Sun bathing

Sun bathing

We’re in charge of our photo adventures.  Adventure means taking a different path.  It can mean getting down on the ground for a really low angle shot, or photographing not the entire flower but a backlit petal.

~ Eddie Soloway

Today’s Capture Your 365 Challenge is Backlit.  I had a little struggle with this one as it’s not something I do very often.  That was one of the reasons I decided to take on some of the prompts.  For the challenge (and the fun of the challenge).

Read the rest of this entry »

153: Foggy and frosty

(Morning sun burning through the fog.)

Foggy and frosty.  Sounds like it should be the name of a cartoon duo.  I need a lesson in blog post titles, as well as how to title your photos.

We had fog here in the Bogs during the early morning hours.  Fog plus cold temps (the low was about 4°F) often equals frost of some kind so I went out early today to see what had developed.  Hoar frost!  Nice, big, feathery, fluffy hoar frost was covering just about everything. The closer to the pond and to the ground one got, the bigger and fluffier the hoar frost.

Unfortunately for me, the best of the hoar frost involved a lot of white on white.  Beautiful to look at.  Difficult to photograph.

Last year I was lucky enough to catch the hoar frost on a sunny day so I could shoot upwards, towards the sky, which gave the photos much-needed contrast.

All I could do was work with what I was given.  I tried a variety of settings on the camera, played with the white balance, and ultimately ended up doing a lot of tweaking in Photoshop to bring out the contrast.

The pond was a big help.  Adjusting the levels and contrast resulted in the ice on the pond looking blue.

I wish you all could have been there to see it.  Mother Nature seems to have decided to go all-out this winter, putting on the best of her winter displays.  (Reminder:  Click on the photos to see the slightly larger view.  You can see more details that way.)

I was out for a little over two hours.  It had warmed up to about 10°F by the time I went out, and it felt quite cold at first.  Eventually I didn’t notice the cold at all.

This morning’s yoga and exercise is what I think of as The Photographer’s Workout.  It involved a lot of walking, including a nice, big hill, as well as bending, stretching, squatting, and lying on the ground then pushing back up to a standing position.

It’s a fun way to work out.  And that last hill got my heart rate up and helped me work up a sweat.  I wonder if I could market this workout?

That’s about it from the Bogs today.  I’ll leave you with a few more photos of hoar frost, and a few of the sun.  As of early this afternoon, it still had not managed to burn through the fog.  The hoar frost, by the way, was gone by 11:00am.  You have to get out early if you want to catch hoar frost.

Oh!  I almost forgot.  Yesterday’s sunset lit up the ice hanging from the clothes line.  It was some of the prettiest stuff I’ve ever seen hanging on the line.  Not the best of shots, but it will give you some idea of what it looked like.

See you tomorrow!

145: Sky dreaming in colors

(A celebration in the sky.)

The heart is always the place to go.  Go home into your heart, where there is warmth, appreciation, gratitude and contentment.

~ Ayya Khema

(Heading home for the evening.)

The sun and sky threw a big party yesterday evening and they invited almost all of the colors of the rainbow to join them in their celebration.  It was a stunning sunset.

A flock of geese flew by, adding their music to the celebration.  Just as I thought it couldn’t get any better, it would.

This morning’s sunrise was almost as stunning.  I was in the kitchen just after my early morning yoga/meditation practice, heating up some water for tea, when the sky lit up in a multitude of colors.  I stood and watched.  It was one of those times when I wanted to be in the moment rather than capture it (with the camera).

(Wide view of the pond and the sky.)

You’ll just have to take my word for it (regarding this morning’s sunrise).  Have you ever noticed that sunrises frequently have a similar look and coloring as the previous night’s sunset?

Today’s outdoor time was all about errands and chores.  The wind has been all bluster and noise for the past 24 hours, with gusts up to 45 mph.  A cold front is moving through this afternoon, and the temperature has been dropping.  We’ll go from 40s to the teens by tonight.

No music so far today.  I’m in the mood for silence.  I will pop in a CD later.  Something soothing, I think.  It’s not a day for harsh sounds.

(Just before darkness settled in.)

That’s about it from the Bogs for today.  Here’s a little something to celebrate the day:

85: Soakin’ up the sun

(Looking towards the light.)

It is a balmy 20 degrees (F) outside today, with the occasional sunny spells.  After filling the bird feeder I decided to do something a little different.  A little lazy, maybe.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

I plopped down in the snow and did a little sun bathing in hopes of capturing some Vitamin D.  With so little skin showing (just my face), I don’t imagine I got very much but still… it felt good to feel the warmth and the light.

(Sunlight in the meadow.)

After sitting there for a while, all nice and quiet, the birds came by to eat so I watched them for about ten minutes or so before finally getting up and taking a little walk.

It was not the usual outdoor excursion but it was nice.  A mood lifter, without a doubt.  Sunlight is good for that.


69: Capturing sunlight

(Sunlight in the grass.)

In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.

~ Aaron Rose

I love the light this time of year.  The days may not be as long but the light we do get can be amazing.  It’s almost as if we get extra “golden hours” to make up for the shorter amount of daylight.

(Tangled with sunlight.)

Obviously I can’t go around pointing my camera directly at the sun.  Well, I could (and I have) but it’s not a good idea.  Most of the time it doesn’t work.  The flares that result from all that bright light can be interesting although usually what comes out is a terribly bright, terribly washed-out-by-the-light halo effect.

(The high light.)

During yesterday’s walk my eyes were drawn towards the grasses and dried flowers, the lines of sunlight and shadows, and the sparkles on the water.  It was a fortuitous time of day.  The light was almost perfect.

(Long shadows in the woods.)

The area pictured above is where my dule of doves reside.  They finally located the log with the grooves in it.  The one where I’ve been putting out bird seed.  It is probably my imagination but the doves didn’t seem to go as far away when they flew off yesterday.  One even came back just after I poured more bird seed into my makeshift feeder.


Today’s walk wasn’t as brilliant.  It is warm, windy, and wet outside so it was another under-the-umbrella walk for me.

(Lit up in the wildflower meadow.)

I did take a few photos today.  I’ll get to those in a minute.  Yesterday was so pretty that I’m not ready to leave it yet and switch to the gray, rainy day.

(Sparkles at the back of the pond.)

(The sun, just out of sight.)

all this time
the sun never says to the earth,

‘You owe me.’
Look what happens
with a love like that —
it lights the whole

~ Hafiz

Today’s Walk (the official version)

It’s close to 60 degrees here in the Bogs today.  I gotta tell ya, it’s one of those days when “Bogs” suits the area well.  We must have had a lot of rain overnight.  According to one place I looked, we’ve had 3.19 inches for the month of November.  All that precipitation is not helping with the pond draw down.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

I found Winter’s footprint while I was out and about.  I’ll show it to you in just a second.  First I should warn you that it involves death.  I’ve been pondering the depiction of death on my blog as part of my year-long journey/commitment.  Should I show it?  Or not?

Since the start of my commitment I have encountered death four times on my daily walks.  The deer (which I did show), an oppossum (which I didn’t show), and today there were two field mice who look to be some sort of casualties of drowning or last night’s gusty winds blowing over the pedal boat.

Death is part of the cycle, especially this time of year.  None of us seem to mind looking at the leaves on the trees as they go out in a blaze of glory.  Maybe that’s because it is only a shedding of leaves and not the death of the tree.  But I don’t believe many of us want to see the body of a dead animal.

So.  You’ve been disclaimered.  I cropped out as much of the field mouse as I could and still retain the impression of a footprint.  The ice was in this shape when I found it.

(Perhaps you would never have noticed the mouse if I hadn’t mentioned it?)

38: Warm up

As I was out and about on my walk today I got to thinking that it was unlikely I’d take any photos.  I had the camera with me, as usual, but I’ve been walking the same paths (in different orders, but still, the same paths) for 34 of the 38 days of my outdoor challenge.  How many different ways can I photograph the same things?

It’s awfully early to be thinking those kind of thoughts.  I still have a little less than 11 months to go.  If I’m already running out of camera fodder — or think I am — what will it be like in February?

So, I thought I’d give you a series of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 shots today and leave it that.  The camera, however, had other plans.

(Wind, waves, and sunlight.)

It’s a strange day, weather-wise.  There is a silvery sheen to it.  The sky and the pond especially have that silvery look to them.

(Haloed sun.)

I usually associate this silvery appearance with the depths of winter.  The sun was surrounded by a large halo (caused by light reflecting off of high cirrus clouds).  In folklore, a halo around the sun or moon means rain or snow is on the way.  In practical terms, it’s only slightly more effective in predicting the weather than the woolly bear caterpillar (since cirrus clouds could — but not always — indicate a storm system approaching).  There is no rain or snow in the forecast (or on the radar) for today or tomorrow.

(Grays and blues above the meadow.)

It’s warmer today than it has been the past few days.  We shouldn’t get used to it, though.  Temps will be in the 30’s and 40’s for the rest of the week.

(Silvery sun in the branches.)

I went out last night to have a look at the stars.  It was cold and clear and the stars were pretty amazing, showing off their twinkling light.  I am hoping this cloud layer will move out before I go to bed tonight.  I want to do some more stargazing.  I should be able to stay out longer tonight since it isn’t as cold.

I was reading (over at Sky and Telescope) that Arcturus, the star seen in the west-northwest at twilight, is known as The Ghost of Summer Suns (very appropriate for Halloween!).  For several days around October 29th, Arcturus sits nearly in the same spot as the summer sun did during the warmer months of June and July.

So in the last days of October every year, you can think of Arcturus as the chilly Halloween ghost of the departed summer Sun.  ~ Alan M. MacRobert, Sky and Telescope

And if you happen to be awake and out before dawn on Monday morning, be sure to look for Comet Hartley 2.  On Tuesday and Wednesday there’s a possibility (slim, is seems) of a  “Hartley-id” meteor shower.  You can read about it here.  I’ll be out there looking (if the skies are clear enough for that here).