Sunday, January 4, 2015

Winter light

We were "blessed" with a foot of snow at my house in the woods and despite being very tired or scenic snow pictures, I had to take these. Nipping at the heals of this snow is bitter cold--I noted some wind chill predictions of -50 below.  Yay.  I am just glad that my trusty jockey is still ready for duty, if ever , of course, a horse, of course,  shows up.  The river is the nearby Cut River.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Light snow

It is snowing more than one inch per hour and we already had 5-6 inches and hour or so ago when I shoveled.  I am curious as to how much we will get before the promised arctic deep freeze hits us tomorrow.  It is gorgeous out there, but I wasn't going to spend a great deal of time out there.  I am not nor is my camera snow proof.  Pictures are pretty self-explanatory.  My gazebo looks better in the snow, I think.  The road picture is from about the same spot as a recent fog photo, and I think I just liked the branches/trees.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Traveling light

I wandered back across two states to my little house in the woods today.  Thankfully, the weather was great and I made it in record time.  And I was treated to a sunrise worthy of more than my meager skills to capture it.  I hope I can convey some of the nice light that greeted me this morning.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cold Duck(s) and cold light in Eau Claire

I am in Eau Claire and thought about going to take pictures this morning.  I have to admit that I am a big wimp.  I wasn't out much and I didn't stray too far from my car.  It was -9 and it was windy, too, he said while whining.  But I did find two photos.  Quack Quack.  Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Wisconsin light

I am in Wisconsin, safe and sound and enjoyed a snowy but safe drive.  I loved the shaggy Shetland ponies--it was 25 degrees and windy, and they formed their own windbreak to try and block some of the wind.

I feel kind of bad about actually taking a photo of a barn as I have spent much of my life avoiding doing just that.  But the white barn caught my eye, enough to turn around and try and make a photo of an old barn.  I am kind of ashamed but I think that it still an semi-decent photo.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas light

I had to drive quite a ways, but I did find enough sun to actually have a sunset.  It was fleeting, but here you go.  I couldn't decide, which is why you get several, close-to-the-same photos.  Don't make me make a decision!!!!

Hey, Merry Christmas.  I hope that you and yours have had a wonderful day filled with kindness and fellowship.

On to the new year!

Monday, December 15, 2014


We are having weird weather, with temps in the 40s and rain.  And fog, lots of fog.  These are kind "Blair Witch-y" type photos but these are the same woods that I have have photographed with snow.  Now it seems that someone is going to throw an apple or just appear from the mist.  One shot is my road--seriously foggy, but kind of cool,

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Handel and all that

I just sat down after standing and lustily (and badly) singing along to Handel's Messiah.  I love music from that era and this is (can be) a very seasonal thing to do.  It is an amazing oratorio and more so because it has survived, well, it has survived 375-plus years of people singing it.

Certainly we weren't all like sheep in following his score and vision.  He started out with an orchestra of 35 and a choir of 20--it is not uncommon today to have 6-800 perform the Messiah.  The edition I have on my iPod has a mere 300 or so musicians.  That's like chamber music!

What I find equally interesting is how little people know about the WHOLE oratorio, mainly because it is so seldom that the whole score is presented.  There are Christmas, Easter, and short excerpt versions and you hear them more often. Blame Leonard Bernstein for the Christmas and Easter versions and organization.  Oh, those Sharks and Jets could sing!

 Most commonly heard is the Hallelujah Chorus and we all stand and often sing along.  I bet Handel hated that piece or at least the focus on it.  It is a catchy tune, but it is the 51st piece in the score in the recording I have and 43rd in Handel's original.  People stood in part because their legs were asleep.  It follows the piece with the most dreary excerpt of the Psalms ever,  "Thou Shalt Break Them."  Here, cheery holiday lyrics of  "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron: thou shalt dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel" push people into their seats.  Again, no wonder people stood up when that positively celebratory anthem rang out.  Hallelujah indeed.

My house is filled with music as I dredged up my battered iPod from digital oblivion.  I bought it in 2003 so it is ancient in Apple years.  There are 1200 songs and pieces in its old memory and I put it on shuffle.  I am going from Meatloaf to Handel to Phillip Glass to Abba to Dan Fogelberg to Johnny Cash to Bach and and and… Music has a visceral tie to memory circuits so it is kind of fun.  Rock on, Rachmaninoff!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Taking my iPad for a walk...

I have long been a proponent of the simple fact that the best camera in the world is the one that you have with you.  While I wait impatiently for my iPhone 6 (damn you Verizon!) I have been playing around with the new iPad Air that I recently received for work.  Its camera is not the best out there in phones or tablets, but I have found that it is remarkably good.  It has a better exposure system than most point and shoots, and while the lens is pretty much a wide angle, it is pretty sharp and it focuses and exposes well.  Some of the Apps are even more fun and add versatility to the camera--particularly for black and white photos.  Heck, I even bought Photoshop for it!

So today I went for walk in Hartwick Pines State Park, a small gem of a park about 40 miles away.  It is supposedly one of the largest old-growth forest in the state, and it is accessible and beautiful.  We have had a few inches of snow each of the last few nights and the forest and trails were perfect.  Candy coated trees everywhere, and the 30 degree temps made it a great day for a walk. I took two "cameras," the iPad and a near top of the line Canon 6D.  My apologies for yet more scenic pretty snowy trees with a path leading the way to unknown destinations, but it seems to be a theme of late--I probably should see someone for help in learning where the path/roads go, but in the mean time, here you go.  By the time you see them in this blog post, I think you would be hard pressed to tell the photos apart.    The camera in the iPad is that good.  Just a note, the square ones were taken by that, but can you tell the difference between a $3,000 camera and lens combo and the $399 iPad?  You can, but you have to look very closely.

I have laughed at people who have depended on their phones or tablets to capture life's important moments but I can see the appeal.  I easily could have done this whole blog from my iPad, but I do type and write more better with a laptop.  What was funny today was that people laughed at me.  Several people saw me taking these photos and they commented that people don't even have cameras anymore.  I didn't say that I have enough cameras for everyone, but it is true.  Minolta is out of business, Yashica/Contax  and Olympus are struggling, and sales of any camera below about $500 are shrinking every year.  Why buy a camera when your phone is a camera, too?

Well, I am not giving up on cameras, but I could see a project with just an iPhone 6.  And some European city/country.  Damn you Verizon!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A walk in the woods...

It is a nice day for a walk in the woods.  Actually,  it is a good day for a lot of things which may explain the whole thanksgiving thing.  It was mostly clear and a balmy 11 when I wandered around for an hour or so.  We had a few inches of snow last night but it wasn't really a photogenic snow but it wasn't too bad.  These photos were from the state land across the street from my house.  My house is pictured in the last shot.

I had time, of course, because I was in the midst of dinner preparations.  The chicken (sorry, the smallest turkey I could find was 14 pounds) was brining, the everything else was waiting and I went and walked.  The menu at "Chez Jason" is roasted chicken with tarragon, corn puddling, dressing and maybe I will make potatoes of one kind or another.  I figured the pudding had enough carbs and it had the added benefit of being a vegetable.  Sort of.  Wine is served--I opened a bottle of a great red Zin that I received in the mail from good friends.  How do you get to reach "good friend" status?  Send a wonderful bottle of California red wine!  I know, red wine and chicken.  I guess the chicken will just have to get used to it.

So life is fine.  I am most of the way through my laundry, my floors are mopped, my counter and table is clear, and generally the house looks pretty good.  I will sort type--I have 17 pounds of it to sort, if you could imagine.  Then I might even print something, though that will compete with shopping at 5AM for black Friday.  NOT!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Almost Thanksgiving

We had snow last night--go figure.  It was the kind of snow that is picturesque.  Certainly these photos don't capture the majesty of it all as men and technology just lack the ability to even come close.  Still, these photos give a glimpse of my wintery world.

It is almost Thanksgiving and people have been asking me what I am going to do.  I think of traveling and then I remember that the last time I traveled they closed the UP of Michigan, a place that seriously understands and copes with winter.  So I am not that thrilled with the prospect of 1500 miles of potential winter driving conditions.

I will probably stay close to home for most of the weekend.  To mark perhaps the high point of what might positively be called a "quiet life," I am excited that I am getting four new fonts of type today in the mail.  I guess in my life, nothing says excitement like "let's sort type!"    I can work on my visual acuity and practice my alphabet skills with big and little letters!  Whee!!!  I will mind my p's and q's though honestly I have more trouble with the b's and d's.

As for eating, I seldom go hungry but I will make an effort.  Hunters around me have offered bits of beasts of one kind or another to roast.  But I have been a successful hunter, too.  Don't mice count?  I have bagged a handful of the little _(!@$*)!@# in the past few days, almost enough for a mouse moose, or however you spell it.  A pie?  How long do you roast the little devils?  Mouse mignon?  Rodent ratatouille?

Nah, I will pass.  I will probably carefully brine some chicken wings, make some tater tots, and call it a meal. OK, I might aim a bit higher than that.  There is no KFC near here, so I will have to cook something. I promise it won't be something that you get at the only gas station in town, though I did see that they upgraded their wiener roaster and added new varieties…

I will in the end roast a chicken, make dressing and all that.  And shovel.

Friday, November 21, 2014


Tonight was the Eight Annual Faculty-Student Bowling Tournament, and I was a proud member of the "I don't give a split so spare me" team from academic administration.  Consisting of two VPs, a dean, and two spouses, we did moderately awful.  I think it is safe to say that we were hired for skills beyond our bowling talents.  Or at least I hope so.  It was fun, and since it was for the students, it was worth the humiliation.  I averaged almost 103 per game, so I am pretty much ready for the pro circuit!  Well, maybe I will practice a bit more.

The sunset is from the trip down to West Branch which east of most places.  It is a 40 minute drive to the big bowling alley.  The one on town has four lanes.   Tomorrow it is suppose to be in the high 30s and rain, so who knows what fall will bring us for the holiday week.

PS:  Tbe birds pictured in a previous post were American Gold Finches.