Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Bells of Quail Hill

One of my personal projects this spring is to investigate the cemeteries of Cortland county. You can follow my progress on my Google map, if you are interested. Over the past month or so, I have compiling a list of all the cemeteries and have been plotting their location as best I can. I've joined the local historical society even. Wow, it has been great to get my history skills honed a bit again (for those who do not know, I am a historian by training). I have also undertaken field research to go out and see these cemeteries. My goal is that part of the SoFoBoMo 2009 project is to create a photographic project focused on these cemeteries. My project will really kick off in a few weeks but I wanted to figure out which ones were photographically interesting before I really got into it. It has also been a great excuse to get out and explore.

This image was taken at the Quail Hill Cemetery and while I had not yet been taking pictures for my project, I really liked how this one turned out. But what really got me on this image was a question. To whom does the Revolutionary War Veteran plaque and flag belong? When I was there checking out the cemetery, I assumed this was for the elder Samuel Bell. But when I processed the image, I realized that they cannot be for him. He would only have been an infant if you do the math based on his headstone. Who whose marker is this?

I am finding out lots of other interesting things:

  • Headstones up until the 1840s are predominately made with a local stone. They have held up really well in most cases. But the fancy white limestones that came into vogue in the 1850s through the rest of the century have not and so it is easier to know more about the older burials than the more recent ones.
  • Epithets went out of vogue in the 1840s when they moved to the white limestones, which is too bad. Many of these are very poignant.
  • Except in the few large cemeteries, there is very little funerary art in these cemeteries.
  • Seems like roughly a quarter to a third of the headstones are for children, and in many cases, multiple children from the same family over a few years time. I am reminded as I look at these markers how absolutely lucky we are to live in a time such as this. I might not mind visiting the past but I would never want to live there.
I'll post more of my explorations in the coming month or so. The SoFoBoMo 2009 project will kick off for me in mid May. Should be a fun exercise and personal project.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cloud Shadows over a Cortland Farm

As I came up and over a hill on South Cortland Virgil Rd., I saw this scene off to the right of the road and down the hill. I screeched to a stop (in a safe spot on the verge) and grabbed my camera. Standing out the driver side, I propped myself up on the door and my seat to get up with a better vantage point. Then I shot a series of images over about five minutes or so as the clouds raced by. I love this kind of weather as the shadows cast by the clouds change quickly and form new and different areas to examine.

Sometimes you just have to stop and look. Don't expect you can come back, especially if you are chasing clouds.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Red Barn in a Spring Snow

One of the interesting things I have found this winter leaving in this area is that snow can be very localized and heavy at times. I went out one morning to meet up with a friend about 20 miles west of Cortland. We had a little dusting of snow at home but as I traveled up and over the hills the snow got deeper quickly. Along the top of one of the ridges, I came across this red barn and had to stop and get some pictures. Just about 2 miles beyond this barn I headed down into a valley. As I headed into the valley, the snow disappeared completely. This is not like going up and over the Rocky Mountains or something. We are only talking about a few hundred feet in elevation but it makes a big difference.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Watch Out for the Woods

I came upon this herd of sheep while wandering the countryside the other week. They were kinds freaking me out because this group of 4 stood in front staring at me, like they were going to run over of start beating me up for taking their picture. The sky was full of clouds so I waited a bit until a cloud covered the woods behind them and made for this dark contrast between white fluffy sheep and dark pointy woods. It gave me a feeling of "big bad wolf" or something, which combined with the menacing sheep, make it even more dark. Well at least to me, but maybe I am just odd that way.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hay Bale Gap in Cayuga County

The other week I went out shooting with a new friend from the area, Amanda. We are looking to work together on a new local interest magazine that is coming out and while I cannot get into many details right now, I am very excited about the opportunity.

On our wanderings around Cayuga county, we went back to a location she had scouted earlier to see if we could get some shots. I really like how this image came together. When we arrived the Sun was hiding behind the clouds, so we found a position we liked along the road and waited. Very quickly the clouds slid by and the sunlight hit the hay bales in the foreground. Within seconds it was gone again behind the clouds. We tried a few other locations up and down the road but in the end, this worked out best. Not only because of the light but for a few other details. When we moved, we ended up with a fence post appearing right in the middle of the gap. So instead of inviting you into the picture and to the barn beyond, the post stops your eye and the feeling of movement. The other element about this location is that the hay bales just touch the edge of the frame, but they are all in. As I moved this changed and other shots had them cut off. While I could have cropped it to touch, that is not as much fun. In the end, I like the feeling of this image.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Plowing Time on South Hill

Wow it has been awhile. A lot going on these days for me but I don't have much time to write about them at the moment. I wanted to get some images up because April has been a very productive month photographically for me. Been getting out a lot, working on a photo project and just enjoying the heck out of photography. I will get ya'll up to speed soon.

This shot is from this weekend (Wally, I know you wanted to see an old tractor). I came across it on South Hill Road out of McGraw on my way to a photowalk in Ithaca. Been looking for some good tractor images and I like this one. I have a few different versions with the tractor being larger or smaller but this seemed to work best for me, at least at the moment.

Thanks for stopping by. More to come very soon.