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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Theme Day - Paths & Passages

The City Daily Photo blog community holds a theme day on the first of the month. Everyone posts a photo that illustrates a given theme; it's very neat to see how others interpret the theme every month! This month's theme is Paths and Passages.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

My first instinct was to go hunt down a nice summery photo I did a bit of hiking and I'm sure there are plenty of photos that would suit. Then I looked out my front window and realised that every sidewalk on the street is a path!

Once I 'discovered' that fact, out came the camera and out went I. As it turns out, the wind was blowing that morning, and it looked like the Northwest Passage instead of a typical city street!

I can't wait to see everybody else's photos!


I sure love that Nikon Coolpix 950 and its macro ability. I'm used to a Really Big, Really Old Minolta 35mm film camera and I just can't believe this little Nikon can do this. OK, it's not that little, but it's a lot smaller than that SRT-SC2 with a long lens!

Anyway, this is a close-up of an icicle that was growing on the front awning. Yes, it's one icicle, twisted by the wind into a shape that has a nole in the middle. It started as two, I think, ans were merged by the breeze. It's roughly eye level for me (I'm over 6 feet tall) so it was literally impossible to miss!

It's amazing the things I see when I open my eyes.

Friday, January 30, 2009


I've been talking about it enough and I figured it was time to put up or shut up. The famous 18% grey sky. It's another Skywatch Friday - click the link to see what more dedicated people have photographed this Friday.

OK, it might not be exactly 18% grey, and it might not be completely, perfectly even, but it's maddeningly close!

Taken this morning from my front step.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sedum after the storm

It's almost covered by the accumulated snow.

I never imagined that I'd be taking pictures of that sedum in January!

It's an early sun, just managing to break over the horizon in the east. The shadow at the bottom is cast by the snow banks at the street side; the shadow on the left by the house across the street. It's a very tiny bit of sun that reaches across but it's very photogenic.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Falling snow

I was too lazy to go out and take a real photo, so I stepped outside, snapped this and called it a day. I feel a bit ashamed, but this is what the weather has been like. We've got 3 inches of new snow and are expecting 8 more during the day today. Many of the sidewalks have an inch o hard packed ice on them, so it's going to be tricky walking for a while. The good news is that the temperature will rise almost to the freezing point, which will seem like a heat wave!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sunrise at St John's

Sunrise at the back side of St John's cemetery. It's a quick walk from my house. Just beyond the fence is a quiet world, so very different from the hustle and bustle of the city on this side.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Starling and sparrow

We put out some bread for the birds, and it wasn't long before they began to arrive. The larger bird is a starling. They're quite common here, roost in trees in flocks of hundreds at a time, and make quite a distinctive chatter.

The smaller bird is a sparrow. He moved just as I took the photo. Older digital camera has a long delay between press and capture. Sparrows are so ubiquitous that I almost never think to take their photo. They're here year round and take advantage of just about any food they can find. If you put out a slice of bread, a sparrow will be along within the hour to eat it.

Yes, the snow is really almost to the top of the 4 foot picket fence, but that's where I shovel it when I'm clearing the sidewalk.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Skywatch Friday

An unofficial Skywatch Friday post.

The actual sky today looks like a photographer's 18% grey card. Solid overcast without any details at all. So I went back a few weeks to find this one. It's amazing how many cloudy days we have!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lost pyramid?

Taken in Vale Cemetery, this pyramid looked very out of place when I took the photo. Of course, my eyes were overwhelmed with the whiteness... this particular photo looks almost as though it's buried in blowing sand.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sunrise, reflected

Way underexposed but I like how it turned out. I was trying for one of Babooshka's star-burst photos but the camera wasn't having any of that nonsense. Of course if I'd put the thing in manual I'd have had better control of the situation! But my brain was addled from the cold, and I ended up with a series of ludicrously under- or overexposed images.

This one just seemed... well like a keeper. I like it like this, on it's side, with the fence slats at the bottom (that's how I held the camera - I might be talking myself into this!) It seemed reminiscent of a summer day at the beach.

A very welcome mental image right about now!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ham radio

I go radio contesting 4 times a year. In January, I drive around the Northeast with my good friend Sigurd. He's ingeniously put a complete 10-band station in and on a Honda Element.

For various technical reasons, that basically means he's put 10 radios, 10 amplifiers, a whole bunch of wires and cables and switches to control it all into the back of this Element!

This is one of our stops. We met a woman who lives on this road - she was very kind! She saw us down at the end of the road and drove down in the cold to say hello and ask what we were doing. You can imagine we get asked that a lot! The number one question we hear? 'Can you hear me now?'

That's yours truly raising the 6 metre antenna to its full height. We keep the antenna down low when we drive and raise it up when we reach a spot we want to operate from. '6 metre' refers to the frequency band, not the length or height of the antenna (thank goodness!) Temperature about 12F (-11C) and blessedly, very little wind.

This particular contest is a VHF and up contest, sponsored by the American Radio Relay League. Here is a link to comments made by last year's contestants. That basically means 'short distance' communications - less than 250 miles or so.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Roosting turkeys

Not the clearest of photos. Hand held at dusk. The old CoolPix 950 has decent low light performance, hurrah!

Outside temperature about 3F (-16C) when I took this. A bit of wind. The colour and shake captures what I felt when I was standing there. I can't imagine what these birds feel like.

These birds are Meleagris gallopavo, the North American Wild Turkey. They are quite large - about 3 feet from beak to tail (90cm) and weigh in at 9 pounds (4kg). Seeing them fly up into these trees, maneuvering among all those branches is quite a sight. Their wingspan is about 4 feet (1.2m) - I can't believe they do it, but they obviously feel the work of getting up there is worth it. Local predators would be foxes and dogs.

Skywatch Friday

Yet another informal Skywatch Friday post. I don't have a stock supply of photographs yet and so I'm never sure whether Friday will bring me photo-friendly weather or not!

This is the chimney of my house of all things. I rarely see smoke coming from it - my house is heated with natural gas which is very clean (little soot) so I only see smoke when it's really cold out. The National Weather Service tells me the current temperature is -12F (-24C) and as the sky is crystal clear, the ground has had no help holding the heat in.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Potter's Field

I put on my snow shoes and went walking in Vale Cemetery. I took the camera along but I wasn't sure what I'd see. It was a chilly day, overcast and windy so I was only out for an hour or so.

This was the very first photo I took, standing in Potter's field. This section of the cemetery is where the poor people were buried during the big flu pandemic 90 years ago: 1918-1920.

Somehow, I like this particular spot better in the winter. Mine were the only human tracks. No one to step on the graves or topple their head stones. They get to rest in peace with a blanket of snow for a quilt.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Icicles slowly grow on these old houses. The insulation in the attic spaces isn't the best, so the snow gradually melts, forming water. Of course, that water re-freezes again as soon as its away from the heated roof and the result can be seen here. It gets more dramatic if there's a spell of sunny weather; then the heat from the Sun helps the melting process along, creating icicles as long as 6 feet (1.8M).

Don't walk between the houses until they break off!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Action shot!

Not really. It's sort of a joke among residents in the city that Spring will clear the streets before the snow plows do.

Photographic evidence that the city does plow!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Turkey tracks

Footprints of wild turkeys foraging on and under the wild cherry trees.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I was practising taking photos of snowflakes. Most of them were much worse than this, which is motivation for me to keep trying!

However, I did get this one, almost. Most of the flakes are clumped together in a blurry mass, but there's one single flake standing out from the crowd.

I was thrilled!

One of the big problems is the contrast. Either there's too much white to see the snow as individual flakes, it's too dark to make out where to look for them or the LCD doesn't show the individuals very well. Of course, it was 12F (-11C) when I took this, so I'm certain my shaking hands didn't help. Need to get one of those Gorilla Pods or something for that.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Another day, another snowfall

This one left something like an inch (3cm) of snow on the ground. It was coming down rather fast though, so I thought I'd take it's picture. Not really much different from yesterday...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Skywatch Friday

Another informal Skywatch Friday post.

For the first time in what seems like weeks, there was a sunrise this morning. It's a short walk to St John's cemetery, so I took a few photos there where the sky is unobstructed by the houses and the trees are in the distance. I don't use a photo manipulation program, but I admit to moving around to just the right spot to capture this.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January weather

This was what it looked like outside my front door yesterday morning. During the night, we had rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow and when I took this picture it was freezing rain again.

Clearly, no one had the strength to shovel and scrape down to the pavement!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The garage in winter

A more mundane photo there may not be.

All the stuff cram-jammed into the garage for winter hibernation. Actually, it's more like a migration than anything else. The winter stuff gets moved forward, near the door and the summer stuff moves toward the back. In the spring, the dance steps reverse.

We call the orange machine a snow blower, although I think it's technically a snow thrower. This particular one is made by Ariens, and they call it a Sno-Thro. No matter what one calls it, it beats shoveling by hand. Said implement also visible in the photo. It turns out the Sno-Thro isn't particularly good at clearing snow off of stairs, if you can believe that!

Our National Weather Service tells me that the average snowfall for this area is 63 inches (160cm) per year. What they don't say is how many times a season we get 10 or more inches ( 25cm) in a given storm. It's not too bad shoveling a few inches of snow by hand, but when it gets to be more than about 8 inches (20cm) it can be a real back breaker. When I shoveled by hand I would get up several times a night so I didn't have to try to move the whole storm all in one go.

People in the hill towns just west or south of me are going to laugh reading this. They get over 80 inches a year (203cm) on average and think us sissies!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Snowy Kawasaki

After seeing Babooshka's post today, I was reminded of the mess I made of my motorcycle. During the last big snow fall, the weather was cold, resulting in light and fluffy accumulation. Being frozen, the flake didn't stick to each other like they do when it's warmer.

Anyway, I opened the garage to get the snow blower out, proceeded to clear the driveway and discovered the machine had blown a lot of that fluffy snow onto my motorcycle! Arrrgh.

I cleared a lot of it out, but obviously not all of it. The bizarre thing is that I rode it two weeks ago when the temperature rose above freezing and the roads were dry and free of salt. I'm not sure when I'll be riding again.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sedum in snow

Yet another view of the infamous sedum in the front. This time, taken from indoors in the afternoon. The shadow seemed so mournful all alone like that.

I left the snow under-exposed on purpose. I found that if I kept it 'white' the contrast was lost. I guess this is why people use Photoshop!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Frost macro

I can't believe how supportive CDP people are! I'm overwhelmed beyond words.

Here then, is the best (a very relative term if ever there was one!) of the macro shots I took of the frost. When it gets above freezing, I'm going to go clean that window! On second thought, maybe it's the dirt that got the crystal growth started?!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


It was cold yesterday, about 0F. The windows on the front porch got a bit frosted up, with those icy crystals that are so fragile-looking. In the morning, the sun shines on those windows, making it something of a challenge to deal with the intense back lighting. I took several photos, and I think this is the best one. I'm too embarrassed to show the macro photo - the window is absolutely filthy!

Theme day: 'Best photo of 2008'

Every month, the City Daily Photo bloggers get together (virtually!) and post a photo on one common theme. This month, it's Our best photo of 2008. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

It's open to interpretation, which is a good thing. I had no idea how to approach the theme. My camera (Nikon Coolpix 950) is particularly good with macros, and I discovered I'd taken quite a few that I posted as well as many more I didn't.

After looking through the year's photos, I decided to post one that seems to sum up best for me personally. My oldest is a sailor in the US Navy, and I was privileged to ride on his vessel. It was the ride of a lifetime! I didn't post any photos before because I feel a bit funny posting photos of a Navy ship like this. I've been assured I'm not putting the nation at risk, but I still have that Loose Lips Sink Ships fear in the back of my mind.

I'm rambling. The voyage was the dream of a lifetime - the closest I'll ever get to being an astronaut. The sailors - officers and enlisted men - were the ne plus ultra of consideration and professionalism. Even now, it brings tears to my eyes to remember how kind they were to someone who only took up room.

This photo is from the bridge, and I was thrilled to be up there. The photograph isn't much to look at for anyone else, but it rates as the best for me in 2008. Thanks to every man for going to sea in the service of his country. And thank you to Eric at Paris Daily Photo whose wonderful blog got me started. And thanks to Babooshka over at Ramsey Daily Photo for her encouragement and examples.

I can't wait to find out how everyone else interpreted the theme!
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