February 15, 2018

Cloudy, 42 Degrees, West Wind 5-10mph

With the low clouds today is not a pretty day, but the mild temperatures made the walk relaxing. The heavy snow from last weekend is melting rapidly. It’s soft and mushy so walking is a little easier than it has been. There are still six to eight inches of snow on the ground, but it’s so fluffy that it’s pretty easy to walk through. Both Jamie and I wandered a lot off of the trail.

I was planning to shoot overhead branches today as I figured the woods would be too plain to photograph well. I walked a little different route than normal, looking for interesting trees to shoot. I found lots that looked good through the lens, but we’ll see how they look on screen when I edit them. You never know. I don’t know how many of these shots I can use. They are pretty similar, though each one is different too. I’m hoping that when I find just the right combination of color and presentation, that they will be strong enough to bear quite a bit of variation.

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The gestures of the branches are quite striking

I’ve been leaving the wide angle lens on the camera for a while now. It works best for landscape shots and for the overhead branches. When I’m ready to shoot some details and tree trunks, I’ll use my medium zoom, which is a 24-105mm. It’s a very useful range, but not the best for what I’ve been shooting of late.

I’m settling into the ordinariness, the daily routine of this project. Not in a bad way. The concept is to do this every day for a year. It is about all the little changes in weather and season, mood and ideas that happen throughout a year. I’ve been walking in this place for almost five years now, so I have a lot of experience of this ordinary variation. Now that I’m really paying attention to what happens each day and looking more closely at the woods, I am even more conscious of the experience. It’s been a good thing so far and I expect more good things as the year passes.

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I took a couple of shots of the bittersweet that is so common on the upper level of the land

It was very peaceful wandering around the woods today. It always is, I guess, but when it’s warmer out, you feel you can relax more and I don’t worry about Jimmy getting cold. I was conscious of more bird sounds today. I don’t think the migrant birds have returned yet, though I’ll be they are back fairly soon. I think the birds are more active and more vocal when it’s warm like this. The woods can be very quiet when it’s bitter cold.

Today I didn’t think about myself at all during the walk. That’s a good thing. All I did was look and walk. Since I’m retired now and my wife still works (she’s younger than I am) I spend a lot of time alone and you can spend too much time thinking about yourself. My life has always been a lot like that. I’ve been self-employed and worked alone most of the time and I like it just fine. I’m a person who prefers quiet. I don’t listen to the radio unless I’m doing something completely mindless, which is not often.

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I think these images are going to work only in large prints on good paper

My wife is what I call a “noise person.” I think there are noise people and quiet people. Noise people want background noise on all the time and that’s my wife. She turns on the radio as soon as she gets up, then turns on a TV no matter what she’s doing. I can’t think straight with the noise so I retreat into “my room.”

I call it My Room because it’s the one room in the house that I decorated and has my stuff in it. It’s filled with guitars and amplifiers and old cameras and even a display case full of motorcycle memorabilia from the last few years. When I met my wife, we each owned houses in different towns. I lived too far from her work, so I moved to her place. It was, and is, completely decorated with her stuff. It’s not been easy to get even one room that feels like mine.

About a year ago, my wife moved my guitar and amp off of the front porch where I used to play. She said the porch was hers. Everywhere was hers. My guitar and amp were kicking around in the living/dining room, in the way all the time and I never liked playing there. We had a bedroom that we basically never used. I dared to suggest that I clear out that room and use it for myself. She wasn’t keen on the idea, but after a bit of struggle she let me do it. Now I love the room. It’s been a real pleasure for me. It’s where I do my writing. It’s completely me. A person needs that.

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