I was out taking study shots in the snow yesterday when I realized just how deeply special this world is. The vast stillness of the north stretching out before me, I was truly warmed by the sense that this could be shared with others and I thank you one and all.
Happy New Year and best of wishes one and all, May you find peace in your heart, health in your life and cheer amongst those who are close to you. May your blessings be shared and your troubles halved, and may you find courage, strength and laughter in the months ahead.
Thank you to all who have followed this blog and have made this past year a wonderful pleasure. My hat goes off to you ..Happy New Year :)
So it’s really cold out, and it is a holiday, so naturally we decided to stay inside and play today :)
Two sketches of the brightest moment of the shortest day of the year.
I woke up this morning thinking of songbirds even though there’s not much singing going on these days, outside the house or in. The woods are silent and it seems too cold even for the cheeriness of chickadees.
Bu it’s not just the winter. This urban environment we inhabit is a little short on warblers, meadowlarks, vireos and thrushes. Fortunately this morning though, there was a particular songbird singing in my head. Mama Cass Elliot. And she had me whistling away for the better part of an hour.
Melody is something I grew up in. It was the basis of my world. The wonderful ‘Sounds of the Sixties’ are still very much in my heart. Sounds of freedom, possibility, hopefulness, joy, happiness and fun. The unabashed innocence of late spring and early summer in the face of a weary world.
The 5th Dimension, Association, BeeGees, Hollies and Supremes. Radios never far away. And they never blasted anything ..they filled the air. And clear above the rest there were two voices that put sunshine in the bright blue skies of every day. True songbirds that filled my heart with a pleasure and joy that only music can. And they seemed to actually be the spirit of the times in a way no others singer did.
So we had our first warm day in a couple of weeks and a small snowfall to go with it. Even with the dampness and wet clumps of snow falling from branches, it meant a day of walking unencumbered with cloaks, coats, hats and various adjustments.
I’ve become quite enamoured with wool again and the shifts back and forth from 0ºC to -20ºC are a good chance to experiment with outdoor options and covering. When the wind picks up at -10ºC it’s a question of trying to protect the skin while disappating body heat and moisture at the same time while not building up a layer of ice.
So far I’ve got the dogs outfitted and most of my kit together for winter shooting. snowshoes, ice crampons, a newly fitted tripod pack and staff. A few days figuring how to attach it all together and we’re of for adventure. My only hesitation being the drop in temperature that will be arriving in a week or so where the weather can be a regular -20ºC to -35ºC or more, depending on the wind. Something for which you have to be prepared.
As much as I love the outdoors, it can be pretty unforgiving even close to home.
My hand has already frozen to a tripod leg this week and keeping batteries warm and condensation out of the camera present some special thought and care. Still there’s lots to see and I still find winter and scruffy forest a very special challenge.
SD-87 Custer, South Dakota
SD-87 Custer, South Dakota
The thought has been occuring to me lately that every venerable and wise man I can think of has a good walking stick or staff.
Some have a cane which is respectable enough but as there are short walking sticks to be had it’s not the same. To me, Charlie Chaplin seems to sit somewhere at the edge of this line.
Equally I suspect, carbon fibre and aluminium alloy won’t find themselves in the hands of the venerable or even the wise. Smart maybe. But smart isn’t always wisdom.