Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Scotland ~ Almost a Year Ago

We have another snowy, possibly even stormy week ahead of us here in Maine and I can't help thinking it was almost a year ago when our daughter and son-in-law accompanied us on a March trip to Scotland. So much has happened since that lovely family time together and I still have not finished editing and posting all my photos. I did manage one blog post last April titled The Bride with Pearls and a Fuchsia Bouquet. Just married at City Chambers in Edinburgh, the couple allowed me to photograph their exuberance and happiness. I've always hoped the pictures would find a way to them through the internet...March 9th will be their first wedding anniversary.

Our plan was to drive through the highlands and on to the Isle of Skye after our stay in Edinburgh. Early spring flowers and a soft green haze were in evidence in spite of the chill. Our first stop was a charming Inn called Monachyle Mhor in Valquhidder Glen.

Morning at Monachyle Mhor 01

Morning Stroll

Evening Ramble 03

Evening Ramble 04

A perfectly timed evening ramble with a setting sun casting a golden glow across the glen took our breath away. The wind was fierce and we welcomed the crackling fire at the inn...not to mention sampling some unique single malt whiskeys!

Crystal Blue Water

We left Monachyle Mhor the next morning with real regret.

No paintings, books or photos prepared us for the sheer scale and stark beauty of the highlands. We all tried to capture the atmosphere...here are some of mine...

The Highlands 001

The Highlands 003

Glencoe 01

Little House in the Highlands

My daughter quipped this solitary little house must be the most photographed home in the highlands!

Glencoe 04

Glencoe 05

...and on to Fort William for a cozy lunch and picturesque Eilean Donan, but I will save that for another day.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Chinese Brush Applied to Photography ~ Random Memory #30 ~ Hong Kong


I try to remember many things while composing a shot, light, angle, composition and camera settings and many shots wind up in my computer trash bin. I practice almost daily, I want the steps to seem as natural as brush strokes.

Koi Pond

Five hundred revolutions of the ink stick on my ink stone. Add a few drops of water and let my mind wander while keeping the circular motion smooth and steady. When satisfied with the consistency, dip the point of the brush into the ink and make the first stroke on the rice paper. There is no turning back.


Random Memory #30 ~ Hong Kong

I am sitting at a table in Mr. Lao's class with my felt cloth and a section of rice paper unfurled before me. I have been grinding ink and making horizontal and vertical lines on my rice paper over and over and over. I have been doing this for weeks.

A fellow student arrives with a small package which she proudly unwraps to show Mr. Lao. It is an exquisitely carved antique ink stone, the surface smooth as silk. It is a wonderful find she purchased in one of the many fine shops in Central...it could have been a museum piece. Mr. Lao's face is a blank mask, he says, "Put it away. It belongs to a Master."

It will be months before I am allowed to paint a cherry blossom.

Back roads and fog

Downeast Maine


Quiet Town...Almost

My shots on the move are rapid, instinctive, free and relaxed. Sometimes the result is startling.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cold is so Clean

We had a January thaw, a tease that left bare ground giving us an opportunity for walks without the threat of hidden ice, or ankle breaking depressions underfoot.

Ice Floe

We could see wind rippled water, sapphire blue, between the ice floes in the bay. Slanted light left long shadows across dull brown grass...and then it snowed again. It was just a dusting that arrived with frigid temperatures that burned skin with a numbing intensity.

The following photos were taken with a wide angle lens. Clicking on the images will reveal more detail.

Shadow on Snow

View of Blue Hill

A Cold Afternoon

Cold is so Clean

Cold is so clean.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Rare Day

Winter bestows its own delights for the photographer in Maine, but an interesting sky is a rarity. Now that I've written that, there will undoubtedly be many who disagree! I love the brilliant blue of a deep freeze and the flat gray that comes with the anticipation of snow...beauty can be found in all weather...however, I'm a cloud fan and a chaser of shadows and slivers of light. The following photos were taken at the Blue Hill Fairground two days before Nemo. It was a frigid brisk walk with a sky that made the weathered buildings pop in the landscape.


Peter and Cooper race ahead of me trying to keep warm!





Weather warnings were increasingly ominous in the days that followed. The next photo was taken of snowfall in the early hours before the storm intensified. It could have been much worse...and the power stayed on!

Snow Crystals

Glittering crystals in the day's waning light.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day from smilla4 and Cooper

Cooper wishes everyone a rapturous Valentine's Day!

Fwd: Hazel

Hazel....Cooper's Valentine!

Fwd: Pippin

Pippin, the newest member in our dachshund family!

Greetings created from a combination of Pip Camera, Pixlr Express+ and Skitch apps.

Wishing you a very happy Valentine's Day full of love, chocolate and flowers with a good dog at your side!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Nemo and the Year of the Snake

#Maine #snow #quiet

It will be dark soon. The wind has picked up rattling the windows and snow swirls in dense clouds of haphazard patterns. The sound is similar to a low muffled roar rising and falling with each powerful gust. We probably have at least 24 inches of snow....and counting!

Nemo! Since when did winter storms have names?

#maine Path for Cooper!

Creating a path for Cooper is the first order of the day. No doubt mini dachshund companions all over the northeast were out with their shovels and snowblowers this morning!

Little Garter Snake

It's Chinese New Year today, the Year of the Snake!

2012 brought profound changes and challenges for my children and parents. I am so proud of their grace, humor and courage. Happy New Year!

The Year of the Snake

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