Just needs paint © Steven Willard
The realtor must have had a sense of humor, or had never actually seen the property.
I was reminded of the wonderful movie, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy as a couple tired of living in Manhattan who buy a run down house in Connecticut, only to find out they are in over their heads. Melvin Douglas plays the role of the “suffering” architect who tries to give everybody what they want. Don Brodie in the role of the painter knows a thing or two about handling a client without them knowing it, and Louise Beavers, the family cook who saves the day. Cary and Myrna at their best.
Olympus OMD EM1 with legacy 50mm f3.5 macro. Black and White conversion with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.
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Slept Late, Maine © Steven Willard
Vacations. The luxury of sleeping in late, and the guilt of knowing you’re wasting time. What to do, what to do? Today I slept late.
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Moonshadow, Kent, CT © Steven Willard
We are used to seeing our shadow and the shadows of things cast by the sun. There is directness here, a linear path; sun, object, shadow. But, to see the shadow of something, not the thing itself, cast by the light of the moon, whose light is a reflection of the sun becomes complicated. As in other things in life, things are sometimes more complicated than we imagine at first.
I was taken by the organic shape of the tree’s shadow projected on the barn. There is symbolism here; the shadow of the living tree overlaid on the dead wood siding, illuminated by light reflected from the moon. And Cat Stevens singing in my head, a song that doesn’t make any sense to me.
Pine and needles, Woodbury, CT © Steven Willard
We get so interested in Fall colors it’s easy to overlook what else is going on around us. I had Wally, my dog, out for an afternoon stroll, and he surprised me by taking a different path than usual. No doubt he had caught the scent of a stranger, maybe a deer or a turkey, perhaps just a feral cat. At any rate, we were walking down a trail that wasn’t on our normal dog walk, when we came upon this pine tree standing in the middle of a bed of pine needles. They looked completely undisturbed, unusual because the grounds crew hadn’t swept them up.
It didn’t occur to me to make a photograph at first. Truthfully, I couldn’t imagine how to compose the subject, if there really was a subject. Here came Wally to the rescue. He found something he really liked the smell of and he refused to leave. I was stuck there, waiting while Wally had his nose to the ground, so why not make an exposure? So that’s what I did; I made one exposure while standing on his leash, and then he was satisfied. What a smart dog he was. I still miss him terribly.
Panasonic G3 with 20mm f1.7 lens, processed in Photoshop CS4 using Silver Efex Pro 2.
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Last One Standing, Roxbury, CT © Steven Willard
I’m not quite sure why I find lone trees so interesting. Is it somehow symbolic of the lone individual? Do I imagine Gary Cooper in “High Noon”, standing alone against the gang of outlaws? Or maybe Alan Ladd in “Shane”? I give away my age when I reference these two classic movies, but isn’t there something heroic in human lore about the rugged individual standing alone against the world? All I know is that whenever I see one of these old, gnarly trees that show the evidence of hardships, I feel strangely proud of them, and sad at the same time.
I learned from friends that this tree was finally felled by a storm. I drove back up to see for myself, and there standing by the side of the road, I wept.
Pentax K5IIs with 70mm f2.4 lens, processed in Photoshop CS4 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.
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Moonlight through the pines, Woodbury, CT © Steven Willard
I don’t know how many people today remember Hoagy Carmichael, and yet whenever I come across a scene like this I am immediately reminded of his songs. Though he did not write the lyrics (those were by Stuart Gorrell), that line, “Georgia on my mind“, or the line “moonlight through the pines“, it’s Hoagy’s melody that echoes in my head.
If you have seen, and can remember the movie, “To Have, and Have Not”, the movie where Humphrey Bogart meets Lauren Bacall (all you have to do is whistle), you might also remember Hoagy as the cigarette smoking piano player. Maybe too, you will remember that Hoagy composed one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century. According to Wikipedia, “Stardust” has been recorded more that 1,500 times.
Odd how a stroll in the moonlight can have that effect on me.
Olympus OMD EM5 with 20mm f1.7 lens.
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The back of the house, Bethlehem, Connecticut © Steven Willard
It must be the contrarian in me, but I found the back of the Bellamy-Ferriday House to be more interesting than the formal front that normally gets more attention. The front is where “company” would have been shown into the house; the work is done ’round back. Besides, at this time of day the light was much more interesting.
Of course this doesn’t mean that I might not photograph the front some other time; I’m leaving my options open. I think this would be good advice if I was in the advice business or if anyone ever asked me. “Don’t just look at the front, explore and keep your options open”. Not that anyone asked me.
The Bellamy-Ferriday House and Gardens is open to the public for a nominal fee and is located at 9 Main Street North, Bethlehem, CT 0675.
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Curves, Roxbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard
drooping catenary wires
hang belly down
in sympathetic curves
over an empty country road
Pentax K5IIs with 15mm f4 lens.
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Staten Island Ferry, New York © Steven Willard
It was years before I moved to Connecticut, 1971 in fact. Here I was on my first trip to New York City and there were so many things I wanted to see and do, I hardly knew where to begin. But I knew that one of the things I wanted was to take the Staten Island Ferry, just to say I’d done it. I also thought it would be a great way to get a full view of lower Manhattan Island. It was a blustery day, with a low-hanging overcast, but in the distance I could easily make out the World Trade Towers that are just visible in the upper left of the photograph. This was long before the tragedy of 9/11, and before we lost the feeling that our country was indestructible. It will be a long, long time before we will feel that way again.
Pentax Spotmatic with 50mm lens and Tri-X. Scanned from a gelatin print and adjusted with curves in Photoshop CS4 to better match the original print.
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