Sea Blue Lens


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Winter’s Arrived

It felt like winter finally arrived on Friday, when we got almost ten inches of snow.

IMG_8804Snow Day Afternoon

One of the rules at my apartment building is that we must move our vehicles out of the parking lot by 8 a.m. on the day after a snowstorm, so the lot can be plowed. Saturday morning dawned: it was 7 degrees at 7 a.m. I filled my travel mug with hot coffee and headed out at 7:30 to do some shopping while I waited for the all-clear to go back into the lot.

The sky was blue, every twig was white, the air was crystalline. Do I want to spend this glorious morning at Walmart? No, I do not. Change of plan — let’s take the scenic route instead.

First, Laurel Hill. Is it strange that I love hanging out at this cemetery? It is always so beautiful and peaceful there, no matter the season. Yesterday was no exception. The only sounds were a faint hum from distant traffic, and the songs of a few birds who sounded as happy to be out as I was.

IMG_8810Into the Light

IMG_8816Where Daffodils Bloom

You may remember seeing photos of this view in the springtime, when thousands of blooming daffodils tumble down the hill almost to the water’s edge. The snowy hillside and icy river were just as stunning a sight.

IMG_8825Luminous

IMG_8820Etchings

RTFT7905Victorian Lace

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The angel-messenger waved goodbye as I drove on to see what was happening at the beach.

First, to Camp Ellis. Even after fifteen winters in Maine, I’m still enough of a California girl that a snow-covered beach feels like a very unnatural natural phenomenon. But isn’t it pretty?

EOSG7951

IUCD9428

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And on to Ocean Park, my favorite beach for walking. I was not the first, but I did have the beach to myself.

IMG_8849All Mine

ECZW0145Treasure Hunting

GHGC4871Sky Dancing

FCCB3981Up “The Creek”

PATD9302Sea Wall

EGUZ1585Blocked

The pathway to my “secret beach” was inaccessible, so I circled back to my car and that mug of coffee. By that time my fingers and toes were numb and the warmth of a store didn’t sound like such a bad idea. Off to do those errands!

Side note: While I wasn’t paying attention, WordPress has gone and changed everything, and I don’t like it one bit! It looks like they’ve tried to simplify things, but to me it feels more complicated than before. I can’t see half of what I’m doing, categories and tags have moved to the opposite side of the screen, and my sidebar has disappeared completely from the posting window. It’s much harder to format photos the way I want them. I feel like I’m starting from scratch with a completely new blog host. I’ll get used to it, but meanwhile, I’m not happy. And to think, I’ve been telling everyone lately how much I’ve always enjoyed blogging on WordPress…. Okay, rant over. Sorry about that!

 


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Springtime at Laurel Hill

You might remember that last October, during the peak of fall color, I took a photo walk in Laurel Hill Cemetery and wrote about it here.

Though I didn’t blog about it, I visited in January, too, when I had to climb a snowbank to capture this view:

P1040616Winter “Wonderland”

This week I went back to catch a bit of the glorious spring that we New Englanders waited for so patiently (or not!) during a very long winter. Now the trees are lacy with new leaves, and from the same spot, the view looks like this:

DSC_9123Spring Wonders

I’ve been here many times before to photograph the daffodil display in April and early May. In fact, I’d gone a few days earlier with my friend Susan. We talked about how, even though neither of us really needs any more daffodil photos, it seems a rite of spring, a sort of victory celebration, to go take them every year. Another winter has passed and we survived!

DSC_9054The Clearing

It’s so hard to cconvey the feeling of it — the sheer scope of whole hillsides covered in yellow and white blossoms. Or maybe it only seems so overwhelming because the world has been black and white and grey and cold for so long.

DSC_9078Magic Carpet Ride

DSC_9074Tree Hugger

Aside from the little guy above, there was no one else around, and so I wandered about, shooting more daffodils with my Nikon. (It’s hard to stop — they really are irresistible.) Then I made my way down to the bottom of the hill and saw them from an angle I’d never seen before.

DSC_9102Flow

I took this photo and a couple of panoramas, including the one in my header, with my iPhone. These feel like I’ve come closer than ever before to capturing that broad sweep of flowers against the background of river and trees that I’ve always wanted.

SpringFlowers_LHPatchwork

There are hundreds of thousands of bulbs here, and I’m sure there must be hundreds of varieties. And wildflowers, too. The mosaic above is only a small sampling.

IMG_1022Sweet Violets

Tearing myself away from the daffodils, I wandered among the old grave markers, marveling at the beauty everywhere I looked. Grass that was carpeted with colorful leaves last fall and blanketed with snow all winter is now sprinkled with violets.

gravestone flowersLove Still Blooms

Many graves are planted with beautiful spring bulbs and other flowers.

DSC_9119Not Forgotten

¬†Others have been decorated by Nature’s own hand.

IMG_1003Preview

The crabapple trees were just on the verge of bursting into full bloom.

Laurel Hill Chapel 3SeasonsThere Is a Season….

Of course I had to stop by the chapel again, to marvel at how different it looks now from October and January.

DSC_9132Undressed

The building looks bare wearing only a tracery of vines without their customary covering of shiny, dark green leaves.

DSC_9136The Tower

Soon the tulips will be gone, the rhododendron will have bloomed, and those vines will hide the grey stone walls and try to cover the windows of the old chapel with leaves.

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I’ll leave you with a look down the same lane I closed with last autumn . . .

DSC_9017‘Til Next Time

. . . and one last peek at the daffodils as the sun goes down, a view that won’t come again for another year. The comfort is in knowing that it will come, no matter how long the seasons in between. The cycle goes on.

I love coming here in any season, for the solitude, the peace, and the natural beauty of this special place. I’m already planning to bring my camera back in full summer, when the trees will be in leaf and the grass filled out and deep green. I’m looking forward to seeing what surprises await me then.


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Last Look at the Leaves

I woke this morning to white flakes drifting from the sky and beginning to cover the ground. It wasn’t cold enough to last for long, but the message was unmistakable. Winter is very near! Before it gets here, I really wanted to post some photos of the glorious autumn we’ve had here this year.

About a month ago, being encouraged to “change it up” and take a break from still-life photography for our Be Still – 52 class, I visited Laurel Hill Cemetery to photograph the fall leaves. I’ve been there many times in the spring for the daffodil display, and I got some wonderful photos on a snowy day last winter. Can you believe this was my first fall excursion to this beautiful cemetery?

DSC_7044Welcome!

DSC_7061Under the trees, the air itself seemed to be glowing.

DSC_7060It was just as brilliant underfoot.

DSC_7086An unexpected downpour sent me dashing for the shelter of my car.

DSC_7149I thought of heading home, but the rain passed quickly, leaving the color even more intense.

DSC_7098From the benches above . . .

DSC_7094. . . you can look out over the marsh and river.

DSC_7201Raindrops

DSC_7177Victorian era cast iron fence

DSC_7273Mosses and lichen

DSC_7285Paper wasp nest

DSC_7165A perfect maple

DSC_7167Old, crooked gravestones

DSC_7243Kaleidoscope of color

DSC_7253These trees looked as if they’d been purposely decorated by the windblown leaves.

DSC_7322The road back to the gate passes the pretty, vine-covered chapel, built in 1890.

DSC_7326It’s worthy of its own photo essay.

DSC_7332The tower

DSC_7330Even the window glows with autumn light.

DSC_7355One final look back. Goodbye, leaves . . . til next year.


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Photo-Heart Connection: December 2013

IMG_1917The Quiet Time

On a day very near the end of the year, I paid a visit to one of my favorite places, Laurel Hill Cemetery, for the first time since returning to Maine. We’d had a couple of good snowstorms by then, and I was suffering from a mild case of cabin fever. I’d intended to drive down to the beach to see what the snow looked like there — as a California native, I’m still bemused by the sight of snow on the beach. But the road to the beach passes by the cemetery, and on impulse I turned into the drive.

Most of the small lanes had been plowed, but fresh snow covered everything else. I saw only one or two sets of footprints leading off the road to a gravesite. It was very cold and very still. I stood for a long time beneath a tall tree, trying to locate the source of a quiet, intermittent tapping. A woodpecker, I thought, though I never could spot it. I saw a squirrel or two and heard, once, a flutter of wings and quick burst of birdsong.

At the edge of a hill sloping down to the river, someone had placed a wreath on a stake, just a simple circle of balsam twigs with a red bow, vivid against the black and white landscape. A remembrance, no doubt, though there was no headstone nearby nor any note attached.

I wandered along the narrow roadways for about an hour, breathing the clean, cold air and taking photos. The one above is of a spot I’ve visited often, though I’ve never seen it like this before. I love the dark evergreens, the latticework of leafless branches, the soft grey sky and pure white snow-covered ground, the river a shining sheet of ice in the background. I look at this image and I take a deep, relaxed breath, in and out, utterly at peace.

In a few months, this spot will look very different. The sky will be bright blue, the branches will be glowing with new, pale green leaves, and that entire slope will be blanketed with yellow and white daffodils. Hundreds of people will come to enjoy the sight, many of them to take photos of their own. I’ll be there then, too.

But for now, I will treasure this cold, fallow season, this quiet time, filling my heart with what is, as I wait for what is to come.

Linking with the Photo-Heart Connection at Kat Eye Studio.