangea bush, in their late fall but otherwise healthy states.
I found the striped shadows of these exposed rafters to be quite striking.
A different angle on those shadows, and zoomed in a bit. (Hence the graininess.)
The façade does look very imposing against the fiery colors of a dramatic sunset.
This week’s foto finder challenge was to share photos on the theme of “factory.” To see what other sorts of factories others have found, pay a visit to the fff blog.
If you thought I was done posting photos of fall leaves, you were wrong. But this time, there’s a twist: not all of these leaves are fall leaves. Some of them are from this spring and summer.
In each of these photos, it was the holes that caught my eye. As is so often the case, it is the imperfections that lend character. I find it funny that while we seem to often strive for perfection, flaws and irregularities can be more interesting and appealing.
As we head into November, there are fewer leaves to be seen on the trees, but still plenty on the ground. While mostly not as flashy as the leaves of October, these late-fallen leaves still attract my eyes (and my camera lens). Before we know it, the leaves left on the ground will be buried under layers of dirt and snow, and once they reappear, they’ll be more of a soggy squishy mess.
Fallen oak leaves catching some afternoon rays.
These maple leaves at my mother-in-law’s house have twisted and curled themselves in ways that play with the light and shadows.
This (still-attached) ivy leaf seems quite heart-like to me, and I also liked it’s purple and green patterning.
I don’t know what sort of leaf this is, but it glowed nicely in the sun.
I enjoyed the way the blades of grass cast shadows on this curled maple leaf.
And here’s one late splash of flamboyant color: a Japanese maple leaf I encountered in a parking lot.
Late this morning, as I went to the kitchen to get a cup of tea, my eyes were caught by the glow of bright colors from the window. Theo had planted some seeds as part of a project in his pre-K class, and they grew into some marigold flowers. Most amazing to me is that John has been watering them, and they not only grew into plants, but are still alive these many weeks and even months later. This is especially remarkable because the only plants that have historically stayed alive in this house have originated in neglected vegetables.
In any case, it was not the survival of the plants that caught my attention, but the interesting patterns produced by the sunlight coming through the screen, casting shadows across the unexpectedly colorful dying leaves and shriveling blooms. I love the warped grid pattern that emerged on so many of the leaves and petals.
I went for my camera, as I knew the light and focus would be too tricky for my phone. I wanted to capture the glow of the plant, and the strikingly patterned leaves, so this was a job for manual focus.
Even with manual focus, it was tricky, but I enjoyed looking through the results.
This was a photo from my May, 2012 trip to mainland China. I was in Beijing ever-so-briefly, and made a mad dash through the Forbidden City on a morning before catching the train to Shanghai for my conference. This was inside one of the many museums within the walls of the Forbidden City housing antiquities and other national treasures. I spied these two golden cranes in a display case, which fit nicely into my running crane theme¹ inspired by Friday’s foto finder theme of crane. (Of course, the cranes, while beautiful, are not what I found most interesting about the photo. I like the confusing layers of of light and reflections. Not to mention the expressions on the faces of the two other tourists behind the cranes’ display case.)
Once again, I am reminded of how little I have shared from that trip on this blog. I took hundreds of photos, and have many story I want to tell.
¹ The theme is doing the running, not the cranes. To my knowledge, I have no photos of running cranes. I’m not even sure whether they do run.
With Friday’s foto finder theme of “crane,” there was much talk of feathered vs. metal cranes. I shared some feathery cranes, and Archie, bel and az each shared some interesting photos of cranes of the metal construction variety. But in the quest for cranes in my photo library, I discovered that I had some photos of cranes that were both of the bird variety, and made of metal.
These feathered metal cranes can be found in the koi pond of the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
I realized in posting this that I have shared quite a few photos from the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, and from the same visit there in 2009, even: koi, exclamation points in the wild, and a sign reading “keep on path.” I even posted a twisted tree that, while not in the tea garden itself, was just around the corner from its entrance. I have photos from other trips there, but it seems that I keep coming back to this one set.
I still quite like these photos, at least in their content and composition, but am otherwise frustrated at quality of them. Back in March of 2009, when I took them, I didn’t yet have my current trusty camera. I used a little point-and-shoot, and happily carried it around for all my pointing-and-shooting needs. Back then, I didn’t know much of anything about white balance and exposure and depth of field, and while I could appreciate looking at a good photo, had no idea how to get one. I look at these two photos, and feel the limits of my post-processing. The greens aren’t quite right, and there are over-exposed bits, and the focus isn’t quite as sharp as I’d like on the parts that I’d like. These days, I’d know to use a smaller aperture (not that I necessarily had that option on my old camera), and would probably have used manual focus, to boot (which I definitely didn’t have on my old camera). It’s an interesting reminder of how much I have learned.
The African crowned cranes at my local zoo are remarkably photogenic. They were quite cooperative posing for me earlier this year, showing off their striking crowns of feathers.
Striking a pose.
Craning to look at me?
Bending over for a drink.
Showing off its height and wingspan.
Enjoying the mid-day sun. (This photo was taken a few years before the others, which were from earlier this year. I notice that this crane has darker neck feathers, and a smaller crown. I wonder whether this is a black crowned crane, and the photos above of a gray crowned crane.)
Friday’s friday foto finder challenge was to share a photo of a crane While my first interpretation of this polysemous word was of the bird, I was almost certain that I wouldn’t have any photos of this sort of crane in my archives. I knew, however, that I had loads of photos of construction cranes and shipping cargo cranes. But a bit of poking back through my old photos triggered some memories of a variety of cranes I had encountered.
To see what cranes others found, pay a visit to the fff blog.
It’s amazing how enormous things can seem tiny, and tiny things can become huge, all depending on your vantage point. Right now, I am marvelling at the enormous amount of inconvenience and discomfort that can be caused by a tiny speck of something that has lodged itself under one’s eyelid. On a related note, one takes for granted the enhanced depth perception that one has from the full use of two eyes, and one realizes that one has taken for granted the ability to pour a beverage into a glass without pouring large amounts of said beverage onto the table.
Here in the wooded parts of New England, there are plenty of ferns growing among the undergrowth. In the spring they poke up alien-looking shoots, which then unfurl and fan out into their more familiar fractal-like shapes. In summer, they typically appear in a range of greens, from bright chartreuse to deep forest green, and many a shade in between. In the fall, by mid-October, most of the green fades away, leaving a variety of other colors: reddish browns and soft yellows, along with the palest of minty greens.
This is a rather blurry photo I took last year, which doesn’t do justice to the colors, but gives a sense of the range.
This year, I was quite taken with some ferns that had faded almost completely to white, but without otherwise looking withered.
I loved the way the bright white shapes stood out against the dark fallen oak leaves.
This fern looks very feathery in white.
Zooming in, you can see how perfectly the fern kept its shape.
Find the fading fall ferns fascinating? Feel free to fill the fine form that follows.¹
¹ And by that I mean “please leave a comment,” except with a lot more alliteration.²
² And by that, I meant that I used a lot more alliteration above. But if you wish to leave a comment with a lot more alliteration, please proceed!