Some trees are still holding on to last year’s leaves,
as if they weren’t sure there will be new ones coming...
Straight out of the camera, unedited, un-cropped, and even shot today; so this is is for Straight Out of the Camera Sunday.
Hard choice though. I might as well have used it for Ruby Tuesday, ABC Wednesday (C for church tower!), Watery Wednesday, Weekend Reflections, Sky Watch Friday or Shadow Shot Sunday... I’ve been trying out so many challenges lately from both blogs that I’m almost losing track! But I think I’m beginning get it sorted now – which ones to participate in, and from where. Especially in the winter I do find it helpful to have some themes in mind when I’m out walking the camera.
A tree growing out of the ground is as wonderful
today as it ever was. It does not need to
adopt new and startling methods.
~ Robert Henri ~
♥ ♥ ♥
For Weekend Reflections #71
at Newton Area Photo
One of those days. One of those phrases that can mean just about anything. In this case, another of those days when I started out determined to get certain things done; but didn’t manage to get to “the end of the road”.
First mission was to get myself down to my health care centre and get some blood tests done for a doctor’s appointment next week (an annual check-up of this and that). Spent quite a while in the waiting room, and when I finally got in, the lab assistant asked me if I had been fasting. ?? I had not, because no one had told me that I should; and as my routine tests over the last few years have not required fasting, it had not occurred to me to ask.
I was given the option to either come back and do all the tests early next week, or do some today and the fasting ones next week. Since I was already there, and they often have problems getting enough blood out of me in one go anyway, I decided we might as well start the procedure. Hm. I hope the bruises go down over the weekend, because she had to try twice even today...
From there, I went on to the bank, with some things still to sort out about my dad’s accounts, and the decedent estate after my mum (who died over 1½ years ago). I thought I had got all that sorted last year, but apparently not. After discussions involving what seemed to be the entire staff of the bank (three people – although I guess there must be more of them in the background somewhere), we did manage to find a way round the immediate problem (part of dad’s pension still coming into an account that I can’t access from the internet, which means not being able to use that money to pay bills). Closing that account for good turned out not so easy though. (Which probably explains why it had not already been done.) And until that can be solved we’ll still be receiving bank statements for the ‘estate’. Feels a bit weird…
‘Minor’ problems really (seen in a bigger perspective) but things like this still tend to make me very tired nowadays. Got home, heated some soup for lunch, and went to bed for three hours…
Later, trying to get this posted… My Internet connection went down. Again. It has been happening more and more frequently lately…
All in all – a ‘trying’ sort of day…
“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon”
~ Winnie the Pooh (by A.A. Milne) ~
… … …
For ABC Wednesday
… … …
I posted my first contribution to this challenge last week from my blog DawnTreader’s Picture Book (A for Amaryllis). On closer consideration I think this might be a good one for me to participate in here at Beyond the Lone Islands instead; since unlike many others, it seems not to be limited to just photography. Which might come in handy some day when one has not just happened to find un unexpected object starting with the right letter of the alphabet lying around in the snow waiting to be photographed…
I’m probably repeating myself now, but ever since New Year it has been hard to keep up with the weather changes around here! Yesterday I went out for a walk with the camera, trying to capture a magical all white world, covered by a layer of something which I’m not sure whether to call snow or frost. If it was snow, it was thin. If frost, it was thick! Whatever it should rightly be called, it was as if every branch had been decorated with a fringe…
1. A decorative border or edging of hanging threads, cords, or strips, often attached to a separate band.
2. Something that resembles such a border or edging.
1. To decorate with or as if with a fringe:
“The weaver fringed the edge of the scarf.”
2. To serve as a fringe to: “Ferns fringed the pool.”
on the fringe (idiom)
1. Lit. at the outer boundary or edge of something.
“He doesn't live in the city, just on the fringe.”
2. Fig. at the extremes of something, typically political thought.
“He is way out. His political ideas are really on the fringe.”
Good thing I did get out yesterday, because today by noon we were back to thaw, and now the pretty ice crystals are gone…
Aren’t we lucky to have cameras!!!
See more MACRO photos at
“The beginning of love is to let those we love
be perfectly themselves and not to twist them
to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only
the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”
~ Thomas Merton ~
♥ ♥ ♥
“You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love;
the running across fields into your lover's arms
can only come later, when you're sure
they won't laugh if you trip.”
~ Jonathan Carroll ~
♥ ♥ ♥
“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you,
I could walk in my garden forever.”
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson ~
Orchid in my window
– straight out of my camera for –
♥ ♥ ♥
A simple straight-out-of-the-camera Sunday suits me just fine today. I got enough of editing complications yesterday.
It was when I tried to exchange the header image at my other blog, DawnTreader’s Picture Book, that I got into trouble. For some reason Blogger first shrunk it and then blew it up again and the end result was blurry. This mystified me, because I had no recollection of having had this problem last time. But with things I do not do very frequently, my first instinct is to doubt myself rather than the technology… So of course I ended up stubbornly continuing my experiments for a while; only to end up with the same result again and again: Either a blurry or a very tiny picture.
Eventually I gave up and went to pay a blog visit to Ginny, who changes her header almost daily. Ooops…. turned out she seemed to have lost her head as well… I learned from comments on her post that it was a Blogger issue.
Before I was able to send off a comment of my own, however, my whole internet connection went down! An even more frustrating end to an already frustrating evening!
This morning, to my relief, at least I find myself back in touch with “the world”. Which really puts the header problem in perspective. I’d rather have communication without blog banner than the perfect blog banner without communication…
“I'm fascinated by human behavior, by what's
underneath the surface, by the worlds inside people.”
~ Johnny Depp ~
When you break the ice, you get over any initial embarrassment or shyness when you meet someone for the first time and start conversing.
See more reflection photography at
Weekend Reflections # 70
(Newton Area Photo)
I’m not sure if I’ve ever reviewed a Swedish film on my blog before, but today I will; after having checked that it does seem to be available also in the English-speaking world.
I watched it on TV last weekend and found myself fascinated. I think maybe some of you who perhaps normally do not watch foreign movies with subtitles might find it interesting, too. Not especially because it’s Swedish, but because it is about photography, and “falling in love with the camera”.
The English title is Everlasting Moments (in Swedish: Maria Larsson’s eviga ögonblick). It is a 2008 Swedish drama directed by Jan Troell, based on a book by his wife Agneta Ulfsäter Troell about an ancestor of hers. A young working class woman back in the early 1900s, Maria Larsson, happens to win a camera in a lottery. She is the mother of five or six children and married to an alcoholic husband. She intends to sell the camera, but the photographer she tries to sell it to persuades her to keep it, and learn to use it instead. The camera changes her life, and gives her an identity of her own besides being a wife and mother. The story is told through the eyes of the eldest daughter, looking back and trying to understand her parents’ marriage and her mother’s fascination with the camera.
One aspect that fascinated me was the historical perspective… It’s so easy to forget now that it’s not more than a hundred years ago since a camera was a very rare thing to own – and for a woman even more so! - and each picture had to be arranged with such care, and developed in the darkroom (I remember doing that with my dad sometimes back in my childhood)… Now… “everyone’s a photographer”… ;) But it is still true what the photographer in this film says, when looking at Maria’s pictures: “Not everyone is endowed with the gift of seeing.”
Read more about the film and watch the trailer at IMDb.
This morning I was glancing through some blogs on my dashboard list, and I happened to stop by a post at The Last Visible Dog, where Katherine says: “I admit I have been guilty in the past of promoting New Zealand. I've taken lovely photos in lovely places, and left undone subjects that might have given a more realistic view of my country.” Something she then tries to make up for by showing more lovely photos of lovely places; there must be some irony there that gets past me…!
Anyway, I guess I still held that line of thought somewhere at the back of my head as I made my way to the supermarket later; stepping carefully between the puddles and patches of ice…
I’ve been able to show you quite a few beautiful snowy scenes this winter. For one thing it is of course in that kind of winter weather that I myself feel most tempted to take out the camera. But then we also really did have that kind of winter, all through December. (Breaking cold records as far back as records of temperatures have been kept in most towns.)
After New Year, however, the weather has been playing yoyo tricks on us, and it’s hard to keep up! Rain and thaw one day, more snow the next. Before I get one set of photos uploaded to the computer and organized, the weather has usually changed again. On the worst days – of either snowstorm, or rain upon snow and ice – it has felt safest to just stay in. (And had I gone out, I would have had to keep my eyes on my own feet all the time anyway.)
Now where am I going… Oh yes: To give you some uncensored pictures of what snow looks like when it’s no longer young and fresh and light, but getting old, tired, heavy and dirty!
And yet, and yet, and yet… There’s still magic in the camera…!
With the camera I see things I might not have noticed otherwise, like reflections in the water, and shapes formed by the ice:
Can you see the sphinx?
Perhaps the first sphinx, Queen Hetepheres II from the fourth dynasty (Cairo Museum)
“The sphinx, in Greek tradition, has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and the face and breast of a woman. She is treacherous and merciless: those who cannot answer her riddle suffer a fate typical in such mythological stories: they are gobbled up whole and raw, eaten by this ravenous monster.” [Wikipedia]
Here are some questions from the Ice Sphinx…
Q: What did the big furry hat say to the warm woolly scarf?
A: "You hang around while I go on ahead."
Q: What's the difference between an iceberg and a clothes brush?
A: One crushes boats and the other brushes coats!
Q: What's another name for ice?
A: Skid stuff!
Q: What's an ig?
A: A snow house without a loo!
Q: If it's zero degrees outside today and it's going to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold is it going to be?
Go as far as you can see; when you get there,
you’ll be able to see farther.
~ Thomas Carlyle ~
♥ ♥ ♥
Opportunities flit by while we sit regretting the chances
that we have lost; and the happiness that comes to us
we heed not because of the happiness that is gone.
~ Jerome K. Jerome ~
♥ ♥ ♥
We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
~ William Shakespeare ~
Silky, snow-covered Clematis seed-head on my balcony
Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence
I took me a long time to read this book (starting it before Christmas and not finishing it until mid January), but that probably has more to do with “me” than with the book (for one thing, problems I’ve been having with an eye!).
It might be a good idea to give this book a more concentrated reading, since the basic story takes place over one weekend. On the other hand, it deals with memories and feelings, and such things can benefit from slower digestion.
The narrator of the story, David, is a widower since 6 months, grieving his beloved wife Jessica. One day he gets an invitation from his wife’s old friend, Angela, whom they both knew back in their youth. Angela says she has something for him that Jessica wanted him to have; but to get it he has to come to a weekend reunion with her and a handful of other old friends who were in the same church group back in their youth.
The house where they meet is said to have its own ghosts; but the ones David and the others find themselves facing during the reunion weekend are their own inner fears and secrets.
As one review puts it, the book is perhaps a bit “preachy” (for a novel). On the other hand, I think the fictional story perhaps serves to make the reader “think”, rather than just either obediently swallow or categorically reject what is said. On the whole my guess is that at least people with some experience of similar church background might see themselves and people they know reflected in it. (That is usually Adrian Plass’ strength.)
Here are some quotes:
“Some truth – quite a lot of truth – is slippery and elusive like a wet bar of soap. Just as you think you’ve got a grip on it and you’re looking forward to feeling clean, it slides away.”
(About losing someone you love through death):
“It’s just plain horrible. There’s nothing else to say. There’s no way round it --- The reality is you fall to pieces inside every day when you wake up and find that it wasn’t a nightmare after all.”
“I found myself hating God for being perfect – someone you can’t blame for anything, like a massive face of rock you know you’ll never be able to climb because there’s nowhere to put your hands or feet.”
“People who are frantic to get others fixed are often plagued with worry and doubt in exactly the same way. The bad news for them is that they’d have found Jesus terribly worrying two thousand years ago. The even worse news for them is that he hasn’t changed at all.”
“Pearls are valuable things. They’re beautiful, and they’re what you get when God transfigures things that could have turned very ugly.”
Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
~ Kahlil Gibran ~
These pictures are all from the same photo,
just cropped in different ways.
(The original at the bottom.)
For Skywatch Friday
Art is the window to man's soul. Without it,
he would never be able to see beyond his immediate
world; nor could the world see the man within.
~ Claudia Johnson ~
… … … …
Trees in the Town Park reflected in the windows
of a hotel on the opposite side of the river.
For Weekend Reflections # 69 at Newton Area Photo
… … … …
Do the hard jobs first.
The easy jobs will take care of themselves.
~ Dale Carnegie ~
This quote turned up in my sidebar Quotes gadget today. Spooky, since I had “sort of” made that principle one of my inner, non-official New Year’s resolutions. It lasted about two days…
To start with, the first week I intentionally gave myself a vacation from the Resolution, allowing myself to focus almost entirely on one “job” – getting this blog moved and re-started and running! Actually that proved to be quite hard work; but it was not really that sort of hard job that I had in mind when I thought about doing “the hard jobs first”.
So I did not really start practicing the Resolution until Monday this week. I followed it for two days. Then this morning I woke up with a headache. Surely the principle of doing the hard jobs first does not apply to days that start with a dizzy spell??
That’s one reason why I don’t make New Year Resolutions. There are too many days in the year that just start out wrong...!
Seriously though… It has become a bit of a temptation lately to start the morning by checking emails and blogs, and get caught up in that for longer than I had intended. So the Resolution has to do with trying to devote the mornings before lunch to other things, and not allow myself to dive into the Blogworld until later.
But hey – no rule without exceptions…!
Source: Wikipedia – Exception Paradox
PS. If you’re wondering about the picture… I’m including it just as an example that not everything has to be “perfect” to be useful!
According to old tradition in Sweden, the Christmas tree should be “thrown out” on (or around) 13th January. From my childhood I remember special parties (for children) to finish off Christmas before throwing out the tree. I’m not sure if this tradition is still common. I think it goes back to the very early days of the Christmas tree, when many of the decorations were edible – like apples or gingerbread men or Christmas crackers with sweets hidden inside.
Anyway, this tree that I found on my way to the grocery shop on Sunday seems to bear witness that there are still people who take the tradition literally! I can certainly understand they wanted to get rid of the thing ;) but I don’t think it is recommended nowadays that you actually “throw” the tree down onto the street from the balcony…
When living in a town flat, there’s much to be said for an artificial tree that can just be packed into a box and reused again next year! (Yes, I have one of those. Mini size one at that. It has been with me for 24 Christmases!)
Going into town yesterday, I happened to pass the town square as they were taking down the Christmas trees there too. See photos in my Picture Book today.
I got sort of inspired, so when I got home I started packing up my own Christmas things as well. I even got the chain of lights on the balcony down today, since it happened to be snow-free and dry. Something which is not likely to last long - another snowfall is expected tonight…
Each January, I ask myself why I ever bothered to put it up in the first place…
… But, eventually, I once again I got it to fit into the box!
“I can live for two months on a good compliment.”
~ Mark Twain ~
♥ ♥ ♥
Praise is warming and desirable.
But it is an earned thing.
It has to be deserved, like a hug from a child.
~ Phyllis McGinley ~
♥ ♥ ♥
The praise that comes from love
does not make us vain, but more humble.
~ James M. Barrie ~
♥ ♥ ♥
Being taken for granted can be a compliment.
It means that you’ve become a comfortable,
trusted element in another person’s life.
~ Joyce Brothers ~
I felt in need of adding a splash of colour here after all my snowy pictures, so thought I’d show you the Primula plant I got last Sunday from my aunt and uncle. At least I’ve managed to keep it alive for a week!
This photo is straight from the camera (a flash macro shot), so I thought I’d enter it for Straight Out Of The Camera Sunday at the blog Murrieta365. Finding my way there through Heather I throw in a link to to her post as well. :)
As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been keeping myself rather busy lately just with collecting buttons and links for my sidebars. At the bottom of this blog you’ll find a list of buttons to photo and writing challenges covering almost every day of the week. There is a similar list at my Picture Book blog.
This does not mean that I intend to partake in each and every one of these every week - and certainly not from both blogs! But sometimes, and especially in dreary winter weather, I find that these kinds of challenges can be of inspirational help.
I’m sure there are lots more out there but I won’t be adding any without having participated at least once… ;)
Sometimes lately I get the feeling that my life – and with that, my blog! – has turned into a weather report. Lucky for me, there still seems to be a few people out in the world who like to look at a bit of snow; just as I like to sigh over their barefoot beach photos and abundance of colourful flowers... (with a nod to Pauline and GB in New Zealand).
The weather since New Year has continued to be a roller-coaster between minus and plus. I.e. temperatures below versus above o° Celsius. Sorry – I can’t understand why the Americans insist on keeping the Fahrenheit scale, when it makes SO much more sense to have “0” as the balancing point between freezing and non-freezing temperatures.
I’m not quite sure why Celsius (Anders Celsius, Swedish astronomer, 1701-1744) is getting all the credit though, because his original scale was upside down! It was another Swede, the botanist Carl von Linné (Carl Linnaeus, 1707-1778), who reversed Celsius’ scale to the one we now use, with “0” representing the melting point of ice and 100 representing the boiling point of water. (Well done, Linné!)
From now on, you will find this thermometer (copied from the Wikipedia Farenheit article) in the sidebar of my blog. It has the Fahrenheit units on the outer scale and Celsius units on the inner scale. I’ll stick to °C in my weather reports, and if that gives anyone a headache, you can just look at my sidebar thermometer for a quick reference!
Aaaanyway… I’ve hardly been out this week, except for a brief expedition on Wednesday to the nearest convenience store to stock up some more supplies before the next snowstorm was to hit us on Thursday. (Which it did.)
Today, it was my plan to take the bus into town around 11 am. However, this was not to be, because Murphy turned up in my bathroom, causing trouble:
"Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong". (Murphy’s Law)
In this case, attempts at flushing things down in one place made the water rise in another.
At first, last night, I thought the problem was “only” with the drain in the shower. This morning however, it turned out to be worse than that… so I had to call an emergency number. And then of course I could not go into town but had to stay home and wait for the emergency guy to turn up. No complaints about slowness of service: a man in overalls armed with two giant plungers turned up within a couple of hours, and the problem was fixed in no time. Well – seems to be, anyway…! (Somehow I think I would have felt more reassured if he had come with the full equipment of pumps and hoses, but I guess I have to trust that he knew what he was doing…)
By the time the knight-in-not-so-shining-armour left, it had started raining outside, at +0,8°. (Now go look at that thermometer!) And I had had time in between to read the morning paper. Which had Icicle Warning all over the front page! Because in this temperature, the thick layers of snow on the roofs will be melting, and getting heavier, and turning into icicles; and heavy slabs of snow as well as big sharp icicles are likely to drop down and hit you in the head.
So you have to look up, all the time. But you also have to watch your feet, all the time, because the snow on the ground will be melting as well, and the grit that was on top will be sinking down, but the rain falling on the cold snow will freeze into ice, and… Well, in short: It’s a Very Dangerous World Out There.
So I think I’ll just remain indoors for another day, being thankful that I have a certain freedom of choice in that respect. Eventually, of course, I shall have to go out… But not today, I think!
“There are two ways of spreading light:
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
~ Edith Wharton ~
More photos from the late night walk in the park last weekend (compare the recent post Slip-Sliding Away Into A New Year).
Near one of the entrances to the park there is a sculpture named “Slit”. (Followers of my previous blog The Island of the Voices might remember it.) If you click on the image below, a link will take you to a photo of the whole sculpture in daylight.
The polished black surface inside the hole mirrors the view of the gazebos on the other side. Now with all the snow and ice, and in the dark, I was not able to bend down and actually look through the hole… and even less look through the hole through the camera eye… so I just held the camera down and let it do the job for me, hoping for the best!
Not only can you look at the gazebos through the stone sculpture, you can also look at the illuminated trees through the gazebos!
The lights reflected in the ice on the river.
Standing beneath one of the illuminated trees, looking up.
Monica (a.k.a DawnTreader)
See more reflection photos at
Weekend Reflections # 68