THE SLANTED LIGHT BEFORE SUNSET – Marilyn Armstrong

It was late in the afternoon and the sun had swung from the northeast side of the house where the orchids are growing to the living room which faces northwest.


I love the slanted yellow light which shines through the front window. It only shows up during certain months of the year, mainly late February and March as well as September and October.

The house sits kitty-corner at an angle, so no window faces directly in any direction. We have two areas that face southeast and southwest — the bedrooms.


The living end of the house faces north, east, and west. Really, the rooms in the middle are sort of neutral and don’t get much sun any time of the day. Of course, also there are trees and we are very well shaded.

ABOUT THE LIGHT – Marilyn Armstrong

Why do you take pictures? What makes you pick up your camera? Is it just the beauty of the scene? Or the smile on someone’s face?

I’m sure it is different for each of us, but this morning, I remembered what it is for me. Because even before I turned on the coffee machine, I grabbed my camera. The light was coming through the window and the Dutch door and I saw something. I remembered abruptly that this is what always grabs me. I take pictures of my granddaughter, my dogs, friends just like everyone else. You don’t need a degree in photography to take a snapshot.

Spectacular scenery is inevitable. Like any photographer, I’m going to try to grab it because I’m a sucker for a pretty picture. But that’s not it. In the final analysis, it’s the light. The color, the subtlety, the flare, the radiance.

It has always been about light. My very first roll of film, in black and white, about half the pictures were of light coming through trees.  I’ve spent a lifetime trying to show just how light filters through leaves or the way it shines through a window. Reflected light on water or wet sand. The sun as it rises or sets. I love the subtleties, the minute by minute changes of color of the sky.

That’s why I almost never raise the saturation level in a photograph. I’m looking for delicate shadings and subtle colors. I don’t want everything more vivid. I am more likely to turn the color and contrast down than to push it up.

Misty beach

The changing colors of the light through the seasons: golden in autumn, nearly white in winter and how these annual color shifts change the way the world looks. Ephemeral, fleeting, soft. I love shadow, the brother of light and how these change with the time of day and the seasons. I can watch for hours the changing colors of the sky while the sun moves across until it finally sinks below the horizon to full dark.

Have you ever watched the sunset from the late afternoon until full dark? The light lingers even after the sun is below the horizon. The further north you are, the longer the sky stays light. Everyone shoots brilliant sunsets or sunrises. I favor sunrises, but I realize that may have something to do with living on the east coast.

Facing east makes sunrise more accessible.  Yet even the most ordinary dawn or dusk contains its own beauty. It’s harder to capture it. Brilliant color is easy compared to incremental pastels. You don’t get nearly as many “oohs” and “aahs” from a photo composed of softer pastels.

I’m fascinated by the way shadows shift as the day ages. All the colors of the world change as the sun sinks and we move into artificial light — street lamps, candles, neon signs — each have their own spectrum and effects.

It’s all about light.

SQUARED UP ARIZONA SUNSETS #12 – Marilyn Armstrong

ON THE SQUARE – ARIZONA SUNSETS #12 – Marilyn Armstrong

I was amazed at the sunsets everywhere in Arizona. Just when I thought they couldn’t be better, the next night would be even more brilliant.

And so it went from one night to the next night, glorious sunset after sunset. In the mountains and even from city streets. Some nights, the sunset was so red it turned the mountains red, too.

Sunset – Phoenix

In the Phoenix mountains

More from the Phoenix Mountains

Sunset reflected on the Superstition Mountains

EAGLES NEST ALONG THE RIVER #11 – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Eagles nest along the river – Garry Armstrong

The same day as the fabulous sunset, I went out with Tom in his little boat. I took this picture of a bird on the channel marker in the river. I was too far away to see what it was. Marilyn instantly spotted it as an American Eagle. It’s the white chest and head, not to mention its size.

After she cropped the picture, you can see not only the eagle but his nest. That is the big pile of twigs.

Most people don’t realize that American Eagles are fishers. They need to live near water because their main diet is fish. On the Merrimack River located on the northern edge of Massachusetts, there are a lot of boating people who fish. They have gotten used to pulling out a big fish and having a huge eagle fly down and steal it. While these aren’t as big as Golden Eagles, they still have a solid 10-food wingspan and talons you don’t want to mess with. Eagles get lazy when they know all they have to do is wait and a human will provide dinner.

I know there are very large eagles in Africa who migrate to Asia and occasionally Europe in the summer. I think the American Eagle is the largest bird we have in this part of the country unless the Black Vulture is bigger. They are about the same size and rather closely related, though the eagle is a lot more handsome. You need to be a very good birder to tell the difference between them when they are up in the sky. There’s a minor difference in the feather configuration of their wings. To me, they look the same.

Eagles nest on the channel marker

We used to have a pair of eagles nesting in our woods, but they have moved on. We can still see their nest. There are quite a few of them — or were, anyway — in the valley. Lots of water and fish.

As for light, it was such a bright, clear day. Which makes the amazing sunset even more unusual. It was a very special day.

Leslie said she thought it might really be a hawk, but it isn’t a hawk. No hawk will nest on a river like that, but I think she is right that it isn’t a bald eagle. It is probably an Osprey, a slightly smaller eagle that lives almost entirely on fish. There is a similar bird, the Sea Eagle. Except they are rare and live in the Solomon Islands, so I don’t think that is one. But an Osprey? Definite possibility. A different eagle. Bald Eagles are bigger and more aggressive. They hunt for fish by diving into the river.

Osprey’s hunt with their talons, flying low over the water and grab fish with those big hooked talons. Bald Eagles attack Osprey to steal their fish. Lazy bums, those baldies.

PINK SAILS IN THE SUNSET #9 – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Pink Sails in the Sunset – Garry Armstrong

It was an amazing sunset. It wasn’t just the western side of the sky. It was the entire sky in all four directions. There was the purple and pink end and the orange and gold section and some other almost indescribable colors — red, maroon, violet, yellow. What a display!

Both Marilyn and I were taking pictures. The sky was really awesome, as in able to strike awe in all who saw it.

The purple and pink side of the sunset sky

COMING HOME SUNSET #3 – Marilyn Armstrong

IT WAS A MAGICAL DRIVE DOWN ALDRICH STREET

It was just an ordinary day, driving home.

“Pull over!” I said.

“What?”

“Pull over! The sun is about to do something really spectacular and I have a camera!”

Sometimes, if you are in the right place at the right time and just happen to have a camera, some amazing pictures show up. This was our own street, too. We weren’t on vacation and I wasn’t looking for pictures, but I always have a camera. This is why.

Coming home … about 300 yards down the road from the house. Facing due west.

THE BATTLE FOR LIGHT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Battle


“But your honor,” he whined, “I had no idea the lamppost would fall on his head. It never fell down before.” Of course, he pondered, no one else had weighed three hundred pounds and leaned on it before, either.

The judge banged his gavel on the desk twice to emphasize his point. “Son,” he exclaimed, “You can’t just go putting up stuff without properly setting them in the ground. We have laws about such things.”

“What laws? I didn’t know there were any laws. There were no lights on the street. I wanted a light so I’d know where to turn into my driveway. All you can see are shadows and darkness. Besides, all my neighbors told me I couldn’t set my mailbox in cement because when the snowplows come, they would knock it over … and  if it’s just standing in the dirt, you just put it upright and that’s it.”

“The lamppost was electrified,” the judge reminded him.

“No wires. Just one of those bulbs that collect daylight so it shines in the dark … or at least until it runs out.”

“It hit him on the head. He’s in a coma. In the hospital.”

“No one told him to lean on it. Who hangs around the street at night, learning on lampposts? Who does he think he is, Bogey?” As he made this comment, a mist rolled through the courtroom and the lights dimmed.

“My word,” thought the judge. “I think it IS Bogey!” And who was that fat guy? Sidney Greenstreet? Or maybe … Orson Wells? Was this a courtroom or a television set for Law & Order? When he heard the background music, he began to worry. He didn’t have a union card … and there were laws about that.

Night in Boston

It turned out there was no law against putting up a lamppost, properly or otherwise. In fact, the city charter was singularly free of laws regarding lights and posts and implementation of said devices.

“Well,” commented the judge, trying to see the plaintiff through the rolling mist, “There oughtta be a law.”

Ultimately, the judge ruled the lamppost an “attractive obstruction” and told the gentleman to please stop putting up lampposts.

It was too late. He had already lit most of the town and it had cost a pretty penny at that. However, in line with safety regulations, each post had a sign stapled to it that said:


“Beware! Leaning on this lamppost can
result in serious injury and crushing.”

A small victory in the battle for personal freedom in a world with too many stupid laws.

LET THERE BE LIGHT – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Lights


Light. Sunlight shining through the leaves on the tree. The shafts of sunlight late in the day. Lights on trees for the holiday. The glow of lights in houses and candles glowing in a darkened room. Candles on the cake, lanterns in the dark. The glow of the moon.

We are drawn to light and how it changes the shape and tone of everything.

Lighted path at night

A lit tree near Christmas

Candles

Sunset in the woods

Light on snow

Lighted tree at a winter light festival

First light of day in Rockport

Woods and river in the late afternoon

Desert sunset

Supermoon through trees

GILDED WOODS: A PHOTO A WEEK – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Gilded

I did not have a gilded dome to display or even a gilded hallway. What I did find was a golden pond, made golden by the incredible glow of the glowing leaves surrounding the pond.

On the lake were ducks, mostly mallards but also a few canvasbacks and the odd diver. Ducks get along so well. They are content to float with any kind of other ducks who may arrive. Nor have they any objections to whatever geese or swans might land in their waterway, either.

Gilded woods

Ducks are content to be in the water. They don’t fight, they don’t battle for the best nesting position or to be the leader of the floating feathered armada.

Living on golden pond

And then, with a slight change of light, the woods turns gold

And soon, the mallards are swimming across a truly golden lake.

Mallards on flowing gold

More golden ducks

TRIAL WITH LAMPPOST – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango: Trial With Lamppost


“But your honor,” he whined, “I had no idea the lamppost would fall on his head. It never fell down before.” Of course, he pondered, no one else had weighed three hundred pounds and leaned on it before, either.

The judge banged his gavel on the desk twice to emphasize his point. “Son,” he exclaimed, “You can’t just go putting up stuff without properly setting them in the ground. We have laws about such things.”

“What laws? I didn’t know there were any laws. There were no lights on the street. I wanted a light so I’d know where to turn into my driveway. From the street, all you can see are trees and darkness. Besides, all my neighbors told me I couldn’t set my mailbox in cement because when the snowplows come, they would knock it over … and  if it’s just standing in the dirt, you just put it upright and that’s it.”

“The lamppost was electrified,” the judge reminded him.

“No wires. Just one of those bulbs that collect daylight so it shines in the dark … or at least until it runs out of saved light.”

“It hit him on the head. He’s in a coma. In the hospital.”

“No one told him to lean on it. Who hangs around the street at night, learning on lampposts? Who does he think he is, Bogey?” As he made this comment, a mist rolled through the courtroom and the lights dimmed.

“My word,” thought the judge. “I think it IS Bogey!” And who was that fat guy? Sidney Greenstreet? Or maybe … Orson Wells? Was this a courtroom or a television set for Law & Order? When he heard the background music, he began to worry. He didn’t have a union card … and there were laws about that.

Night in Boston

It turned out there was no law against putting up a lamppost, properly or otherwise. In fact, the city charter was singularly free of laws regarding lights and posts and implementation of said devices. “Well,” commented the judge, trying to see the plaintiff through the rolling mist, “There oughtta be a law.”

Ultimately, the judge ruled the lamppost an “attractive obstruction” and told the gentleman to please stop putting up lampposts.

But it was too late. He had already lit most of the town and it had cost a pretty penny at that. However, in line with safety regulations, each post had a sign stapled to it that said:


“Beware! Leaning on this lamppost can result in serious injury and crushing incidents.”

It was a small victory in an endless battle for personal freedom in a world which already had too many stupid laws. And you just knew, there’d be a brand new lamppost law as soon as the mist rolled out of the courthouse.


See also:  FOWC with Fandango — Lamppost

UNUSUAL GLASS OBJECTS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I love finding unusual and unique decorative items for my house. I am particularly drawn to things made of glass. Some of my glass objects d’art have been custom-made for me, and some I have found online and in all kinds of shops and craft shows.

Here are some of the more interesting uses of glass that I have in my home.

Custom sea glass mobile for over the kitchen table

Glass clock from craft show

Glass clock

Thermometer

Hot Air Balloon sculpture. One of my favorites.

Closeup of glass Hot Air Balloon

Painted Glass

Glass on glass textured piece

Old fashioned seltzer bottle

JUNE IS SQUARE: THE FINAL ROOF #30 – Marilyn Armstrong

It’s that time of year again and squares are back!  

I can’t believe it. It’s been a whole month of rooves and roofs. On barns and teepees. On boats and tall buildings. From Boston to a museum by the Blackstone, we’ve been roofing it up all over the place.

And this is the last one! The very last one. I wanted to make it special. Glittery. Different. So I picked the line of tents on “lighting night” at the Heritage Museum on Cape Cod.

Tents at the fair on lighting night at the Heritage Museum


And so the sixth month of the year is finished and we head for the final six months.

That’s right. We are officially closer to the end of the year than the beginning. Wasn’t it spring, early spring, just yesterday? Now it is full summer and the flowers are deep and rich.

See you all in September when squares roll around again!


Well, the theme was ROOFS (or rooves if you prefer). Your roof could have been:

A – Any type, any condition, any size, and in any location.
B – It could be a shot across rooftops, of one roof like today or even a macro
C – You might prefer to spend some time under the eaves and in the attic, or enjoy the view from above as Brian has already done today.


See you in the fall!

A DARK CLOSET – Marilyn Armstrong

I wear dark clothing. I always have and I probably always will. Almost everything I own is a dark color. Black, dark gray, charcoal, navy, brown, khaki. My closet is a mass of shadows.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Until a few days ago, I had a light. One bulb and a pull chain. Not exactly the most modern arrangement, but it beat out total darkness. I’m pretty sure the light is the original which came with the house.

2009 – The thinnest year and not my healthiest

A few days ago, the chain started to refuse to spring back up into the light so you can pull it again next time. I messed with it, but messing didn’t help. It finally stopped working entirely.

Even with a flashlight, I can’t find anything.

Probably 75% of my clothing is black or a dark enough to pass for black. A lot of my shirts — summer and winter — are black. Some of them are printed with cool sayings — like “Serendipity.” Which would help me find stuff — if everything was not all scrunched together.

Photo: Garry Armstrong –

I got rid of all my work clothing since I don’t work anymore, but somehow, the closet is still as full as it was before. Partly, this problem is because Garry puts everything on a hanger. Including my nightgowns. Tee-shirts. Yoga pants.

2017

Everything goes on a hanger.

I have explained I don’t need my nightwear on hangers, but there is no way on earth he would even look in my chest of drawers. I don’t blame him. If I can’t find anything in the closet, can you imagine the drawers? It’s the dark pit of drawers.

Black dogs, too.

Owen says he’s going to replace the light. It’s one of those standard $5 fixtures you can buy in any hardware store.

He will fix it, but it isn’t going to help much. Before the light went out, I couldn’t find anything. More light will merely increase my frustration.

THE MIRACLE OF THE LIGHTS

Chanukah ended a couple of days ago, but our personal “miracle of the lights” happened at just about three this afternoon.

About a month ago, I turned on my hair dryer while the microwave was working. My kitchen is three rooms away from the small bathroom, all the way at the other end of the house, so how my hair dryer could have anything to do with the wiring in the kitchen, I don’t know.

I started drying my hair and the lights went out. I went into the hallway, where the lights were working (no idea what circuit they are on) — really, I don’t really know much about what is on any circuit because whoever wired our house was taking drugs. I went into the kitchen and everything was out. Down to the basement, I flipped the circuit back on. No problem, the microwave began working. Unfortunately, I forgot to turn off the dryer, so the lights blew a second time. I went back to the basement, flipped the circuit again … and …

I had turned off the hair dryer, so all was well in the kitchen. A little while later, I went into the other bathroom and turned on the lights. The ceiling fixture went on. The fan went on. But. The lights over the sink did not go on.

I changed the bulbs. Still no light.

The fixture was old and more than a little loosey goosey, so I figure “Okay, the fixture died.” I mentioned to Owen that the big bathroom was pretty dark without lights over the sink and he said I should order a lamp and he would install it.

I did that. Ordered a modest little two bulb lamp to replace the two bulb lamp that had been there before and the next time Owen came by, he installed it. I turned the switch on. No light.

Owen turned the switch on. Still no light. We stood there, looking at the lamp and the switch.

“The switch is probably burned out,” said Owen. “I’ll have to bring my voltage meter over to check it.” It turned out, he couldn’t find his voltage meter. He’d had the meter for a dozen years at least and suddenly, it was gone. No idea where it went or why it left home without him. Voltage meters usually stay put. Finally, I bought him a new meter as I was the only electrical issue on his agenda. It got here a few days ago and he hadn’t had a chance to use it yet because Christmas and all that, so the new meter is still in its wrapping on top of the refrigerator and the new fixture is installed, but waiting to be made to work — but not working.

Every day, I turn the switch on, just — you know — to sort of check. Because who knows, right?

Today, I turned the switch to “ON” and … there was light. I got all excited and ran out to the living room where Garry was watching the Patriots beat Buffalo (again).

“You’ve got to see this! It’s a MIRACLE!”

He dutifully got up and came to the bathroom where the lights were bright and shining. “I thought it didn’t work,” he said.

“It didn’t work yesterday or any of the days since was installed. Today, I turned the switch … and THERE ARE LIGHTS IN THE BATHROOM. It’s a miracle. The miracle of the lights!” I quickly took a shower before the lights changed their minds and went out again. When I got dressed and came back down the hall, I turned the lights on … and they still lit up. Wow.

I’ve turn the lights on and off three, maybe four times. Each time, they have … lit.

Christmas Eve. The Miracle of the Lights.

Why didn’t the lamp work for the past three weeks? Why didn’t it work in the first place?

I took pictures just to prove it’s true. The glass covers aren’t on the lamps yet because I’m still afraid they will decide to stop working again. In this house, who knows? But for now, we have had our very own miracle and there is light in the bathroom!

NOVEMBER EVENING

So I was sitting and looking out the big window. The light was lovely.

So I hustled outside and took a few pictures. The colors on the trees have changed. You can see all the bronze of the oaks beginning to show up now.

The most colors remain in the underbrush in the woods. Which is funny, because that was also the first place we saw any color.