Fall Colors

Fall is a time for the environment to begin recycling itself. Animals fatten in preparation for flight, hibernation, or just winter survival; colors change. Unfortunately, the colors were not so prominent this year, due to weather anomalies.

However, I did manage to find some good pockets of color. The top left image was taken under afternoon sun, showing a kokapelli stalking through my garden. Very cool! The lower left and right-hand images were taken on an overcast and drizzly day at Linear Park in Penfield, NY. This produced soft light without shadows and contributed to a richer color palette.

I shot these with my Yashica TL-electro SLR on Kodak Ektar 100 film. You can see the complete collection at my on-line gallery.

Where have all insects gone? . . .

Working the Hostas Blossoms

In an earlier post, I discussed an article in the New York Times about the coming of the bugs that would invade our food supply. However, the Times is now reporting on the results of the Krefeld Study that found that all insects have been in sharp decline over the past 27 years. What gives? The reality is that bugs that can harm us are on the rise (ticks, mosquitoes, food pests) whereas the bugs that feed the birds and reptiles (the pollinators, etc.) are headed for extinction. We seem to have the worst of both worlds.

Not convinced? Have you noticed fewer bugs on your windshield and front bumper after driving during dusk over the past two decades? Entomologists call this the windshield phenomenon. I too have noticed far fewer bugs on my

Lonely Dragonfly

car and aircraft windshields when operating during dusk.

Scientists previously thought that this loss of insects was due to loss of habitat. Although this is a cause, climate change is the major reason for their decline. While you might think fewer insects are a good thing, taking them out of the biosphere mix is affecting our food supply (i.e., lack of pollination) and other ways not yet evident. Everything connects, take one out and the impacts ripple.

Is Soylent Green Our Destiny?

Dunkirk, NY Natural Gas/Coal power plant


The Trump Administration released the U.S. Climate Report this past Black Friday, hoping that it would get little press. That is not how it is playing out since it has been all over the news. Focusing on the U.S. only, it parallels the conclusions of the recently released IPCC Report. Written for a general

Grinnell Glacier Overlook: 1940 (U.S. Park Service)

audience, these data are dizzying to most of us. I recently saw the 1973 film, Soylent Green, starring Charlton Heston. It is a fictionalized account of a world suffering from the greenhouse effect and overpopulation. Everyone (except the wealthy) are suffering from heat, disease, and a lack of food. In fact, the only food available to the masses is an assortment of “soy” wafers.

The predictions in the U.S. report are bleak. Unbeknownst to me is the fact that the Northeastern United States is warming faster than the rest of the lower 48:

The seasonal climate, natural systems, and accessibility of certain types of recreation are threatened by declining snow and ice, rising sea levels, and

Grinnell Glacier Overlook: 2006 (U.S. Park Service)

rising temperatures. By 2035, and under both lower and higher scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5), the Northeast is projected to be more than 3.6°F (2°C) warmer on average than during the preindustrial era. This would be the largest increase in the contiguous United States and would occur as much as two decades before global average temperatures reach a similar milestone.

The only way I can describe our predicament is that we are in a slow motion “nuclear war” that will change the face of life on our planet. Yes, we can minimize the destructive effects of climate change, but we had better start now, according to the scientists.

Fall Nor’easter on Lake Ontario

Webster Pier


Here on the north coast the weather can get pretty rough. Remember the Edmund Fitzgerald (it sank on Lake Superior)?  Well, Ontario is a pretty rough place when the wind blows from the northeast. Last week a nor’easter swept up the east coast and we were on its northwestern side. Even so, we had winds up to 35 MPH with about an inch of rain.

So I decided to suit-up in my rain gear and go out for a shoot at the Webster Pier in the park of the same name. With my 35mm camera loaded with Ilford 3200 B&W film under a camera hood I ventured out, keeping the lens pointed down, then shooting mostly downwind to keep the lens dry (I still had droplets on the lens). That day the water was churning but the waves were only about 3 or 4 feet high. With the more powerful winter storms waves can be from 6 to 9 feet (great for winter surfing)!

Webster Pier

When I arrived the wind was “only” blowing at about 25 MPH; there were several die-hard fisherman trying their luck, with one pair out on the pier. However, after about an hour the winds strengthened to around 35 MPH and they left; I was really being buffeted during this period, making it difficult to compose my shots and keep my lens dry.

People love living near the water, but during storms things can get really dicey. Many had their properties at least partially flooded last year. You can see how close some homes are to the shore in the last photo.

If you have any storm shots from the Great Lakes, we would all love to see them!

 

Wind, Rain, and Climate Change

As I write this I am at the Norfolk Hilton in the midst of tropical storm Michael, where the Association for Applied & Clinical Sociology presentations begin tomorrow. I thought I was going to be the “grim reaper” as I was to conclude that we only have a few more decades before the human population begins to decline. However, as you might have heard in the news, I was scooped by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that released its climate update on October 8; it concludes that things will be much worse than previous models have projected when global temperatures reach 1.5 degrees centigrade above the 1880 baseline between 2030 and 2050.

I will post a summary of my presentation on my return, along with a link to my full report.


Due to connection problems, this post was not uploaded until October 16 @ 9:15 AM.

Back on the Water

Portland, ME harbor


I am not back on the water, just thinking about it. Some of the best water in my opinion is off the Maine coast, as we see here with a sailboat sailing into a fog bank in Portland harbor. Living on the North Coast (i.e., Lake Ontario) is nice but it just cannot compare to the salt water coasts. The tides, the salty air, and, oh yeah, those “back door” cold fronts that so often create widespread fog. Ahh, “when that fog horn blows . . . .”

There is nothing like a storm breaking waves over the rocks. The sound of the

Peaks Island, ME

crashing waves is relaxing. Actually, nice weather or stormy  weather (hurricanes aside) by the sea affect most people quite pleasantly, which is why coastal property is so expensive. Here is a brief take of one stormy day on Peaks Island in the photograph to the right.

Peaks Island, ME

Something went horribly wrong in this next photograph on the left. It looks like the film was scratched. None of the other frames on the roll have these scratches so I am a bit perplexed. Seeing these, I decided to process the photo with a somewhat austere look, hoping to bring some new aesthetic to the photo. I am not sure it worked.

Late one afternoon, as cumulus clouds were building, I took this last shot as a small boat was on its way back from, well, who knows where?

Peaks Island, ME

 

 

 

 

 

I will be back at Peaks next year for more of these great Down East* scenes.

*The phrase derives from sailing terminology: sailors from western ports (e.g., Boston) sailed downwind (summer prevailing winds are from the southwest) toward the east to reach Maine and the Maritime provinces.