Under The Redwoods

My first few days in California were splendid, with sunny skies and temps in the 70s.  It’s been fun being around the horses, dogs and chickens while shooting horse related photos.  However, yesterday the temperature dropped, the clouds rolled in and the rain began.  While that may not be a big problem under normal circumstances, because I am staying in a tepee for the week, it has presented a few issues I have not had to deal with before.  For instance, the tepee has a hole at the top and rain comes in where the smoke vents.  There are flaps that can be closed to minimize the amount of rain coming in, but you cannot completely close the opening, nor would you want to, unless you like sleeping in a smokehouse when you have a fire going.  On the up side, just like when camping in a tent, the sound of rain on the outside of the tepee is wonderful.  I’ve woken up to that sound two mornings in a row and I’ve enjoyed laying in my well padded sleeping bag listening to the random drops hitting the canvas.

There is an added element of specialness in that this property is situated on a hilltop covered with redwoods.  I have hiked in the Muir Woods park north of San Francisco a couple of times, but have never slept with the giants.  I have discovered that they are very difficult to photograph and have resigned myself to just being in their presence and basking in their majesty.  There is a silence in these woods that is holy and I stand in reverence as I stare upward to the place where their crowns touch the sky.  I’ve also realized, as I look closely at the bark, that each tree is an ecosystem unto itself.  Each harbors various forms of life, from the smallest, unseen lifeforms, to insects, mammals and birds.  It will be interesting to see if when I return to Minnesota next week, if our local pine trees will seem tiny in comparison, although many of them are also quite large.  Just not this large!

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A Day of Gratitude

Today I am spending time thinking of those things I am grateful for, the list is long and only a few will be posted here.  Life has, for the most part, been good to me.  It has been enriched by good people, nature, animals, wonderful experiences, the opportunity to travel and family.  As I travel north from the hills covered with redwoods outside of Watsonville California to Fremont to celebrate Thanksgiving with family, I will be keenly aware of the blessings that allowed me to be here at this time and will be in a state of gratitude today and always for those blessings.

Happy day of gratitude to all and thanks to all who share my photo journey through blogging.

A Photographer’s Playground

As I was walking on the Duluth Lakewalk today, which is the pathway along Lake Superior, I spotted a couple of trees that had been sprayed with water from the large waves created by the recent storm. Both trees were sporting a collection of icicles of various lengths and shapes that had been sculpted by the water and wind. After snapping a few photos at the first tree, I moved on to the second tree which is where I took most of these photos.

I took my time exploring the ice encrusted tree, searching out unique perspectives, different formations, looking for contrasting backgrounds and waiting for the sun to break out between passing bands of snow.  Although I captured about forty images, these are my favorites.  In a few days the ice will probably be gone.  I am so glad that I was prepared with a camera and had a little time to play at the playground.

Embracing Winter

summer’s glory fades away, the natural world transitions to shades of gray
but not all color is lost in the touch of winter’s attack on the landscape
bits and pieces, reds and browns, the pines staying ever green
water not yet ready to surrender to the icy grip descending, winds along it’s path
the sky at day’s end, sun breaking through as the storm moves east
golden glow, shades of white and gray canvas to be backlit by the setting orb
I glide along the trail, parallel to the tracks of those who still walk the path
winter has come, my skis know the way and we share the journey together

WINTER COMETH

I wish to introduce to all of you a gifted writer and thinker. It is my belief that her blog deserves more attention than it is getting. I hope you will pay her a visit and feel free to share her blog with others you may think will appreciate her writing. Thank-you.

MUSINGS from MARY

November 11, 2014

WINTER COMETH IN THE MORNING…

Snow. Storm. The Winter King has arrived halfway between the Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice.  Of course, here in the Northland, he’s pretty much expected anytime once the cutouts of jack o’ lanterns come down and the pictures of Pilgrims and turkeys go up.

My husband, David, took a photo yesterday while shoveling and posted: “Winter, embrace it or move!” He took photos and brought in wood for the fireplace. I made gingersnaps, soup and bread. Today we went skiing.  IMG_2817

FaceBook was full of postings today about the weather and the snow–love it, hate it, celebrating it, forgive it. There were pics of cozy fires burning in wood-stoves, people baking cookies and gathering to watch movies.

Of course, there were also the sad reports from those who crunched their cars skidding down hills, hit the ditch spinning out on icy highways, nursing strained muscles…

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Spin Art

Whether you discovered it at a fair or you had the home version, spin art was fun to create with and always produced something new and interesting.  It was an opportunity to learn that the order you added paint to the spinning paper was important in determining the final outcome.  You might even think of it as your first lesson in using layers, which would come in handy later in life when you learned to use applications such as Photoshop.

In a moment of boredom, I was goofing off in my studio and found a variation to paint based spin art.  This method involves an iPhone with an HDR app and a spinning chair.  I’m now thinking about taking my chair out to various locations to explore the possibilities.

(Note to those who don’t spin well, dizziness is a side effect!)