Small Pleasures

For so many of you, the spring has advanced to summer.  I sit here looking out at 4 degree Celsius, and the threat of ice pellets and snow.  That after a week or more of wonderful weather that has popped the buds and hatched the flies.  Little stalwart flowers have made our spring bearable.  We must be grateful for small pleasures.

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 Sorry I’ve not much time to tell a story today.

A Large Day!

Actually, it was a very large weekend.  In my little corner of the world we still celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday on the weekend that includes, or lies before, May 24th.  It’s an excuse to wet a line and bend a few elbows; to get out in the country and have a boil up.  This was a rare confluence of events as we had great weather and enough wind to keep the flies away, and a massive iceberg floating out the bay.

This gigantic block of ancient ice was ponderously making it’s way back out the bay.  Winds were high, and whipped melt-water and steam off the surface.

The bay holds reefs and shoals that have sunk many a ship, and our floating iceberg came upon a rock.  Over the space of the evening it grounded and twisted, the forces of wave and tide and wind torquing through the center.  The back rose, the center sank, the nose lifted.

We had no moon that night, but before all was fully dark I was able to try a long exposure of the two pieces as the berg broke apart.  While the camera was on a tripod, and I used a remote shutter release, the wind blew so hard that there was no way to keep the camera fully  steady.  The lights on the other shore trace a feather into the shot.

The next morning some anticipation woke me at 5.  The sky was tinged with yellow, and the two massive blocks were parted.  The bow well out the bay, floating aimlessly and in it’s way, somehow forlorn.

The stern still firmly anchored on the rock…

Avian Antics 1

There is photography in my formative years.  My father was an avid photographer, and would develop his own black and white prints.  We didn’t have a darkroom, so I remember sitting with him in the blacked out bathroom, with the trays of chemicals in the bathtub, the  enlarger set up on the wooden laundry hamper, processing prints, then hanging them above the tub on a makeshift clothesline, a homemade red light on the toilet.  I wonder what he would think of digital cameras today, where you can take as many shots as you want for pennies.

One of the first things I trained the Nikon D3000 on was the birds that come to the feeder outside the sunroom window.  I think that was the impetus for my husband to buy the camera in the first place, as he would find me crouched behind the sunroom windows holding the old Olympus tight to the glass and being as still as possible…so the Flicker wouldn’t see me.  I did get a few good pictures that way, but they were through the glass, and often had reflections that we didn’t like.

Tom the Seventh

My bird photography evolved to sitting on the deck with the camera on my father’s tripod, being very still and hoping the birds wouldn’t notice me; or at least wouldn’t perceive me as a threat.  (This, in a house where a hunter cat of no small prowess lives.)

In an effort to make myself even less of a presence I bought a length of camouflage mesh.  It serves the dual purpose of breaking up my outline, and protecting against the black flies and mosquitoes that tend to find you if you sit still around here.  I have endured some major teasing when friends and neighbours visit and find me hunkered down under my camouflage veils!  You can surely imagine.

I was so very out of my depth when I started.  My shutter speeds were too slow, my apertures too large, and the exposures too low.

It’s taken quite a bit of reading, and experimentation, to get any shots that would be considered acceptable.

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And then, last Christmas, hubby gave me a new zoom 55 – 200 mm lens.  I can almost see:

“the wing on the tick on the feather on the wing on the bird in the nest on the twig on the branch on the limb on the tree in the hole in the ground”.

Husband also made me a birdhouse from which I can remove the roof, to give birds open access and decrease shading.  So the next Avian Antics post will explore some of those shots.

Fibre One – Weigh in, Your Opinion Counts

I loved the textures and scrolls in this rotting stump, but I don’t know which version is more evocative.  I’d love to know what you think.  So I’ve added a little poll at the bottom.  Your opinions will always be appreciated.

Look What the Sun Brought Out!

So I’m not usually independently adventurous.   I’ll find lots at home to keep me busy, or at least I’ll use that as an excuse.  On this particular day in April, the family was all either at work or busy and I was at loose ends, so I took my Nikon 3000 and went for a drive to a community down the shore.  It was a “large” day; bright sunlight, light winds, warm air.  These were the moments that caught my eye.

Our Spirit may be free, but our feet are Anchored to the stones of this place.

This memorial stands at the side of the road where houses clutch onto the rocks as though perched to take flight.

Memorial to a Parson’s son killed in action a century ago.

Every community here is built around its churches.  In this fore-yard stand various statuary, erected to do honour to those who have done honour to the community.  This is but one that stands fast and looks out over the bay.  By such markers did the fishers of old guide their punts and their souls to safer berths.

Progress defines new uses for old sites.

Wheels of cable, either steel or electrical, sit at the offshore supply base.  A deep, well protected harbour never goes out of fashion.  Just the materials seem to change.

Pun intended

There’s a boat under there!

As this fishing vessel guts and cleans its catch, gulls wheel and scream, fighting for scraps and gathering numbers until the boat is near invisible.

Neptune’s Daughter

Our marine tradition flavours everything – our music and dance, our stories and science, our architecture and art.  The Mermaids of Avalon are displayed in many sites, beckoning to the wayfarer, singing sailors to watery slumbers, dreaming longingly of the sea.  Symbols of our history, and of our mystery.

Keel to the Sea

Keel to the Sea

Fishing boats bob at harbour.  I love colour, something this scene offers.  This was a brilliant day…unusually mild for being so early in April.  There was an air of anticipation, as though the boats were waiting for crew – to put out to sea.

But some were not to feel the lap of the waves today.  The squid jigger was unbaited…dreams of ink, labour, and laughter unrealized.

As I See It

I’ve never been very consistent with journaling/blogging, but that doesn’t mean I’m not into sharing.  I am a science type with an artsy side, and have always been crafty.  I inherited that from both parents, who were incredibly inventive and practical.  They had to be, having lived through war and want in their formative years.  How I miss them.

Throughout the past 20 years I’ve learned the basics of decorative painting, and more recently am exploring photography and more formal acrylic painting.  My ever thoughtful husband gave me a good camera a couple of years ago, and has supplemented that with a second lens and a new flash over the subsequent years.  I shoot what interests me…commonly landscapes and macro shots…flowers, birds, and things that speak to me. Truly, what they originally say doesn’t always come across in the photo.  3D to 2D doesn’t always translate.  Some of those are being translated into paintings as I move beyond “decorative art” to “fine art?” (or at least colloquial art.)  But I’ll use this blog space to share some of the images that I love the best, and hope that they have something to say to others, even if it’s not the same message I see.  It’s all about the journey.

Thanks for looking.