Category Archives: photography

orange glow

A few days ago, while waiting for the school bus, I noticed a cluster of oak leaves being illuminated by the low afternoon sun. I was quite pleased that I was able to capture some of their striking orange glow.

(I couldn’t decide which of these 3 I liked best, so I’m just sharing all 3.)

to catch a snowflake (friday foto finder: snowflake)

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programing of fall leaves and water drops to bring you a preview of the trends to come.

Back in January, a few weeks after I serendipitously spotted and photographed a bunch of freshly fallen and perfectly articulated snowflakes, I decided to try to try my luck with intentionally capturing freshly fallen snowflakes. Once there is snow on the ground (which there pretty much is here December through February or March), the fresh flakes tend to blend in with the old flakes. They are certainly fresher and whiter than the snow on the ground, but they don’t photograph well. What they need is a bit more contrast to show off their lines.

So, when snowstorm started, I decided to see if I could catch some snowflakes. As a background, I grabbed a dark colored fuzzy scarf and brought it outside to my front yard. Actually, first I let it chill for a bit on covered front porch, because a warm scarf from inside would certainly melt any individual snowflakes pretty much instantly.

The trap was moderately successful, and I could indeed make out the shapes of many an individual snowflake. Photographing them was rather challenging, though. You see, snowflakes are small. It’s quite tricky to focus on the little buggers. And you might also be surprised to know that when it is snowing outside, it can be downright cold out. Yes, you heard it here first. The result of this was that as I squatted over my scarf trying to focus on the individual flakes with my quickly numbing fingers, I also got downright chilled. (Shivering, does not help one steady one’s hand.)

Clearly, what I needed was to bring out a tripod. However, it wasn’t long before it was a moot point. The fickle New England weather turned from snow to freezing rain, and the individual snowflakes on my scarf quickly evolved into clumps of slush.

Perhaps this year I will try again and set an all-new snowflake trap, and work out these kinks. Build a better snowflake trap, as it were.

This week’s friday foto finder theme was “snowflake.” To see the flurry of other snowflakes that have been caught, stop by the fff blog.

balloon ride in the rain

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve never actually been on a hot air balloon, though I really hope to some day.¹ I have, however, been on an amusement park ride with cars shaped like hot air balloons.²

These photos are from my family’s 2010 trip to Story Land in New Hampshire. It was rainy the afternoon we arrived, but there was still fun to be had, and photos to be taken.

This trip was during my participation in Project 365 for which I committed to taking (at least) a photo a day to share online. I further decided to have monthly themes. This was still in my first month of the project, for which I chose reflections for my theme.

Amusement parks provide lots of shiny surfaces, so it was a good place to find reflections. I wasn’t actually too sorry that there was rain that day!

¹ I came really close to going on one when I was 13, but the weather conditions were wrong the day I was scheduled to go. Here we are 30 years later, and I still haven’t managed to reschedule…

² You might recognize these balloons from the set of amusement park ride silhouettes I posted a few weeks ago. ³

³ And once more, I am enjoying running with a theme. Or perhaps getting carried away with a theme, in this case. This past Friday’s friday foto finder theme was balloons and I found I couldn’t stop with just one. (Or even with the 3 I posted on Friday.)

more abstract compositions found on a rusty dumpster

I imagine that many people don’t much notice the nitty-gritty details of places they frequent. I probably don’t much notice many of them myself. But I do have to say that I was rather amused to have noticed that a dumpster that sits next to a parking lot I frequent was swapped out for another dumpster. You see, I had previously admired the patterns made by the rust breaking through the bright blue paint on this particular dumpster. One pattern on the side reminded me of enameled jewelry. (Over a year ago, I posted a collection of photos I had accumulated of details of the patterns made by rust and weathered paint on the sides of dumpsters. The dumpster in question is featured in the top photo of that post.)

Upon realizing that there was a new (at least, new to the location, but certainly not newly fabricated) dumpster, I was happy to observe that the new arrival had its own pretty patterns of rust and striking abstract compositions.


The shapes of this bit remind me of a map, and the colors of earthenware pottery glazes.


The layers of various bright colors remind me again of enamelwork.


And this was just a pleasing abstract composition featuring the letter V. (Or maybe it’s a Y. I think it’s open to interpretation.)

curled up and dried out

Following through with the leaves, these leaves are some different maple leaves that I came across back in April.

I found that they had retained a surprising amount of shape after a long harsh winter.

Indeed, I quite admired the graceful way they had curled up as they dried out.

My macro lens let me get in close to the crisp edges that had been nicely highlighted by the low afternoon sun.

I actually came across these leaves around the same time as I gathered up images of bright fresh spring leaves unfurling. Tonight, in the midst of a hectic stretch and feeling a bit used up, I seem to be identifying more with the dried up leaves of last year…

blooming tree in the summer rain

This summer brought its share of rainy days. The Fourth of July turned out to be one such rainy day, leading to many cancelled plans for picnics, barbecues and fireworks. I was in the middle of a frantic work stretch, however, so the rain didn’t much dampen my spirits.

Some friends were kind enough to entertain the kids along with their own kids for the day, while John and I both did work. In the late afternoon, while waiting for my children to be delivered home, I noticed that the sun was trying to break through the clouds, and was lighting the leaves and flowers on the tree next to our front porch.

I grabbed my camera, and stood under the shelter of the porch, and was captivated by the sparkling water drops. (I am such a sucker for water drops.)

Really, I should have also grabbed the tripod, but I didn’t intend it to be an extended photo shoot.

On a side note, I don’t actually know what kind of tree this is. Its deep, dark red blooms appear in early summer. I do like their understated appearance.

a few views of Howth harbour (friday foto finder: lighthouse)

During my visit to Dublin back in May, I took a few short daytrips to nearby towns. One day before the conference started, a friend also in town for the conference and I took the DART out to Howth, a small fishing town on the coast.

A short walk from the train station brought us to a small harbour sheltered by a breakwater with a walkway. We caught glimpses of a lighthouse as we walked.

We walked out to the end of the breakwater, and enjoyed the views of the harbour, nearby rocky islands and cliffs, and this little lighthouse. Then we turned around to wander more around the town and hills.

One of the paths we took led us up to the short round tower that can be seen atop this hill. (The tower is a Martello tower a type of lookout tower/fort that the British built around many locations along the coasts of the British Isles and beyond.)

The hilltop offered great views of the harbour.

And my trusty telephoto lens brought me close to the lighthouse once more.

This little excursion to Howth turned out to be one of the high points of my trip, and I have lots more photos from that day. (Happily, I indeed still have them, because I nearly didn’t. This was the town where I almost lost my camera. I’d left if slung over the back of my chair in a dimly dark little cellar pub below the train station, and I didn’t realize the fact until on the train heading back to Dublin…Perhaps a story for another day?)

This week’s friday foto finder theme was “lighthouse.” To catch glimpses of other lighthouses, pay a visit to the fff blog.
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