© Rob Brown

Pond Life

Lily pad flowers and the bullfrogs are out in the pond. A marked difference with the water level this year. Lots of storms have so far kept the pond full.
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Longest Day, 2017

Tonight I got on the bike and rode off to find the horizon on the longest day of 2017; always the most difficult task in the New England countryside with all the trees.

First day of summer:

Longest Day

Here's one from last night on the last day of spring:

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Wheelwrights - 125 years

Will your family photos you take now be available in 125 years?

Below are some scans of prints of my great-great-grandfather and wheelwright Henry Boddington in 1891 (top) and great grandfather, Reginald Boddington in 1964, being interviewed for a BCC TV programme, "In the Country". I earlier posted about some aircraft fuselages used to hold up their workshop roof. The top one is arguably just a 'snap' by modern standards; the bottom one maybe more of a keepsake. In either case, the longevity of the prints made it possibly to see them today. Can the same be said for digital media on home computer or 'in the cloud' in some 'secure service'? Get real people! Print your photos and keep them safe for the next generation! 

Henry Boddington, Wheelwright. Boddington Yard, Weston-on-the-Green, 1891.
Boddington BBC In the Country

WW1 Fighter Planes and Wheelwrights

My great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather (Reginald and Henry Boddington) were wheelwrights in Weston-on-the-Green, Oxfordshire. In 1919, the RAF was winding down and Henry came across some Bristol Fighter 'Brisfit' F2b (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_F.2_Fighter) fuselages. Six ended up being used as roof trusses for a workshop.

In June 1965, the workshop was taken down and the fuselages were dispersed to the RAF Museum and private collectors. One of them appears to have made it all the way to New Zealand and is in the hands of the film director Peter Jackson. A couple appear to have made it to the USA; recently I was contacted by the friend of the restorer looking for some more information, so my parents dug out the photos, articles and letters and we forwarded them on.

As a child I remember playing in the remaining workshop with my grandfather (Robert Fox), surrounded by all the old tools, wheel and cart pieces and old wood. I still remember that smell of the wood, sawdust and cobwebs.

Here are some photos and articles:

Workshop roof truss 3
Workshop roof truss 2
Workshop roof truss 1
Dismantling workshop roof 4
Dismantling workshop roof 3
Dismantling workshop roof 2
Dismantling workshop roof 1
Oxford Times article
Further Adventures page 1
Further Adventures page 2

Here's one of the restored planes (D-8084, which I believe was from one of the fuselages) in New Zealand:

Sticky Snow

Strangely mild winter for New England, then wham! Heavy, sticky snow on Friday and 8 inches more coming today and tomorrow. Took 3 hours to clear the driveway. Lots of trees down and power out across the state, including half our town but we were lucky. When we were out on Friday cleaning up we could hear tree limbs snapping.

Off to get gas/petrol for the snowblower. The old JD tractor I bought with giant 49 inch snowblower stalls after running fine for a few weeks. Cleaned out the carburetor last night. New ignition coil and condenser bypass on the way. Learning lots about engines. Fortunately the old trusty one still works fine.

Kids helped bring in wood from the stock pile yesterday. Schools called last night and they are all closed; kids excited, parents rescheduling.

Wondering what folks do with themselves in Arizona?

Sticky snow
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white blanket

The Neighbours

It has been a couple of months that we've been in our new home here in Hamilton. Fall is now with us and a few weeks ago we had a surprise visitor in our pond:

Hamilton Otter

I believe that it is an Otter, but I'm sure someone out there will correct me if it isn't. Doesn't look like a fisher cat to me. It was splashing about quite happily, then would walk out into the undergrowth and launch itself back into the pond for some of the nice big frogs. Here's a heavy crop of it chewing on a frog.

Otter eating frog
It has been back a number of times since I took this photo. I think I might invest in an old manual focus 600mm lens if this continues!

Bar Harbor 2015

Ten years since my last visit, nothing much has changed here. The big difference was last time this was the place where Nicole and I first went on vacation together; this time we brought our two young kids. August is a BUSY time to go, which is fine if you like other people but with a couple of young kids in tow is a little frenetic. However the weather was great and even on the warm days it was in the seventies.

Yes I do take LOTS of photos of the family, but those are locked away for only a few to see; here's a selection of photos I took without the family...

Cadillac Mountain
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Aperture to Lightroom (an alternate path)

In early 2006 I purchased my first Mac, partly fueled by my growing rage with getting Windows to do its job, but also by the release of Apple Aperture. I've been an avid Aperture user since then and watched the product grow into something that many of us loved. Fast forward to 2014 and Apple finally informed the public that they would be discontinuing the product. After much analysis and usage of both Lightroom and Capture One Pro, I decided that Lightroom was the best choice for my needs. Certainly the rendering of my Fuji RAW files seemed the most natural to me and also the most faithful to the in-camera film simulations.

Now, I have amassed quite the collection of imagery in my Aperture libraries and getting over to Lightroom seemed on the surface to be simple: just use the built in migration tool, right? Wrong!

It took me several failed attempts to migrate my personal library over. First I thought it was my (somewhat geeky) ZFS volume that my imagery lived on. Not that. Then I thought it was the size of my library. Not that either. I tried splitting my library into different years and even into just a handful of images. Not that...

Eventually I found the solution in the Aperture Exporter: a handy, low cost application that did the job in a fraction of the time that Adobe's own offering did (which promptly failed at the end), with 100% quality AND I even got it to generate full sized exports for my 5 star images. For the full list of features head over to their website, but here's how I migrated:

1. Downloaded and paid for the app on the Apple App Store.
2. Split my personal library into smaller chunks as recommended (I went for ~3000 images max per project).
3. Opened the app and (each) aperture library. Ran the exporter.
4. In Lightroom, imported the resulting folders, but left the photos in their current position (to avoid duplication of data. Another bonus of this tool).
5. Since I elected to create keywords for albums and smart albums, I downloaded the Data Explorer Lightroom plugin and used it to selectively re-create all of my albums from Aperture.

See the support section on the Aperture Exporter website for more details. If you have been holding back on migrating away from Aperture and over to Lightroom (or even Capture One) because you were lacking good tools to preserve most off your hard work that you put in to your Aperture libraries, then head over to Aperture Exporter and give it a try. The result isn't going to give you exactly what you had in Aperture, but let's face it nothing probably will, but if you are like me and struggled with Adobe's tool, this may be what you are looking for.

I'm still getting to grips with Lightroom; its user experience is no way near as charming as Aperture's and the library management tools don't do it for me. Now that Aperture is gone, maybe Adobe can get rid of their dreadful modal workflow? Wishful thinking.

Maine

Surely a sign that I am far too busy for my own good - I am just posting some photos of the last time I got to go out on my own and take some photos. Back in July we spent a lovely week in Maine at Old Orchard Beach with the kids. In the evenings I would roam the beach with the camera and take some images. I really like the evening colours at the beach and the Fuji does that justice.

All Cleaned Up

Early Summer

A few photos from the last few weeks taken with my new toy (Zeiss 12mm Touit lens).

Hood pond:

Down at the Docks
End of Day 2
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The woods. Very green, very dark. Lots of mosquitos and horse flies. Oh and the odd beaver abode.
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Mosquito Alley
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Sprung

Finally spring is here. The kids are loving playing outside, the lawn looks like hell and my hands don´t fall off when I pull out the camera. Some photos from the last few weeks in Ipswich and Rockport:

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Snow tracks

Zeiss have sun flare pretty well covered

Snow Tracks
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Autumn color

With the peak of the fall color waning, here's a selection of fall photos this year. All taken while out walking the dog. Leash in one hand, X-Pro1 in the other.

Peak of the Leaves
Misty Start
Hood Pond October Morning
Morning Walk
New England Fall Morning

Summer is gone

As the peak of fall is just behind us I wanted to post some images of the summer around the western Willowdale state forest.

New England Pond Summer
Hood Pond, July 2013
New England Pond Summer
Stark

Mosquito fest

Picking up an X-Pro1 has enabled me to get out on the bike with a lightweight body and lens and shoot some landscapes. Haven't done that in a LONG time. However, summer in the Willowdale State Forest is somewhat mosquito infested, so to portray the stunning beauty of this area during these warm months can be a challenge. Staying in the same spot for more than 30 seconds can invite a plague of the little blighters and make holding a camera steady somewhat challenging. I will keep trying: mind over matter I guess.

Towards a swamp at sunset:

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Not sure I would want to take a swim in that:

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Old trusty:

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I like filtered light. If the bugs weren't after me I would have pursued this shot more:

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All straight out of the camera with no cropping. Still trying to get used to framing with a 'loose' frameline finder window. I like the OVF a lot, just wish it was a little more accurate with regards to the edges of the frame.

Fuji Blue

Fujifilm really know what they are doing with color*. Saturated without being garish. It looks like how I saw it and reminds me somewhat of the old Fuji transparency, though still not quite there.

New England Pond Summer

Shot on an a Fujifilm X-Pro1. What a fun camera.

* yes, I know this is not how to spell colour. From now on I am spelling in US English. Sorry Mum.