Thursday, January 31, 2008

In the tree branches
empty, abandoned, lifeless.
Nestlings flown away.

I'm reading a book by a 17th century Japanese pilgrim-poet, Basho, Narrow Road to a Far Province, which is his diary of a five month journey by foot that he undertook through the wild northeastern provences of Japan. He wanted to see the places mentioned in famous poems of wandering Japanese poets.

Basho is considered the master of haiku, the poet who gave vibrant life and form to "poetry in microcosm", a world of ideas in three brief lines of verse. The three lines consist of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, spare and unpretentious, a refined observation of nature.

His diary is a combination of prose and haiku, and is one of the classics of Japanese literature, so I'm inspired to try my hand at it. I found the book through a National Geographic article, Basho's Trail.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

OK - no photo today, but here's a very fun web page, I Do Dog Tricks. It's sponsored by Heartgard for dogs, and is a cute Yorkie, who will do what you type in. Here are some of the commands she'll respond to - see if you can find more!

chase tail
vogue (huh?)
diva (yes, really!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Over the years I've collected lots of coloured reed for making baskets, and tonight I decided to sort through it and begin weaving again. Plenty of colours - oh, what to choose? I like working with round reed, and it's been way too long. I've hardly woven anything since last Retreat, and I want to have something nice for the Retreat Gallery in March. Let's see what develops!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Well, the snow finally came early this morning. We got about an inch here, but other areas got several! And, ours melted away by the end of the day. The forecast is for more snow overnight for the next couple of days, then a little warmer and rain. The sun even peeking through the clouds for a little while, casting shadows on the deck.
Sparkling on the railing, the somewhat granular snow melted slowly.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

This may look a little confusing - it's a photo of melting ice in the swamp. It's been frozen there for several days, but the water level has dropped, leaving those pieces of ice that are attached to branches up in the air. So you're seeing the ice slightly out of focus. The focus is on the water beneath the ice, where you can see reflections of branches and sky, and the underside of the ice, all bubbly and drippy.
We did get some rain overnight (no snow), causing drippies on branch tips. You may have noticed that I love drips and water photos!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

One of the photography email-newsletters that I get from Digital Photography School had an article about photographing drops of water, describing an easy way to set it up and what settings for the camera. So I tried it and got some fun results! The water is dripping from the kitchen faucet into a green glass dish, hence the colors.
I adjusted the stream from the faucet - this one was almost a steady stream, and there was considerably more splashing going on. It was way too much fun - 50 shots went way too quickly, but I did get several good ones!

In the meantime, there was a quite nice sunrise, as the clouds begin moving in for our week of rain & snow. The wind is picking up this afternoon, too. Will it be all white tomorrow???

Friday, January 25, 2008

This is a gnarly old apple tree that we found on our property when we cleared it. An old neighbor told us that this area had been used as a camp in the past, and a previous owner had done some clearing and planted some fruit trees. We didn't find any other surviving trees, but we did find one brick!
So this is the lone survivor, and now the branches are all woven together and covered with lichen. It produces apples every year, but they're mostly small and deformed, since we don't spray.

We intend to prune it back one of these years, to see if we can get a better crop. These apples have hung on all winter, through all the wind and rain and snow and birds. They make a bright spot on those dreary days, too.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday Art day - well, I forgot to take a photo there, but we had a nice time as usual, gossiping, sharing books and projects, and actually getting a little bit of work done! On the way home, I stopped at Freeland Park to find a pair of eagles perched high above the road, surveying the low tidelands. With a sudden screech, one of them flew off.

A variety of birds were taking advantage of the beach; gulls, crows, mallard ducks, and this Great Blue Heron.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Well, I didn't get out last night to see the moon, but it was still there, slowly setting in the west this morning, so I got my shot after all! In trying to let the tree branches show, the photo is quite grainy, but it kind of looks likes a starry sky, so it's all good! It was clear and sunny again today - wind and rain will be moving in tomorrow. It was nice while it lasted!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ah, another clear, sunny (& cold) day - the frost glistens in the sunrise before melting away.
Tonight is the full moon - should be clear - we'll see if I'm brave enough to freeze my little finger tips!
Haven't had any Buzz portraits lately - that ugly growth in his mouth is his tennis ball - it's seen better days!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Well, it dawned clear and COLD this morning, as promised. A lovely day, and while the sun is out, it doesn't feel so cold. But everything is frozen, for sure! Above is the sun shining through last year's dried blossoms on an Ocean Spray bush - it was good to see blue through the trees. And even in the middle of the day, the sun is not very high above the horizon!

The puddles in the driveway were frozen, and upon looking closer, I found triangular shapes in the ice. Probably not that unusual, but I'm used to seeing rounds and curves.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

It was supposed to be a bit sunny but windy today, but was cloudy instead, and not too cold yet. I experimented with a slow shutter to blur the movement of the water in this little stream - it came out well, and without a tripod!
We have lots of moss on the ground and on trees, some of it quite long and furry. And, it grows all the way around the trunks - more so in some areas, like here near the swamp. Higher up the hill there isn't as much moss on the trees, but I'm seeing a lot in the lawn this winter.

And the moisture encourages odd fungal growths, too, like this lumpy mass blobbed on a dead log.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The third of the "Elements" series arrived today - the Fire Book. These books are made in my Photo Art Journals Yahoo group - each of the participants makes 24 copies of their photo, and hostess Catherine Anderson assembles them for us. Above is the cover, and below are some of the pages. Everyone finds a quote, poem or writes something about the subject on the back of each page, so there is also interesting reading.

Catherine also made a box to hold all four books, and it arrived with the Fire book today. It's really nice - I have shown the back, front, and with the three books so far.

The last book, AIR, will be finished next month. What a treasure we'll have!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Well, didn't get a photo today, didn't get much of anything done! Although Barb and I did go to an estate sale, at a house that had an incredible view south toward Seattle. Ah, well, at least we got to go and be nosy! Rainy and cold, and getting rainier and colder next week!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday Art Day! Gretchen shows off the painting she made using water-soluble oil paints. She says they are very fun to work with, and she's been having a great time. We decided the painting would look great on a red wall!
Finally caught a little bit of sunset. It was gray and cloudy all day - pretty cold, too. But the clouds lifted just enough to let some of the sunlight through for a few minutes. And, it comes way too early - still before 5:00 pm. I know the days are getting longer, but this minute-a-day method sure takes a long time!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Well, the promised wonderful sunny weather didn't quite materialize, but it wasn't too bad, just cold and cloudy. Enough to make Buzz sleep under my desk for most of the day! It's one of his favorite spots, and I have to be careful not to roll my chair over his ears! Although, he eventually figured it out, and watches me when he hears the chair roll! I do still kick him by mistake, which makes him jump up and bump into things. It's so nice to have him around....

David called from Mexico, where he's having a lovely time eating the local foods, shopping, and hanging out at the beach. Tomorrow they are going on a little road trip north along the coast to La Penita, where they hope to meet up with some friends from this area. Lots of Americans around Puerto Vallarta.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Raven is the kitty that Cory and I are helping take care of for Cyndi. She's always glad to see someone - tonight she started rolling around on the floor, and jumping up on the chairs to play with her toy. (Yes, she eventually fell off the chair backwards.) She wasn't even all that interested in her food, because she managed to scratch a hole into the bag of kibble, and obviously munched to her heart's content! I stashed the bag in the cupboard!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Have to hurry with this - the power has gone off once already for a minute, two more times then it's usually out for good! The wind has been blowing hard all day, with the added bonus of a torrential downpour for several hours, too! Now it's sunset, not raining, one little teeny tiny clear spot of sky, and high wind gusts. That blur on top of the post is our windmeter, whirling madly, and you can also see the treetops swaying. Keeping fingers crossed for lights tonight!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A really nice sunny day today, just right for a walk down in the woods. Still finding weird fungi - clumps of this stuff were growing in a large area by the driveway. The different fungi come and go - these weren't here last week, and might be gone by next week.
Still looking for "white" photos, and I love the birch bark. It had clouded up a little, so I want to try some shots with the sun shining brightly on the bark one of these days.
Cory went shopping with his girlfriend Kelsey - she works at Ross and gets a discount, so he got a great deal on the leather jacket. New shirt and pants, too. He's trying the "pose". (I've been watching The Next Super Model!)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

"I must go back to the sea again . . ." and finally a break in the weather so I can go to the beach! The front is moving right over us, and you can actually see blue sky! The winter storms have piled loads of sand onto the boat ramp, and the county comes and pushes it off to the sides, creating mountains to mimic the Olympics.
Water drains from the sand piles, creating a clean sandy bed for this Moon Snail shell. Life has been hard, and finally, broken and scratched, it rests for a while in the filtered sunlight.

Friday, January 11, 2008

One of our upcoming Photo Art Journals will be "White", so I'm experimenting with various white things. I love collecting beach glass, and lovely shell fragments, and I like the bright spots which reflect the light.
This is a well-worn fragment, with interesting shadows created by it's years in the sea.
The beach glass shows so much variation - most of the "white" was originally clear glass - different recipes of creation.