Rock Hopping

…slowing the whirlwind, not one step at a time.

…a short piece of writing by Dean Potter, ex-Flow king climber/base jumper:

***Cold air from the valley drifts upwards. It’s predawn and I’ve been moving on the north Nose of El Cap through the night, focused on the rock in front of me in the faint light of my headlamp. Suddenly, I think of how tired and exposed I am, alone, ropeless, far past any point of retreat. A surge of panic courses through me. I try to think of the summit but that thought, too, is dangerous.

An image floats into my mind. I’m following my father in the early through a pasture in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. He strides towards Moosebrook, his favorite fishing spot. I’m not even half his height, and the frosty grass brushes all the way up to my waist.
We reach the river. My Dad skips from rock to rock, downstream to the first hole, and looks back for me. The water is freezing, and the rocks are covered in slime. I’m afraid to follow. I burrow painfully through the thickets of pricker bushes, swamp, and blackflies as my father calls for me. The bugs chase me back to the river’s edge. and I timidly wade in and try to catch up. Tense and anxious, I lose my footing, and fall into the river. I gasp for breath in the icy water, but manage to scramble onto a rock where I bawl until my father comes back. “I don’t like fishing. I want to go home”.

My father shakes his head at me, and his eyes sparkle. “Dean, put everything else aside. There’s nothing to be afraid of, except a little cold water. Just focus on the next step you are taking. I feel so happy running down the river, the sun reflecting off the water, my body naturally going where it’s supposed to. I almost don’t think at all. I just respond to what’s in front of me.”
He stops talking and heads downstream again. We slowly pick our way across the rocks, catching rainbows and brook trout. The day passes quickly and my confidence rises. Soon, I’m playing and racing down the rapids with eyes wide and senses alert, not knowing I’ve just received my first lesson in Zen.

The air drifts over my body. I grasp the immediate. I reach for the next hold.****

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This story struck a chord in me. I vividly remember being about 6 or 7 years old, visiting my Grandma in upstate NY. There was a gully with a stream rushing through it, complete with rocks at all angles, slippery moss, and icy water. I used to love hiking in that stream as a kid. It was beautiful, serene. Fairly quickly, I learned the art of sprinting from rock to rock, without any distractions. As you pushed off with your right foot, your body already knew where your left foot was going to land, and the precise angle you should land on to prevent slipping, while sending you in the direction of the next “pre-selected” rock. And it was all so effortless. It exhilarated and calmed me at the same time. I guess my addiction to the state of “Flow” started here. In one way or another, I’ve been pursuing this state ever since.

In the moment, harmony, complete concentration without effort, zoned in. When you experience this deeply, there is joy, a smile on your face for days. You have tapped into a great state of consciousness that is not always easy to do.

OK, enough rambling… Go back and read the article again. Instead of reading about climbing and rock-hopping, read it as a metaphor for life. Life as it should be, not the whirlwind of stress it often becomes. Life can be a rock hop if you allow it.

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A Light Tenacity

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Winter and the Walking Dead

I don’t shoot much inside anymore, preferring to be outside at the beach. For some reason, with the winter blues or whatever, I didn’t feel like venturing outside in Thursday’s blizzard. I must be living a bit dead, since I am usually twitching to get into the middle of any storm.

A trailer for the upcoming season of Walking Dead played, a memory that a friend had dressed up as Negan for Halloween also played, so I came back to life a bit and set up some lights and played. It had been a while.  Gotta shake out the rigor mortis. “I need a phone call. I need a plane ride. I need a sunburn…”

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Set up: 3 foot softbox as main light, cam right. Small softbox hair light behind black seamless paper. Reflector cam left. I added a extra light behind subject to control background for a bit more separation from the black jacket. Processing was just some quick Lightroom, except for dropping in the full moon in PS. (Negan doesn’t get skin treatment.)  There was also a fog machine for that pic.  Shot in living room with 70-200mm, mostly at 80mm. (Negan credit: Adam Snair.)

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Anyway, playing with lighting is really a lot of fun.  And cabin fever is no good reason to let your brain get eaten.  If you have any comments / questions feel free to leave a comment! Thanks for looking!

Community Meeting -Moriches Whale Response.

Hopeful progress on whale debacle…

From GothamWhale :

TODAY!!!!
“NYC/Long Island, let your voice be heard or show up for moral support! This meeting is your chance to “interact face to face” with the people who made the calls that directly effected the Moriches Whale’s outcome.
At this meeting, all in one room, will be some of the most influential people in the Humpback Whale Community for our area.

Community Meeting on Moriches Bay Whale Response. 4-6 p.m. at the Brookhaven Town Hall, 1 Independence Hill, Farmingville, NY.


Goal – Provide an overview of the incident, lessons learned, and plans for future responses in New York for community members. Panelists will also receive comments and questions from the community.”

This is a chance to hear and be heard!   We need more power at the local level.

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Humpback of Long Island, NY.

Harbor Seals

…almost overslept

It was a nice morning.


 

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Almost over slept this morning.  Got up, but I was a bit slow getting enough coffee in me after yesterday’s fantastic game.  I wanted to get some landscape shots before the sunrise – I like an hour to a half hour before for photography and observing.  Those times often offer the best color.  Running a bit late, I caught the sun coming up over the ocean, always a blessing, but I missed all the good color from earlier.

The light was still great so I changed plans.  I switched out the wide-angle for the Tamron 150-600mm and went looking for wildlife.  I was hoping to get lucky, maybe see some raptors or a fox.  Drove around a bit, nothing.  Had another thought and this is what I found this morning. (Phoca vitulina)

All shots are cropped considerably, even at 600mm, the harbor seals were pretty far away. Because the low sun was hitting them just right, I set exposure compensation at -1.0, to help prevent any overexposure of the seal’s light fur. (Seal fur, btw, belongs on a seal.)  I was shooting in aperture priority, not manual mode, since I was kind of parked in the middle of the road, with a park ranger behind me tooting his horn for me to get back in my car.

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All shots:   ISO 500, F9.0, 1/1250th sec., 600mm.  The ISO was bumped up to increase shutter speed, as I was hand holding 600mm.  Aperture was 9.0, because this lens is very sharp there, and figured I needed some depth of field.

 

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There are some better places to find seals on Long Island and I will try to hit that in another post.  Seals are federally protected marine mammals.  Please respect them by staying at least 50 yards away.  If your presence alters their behavior, you are too close.

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Continue reading “Harbor Seals”

Empty My Cache

(If I was a pirate…)

During the Carboniferous Period, 290 million years ago, the Earth’s churning mantle and other forces of nature forced a large mass of igneous molten rock into the more ancient metamorphic rock already in existence. The result was the granite bedrock underlying much of the lakes region of south-western Maine. As the molten rock cooled, crystals of quartz and feldspar and slivers of reflective dark and light mica formed, giving the granite its colors of whites, light pinks, light tans. Varying fluid pressures allowed for variable grain size of the crystalline structure. Higher pressure and slower cooling time allowed the individual crystals to develop larger in size. There are also dark colored rocks, the result of Mesozoic Era (225 to 65 million tears ago) intrusions of a new and different composition of igneous molten rock. These dikes can be seen as the narrow bands of basaltic black, cutting through the light granite. Some of these rocks and formations are quite beautiful, but they are only foundation upon which the glacial ice sheets carved their art.

The last ice sheet retreated in melt over 13,000 years ago. Glaciers are immensely powerful rivers of ice. They flow downwards at an exceedingly slow pace, but the weight and pressures created by the flow over the landscape is enough to carve out and pulverize the existing granite bedrock. This was this process that carved out an area that is today, roughly 47.5 square miles wide, reaching down to a depth of around 325 feet.

Sebago Lake is large enough to now serve as the public water supply for the city of Portland and surrounding areas. It also serves as Vacation Land, due to its beauty. Surrounded by the evergreens of the Maine woods, the shoreline of the lake consists of coarse sandy beaches, granite outcrops, boulders, cliffs, and marshlands. The fresh air smells of pine, and the water of the lake is possessed by magical properties of which you can drink. In summer, surface temperatures are pleasant for swimming. Dive to 100ft and you will feel yourself pass through five to seven distinct thermoclines. Your bubbles will sound oddly crystalline. It is cold. The clarity of the water and the geological artwork allow you to endure shivering.

522092_10150854859692275_1097173206_nDown there is this boulder, the size of a huge house. It is cracked open in the middle – a split of three to four feet. Within this split opening are lodged many smaller boulders that didn’t quite make it to the bottom. Fun swim-throughs. But what most people miss, hidden in the deep bottom shadows – is the Cave. Its at the base of this split rock. You enter a small dark chamber which leads to a small opening. You’ll need to take your tank off and feed it through, then follow. Your flashlight now reveals another small chamber that has a small drop-off ledge on the far side. Be very careful not to stir up any silt. A dive partner can place his arm into the opening to remain in contact with your fins. However, if you wish to explore a little more, you must break contact. You go alone. Proceed to the small drop-off ledge on the far side of the chamber. With full arm extension, you can almost reach the bottom of the drop-off. Breath. Reach. Move slowly. Feel around. There you will find a pillowcase. Breath. Be gentle. The contents of the pillowcase were hermetically sealed in a long fire-side night’s worth of candle wax, almost ten years ago. I have forgotten the brands and vintages, but I recommend the White with a Maine seafood dinner. The Red will work, chilled on a cool fireside night under the planetarium of stars. But don’t wait too much time after the dive to celebrate with shots of some good, smooth, aged, tequila. You won’t need any rocks.

Cheers…

Long Island Photo Gallery

See in person, buy local!

G’Morning folks.  As photographers, we love the term “buy local”.   Rather than give money to a corporate black hole, the money goes back into the community, and specifically helps us to keep creating art.  To help with the “buy local” and “support local artists” movements, here in Long Island, NY. we have the Long Island Photo Gallery.
Its is a wonderful little shop, right in the heart of Islip, NY.   It is filled with great artwork by many different local artists, much of it featuring our beautiful north and south shore beaches and waters.
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Long Island Photo Gallery – 467 Main St. Islip, NY.
When you visit,  you can browse the walls and see exactly what these beautiful pieces look like and how they will look in your home.   While there, Joanne or Jessica are very helpful, and can walk you through a selection and sales process, whether it be for a piece on the wall, or in a digital catalogue.
The gallery is also a great place just to pop in for some inspiration!  (Especially this time of year – thanks for nuthin, groundhog.)
Of note:  On February 10th, 2017, there will be a reception from 6-8pm, for their new exhibit, “From Dusk to Dawn”.    Hit the link for exhibit and gallery details.

“From Dusk to Dawn”

Long Island has a lot of talented people for you to check out!  Hit the link, hit the store, or give them a call at (888) 600-5474.
Thanks for looking!