LOOKING OUT OUR BACK (OR FRONT) DOOR — IN BLACK & WHITE

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Outside Your Home or View

The autumn leaves are getting pale, though probably down by the river they are still bright. Here, though, they are pale. It’s definitely a result of the prolonged drought. I hope the drought is ending. We got a inch and a half of rain earlier in the week and we are supposed to get more over the weekend. We have a big water deficit to make up: about 9 inches in Boston and about 7 or 8 inches locally. I hope we are (finally) on our way!

These were taken by Garry and me between August and October 2020.

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IN THE HOUSE IN BLACK & WHITE

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Inside Your Home

I love the edges and reflections in the house and the angles. I love the little things. Books and clocks and dolls and toys.

BLACK & WHITE – PETS AND FARM ANIMALS

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Pets and Farm Animals

Pets and farm animals, all in black and white. Well, it’s a pretty black & white world we seem to be living in, so why not?

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HORNS: COWS, GOATS, AND SHEEP

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Horns

I live in a valley where horned animals also live. Cows and goats, mainly. I found one other kind of horn — in our jeep.That’s all the horns I could find.

Farm cows — with horns! Photo Garry Armstrong
Horn in a jeep
Goats on the farm

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THE CAMERA I DIDN’T BUY – AND THE ONES I’VE ALREADY GOT

I got an “on sale” notice from Adorama about the Olympus OMD M1 Mark II, down from $1300 to $900. I know from long experience that if Adorama has it on sale, so does everyone else. That’s because the Mark III is out, though as far as I can tell, there’s no significant difference between the II and the III. But I wanted it. I lusted for it. I yearned. I even put it in my basket both on Adorama and on Amazon. Then, I took it out of my basket and consoled myself with a nice goat leather case.

Camera lust. It’s a thing. It’s accompanied by an endless passion for camera bags, lenses, filters, even camera straps. Not to mention spare batteries and chargers. I’m not sure anyone can help themselves.

Not all that long ago, I finally got the camera I’ve always wanted, the Olympus Pen F and I love it as much as I knew I would. I don’t really need another camera. I have three great cameras, each fitted with a lens that does a particular job, My M5 Mark II has the 100-300 birding lens on it and I don’t change it since there are always birds and squirrels out there. The M5 Mark I has a 30mm 1.4 Sigma lens on it which is very good for general shooting and flowers. Not bad for portraits and shoots in very low light.

The Pen F has a 12-200 lens on it. That’s as “all purpose” a lens as I’ve heard of that isn’t part of a superzoom — and it’s an f3.3 — a lot faster than the longer lenses. It shoots wide and long and everything in the middle. It’s a very hefty lens. I have a Panasonic all-in-one camera that has a 24 to 750mm. My problem with the camera is I don’t have a clue how it works. I downloaded the “manual,” but it doesn’t explain anything. It takes brilliant pictures … when I can get it to work. I’ve finally just set it to automatic because the menu means absolutely nothing to me.

Then there are the cameras I don’t use. I say it’s because we haven’t gone anywhere, but really, it’s because I’ve moved on and I’m using something else. I gave my best one to my granddaughter. She told me she was going to give it back, but then, after a while, she discovered what I already knew: that’s one great camera. It’s not compact, but it has a fantastic lens and it’s fast. And while it’s big, it isn’t heavy. It’s the best all-purpose camera I’ve ever used and I miss it, but my granddaughter is happy. What can a grandmother do? You have to make the kids happy, right?

I’m betting that the OMD M1 Mark II is going to go down by another $100 soon and maybe I’ll be able to buy it then. But not today.

A PHOTO A WEEK: SOMETHING THAT FEELS NOSTALGIC (EVEN IF IT ISN’T EXACTLY)

A Photo a Week Challenge: Nostalgic – THE BRIDGE OVER THE CANAL

Sometimes, those analog filters can make something that’s right around the corner look 100 years old. Really, the bridge is 100 years old, but the road that runs over it has been paved many times, but is still the primary postal route from this valley to Boston. It’s a long, winding drive on many roads because around here, a “route” isn’t necessarily the same as “a road.” So here’s the stone bridge in a postcard from the past.

Faded reflection of the river and bridge

SHADOWS & REFLECTIONS – CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Shadows & Reflections)

I ran out of room before I ran out of pictures. We must do this one again sometime soon! Shadows are mostly at home. The reflections are on the canal. We are having a very bad drought here right now. The rivers are drying up and the fish, with no place to swim, are dying. The herons fly as far as they must to find food. it was in 2016 that the eagles left, moving north to the Merrimack which is a bigger, deeper river. This is the worst drought since 2016 when you could see the bottom of the rivers – all mud and sand. There was barely a trickle. These were taken in June, when we still had water. We need some rain soon. Meanwhile, let’s look back on the river when its still waters reflected shadow and light.

Faded reflection of the river and bridge
Photo: Garry Armstrong
Painted, faded river and bridge
Shady backyard
Shade and fuchsia
Shady Duke
Faded daylilies
Reflections in the Canal

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BLACK, WHITE, AND LIGHT

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge:
Lighting of Any Kind

The light in black and white is different than in color. You need not only light, but usually shadow or rays to show the light off to advantage.

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FROM BEHIND IN BLACK & WHITE

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: From the Back


A lot of my best pictures have been from the back, but most of them are not (yet) in black and white. I spent most of yesterday processing photographs. Between the time I picked up the camera and a little while later, put it down, I took 120 pictures. It took me a while to sift through them. I also had t go out on the deck and move the plants so i could actually see anything. Some of the pictures I regretfully didn’t use were taken through the leaves. For some reason, my camera will do that. The areas shot through leaves look like there’s a green fog in front of them. I saved some of them. At some point, I might find something interesting to do with them.

At the tolls, it’s always from the back
Back of Titmouse
And just a few more cows
Photo: Garry Armstrong
Local cows (good milk)
Photo: Garry Armstrong
The Duke
The Terriers
Definitely from the rear
Back end of bird
The end

Given that the past few weeks have been downright frantic, I took the archival way out today and spent almost all day, other than making supper, listening to a book. And REALLY enjoying listening to the book. liking it so much, I might listen to the whole thing again tomorrow.

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THE MARINA

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Anything to Do With Boats


Cee wanted anything to do with boats. Well, as it turned out, we got a few boats — and some gulls that liked to hang out with the boats.  A few pictures? Sure!

Standing gull
On the ropes
Resting gull
In the marina
Tied up at the marina – Photo: Garry Armstrong

BENCHES IN BLACK AND WHITE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Benches


With 42 million people unemployed in this country right now — and likely more to come — a bench may be where many families, seniors, children — everyone winds up living.

In this house, with our own personal histories and demons, everyone is ready to explode. Garry has his own personal demons and maybe he will write about them. As of today, he has barely even so much as spoken of them — not even to me. The feelings go deep and are troubling and powerful.

This is an evil time we never expected to have to live through again. I’m not complaining about “looting.” I’m looking at the real looting being done by our “corporations” who have bought the U.S. and turned it into their private preserve. As long as we serve their endless greed, we are allowed to live here.

Last night on John Oliver, a black demonstrator whose name I forget but whose face I don’t think I could forget, pointed out that the reason they burn down their “own” neighborhoods is that they are NOT their neighborhoods. They own nothing in those places, not their homes, businesses, or anything else.

She ended on a note that rang so true: “You’re just lucky we’re out seeking equality, not revenge!”

Picnic bench with camera

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HEADS AND FACES IN BLACK & WHITE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Heads or Facial Features

I don’t do a lot of portraits anymore. I used to. Back when I was more mobile, I got to do weddings and portraits for fun and occasionally, for a few dollars. So now, I shall dig deep into my archives and see what I can come up with.

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