ICE IN THE PINES

My backyard is bounded by woods along Sharps Run, forming part of the perimeter of Medford Leas.  Most of the woods is evergreens and much of that is white pine.  Last night’s mix of rain and sleet enjoyed settling on the pine needles.  It certainly wasn’t my plan to be out there this morning but there you are.

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I was pleased with my results but I kept seeing slightly different points of view so ……

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Here’s an overview that made me think of a mummer’s costume.

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A winter version of a Cleome or a Spider Mum.

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The sun finally rose above the rooftops on the left, and it will make short work of the iceing.

Good.  Back to breakfast.

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On the way in, not a pine tree branch but, nevertheless, asking for my camera’s attention.

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AU REVOIR NOËL

For many years now I have found Christmas to be anti-climactic. For weeks there is the buildup – – – the decorating, the holiday parties, the music, the final preparation of gifts, and the gathering of family and friends for Christmas dinner.  Then …  Then ?

So now it’s the day after and for me it’s a let-down.  Back to pedestrian reality.  Part of the therapy is to review all of the pleasant and fun events of the buildup.  One that came to mind was Medford’s Dickens Night.  We haven’t been able to go for six years because I was involved in an annual craft show the same day.  When we did get there it was a wonderful evening.

This year we went back but couldn’t see much of the traditional charm because the street was lined with food tents and crafters’ tents.  “You can’t go home again.”

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On Christmas Eve morning I was starting to feel some of the let-down so I decided that I needed to go to the city to see and photograph people and color and signs of Christmas.  Off I went on a sparsely occupied High Speed Line …. but pleased to find that my fellow riders included lots of children headed for some center-city excitement.

After arrival in the city I decided to go into Macy’s to find the schedule for their light show.  Instead, I found one in process.  Since it had already started, I wound up well in the back but that was OK as I’ve surely seen it off and on since the early 60’s.  Instead I concentrated on other views and enjoyed the process.  My view was blocked by an arch but it was decorated and so became a sample of everything.

The most exciting part of the show was, after its conclusion, to run into Bobby and Sigrid and grand-daughters Maddy and Gretchen.  We even concluded that we had come in on the same train.  They invited me along for their Christmas Eve wanderings but I demurred as I had photographing in mind.  Here was my final shot at Macy’s, taken after the crowd had dispersed.  That eagle has been coming there even longer than me.

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These two shots, however, reminded me of another pleasure several years ago when I captured the Philadelphia Boys Choir at a morning rehearsal before the light show was turned on.

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Outside of Macy’s the show windows were Christmasy and colorful.  Here’s one which included a replica of City Hall.

Nahhh.  That’s a reflection but I liked the combination.

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Then a walk through City Hall.  I had done the west area a couple of weeks ago so this time I exited towards north Broad Street.  This tree at the entrance was attractive.

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From there I walked a couple of blocks east to the Reading Terminal Market, always a favorite.  The market was busy, busy, busy.  I wondered around for a while and then settled in with a PHILADELPHIA Cheese Steak.  It can not be more authentic.  Everyone seemed in a good mood.  After lunch, more wandering including a favorite, the produce area.  A box of Driscoll’s strawberries was about 40% less than at ShopRite and my dazzling personality brought me another 10% off without my asking.  For that she got a “Merry Christmas” and I got an additional smile.  My last stop was at the Pennsylvania General Store for a box of Asher’s dark chocolate salted caramels.  See what I mean about reviewing pleasant events?

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CHANGE OF SUBJECT BUT STILL CHRISTMAS

This week an older image of mine resurfaced as shared on F/B.  It is some photoshoppery of a fisherman’s or hunter’s shack which marked the entrance to Long Beach Island for many years.  Even before its disappearance in Hurricane Sandy, it had become an icon.  It celebrated one’s arrival for vacation and added poignancy when leaving at the end of vacation.  One year I enhanced an image as more of a winter scene and added a Christmas Tree that lives in several of my images.  I subsequently sold many copies at craft shows and a couple of years ago I uploaded it to the Remember When Long Beach Island F/B page.

The original image was made in February, 2005, and the foreground snow was there.  In 2008 I replaced the sky with the gradient blue fill, and added the falling snow effect and the Christmas Tree.  I had captured the tree at the Pittsburgh Winter Garden in 2001.

Well, it has resurfaced and has accumulated over five hundred “Likes” along the way.  That makes for a warm feeling.

And, it helps one get past that anti-climactic feeling.

Merry Christmas for yesterday and for the future!

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P.S.  For more of my peripatetic Christmas Tree, click here.

 

 

THE RETURN OF THE WINTER SOLSTICE

Today at 11:28 AM marks the occurrence of the winter solstice. Its Latin roots are sol and stit or sun stopped. As a practical matter the sun appears to have moved as far south as it ever goes and will now start its journey back north. Tomorrow there will be two more seconds of daylight.  Phew! What a relief. However, even so, it’s going to take a few months to warm up again.

Cold or not it’s a beautiful time of the year but, come on, it can also be a little hectic. Sometimes it whirls by in a swirl of color and that helps make the short bleak cold days tolerable.

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The little figures above were as seen by my Lensbaby Composer Pro lens. Sometimes it gives the effect of too much partying but I like what it does. The little figures were in a stand at Philadelphia’s Christmas Market in Love Park near City Hall. It’s always fun to wander amongst the families enjoying the scene with its Weinachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) character.

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Elsewhere in the area, in Dilworth Park Garden just west of the City Hall building we found an enchanting America’s Garden Capital Maze. A half dozen of these big guys were watching over everything and I thought they were a great contrast with the downtown center-city buildings.

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Still in the Christmas Market area I came across this artist who created animals from heated colored glass rods. Seen again through the eye of my Lensbaby lens there is an aura of 10,000 B.C. to it all.

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We’ve been blessed with two decorative snow storms. They’re decorative in that traffic didn’t get snarled and they didn’t have much impact, and lingering warmth disposed of them pretty quickly. While they last the results are magical and fit our northern concept of Christmas. Here was my view of my friends’ nearby town house, that of Valerie and Dick C. They always enhance their place with decoration and lights, both inside and outside, and it adds to our life.

On a snowy night, perfect.

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After the snow my late wife Marty Lou’s crafty snowman looked good and felt at home. Marty and three of her buds would get together in December and make a Christmas Craft. They started here with a clear glass lamp chimney and painted it white. The get-outta-here felt hat is pinned up in front with a tiny sleigh bell. On the rim is a cardinal’s nest and miscellaneous grasses. There’s also some mistletoe berries and a tiny ceramic ginger bread man on the back of the rim. A plaid scarf protects against a sore throat, and the nose is a painted slash.

Sadly, of those four crafty ladies only one is still with us. I look forward to the annual reappearance of the little snow man. Christmas as a family event refreshes memories of family and friends who have left us. This year that includes Miss Pearl who I lost last December.  I miss her very much.

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HAS CHRISTMAS ARRIVED IN MY TOWN HOUSE?

You bet!  Too many traditions to ignore. First, my 86th Christmas Tree. I don’t remember the first three or four. Frankly, there are lots of others that I might not specifically remember, but I do remember the concepts and isolated memories of Christmases past. Notably, the $2.00 Charley Brown tree from our salad days in the early 70’s. This year’s tree is beautiful, loaded as always with ornaments from over the years including some from my grandparents’ trees. Age? I don’t know, but my parents married in 1918 and probably had their first tree that year.

Barb and I decorated mine last Saturday and we applied the tinsel one strand at a time as my childhood friend, Bimmie W. trained me to do.

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Elsewhere Christmas has cropped up in my living room. The Snow Village houses have appeared on the top of the china cabinet and on top of my wall unit. The houses and trains of my youth are on the shelves of the wall unit. One of the centerpieces which Sigrid made for our recent joint (Barbara and me) birthday party is on my coffee table. A basket of tree ornaments is on the little side table between the two chairs, and crystal and pressed glass pieces are on the dining table and on the coffee table. With the candles lit it is festive.

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A BEVELED GLASS PANEL

Finally, I tackled and completed another beveled glass panel this fall. It doesn’t say Christmas but it will be a long-requested gift. Details and construction are seen here (scroll to the bottom) on my Stained Glass page.  Tho not specifically a Christmas theme, it is a warm inviting window panel for the holidays.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS OR A HAPPY HOLIDAY

TO ALL OF MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS

AND A HAPPY, PROSPEROUS AND HEALTHY 2018

 

AROUND THE SUN AGAIN

As Sigrid pointed out yesterday, today I begin another trip around the sun.  That’s eighty-five completed, in the course of which the sun has rolled around me 31,046 times (counting leap years), and here it came again.

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That’s eighty-five years of family..

———- Grandparents Louella and William

—————– Parents Rebecca and LeRoy

———————— Siblings Betty Ann and Bill

——————————– Dear late wife and friend of forty-eight years, Marty Lou

—————————————— Dear daughters Kirsten and Sigrid, and son-in-law Bob

————————————————— Dear Grand Daughters Madeline and Gretchen

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and eighty-five years of friends ..

———- Old ones and, amazingly, still acquiring new ones

—————— And special friend,  dear Barbara

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My deep appreciation to all of that which inspires me and of which I am in awe and by which I am deeply moved…

Great music, great landscapes, the profound mysteries of life’s recurrence, the sea in all of its moods,

and the universe in all of its magnificence.

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 “Flow, flow, flow, the current of life is ever onward.”  –  Kobo Daishi, 774-835 A.D.

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And my deep appreciation to all those who have befriended me and from whom I have learned and by whom I have been comforted.

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Good Morning to another day of this grand adventure!

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THE HOLIDAYS APPROACH

As color and light fade in nature’s seasonal transition other sources come to the rescue.  Peddler’s Village at Lahaska, PA has done a great job at this.  I deliberately arrived late afternoon so I’d be there when the lights were turned on.  It was a pleasant afternoon with a crisp wind blowing, lots of holiday merchandise to see, and families enjoying the scene.  It was a festival for phone cameras but when some noticed my tripod and camera I was asked if I would take their family picture.  Of course. One young woman even asked if she could pay me to do it.  Wow, a new alternative to my paper route.  In between such excitements I captured some scenes.  Here’s one example:

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Another show for the season was the opening of the Electrical Spectacle show of lights in Philadelphia’s Franklin Square Park.  I have avoided their shows because the park is not convenient to mass transit.  This time, however, I forced myself:  the Patco High Speed line to 8th and Market and then only a ten minute walk to the park.  Here was my reward:

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Continuing with holiday color, a couple of years ago I first noticed some glass boxes filled with LEDs.  I decided I could do that as well and so made three boxes for family and a friend  last Christmas which can be seen here.  I ran out of steam on the project so one didn’t get made for me.  This past fall at a craft show I saw some lanterns in which the clear glass sides had been replaced with colored glass and then the lantern had been filled with lights.  I had such a lantern and I had seen some striking glass on the Facebook page for Macie Art Glass and  managed to buy the last two pieces they had.  Here’s the result.

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But nature’s work isn’t quite finished.  While having coffee in the sunroom one recent morning my eye was caught by sparkling in the nearby trees.  While I haven’t copied Morse code for years I made out that the signal was “Get your camera and get out here.”  The elves had hung diamonds in the trees.  Here’s one in which you can see the capture of the rising sun and the adjacent meadow and trees.  Thank you, nature.

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And speaking of my sunroom I did some redecorating there this fall.  On a house tour last summer I was in the new home of an artist friend, Andrea P.  In her studio I saw a clever way to display smaller matted prints.  They were resting on narrow shelves which included a slot for the bottom edge of the mat, and a lip to further prevent slippage.  I learned that they had found them at Ikea, a perfect destination for this Swede so Barbara and I headed there and found them.  Typically for Ikea they have a weird name, Mosslanda, but they’re perfect for the job.  To top it off we brought home some Swedish meatballs with lingonberry preserves.

I planned out the wall and then Sigrid, my decorator among other things, amended my vision.  Then, as my back was feeling its age Sigrid did the heavy work to get the installation started and I finished the easy parts.  Add to that the upper wall of Beach Haven and Sanibel prints and I am content until spring.

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Returning to nature’s compositions I recently walked out the front door and found the walkway blocked by a massive spider web.  It was anchored between a bush on the left, and the roof of the  garage about nine feet away.  The early sun was playing with the web strands and the morning dew.  Behind it, the fading color of some fall hydrangeas.  My compliments to the spider.

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For my closing color I chose this piece of blown and molded glass.  I photographed this at the October Festival of Fine Crafts at Wheaton Arts.  This is an annual “must-attend” show for me as it is consistently a show of up-scale, quality craft work.  I think it’s the best that I attend anymore.

I thought others might enjoy this piece, the kind of thing my late wife, Marty Lou, used to call “a pretty”.

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FALL FINALLY FOUND US

With temperatures in the 80’s it hasn’t seemed totally like fall.  Yes, the leaves are turning and falling, and though the nights have been chilly many days have been short-sleeve days.  But, it’s coming.  Does this image confirm that?

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The next image is old fall.  I captured it in 2009 at the Chittenden Reservoir north of U.S. 4 in Vermont.  It was one of several studies I made that day.  Originally the bottom of the image revealed the rock-strewn floor of the reservoir.  One had to work to appreciate the composition idea and so I was never completely satisfied with it.  Recently I wondered what the effect would be if I cropped it top and bottom parallel to the cloud bands.  Well, it now looks as though we’re peering out at it sideways through our bay window.  Interesting.

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Upon returning from summer at the shore I discovered that I have a tenant.  He lives under my sundeck and comes out a couple times a day to munch on the clover.  I’ve read that he’ll hibernate in an earthen burrow.  As one who appreciates naps I wish him a pleasant winter.

Woody Woodchuck

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Fall is most personified by foliage colors, and at least in our mid-Atlantic states world the color’s been a little slow this year.  Makes one look for the Saturation slider in Photoshop.  My F/C (friend and colleague) Elaine Walsh, recently posted on Facebook a nice fall scene of Ken Lockwood Gorge in north central Jersey.  I had seen work done there by F/C Ken Curtis and so journeyed there in 2015 and again last year.  It is an enchanting place to hike and/or to photograph.  I felt as though I were alongside a Vermont stream.  Be warned, however, there were only about six parking places.  Here’s one scene that came home with me.

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——————–I don’t know if Linus van Pelt was right or not …. and you’re wondering, “Linus van Pelt???”….  but I give him credit for his conviction.  He believed that on Halloween the Great Pumpkin would rise from the pumpkin patch.

I may look over my shoulder on Halloween and maybe it’s wishful thinking, or maybe I’m just looking for my childhood which is wayyy back there.

But, I will also look extra hard if it’s the very rare Candy Corn sky.

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 For a larger version of this click here.

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HOW WAS IT DONE??

I sometimes synthesize an image from others I have taken.   Some manipulation will be over-the-top obvious as in the case of the Candy Corn sky.  But some may not be as in the case of the opening image, the geese at sunset.  To clarify what I display and to help others with the techniques of the alterations I’ve added a Page entitled “How Was It Done?”  The Page will be listed alphabetically in the left margin of all posts.  The discussion of two of the above images can be seen by clicking here.

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HAPPY FALL Y’ALL

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YEP, THE SEASON’S OVER

It is amazing how quiet things have become.  Little traffic on the boulevard and almost nothing on the side streets.  Little to no boat traffic, and dead quiet on the bay in the morning.  I’ve seen the Great Blue Heron soaking up the morning sun in the copse across from me on Mordecai Island, a sign of fall.  I’ve seen only one osprey on the perch whereas we had at least four out there this summer.  The street is quiet with only  four year-rounders, and but one on the street behind me.  Several of the shops are closed except for weekends.  Daughter Sigrid moved home to resume her family’s life up there; friend Barbara closed up her rental and went home.  The nights are quite chilly…and lonely.  I guess it’s winding down…as it does every year.  Duhhh.   Sigrid came to move me home a day early to avoid Jose.  I’ll miss the shore but I’m ready with projects in planning.

With the season’s end it’s not like this image every day but there can be moments.

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But, it’s been a great summer!!

I even got to photograph some beautiful people.  Here’s the sales force of Coastal Living Real Estate Group, a company created by my friend, Bonnie Wells.  This year she asked me to photograph the group for their advertising.  I couldn’t pass up the chance to appear soon on shopping carts!

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My days began brightly.  My grand-dog, Pippa, expected a handful of Cheerios Honey-nut cereal every morning.  She waited patiently at the hallway leading to my suite.  (She wouldn’t come in because, remember, an attack cat, Pearl, used to live in there, too.)  When I emerged there was much jumping around and tail wagging; by Pippa as well.  Regrettably, Pippa went home also.

 

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There is a stained glass panel of  mine that mutes the morning sun in our kitchen.  During early September’s full moon daughter Sigrid noticed that the moon fit nicely into the scene.  Here it is shining above Barnegat Lighthouse.   There’s more about the stained glass panel here.

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As the season winds down the club devotes a Happy Hour to members’ art.  It’s always a pleasure to see the capabilities represented.  Here were my entries this year, some scenes of Beach Haven and some of Sanibel Island.  Most returned to my walls but one did go home with someone else.  That’s always nice.

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With the end of the season underway I wanted to photograph some of the mesmerizing sanderlings.  You and I go to Murphy’s or Acme or Shop Rite.  These creatures chase along receding wavelets for their protein.

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While chasing sanderlings I also got to enjoy some surfer performance.  Here’s a man probably enthralled with the moment.  I would agree with him.  Photographically, beside the magic of the moment I particularly like the shades of green in the wave.

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Yes, the season is definitely over, especially as tomorrow’s the first day of fall.  Yes, there will be some nice, warm days, and the sanderlings will skitter and the surfers will probably keep it up all winter.  But my townhouse and projects and fall activities have said, “Come home.”  And so it goes.

I bid farewell to my friend, the Great Blue who takes the early morning sun in the copse on  Mordecai.  We agreed to look each other up next spring.

I’ll look forward to it.

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SUMMER SIMMERS AWAY

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Always open big, they say, so……………

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This field of sunflowers was along Route 48 near Mattituck, NY on the North Fork of Long Island.  It was a joy to come upon.  I visited one afternoon, thinking how I would approach the farmhouse and ask permission to photograph in the field.  When I got there the field was swarming with bees … and photographers.  Apparently there was a de facto permission.  I enjoyed the visit but determined to return the following morning for the warm light of sunrise. I did and I was alone except for a few early worker bees.  What a wonderful way to start the day for both of us.

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And here, a worker bee at work.  I had left my macro lens in my room but I made this shot with my telephoto at 260 mm.

About that time a man driving by stopped and asked me if I was going to shoot all of the seeds.  My answer, “One at a time.”

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Elsewhere on the North Fork there were sunsets on Long Island Sound.  The sun, itself, need not always be in the scene.  Had it been, all of the diamonds on the beach would have been washed out.  As it was, it took me a long time to pick them all up.

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A simmering summer also produces storms, and some can be quite dramatic especially when over the water.  Here the message is, “Squall to port, squall to starboard;  keep a steady helm, lad.”

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We’re always good (?) for a couple of nor’easter storms during the summer.  This one in late July didn’t make the category but was scary just the same.  Those that are in charge of such things decreed that this was only a “Coastal Storm.”  I wonder if they would have felt the same had they been standing in the surf as was I?  It was awesome.decided that it was a “Coastal Storm”.  Regardless of the name they are humbling experiences.

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August also brings the annual Downbay Regatta to Little Egg Harbor.  A-cats, B-cats, E-Scows and Lightnings arrive from clubs along the coast north to Bayhead.  It’s a three day festival of competitive racing and partying.  Saturday morning’s start was not promising as they edged their way from the dock out towards the racing grounds.  But, in any weather it’s always an appealing sight.

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I rarely appear in these posts but this is to thank my right-arm daughter, Sigrid, for keeping me erect and helping me back to my seat after my waking up the young girls’ dancing.

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Well, what else?  Oh, yeah, the eclipse thing.  Here’s my take on it.

This is as seen through clouds of interstellar dust. The telescope was on the planet Bergiesplace which orbits Alpha Centauri, about 4.2 light years distant.  In case you’re believing the former, the shot was made just through the local clouds but I like the interstellar dust idea.  I had neglected to acquire any of the proper filters but I did have a variable neutral density filter which had 10+ stops.  That plus the clouds enabled me to capture the image

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Finally, a simmering summer leads to fall, and I sense a little of that.

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I was so pleased with this shot that I have nothing more to say.

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….. AND THE LIVIN’ IS EASY.

I’ve been in one of my occasional photo-funks … uninspired about what to photograph … weary of shooting the same old scenes … and feeling it particularly in my summer life at the shore.  Do I really want to shoot another sunset or that old jetty in the surf?

And then —- then something crosses my vision and I go for it and the result excites me.  I should re-read my own 2013 essay on this subject (A Photography Phunk) and get my head straight.

Well, anyway, how’s this?

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It is summertime, and the livin’ is easy, and we won’t be seeing scenes like this in January (at least until I get back to Sanibel).  So, here are some more.

This was late afternoon and I wondered if the light being reflected from the bay would illuminate the chimney of the lantern.  As I brought the camera to my eye I hollered “Cue boat” and along it came.  I’m pleased with the image; the light in the lantern made the point, and I also like the coil of rope whose loose arrangement offsets the more formal nature of the image.  Artist’s Confession:  With the Spot Healing Brush I removed the Greenhead Fly that was on the chimney (well, it is summertime).

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Here’s another successful “Cue boat” scene.  Yeah, another sunset but I couldn’t resist the alignment and leading line.

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At the beach the beach roses (Rosa Rugosa) are still producing blooms and a sweet, subtle fragrance.  With early morning dew my camera quivers as it focuses on to them.

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On the beach a couple of weeks ago I managed to enjoy my first beach nap of the season.  This entails a process:  bringing together a mound of sand for a pillow; then spreading out my towel over all; and then lying down and wriggling a bit until the sand bumps beneath are smoothed out.  Shortly after that I’m gone.  Here’s the way I described it in a summer post a few years ago:

The waves a sibilant roar.

The soft wind, a balm.

The warm sand, bumpy

But accepting.

Sleep comes.

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Back in reality I recently came across this deserted hull … derelict but surrounded by a funeral spray of Queen Anne’s Lace.  In a few months it may still be surrounded in white, probably snow.  R.I.P.

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Here on Long Beach Island I don’t get to see the owls or Atlantic Puffins of Ray Yeager, or the hummingbirds of Susan Chilkotowsky-Kain.  I’m pretty much stuck with these guys so I have to depend on the scenery around them.  Well, the scene says summer.

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Finally, here’s one to sleep on.  A perfect conclusion for the other end of the day.

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Thanks for visiting.  I feel another nap coming on but I’ll be back.

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BACK TO SUMMER

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Comes June and my digital darkroom heads to the beach.  It isn’t easy, especially at my age (about 34 but, yeah, that’s just from the brain up).  It’s not like getting ready for a shore weekend; it’s packing for two to three months.  There are a couple of soft-goods trips but on the BIG day, the day of the groceries and frig contents, of 32 house plants, of  three printers and the spare inks and 15 varieties/sizes of print paper and the monitor and the tower and the Bose speakers and the wireless keyboard and mouse and the backup drives and all those cables and tiny power supplies (now which one goes where?) and the laptop, and………………

The BIG day is when my daughter, Sigrid, shows up with her GMC and loads up alllllllll that stuff and a couple suitcases, too.   And after she’s loaded the Jimmy she pulls out the two meat loafs she made for me and has time to fluff up the pillows in the town house before we leave.  Then she hauls all my stuff down Route 72 to the island and up to my suite.  Sweet.

Then, I have to find that button that causes everything to put itself away.  Right.

But I digress.  For such a major grunt, why do it?  In part so that I can see and capture the beauty and drama of scenes like the opening image.  It is soul-cleansing.

As my artist friend, Marilyn Flagler, once said “Living near the ocean means continual washing off of the sometimes grimy dust of living.”

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But they’re not all dramatic mornings, are they?  While I was preparing this post there was a foggy morning. My friend, Fog,  always creates a mood of mystery and this morning was on script.

All sound is softened.  It’s still … and moody.  Yes, follow this marker and the posts to …. to where?

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The stillness of sound and light, however, can also reveal other scenes as in this still life.

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On the beach there’s a parade of marching dune grass, added to help stabilize the new, giant dunes.

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Back at my house the fog had left droplets on my Rambler Roses.  The roses and I both liked that.

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As the day moved on the fog lifted to the point where I began to think about a sunset image.  In the event, however, the clouds proved more interesting than the sunset.

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“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.”
–Richard Bach, Johnathan Livingston Seagull

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All but one of these captures were made in the past few days.  I’ve posted , however, on the 21st, the day on which summer began at 12:24 AM.  Glad to see it.

But, there’s always a slight concern for me. It means that the days will now start being a little shorter; a second or so today, three tomorrow…..

Does that mean I have to pack up and go back home already?