Tag Archives: photography

the life and times of an Easter egg

a bunch of fakes

This week’s friday foto finder challenge was to share a photo on the theme of “fake.” It took some digging through my photo library, but this photo from 2011 caught my eye. This bunch of fake grapes adorned our table at a cafe where we had brunch once. In spite of my general lack of enthusiasm for plastic food used as decorations, I loved the way this bunch of fake grapes glowed in the sunlight, and caught so many reflections in its shiny surfaces.

To see what other fakes others are trying to pass off, pay a visit to the fff blog!
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towering mirrors

This is a photo I took almost 10 years ago to the day, from a trip to New York City for a conference in April of 2004.

It’s funny to think that 10 years ago, I was just really getting comfortable using my first digital camera.

Last night my front porch was visited by the ghost of William Morris

William Morris (1834-1896) was, among other things¹, an Englsh artist and textile designer. His iconic designs featured intricate and highly stylized plants and flowers. I became familiar with his work largely through my familiarity with the variations of his Acanthus leaf design that was used for the wallpaper, signage and even wrapping paper in Barnes & Noble stores through the late 1990s.

It came as quite a surprise to me this morning to find evidence that his ghost had visited our home in the night, and apparently had a tryst with Jack Frost on our front porch.

Intricate patterns of ice covered the whole width of the porch, and varied in detail and density and style.

There were ferns, leaves, flowers, and brambles.

Mr. Morris also included some beadwork in some of his designs.


A view from my standing height, to give a sense of the scope and size of the patterns.

Wherever I looked were more things to photograph. (Click on any of the photos to see a larger version and zoom in. You will be very impressed by the designer-ghost’s attention to detail.)

It snowed overnight here, and there was apparently freezing rain and wind as well. I had opened the front door to get a look at the snow in the front yard, and was greeted by all of this. As best I can guess, little drops of watery ice that landed on our porch were blown around by the wind, leaving little streaks of ice behind them. (This is much like what I guessed happened the morning I found frost feathers on my car.) Either that or it was indeed the ghost of William Morris, and he spent the whole night drawing his patterns on the porch.

¹ I had no idea that he was also an author of fantasy novels. This may support my ghost theory.


Stepping out of the building after a meeting in Boston on Wednesday, I enjoyed the warmth and fresh air of the Spring afternoon. I was startled, therefore, to see what appeared to be clumps and shards of ice on the ground. (Certainly there had been ice in that very spot not so long ago, but to my knowledge, there had been no new ice since the thaw.) As it turn out, it was a shattered glass bottle. The clear glass glittered in the sunlight, and was full of interesting patterns and lines.

Naturally I had to stop and stoop to take some photos.

These bits look a bit like crystal.

This afternoon, Phoebe and I went for a walk down the street to deliver the last two boxes of Girl Scout cookies that had been ordered. (Sales finished weeks ago, but we had not managed to find this family at home on days when we were delivering.) Phoebe wore some shoes she hadn’t worn since winter had come, a pair of sparkly high-top sneakers to complement her colorful spring choice of outfit. Unfortunately, her feet had grown since last she wore the shoes, and by the time we arrived at the house to deliver cookies, she realized that she was getting blisters. It was a beautiful, sunny warm day, so I let her take her shoes off and walk barefoot. Because of this, we were both on the lookout for hazards to bare feet. It is entirely possible that we might otherwise not have noticed the broken bits of glass we passed. (Case in point: I did not notice any broken glass on the way out, when Phoebe had her shoes on.)

In any case, we not only noticed the glass, but we stopped to look more closely at it.

(And, naturally I took some photos.)

This one looks here like a chunk of amethyst, but its color seemed to change from different angles, sometimes clear, sometimes, gray.

Of course, this is not first time I’ve posted photos of broken glass

Evening mahjong games in Beijing (friday foto finder: game)

This week’s friday foto finder theme is game While I enjoy playing games, and we have loads of games around the house, I couldn’t remember any particular photos of games. I played with the idea of taking a new photo, but that seemed like too much work. Happily, I remembered this photo I’d taken in Beijing during my brief visit there in 2012. My cousin and I had gone to see the Great Wall in the morning, and returned to the city in the early afternoon. After a bit of rest and recovery, we went for a late afternoon walk, exploring some older neighborhoods of the city.

At one point, we walked along a street that ran parallel to a canal. The street and sidewalk where we were walking were several feet higher than the canal level. Looking down towards the canal, I saw walkway that ran alongside it where there were bunches of people standing and sitting around tables, playing and watching games of mahjong. I paused to take a photo, but one of the onlookers looked up at me and glared, so I kept going after taking only one photo. (I always feel a bit strange taking photos of people I don’t know, and yet I find that the presence of people often make photos much more interesting.)

Even though I only managed one photo, it was fairly sharp, and when I zoom in, I can make out the mahjong tiles.

These are a couple of crops of that one photo shown at the top.

I actually know next-to-nothing about mahjong, and looking at this photo makes me sad about that. I’m sort of wishing I’d thought to buy a mahjong set while I was in China, as it seems like it would have been a meaningful souvenir for a game-lover like me.

To see what other games have been captured in photos, pay a visit to the fff blog. Want to play along? Sharing photos on a theme is a fun game in and of itself!
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frost feathers

Over the winter, I often would find that my car (parked overnight in the driveway) would be covered with frost in the morning. I frequently admired the various patterns. In fact, it was only a few days after I posted a series of photos of the scribble-like frost patterns I’d seen on my car on different days that I went out to find these new and unexpected frost designs:

Rather than the more typical zig-zaggy patterns, the car was covered swiling, whirling whorls and arcs, reminding me strongly of plumes.

Interestingly, it was not just the windows that were frosty, as was often the case, but the whole body of the car.

I suspect that the patterns were not so much frost as thin sheets of ice from freezing rain, which wind had blown around as it froze.

The patterns were just so feathery.

The piles of stuff in the back of the hatchback showed through, adding various colors to the palette of swirls.

These shapes remind me of palm trees.

I had remembered that I’d taken these photos and have been meaning to post them, but I hadn’t remembered that I had taken them the same morning as I took so many photos of ice drops in the back yard. I do wish that I’d gotten some photos with my real camera, and not just my phone, but I suspect that the delicate frost patterns didn’t survive much of that sunny morning.

Photos from a sparkling winter morning

Those of you who have known me for a while will surely know that “sparkling” is not a word that typically gets anywhere near the word “morning” in my world. (Certainly it is not a word that has ever been used to describe me in the morning.) However, there was one morning this January when I was bedazzled by the sparkle of own backyard.

After bustling the kids out to the bus, I walked down the driveway to be greeted by a display of glittering light. The sprinkling of freezing rain the night before had left droplets of ice and water decorating the tangled vines and thorns of our overgrown garden.

The winter sun was low in the sky, gradually burning off the cold mist.

The low rays lit up the ice and water drops all around.

In many places, there were water droplets, lined up along the horizontal branches like dangling crystal beads.

Little balls of ice had been caught in the winding twists of wild grape vines, looking like jewels wrapped in wire.

I was charmed by the twists and coils, the quirky designs of some mildly deranged jeweler.

(This one reminded me of a dangling lightbulb.)

I first tried to snap photos with my iPhone (not shown), but the phone came nowhere close to capturing what I was seeing. I went inside and got my real camera with telephoto lens.

Even with the good camera and good lens, focusing was a challenge. These little beauties were only a couple of centimeters across, with the ice drops probably measuring 6 or 8 millimeters. (I find it funny that the jewelry-like shape of these forms inspires me to use the metric system. When I buy beads, they are always measured in millimeters.)

Using my long lens also meant that I had to be several feet from my target. (See? Feet. I am an American.) It was often tricky to even find what I was trying to focus on in my screen, and any little sway of my body would often throw the focus off. (Really, a tripod would have helped, but I’m not sure how it would have worked the way I had to contort myself to get the different angles to capture the sparkle.) I went back inside to get my pancake lens (200 mm fixed length lens), and had better luck.

Clearly, I was bedazzled, as I see from my photo metadata that I spent about 2 hours taking photos. (Not counting breaks to come in to change lenses, and to look at the photos on my laptop.)

My fingers were numb in my fingerless gloves when I finally tore myself away. It was, after all, an icy January morning.

It was totally worth it.

neon light on raindrops

It was raining as we drove down to New York on Friday night. When we stopped at the truck stop/rest area half way down, I admired the way the neon lights were reflected on the raindrops on the windshield.

These are really just various crops of the same photo.

I like the way the reds and oranges look flame-like in the watery patterns.

Tell me that this doesn’t look like a semi-abstract surrealist painting.