Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Trees of December 30

So here we are, still with hopefully a few readers, at the last in the Trees of December posts.  There's not a lot here today but throughout the month I have taken a lot of photos to practice with.

The basis of choosing trees as the topic for the month was because of Christmas and the part that trees play in that celebration. The reason for the season is not forgotten.

Again today I was not best enthused by the weather to get outside. But I did spend an hour or so setting up a few still lifes. That little pot with character was gifted to me with a lovely small African Violet in it by my mother-in-law.  Once the plant grew bigger I needed to repot it but I carefully set aside the pot because, even empty, it looked interesting.

I changed the ribbon on my little Charlie Brown tree to give it another chance to shine. It was such a fun afternoon spent creating that tree.

Another try at a still life.

This was one of those "click the shutter quickly or they will disappear" shots. Apologies for the technical faults but I thought the subject matter should make up for it. No trees in it I know but number two son was very enthusiastic about making this the closeout shot for my Trees of December feature.

Will you come back in January?  I have a new topic planned but will likely drop back on the frequency of posts. They do say that we might actually be getting more winter like weather soon and the short, cold, dreary days are much less welcoming to be out and about in with my camera. But I am willing to give it a go if you are inclined to come back and see what's here.

Do we have a deal?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Trees of December 28

For this penultimate post about the trees of December I thought I better get back to the main topic; trees. Today I took a walk through sepia it would appear.

I went back to the park and headed out down the trail.

With most of the leaves down now there are different views to be obtained when you look up. See how interesting this sycamore tree looks now we can see into the heart of it.

It was a little colder today (actually it was likely about normal but that was almost 30 degrees F lower than yesterday!) and I had to keep moving to keep warm. What with looking up to see the sights and then down to see what was underfoot it was reassuring every now and then to see I was still on the orange trail.

Memories of being the parent chaperone on school field trips perhaps caused me to notice interesting things like this.

But for this week between Christmas and New Year it wasn't school groups I was encountering but family members hiking together.

Over here, over here, just look at this.

I went over the bridge and up the hill. Now I'm on a different trail and this one is sealed and I am less likely to slip in the muddy surface that the orange trail sometimes presented.

Okay, one more set of interesting specimens for you.

Now who might live in that cozy little hole at the base of the living tree I wonder. For sure lots of organisms are living on the dead tree to the front left.

Some fallen trees can be put to good use while others, h'mm, they just lie around.

I have to marvel at how nature paints her own pictures. The color of that soil on the root ball of the fallen tree pairs so well with the remaining leaves on the trees.

Another unexpected sight when I remember to look up.

If you were reading back in November you might remember me showing you this shed. Curiosity got the better of me this time and I went up close and peered between the slats to see what was stored in there. Not very exciting after all I have to report - there are a few old bird nesting boxes in there and they look like they have been there undisturbed for a few years. Ah well, the colors all look so perfect together; I'll make that my reward. I know I needed to step back to get a better photo but if you look closely in the foreground here you will see a whole lot of brambles with lots more behind me and I did not want to get stuck in those.

And thus concludes my walk on the sepia side. Remember, if you want to see the photos in a larger size just click on them.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Trees of December 26

The theme for this month, just in case it has escaped your notice, is trees. The idea was to celebrate the trees as we see them during this month, the last of the year and the month in which, at least here in the mid Atlantic region of the USA, farewell the autumn season and begin winter.

But the weather has been a little wacky. Here we are having unseasonably warm temperatures.
On my outdoors walking route I am seeing cherry trees like this one blooming.
The hellebore is in bud already which is weeks ahead of previous years.
Out in the front garden beds the daffodils are 3" high already.
And on the front porch the (tropical) hibiscus is still blooming - I moved it next to the Christmas tree to highlight the oddity.
A self seeded viola has grown enough already to bloom...

Truly though I have had difficulty coming up with the enthusiasm to even put this post together after I have looked at the news stories for the day:

In Victoria, Australia, where I lived in the late 1990s, they have begun the bushfire season with horrid fires along the Great Ocean Road resulting in more than 100 homes being burnt to the ground and families having to evacuate on Christmas Day. I hope my friends there are safe.

In northern England, where my maternal grandparents emigrated from, there has been such a deluge of rain that rivers have burst their banks, property damage is widespread and the authorities have had to issue the highest level of alert which means the potential for loss of life is imminent.

Southern California is in the midst of wildfires.

So I guess I should be grateful for the beauty that is appearing in my garden.

And the ability to look at views such as that below which is what I expect to see at this time of year.

Maybe December 28 will be better.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Trees of December 24

There were a number of distractions for December 24 resulting in a small number of photos to share.

Some folk were looking up in the sky, waiting, hoping, wondering if Santa might stop by.

The NORAD tracker was enabled but no sightings were made. So some folk hit the road.

By golly, just take a look at these trees!

And what's that we see, there on the lawn under the trees?

Some folk could hardly believe their eyes!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Trees of December 22

Today was apparently the first day of winter here - not that you'd know it by looking at the thermometer which even now at 10pm is at 60F/16C. The average normal temperature for this date in this location is a high of 44F/7C

Now altho the temperature was high the day had a glum overcast feel to it which made my photo taking challenging. To lift my spirits I decided to make myself a Charlie Brown tree inspired by Kim Klassen dot com

If you click on the link above (and I have set it up correctly) it will bring you to Kim's blog where she has a Periscope video showing how to make one of these trees. She was inspired by Prairie Girl Aeleen. Thanks ladies, this was a fun piece of creativity for a dull day.

Now altho I always intended this to be a prop for my blog today I was so carried away by enthusiasm in creating the tree that I forgot to consider where I was going to place it for the camera. Yikes, my little Charlie Brown tree ended up being 46" tall making it difficult to find a spot. Outside was windy but there is a modicum of shelter on the front porch so I headed there. I'm going to have to remember to use that snow globe another day when it might show up better!

Ten minutes or so before sun down I was bringing everything inside and wondered if there was still enough light in the upstairs hallway.  The light was getting marginal but I like how the banister looks in this shot so I have included this for you to see too.

After dinner a friend popped in and gifted me this handsome Jingle pillow. I had permission to open it right away and wondered if you might also enjoy seeing it. Thanks my friend, it's lovely!

Trees; yes, well, they are meant to be the topic for the month but some days have been easier than others. In December we like to display all the lovely cards we receive by sticking them on the windows in the family room. That way we get to enjoy them all the more.

No trees here either. Move along folks, nothing more to see in this spot. Finish the tea, eat the cookies and go to bed. And so I think I will.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Trees of December 20

For today I'm staying here at home to give you a look at our Christmas trees.

On October 3 this year our beloved dog Rolo went to doggie heaven. Number 1 son made the suggestion that this year we make our Christmas tree in memory of Rolo.  He was a very fine dog, a black labrador, who was very well mannered and quiet in the house.

Rolo was born on April 25, 2001 which is Anzac Day in New Zealand and Australia and was also our "all black" dog so as well connected to New Zealand as here. It was decided to decorate his tree in red and blue with silver ribbon.

Rolor used to like to stand and look out the dining room window to watch the cars and in earlier years to watch for his boys coming home from school. His nose prints invariably got on the window. I have not yet been able to clean those last nose prints off the glass.

It's a little yellowy with the lights on but daylight was fast fading.

This year we also have a tree outside on the front porch.  It has colored lights on it and a few outdoor themed decorations.

It looks best in the evening when the lights are on but of course that makes it more challenging to photograph.

I'm not sure that this one worked out the way I had hoped but here it is anyways.

With the lights on.

Some weeks back I had read how to try to be more creative in photographing lights. H'mm, guess I need more practice.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Trees of December 18

The past week or so has been unseasonably warm but today saw a return to more normal temperatures for December. The result was that I was much less keen to be out and about with my camera in the cold wind.

For December 18 I am focussing on trees in December in a small town.

This squirrel  was having fun despite the cooler day. No time to pose, thank you very much. By the time I lined up the camera for a second shot the squirrel was halfway up the back (unseen) side of the tree.

Our village center has a green with a lovely gazebo which has been decorated for the holidays. At first I was disappointed when I saw my photo as I wondered why I didn't realize how the gazebo blended into the building behind it. But on second glance I really liked how well the two match each other. The bare trees looming in the rear distance match the look but then there are the bright creams of the tall grasses on the left.

The next stop on my afternoon errand trip was in Herndon, another small town. They have their tree beautifully decorated for both day and night viewing and located in front of the old Town Hall.

There is a better chance to see the locale here. I did not notice until I was walking around later that they had some cameras set up for filming something in front of the building (look between the flagpole with the Stars and Stripes and the pedestrian). I did not actually see who they were going to film but someone was always there watching over the cameras in the stiff cold breeze.

Looking to the right side of the tree and we can see the old train stop. In the right distance there is a glimpse of the roof line of the new town hall complex.

Same tree for one last shot. My purpose in showing these is as a contrast to the "trees in the city" post of a few days ago. Old Town Herndon does not have the multi story buildings that Reston does but there is a certain charm to the variety of architectural styles to be seen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Trees of December 16

For today's post my mind was coming up on empty all day long. I went out for an appointment around midday and passed by a location that had a glorious colored grass growing at the entrance. But on the way home the sun wasn't shining on it in the same way and I cast it aside as a location.

However, the golden hour beckoned later on; I had my camera with me, the day had been a sunny one and I had a free hour. To be honest though, I was feeling desperate to come up with something for today so let's see if it worked out.

Returning to the location with the pretty grass, I had also been captivated by the brown allee of trees with the walking trail down the center.

Within the park you can see that the sun is getting low in the sky and beginning to color.

Here is that pretty pink colored grass at the entrance that I had noticed earlier in the day. I am at Meadowlark Gardens.

Now does the change in the fence color bother the success of this photograph? There wasn't anything to be done about it and I did like how the fence created the boundary so I'm keeping it here.

Here is what was underfoot. Can you identify what was overhead by looking at this?

Speaking of overhead, the trees were looking good silhouetted against the early evening sky.

The pathway is a popular spot for evening walks with or without the family dog.

As the sun goes down the other lights come up. Meadowlark has a very well attended light show during December but you need a ticket to get inside the fenced area and I don't have one.

Those lucky enough to have a ticket for tonight were beginning to make their way to the main entrance. Nature was still providing a free show overhead but doubtless the light display set up in the park soon overshadowed the lovely sunset.

Day is done, gone the sun, from the seas, from the hills, from the skies...

Maybe I'll have to go make a reservation to get inside to see the display this year. The forecast says it is going to be warm again next week so I better get myself organized and see it while I can without my fingers freezing on the camera shutter.

Hope you enjoyed sharing the golden hour with me.