Just another rambling fool at WordPress.com

Posts tagged “trees

Perspectives

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I’ve never had a fondness for city or town life. In my opinion, the best neighbors are the kind you can’t see or hear. Ever. Although my house sits on a small parcel of acreage, I’d be perfectly happy living smack-dab in the middle of several hundred acres. During the spring and fall I try to get outside to walk several miles every morning. I’ll usually say it was a good walk if I’m able to complete my hike without seeing a soul. That’s my idea of quality time.


Color Me Pretty

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New England, dressed in beautiful fall colors.


Country Road

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An early morning jogger on a colorful New England country road.


Perspective

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Sometimes all we need a slightly different perspective.


Still Water

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I almost didn’t post this picture because the resolution is absolutely abysmal unless you click on the picture. I don’t know what’s up with WP, but this format is making me not want to blog. What’s the point if the resolution stinks?

This photo reminds me so much of the Adirondack Mountains that it makes my heart hurt. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there. I miss it terribly.


White

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Finally some white stuff, but no spectacular skies or great light yet. So  …. meh. I got out and shot a few frames only because it’s been so long that I needed the practice … use it or lose it and all that rot. I’d forgotten how cold my fingers can get in a matter of minutes. Spring and fall are my favorite times to shoot. Freezing cold winter and the heat of summer … not so much! While sitting in the comfort of your home it’s pretty easy to forget what a good photographer must often endure to catch a great photo op!


Hibernate

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Another day of sleet and rain. How many does that make in the last two months? No photo ops today! In fact, none in weeks. Depressing. I feel like crawling into a cave and hibernating until spring.


Green Christmas

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It looks like it might be another a soggy, foggy Christmas this year.


Family Swim

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Exit

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At certain times in my life I wanted to think we ought to have the right to decide when our life should come to an end. Acute, chronic pain.Terminal illness. Alzheimer’s. There’s a whole host of nasty, hideous ways to die that when confronted with any number of them, the ability to choose a tidy, medically assisted death seems like a better option. But if living with animals has taught me anything, it’s that knowing with absolute certainty when to let go isn’t nearly as easy or simple as one thinks. Do you continue to make adjustments, accommodate advancing age and all the complexities that come with it, or do you draw a line in the sand and wait? Easier said than done. When does modern medicine become more of a hindrance than a help? Where does hope morph into wishful thinking or grasping at straws? Does having the option to choose death make dying any easier, and if it does, easier on whom?

I don’t have the answer to any of these questions, but I do know that if euthanasia was a choice we’d struggle with that too. You don’t think so now because it’s not a legal option, but if it was I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be any clear-cut guidelines for it’s use. We’d still waffle. Because difficulties aside, I think there are some pretty important lessons to be learned through our experiences with death.


Natural

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Rant on:

I was out doing barn chores this morning when my nose was suddenly assaulted by the strong pungent smell of fabric softener. That’s right, fabric softener. How on earth a fake floral scent can waft through the air and completely override the earthy smell of horse poop, hay and damp horseflesh is beyond me. And this isn’t the first time this has happened. Like clockwork, every two or three mornings my neighbor does her laundry, and I guess her washing machine doesn’t work very well because she thinks she needs to coat her clothing and a half-mile radius of the neighborhood with a “flower on steroids” chemical stink.

I simply don’t understand this mindset, but it appears clever marketing has won the war to convince the general pubic that we wreak. We’ve been brainwashed to think our house stinks, our clean clothes stink and even our clean bodies stink. I mean, why else would we feel the need to spritz ourselves with perfume after slathering ourselves with heavily scented body wash, throw perfectly clean clothes into a dryer with sheets that are chemically loaded with phony perfumes and “clean” our houses with chemicals that tout hyper-powerful scents ?

I think this is going to become what the war on invasive smoke was to the last two decades. Sure, you have every right to smell like a floral polecat in the privacy of your own home, but when your fake chemical stink starts to seep into my open windows and linger over my back yard and barnyard then it’s not just YOUR problem anymore. These products are known to make people and animals sick. They’re made to adhere to our skin and clothing and penetrate the surface of inanimate objects, where they can linger for days. Don’t people see the connection between chronic illness and the crap we’re breathing and cleaning and bathing with day in and day out? Enough already! Please, folks. Spend a few pennies more and buy unscented, chemical-free dryer sheets or vent your dryers into your own damn basement … I’m sick and tired of the chemical assault every wash day.

Rant out.


Clearing

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Once the clouds move out it should be a nice day!


Remains

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The remains of a light snowfall last week.


Lucky

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That I somehow managed to capture several semi-decent shots of this hawk was a huge thrill for me! First, the circumstances were a bit unusual and second, it’s the first time I’ve shot any wildlife since my eye troubles began last March.

 I was driving home from the grocery store and had just pulled onto my road when a large shadow passed over my car. As soon as I could safely pull over I peered upward and saw a very large hawk glide across the road and into the woods, where it landed gracefully on a low branch of a tree. My car idled as I sat and watched the bird, cursing my bad luck that I didn’t have my camera with me. I immediately began to calculate how long it would take to drive to my house, run inside and grab my gear (which would require a lens change) and drive back? Would the hawk stay put or fly off after I left? I could tell the bird was starting to settle into a roost, so I decided to try to make a go for it. I didn’t hurry or panic, I simply drove home, got my gear and drove back. Much to my surprise, the hawk was still perched comfortably on the same branch!

It’s always a bit of a chance when you try to shoot birds in the woods. Wind can cause tree branches to move, making the results blurry and limbs and leaves often cast shadows that obscure some (or all) of the desired target. I stood in the middle of the street with tripod in hand, trying decide how close the bird would let me approach before showing alarm or flying off. I inched forward a step at a time until my advance was blocked by a stone wall at the shoulder of the road. The bird watched me  the entire time, but held it’s position. I decided not to chance scaling the stone wall since I didn’t think I could do it without rousing the bird from it’s roost. I set my tripod down, made some adjustments to my camera and started shooting.

At first the bird was partially obscured by the shade of an overhead branch. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try to reposition myself or just wait and see if the bird might shift slightly on it’s own. I chose to wait, and within a few minutes the bird changed it’s position just enough so that the shadows were slightly lessened. Unbeknown to me (because I was so focused on shooting the hawk) two people were walking toward us on the road. Talk about bad timing! On one hand, that turned out to be good because the hawk moved into the light more and swiveled it’s head around to follow the walker’s approach. But on the other hand, as the walkers got closer to me one of them spoke out. “Deer?”

OK, does that make any sense? You see a crazy lady standing by the road side, head glued to a big honking camera on a tripod and you TALK to them? I mean, what else would I be trying to shoot if not wildlife and if so, wouldn’t it make more sense to be quiet? I guess not. I didn’t reply, but the walkers continued by, chattering loudly the entire way. Fortunately, the hawk was comfortable and it didn’t decide to take off. I stayed and shot as many frames as I could, then decided I should try to move closer. I reasoned that if the hawk flew off I wouldn’t be going home empty-handed, but if I could obtain a better (or different) vantage point then why not try? I got about halfway over the stone wall before the hawk had had enough. It launched into the air, flapped it’s massive wings a few times, then glided off to a tree beyond the reach of my lens. Giddy with excitement, I drove home. I still had several bags of groceries to unload and put away before I could download my pictures and see what I had. Needless to say, I was pretty pleased!

I think it takes an enormous amount of skill and good luck to shoot wildlife with any real success. (And a big honking lens) I’ll never have that kind of skill or the equipment to be that good, but I’m tickled pink when the sun, moon and stars all align, and I get lucky!


Dusting

 

 

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We had a light dusting of snow yesterday that’s sticking around today.


Stoned

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I got out to shoot twice yesterday, a rarity for me. At 4:00 PM. I was vacuuming like a crazy lady, trying desperately to get a few last minute chores done before the evening routine of feeding animals and people got underway. But I kept glancing out the front window at the setting sun. I’ve chosen to miss shooting some nice sunsets only because our house sits in a valley where I don’t really get to see the sun set until it’s too late to do anything about it. I know, I know …. a good photographer would be in place well ahead of time, ready to capture that perfect shot. But I’m not that photographer. It’s pretty darn hard to feed a handful of hungry critters and get a meal started if I’m out shooting at that time of day. So instead of making a full commitment and getting out there where I need to be ahead of time, I play the Race Game.

The Race Game involves keeping one eye on the sky for an hour or so before I’d need to dash out if I want to try to catch a nice sunset. I have a small Rolodex of sites that will offer a pretty decent view and that I can reach from my house in about five to fifteen minutes. The trick is not cutting myself short on time, which I’m apt to do. It’s amazing how fast the sky can change. A sky that looks like it’s going to be great when viewed from my living room can easily tank by the time I arrive at my chosen spot. This photo was one of those times. The sky was probably stellar ten minutes before I arrived. I saw glimpses of it, but before I could get there the wind moved the clouds off the map. This cemetery is one of few places nearby that offers an unobstructed view of the horizon, but as I quickly discovered, it’s bitterly cold and windy. So I shot a dozen frames or so and headed back home. I’m not displeased with the results, but I’m not thrilled either. I guess this will have to be filed under the category of Ones That Got Away.


Change

 

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Fall to winter, day to night, mild to cold. Last night change rolled in on a magenta sunset. As we finished up a nice trail ride the sky started to form what l though might shape up into a nice sunset. I grabbed Gus and hit the road with my camera and gear, thinking that if I got lucky I might find a nice shot lurking not too far from home. I thought I had at least a good forty minutes to get someplace and set up before the sky started to really put on a show, but much to my dismay a front decided to come in riding low, dark clouds. Not quite ready to accept defeat, I kept searching. My local region doesn’t have the long, wide vistas one needs to catch the sun slipping over the horizon. Instead, we have nooks and crannies and deep valleys that hide the setting sun, and offer only a hint of a spectacular scene …. someplace else.

They say you should always wait until the final curtain goes down, so with darkness moving in I quickly searched for a sweet spot that might offer one last glimpse of what should have been a gorgeous sunset, but was fast turning into vivid ribbon of color against a dark sky. In a last-ditch effort I pulled off the main road onto a seldom-traveled side road that runs parallel to a big swampy area. I’d driven this road months before, hoping to find better access to shoot the swamp, but I never found the right vantage point. I kept one eye on the winding road and glanced at the setting sun every few seconds. I knew I didn’t have a minute to waste: I either needed to find a magic opening in the trees right now, or turn around and go home. I slowed the car as I drove into a sharp bend and suddenly, there it was, the picturesque view I wanted! The spot wasn’t anything special and in fact, I’d  have to do a bit of creative maneuvering to work around some junk in the foreground, but if I could manage to do that then it just might work. In the five minutes that it took for the sun to slip below the treeline I shot a handful of pictures, then blowing on chilly fingers I packed up my gear and headed home. Not too shabby for ten minutes work!


Thankful

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Snowbirds

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A bluebird house, vacated for the winter.


Peaceful

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I feel like this is the calm before the storm. Tomorrow morning my father-in-law will undergo a surgical procedure that we hope will stop the advance of his cancer. It’s going to be a grueling, eight-hour operation that his eighty-two year old body is not likely to tolerate very well. Still, there are no other alternatives.

 Cancer was around when I was young, but it was much less prevalent than it is today. Even so, I remember overhearing adults whisper about the horrors of cancer and how some day they’d find a cure for it. And people said this with such conviction! I mean, if we could progress from using horses, to automobiles, to putting a man on the moon, why wouldn’t we be able to solve the mystery of cancer? My parent’s generation watched modern medicine chase and tackle so many challenging health threats of their day that it was just natural to think science and medical research would come up with something to prevent and treat cancer.

But they never did. And at the risk of offending anyone, I submit research has never wanted to produce a “cure.” Think of the financial flood that would suddenly seize and dry up if some poor slob stumbled on a cure! So fools that we are, we pretend to believe there will be an end in sight. In a vicious cycle of co-dependency we hold fundraisers and write checks to support a hopeless cause while the researchers frantically try to keep the collection plates spinning. Meanwhile, a very sweet elderly man will most likely suffer a miserable and unfortunate end to a much cherished life while his family looks on helplessly. Again.

Hang tough, Papa Dino.


Frost

 

 

 

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A frosty fall morning.

 

 


Drifts

 

 

 

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I can almost feel the sting of crisp air, see the sparkle of fresh powder. Makes me miss skiing, skating, sledding, making elaborate snow igloos or forts in high banks and drifts, then forming teams for epic snowball wars. Do kids even do that stuff anymore? I doubt it. They’re too busy, sitting huddled over their electronic devices, thumbs punching furiously at keypads. Sad, that.


Unfinished

 

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It’s hard to believe we’re not that far from waking up to a scene like this. The older I get the more conscious I am of time and how quickly it passes. Our lives get divvied up into little compartments or lists that pay homage to the ticking clock: Things that need to be done, things that are almost done, things that may never get done. As time slips by the last group on this list begins to buzz, like an alarm that gets louder when it’s ignored. Call it your Bucket List or your Wish List, it’s the handful of things you dream about doing when your mind wanders from the things we’re trying to accomplish. The trips we didn’t take, the projects we never finished, the relationships we let go. We all have them, these things we fantasize about, the unfinished business we haven’t done for one reason or another: No time. No resources. No balls.

The wisdom of age has helped me accept that everything I’ve dreamed about doing is not going to come to fruition. I know that rubs against the common belief that we can accomplish everything we set out to do, but sometimes it’s good to be left wanting. After all, desire is what dreams are made of.

 


Ponds

 

 

 

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There’s been a lot of emphasis on water since the storm of the century showed up on our doorstep. I live some 35 miles from the shore and when high tides and storm surges collide it isn’t a big threat. However, we do have a large amount of water nearby. Streams that swell, rivers that rise and ponds that balloon beyond their banks when snow melts or storms dump an unprecedented amount of rain in them. My house is above flood level, but we can easily become marooned here if nearby waterways get too high. But this last summer was relatively dry and so our surrounding landscape managed to soak up all the rain. As incredible as it sounds, our sump pump never kicked on during this “epic” storm! Quite the different scenario from last fall’s hurricane/tropical storm, Irene. But I’m not complaining. We did get a lot of  debris and breakage from various sized trees, so I’ll be busy cleaning up the yard and acreage before the snow arrives.

Thanks for all the well-wishes during our highly unsettled weather!