Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nice ice

Today, while Jeannine was entertaining and educating a lot of first through fourth graders at the Paton School in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, with her slideshow, and box of inspirational props, and tales of the vicissitudes of the writing life, I took a drive in my truck up into the hills around Brattleboro, Vermont. It started out as your basic aimless meander, but once I left Brattleboro proper and started up Route 9 towards Bennington, it got interesting. I was glad that I brought my good camera with me. (By "good", I mean the one with the nice zoom lens on it.)



I had not realized that Vermont had recently gotten hit with an ice storm of this nature -- similar, it seemed, to the one that devastated western Massachusetts a couple of years ago (although there did not appear to be as many broken trees in Vermont, or at least along this stretch of road). It seemed as if every tree had a thick, glistening, glittering coat of ice, and that, coupled with the bright sunlight, made for quite a sight as I drove the curving road up and over Hogback Mountain. I stopped in several locations to take a few photographs, but I could easily have spent all day there and blown through the entire sixteen gigabyte memory card in my camera -- there were that many beautiful images to be captured.











After leaving Hogback Mountain, I headed towards WIlmington, VT, and took Route 100 south towards Massachusetts. As I was driving up the first long incline, I saw a dirt road heading off into the woods, with the sun beating down on the ice-crusted trees lining both sides of the road. It was an arresting sight, a great photo opportunity, but I was by it in seconds.

It stuck in my mind, though, and a mile or so down the road, I pulled over, turned around, and drove back. I ended up taking almost as many photos in that spot as I had in several on the way up to (and including) Hogback Mountain.



This dirt road did not seem to be heavily-traveled. I stood under some of the trees and listened for a while to the soft, intermittent clatter as bits of the coating on the branches -- the ice loosened by the heat of the sun and the movement of the branches in the wind -- fell onto the still-hard crust of snow covering the ground.

I am looking forward to spring, and I want to see all of this frozen water gone, and soon… but I have to admit that on a day like today, seeing a large part of the ordinary world briefly transformed into this shining, scintillating marvel is quite magical. -- PL

17 comments:

Jeff M said...

That must have been a nice trip. Beautiful pictures!

Adam Riches said...

These are some of my favorite photos you've ever posted. I especially like the third one down. I hope we see an "Arctic Octopus" using one of these as a background one day.

darleneherrick said...

Me thinks you found the land of the Ice Fairies. Splendid pics, Pete!

PL said...

"Jeff M said...
That must have been a nice trip. Beautiful pictures!"

Thanks, Jeff! It's one of those things that really can't be captured in photos, or maybe even in video -- you really have to be there, in the vehicle, as you roll by these trees covered in their icy armor, because as your perspective changes on each branch second by second, the angle of the sun hitting those branches changes, and there are shards of refracted and reflected light that leap out, giving the landscape a lively aspect which can be quite dazzling to behold. And when this continues for mile after mile, the full effect is pretty spectacular. -- PL

PL said...

"Adam Riches said...
These are some of my favorite photos you've ever posted. I especially like the third one down. I hope we see an "Arctic Octopus" using one of these as a background one day."

Encouragement for my current octopus fixation? I'll take it. -- PL

PL said...

"darleneherrick said...
Me thinks you found the land of the Ice Fairies. Splendid pics, Pete!"

Thanks, Darlene! I did not see any of the ice fairies, though I suppose that is to be expected -- they probably aren't seen unless they WANT to be seen. -- PL

Mark H said...

Fantastic photos Mr. Laird. The landscapes are very similar to the landscapes here in North Brookfield MA. It is reminiscent of the ice storm we had here a couple of years back. Minus all the destruction from the fallen trees.
I'm fond of that last panoramic photograph. It has that classic New England countryside in the winter look to it. These are great photos. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Jeff M said...

I can imagine the sun glistening on the branches, with the light scattering and moving as each limb does. It must have been awesome.
I'll bet the sound was pretty neat too!

mikeandraph87 said...

It amazes me the vast differences of weather,conditions, and climate from region to region in the U.S.

I am curious to your thoughts on the image released in the Wall-Street Journal. Not bad. Not crazy over the tap on their forarms and wrist tho. Don amongst the others looks a little wacky and not crazy over his look at least in this sole image.

http://blastr.com/2011/03/cowabunga-1st-look-at-new.php

PL said...

"mikeandraph87 said...
I
I am curious to your thoughts on the image released in the Wall-Street Journal. Not bad. Not crazy over the tap on their forarms and wrist tho. Don amongst the others looks a little wacky and not crazy over his look at least in this sole image.

http://blastr.com/2011/03/cowabunga-1st-look-at-new.php"

Well, they are recognizably the TMNT, which is good. There are a few details that have me scratching my head (like the "bandage"-style wrappings around some feet and arms), but overall I think fans should not be too worried, at least about the basic look. (I'm kind of digging the chunky/blocky look to their hands.) It will be interesting to see how they move (and sound) in the animation, and what kinds of stories they choose to do. -- PL

Mark H said...

"PL Said:

Well, they are recognizably the TMNT, which is good. There are a few details that have me scratching my head (like the "bandage"-style wrappings around some feet and arms), but overall I think fans should not be too worried, at least about the basic look. (I'm kind of digging the chunky/blocky look to their hands.) It will be interesting to see how they move (and sound) in the animation, and what kinds of stories they choose to do. -- PL"

If I may be so bold as to give my opinion of the new look of the turtles. I really like the new look. It is very blocky and edgy looking. I really did the thick forearms and big hands. The overall look is very stylized. I don't fully understand the "bandage"-style wrappings around the feet and arms myself. Perhaps it is for better ankle and wrist support. With all that ninja flipping and running they have better have good joint support.
Overall all I think they look great. They lend themselves very nicely to 3D (CGI). I'm a freelance character modeler and I know how difficult it can be to take a 2D character, especially one that we are very familiar with, and make it 3D. I would show you the 3D version of the ninja turtles a while back but, out of respect for Mr. Lairds blog, I do not feel that it is appropriate. I will however say it is harder to translate from 2d to 3D than one would think. My attempt never satisfied me. I thought the studio that did the last TMNT film did a fantastic job with the turtles. I'm hoping that this new show does just as good of a job.
These new turtles look great but, now it will come down to the animators and, voice talents to bring out their personalities.
This is just my opinion though. My opinion and a nickle will get you five cents.

mikeandraph87 said...

Thank you for your input/comment. We are of like minds on all that you said. :)

Its time to sit bakc and relax with us now!

amygreenfield said...

Oh, these are gorgeous! Icy armor indeed!

My parents heard that they missed an ice storm while they were over here visiting us. This must have been it. (I suspect that they're just as glad. Ice storms are beautiful to the eye, but downed power cables and slick walkways are not so much fun.)

Miserable Dreamer said...

The panoramic photos are fantastic. My wife and I keep playing with the idea of moving to a snowy climate but it's hard to give up the sunshine and beach here in Florida...

Have you ever been up to Acadia National Park, in Maine? Talk about gorgeous!

PL said...

"amygreenfield said...
Oh, these are gorgeous! Icy armor indeed!"

Thanks, Amy!

My parents heard that they missed an ice storm while they were over here visiting us. This must have been it. (I suspect that they're just as glad. Ice storms are beautiful to the eye, but downed power cables and slick walkways are not so much fun.)"

I couldn't agree more with you. In fact, I felt a bit like I had to tone down my rapturous descriptions of the beauty of the ice, because I knew that it was probably a huge headache for a lot of people living up in Vermont. -- PL

PL said...

"Miserable Dreamer said...
The panoramic photos are fantastic. My wife and I keep playing with the idea of moving to a snowy climate but it's hard to give up the sunshine and beach here in Florida... "

Clearly it is a difficult decision.

"Have you ever been up to Acadia National Park, in Maine? Talk about gorgeous!"

I have not, but I believe my wife has. I would like to go someday -- maybe this summer. -- PL

discordiatookie said...

I don't really comment alot on here, but I do check in regularly. Just wanted to say, wow! These pictures are beautiful.