Category Archives: Photo Friday

Fleeting


This week’s Photo Friday’s challenge is “Fleeting”.   It seems a perfect time to showcase a project I’ve been working on:  a near-daily shot taken from my front porch for the last month.    Winter is fleeing fleetingly.   Spring is here.

You’ll notice some tropical looking plants appearing, then disappearing, as the slides progress.   These “houseplants” which take over my living room each year, made an early departure for the porch.  A predicted frost brought them back into the house, but they’ve been kicked outside again.

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A Little Rain Must Fall


This week’s Photo Friday challenge is “RAIN”. “How appropriate!” I thought as I read the prompt yesterday morning during a torrential downpour. But, rain is not that easy to capture. Most of the shots that I took throughout the day were rather bland. Many didn’t even look like rain. When the rain stopped, I went outside with my camera to capture the aftereffects. Those shots, too, while perhaps a bit better in terms of exposure, didn’t seem to capture much. Many, while nice looking shots, seemed rather cliché. And, that, was the lesson of the day: sometimes the best photograph is one that suggests something, that portrays a subject or theme in a different light. When trying to document the immediate thing, the photographer ends up with the expected, capturing only that which is neither creative nor enticing to the viewer.

I thought about how the rain makes me feel. When I was a child, I loved to look out the window during downpours to observe the raindrops dancing on the street. If there was a slight wind, the drops would appear to skate along the asphalt, looking like jacks spinning around. Or, they looked like ballerinas, the sprays of water as they hit the ground their tutus fluttering during a pirouette.

A conversation overheard years ago, one adult to another: You mean you think the rain has a smell too? Rain on the grass; rain on window screens; rain on dirt; rain on the highway: it isn’t just one smell. The smell just before the rain begins, when the birds start chirping a different, more frantic song. The rain afterwards when the birds return and the flowers shake off the droplets.

During this early Spring, the rain brings a color too. The cloudy gray skies can’t mask the green of the rapidly unfurling leaves springing forth from the early buds. My immediate world seemed far more green and growing after the rains yesterday, even though it washed many petals off of the trees.

Here are some of my shots from yesterday, none of which I consider evocative; just merely adequate for expressing “Rain”.

During the rain:

Battered plants: yesterday eager to be outdoors, later wishing to be sheltered.

Viburnum bud on patio

Petals on a wet black bough

Rain drops slowly off tree trunk out my window

Rain dance on driveway

Weathering the storm

And after the rain:

Rain drops slowly from the leaves

Hellebore

Bedraggled daffodils

Narcissus bowing his head, but no reflection

Weighed down by water

Known and Unknown … Early Spring Signs


The Unknowns:

Sometimes I see things in the woods that I have no idea what they are. Sometimes I wonder how I even notice them. Like this little flower, on a green plant growing close to the ground. This teeny clump of flowers was smaller than the nail on my little finger.

Teeny tiny flower

Much easier to notice, but still a mystery to me are these red plants growing in a marshy area. Do you know what these swamp creatures are?

Swamp Things, Dancing in the Sunlight

They don’t grow only in water, as pictured below. While this was wet and muddy, it was definitely on shore.

Growing on dry but muddy, marshy land

I first noticed these unusual red growths back in December. The first time I saw one, it seemed to jump out, shouting Notice me!  Since them, I’ve noticed many of them. These seem to be an abnormality on these canes, but there are many of them. They seem to be located along a particular 1/2 mile section of the creek. While I find these thorny plants elsewhere, I don’t find the bumpy red growth on them. Could it be that the soil is different in this part? It is more of a marsh-like area, but it isn’t nearer to the water than elsewhere, though the bank is lower and more likely to flood.

Red Growth on Vine with Frost

Another view: different plant, same type of growth.

Another one, on a warmer day

The Known, but easily unnoticed:

The first yellow burst open yesterday. The other daffodils followed today.

First of the Season

Unless you look closely, you won’t notice that the trees are starting to bud. Most still don’t look green, but I’ve seen a few bushes and trees with red or yellow branches that are starting to show color.

Budding Tree, Blue Sky

The viburnum bush outside my study window has leaves that often turn an orange-red color in the fall. This year it seems that it never lost its green color. It’s early, but the buds are starting to emerge. In about a month, when I open my window, the scent will be lovely at first, then overpowering like some granny’s flowery perfume.

Viburnum beginning

A “blaze” and some bliss


This week’s Photo Friday Challenge is BLAZE. I knew immediately, when reading the challenge email early this morning, what photograph I would use, although I had thought initially that it was one that wouldn’t make it into the ‘share’ pile. I was experimenting with shooting glass pieces reflecting against a large window at night when I decided to see what sort of abstract I could produce with a long, handheld exposure. Not sure that I thought I’d get this result, but I like how it looks like the woods are on fire.

Blazing Trees

And, as I’ve done for the last few weeks, here is this week’s List of Moments of Bliss. See other’s Bliss Lists at Liv Lane’s blog.

1. Frying an egg perfectly — and admitting that it was the first time ever!   I’ve been afraid to try to fry an egg for at least 20 years.  Having never learned how, I failed miserably at making eggs the way that I liked: with set whites without any crispy, brown edges and a warm, runny yoke. Now that I know how to cook — something I didn’t learn until I was in my 40’s — I was a bit embarrassed that I still couldn’t fry an egg. So I tried. You know what?  It’s easy if you know how. I used this recipe by Alton Brown, though I would rename it something a bit less gender-oriented. The secret is low heat, and a lid for the pan. I still think I make an awesome scrambled egg, but I’m happy that I can now make eggs the way I like them. This is especially useful since I don’t have the resources to go to France — where I think they only serve them this way — on a whim.

2. I had coffee on Saturday with two dear friends — our weekly get-together that, due to lots of life’s circumstances, last happened on 12/31/11.

3. Some friends of mine have a bi-monthly girls-only gourmet dinner. The host choses the menu and each person brings the specified dish. Due to a last-minute cancellation, I was asked to sub. Although we all agreed that the too-rare standing rib roast was not our favorite, we enjoyed the meal. What fun to share a meal and laughs with good friends and new friends. My cat allergies (the reason I have declined joining the group of 5 cat-loving cooks permanently) stayed at bay until it was time to leave.

4. February is over and March is here! In Indiana, March can be any of the four seasons — and sometimes all of them, it seems, on the same day. Yesterday was a beautiful Spring day; today is colder and blustery with a chill that reminds me that there are still officially a few more weeks of winter.

5. I took my son to the dentist. While a dental visit is not usually blissful, the time spent with my son was. To understand the circumstances, you can read about it here, or a slightly better, edited version on my Open Salon blog.

Dual Purpose: Photo Friday & Friday Little Bliss List


In some ways, photography could be on my bliss list every week. I’ve realized recently that I am at ease, in the “flow” as psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi has identified it, when I have my camera. It challenges my brain and my creativity, combines artistic and technical skills. I learn something new, see something anew, every time I pick up the camera.

I decided at the beginning of the year that I would participate in the Photo Friday challenge each week and that I would not dismiss those weekly challenges that either didn’t interest me, or that seemed too difficult. What am I going to do with that? I’ve found myself thinking several times already this year. But, since I made the commitment to myself to participate, I’ve found that I usually don’t have to think too long before I figure out something that meets the challenge.

At the same time, I’ve been participating for the last few weeks in Liv Lane’s Friday “Follow your Bliss” blog hop. While photography is a blissful pursuit for me, at first glance it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with this week’s Photo Friday Challenge, which would appear to be the opposite of bliss, to be something reflecting despair.

This week’s challenge, Inner City, was not one that seemed too difficult. Yet, it wasn’t something that I was that interested in doing. Why? Because I immediately thought of the cliché picture of urban blight: decaying, boarded buildings, broken windows, trash, poverty.

Years ago, a colleague from another city commented that there were no “bad” places in Indianapolis. I laughed. You just haven’t been in them. I replied. On another visit, with no intentions of sending him through slums, I gave him an alternate route to the airport because of road construction. On arriving in his office the next day, he called me. I believe you now. I wanted to lock my doors and get the hell out of there quickly. And I don’t think that it was really a short cut!” I didn’t find that route on the way to downtown to be that dangerous, but there were many blocks that were abandoned. That area has been revitalized in recent years, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t areas where the gritty inner city exists. It exists in every city. While I don’t want to diminish the hardships of poverty, or turn a blind eye, I just wasn’t in the mood this week to take a photograph for photography sake of what might be someone else’s bleak existence. After all, there is joy in the inner city too, sometimes in spite of hardship. Sometimes because of the joy that we have, or will, overcome such hardships.

Number 1 on my bliss list this week is remembering that this memorial is in my city, on the spot where Robert Kennedy gave a speech on the night Martin Luther King was assassinated, a speech credited with helping to prevent the riots that occurred elsewhere that night. It makes me happy that this memorial is in my city. I wish more people knew about it; I wish that fewer people would be hesitant to go because of where it is located, in the “inner” city.

Kennedy-King Memorial, Indianapolis, Indiana

 

UPDATED: Here is a link to a story about Robert Kennedy’s remarks on April 8, 1968, breaking the news of the King assassination. The link includes audio of Kennedy’s speech. The official name of the memorial is The Landmark For Peace Memorial.   Here is a link to a Wikipedia article about it.

Other things on my bliss list this week:
2. Finding the skeleton of a box turtle along the creek. It was fascinating to look at. I tried to find it again to take photos a few days later and could not locate it.

3. Realizing that the trees are starting to bud. It’s early — I think I saw some flurries earlier — but it still makes me happy.

4. Reading Jane Tomaine’s St. Benedict’s Toolbox monthly newsletter on reframing Lent with a spirit of joyfulness. Lent is one of those periods that I was taught to think of in terms of starkness, bleakness, or lamenting what miserable creatures we are. I always have problems with this. Her words reminded me not to beat myself up too much, during Lent or anytime. Thanks Jane. This message was repeated by my pastor when I went to Ash Wednesday services. I also saw a link to this website, Dark Cloth Diaries; Greg Miller takes pictures every year of people with ashes on their foreheads. Although most think that only Catholics do this, others participate in this ancient ritual as well. I think Miller captures this tradition beautifully. Scroll down on Jane’s website to the link for the feature article in this month’s newsletter to read about reframing Lent.

Eat…Drink…Be Merry


This week’s Photo Friday Challenge is: EAT.

After trying several times in recent weeks to get decent pictures of food, I have come to understand why there are people called “food stylists”. Getting a picture of food is easy. Making it look appetizing is a completely different thing.

Fresh from the Farmers' Market

Libations

The veggies photo was taken in ’09; the drinks photo a few weeks ago. My dinner this evening? Photos will not be published, but it tasted better than it looked.

Remember: Everything in moderation.

Photo Friday Challenge: TALL


We’re having a little party this week in my hometown. So, I thought that I’d meet this week’s Photo Friday Challenge with a TALL Window Cling. In fact, it isn’t just tall, it’s SUPER.

Lombardi Trophy Image on 33 story JW Marriott Hotel; Taken from 2 blocks away

I’m sure that this image will be shown on TV tomorrow. At night, it is illuminated and visible from the downtown area on the nearby I-70 interstate.

Other Super Bowl related stuff:
* If you’ve heard that its been great weather this week, it’s true. But I can’t remember a week in February when it’s been in the 60’s. This isn’t Indiana Winter weather.

* Sounds like Indy has been getting great reviews for being the host site this year. Fun to see my city, which is often met by disdainful sneers from those on the coasts, get some good press. Indianapolis is a nice place to live, with a lot to offer. It isn’t New York, or Boston, or Chicago or LA, but we aren’t hayseeds either.

* I don’t watch Jimmy Fallon but I taped his shows this week. He got everything right in his jokes about Indy. Fun to see people and businesses I know mentioned on the show. Jimmy seemed to be having a ball. Is he always this funny?

* And if you watched Jimmy yesterday: nothing suspicious about it: there really is a Korean Taco Food Truck in Indy. West Coast Tacos serves awesome food! And how can you not love their URL: http://www.thebestdamntacos.com ?

* I’m hoping for an exciting game down to the last second. I don’t care much about football, but I’d love to see a repeat of Super Bowl XLII. I always like to see the underdogs win. But, it is true: Colts fans love to cheer for anyone playing against the Pats. Almost as much as the Ravens like to cheer against the Colts.

Enjoy the game and festivities if that’s your thing.

Photo Friday: Greenery


This week’s Photo Friday Challenge: Greenery.

At first it seemed like an odd choice for the end of January, when much of the Northern Hemisphere is anything but green. Yet, the time of year I most often associate with the word greenery is December, when pine greenery is ubiquitous in holiday decorations.

Greenery for January? Though I could have found something in my photos archives, I only had to look at some of the shots I took a few days ago at Lovers’ Key State Park in Bonita Springs, Florida.

This is named a Spanish Bayonet — for good reason! I stepped backward off the path to take a picture of something else and walked into one of the sharp, pointed barbs of this yucca plant. Ouch! This barb could be used as a fishing or hunting spear! I thought, as I snapped this picture, that it could be used to identify what sort of toxin killed me should the plant prove dangerous. Not that anyone would have thought to look at what was on the memory card if I was found on the Black Island Nature Trail! (I’m joking; I’m not that paranoid. Well, not quite!)

Not a plant to meet in a dark alley!

This is certainly green!

Photo Friday: Pristine


This week’s Photo Friday Assignment is Pristine.

From The American Heritage Dictionary:
adj.
1.
a. Remaining in a pure state, without human alteration: a pristine stream.
b. Remaining free from dirt or decay; clean: pristine mountain snow.
2. Of, relating to, or typical of the earliest time or condition; primitive or original.

What better example to illustrate pristine than an untainted stretch of beach on a warm and cloudless day?

Mangroves And Beach As The Tide Was Slowly Coming In

Photo Friday: Cloudy


This week’s Photo Friday challenge: Cloudy

Beach, Late Cloudy Afternoon

Sunset Behind Clouds

You can check out other Photo Friday entries here.