SATURATED: A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE

A Photo a Week Challenge: Saturation

Autumn in New England is a total saturation experience. I often turn down saturation. Natural color is almost surreal.

Direct from the camera.
Direct from the camera. Will add one click saturation. More would be too much.

The original photograph is true color direct from the camera. The adjustments were cropping, exposure, and a single click (1%) saturation.

Just needs a bit of brightening.
I’ll give it a bit of brightening. The saturation is there. It could go just as is, but for the purposes of illustration …

The further north one goes, the earlier foliage peaks. We missed peak in three states, but I was happy with the color we saw. It was beautiful just the way it was.

No additional saturation. A bit brighter plus a touch extra contrast only. It's enough.
No additional saturation. A bit brighter plus a touch extra contrast only. It’s enough. Notice how by raising the contrast and brightening the whole picture, I also lost the second mountain in the background? There is usually a trade-off. When you modify one thing, other things also change.

In changing saturation, I feel that less is more. I am apt to lower saturation rather than raise it. Saturation, in theory, changes only the intensity of color, but in practice, it changes tones too. Gray becomes blue. Skies becomes pixellated. Everything becomes more grainy.

My suggestion? Adjust saturation using a light touch. It doesn’t take much to turn a pretty picture garish.

ANYTHING BUT SPIDERS

I’m afraid of spiders. Not because they are dangerous, though some are. Not because they are poisonous. I’m afraid of spiders because they make my skin crawl. They scare me half to death and it doesn’t have to be a particularly malevolent member of the species. Under the right circumstance — like when I’m sleeping and wake up to find a spider on me — I can actually levitate from fear. Rise right up off the mattress, screaming. Wake everyone in the house.

A friend of mine was attacked by a wolf spider while sun bathing on her patio in Arizona. The thing was the size of a small dinner plate (dessert plate?) and landed on her breast, then proceeded to take a chunk out of her. The pain was one thing. The fear was so intense she promptly sold her house and moved to a place where there are no wolf spiders. I’m with her.

Giant forest scorpian (heterometrus laoticus)
Giant forest scorpion (heterometrus laoticus)

I lived in Israel and did not deal well with scorpions. I am not physically brave. I will take emotional and professional risks, no problem. One garden spider will unglue me.

Do I remember the last time this happened? No. There have been so many times. The best thing about a mindless phobia? You only have to imagine there’s a spider nearby to get your heart pounding, your blood rushing in your ears. It could turn be a bit of dust or dog hair brushing your leg. Or an ant.

It’s the thought that counts.


Fight or Flight – Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

I’VE GOT THE WINTER BLUES – SWO8 BLUES JAZZ

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Published on Feb 15, 2015 via YouTube

My collaborator, Leslie Martel of swo8 Blues Jazz did the work. Composed the music and wrote the words. She also put the video together. Posted it to YouTube. I think that’s all the work. I supplied the photographs.

This video is called Winter Blues, a unique, fun collaboration between me and composer-musician swo8 Blues Jazz.

I have more than enough snow pictures. And plenty of snow! Since the end of January, it has been a fury of storms and blizzards, one after another. Before this endless month is done, I expect I will have even more winter photographs.Too much snow and cold.Trapped in a winter nightmare.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s almost spring … isn’t it?

AN ICONIC SNOW SHOVEL

72-Closeup-Snow-Shovel_002

By midday yesterday, the kid had finished shoveling the roof. Of course, all that snow had to go somewhere. As he worked, I could see huge piles of it falling off the roof in a veritable avalanche.

snow shovel in oil

Our already mostly buried deck lost any semblance of a pathway. One had recently been dug so the kid with the shovel could get up onto the roof to shovel it. Now, with our ladder stuck in a snowdrift until spring and the shovel, like a pennant, at the top of the big drift … I hope we don’t need to get out of the house via the deck. Because it’s impassable.

snow shove solarized

Yet, somehow, I loved the image made by that big yellow shovel stuck in the snow. And of course, I had to take a few pictures.

72-Snow-Shovel_004

A final note. The ice dams are melting. Slowly, I admit, but there is a steady dripping from all of them. I am taking this as a harbinger of better days to come.

PRETTY. NOT FROZEN. WITH BRIGHT COLORS.

It snowed. Again. We had a couple of days intermission, but it doesn’t seem we’ve had a real pause between storms. I did not take any pictures of today’s storm. I wasn’t feeling inspired. More like depressed. I hoped we’d miss this one. It wasn’t a big storm. A itty bitty one, but still a storm.

72-Oil-IceDam-WinterView_03

Maybe I’ll take a few pictures tomorrow. The new pictures will look exactly like the previous pictures. I’m limited to taking pictures from my doorways. All three of them — back, front, and side. Then there are views from my picture window, a few through my kitchen or bathroom windows. They seem unchanged, except for the growth of the ice dams.

72-OIL-Feb10-Sunset_Snow_051

More snow looks the same as it has looked since the first storm at the end of January. Hard to believe until January 27th, the ground was clear.

I’m sure we will remember this as the most brutal and brief winter ever.

The buildup of ice along the back of the house is bad, but there’s nothing we can do about it until it warms up and melts. It’s too thick to break and pulling it off will take the gutters with them.

We’re going to have some repairs to do on the roof and siding when this is over. That’s what insurance is for. This kind of damage is covered and we will not be the only ones putting in claims as spring comes and we can to assess the damage.

In the meantime, Garry brought home flowers the other day. So, rather than shooting more snow, I thought I’d shoot flowers. Because they are pretty, not frozen, and colorful.

A COLD DAY

It was bitterly cold outside and downright nippy inside when I got up yesterday morning. The temperature was below zero, so I figured our aging heating system had been over-matched. I slipped into sweatpants. Added heavy socks and a pair of house booties. Warm sweater. Poncho over sweater. I was still cold.

ice dams february

Cruelly, I forced the poor doggies to go outside. I apologized with biscuits and wrapped them in blankets when they came back. They brought winter with them. Damn. The house was cold. I looked at the thermostat. It read 64, but it felt colder.

ice dam februrary 2015

I got a cup of coffee. Drank it. Got another cup. Drank it, too. Still not warm. Especially my hands.

Owen got back from work and came up to tell me the boiler wasn’t working. Which explained the lack of heat. It’s a testament to how good our insulation is the house remained as warm as it did. Meanwhile, I realized my bathroom window was sealed tight by a thick layer of ice in the window. On the screen. In the frame itself. That in addition to the ice dams along the eaves.

72-One-More-Blizzard_09Owen had found a kid to come over and get the snow off the roof. He and the boiler repair guy showed up at the same time. The kid couldn’t move the ice dams at all and he’ll be back today to finish the snow. He was late getting started. Suddenly, it was too dark to work.

ice dam February 2015

Nothing but warmer temps and sunshine is going to melt that ice. At least it won’t get worse if the roof is clear of snow. Today’s storm is supposed to be tiny, just a couple of fluffy inches. I hope they are right. We have had more than enough.

Last night, I heard the funniest weather report. The meteorologist said there would be snow “somewhere in northern New England, probably New Hampshire or Maine. It will be very cold.” He wasn’t sure how much snow, or exactly when it would start, but he was sure there would be snow. Somewhere in New England.

You could give that forecast anytime during January or February in New England. You would always be right. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way that wind blows.

Next weekend? We’ll cross that storm when we come to it.

72-One-More-Blizzard_07

Winter is ending. A glance at the calendar screams “spring is just around the corner,” even though it looks like winter in Siberia. It’s warm again, inside. Our boiler is chugging away. The cold spell won’t last forever.

Although I have no empirical evidence to support my opinion, I firmly believe spring will come.

I’LL TAKE RAMON

I do not need a clone. What in the world would I do with a second rickety old clone? I’d have to make twice as many doctor appointments. And good luck getting health insurance for a clone. They only give you Medicare once. After that, if you are sick, just go off and die, please. The state is not interested in your sad story.

“But I’m a clone! It’s not my fault I’m not in your records!” Yeah, right. They’d listen to that. In your dreams.

Out my window ice dams
The view out my bathroom window this morning. Where is Ramon when I need him?

I need an extra body around here. A young, healthy body. An agile body. Strong. If he wasn’t hard on the eyes, I wouldn’t mind that, either.

I’ll call him Ramon. He can help with all kinds of things. Shopping and hauling the groceries. Right now, I’d send him up to the roof to get rid of the snow and the ice dams that are trying to eat my house. Get him to chip the ice off the cars.

When he isn’t working around the house, he can go out and earn some money to support himself. I can’t afford to feed another mouth — especially with the appetite a young man has — so Ramon will have to get a job. Maybe part-time. I’ll give him the room for free and let him borrow the car. I hope he’s good with engines. Those cars aren’t getting any newer.

In the spring, Ramon could deal with that nightmare of a garden, remove the lethal dead rose-bush from the middle of it. I have a great many things that need doing, but require a strong young back. So no clones of me, please. I’ll take Ramon.