Petula Clark’s classic “Downtown” …
It’s the winter solstice today. The shortest day of the year … and just two days until Christmas Eve. Welcome to our town. It’s after dark and we are all dressed up for the holidays.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Finally, I could not choose only one photograph. Here is 2016 through all the changing seasons.
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!
My favorite place for shooting at night is downtown and it’s perfect if there has recently been rain. A light sheen of rain will reflect the neon and the street lamps. This is Boston’s theater district on a Sunday night.
My friend Ben lives in suburban Phoenix. He doesn’t have a blog of his own, but he has pictures. These are a few of them. They seemed to go nicely with this theme.
It was the full harvest moon last night with a partial lunar eclipse in some latitudes. We have no unobstructed view of the sky from anywhere on this property, but I still felt it was worth the effort to see if I could get a few interesting pictures.
The pictures were taken over the course of a few hours. You probably can’t see the difference, but the moon is at a different angle in the later pictures than the earlier ones. Even with the trees, it’s still lovely.