PASSAGE THROUGH THE SNOW: BLACK & WHITE SUNDAY – GARRY ARMSTRONG

BLACK & WHITE SUNDAY: PASSAGE


It’s a snow day here in south central Massachusetts. Cold and blowy. Snow has been falling pretty heavily since late morning and now, it’s dark out. Seven in the evening. Dinner is finished. Dishes put away. We were both outside taking pictures earlier. I think Garry got just the right pictures for this topic.

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These are natural monochrome. It’s the way the world looks while snow is falling.

SHARING MY WORLD – NEW YEAR’S DAY 2017

Share Your World – 2016 Week 52


What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor?

Vanilla. I love the taste and smell of vanilla. Especially fresh vanilla. We also drink vanilla coffee in the morning.

If you were to treat yourself to the “finer things” what would you treat yourself to? 

I’d love to have some stuff done to upgrade the house and I would get someone in once a month to clean. But otherwise? Life is good. Of course, I’m always up for a new camera and lenses.

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Have you ever been drunk?

Is there anyone who has never been drunk? I am the world’s cheapest drunk. Half a glass of wine will put me under the table and a whole drink with real booze? Call 911 — you’ll need a gurney.

I have never been a big drinker. If I had been a social drinker, watching the havoc alcohol has wreaked among people I love would certainly have ended that. Most of the heavy drinkers in my world are either already dead — with booze being one of the reasons why they are no longer with us — or they have rehabbed, dried out, and gone on the wagon.

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Alcoholics Anonymous is a wonderful organization. It continues to quietly save lives without government support or big fundraising campaigns. If someone you know is drunk more than they are sober, try to get them help before they die of alcohol-related illness.

Complete this sentence: My favorite supposedly guilty pleasure is… 

Expensive equipment. I love computers and cameras. My taste exceeds my budget many times over. My best defense has always been to watch for sales … and buy good, used camera equipment. I may be a generation behind, but camera technology doesn’t change dramatically from model year to model year.

They are always coming out with some sexy new camera that I’d love to wrap my paws around, but I can’t do that. So I wait and I watch the market and when I see a bargain, I grab it.

Photo: Garry Armstrong
Photo: Garry Armstrong

I’m hankering for the next generation of the Olympus OM-D … or the new Olympus Pen F. When prices drop, I’ll be waiting.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I’m grateful the holidays are ending along with what has been a politically traumatic year. It hasn’t been an entirely bad year, otherwise. It started out in Arizona — which was great — and I managed to get through the entire year without major surgery, serious illness, or a single hospital incarceration. Getting older is a bummer, but the alternative is even less attractive.

I am hoping that 2017 will be better than I expect. I’m very unhappy with the way the world is going, so my fondest hope is that it won’t be as bad as I fear. With my expectations set very low, it would be difficult to disappointment me.

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MONOCHROMES OF MY YEAR – 2016

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Open Topic


300-line-draw-bonnie-snow-17122016_022Since Cee very kindly left this as an open topic, I thought I’d go through my archives and find my favorite monochrome images for 2016. I did more in black & white this year than in any year since film went away and cameras went digital. Which, for you kids, is what we old kids call “a long time ago.” Rediscovering black & white and toned monochrome is an adventure. Returning to my photographic roots, as it were.

MOPING AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE

MOPE | THE DAILY POST

The little tree is still standing, but it’s no longer the center of the room or of upcoming festivities. Now, it’s the tree of Christmas past and waiting only to go back into storage until next year. Poor little tree. It has such a brief moment of glory. Who can blame it for moping this time of year when it can feel deep in its polyvinyl core, that the end is near. So let us give one last, final cheer for a doughty little tree whose  life is darkness for 11 months and glory for but one!

THURSDAY’S SPECIAL: OUR YEAR IN PICTURES

THURSDAY’S SPECIAL: 2016 RETROSPECTIVE


I decided to answer this with my favorite dozen pictures from the past year, both mine and Garry’s. I don’t know how well these represent our lives. We tend to photograph our high points rather than the lows … but maybe it’s better that way. Happy New Year!

2016 – MY YEAR IN PICTURES

Looking back. My year — a dreadful and strange year which is finally — and good riddance — leaving.

JANUARY 2016 – ARIZONA & NEW ENGLAND

FEBRUARY 2016 – DEEP WINTER

MARCH 2016 – ALMOST SPRING

APRIL 2016 – COME SHE WILL!

MAY 2016 – SPRING COMES TO THE VALLEY

JUNE 2016 – INVASION AND RECOVERY

JULY 2016 – SUMMERTIME

AUGUST 2016 – DEEP GREEN DAYS

SEPTEMBER 2016 – AND NOW THE DAYS GROW SHORTER

OCTOBER 2016 – GOLDEN AUTUMN DAYS

NOVEMBER 2016 – LATE AUTUMN


DECEMBER 2016 – HOLIDAYS AS THE YEAR ENDS

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


RETROSPECTIVE 2016 | THE DAILY POST DISCOVER CHALLENGE

THE CHANGING SEASONS – EARLY WINTER – DECEMBER 2016

THE CHANGING SEASONS: DECEMBER 2016

Evangelical church on the common after dark in December
Evangelical church on the common after dark in December

You never know about December. We’ve had some of our most memorable blizzards this month. I remember one storm, when we still lived in Boston. It hit in early December and dropped 22 inches on the city. Other years, different winters, we have had no measurable snow until late January or February. And, just to confuse the issue, every four or five years, we have a winter with no snow or nearly none. It all depends on the prevailing winds, the polar vortex, and the positioning of Santa’s sleigh in the arctic. Most important is whether or not we are ready for winter to arrive. If we aren’t, an early hard winter is guaranteed.

Our house. After I took this, I realized that we have lived here for almost 17 years and this is the first time I've shot a night photograph of our house.
After I shot this, I realized we’ve lived here almost 17 years — yet this is the first time I’ve photographed our house after dark

I have discovered a direct correlation between how much money you spend on snow removal equipment and how much snow will fall that season. If you spend big money and get a powerful snowblower or tractor that will easily tackle four-foot drifts on the bunny slope we optimistically call “our driveway,” your odds of getting no snow deeper than three inches increases exponentially.

If you spend more than $1500, you may get two back-to-back winters without any appreciable snow. You can bribe weather gods. I have no idea what they do with the money. Do they hang out on the sunny beaches of Jamaica or Waikiki? If I were a winter weather god, those would be my top two choices.

The rectory of the Evangelical church on Uxbridge common
The rectory of the Evangelical church on Uxbridge common

On the other hand, if you love winter sports, you can trick the gods and assure proper snow depths by not buying any snow-clearing equipment. All you need to do is go into the winter snow season completely unprepared. Extra points for failing to switch to snow tires. This will certainly guarantee a blizzard of (almost) epic proportions.

Is this real? True? I’m sure you can find it on Facebook. You can always find the Truth on social media.

Uxbridge Common at night ... just before Christmas with lights.
Uxbridge Common at night … just before Christmas with lights

Last year’s winter was very mild and so far, this season, we’ve had only one dusting plus a modest little snow that melted the following day. No great heaps of snow. It has been very cold and other places not far from here have gotten considerably more winter weather than us. I believe this is because last year, we finally gave in and bought a four-wheel-drive Jeep. For the amount of money it cost, we may get as many as three mild winters.

Snow in the woods in December
Snow in the woods in December

I was trying to find a single picture that screamed “December.” But this month, I bought (second-hand, but in perfect condition) a terrific Leica f1.4 lens for my Olympus OM-D. It’s the lens for night photography.

Last summer's chrysanthemums linger as the season's first snow falls
Last summer’s chrysanthemums linger as the season’s first snow falls

I also got the Topaz Simplify 4 filter set. This has skewed my photographic endeavors in the direction of artistic and experimental rather than my more typical realism. I hope you like the results. I’m having so much fun with combinations of filters, I felt compelled to show off at least of few of them to you. What I like best about this kind of photography is that it is like painting. It’s not just things as they are or were, but as I see them in my mind’s eye.

Bonnie watches the snow falling.
Bonnie watches snow falling

Finally, I could not choose only one photograph. Here is 2016 through all the changing seasons.

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See you all on the flip side of the calendar. Cardinal Guzman has kindly offered to host this challenge again in 2017, so I will look forward to viewing all your beautiful pictures next year.

Enjoy the holiday and the season!

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CELEBRATING OURSELVES – SHARING MY WORLD, SPECIAL HOLIDAY EDITION 2016

SHARE YOUR WORLD – SPECIAL HOLIDAY EDITION 2016


What is your favorite holiday?

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Our anniversary. I know it’s not a national or religious holiday, but that’s part of why I enjoy it. No pressure. We can do a lot, a little, nothing … or delay it until the time is more convenient. It’s our personal holiday. We can do whatever we like.

What types of food is associated with your holiday?

Sushi in Dunham

If it is just us — and it usually is — Japanese. Sushi, sashimi, and tempura. The last time we went out — and I think it was, indeed our anniversary, we realized the rice we cook at home is better than the stuff they are serving in the restaurants. My green tea is better, too. We have become rice and tea snobs. Now, if I could just master the art of tempura!

Do you travel for your holiday?

Frequently, yes. It’s a good time of year, mid-September. It’s one of the reasons we chose that date to have the wedding.

Good weather, usually. It is past the worst heat of summer, but before the danger of snow. Also, hopefully, it’s not in the middle of hurricane season. We’ve traveled to Cooperstown twice (that’s upstate New York). To Maine several times (Ogunquit, Jackman, Freeport, Kennebunk). Locally to Cape Cod (Hyannis, Barnstable, Martha’s Vineyard, Bourne).

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Us ... Coney Island ... 2007 or thereabouts.

Nathans at Coney Island

Up to New Hampshire (Lincoln and the mountains nearby). Vermont (friends in Peachum). Various places in New York, especially and most memorably to Coney Island — Brooklyn, don’t you know.

And we’ve stayed home and partied. Gotten remarried twice.

We’ve gone to Arizona twice. Last year, we deferred the journey until the following January because we wanted to be there in cooler weather, this time. Our previous visit was late August/early September and you could cook eggs on the sidewalk, depending on how you like eggs.

This year? It’s number 27, a sort of off-year. So maybe we’ll celebrate our birthdays instead. We were born a month apart, me in March, Garry in April. I’ll turn 70 and he turns 75 … which is definitely not an off-year. I feel we ought to do something, but it will depend on money … and the weather … and if I think we can actually gather enough of a crowd to make a party. Everyone lives in a different states these days. Gatherings are difficult. Moreover, you absolutely cannot predict weather in early spring in New England. It might be gorgeous … or blowing a blizzard.

Is it a religious or spiritual holiday?

Define religious. Define spiritual.

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Is there a gift exchange?

Not so much anymore. Tokens. Cards. These days, if we need or want something, we get it. We had been saving for a rainy day, but then we looked up and realized … “Hey, it’s raining!” Usually the trip and travel is the gift. And the cameras we are carrying!

How long does the celebration last?

There’s no rules about this. We start talking about it months ahead. We ponder. I look to see if I can squirrel away a few bucks and I check prices on places i think we might want to go … and which aren’t so far away that the drive would be more stressful than fun. Otherwise, we go out to dinner. And that’s good too.