THE FARM AND THE HOUSE

cows in the pasture

The cows are happy. The chickens are happy. The corn is growing, joyously absorbing sunshine and rain. Three generations live on the farm … and the land has been in the family as long as anyone can remember.

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The farm-house

The work is hard, season after season. But the people … they look happy too. Maybe it’s living with the soil and the animals. Letting the seasons dictate what there is to be done.

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Corn is ready

Autumn is coming. The corn will be gone, the cows will no longer graze and sleep in the green pasture along the river. Ice and snow will cover the ground. Even the chickens will huddle in their coops. Everyone and everything will wait for spring to come again. Fortunately, it always comes.

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UP FOR THE SUNRISE

Getting up for the dawn … really getting up … not just getting out of bed, going to the bathroom, then huddling back under the covers … means I’m going to take pictures. At home, the eastern sky is blocked by the trees. Though I’ve occasionally shot a few pictures of the sun between the trees, there’s no clear sky anywhere to really catch the dawn.

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So, up for the dawn inevitably means I’m on vacation. Probably somewhere in New England because mostly, that is where we live and also where we spend our free time.

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The last time I intentionally got up for the rising sun was Ogunquit, Maine. We were staying in a little resort a few blocks from the beach. An easy walk. It was September, so sunrise was still pretty early, in the five o’clock region. Garry is an admirer of the dawn, but not a willing participant in any activity that forces him out of bed before he is good and ready.

Busy Beach Pre Dawn

Thus that morning, I had set the alarm for four. It was still dark. I dressed, grabbed my gear, and headed out. No time to waste because dawn is fleeting, over almost before you have a chance to focus your camera.

Dawn Flight

It was a short walk to the beach. The sun wasn’t up when I got there, but the beach was far from empty. There are a surprisingly large number of people on the beach before sunup. Humans include runners, strollers, and veteran dawn watchers … and I suppose a few photographers. I didn’t see any others, but surely someone besides me had a camera.

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And birds. Big black-back gulls, laughing gulls, terns and plovers. It’s breakfast time by the water’s edge.

I started shooting as soon as I arrived, the mist still lying heavily on the shore. As soon as the sun started to work its way up, the mist vanished. From pre-dawn glow to full light is no more than 10 minutes, likely less. I took as many pictures as I could, then went home for coffee and something. It was a great early morning shoot.

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NEW DAWN – Daily Prompt

SUMMER LIES HEAVY IN THE DEEP GREEN LEAVES

Today the man who sets the prompts in motion, wants me — us — to talk about the end of summer. The start of school, the end of long, warm, sunny days. How I feel about that.

I feel a lot of things, but I’m not going to talk about any of them. Because I don’t want to talk about the end of summer. I’m not ready to talk about it. Not even to start thinking about heating oil and boots, icy roads and frozen woodland.

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I’m stuck happily in summer. I love autumn with its amber sunshine and scarlet maples, but after that? Someone else can fill in the details. I’m not there yet, mentally or physically.

It’s beautiful today. Warm, bright, sunny.

Entirely green. Not a hint of anything but languid late summer. And that’s where I’m going to stay until I get pushed, screaming and kicking, into the next season.

August Blues – Daily Prompt

FLOWERS FROM THE DECK

deck flowers summer petunia

Summer is passing too fast. Slow down, summer. Autumn will wait and so will that nasty old winter. I’d like the warm weather to hand around longer. Let the flowers keep blooming, the dark green leaves of late summer heavy on the branches.

deck flowers purple petunias summer

And my deck garden. It’s just one season long, then it’s gone. One summer of purple and white petunias and white begonias, hanging on their post on the deck.

deck flowers petunia summer

Hang on summer. I still need your heat!

deck flowers summer petunias

For those who would like to know, I used my Olympus E-PM2 (4/3 format) with the Olympus 45 mm 1.8 portrait lens to give the pictures a super shallow depth of field and lovely bokeh (fuzzy background).

SILHOUETTES AND BACKLIGHTING

Silhouette

Creating a silhouette is an easy technique to learn and useful in a lot of different situations. For obvious reasons, it doesn’t work well if you are trying to create a portrait … but in nature and architecture, you can create a little bit of magic with very little effort.

Silhouettes may make photographs appear “black and white” even though they are in color. The effect is easily achieved with the light source behind your subject.

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dreamcatcher silhouette

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All you need to do to get a silhouette is take your light reading on the brightest part of the scene or object. The dark part will got even darker and you can slightly increase contrast in post processing if you want to make it a true silhouette with no detail.

Voila! Silhouettes!

A SAILBOAT NAMED GWAIHIR

solingWe named our little sailboat Gwaihir, the wind lord. Really, she was a wind lady. Her name was pretentious for such a tiny boat, but I thought her name would be lucky. She was a 16-foot Soling. She had a centerboard and drew only 16-inches with the board up. I told people Gwaihir could sail on a wet hankie.

When my husband had time and felt frisky, we took Gwaihir out through Sloop Channel and Jones inlet into the ocean. The ocean is so huge and Gwaihir was never meant to sail the seas.

Even a 3-foot roller looks like a tsunami when you’re on the deck of a tiny sloop. My then-husband was a madman on the water. He would sail through thunder squalls because he liked a challenge. His father had been equally insane, so I guess he came by it honestly.

As for me, I piloted her through the salt marshes and canals off Long Island. She was perfect for shallow water sailing. We could sail through nesting plovers, herons, and ducks, silent except for the soft flapping of the jib. The birds were undisturbed by our passage and went about their business, white sails wing-like in the breeze.

One bright day with a warm sun lighting the water and the sky blue as a robin’s egg, I anchored on the edge of a reedy marsh and drifted off to sleep.

I awoke later to see Gwaihir’s sail covered with monarch butterflies. They had stopped to rest on my boat. I didn’t move or say anything. Just watched. Then, as if someone had signaled, they rose as one and flew onward to complete their long journey. I sailed home.

Gwaihir is one of very few non-living “things” I’ve ever named. But boats are special. They are not inanimate. Boats have personality and each is different. A boat needs a name.

The Name’s The Thing