Do It Now! — Again

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Some time ago I wrote a blog post admonishing my readers not to postpone getting that picture until “later,” because you never know whether the subject you want to photograph will still be there later, and as an example I posted a photo I had taken of a vintage, no longer operative country store in Arkville, Delaware County, NY. That was the “before” image. In the “after” image, the building had been sanitized into a red-vinyl cookie-cutter adjunct to a petrol station by a company that obviously had plans to operate the business in a, well, somewhat more character-challenged incarnation. Clearly my “Do it now!” admonition doesn’t apply in every single instance — for example, Mt. Washington isn’t likely to change much or disappear if you put off shooting it for a few weeks or so. But it does have to be taken seriously when you’re shooting ruins or abandoned buildings, for example.

I just had another example of this happen last week. One year ago I visited Gloucester, Massachusetts for the first time and, in a random walk through the town, came upon the old fish processing factory you see in the above photo. This is the best of three photos I took, all fairly wide-angle shots. The sky was clouding over, the wind was picking up (the latter is nothing unusual for Gloucester), so I packed it in, figuring I could try some close-ups on another visit. (The close-ups would have required a change of lens, and with the wind there was quite a lot of dirt and sand blowing around — enough to make you consider whether it was worth risking a lens change.)

Fast forward one year, and I was in Gloucester once again, two weeks ago. Since this building wasn’t too far from the famous Fishermen’s Memorial, and I was heading that way, I figured it would be a good time to revisit the building and get some different shots.

And when I got there, here, to my dismay, is what I saw:

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The Good Harbor Fillet Co. deconstructed!

Well, I’m glad I got some images of it when I did. Do I regret not having changed the lens for close-ups on my previous visit? Given the weather conditions that day, no. But now that I have the Olympus SH-1, with its 600-mm zoom, that I carry round as a backup. I would have regretted not pulling that out and using it as an alternative.

Discovering a Neighbor

A biking/walking trail called the Heritage Trail runs close to where I live, connecting the villages of Harriman, Chester barMonroe, Chester, and Goshen. Normally I start my walk at the Monroe access. First, it’s the closest; second, the terminus of my walk is usually an ancient cemetery at a place called Oxford Depot, about halfway between Monroe and Chester. The oldest gravestone here dates from 1795; the majority of them are roughly from the Civil War era.  (Recently I was amused to read a blog that claimed that there is supernatural activity taking place at this cemetery; for one thing, strange orbs appear on photographs taken there. Well, yeah, I’ve had those orbs on my photos of the site–it’s called lens flare and it’s produced when your lens is inadequately protected from the sun!)

Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago I decided to start my walk at the Chester access, because I dimly remember, several years ago, seeing a lot of goldenrod along the trail in that area and I thought it might be fun to try to shoot.

American HouseIt turned out to be one of those delightful occasions where the shoot turns out to be quite different from, and better than, what I expected. Sure there was a bit of goldenrod, but nothing that made for a worthwhile photograph. But driving into town I was stunned by the historic buildings, especially near the old railroad station.  (Interesting how one’s photographic eye expands or changes with the years; on that first trip a few years ago the buildings wouldn’t have popped up on my photographic radar at all.) I made a few images of a colorful American-themed building right close nearby after having photographed several cyclists on the bike trail and then, because the light was starting to turn too harsh and hazy, decided to return another day to continue the shoot.Sunflower

This I did yesterday, and here are a couple of results. The sunflower was one of a few growing at the station, and I’m including her picture here because she seems to be saying, “Hey, look at me–I survived Hurricane Irene!” And so she did, she and her sisters with her in the little plantation.

Chester storefrontSome of my shots used my “two-for-one” approach in which the actual contents of a store window are combined with the reflection of what’s across the street. You see one of those here; I also made a sepia version (right out of my “faux vintage” school), and for that you’ll need to visit my regular website.