FLURRIES WITH SUNSHINE

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There has been very little snow so far this season and I’m just fine with that. A couple of days ago, we had some snow-flurries and a bit of subsequent icing.

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What was interesting was that the sun never entirely stopped shining. I wondered if we’d have a snow-bow, but we didn’t. I wonder if snow can cause the same kind of refraction that produces rainbows? I’ll have to look it up.

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Snow flurries are much easier to photograph than heavy, serious snow. Serious snow, the stuff of blizzards, tends to come down thickly, but in tiny flakes that the camera’s lens does not easily catch. Flurries, though, are big, fat, and fluffy.

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And, with my new Leica f1.4 25mm lens, I got some pretty snow falling pictures.

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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

BEFORE THE STREETLIGHTS COME ON

When I was growing up … and even when my son was growing up in the 1970s, kids went out to play. Alone. Unsupervised. Unstructured. Disorganized with not a single adult to keep an eye on us. We built “forts” and “clubhouses” out of crates and old boxes and anything we could find that mom wouldn’t miss. We played stickball with old, pink Spalding balls that were often long bast bouncing or even being “round.” You didn’t go and buy a “stickball set.” You found an old broomstick and someone had a ball, or what used to be a ball, or you all chipped in and bought one in the local (!) toy store.

Remember toy stores? Not “Toys R’ Us.” Local shops where you could buy a ball or a bat or a Ginny doll for anything from a few cents to a few dollars and take it home to play. The shopkeepers were always grumpy old guys (probably a lot younger than we are now), but they had a gleam in their eye. If you don’t like kids, you don’t run a toy store.

We ran around a lot. Tag was one of the basics. Even dogs play tag. “Catch me if you can,” you shouted and off you went. If you got tagged, you were O-U-T. But if you could run fast enough, you could grab whatever was “home” and one shouted “Home free all!” and everyone was back in the game.

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There was Hide and Seek, another classic. Someone hid, everyone hunted. You had to be careful. If you hid too well, your friends might get bored looking for you and go do something else. But no one’s mother came to complain that you were being bullied. This was stuff you dealt with because there will always be bullies. Unless you were in real danger, it was better (then and now) to cope on your own. Much better than waiting for rescue. In the real world, rescue is rare, but bullying is not.

Jump rope. There was always an old piece of laundry line somewhere. They actually call it skipping rope in other parts of the country. In the cities, the Black girls played a variation called “double Dutch” using two ropes. We all knew how to do the double Dutch ropes turning, but none of us ever mastered the technique of actually jumping. More like an intricate dance — and I also wasn’t ever much of a dancer.

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Klutz that I was and am, I was barely competent on a single line, much less two. I remain in awe of how incredibly graceful, athletic, and coördinated those girls were … and are. There was a feature about them on the news a couple of weeks ago and I am no less awestruck now than I was more than 60 years ago.

Along with jumping rope came chanting. All those weird little ditties we sang as we jumped. They mostly were alphabetic and involved names and places.

“I call my girlfriend … in …” when we were playing in a group. You could gauge your popularity by when and who “called you in” to jump in tandem. Looking back, I think the problem was not unpopularity, but being a washout as an athlete. I was a slow runner, an indifferent jumper, and a terrified tree climber. On the other hand, when it came to derring-do, I was a champ. I could organize games of pretend –pirates and cowboys and outlaws and cat burglars. We burgled, but we never stole. We weren’t thieves, just little girls trying to prove we could do it.

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I don’t see kids playing outdoors these days. Almost never, except as organized groups with one or more adults supervising. Calling the plays with whistles and shouts. Children are not allowed to “go out and play” anymore. Everyone is afraid of something. Bullying, kidnappers, traffic, skinned knees. Unlike we kids who were always covered with scabs from a thousand times falling down on the sidewalk or street. Come home with a bloody knee today and they’ll call an ambulance. Growing up, unless you appeared to have broken something, a bath was the remedy of choice and usually, beneath the dirt, was an unbroken kid.

It makes me wistful, thinking about it. I had a horrible home life, but I could escape by going out to play. “Bye, Ma, I’m going out to play,” and off you went. It was the best part of being a child. Those months between school and school contained what seemed unlimited hours of freedom. That was the most free I would ever be in this life.

Once you were out of the house and too far away to hear your mother calling, you could do whatever you liked. You could be whoever you imagined. There was nothing you had to do, no place you needed to be. Until the streetlights came on.

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You had to be home when the streetlights came on. It was a fundamental law, the bottom line. Do what you will, but be home when the streetlights come on. In those warm summers of childhood, the days flowed in an endless stream.

Darkness fell late. There was  more than enough time.

THREE CHEERS FOR THE FOUR SEASONS by ELLIN CURLEY

It’s getting cold in Connecticut. The winter is late in coming this year, but now it’s definitely here. My husband is mourning the end of the warm weather. He is also missing his boat, which we just took out of the water to be shrink wrapped for winter.

On the other hand, I’ve just happily switched my closet from summer to winter clothes. I’m actually looking forward to wearing my favorite sweaters. I love boots and I feel very fashionable when I can wear high boots over my jeans. Another thing I look forward to in winter is coats and scarves. I have a terrific wardrobe of colorful, textured scarves, many purchased at craft shows over the years.

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I love the variety of clothing the seasons provide. I’d get sick of wearing the same clothes all year. If I lived in Florida or California, in order to get variety, I’d probably spend a fortune each year buying clothes. Now I spend very little on clothes because the four seasons (really three – winter summer and in between) give me ample variety in my wardrobe.

Another reason I don’t mind winter – once you put on your beautiful outerwear, you’re not cold outside. People talk about the horrors of winter as if you had to go outside everyday wearing nothing more than your pajamas! Snow is wonderful if you’re dressed to play in it and enjoy its beauty.

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I have to confess that I am not a heat lover. In fact, I get physically ill in severe heat. For me, it’s worse when it’s very hot than when it’s very cold. I can’t protect myself from the heat outside by removing layers of clothing. I can only go down to tee-shirt, shorts, or a bathing suit without getting arrested for indecent exposure. If I’m still roasting in those outfits, I’m screwed.

But in winter, you can always put on more sophisticated winter wear. For example, you can put on ski clothes and go out and ski down a mountain in the freezing cold.

So I dislike the heat and can stay warm in cold weather.

What else do I like about the seasons? The variety itself enhances my life. I appreciate spring and summer because I been through fall and winter. I don’t take green trees and flowers for granted because I live through colored leaves, bare trees, and the winter wonderland of snow-covered landscapes. I wouldn’t want to live in winter all year any more than I’d want to live in summer full-time.

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For the three months winter lasts, I appreciate it. We love the fires in the hearth on winter nights. Tom and I enjoy our Jacuzzi more in winter. Friends seem to have more time to come over and hang out in the winter, maybe because they’re not outside doing whatever they do in summer. Like playing golf, swim, take long walks, go on hikes, work in their gardens, and all that outdoorsy stuff.

I’m also lucky because I love where I live. I don’t dream of moving somewhere else. If I did, it would probably be to another place with four seasons. I just can’t imagine a life without watching the leaves turn red, yellow and orange in Autumn. I can’t imagine a life without getting to watch grass grow, flowers bloom and leaves suddenly burst out on trees. Every single year. I can’t imagine everything in my environment staying the same year in and year out.

I’m happy dealing with a world that changes. And now, it is changing again. Winter has arrived … with the promise of spring to come.

THE CHANGING SEASONS: NOVEMBER, 2016

The Changing Seasons: November 2016


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The Cardinal has announced that this challenge will run again through 2017. I love this challenge. It’s my favorite, first and foremost, because living here in the country, the weather is our calendar. It surrounds us, engulfs us. Regulates what we do and where we do it. It has presence and power in our lives. But the other reason is that I know it’s coming and regardless of the weather or my mood or plans, I have to go out and take some pictures. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that will get me into my boots and overcoat and outside with the camera. It’s a wonderful motivation for a lazy photographer.

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If you’d like a challenge that will actually challenge you — in a fun way — this is a good one. It’s also a challenge in which many of the participants are so much better photographers, it pushes me to try to be better, more creative. Find something new to say about a scene I’ve shot many times before.

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It’s the final month of shirtsleeve weather before winter comes. It’s the month where you may get snow, but the roses continue to bloom. Autumn leaves have lost the bright scarlet and yellow of October and transformed to the dark red, rust, and bronze of November. Leaves still cling to oak and maple trees. The quiet waters of the river reflect the gold of the trees.

The late afternoon sun is amber and casts long shadows. The strange sunlight changes the colors we see, turning bronze to yellow. Our eyes do indeed deceive us … or the camera’s eye cannot capture the November hues.

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The stores are advertising Christmas while families are still organizing their Thanksgiving invitations. Hurrying the seasons has become the standard. I understand the merchant’s need to sell, sell, sell. I hope they are equally understanding of how much we would like to get through one holiday before being battered by the next.

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From Cardinal Guzman:


What’s this «Changing Seasons» blogging challenge?


«The Changing Seasons 2016» is a blogging challenge with two versions: the original (V1) which is purely photographic and the new version (V2) where you can allow yourself to be more artistic and post a painting, a recipe, a digital manipulation, or simply just one photo that you think represents the month. Anyone with a blog can join this challenge and it’ll run throughout 2017.

It doesn’t matter if you couldn’t join the first month(s), late-comers are welcome.

These are the rules for Version 1 (The Changing Seasons V1):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
These are the rules for Version 2 (The Changing Seasons V2):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

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