Sea Blue Lens


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Muted Brilliance

Where I grew up, fall was welcomed for its cooler temperatures, but there was no spectacular visual display to mark the changing season. In those “long-ago” days, grocery stores sold pumpkins to carve for Halloween, but there weren’t the festive displays that are found everywhere now. Trees? Well, their leaves just turned brown and fell off. I didn’t know anything different. I’d seen pictures of New England autumns, but they were no more real to me than fairy tales.

Now I make my home in New England — and sometimes I do feel like I’m living in a fairy tale. The fall colors are so brilliant that it’s almost a relief when the leaves finally come down, leaving a more peaceful, monochromatic landscape.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all that color. It still amazes me every year, and I run around trying to photograph it all. But once in a while comes a day of fog and misty rain that transforms and softens the colorful world around me.

dsc_0889Rain on River

dsc_0893Wet Paint

img_3875Crystal Beads

img_1586Refreshed

dsc_0898Blue Dawn

dsc_0896

Fog

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

~ Carl Sandburg


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A Hike on the Heath

I woke up early Saturday morning, too early. I got back into bed and closed my eyes, hoping for another hour or so of sleep. There was really no reason to get up. Except…there’s a place I’ve been thinking about visiting, and I had a sudden urge to do it NOW. So I got up again, got dressed, grabbed a jacket and my camera, and headed out the door.

A few minutes later, I was alone in the small dirt parking lot at Saco Heath — but not for long. Another vehicle pulled in as I was getting out of my car and a man got out, a large coffee in a disposable cup in his hand. We walked along the woodland trail together for a short way, chatting about the beautiful morning. Then he excused himself to “set a pace,” and took off down the path with long strides, leaving me and my camera in happy solitude.

dsc_0708Ferns glowed in the dim woods.

dsc_0711Sunlight brushed just the treetops.

dsc_0721A graceful fungus thoughtfully placed itself exactly at my eye level.

The heath is a unique geographic feature that is interesting and beautiful any time of year. And as I emerged from the woods onto the boardwalk at the edge of the heath, the sight took my breath away.

dsc_0737The heath glowed in the rising sun and ground fog lingered among the trees.

dsc_0728Every web, twig, and blade of grass was covered in silvery dew, backlit by the sun.

dsc_0750I’ve never seen the cottongrass in such abundance before.

dsc_0766The farther I went, the more magical the light became. It was like wandering into a fairyland.

dsc_0788At the opposite side of the heath, the path enters another wood. It was brighter now.

dsc_0774Two tiny strands of web at the tip of a pine needle were beaded with the minutest drops of water.

dsc_0810Streaks of sunlight picked out details on the ground.

dsc_0816A stray beam spotlighted a branch of golden leaves.

The walk back under full sun had a very different look and feel.

dsc_0840The bordering woods displayed a wall of bright color.

dsc_0847But the path through them still looked dark and mysterious.

dsc_0848Leaves sprinkled the boardwalk like confetti.

img_4083And the ferns in their festive autumn garb gently waved goodbye.

I didn’t miss that extra hour of sleep one little bit.

 


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Scavenging in a Gray World

It’s foggy and rainy today, perfect for sitting at the computer and going through photos! Today’s Scavenger Hunt Sunday items are: Missing, Numbers, Purple, Music, and Bracelet. Let’s get to it!

Missing:

Blank Slate

Blank Slate

What’s missing? My view! This is what I woke up to this morning. The mountains over which the sun rises apparently got up and walked away overnight.

Numbers:

Feeding My Flock

Feeding My Flock

Filling the feeder with sunflower seed brings in large numbers of house finches, among other songbirds. Hungry birds aren’t much on politely waiting to take turns, so things get pretty exciting around there.

Purple:

Watercolor

Watercolor

I don’t think I will be sitting out on the patio in my pretty purple chair today.

Music:

Halleluia!

Hallelujah!

More years ago than I care to think about, I sang in a large community chorale that performed Handel’s Messiah every year during the Christmas season. I learned it by heart and still remember most of it, but I still have my music. And I’m listening to it on my stereo right now.

Bracelet:

Memories

Connections

I was doing a lot of research into my family tree through Ancestry.com while I was putting together this bracelet.  My father had left home as a teenager and never had contact with his family again. Many of the beads and charms represent family members that I discovered and connected with through my research, as well as other people and places dear to me. Every time I look at it, I remember the thrill and excitement of that amazing ancestral “scavenger hunt.”

And that’s it for this week. Thanks again to the lovely Ashley Sisk for hosting. Click on over to check out everyone’s linkups.


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Fun with Photoshop

I have been having the best time! The lovely Kim Klassen offered a free, 10-day mini-Photoshop class and I took her up on her generosity. It’s very, very basic — like how to use layers and layer masks and other such elementary things — but it’s been a revelation to me. And this despite my having used PS (self-taught) for nearly a dozen years at my work.

Somehow I always managed to get the job done, even though I knew I wasn’t really doing it “right.” I know this sounds like a shameless plug for Kim’s classes, but I have been truly impressed. I was learning new stuff from the very first lesson. It’s mostly the same things I was already doing in my own muddling way, but oh, so much easier now.

I’ve even tried textures. And while I still don’t totally get the texture thing, I have to admit it was fun and I can see its occasional usefulness. (I have a friend who’s probably laughing her head off right now. You know who you are.)

Here are a few samples of my “homework”:

I have so much more to learn. But I really enjoy Kim’s teaching style, so I’ve signed up for more. Her voice is calm and somehow comforting, and she makes it all seem so simple. She doesn’t even know me, but she tells me I can do this and I believe her.


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On Our Walk

My daughter and I are in the middle of a week-long vacation. Last night it rained. This morning the wet earth and trees smelled like I imagine Heaven will. The mountains were wrapped in tendrils of fog and clouds.

By late morning, the overcast grey skies had transformed into deep blue scattered with shining white drifts of cloud. We set out for a walk.

We passed through this gate…

and came upon a pond.

As we walked around it, these are some of the things we found:

Some interesting trees to identify later

A beaver lodge (missing from the picture: the great blue heron that flew away as we approached)

Black-Eyed Susans everywhere

The tiniest frog EVER

A beautiful feather, downy and soft

My favorite view of the pond

The circle complete, we went back to our temporary home away from home for lunch and a well-earned nap.