Three seems to work

Three is enough, Sherman, Connecticut © Steven Willard

I spent a few hours at The White Silo today, making myself available to anyone who might have had questions about the work Susan, Marc and I have on display. White Silo is a winery/gallery in Shermann where we have displayed our prints for sale about this time of year for several years.  I think this will be my last showing there-the rewards don’t offset the expenditure of money and effort. At first they did, but not the last couple of times. Oh well.

Anyway, while I was there a storm front moved in from the west, looking mean, the leaves on the trees turning over the way they do. This old barn that sits right across the road has obviously weathered a storm or two, the three lightning rods on the roof evidently work.

Olympus OMD EM1 with 40-150mm f2.8 zoom, processed in PS CS4 and Snapseed.

A special time of day


In the presence of kami, Bridgewater, Connecticut © Steven Willard

To me, there is something special about that time of late afternoon, just before sunset when the light comes streaming in low and warm. When the wind has died to just a rustle in the grass and the songs of birds and the buzz of insects take their rightful place. To find a comfortable chair, to sit with something cool and refreshing to sip while I soak it in. I’d do that and be happy, content in the presence of kami spirits. It feels so good, why don’t I do it more often?

Pentax K5IIs with 50mm f1.4 lens processed in Snapseed.

A New York White House

White House, New York © Steven Willard

If you take the trouble to check Google Maps for Sheffield Hill Rd., south of Millerton near the Connecticut border, it’s fairly easy to locate the house. The nearby land appears to be connected to the McEnroe Organic Farm, though I don’t know if there is any other connection besides proximity.

I currently have some prints on exhibit at The White Silo Winery in Sherman*, along with my friends Susan Reinberg and Marc Isolda, so I spent a few hours working the show on Sunday. I figured since I was a third of the way there I would take a drive up to Sharon, Connecticut for what I think is the best barbeque in all Connecticut**. Well, it was a nice afternoon so I extended my drive over into New York to look around a bit.

I have noticed, since my first trip to the area, that it is remarkable how the topography changes as soon as one crosses the state line. The hills become more rounded and the valleys broader to my eye. There is no obvious demarcation like a river, but the difference is clear.

I had no reason to photograph the house, other than the fact that I found it impressive and the grounds so beautifuly maintained.

*The exhibit will be up through the end of June.

** “When Pigs Fly”  in Sharon, Ct.

Olympus OMD EM1 with 40-10mm f2.8 zoom.

Father’s Day revisited

Originally posted Father’s Day, 2013.

Father and Sons, Southbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard


This time of year reminds me of summers I spent in Indiana. I would have been seven or eight years old, and as soon as school let out for the summer dad would take me fishing. He was a minister and took his days off on Mondays and Tuesdays so that was usually when we went.

Dad grew up in Oregon fly fishing for trout but as and avid angler any fish would do, and just about anyplace there were fish would do as well. He was one of those guys who kept a fishing pole in the car “just in case”, and wasn’t above pulling off the road to try a likely looking pond or creek.

My favorite place though was Denver Gibson’s pond. It wasn’t too far from where we lived in Spencer, down a country road to Mr. Gibson’s farm. The pond, what they might refer to as a “stock pond” or “tank” in Texas, was about two acres in size and fed by a spring. There was a section on one side that had been cleared of brush and trees down to the water’s edge, and here there was a picnic table, a hammock, and a home built flat bottomed wooden rowboat tied up to a rickety dock.

The other sections of the shore were covered in reeds, cattails, and brush right down to the water. Trees grew close enough so their branches hung out over the water, and there was an occasional slurping sound as fish took insects that fell out of the trees and into the water.

We usually got to the pond before the sun had cleared the trees and would be out on the water soon after. Now most people in those parts fished with cane poles and worms in those days, the more modern folks using casting rods and reels, but the progressives like my dad used spinning rigs. His usual outfit was a Johnson closed faced spinning reel mounted to a rod he had made himself to which he attached a small silver spoon with a bit of pork rind on the hook. His favorite weapon though, and mine too, was a fly rod with a floating line carrying a “popper”, a large dry fly. Our preferred fly was a large black and white whiskered thing with red eyes. They were called poppers because when you twitched the rod tip it would make a nice “pop” that seemed to either attract the fish or piss them off enough to attack. The fish we most wanted to hook up with were the good sized large mouth bass in the pond, but there were some fair sized blue gill and crappie which were a lot of fun on the fly rod.

We would break for the lunch we had packed; dad would have hot coffee from the thermos and smoke a cigarette, then we would stretch out on the hammock. From the looks of it the hammock had probably been made by someone on the farm. It was fashioned out of baling wire twisted around wooden slats. The whole thing was well worn and didn’t look too strong, but it was big enough for the two of us to nap side by side. After an hour or so dad would go back out alone to do battle while I dozed to the sounds of the breeze in the cattails, grasshoppers buzzing and the steady ga-lunk call of bull frogs. After a while I’d call to him and he would row over to pick me up and we would spend the rest of the day on the water.

Those were some of the best times of my life; not a care in the world and all day to spend with my dad. It didn’t really matter if we caught anything, at least to me, and thinking back I don’t think he really cared that much either. We got to spend time together talking about all sorts of things. We made memories.

I was in the Army in 1970, stationed in Maryland, and Saturday night I called to wish him a happy Father’s Day the next day. It was the last time I ever spoke to him. He died of a heart attack while getting ready for church and the Father’s Day service he didn’t get to give. He was 55.

We never know at the time when we might be having the best days of our lives, or when we might be saying the last thing we’ll ever get say to someone we love. This was one time I got it right, and I’m thankful for that. I’d give a month of Sundays to have a chance to go fishing with my dad again, and I still wouldn’t care if we caught anything.

Pentax K10D, kit zoom.

Upon reflection


Asemic #14, Refection © Steven Willard

It had been a while since I had used the Pentax K5IIs, so long I wondered if the battery still held a charge. I needn’t have worried. It fired right up and showed a nearly full charge.

I was prompted to take the K5 out by an article on Mike Johnston’s The Online Photographer (TOP)* the blog I’d miss the most if I lost all internet services. This particular article was another of many online discussions about the relative merits of DSLRs with their optical viewfinders (OVF) versus mirrorless cameras which use electronic viewfinders (EVF), among other differences. I won’t rehash the article, or readers’ comments, my own included, but suggest you go to the source instead. If you aren’t familiar TOP  I encourage you to have a look around at the most eclectic photo related blog on the net, largely because of Mike, but also because of the contributors and some of the most interesting reader/commentators you are likely to come across relating to photography.

Anyway….while I had the camera in hand I took a few minutes thinking back on all the time I spent holding that camera, and all the images I had taken with it. I took a few photographs, listening to that quiet shutter, and began to….wait for it…reflect on how each new piece of equipment sparked my enthusiasm to go out and photograph, even if it didn’t make my images any better. That it’s in the doing that we progress and hopefully improve, not which new piece of gear we acquire. Furthermore, I think that after having set the K5 aside for awhile, I might benefit from picking it up again, not exactly like a new piece of gear, but like getting reacquainted with an old friend I haven’t seen for too long.




Pentax K5IIs with 35mm f2.8 macro processed with Snapseed on my iPad.






A bit of history

Sybil Ludington Memorial, Carmel, New York, © Steven Willard

I had an appointment at the VA clinic this morning and got to Carmel so early I had time to do something I’ve been meaning to do for years, stop and photograph this monument.

There was a time when kids in school learned about Paul Revere’s midnight ride. Perhaps they still do. The “source material” was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem published January, 1861, years after Revere died in 1818. Although he was fairly well known in his lifetime, it was nothing like the fame he was to achieve after his death. It was Longfellow’s poem, a poem which historians will point out strays a bit from historical accuracy, that turned him into an American folk hero.

What is not so well known is that only a couple of years after Revere’s ride, a sixteen year old young woman named Sybil Ludington performed much the same service, warning of the British move on Danbury, Connecut.


Sybil Ludington, Carmel, New York © Steven Willard


Unfortunately, there was no Longfellow to make her famous, a common fate for women who all too often have been left out of the histories written by men.

I didn’t notice until I had the image up on the screen that Sybil is riding side saddle. It brought to mind the comment about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. “He was fantastic, but Ginger did everything he did but backwards and in high heels”.

Olympus OMD EM1 with 12-40mm f2.8 zoom.