Crocuses

Crocusw

It was a busy week and weekend so I’m just getting around to the image of the week for last week. Didn’t do much in the way of new captures but I was inspired to start a new series from existing flower images using grunge textures and clipping masks. I started with cocuses as I have been starting to see them in bloom.

Shrimp Boats

ShrimpBoatsw

This probably would not have been my choice for image of the week except that it was such a crazy week it was the only thing I had a chance to work on. I was working on purging the files for 2017 and came across these shrimp boats from my North Carolina trip and was inspired to create an art piece using some net pictures and a nautical map for background. Then my Mom was in the hospital and I was standing by to take care of her when she got out and then had to go stay with her for a few days so not much photography got done. I’m not completely happy with this piece but I like the way it is going, I just think it may need more work before it is unleashed.

Day 100 – Santa

Santa

A Visit from Saint Nicholas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”


-Clement Clarke Moore


And so ends the 100 days project. As you might imagine I have been saving this one from my night photography session last week though I played with it a bit in Photoshop today. And the poem, of course, is longer than I usually like but it seemed appropriate to share the full version.


As with all my 100 days projects I’ve been reminded that I don’t do my best work under pressure but I also come up with images that I never would have just because I have to force myself out the door. Lighroom tells me that I now have 5184 images in the 100 days file and windows explorer tells me that my 1 terabyte hard drive is almost full. So there is still a lot of editing ahead of me. I plan to do a web gallery of the best images and the best of the best will be printed and hung at the Ashland Artisan’s Emporium. Thanks to all who have been following and supporting me through this venture. Happy Winter Solstice and whatever other holidays you may be celebrating this month!

Day 94 – Christmas Decorations

Lightsw

Snowball

I made myself a snowball, 
As perfect as could be, 
I thought I’d keep it as a pet, 
And let it sleep with me. 

I made it some pajamas, 
And a pillow for its head, 
Then last night it ran away, 
But first – it wet the bed! 

-Shel Silverstein

This is an art piece I created from some Christmas decorations I saw in a store window when I was out photographing the lights. I used some intentional blur images of the lights to create a little more interest in the piece.  As for the poem, I thought we needed something more lighthearted.

Day 83 – Feather

FeatherRSw

Nostalgia

Remember the 1340s? We were doing a dance called the Catapult.
You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade,
and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular,
the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon,
and at night we would play a game called “Find the Cow.”
Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.

 

Where has the summer of 1572 gone? Brocade and sonnet
marathons were the rage. We used to dress up in the flags
of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone.
Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle
while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room.
We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang.
These days language seems transparent, a badly broken code.

 

The 1790s will never come again. Childhood was big.
People would take walks to the very tops of hills
and write down what they saw in their journals without speaking.
Our collars were high and our hats were extremely soft.
We would surprise each other with alphabets made of twigs.
It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead.

 

I am very fond of the period between 1815 and 1821.
Europe trembled while we sat still for our portraits.
And I would love to return to 1901 if only for a moment,
time enough to wind up a music box and do a few dance steps,
or shoot me back to 1922 or 1941, or at least let me
recapture the serenity of last month when we picked
berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe.

 

Even this morning would be an improvement over the present.
I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees
and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light
flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse
and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks.
As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
letting my memory rush over them like water
rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
a dance whose name we can only guess.

 

-Bill Collins

 

 

Well, the sun is trying to come out but not having much success. Last I looked the temperature was still in the 30s. So, I finally decided to see what I could come up with in the studio. All summer, on my walks I was picking up feathers. I have quite a collection so tried out one with an old book. Then did some magic in the computer. I googled nostalgia poems and came up with this one which gave me a chuckle and decided to use it even though it is a little longer than I generally prefer.

 

Day 81 – Old Barn

Barnw

Old Barn

There’s an old barn
not far from our house
that’s nearing the end of its days.
Its boards are scoured and scored
its roof sags
and there are yawning holes in its sides.

When it was raised
the neat lines of its frame
stood firm against the sky
and it was clad in clean young boards and paint.

Once workmen, with their laughter, came storing hay,
children played in its loft
and young people experimented there with love.

Once cows and horses sheltered between its walls,
and gave birth there to their young,
mice scurried along its beams,
swallows and owls nested under its eaves
and cats came to prowl and prey.

Now the barn is an empty husk
and the fields from which it gathered its hay
have reverted to scraggly woods and scrub.

-Richard Greene

Well, it looks like this murky weather is hear to stay. I’m planning an escape but my calendar doesn’t clear up until late next week. Still, it looks like they will be having nice weather outside the valley which will continue to be plagued by fog. And I have some new poetry books coming so lots to look forward to. This old barn was from yesterday’s excursion. I discovered it on a backroad not far from my house last winter. I often turn to barns when there are no flowers or birds or leaves to photograph. This one took a few trips through software to give it a more grungy, painterly look. And to add some interest to the flat white sky.

Day 80 – Bare Poplars

Poplars

Desespoir

The seasons send their ruin as they go,
For in the spring the narciss shows its head
Nor withers till the rose has flamed to red,
And in the autumn purple violets blow,
And the slim crocus stirs the winter snow;
Wherefore yon leafless trees will bloom again
And this grey land grow green with summer rain
And send up cowslips for some boy to mow.

But what of life whose bitter hungry sea
Flows at our heels, and gloom of sunless night
Covers the days which never more return?
Ambition, love and all the thoughts that burn
We lose too soon, and only find delight
In withered husks of some dead memory.

-Oscar Wilde

Who knew Oscar Wilde could be so dark. Well, it does fit the picture and the gloominess brought on by persistent fog in the valley. I was inspired this morning by a photographer I follow who blogged about how she loves to photograph the shapes of the trees as autumn fades into winter. So I decided what better way to put the fog to good use and drove out into the orchards to see what I could find. It’s hard to beat bare poplars for drama against the sky but the colors were so flat it seemed to cry out for a black and white treatment.

Day 79 – Fallen Fence

Fencew

No!

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member –
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds –
November!

-Thomas Hood

It wasn’t raining today but it was just gloomy. I kept expecting thing to brighten up but they never did. So I went back to my fallen down fence from yesterday and worked on  it a little more. You wouldn’t guess there is a self storage facility just beyond the next pasture would you? And Farewell to November with 21 one days to go before Autumn officially ends.

Day 78 – Autumn Abstract

Autumn Abstract

Fall Leaves, Fall

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

– Emily Bronte

In keeping with my vow to visit places I have not been before, I took a short field trip to Blue Heron Park in Phoenix this afternoon. The park itself is nothing special but it does afford access to parts of the Bear Creek Greenway I have not seen before. I found some falling down fences and some nice colors and then I got to playing with intentional blurs created by moving the camera at a slow shutter speed. I loved the way this one turned out because it looks like a painting and other than adding a little saturation I did nothing to it. This one I would hang on my wall (and I may) and I have seen much worse art hanging in public places. I went looking for a generic autumn poem today and came to the conclusion I have about run through them all, at least the good ones by known authors. But I had not see this one by Ms. Bronte before so wanted to include it.

Day 75 – Owl

Owl

The Owl

When cats run home and light is come,
  And dew is cold upon the ground,
And the far-off stream is dumb,
  And the whirring sail goes round,
  And the whirring sail goes round,
    Alone and warming his five wits,
    The white owl in the belfry sits.

When merry milkmaids click the latch,
  And rarely smells the new-mown hay,
And the cock hath sung beneath the thatch
  Twice or thrice his roundelay,
  Twice or thrice his roundelay;
    Alone and warming his five wits,
    The white owl in the belfry sits.

-Alfred Lord Tennyson

Another rainy day and another of my knick knacks. I think this one also came from Indian Market in Santa Fe. Owl poems for some reason seem to be terribly long. But I finally found one that I like that wasn’t too long and by someone I had actually heard of before.