Unlike much of the country, Michigan’s precipitation is just 1.2″ less for the year. The grass is parched in some areas but that’s typical as August rolls around. Seems we’ve had more clear skies than usual this summer so when clouds march in on a storm front, they are more memorable. As the sun set two nights ago, opaque clouds masked some of the sun’s rays. The crystal blue sky was dotted with grays, oranges and yellows (below). Then thunderheads glowed pink at twilight (above) and painted the millpond with color. Like most years, the best word to describe Michigan summers is glorious.
Most of the ice is gone, at least for a while. We still have a month were we cannot let down our guard. As soon as we do, our incredibly warm winter will drop a foot of snow on us as the temperature falls into the minus range.
As the ice deteriorates, more patterns have emerged. Thin layers of slushy ice have been pushed from the center (above). There appears to be a leaf in the middle which might have caused the larger pattern, but I wonder if a surfacing muskrat moved the ice and created the shape of a pansy (right).
Twigs that have spent weeks embedded within the pond ice are freed by the warmth they’ve collected from the sun on their dark surfaces. I considered cropping this so the exterior ends of the twigs extended beyond the frame of the picture, but I thought showing their entire lengths makes them more understandable. As in several other shots with the random placement of objects, this one has an innate balance of colors, shapes and textures.
Even though my own paintings are classified as tight academic realism, I’ve always enjoyed the energy in Abstract Expressionism. I don’t want to live with most of it, but I respond to it in small doses. As previously mentioned, I always liked Franz Kline’s stark paintings because they were gutsy/raw. Philip Guston ink drawings are another favorite. It seems fitting to post another Asphalt Expressionistic work created by an anonymous Brighton road crew. (It’s unsigned.)
The white paint on the pavement is at the stop sign leaving Walgreen’s in Brighton. It has worn away so the cracks patched in tar beneath it are exposed. Apparently, the road crew didn’t learn the fat over lean rule preached in Oil Painting 101. I like that dab of color added by the fallen leaf in the top image. The other two images are different crops of the same spliced-together photographs creating the top image. I had to shoot it in sections since the original is about 10 feet wide.
Near Midnight on September 12, 2011, the full moon is seen through the suspended steel girder from a World Trade Center’s tower at the Brighton Area Fire Department’s new 911 Memorial. The 911 Memorial was dedicated on the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist attack, the day before. Clicking the image downloads a larger one prepared for your desktop at 1920×1200 pixels.
Right up there with my continuing battle to get a fantastic shot of a muskrat is my effort to nab a great photograph of a Barn Swallow in flight. I’m not hopeful but I’ll keep trying.
It’s the downside of using a point-and-shoot instead of a professional grade camera. There’s a half-second delay between the time I press the button and when the shutter opens. I have to anticipate the position of the bird before it happens and guess the proper focal length. Just getting the whole bird within the picture frame is a challenge. Additionally, most of my attempts are in low light near the end of the day. If I shot in bright sun, my camera could shoot at a higher speed and f-stop which would help considerably.
Yet I love the thrill of the hunt. These birds fly up to 40 miles per hour. They dodge and weave through the air grabbing flying insects. Their wings and tails contort with each change in direction. Often their reflections in the pond are as interesting as the birds themselves. Note how light passes through the white patches on the tail of the bird (above left).
I’m rolling right along with a third slide show in this series. Fear not. My attention span on this is short. I have enough images for a couple more slide shows, but I’ll refrain from posting them for a while. The images in this set are occasionally more in focus than previously posted ones. I’m not sure that helps or hinders my idea of them being “ghosts.” I still like the fuzzy sweep of arms, legs and snowboards best.
More ghosts move through the night at Mt. Brighton and my camera was there to capture them in all of their blurred glory. I think this one is better than the first one I created. I hope to return to The Hill with a tripod next year to stabilize the background elements so only the skiers are blurred. Below, a detail from one of the slide show images.
Sometimes the light trails and smears in digital photos provides a unique character or feeling. In impossible low evening light with the aperture wide open, these six images create an interesting visual experience. Individually, all of these shots aren’t worth saving, but combined they hold a certain poetry of movement. What’s really happening? As snow falls, teenagers are jumping over a metal tank embedded in one of Mt. Brighton’s slopes. I took a slew of similar photos Saturday night. Stay tuned. More ghosts slide shows will be posted. Here’s a detail from tomorrow’s:
If you forget about the shoveling, frosted car windows, and ice water seeping through your boot seams, winter can be damned beautiful. The fresh coat of white highlights details ignored in other seasons and the landscape’s harsh lines are smoothed.
Junipers near The Stillwater Grill are prickly during the summer months, but now they appear like clouds suspended two feet above the ground. Only small sprigs of welcome green peak out from soft mounds of white. Beneath these clouds, rabbits rest and songbirds find refuge from the wind at night.
The Jacquard loom revolutionized American weaving in the early 1800s. Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan has one of only two operational Jacquard hand looms in U.S. public museums. It’s a bit of a stretch, but the pattern on this millpond bench reminds me of the punch cards used to create intricate Jacquard patterns in cloth and, 150 years later, to create computer programs on early IBM computers. Punching had nothing to do with the snow patterns, however. Gravity wrote these yet-to-be deciphered messages.
Wading through thick powder, hearing almost nothing
except snow crystals tumbling through dried leaves still on tall oaks,
my boots kick white clouds flying into blue shadows mingling with
sweeping snowplow headlights along the pure again, smoothed,
fresh terrain where there are no footprints to follow.
Video created January 11, 2011 during snowstorm, Brighton, Michigan
While many think seeing robins is a sure sign of spring, many don’t migrate if they have adequate food sources. Once the ground freezes they switch from insects and worms to fruit. These robins are currently feasting on the abundant crabapples I photographed in their bud stage in late April. I saw at least a dozen robins and a couple of starlings on them during the storm Monday. The fruit won’t last the winter, but they will find plenty of other things to eat in the region. It was a very good year for berries.
While on the subject of jamming the dam, I thought I’d present this earlier image taken on October 1, 2010. There is so much going on in it, it’s Rococo. The submerged tree limb with its autumn leaves still attached adds a mix of color and textures which counter the smooth reflection of trees above the pond. Then there’s all of the action within the waterfall: the bouncing of daylight and my flash, the colors of the algae growing on the rocks, the way the limb influences the falling water with that curious “feather” of weeds hanging over the dam’s edge. There’s a lot to visually explore and enjoy in this image. Click it to see the larger version.
How can two webbed feet turn the entire wake following this duck (below) bright orange? See Paradux: A Work in Progress for more details about this series.
The flash from my camera and the splash of the water refracts the light and colors turning this photograph into a painting. The ducks position isn’t graceful, but somehow it doesn’t matter. See Paradux: A Work in Progress for details about this series.
From: Paradux: A Work in Progress. Click both pictures to see larger images of the whole ducks.
See Paradux: A Work in Progress for information about this series. As usual, clicking any image at Words4It loads a larger version with more detail. I recommend it. If you click on the image (below), you’ll see the whole duck and might see a Picasso-like head of a goat. Honest. :-)
An hour and a half after our Sun crossed the Equator (on the other side of the planet) signaling the beginning of spring for the Southern Hemisphere, the full moon lit Brighton’s boardwalk through the pondside canopy of trees. Jupiter looms behind the thick branch below the moon in this shot. It’s 45 million miles closer to Earth right now on its slightly elliptical orbit (The closest since 1963!) and is now the brightest object in the sky other than the Sun and Moon. It was a warm night with thin, high clouds. I’m glad I could record this shot to commemorate the very beginning of Autumn.
As Monty Python would say, “And now for something completely different ….”
Beyond quacking, swimming, and chasing each other, ducks sit most of the day. At the millpond, however, their sitting is punctuated by mad dashes into the pond to avoid pesky humans.
From the edge of the pond, they leap, take a couple of wing flaps, then land in the water. Until this past week, I hadn’t given these “flight responses” much attention, but now I’m photographing them.
While ducks don’t know squat about ballet, some of their movements rival those of dancers. I’m starting a new series of these short airborne events titled, “Paradux.” Expect many of the shots to be imperfect and blurry, but I think you’ll find the movements lyrical as well as theatrical. Nice costumes, too.
What’s going on here? What’s foreground? What’s shadow? This is an image of one of the park benches at the millpond. The benches are composed of metal rods that have a dull sheen to them. The white streaks are reflections from a nearby street lamp. The colors are reflections from signs along Grand River Avenue. The colors are accurate, but I punched them up a bit in Photoshop.
5:00am Today: Seven inches of snow drifted from the heavens within the past few hours. The flakes were large, the wind was calm, so this hurricane fence around the pool at Hamilton Farms Condominium caught and arranged them in beautiful ways. Diamonds caught diamond-like crystals.
Even in winter, the pool area is lit by a large mercury vapor street light so I was able to take shots with and without my camera’s flash. As you can see, each has its own quality. I’ve set up a separate page for these shots along with two more where you can download desktop patterns in much larger sizes and enjoy more detail.
A variation on a theme in a different medium. See the previous post with T.S. Eliot’s quote.