23 November 2014

New Orleans

Every once in a while, Mr. Fuzzy manages to leave the farm for exotic destinations; recently Amtrak took him to a conference in New Orleans. It was the annual conference of the South East Conference on Foundations, a very well run and worth while meeting.
Because of the Amtrak schedule and the meeting opening speech, Mr. Fuzzy had an entire morning off at the outset and an entire afternoon at the end, both spent in famous cemeteries, St. Louis No. 1 and Lafayette.

 Unlike his last trip to the Big Easy forty years ago, these two photogenic cemeteries are safe to visit (unlike some of the others).

Cemeteries are full of people with stories to tell and frequently anxious to tell them, but so few with a heartbeat stop long enough to hear their very quiet voices.


All of these images are best viewed large so double-click on them, please, or you will miss the subtleties. 






18 November 2014

dang its cold!

The high today, in brilliant sun and abundant wind, was 25F here on the farm. At 9:00 p.m., its already down to 14F. Baby, its gonna be cold tonight. The Century Furnace is filed with oak and locust and heating the house nicely.

A graphic from the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Virginia, says it all:

09 November 2014

Five Photographs in Five Days Challenge

There is a photographers' game going around on FaceBook where you are challenged by someone to post five black & white images, one per day and you pass the challenge on to two or three others. Mr. Fuzzy has been a little disappointed in what has been posted as those images often represent 'greatest works' and can be twenty years old. It seems especially disingenuous to post an image in a format that the photographer doesn't use any longer.

My five are all from 2014 and made with (1) a dying Canon point & shot that gave good service but it was never intended to take 5,000+ images, (2) Panasonic X20, a ground breaking mirrorless camera with a fixed zoom lens or (3) Panasonic Lumix GX7.

In sequence are Mr. Fuzzy's five images:















All of these images contain subtle tones and details that are only viewable if you double click on the image to enlarge it. Hopefully, these have not bored you, dear viewer.

02 November 2014

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

Mr. Fuzzy was on the road six of eight weekends and then caught the creeping crud two weeks ago at the autumn executive session of The Honourable Company of Horners. He has yet to totally shake that infection, alas, but at least feels clear-headed enough to write a blog post. It will be your judgement, dear reader, as to whether he really is or not-

About four or five days ago, Mr. Fuzzy's collection of Christmas cacti simultaneously burst into an explosive array of blooms. The day could not have been any finer: 65F, dead air, brilliant sun warming every surface it blessed, nary a cloud in the sky.





 
 Fast forward to yesterday morning. The clouds were so thick and the snow falling in such a concentration, that it was dark until almost 45 minutes after sunrise. Yes, there was an inch of snow on the ground and visibility perhaps reached 125 yards every once in a while. Eventually there was more than two incches accumulation.





Last night the wind shook the house much of the night in subfreezing temperatures (I heard from a friend the chill factor was 15F); Floyd county was under a high wind warning all night and at noon, its still unpleasantly gusty. Just fie days ago, my conceited mammalian mind thought it knew better than the Christmas cacti which were blooming far too early. Now Mr. Fuzzy knows what the Christmas cacti knew - winter is here.

20 October 2014

Lynchburg


It has been a goal since moving to Virginia to take day and weekend trips to explore this beautiful and historic state. Alas, the farm and life have prevented the regularity of these peregrinations but a golden opportunity arose last week to spend a day in Lynchburg, a town totally unknown to Mr. Fuzzy, other than two good friends were raised there.

Thomas Jefferson had his second home near the town and wrote: "Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be useful to the town of Lynchburg. I consider it as the most interesting spot in the state." Well, it seems to still be a fetching city based on last week's visit.



Time was limited and following a long-held philosophy of learning more about a smaller area rather than skimming a large area, Mr. Fuzzy stayed in downtown. The downtown is intact and vibrant with excellent preservation of old (pre-1900) buildings, all of which were occupied and in fine condition.

There was an classy coffee shop (oh, that Floyd should possess such a space) with adult patrons in a subdued but thoroughly interesting atmosphere. But rather than show you the interior, their front door summarizes the business. Click to enlarge the photo to be able to read the bottom sign!















Bailey-Spencer Hardware has been in its location for most of a century and is a treasure trove of new old stock and items required to restore historic architecture. The president, Scott Pearl, waited on Mr. Fuzzy. This was a step back into time when most facets of life were more appealing.





A door or two away was the most wonderful book store Mr. Fuzzy has wandered into since Betsy's in Cupar. Although no book purchase was made, an hilarious cat-humor greeting card came home, so good it is likely to be framed rather than sent. The proprietor's lap was occupied by a wee black and white cat. This minimalist space was soothing, quieting, relaxing and made the customer want to spend the day searching for great literature.




Next stop was the Old City Cemetery, opened in 1806 as a public burial grounds. Unlike many old cemeteries, the tomb stones were very modest. There is a large section where the Confederate fatalities from the military hospital are buried. After one battle alone, 6,000 Confederate casualties were sent to the hospitals there. Before the War had ended, more than 20,000 soldiers had been treated there, about 3,000 succumbing to their wounds and diseases. It is not depressing per se, but sobering, to stand where they are interred.





05 October 2014

Monochromia

After the last several posts with autumnal coloration, perhaps you, dear reader, might enjoy resting your cones (color sensors in your eyes) and observe Mr Fuzzy's world in monochrome. Those of you who have known Mr. Fuzzy more than a decade will recall his 'arty' photography was always monochrome and he has rediscovered the joys and special aesthetic vision of monochrome with the Panasonic GX7 camera.

A few weeks ago, the talented photographer (and dear friend) Tillman Crane stopped in for a day. Mr. Fuzzy always learns at least one key operational concept of photography from Tillman and this visit was no exception. Watching Mr. Crane use his Fuji X Pro 1 camera, it was observed his viewing screen displayed the scene in black & white. Naturally, the inquiry was made: why and how? His answer swayed Mr. Fuzzy to experiment with the same method and below you may peruse some of  the better class of outcomes.


The Panasonic Lumix GX7C camera is a relatively new(2008)  format pioneered by Olympus and Panasonic denominated "micro four thirds."  Its a small sensor but still larger than those used in most compact digital cameras. In theory, sensor size is key to tonality (dynamic range), low noise, and other important variables in digital imaging. In practice, however, those apparent limits are barely noticeable. On the other hand, the small sensor allows for a much smaller camera body and commensurately smaller lenses, such that the system you carry weighs a fraction of the larger sensor-packing cameras. The night scene above was taken more than an hour after sunset; the eye could discern no tone int he sky whatsoever. This was shot on 'idiot' mode with the camera making all determinations. Hand held at 1/13 second. You may have another opinion but this seems almost miraculous to Mr. Fuzzy.

 


The fogs have been plentiful and of fine quality in the last few weeks. Some have laid for hours, some have evaporated with the first warmth of the sun, but all reveal new glories of Floyd county for those who wish to see them.

As always, you may click on any image to enlarge it, should you so desire.

Stay well and content yourselves.




30 September 2014

Early Reds

Autumn is here - at least if red leaves are an indicator. Strangely, the yellows are well behind the reds in coloring. The temperatures have warmed a bit again so it is not the crisp nights causing the transformation.

The Virginia Creeper (to the left) is as intense in color as I have seen in years. The dogwood (below) out in the large pasture has colored quickly and a has taken a deeper hue than typical. Most, but not all, of the dogwoods are especially well endowed with their signature red berries this season.













One of the 'tools' provided by nature and utilized by weather prognosticators in much of the eastern United States is the woolly web worm. Famous prophets keep their specific techniques secret but common wisdom notes the insects' color ratio, depth of color, numbers and activity levels. The greater the percentage of black on the worm, purportedly the worse the winter. Today Mr. Fuzzy saw the first one of the season and he forecasts bad news: all black, very large and slow.


In these parts, stink bugs are rampant, no end of trouble both domestically and in gardens. The little buggers (pun intended) prefer to winter indoors in tight places. They do not augur the form of the future winter but speak to its arrival date. Alas, they have been all over the window screens for perhaps ten days, a sign the cold temperatures may not be far away.