Sea Blue Lens


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Scene & Story: May 2017

This was my May:

May has been such a grey, wet month this year that a Bangor Daily News blogger wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about it. The headline read:

‘Great Fiery Orb’ seen over Maine on Tuesday identified.

April showers bring May flowers, as the old saying goes, but when May just brings more rain day after day, it can be a little hard to remain bright and cheerful.

But . . . this was also my May:

In between the rains, there have been days of warm sunshine, soft breezes, and bird song. Spring bulbs, trees, and shrubs have exploded into bloom, their sweet fragrance filling the air and fallen petals carpeting the ground with bright color. And everywhere the new green leaves are growing, screening views and hiding nesting birds from prying eyes.

This May, I have thought to myself that perhaps spring has become my favorite season now. As long as I can remember, I have loved fall best. But this year the renewal of life after the cold, dark winter seems especially meaningful and precious to me in ways I can’t put into words.

So I can’t choose just one photograph for Scene & Story this month, because I need to tell both sides of the story. The dark, gloomy, wet days and the bright, sweet, flowering days are both essential to paint the scene. Each makes me grateful for the other, and I love them both in their turn.

* * * * *

Click here to join our Scene & Story link-up at Paisley Rain Boots.

**Scene & Story is a collaborative creation that Sarah Huizenga of Paisley Rain Boots and I dreamt up to encourage one another in our photography and writing. I hope you’ll join us! Just share a favorite photo from the previous month along with a short story or description and link up your blog or Flickr photo. Please remember to visit the other story sharers and leave a little love everywhere you visit. It’s a wonderful way to find and build a community of kindred spirits.


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Scene & Story: April 2017

Robin Redbreast

April in Maine is known as mud season for good reason. We had snow. We had snowmelt. We had rain, lots of it, and more fog than I remember from previous springs. The water in the river rose a couple of feet. The photo above was taken on a day that was very typical of this year’s April.

Many years ago, I read in a newspaper advice column that you can tell if a rainstorm will be short or long by watching the birds in your yard. If all the birds disappear when the rain starts, it will only be a brief shower. If they ignore the rain and go about their usual business, you’ll know the rain is going to continue for some time. Birds need to eat often and can’t afford to take a day off from hunting and gathering food just to avoid getting wet.

I’ve found this bit of folklore to be pretty accurate. After all, our ancestors needed to use their experience and observations of nature to forecast the weather for themselves in the days before satellites and radar and 6:00 news broadcasts. On the day I took this photo, it had been raining for hours and the trees and brush at the river’s edge were busy with hopping and fluttering winged creatures.

Several robins left the trees for the grass below my window, exploring the newly thawed earth for tasty treats. This one perched on the picnic table for a good look around before strutting across it and joining his fellows on the ground. I could almost imagine him sighing and asking, “How much longer is this going to go on?”

Well, Mr. Robin, you tell me.

* * * * *

Click here to join our Scene & Story link-up at Paisley Rain Boots.

**Scene & Story is a collaborative creation that Sarah Huizenga of Paisley Rain Boots and I dreamt up to encourage one another in our photography and writing. I hope you’ll join us! Just share a favorite photo from the previous month along with a short story or description and link up your blog or Flickr photo. Please remember to visit the other story sharers and leave a little love everywhere you visit. It’s a wonderful way to find and build a community of kindred spirits.


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Monday, Monday

What a week! It rained all day Tuesday and all day Thursday. Wednesday and Friday were solidly gray, overcast and damp. But Monday, oh lovely Monday, looked like this:

I’m participating in Susannah Conway’s April Love 2017 (there’s a photo prompt for each day during the month of April), and the prompt for Monday was “Noon.” How lucky was I that this one glorious day fell on Monday? I was tired and not feeling well as I headed out, but an hour of walking on the beach at midday, breathing in the salt air, feeling the sun on my face and the wind in my hair, renewed my body and spirit.

This is the collage I made and posted in the April Love group on Facebook. But after all my moaning about snow and winter lingering on forever, I thought you all might like to see it, too.

This . . . THIS is what I’ve been waiting for!


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Scene & Story: March 2017

Still Waiting

I didn’t take a lot of photos in March. The weather wasn’t very conducive to taking photo walks — it was actually worse overall than January and February. The photo above was taken on the official first day of spring, during a break in a series of snowstorms.

March, for me, is the month of waiting. Spring doesn’t really come to Maine in March, no matter what the calendar says about the Spring Equinox. It’s not unusual to have cold weather and new snow even into early April. I love the snow and the stark beauty of bare branches in winter. But by the end of March, I’m more than ready for Spring to show her pretty face!

Last year, I took a photo of myself on April 1, standing by the open gate at the entrance to this covered footbridge. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and I was grinning with delight because the park had been opened for the first time since the previous November. Inside the park, the grass was greening up and bulbs and perennials were already sprouting.

This year . . . it’s going to be a while before that gate gets unlocked. As I write this, it’s April 1 again — about 9 p.m. — and I haven’t even been out of the house today. Snow began falling about dinnertime yesterday, and by this morning the world was rendered in black and white again. We’ve got about 10 inches and it’s still falling lightly.

So I’m still waiting. Waiting for the ground to thaw, the rain to fall, the grass and leaves and flowers to grow. I’m eager to go outside without a coat, scarf, and gloves. I’m hungry for the smell of spring, and most of all, for color!

And I’m waiting for my little park to be open again. I’m sure it won’t be long!

 * * * * *

Click here to join our Scene & Story link-up at Paisley Rain Boots.

**Scene & Story is a collaborative creation that Sarah Huizenga of Paisley Rain Boots and I dreamt up to encourage one another in our photography and writing. We’d love for you to join us. Just share a favorite photo from the previous month along with a short story or description and link up your blog or Flickr photo. Please remember to visit the other story sharers and leave a little love everywhere you visit. It’s a wonderful way to find and build a community of kindred spirits.


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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.

DSC_9160

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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Pastel Perfect

I love color. I love bright colors, flower garden colors, but I’m especially drawn to pastels. This week’s Be Still assignment was to create a still life featuring pastels, in honor of springtime and Easter. I thought about dying eggs, but it didn’t interest me much. And it would have required buying things — white eggs and dye to color them with — specifically for the photo shoot, which is against the “rules” I have set for myself regarding Be Still, to use what I already have.

Besides, I had other ideas. A couple of them.

The first was fashion, something that relates both to Easter and spring, right?


IMG_9881-2Pearls and Lace

IMG_9880-2Pastel Pretties

I used my desk chair for all the photos in this post. It was backlit by the living room window, with a linen curtain pulled closed to filter the light. Rather than spot-metering, I overexposed the images to compensate for the bright back light. Both of the photos above were processed in Lightroom with Kim’s “Pastelhaze” preset. What it did to the images felt like magic!

Well, now that I’m all dressed up in my Easter finery, how about a nice springtime tea?

DSC_8946Simplicitea

I found this irresistible little bird creamer the other day, and thought he’d pair well with my porcelain butterfly teapot, and that they would work nicely together for this pastel photo shoot. (See how arbitrary my “rules” are? But I loved him in his own right, so I wasn’t buying him just for a photo prop; therefore, it was okay. Besides, he was less than $3. I love TJ Maxx.)

DSC_8952-2Tea for Me

Both of the tea set images were processed with Kim’s “Breeze” preset. It gave me just the soft, glow-y mood I wanted.

I have actually learned quite a lot because of my silly, self-imposed rules and other logistical limitations. They have caused me to think creatively about how to adapt Kim’s prompts to my own life and style, and to come up with solutions for space and light problems. And I love finding ways to feature and highlight some of my own favorite possessions. It makes me happy to see my old keepsakes and everyday utilitarian objects become art!


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Photo-Heart Connection: April 2014

Yes! [242-365]Yes! [242/365]

It’s funny how often my Photo-Heart Connection image has turned out to be one from the first day of the month. This time it’s different. This image was taken on the last day.

Winters in Maine are typically long and cold. Along about mid-February, I begin yearning for sunshine and warmth. I start to feel claustrophobic from having to wrap up in layers of sweaters, coats, scarves, hats, and gloves just to step foot out of the house. This winter has seemed even longer and colder than normal, whatever “normal” means these days. I’ve tried not to complain, since it was my own free choice to move back here from sunny California last November — just before winter set in. (People have questioned my sanity, or at least my timing.)

April began with piles of snow still lying in shady areas around the house and garden. We even had a fresh dusting of snow mid-month. But just when it seemed she would never come, Spring began showing her colors. She works her way from the ground up. The grass turns green. Tiny bulbs began poking up and then blooming. Sap begins to rise and twigs brighten with red or gold. Leaf buds began to swell, first on shrubs, then trees.

And then…and then…everything seems to simply explode into leaf and bloom, as if all that pent up energy simply must release itself at once. That’s what the image above represents for me. One day, all is cold and dark; the next day — suddenly, finally — Spring is here in all her glory.

She never lets us down. And she is so worth waiting for.

Linking with Kat Eye Studio’s Photo-Heart Connection for April.