The photographic explorations of a former film student.

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Lights in the Darkness

We’re past solstice, but this is still the darkest time of the year. This year, two gardens near my home put on light displays as part of our collective tradition to cope with this darkness. My sister and I went to the free one together. I could get my large tripod in, but I didn’t use it for everything because it’s kind of impolite and I was practicing for my next outing.

The photo club took an outing to another nearby light show. This one relied more on actual trees and reflected light. Some members were able to get in with small tripods, but I left my beast in the car. Certainly the staff would not grant me admission with such large sticks. I had to use some high ISOs. Noise was an issue. I’ll have to get a smaller tripod. Just being there was pretty enchanting though.

The lights give us hope and beauty in a dark season. We arrange them, tend to them, and marvel at them. Source or reflected, we all need light and hope. Spread light this season to those you love and more.

4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome a it.

John 1:4-5 NIV https://biblehub.com/niv/john/1.htm

End of Fall / Official End of Fall

Today is officially the first day of winter. Does that also mean yesterday was the last day of fall? Didn’t fall end more than a month ago? I considered this early November outing to be my goodbye to fall this year.

The first park I went to that day was pretty bleak. Almost all the leaves were already down.

So I moved on to another nearby park. I wandered and took in the end of the season: the trees turned colors or bare, the dry prairie, the late afternoon light. I parted with the day and the season. My last fall shoot of the year is almost a ritual. Hopefully, finishing my editing and blogging it will help me prepare for the end of 2021. In a way it feels like 2020 and 2021 were one big long very weird year. In another way, it feels like 2021 is ending before it even got going. Whatever the feeling at the moment, it’s time to reflect and part ways with 2021.

Hopefully, I’ll still get a Christmas post in this year. What I have planned would be more appropriate for solstice. I’ve been to some outdoor light shows at parks in my area.

Off Topic – Lost Kitty

So, this has nothing to do with my regular blogging, but I follow a cat rescue in British Columbia Canada. They rescued some cats from the flood zone near them. One looks like he probably has humans. Sweet, friendly guy – alas no microchip. I’m posting this in the hopes it might just help find his people in time for Christmas. Someone’s gotta miss this guy.

@tinykittenshq

Lets get this sweet guy home!! Contact us at 604-653-0445 or email Meow@tinykittens.com #floodsurvivor #floodcat #abbotsfordflood #bcflood

♬ _Cute – Gabe Lost

Sorry, Ticktock isn’t working too well with WordPress. He’s an orange tabby boy. See the Facebook video here:

https://fb.watch/9Z_1amLyrb/

Fall Canopy

Time flies, and I am a few weeks behind posting. These were taken at a nearby park in late October.

Different State – Different Park

I know I haven’t posted in a while. There’s been a lot to keep me busy lately, so I focused on making sure the photos exist. Seasons are fleeting. I can always edit and post later.

Dad and I journeyed to Governor Dodge State Park in Wisconsin. It was the first time we’d hiked a state park in Wisconsin. They’re a little different than what we’re used to, and our map reading and navigational skills were rusty. We got lost. Eventually, we found the waterfall. It’s an odd one: one big rock with a stream trickling over it.

The Governor Dodge Mono-Rock Waterfall.

We hung around the “canyon” for a bit.

When we were done at the waterfall, we headed out the scenic route. Not only was it prettier, but it didn’t involve a tall, slippery stone, uh, “staircase”. Dad was happy about both of those qualifications.

We decided the “scenic route” to the waterfall is the most photogenic part of the park, and we should return in the future. Hopefully, we won’t get lost next time.

Twilight of Summer

In mid August, I went for my first hike since foot surgery. Hot weather and time constraints kept me from venturing out sooner. Returning to my favorite woods after a couple months felt like a long awaited breath of fresh air. As I walked along the familiar trails late that afternoon, I felt summer fading away.

The sun was low and the late summer flowers were moving gently in a light breeze.

I continued on to my favorite spring wildflower site. It was now overgrown with nothing but green. Fall will change it, and winter will change it again. Summer is certainly the least photogenic season for that area of the park. It makes me want fall.

However, as I continued out of the park, the fading sun and fading milkweed made me realize I should enjoy the season presently slipping through my fingers.

I stayed late and photographed the moon at dusk. Remind me not to rush ahead thinking the next season of life will make all things better. Remind me to stop and enjoy the good in what I have now. If I rush through life, I will miss so much texture, so much joy, and so much beauty.

Uncle A.

Back in June, my Mom’s side of the family had a belated memorial service and a small reunion on the same day. We were just out of some COVID-19 restrictions in our area, relatives traveled from out of state to be there, and I was just able to drive again after foot surgery. The whole thing was oddly normal.

Our reunion was at the home of one of my Mom’s uncles. For the sake of privacy, let’s call him Uncle A. I don’t know him well, but this was an opportunity to know him more. Uncle A. was in Japan after WWII. He showed us his collection of Japanese objects from his time there. He has a much larger collection: canes. He has canes he purchased and also canes he made. Many of those he made play off the natural shapes and textures of various pieces of wood he’s found. I thought this was the coolest of them all.

Uncle A. may be up there in age, but he sure is an interesting guy. He grew up on a farm and acquired a large bull whip at one point. He can still crack it. He tried to teach to teach some of us how to crack the whip. It isn’t easy. The man has skills. Don’t underestimate your elders.

Return to Fireworks!

Yes, I shot these on July 3rd, and I’m just getting around to posting them. July has been one crazy month for me. Family reunion, physical therapy, dentist for the first time in more than a year, etc. I had 5 appointments in one week! What was I thinking? I suppose I was trying to make up for all the stuff I didn’t do last year. Maybe I still am.

It naturally follows then, that after spending the afternoon with my sister, I would try to catch the fireworks on the way home. Mind you I was recovering from foot surgery and having some trouble walking. It also follows that after getting to the point of recovery where I was again permitted to walk and drive, I wasn’t letting a little hobbling hold me back. Well, not too much anyway. I accidentally parked farther away from the fireworks than I wanted to. Walking took longer, as I mentioned, so when the show started, I stopped walking and started shooting. Perhaps I was a bit too far away. Maybe there were some trees in the way, but I could use them for artistic purposes in some shots.

In a way, shooting fireworks is like life. You try to be prepared. You check and adjust. But it just keeps coming at you, and you don’t know what’s next. You have to learn to use what you have and make the most of the time you have to enjoy and capture the show.

It’s Dairy Month – Have a Cookie

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I grew up in 4-H (suburban 4-H, we didn’t even have a cat back then) and spent the month of June promoting dairy like crazy. Cow spots everywhere (I had a scrunchie). So in honor of good old Dairy Month, here’s a picture of milk and cookies. I ate them while editing.

Three chocolate chip cookies on a plate with a glass of milk.

Woodland Spring

I’ve been preoccupied by work and some personal issues. (I’m fine, just temporarily physically limited). I knew I’d have to be off my feet for awhile, so there were many things I wanted to accomplish first. One was a spring photo shoot in the woods. It wasn’t the best of conditions, but I there were still some flowers blooming. Yes, yellow violets are a thing (https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/viola-pubescens/).

Yellow violet because I was intrigued.

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