Day 100 – 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 99 – Maple seeds


Samara (Maple Tree Seeds)

Paper whirly-birds.
They look so much 
like pairs of insects’ wings, 
to the ground, 
helicopters landing
on springy tarmacs
to deposit
next year’s forest, 
like precious cargo.

Sweet to think
that trees
once had wings
and flew. 

-Sonny Rainshine

The weather turned out to be not as bad as forecast this morning so I was able to get out for one last trip to Lithia Park. I started out looking for wood ducks but they appear to have not arrived yet. I proceeded on to the Japanese garden photographing rain droplets on branches along the way. But I really like this close up of a maple seed still hanging from the tree. We used to call them helicopters and play with them as children. So I could really relate to the poem I found to go with it.

Day 98 – Rosebud


To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.

-Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Well my good intentions of photographing every day this week have been preempted by the need to help my Mom get ready for Christmas and a rather nasty turn in the weather. We’ll see how tomorrow goes but for today you get another one from the rose garden. When I looked at this picture the first line of this poem just popped into my head so I thought, well, why not. We might say the same of autumn. It is going, going…and soon will be gone.

Day 96 – Faded Rose


Roses, Late Summer

What happens
to the leaves after
they turn red and golden and fall
away? What happens

to the singing birds
when they can’t sing
any longer? What happens
to their quick wings?

Do you think there is any
personal heaven
for any of us?
Do you think anyone,

the other side of that darkness,
will call to us, meaning us?
Beyond the trees
the foxes keep teaching their children

to live in the valley.
so they never seem to vanish, they are always there
in the blossom of the light
that stands up every morning

in the dark sky.
And over one more set of hills,
along the sea,
the last roses have opened their factories of sweetness

and are giving it back to the world.
If I had another life
I would want to spend it all on some
unstinting happiness.

I would be a fox, or a tree
full of waving branches.
I wouldn’t mind being a rose
in a field full of roses.

Fear has not yet occurred to them, nor ambition.
Reason they have not yet thought of.
Neither do they ask how long they must be roses, and then what.
Or any other foolish question.

-Mary Oliver

Today I went back to the rose garden to see what I might  be able to do with faded roses. I didn’t want to go, I had to drag myself out the door. (I think my thermometer is broken, it keeps telling me it is 30 degrees even in mid afternoon).  But once I got there I was just blown away by the subtle beauty and muted colors I was finding. I could easily finish out the 100 days with rose pictures. But I have a few other things in mind. I may just inundate you with Mary Oliver though. I’ve run through all the good autumn poems and I’m getting really tired of wading through all the crap that gets posted on hello poetry;  but Mary always has something to say that’s worth listening to. And she is my all time favorite poet. But we’ll see where the next four days take us.

Day 95 – Acorns


Do Stones Feel?

Do stones feel?
Do they love their life?
Or does their patience drown out everything else?

When I walk on the beach I gather a few
white ones, dark ones, the multiple colors.
Don’t worry, I say, I’ll bring you back, and I do.

Is the tree as it rises delighted with its many
each one like a poem?

Are the clouds glad to unburden their bundles of rain?

Most of the world says no, no, it’s not possible.

I refuse to think to such a conclusion.
Too terrible it would be, to be wrong.

-Mary Oliver

To say I’m not feeling it today would be a gross understatement. It feels like there is nothing left to photograph. I know that’s not true. I even have a few ideas on how to finish out the week. But today, I’m not feeling it. So I went to October and looked for something to process. I thought these acorns might look good in black and white. I looked for acorn poems. I was not inspired. Then I remembered I promised you something from Mary Oliver. Just started flipping through Devotions and came up with this one. I hope you enjoy.

Day 94 – Christmas Decorations



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 92 – Birch Leaf


Birch Tree

The birch tree in winter
Leaning over the secret pool
Is Narcissus in love
With the slight white branches,
The slim trunk,
In the dark glass;
Spring coming on,
Is afraid,
And scarfs the white limbs
In green.

-Arthur Seymour and John Tessimond

This is an other one from my walk in the Railroad district yesterday. I’m not being lazy, really, but I have some night photography planned for this evening and I don’t think I’m going to feel like editing and posting images when I’m done. So, you will just have to wait another day for those and enjoy the birch leaf in the meantime. Of course, the obvious choice of poems would have been Robert Frost’s Birches but I just used him yesterday and that poem is a little too long.

Day 91 – Leaf in Ice


Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire, 
Some say in ice. 
From what I’ve tasted of desire 
I hold with those who favor fire. 
But if it had to perish twice, 
I think I know enough of hate 
To say that for destruction ice 
Is also great 
And would suffice.

-Robert Frost

Today I took a walk in the Railroad district of Ashland and as usual I found many interesting things to photograph. But I was most fascinated by the ice in the gutters at some of the intersections. I’m sure some of the motorists driving by thought I was crazy as I kept milling around the gutter searching for leaves trapped in the ice. I finally found one. I had to add a couple of textures to bring in some color and make the image more interesting but I think it works. The poem is not exactly related but I searched for poems about ice and this one by Robert Frost that I had never heard before popped up so I decided to use it.

Day 90 – Frosty Rose


A Frosty Morning

When the sun hangs low in the eastern sky,
Caught in the trees that shiver and shy,
Red as the robin that flits nearby,
Sing hey, for a frosty morning!

When the lane is a-glitter beneath our feet,
Powered with crystal, delicate, sweet,
And the quiet pond is a silver sheet,
Sing hey, for a frosty morning!

Come out, come out, while the sky is red,
Over the crunching fields to tread,
Ere the frost in the kindling sun lies dead,
Sing, hey for a frosty morning!

-Enid Blyton

We’ve been experiencing a lot of frosty mornings lately. I finally made a point of getting up early enough that my hair would be dry before the frost melted so I could go out and photograph. The same roses that I was so impressed were still blooming a few weeks ago have not fared well with the frost but do still look stunning covered with the little white crystals.  I added a texture to enhance the sense of decay.

Day 89 – Oak Leaf with Puffball


The Old Oak

Brisk winds
rattle the season guardian 
of the western woods,
signaling a turned chime
of brilliant pigment. 

The old oak
gifts the green grass
with blankets of crisp
leafy yellow,
covering the worn 
forest trail. 

-Joseph Kushnir

One more from Touvelle. I still have a few ideas of what to photograph in the next 11 days but I admit I am getting a little burned out on the project and look forward to being done, or at least moving on to the next phases. At last count I have nearly 5000 images in my 100 days folder though some are duplicates from processing and such. Still I have also deleted a lot of second raters so I’m looking at a pretty nice body of work. The next task will be to winnow it down to the best of the best and create a web gallery. I’m also working on a scrapbook of the 100 daily selections plus a few other worthy entries. And then there will be plenty of art to create during the winter.