I suppose it ought to be instinctive that a picture should have a subject, just as a book or a movie should have a plot.


Those of who read a lot, watch movies or TV, and/or write, know it isn’t necessarily as simple as it seems. It is surprisingly easy for a subject to get lost between clauses … or the movie’s theme to get buried under special effects. Or the beautiful rose to be lost amidst a sea of other flowers.


A photo needs a subject and the photographer needs to know what he or she is trying to say. If you don’t know what your subject is, you can be pretty sure no one else will know either.


My answer, over the years, is to move in close. To have a subject stand out, I try to make it easy for anyone to know what I’m trying to say. If you are shooting a single subject, just shoot tight and stay focused.


Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons -10

Bob and I went to the dam today.


I wanted to show him where the beauty spots are, though eventually I’m sure he will discover his own favorites. For now, I’m enjoying playing tour guide.

Into the woods from the back deck, through the last of the fuchsias.

Into the woods from the back deck, through the last of the fuchsias.

I also knew this challenge was coming up, so I took pictures with a mind to showing the changing seasons in our small town and nearby.

It’s autumn. It ought to be full-bore glorious trees of scarlet and gold. More like a rich pastel. The colors are stronger along the river, as they always are, but elsewhere, they are not the vivid display we expect in New England.


Most people think the lack of color is the result of our continuing drought. It has gone on for at least five years. Even though we get a lot of snow in the winter, it’s barely enough to keep the rivers from completely drying up. Barely enough to keep the aquifer alive so we will have water in our wells and thus in our homes.


Drought is a frightening thing. Scary for people, lethal for the wildlife. I haven’t seen a duck, swan, or goose since early spring. Today, there was a turtle sunning himself on a rock in the river. Usually, a turtle would be a common sight, but even the turtles have been rare this spring and summer.


The rivers have been so low, it’s hard to imagine there are enough fish to support a single family of herons.


The drought is not merely local. It’s national. International. The climate is changing. Our world is changing and we seem to be unable to do anything to help it or ourselves.

Cardinal Guzman, the host of this challenge, has totally blown us away with his gallery. Absolutely take a look. Amazing photography.


7 octoBER 2015: where’s autumn?

It’s Frisbee Wednesday again. September is gone and we’re an entire week into October. It ought to be glorious by now. Gold, red, glowing.

Not exactly. It’s pretty. Colorful, in a half-hearted way. Pastel compared to the last few years.


The money shot for the week is the snapping turtle we met at the dam on the Mumford. He was sunning himself — a fine day on which to do it. The sun was brilliant. It was hard to see exactly what picture I was taking with so much reflection and refraction. Clouds make picture-taking easier.



The leaves are changing, just not as much as one would expect. Autumn is — so far — somewhat missing-in-action. However, if nights get chillier, there’s a chance we’ll get that cold snap which brings the color up.


The river is very low. At least there was some water in it today. The last time Garry and I were at the dam, the bottom was up on much of the Mumford and most of the dam was dry. Today, there was water flowing.


The river is very shallow, no more than an inch or two deep and I didn’t see any fish. No herons or ducks. Too shallow for birds to swim. With no fish, nothing for long-legged waders to eat.


I hope we haven’t seen the last of the rain. There’s a terrible irony in the dreadful flooding down south while we are drying up, just a few hundred miles north.

And then, there’s California.

Should you decide to accept this “challenge,” you can use a picture from this or any post of mine  — or any other picture you like. Write something about the picture. Make something up using a photograph — any photo — as a jumping off point.

This is the easiest prompt in the world. Play if you like, but if not, hope you have a great day! And maybe, a little rain.



Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge (COB) is all about those great photos that you take which really don’t seem to fit into a common category.  We’ve all taken them and like them, because we just can’t hit delete and get rid of them.  There is never a theme to this challenge, so what is an odd ball is all up for you to discover and photograph.

Usually when I start this challenge, I have a pretty good idea what pictures I’m going to use. This time, I’m not even sure if I’ve taken the pictures yet. In fact, I think I’m going to go take a few right now. Back in a few …

It’s the very end for the fuchsia. October. Autumn’s in the air.




And that’s all she wrote. For now. There’s so much more to come.


Serendipity is a personal and photography blog. For the most part.

I write about me and my life, stuff that’s happening, things I did back when. I take pictures, talk about nature, wildlife, trees. Especially trees.

It’s a reflection of not just what I feel, but what I think, what I enjoy, hope for, fear, and love. It is a bit of everything that touches me and the people around me. It isn’t entirely personal because many interesting or worrisome things aren’t about me, though they touch my life and presumably, yours.


Thus, I write about politics, news, movies, books, television. Ecology. I don’t always want to talk about me. Sometimes, I want to talk about you. Them. The world. Nature. And technology because we all use so much of it and it directly impacts our lives in myriad ways.

Sometimes — like right now — things happening around me are sad. Difficult. I’m not ready to talk about it.

I follow as many bloggers as I can. Most bloggers I follow write about life and take pictures too. Some are very funny, some are scary. They all vary their content from serious to funny and back again. I never know what I’m going to find when I visit.


A few blogs are entirely personal and grim. They have their blogging antennae permanently aimed inward The darkness within is complete.

After a while, I begin to tire of it. I get restless. The relentless recounting of one train wreck after another, the uninterrupted procession of bad luck stories, wears me down. I get numb when someone’s life contains no ray of light, no reason for joy, no hope of a better future.

I have to wonder if all that bad luck is merely bad luck. Is it possible for anyone to be so unlucky — without being at least partly responsible for the mess in which they find themselves?

Am I wrong? Am I being insensitive? Unfair?

snow falling front trees

I don’t have an answer. I know after months and sometimes, years, I cannot bear any more. Maybe God really is out to get him or her. Or perhaps it isn’t entirely coincidental that he or she can’t keep a job, roommate, or friend … and why everything in their lives turns to shit.

Can “personal” become “too much information”? How much is enough … and what’s too much?



It wasn’t a photo excursion. We were driving from a doctor’s office to the mall. To PetSmart, to get extra dog food. And biscuits. Have to make sure the doggies have plenty of kibble and biscuits. They’ve never missed a meal and I wouldn’t want this to be the first time.


The road between North Street and Route 140 is lovely. The woods are bright because its is dominated by alders. They turn bright yellow in the fall, and unlike the oak, they don’t form a canopy to block the sun.


The train tracks cross the road, though I’ve never seen a train. We have train tracks running through Uxbridge too, but no train station … not any more. What used to be the train station is now a real estate office. Once a week, you can hear the wail of the train’s whistle as it rumbles through, coming from somewhere. Going somewhere else.


I don’t know what it is about this train crossing, but I love it. Something about the way the road dips and curves. It reminds me of something, but I’m not sure what. It makes me wistful, as if there is a memory somewhere tucked in a corner of my brain … but I don’t know where.


The leaves were bright today. Not at peak. Not quite. At least I don’t think they are at peak … yet they are falling, even before many of the trees have changed color. It’s as if autumn has been short-circuited. Is it the lack of rain?


One year ago, we were on the road to Jackman, Maine. Autumn in northern New England. This year, the leaves have barely begun to change. Strange.