I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show on Wednesday because of the snow storm forecast for Thursday. So did everyone else. I experienced crowds that I hadn’t seen there for a few years. My daughter, Sigrid, went on Thursday, and texted me a picture showing the floor almost empty. Oh well, had I gone I’m not sure I would have enjoyed the road struggle getting home from the high speed line.  Also, I got to enjoy (?) today’s snow storm and the contrast between the two days!

Here’s the opening scene that greeted show arrivals and it was pretty punchy.  A nice welcome to the show, it made me think of a flower-bedecked Rose Bowl Parade float.  The show theme was movies with an emphasis on the work of Disney and Pixar Studios, and I think that it was well executed and well carried throughout the show.  Full disclosure:  I’m a movie enthusiast, particularly with the work one sees on Turner Classic Movies.  Nevertheless I was impressed with the creativity shown in the exhibits.

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Conversely, here’s an opening scene for Thursday’s snow storm.  Yes, there’s a difference.


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Here was a large screen on which snippets of famous movies played from time to time with an imaginative sculpture of film and camera in front of it.  This scene:  Bogart saying goodbye to Bergman in the closing scenes of Casablanca.  “Here’s looking at you, kid.”  Made in 1942 I wonder how many who saw this could relate.  Not enough flash-bang to appeal to modern audiences.

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The movies theme was repeated in exhibits throughout the show floor.  I don’t know if these chandeliers were intentional but they certainly made me think of 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  Not a pleasant thought as I always thought it was veeerry dumb from a science fiction point of view.  Richard Dreyfus shoveling dirt into his house, subconsciously trying to recreate Devils Tower?  Anyway, a space ship arrives there eventually and it was shaped something like this:

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Back to reality the next day, this was the kind of color (?) and drama that we had to deal with.  As I walked along here I kept stepping into troughs of slush,  the residue of yesterday’s temperatures in the 40’s and rain.

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One of the flower show exhibits could only be viewed through eye holes in the walls around the exhibit.  Inside were mystical sculptures illuminated with black light.  Pretty and interesting.

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The next day we also had sculptures, stark, cold, and not nearly as attractive but, perhaps, more dramatic.

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 Back on the show floor, Hollywood, the home of the stars was evoked with this handsome star on one of the commercial booths.  A booth for horticultural wares?  No, sorry, we’re selling being a middleman on your electric bills.  Anyhow, the star was striking and pretty.

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Well, were there any flowers at the flower show?  Of course there were.  Here’s a collection from the entrance exhibit which will also wind up in my place mat series.

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Not to be outdone, our snow day also included some flowers.

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With my electric blanket and Pearl’s heating pad we survived the storm quite well and awakened to blue sky and puffy clouds and snow on the roofs…….and 6°! !

But, we landscape photographers can not ignore this kind of scene so…….


The good folks at Medford Leas had the roads and driveways  plowed by 7:30 so I could get out.  I fortified quickly with some breakfast, boots, long johns, a sweater layer and a fresh battery and headed out.  With my balaclava I was good to go except there were slippery icy spots of which I had to be careful.  Along the red trail there were plenty of critter tracks in the snow and even a faint odor of skunk but no deer or big-foot tracks.  No one was using the resting bench, either.



There were nice things to see along the way, particularly in the warm light of early morning winter sun.





Over at the nature center green house the heating system was already having its way.



The plants inside were warm and secure, wondering what all the fuss was about.



One more stop, at the atrium within the Community Center, and some winterberry that has escaped the birds so far.



A quite beautiful morning.  Now, back to the cave to enjoy it from inside and with a cup of coffee.




It’s the first full week since the end of the holiday season and with the morning alarm comes the question that I’ve been raising since New Year’s day:  What are you going to do with the rest of this year?  That’s a troubling question.

On a macro level I guess it’ll be more of the same and that’s not all bad.  More photography in its many forms, e.g. camera club meetings, competitions and workshops, and field trips, always fun albeit maybe a bit more physically demanding.   Don’t know about a winter getaway, yet…maybe…maybe.  But, there’ll be another spring, wildflowers on the trails, balmy days, flowering shrubs and trees.  Then, of course, there’ll be summer at the shore…Saturday mornings on the dock with coffee and friends, watching the kids racing…and beach naps, hard to think about on these cold mornings. Then as fall approaches, the chlorophyll supply in the leaves will diminish revealing their underlying reds and yellows.  Before we know it it’ll be time to put the tree and trains back up again.

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So, maybe I should just leave it up?


As to the New Year on a micro level it comes a day at a time so that’s the way I’ll be taking it.  For us in the northeast it began with a snow storm.  I went out at about 8:00 AM because I felt that I should.  My resolve melted away in the face of the wind chill but here are some scenes on the campus:


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My wreath greeted me, looking splendid with its dusting.  I also liked the reflections of the winter scene in the windows on either side of the wreath.


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On another recent day we drove down to the shore area just to drive past the snow-covered fields along the way.  Here’s a scene captured at Smithville.  It made me glad that I’m not a Canada Goose.


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Smithville is another virtual hard drive of family memories.  It was a good meeting point for us to have dinner with my shore-resident parents now and then;  it was a place where Sigrid once vociferously rejected the Quail Lodge (now gone) Santa as not being the real one who, of course, worked at Strawbridges; it was a place where, in the 60’s, we celebrated my parents’ 50th with a private party.  The fee covered an open bar and dinner; I remember thinking that the more I drank the cheaper each became.  Ahhh, youth.


The post title is Winter Wanderings so here are two more images, both made in December.


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The above was made on a trail walk on Christmas morning.


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And, on the stormiest or most bitterly cold days, be reminded that the sun is out there somewhere.  A Happy New Year to all.



Just a week ago we were being caressed by Caribbean breezes as we enjoyed our wakeup coffee on the balcony of our stateroom, or our evening wine there as the day departed.  Since my return I’ve certainly enjoyed the few days of temperatures in the high 40’s or low 50’s.  But, one of those patterns that the weather forecasters cheerily tell us are travelling here from Kansas or Wisconsin inevitably arrived.  Now, this morning, here’s the first silent signal: Winter is here!

Just a few days late for Christmas.

Unless you’re a winter resort it’s a good kind of snow, just enough to be pretty and evocative.

OK, who didn't put the chair back?


But, too late for this year's Christmas card.



I spent a few days in Colonial Williamsburg, arriving with the snow storm on Christmas afternoon. While you were all ho-ho-ho-ing over Christmas dinners the property had shut down food service and I was microwaving a nearby convenience store tub of beef stew in my room and thankful for it.  By the next morning there was six inches and it was still coming down hard and would continue through the day and that night.
I had been wondering what I might be able to photograph that would be new as I’ve visited there many times. The snow was my answer, giving everything a new veneer. There were few of us brave enough to be out, some naturally.

First on my list for the day had been an organ recital at the 1715 Bruton Parish church. Hah! Closed up tighter than a drum. Well, all right. Next was to be a colonial sermon at the Wren Chapel of William & Mary. Again, Hah! Get your guidance somewhere else today.
So, I wandered about the Palace Green. I stopped at my favorite CW house, the Georgian Architecture George Wythe house, circa 1752. Wythe was the first law professor (William & Mary) in the United States, mentoring, notably, a young Thomas Jefferson, and, later, John Marshal, future chief justice. Wythe was one of six Virginians to sign the Declaration of Independence.  


The picture on the left was taken of the house in December 2008.  The one on the right was taken of the docents inviting me in last week. On such a slow day the docents were happy to see me and to let me wander from room to room at my leisure and to discuss pieces in detail. It was a privilege. 

The Wythe Dining Room

The green in the dining room above is similar to the verdigris green that appears in Mount Vernon’s small dining room, a popular shade in colonial times. Washington probably felt at home at the Wythe house where he headquartered before the siege of Yorktown.

I resumed my walk in the snowstorm, joining other hardy souls. There was good feeling between us all as we jointly endured adversity.

I then retreated to the excellent café in the excellent Dewitt Wallace Museum of colonial furniture and furnishings, glassware, porcelains, money and arms. The café was a civilized spot for a bowl of soup and a glass of Merlot while enjoying their annual tree. 

In the Museum Cafe

Other items of interest during my visit included a chat with enactor Ms. Coamma who described herself as a free negro and reminisced about local life and the foibles of the Governor and others of the town. She’s seen sitting in front of a fire in an out building of the Peyton Randolph house. The fire had not been lit long and I could see her breath as she spoke.

The all natural Williamsburg Christmas decorations are an important part of the holiday and are a matter of competition amongst the residents. The traditional apple and pineapple spray had taken a beating from the melting snow turning into icicles. The window-corner spray, simple but appealing, featured a sunflower, a dried lotus blossom and onions.

,Finally, at night there are strollers wandering down Duke of Gloucester Street and patronizing the CW restaurants. Here is Tarpley’s store, closed for the day but still offering its goods for passers-by to be tempted to buy tomorrow. 

Tarpley's Store

 For some additional images from my visit, please click here.


Last weekend I joined fifteen other photographers from three New Jersey clubs for two days of shooting around Roundtop Mountain in the Catskills.   Here’s a view of five of the group risking life and limb on snowy and icy slopes, trying to capture the perfect image.

This is the same area we visited last winter and spring, and several of the photographers were repeats from those weekends.  The weather was beautiful; we visited several new sites; and we had fun!

It’s hard not to find beautiful scenes what with running streams, rocks, trees and snow.  The scene below was made late in the afternoon and exploited the motion of the water and the splashes of warm light.

And now for something completely different….a Buddhist retreat with the pagoda, three temples, each complete with recorded chanting, joss sticks, and fresh fruit offerings.  Enchanting!

Below we have a covered bridge over the Artists’ Falls, mostly covered with ice and snow.  The group picture above was taken on the other, down-falls side of the bridge.

Finally, the mountains.  Several more images from the weekend can be seen at my gallery.  Click here.

THE BLIZZARD OF ’09 – 12/19/09

Yes, we had a little snow today. At 8:00 in the evening, it’s at about 14″ and it’s still coming down. I suspect it’ll be a record.

My snowthrower bit into more than it could chew last winter.  I’ve been working on it; I disasembled it to try and free it up.  The manufacturer had gone bankrupt.  Some parts were available through Freddie’s Bicycle Shop in Zelionople but with strange part numbers so I demurred.  I put it back together and attacked the snow…..for a distance of  four feet.  The gearbox had ground up what was left of the gears from last winter. 

So, God Bless Bobby who had just acquired a brand new snow thrower from Home Depot and drove over here with it in his truck. He and Sigrid unloaded it and he did a number on my driveway.

Before that I was out on a walk at about 4:30.  Here’s the entryway to the walk to my house.


At 9:15 PM it’s still coming down pretty good. 


Outside of that short walk I stayed in and decorated my tree.  Why wouldn’t I stay inside?  Merry Christmas, everyone!


Now we begin digging out.  I guess UPS won’t be coming to the back door.

The mail box is another  indicator.

But, Bobby came back again and recleared the driveway.