Archive for September, 2009

through a looking glass

Tunnel, originally uploaded by bradtyer.

paddle-racine_lgWent out on Argo Pond today, the pond just downstream from Barton Pond, on the Huron River here through Ann Arbor. Argo is the one they’re talking about draining by removing Argo Dam. You see bumper stickers and yard signs saying “Save Argo Pond.” The pond is lousy with crew practice, and I gather crew teams and the people who love them are the primary opposition to taking the dam out. Why anyone would want to sit backwards in a rowboat and get yelled at I do not know, but to each his or her own.

I was there trying out a new paddle I bought for myself as an early birthday present. Actually I just bought it because I wanted it, but I do have a birthday coming up, so fair enough. It’s a narrow beavertail blade, a shape I’ve never paddled before, and it’s made of oiled black walnut. A company in Maine called Shaw & Tenney makes it. Lord it’s a lovely paddle. Everybody has at least nine paddles, right?

I was also trying out a new 10-20 mm wide-angle lens I bought myself because I’ve got a birthday coming up.

It seems I’m going to take a lot of pictures of these ponds. I’ll try to limit myself to the goodish ones.

Two from this trip are on flickr.

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balloon shroom


So my place in Ann Arbor is a 13-minute walk down a two-lane blacktop road that dead-ends into something called Bird Hills Nature Area, a couple of hours worth of forest trails. I’ve been walking down there for an hour or so every morning, but it’s too dark in there to take pictures then. Today I slept late so I got my walk in this afternoon and there was a bit of nice light filtering in.

14631559I noticed this mushroom on my walk the other day, though I wasn’t sure it wasn’t some sort of discarded ball until I got up close to it. When I got home I looked it up in the Falcon Guide to North American Mushrooms and found out it’s a Calvatia booniana, or Western Giant Puffball. It doesn’t seem to belong where I found it, according to the habitat description, but there it is. Apparently it’s edible, having been “collected and eaten since pioneer days.” I can’t see my way to taking it, though. I haven’t seen any others out there, and it’s pretty magnificent, about the size of a small bowling ball. That, and this whole shroom-identifying thing is about three days old, and if the ID seems close to unmistakable, early overconfidence is a long habit, and I’d just as soon not start my way up the learning curve by poisoning myself.

I took a different trail through the woods today, but I doubled back to see if I could find this thing. When I did, it had a rare shred of glow on it for just the amount of time it took to snap about four pictures, of which this one turned out the best.

I posted some more pictures to flickr.

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09 - 1

I’ve been in Ann Arbor a week tonight. I went out on Barton Pond for the second time today. It’s dam-slacked water on the Huron River, and I can get my canoe on it in about 10 minutes flat, from garage to glide. It’s pretty nice. Two days ago I went downstream and back about an hour all told to Barton Dam, the little generator spillway that holds it back. Today I put in at the same little railroad bridge and went upstream, about an hour to where the current started running too riverlike to want to work against it, then turned around. I took some pictures. I’ve been thinking about putting together a series called “floaters,” of stuff floating on water, and the feather will definitely be in it.


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