Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday Winter White 27

As you might know I have had plenty of scope in the past five days to make images featuring winter white. Winter Storm Jonas came through.

It all began in the afternoon of Friday January 22 when I had been having some quiet moments trying to find just the right position to photograph these winter white tulips.

By sunset we had this amount and I would have been quite happy to find creative ways to make different images using this 4" or so.

But no, it had to continue didn't it? By Saturday morning not only was there snow falling but the wind had picked up. Snow was sticking to vertical surfaces.

Outside the birds were active and we were thankful we had remembered to put a new suet cake out and fill the seed feeders too.

With the wind blowing it was not easy to find comfortable ways to record the storm. This image appealed to me in its very limited color.

Snow was sticking everywhere.

Look at the textures on the front porch columns.

Hooray, by Sunday morning no more snow was falling. And, as a bonus, the sun was shining. Here it is beginning to light up the backyard and my homemade measuring stick. There has been an interesting story out about the weathermen whose job it is to record the official Washington DC weather at the main weather station at Reagan National Airport. It seems the way to do it is with a snow board - you place a flat white board outside in an unobstructed area. Every six hours you go out, measure the depth of the snow on the board, record the amount, wipe the board clean and replace it in position. Except on Saturday when they went out to measure the snow they could not find the board - it had blown away.

Now I understand why my measuring stick registered so little additional snow on Saturday. Despite it snowing continuously all day long the stick showed only an additional 5" from the 14" it showed at daybreak. The snow had blown away. But likely my board would have blown away also. That clear space necessary to get an accurate reading? I don't have one of those either. Those who know how to measure snow within my local 5 mile radius recorded anywhere from 25" to 30" of the winter white stuff. (63cm - 76cm - that is a lot of snow for around here!)

More in the backyard featuring the giant white mushroom (really the Asian-style lantern).

That driveway that had been shoveled repeatedly on Saturday? It made for a great textural shot on Sunday.

"I Surrender"!

There had been numerous bird sightings made during and after the storm. But what about the other wildlife? This one set of hoofprints showed up on the snow on Monday morning so we know that at least one deer was up and moving.

This morning the "cavalry" arrived disguised in these small yellow machines. Throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday one pickup truck with a snowplow attached had made many many trips up and down our street. There was only so much it could do - and that was to clear a path wide enough for a single vehicle. But by this morning it was clear that the heavy duty clear up time had arrived. Within an hour or so the street was cleared curb to curb.

Some bloggers make a "Wordless Wednesday" post. Me? Gee, I can't resist adding words. But after this storm I may have been content to just post this one image with the presumption that you would understand. And save the photos above for another day.

But, I couldn't do it. You got it all.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Color Orange in Winter

Orange; it's not just for Fall!

In between shoveling I have entertained myself by creating orange images to brighten up my spirits - ooh, lost opportunity there as I think of the bottle of Drambuie (or is it Peach Schnapps?) sitting quietly in the back of the cupboard, that could have been a great prop. Oh well. Hopefully there is enough variety here to please from sunrise to sunset.

The idea to feature orange was perhaps ignited on the morning of January 12 when I stepped outside to pick up the newspaper...and dashed back inside to grab the camera. The sun was making its opening statement for the day and lighting up the neighborhood.

Fast forward to Friday January 22, day 1 of winter storm Jonas. My snow clearing crew were gung ho on that day and every two hours one of them was outside clearing snow. Judging by the expression on this face at around 9pm it was not fun. But, hey, an orange handle.

By Saturday the blizzard conditions had set in. Number 2 son had been outside for a couple of hours and was hungry it seems. He came in to take a break and decided to make lunch...spaghetti and shrimp. Yum!

My favorite birdhouse, while fitting the color scheme, is falling apart. But here it is to enjoy for now. This one was taken this morning as the sun was starting to slant through the trees.

Eat one daily throughout the winter for good health. I always have a box of clementines around at this time of year and had been planning a variety of photos with them. But, reality set in and a basic shot was all there was time for. The clementine was tasty though.

Having finally got the "Threaded With Green" quilt exhibit up I am casting about for a new project in the sewing room. Perhaps it could be an orange themed one?

Today was day three of Storm Jonas. Thankfully, the snow had stopped by 11.30pm yesterday and we had a sunny day today. It was all hands on the shovels to be sure we could get the cars out of the garage and down the driveway if we needed them. All that shoveling made a fellow warm!

Here was the umpteenth trip down our street for the VDOT contractor charged with keeping our road passable. As you can see, white truck to blend with the snow and safety orange to feature in today's blog post. Couldn't be better!

Once the shoveling was considered done for the day I let myself play with my camera for an hour or so. Remember the flowers that I wanted to buy the day the panic buying was in full action at the store? I went back the next day because I knew I wanted some orange roses to use for my photos.

The store has decided to begin selling what, if I recall correctly, they are calling garden roses. They come with much more of a sweet aroma than the usual ones and have more of a cottage rose look to them.

And, finally, as mentioned above, orange from sunrise to sunset.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wednesday Winter White 20

Here I am trying to get back on my schedule: winter white on Wednesdays in winter.

Can you take some sequence shots?

Listen, do you want to know a secret...

Do you promise not to tell?

You don't say! But I heard that...

Well, really, now look what's happening!

And then on another day, same tree and again, photos taken within a span of about seven minutes:

dark cloud rising

getting more dense

what will it turn out to be?

Huh? (I promise you, this is the sequential order..)

Followed by this. But oddly, no rain or other bad things fell from the sky. A seven minute wonder last Saturday.

For more sedate winter white let us look at one of my African violets.

For years I dismissed these plants as being too fussy for me. But three or so years back number two son arrived home from a visit to Grandma with the first of this sequence of violets. And yes, I got hooked on the darn things. Currently I have seven different pots although these two photos are of the same plant. They amaze me in how they seemingly bloom year round.

Around here the weathermen have us all stirred up by forecasting a major winter snow storm. I stopped in at the store to stock up on necessitities like some pretty flowers; my first bunch of tulips for the season.  At the flower counter the employee confided that she doubted shoppers would be looking to buy flowers come Friday or Saturday (if they can get out to the store that is) so all the flowers have been specially priced.

Later in the day, in a head slapping moment I asked myself why I hadn't bought flowers for the color I intend to feature on Sunday. So when I found myself back up in the village mid-afternoon for a short notice meeting I decided to pop back into the store to get more flowers for Sunday. H'mm, I put one item in my basket and headed for the floral department passing by the lines waiting at the checkouts. One look convinced me that there were likely better things to do than stand in line behind the shoppers with their trolleys overflowing while I held a packet of bacon and a bunch of flowers. The items were replaced and I left the store.

And for now, yes, I think I'll have a bourbon ball and call it a night.

They do say we might get a first hand look at winter white in the next few days. You'll have to wait until next Wednesday to see how that turns out.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Color Green in Winter

This is not yet going entirely to plan is it? But I started with winter white so here is my first "color" post.

My plan is to talk about a different color once a week throughout the wintertime.  First up wasn't necessarily intended to be green but that is the color that has dominated my life for the past week or so. For months now I have been working on the planning for a quilt show "Threaded With Green" which was scheduled to hang at ArtSpace Herndon opening on Tuesday, January 12.

Trying to decompress little last weekend we went to visit friends and took a walk along Difficult Run near the Potomac River. At that point I was expecting to blog on Sunday about my first color but what would it be?

Before we set out on the walk I wondered about making it red inspired by the lovely Ruby Cavalier King Charles spaniel who guided us along the trail. But he blended so well with the background that didn't seem as though it was going to work out.

As we were walking I noticed that the water in the Run had an emerald green shade to it and wondered if that would show up in the photos. As you can see it did so my color was chosen.

Green also showed up quite often in the lichen on the rocks.

Indeed, many shades of green was presented for me by nature on that day.

Green leaves still on the bushes in the understory.

It was a chilly day with a brisk wind but so much the better to blow away the anxiety I was feeling about having the show ready in time.  Thanks my friends for the opportunity to do this with you.

Still trying to think green even if there was no time to post about it I came home from an errand later in the week and found the sink full of hot soapy water with the kitchen gloves laying alongside. H'mm, I thought, not glamorous but maybe I could make something out of it.

Returning to the topic of the "Threaded With Green" show we did get it up and hung on schedule on Monday. This is what you see above/behind the reception desk. The bigger quilt to the left is my "TOM Flies Free" while to the right, above the placard listing the names of all the exhibiting quilt artists, are two framed fiberart pieces by Anne Smyers.

Within the main gallery space is "Golden Valley" by Sarah Entsminger on the left and on the right upper "Guards Rule" by Shoshana Spiegel and lower, "Roll the Dice" by Gayle Maisel.

In case you are in the area and want to stop by here is the outside view of the gallery at 750 Center Street, Herndon, VA 20170. You can find all the details on their website

Let me know what you think after you have visited.

Green, one of my all time favorite colors!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Introducing My Colorful Winter

A day late, a dollar short. This is no way to start a new year!

As  mentioned on December 30 I am back with a new theme in January. Here's the concept: use color to get through the winter days, be they grey, cold, snowy or just plain boring.  My thinking is to post midweek using "winter white" as my focus (huh, you're saying, where's the color in that? Just hang with me, okay?I'm allowing for us to actually have winter weather that might be worth photographing) and, at the end of each weekend, post something focused on a single color, different each week. And, using "artistic license" I can also go "off color" if I have something I really can't wait to share.

So let us begin with the suggested "winter white" post.

Wednesday January 6 we woke up to a really cold morning with a stiff frost and then these little gems - I spent a fascinating, but short, time examining them on the railing of the deck before hurrying back inside to thaw out again. The overnight low was 9F/minus 13C so a wake-up call that it is winter after all despite the mild December we have had.  I enjoyed playing the "what shapes do you see? game" - can you find the palm tree to evoke warmer climes?

On the top railing it was more decidedly ice. But fascinating shapes also.

Here I spy a horse trotting along. What do you see?

The River Birch has great bark that shows to advantage once the leaves are gone from the tree. But I'm also wondering if some trimming is needed here?

More birch bark.

See how the ice clings to the edge. I guess it didn't want to fall off to a colder surface.

This shape was my favorite. I see someone running with their scarf trailing out along behind them as the move quickly through the cold air.

Although everything I have shown you today is from nature I do not intend to restrict my topics to outdoor nature shots. Some days might dictate an indoor "still life" approach or I might get really brave and include colorful people or something else entirely. But it is all about color and a way of challenging me to get more experience behind the camera lens.

Finally, I'm going to close with my allowed "off topic" color - the sunset on the first day of the year. I liked how the distant trees appeared rimmed in gold. It was a very colorful winter scene.