Why else would I head out of the nice air-conditioned house with the camera, clad in long blue jeans when the heat index is at 98? I did have a good reason. I needed to reshoot some of Albany Rural’s crypts because I didn’t want to scan in the black and white pics. That meant that I needed to wear long pants – Albany Rural grounds keepers are always out there mowing and cleaning, but the cemetary is so large things grow to knee height before they get back around to that area. I’m not too enthused about an up close and personal meeting with some of the wildlife when wearing shorts.
After sweating for about 2 hours and getting frustrated with the shadows and sun, I decided to call it a day. Well, I called it a day until I drove past the Shaker historic site. I’ve been nagging myself to stop in and check it out for months now. Apparently this Shaker site is the very first Shaker settlement in America. http://www.shakerheritage.org/ As I understand it, the grounds are owned by the state, and the state actually used several of the buildings for things like an electrical facility and offices. The nice volunteer I spoke to told me that the state “improved” some of the buildings, meaning there is very little left of the original Shaker heritage. The state also constructed a nursing home on the grounds facing the airport terminal, an abandoned structure I’ve been eyeing for a while hoping to photograph it.
I wandered around the site, photographing the slow decay of wood and paint. If nothing else, I have a great new place to shoot portraits now. While the orchard itself looks newly planted except for a few gnarled trees in the back sporting twittering flocks of birds (I suspect cherry trees since they’re ripe right now) it’s a pleasant place to visit and shoot some bird pictures. Sometime when it’s cooler and cloudier, I want to head back there and check out the pond area that I couldn’t see from the road. Judging by the cars parked near the pond, it’s a popular place to fish.
I ended my visit by wading into a field of wildflowers opposite the Shaker cemetary trying to figure out what that swathe of odd lavender flowers were. I was grateful for my long jeans then, especially when I found out the flowers were some sort of small thistle. Prickly! Despite the lack of rain, the field was a beautiful mixture of Queen Anne’s Lace, thistle, and milkweed.