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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SPRING’S BLOUSE SLIPS ALLURINGLY OFF OF HER SHOULDER

Of course I’m writing about spring flowers gradually appearing.   Whatever were you thinking?  

As I raised the blinds yesterday morning this  tree called to me in the slight fog.  Where did all of those white blossoms come from so suddenly?

Then, on the adjacent trail I came across this night’s work showing the effects of the fog.  It looks as though all that work yielded only a few bits of wet chaff.

Elsewhere on the campus there are lots of splashes of naturalized Narcissi which please the eye and anchor other pleasant woodland scenes.

 

Not much farther afield was this lovely tree, its blossoms so pretty and so short-lived.  I’ve always known these as Tulip trees but our arboretum sign calls them Magnolias.  Indeed, they’re closer to Magnolias than to the Lily (tulips) family. 

A few days earlier I interrupted these two taking in a morning on the south branch of the Rancocas.

Yes, clearly spring is movin’ in and isn’t that a nice thing to know each morning?

VERMONT, CONTINUED – 10/14/09

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My October 2nd Journal post reported my arrival in Vermont for a four day photography workshop.  It was sponsored by Mountain Trail Photo with whom I visited Charleston and the Lowcountry plantations last March (see my April 6th post).   This workshop was under the direction of Joseph Rossbach, an accomplished nature photographer whose work has appeared in a number of national and regional magazines and galleries.  He was an “Energizer Bunny” who kept us moving from pre-dawn to past dusk, providing lots of advice along with his knowledge of locations in which to photograph.  There were eight of us and it was a great experience. 

 

At my age I was wondering if I should really be skootching down on to slippery rocks in moving streams in order to get a better waterfall angle.  One of our group, however, a lovely older  lady named Eva, an active photographer for some twenty years shamed me with her participation.  In addition, while driving between locations, she was fascinating, a child whose father foresaw the Nazi  tyranny and got the family out in the 30’s and into South Africa.  Then, with the advent of Apartheid, she and her family emigrated to the US in the 60’s and created a life here.

 

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I arrived a day early and took the opportunity to visit some favorite spots from earlier years.  (Did I refer to my age?  Well, I realized that I was visiting up here before our guide,Joe Rossbach, was born?!?)  Anyhow, here’s a different Weston view.  Everyone (me included) shoots the waterfall behind the Weston Playhouse (and I did too) but here’s a shot of the stream that’s headed for those falls around the distant bend.  I have great memories of the antique show at the Playhouse which was going on while I was there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As I have said in this Journal before, one of the values of these workshops is in the drilling in good practices.  All too often it’s grab the camera and shoot a scene.  The workshops provide the time to take time and practice.  The things that I will remember to take the time to do  from Joe’s drilling are: (1) use the mirror-up capability of the camera.  With this the mirror which reflects a scene into the viewfinder is pulled up and stable seconds before you shoot; hence its movement doesn’t induce vibration into the image.  This is particularly important with the slow shutter speeds we were using in the low light levels (the weather could have been a little brighter.)  (2) Use the live view capability of the camera to better frame your image.  It provides a more accurate view of the scene than does the view-finder, and I found that I re-composed several scenes as a result of seeing them in live view rather than just in the view finder.  (3)  Leave your circular polarizer on at all times.  Of course, it helps in reducing glare and reflections but it also makes the colors “pop.”  Yes, it costs you a couple of stops so you’ll have longer exposures but you’d better be shooting on a tripod anyway.

 

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Here’s a calendar or picture-book farm called Sleepy Hollow.  It’s on Route 12 north of Woodstock.  I discovered this on my own in 2002 and photographed it at that time.  Only later did I learn that it’s an iconic scene for Vermont photographers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a gallery of more images on my gallery web site.  Click here.  Meanwhile, here are some samples:

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Above is the creek which drove the 1882 Kingsley Grist Mill near Clarendon.

To the right is along the shore line of the Chittenden Reservoir at dawn.

Below is a spider web at sunrise with droplets from the low hanging clouds that had been here earlier.  Click on the picture to see a larger version with the drops more visible.

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And, finally, the Chittenden Reservoir at sunrise as the clouds lifted.

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