MORE SQUARE FLYING SQUIRRELS – Marilyn Armstrong

FLYING IN FROM EVERYWHERE. THE SQUIRRELS ARE HERE!

I don’t put the night camera up every night. I need a couple of days to process pictures. And sometimes, I need more time than that. For some reason, on the night of April 7, the raccoons didn’t show up, so I got 1020 (that seems to be the number) pictures of flying squirrels. I also got to see more squirrels.

Usually, I only see one Flying Squirrel at the time, but this time, you could see the squirrels doubled up on the big feeder and on the smaller feeder and sometimes, flying too. I couldn’t get all the pictures together as a square.

The feeders are spread out across the deck and squaring them is nearly impossible or at the very least, awkward. Nonetheless, I think I got some good ones here. If you look carefully, you can see their paws stretched out in front of them as they glide to their destination.

Just because it’s so awfully cute!

They’ve got pretty good control of that whole gliding thing. They land exactly where they intend to land.

BOSTON HARBOR FROM THE TOP – Marilyn Armstrong

BOSTON FROM THE TOP

It was a wedding and I was all dressed up so I was NOT carrying a camera. Thus I found myself using my cell phone, not at all my favorite camera — it isn’t a good telephone and it’s a worse camera. It was, however, the only one I could fit in my evening bag so I did the best I colud.

It was a breathless site from the 66th floor overlooking the harbors! I was shooting through glass, but all things considered, not too bad.

I spent hours last night — like three of them — searching the online world for birdseed that I thought our birds will eat. There is cheaper food, but the birds don’t eat it. They literally toss it aside to get to the better stuff. Everything is backed up for weeks and in a lot of cases, months. I finally found some things on Chewy, so assuming it arrives on a reasonable schedule, the buffet lives.

And here are today’s squares. They are flying and gliding squirrels in the light of the moon. In some, you can see their big shining eyes.

From the top of the Harbor

FLYING GLIDING UP IN THE AIR SQUIRRELS – Marilyn Armstrong

SQUARING THE FLYING GLIDERS

Sorry. I just wasn’t feeling inspired today. So I’m posting my favorites and most popular from the past few weeks. I’ve been writing a lot and every now and then, it’s hard to find something to say I haven’t already said.

I spent hours last night — like three of them — searching the online world for birdseed that I thought our birds will eat. There is cheaper food, but the birds don’t eat it. They literally toss it aside to get to the better stuff. Everything is backed up for weeks and in a lot of cases, months. I finally found some things on Chewy, so assuming it arrives on a reasonable schedule, the buffet lives.

And here are today’s squares. They are flying and gliding squirrels in the light of the moon. In some, you can see their big shining eyes.

Past lives and the full moon
You can see how tiny the squirrel really is when his wings are folded … and those shining eyes
A glider and a feeder by the light of the full moon
Sketching the squirrel
Duochrome flyer on the feeder

MORE BRIGHT BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

Let me start off by saying that this morning, Owen and I were treated to seeing a relatively rare Pileated Woodpecker. They are the largest of our living woodpeckers and while I knew we had one or more of them in our woods, I never saw them from close up. They would just fly by and stop far away, well beyond my camera’s ability to take a picture.

And this is exactly what he looked like. This is NOT my picture. My camera was in the other room and if I’d gone to get it, he’d have been gone by the time I got back. But at least two of us saw him!

This time, he landed on a tree right on the front of the house! I called Owen and said “Look, look! It’s that big woodpecker!” Big he was. The size of a medium-sized hawk with that unmistakable hammer-shaped scarlet head. The bird after whom Woody Woodpecker was designed.

Pileated-Woodpecker – Head shot (I didn’t take this picture, either).

It was inspiring, so I went and developed some more “artistic” pictures of birds. I don’t know why seeing that big red-headed bird was inspiring, but it was. They are becoming increasingly rare. There was an even bigger one — the Ivory Woodpecker, but they are believed to be extinct now.

These guys are disappearing too. They need deep woods in which to live and there’s precious little remaining. New England still has a lot of trees, but every day, they chop up another woods to built cheesy houses for which they are asking way too much money … and this is not a hot property area. Many of them take a long time to become occupied, but the woods is gone forever.

Pileated Woodpeckers don’t like people and cars and dogs. They like forest and I fear they will go extinct too.

Wings and a prayer? Goldfinch feeding up.
More wings and prayers – one Goldfinch in the air and a Nuthatch on the feeder.

I hope next time the big woodpecker comes by, I hope he stops to pose for me!

ARTSY GOLDFINCHES – Marilyn Armstrong

I have to admit that I have a great many Goldfinches. They show up at the feeder in flocks. Sometimes, I look outside and they are not only all over all the feeders, but they are also waiting in the branches, sitting on the railing, and on top of all the feeders.

Two Goldfinches

So, rather than yet one more detailed picture of Goldfinches, I made these two pictures as artistic I could. These really came out looking sort of like paintings. I hope I remember how I did them.

I should have saved the components. I used about eight different filters, did a lot of cropping, and went through a huge number of remix formulae before I came up with this. Reproducing the effect could be interesting. On the upside, I like them. They look as much like paintings as I could create with software and photographs.

SQUARING THE LAMPLIGHT – FILM NOIR IN BOSTON #11 – Marilyn Armstrong

Squaring the Lamplight

Since Becky already named this, I thought it was a good time to use a photo I have always loved, but definitely needed a redo. This was taken under the streetlights on the sidewalk next to Boston Symphony Hall. It was December and we were there for the Christmas Concert.

The shadows and grain of the photograph made me immediately think of film noir and its dark shadowed moods. If you use your imagination, you can imagine stories about this one.

In the shadows under the streetlight in the heart of Boston

BIRDS CAN BE SQUARE TOO #10 – MARILYN ARMSTRONG

BACKYARD BIRDIES IN WILD ABSTRACTION (AND THE NUMBER ISN’T IN ORDER, EITHER)

It was a sunny afternoon and my camera was ready. I was ready. Were the birds ready? That is always the question. As for light, see that hint of golden sun on the trees and the birds? That is the reflection of the late afternoon winter sun. Photography is all about light.

I take pictures every day if there are active birds on the feeders. It’s a timing issue and I have to hope it isn’t the exact same group of birds that seem to actually live on the feeders. When I see enough interesting birds or types of birds, I try sneaking up on them and hope they won’t hide or fly away. I think they are laughing at me as they fly into the woods.

Flying: the bird in front is a Tufted Titmouse and the bird in the back is a woodpecker, either a downy or a hairy.

Last week, I dumped the flat feeder and the very damaged wire feeder. I got a smaller feeder with smooth sides and a rim for birds to hold onto. It is designed for smaller birds. I already owned a finch feeder, but I’d never bought food for it. I had Owen put up a third hook and invested in a small bag of finch food.

A Goldfinch on the finch feeder

It took about 72 hours for the birds to discover the new feeders. For a few days, there were almost no birds. On Sunday, I woke up and looked at the feeders and they were empty. I don’t mean that they needed filling. They were 100% empty, down to the last seed.

Woodpecker and Titmouse

I filled everything up and waited. The Goldfinches are back and so are the woodpeckers. The Cardinals have come home, though they refuse to sit still while I take their picture. I think they should show some appreciation, but they aren’t here as my friends. They just want to eat. I still think they could at least let me take pictures. Show me a little bit of gratitude.

Hairy Woodpecker

They hide on the opposite side of the feeders where I can’t see them. I have to wait for them to decide to ignore me and some days, they manage to elude me until I get tired and give up.

A beautiful Tufted Titmouse … and a surprisingly big oneToday I decided to exhume the SD card from the OMD and see what I had collected. I decided to play around with this batch. Others are less abstract. I admit it. Sometimes, I just want to play with pictures.

FEATHERED FRIENDS – Marilyn Armstrong

UPS is very slow delivering this year, so all the birdseed I have left is black-oil Sunflower seeds. It’s healthier to mix them, but the other two bags of seed haven’t arrived. They are weeks late. Just one seed isn’t the best I can do, but at least it is food and they like it.

I think it’s two birds having a little tiff. Hard to tell but that’s my best guess.

Owen shortened up the feeders today. The wind has been pretty strong and the feeders were blowing around like mad. He was afraid they would just blow right off the hooks — which they have done before.

Goldfinch
Nuthatch

He’ll have to feed the birds until he puts the long hooks back because neither Garry nor I can reach the feeders at that height.

Goldfinch and a bird in flight Probably a Titmouse (going by feather color).
Cardinal in the snowy branches

These are interesting pictures with birds in flight and in one of them, at least two birds mixing it up in the air. I think they are Titmice, but it’s hard to tell just a swoosh of feathers.

Goldfinch and Chickadee

 

FROM DUST WE COME, TO DUST WE RETURN – Marilyn Armstrong

A few nights ago, we watched one of the “Orville” episodes on Hulu. This episode was about finding a lost cell phone from a “time capsule” on earth and how someone recreated that world on the Holodeck. He fell in love with the girl on the phone, but of course, it couldn’t work. Past is past.

I love time-travel stories. In fact, Garry and I are quite addicted to them. The first movie he ever brought over to show me was “Somewhere in Time” which is a time-travel love story. I liked the movie so much I haven’t wanted to read the book. I want the images from the picture.

I understand, as a generation, we will disappear rather faster than previous generations simply because so much of the material we’ve created is electronic. Our things have no physical structure. We can’t store them except on our devices. When we pass, our computers will pass too if not immediately, then eventually. Time will make our computers useless anyway because technology is everchanging.

Dawn in Vineyard Haven.

Our photographs will largely disappear when we die. As we vanish, our memories will vanish unless we wrote them down somewhere in a book that isn’t immediately forgotten. It is a rare family (usually a wealthy one) where the past is saved through centuries. Even those ultimately disappear because time goes on beyond remembering.

Vineyard art

I’ve visited a few castles of great lords of Egypt (there are a few in Israel, including Lachish), plus of course Canaan, England, Ireland, and Wales. The oldest ones are rocks and ruin. What didn’t disintegrate through time was destroyed by earthquakes or other natural events. Many great monuments remain, but no one knows who built them or when. Personal belongings have long turned to dust so we can but imagine what the lives of those people might have been. I’m sure we are more wrong than right in what we want to believe.

Assuming we find a way out of today’s current mess and build a kinder, better world, bits and pieces of us will hang around, no doubt transferred to some new medium. It will be less than previous generations left.

Giant Rose Famille Ginger jar

I thought about all the photographs. Almost all will be lost because they were never printed. They have no physical reality. I even wondered (briefly) if I should print some — even tiny versions — just so there would be a physical record they existed. Then I realized no one would want the pictures anyway.

Let me rephrase that. They might want them, but they have nowhere to put them. That’s why when Garry was cleaning out his parent’s house, I was afraid he’d bring back stuff. It wasn’t that the material was not important. It was that we have no room for it.

Little things

Our walls and cabinets, closets and shelves — everything is full. The attic hasn’t much in it because it’s not really an attic. It’s full of fiberglass to keep heat in the house.

Funny how insulation was a big issue when we moved here. Now, I wish we had better ways to move air around so it wouldn’t be so hot!

More little things

Times change. Hopefully, enough of our world will be saved somehow and somewhere. For all I know, some planet in the great out-there has all our TV shows, music, books, and photographs. Maybe they are building a new world based on what they see in our old stories and pictures.

PORTLAND STREET ART – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I recently spent two days with friends in Portland, Oregon, the Vermont of the West. Pot is legal and the arts are thriving, all over town.

Our friends drove us and walked with us all around town so we got a good overview of the city.

Beautiful design on a billboard in town
This design covered two buildings next to each other

Artwork on the side of a building
The side of another building. I love the whimsy of this one!
Another cool scene on the side of a building
Courtyard entrance to a shop

On our drive through town, I took a picture of an interesting sculpture I saw on the porch of a house. Later that night, our friends drove us to a local tourist attraction – a psychedelic light show that a local resident projects every night. I realized that this was the house with the interesting ‘sculpture’ – much more interesting with the lights!

THERE’S A WORD FOR IT IN JAPANESE – Marilyn Armstrong

When talking about photography, English doesn’t always make the grade. As it turns out, Japanese does.

The Japanese have a word for everything, I think. I just learned “Komorebi. It means “sunlight filtering through the leaves of trees,” and by extension, the natural filtering of light through anything. Like blinds or curtains, for example.

75-051214-Komorebi-Sunlight_12
I’ve been chasing that light for more than 40 years. This is the word I’ve needed. I’ve been trying to capture that forever.

Komorebi.

Remember it. It’s a great word.

A golden tree and the rays of sunlight
Then there is bokeh, a word so popular it is now included in American books about photography. Bokeh defines something difficult to say in English.

“Bokeh means the aesthetic quality of the blur
(a soft and out of focus) part of an image produced by a lens.”

Like this.

Dry weeds by the river

Or this.

Kaity
I’m sure there’s more, but this is my vocabulary lesson for the day.

DESIGN AT DISNEY – BY ELLIN CURLEY

On my recent trip out West, we went to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA for a day. I was struck by the beautiful design elements and artistic touches I saw all over the California Park. There were also many California Craftsman style pieces as well as Art Deco, often in the most mundane places.

Walt Disney with a map of the original Disneyland
The park is dotted with artistic plant arrangements and mini gardens
California Craftsman style fountain. Similar to Art Deco style.
Pseudo Frank Lloyd Wright style building, with his iconic stonework patterns
My favorite – a total art deco pretzel stand! Gorgeous!
Closeup of a colorful mosaic over a bench
A larger section of the mosaic over a bench