A selection of photos

Today I will post photos from last weekend that do not have a common theme. I will describe a little bit about each photo.

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During a cold winter morning, the rays of morning sunlight shine through trees in Billerica, MA.

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On a branch a few colorful leaves from the fall are left behind and coated with frost on the edges, reminding me of the last season before our currently very frigid temperatures.

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During a walk in our neighborhood we came across this house with a tuxedo cat. Our pets have a life of their own when we are not around.

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Trees on the Neponset River.

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Leopard in the Stone Zoo (Stoneham, MA). When we got there first, the leopard was taking a cat nap on the rock, and then got up.

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Flamingos in Stone Zoo. Here a young flamingo is fed by a parent.

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During the 1950s a Nike missile battery was stationed in Blue Hills. The missile launch area was typically at least half a mile away from the radar control area. This is what is left of the missile launch area. The steel covers in the ground mark the location where the missiles were held in their launch position.

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A path in Blue Hills near the missile launch area with an underground natural gas pipeline, hence the fairly straight, cleared path. Somebody in the area’s administration has a good sense of humor, calling these paths “Pipe Line” on official maps.

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The last photo for today is from Ponkapoag Pond. On the other side is the boardwalk that I have posted photos from before. A little bit of ice was on the edge of the lake. The hill in the background is Great Blue Hill.

Thank you for joining my little trip through our area.

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Things to be thankful for…

Winter

A day or two ago, I was thinking of things that I was grateful for. What’s funny about that idea is that it arose from experiencing something I was unhappy about and I was being  ungrateful!

There I was in the middle of what has been a mild winter, and I was shoveling snow and feeling a few aches. I got over myself pretty quickly when I realized that I was alive and mobile and those are two things I am particularly grateful for.

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Now, I admit that I am not always a ray of sunshine- though I try to remain hopeful about what this life has to offer. I also think that there are lots of blogs that you can spend time reading that will make you angry, upset, or downright miserable. I am not going to do that to you. When I want to make someone miserable I am woman enough to do so in person and live with the consequences.

So today I am leaving you this message of hope: yes it is winter, yes it is cold, no your problems are not solved and neither are mine but I am thankful for many things- including you….

Kim

 

 

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Winter is here – motives for photography are still abundant

Usually we get the first snow at the end of November or beginning of December at the latest. Last year and this year again, winter was in no rush. Two days ago, we finally got a significant amount of snow. Because it is cold enough, the snow is not melting right away any more.

Here are a couple of impressions from our neighborhood:

Winter light During winter, the sun is very low in the sky, which often creates beautiful warm light, even at a simple street corner.

Winter trees
I like the way trees look like after snow has fallen. The snow often highlights branches and the tree trunk in a very nice way.

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At a local park, the texture of snow and the low sun light creates a beautiful winter scene. Every other time of the year it would be difficult to photograph straight into the sun, but in the winter it is possible without getting lens flare into the photo.

Photography in the winter months is definitely more challenging than any other time during the year. The daylight hours are much shorter. Trees have lost their leaves, and most plants and flowers are dormant. Overall it is a pretty desolate condition out there. In addition, it takes determination to be out there in the cold.

Unfortunately a lot of photographers miss the winter months. While there is not too much color out there (and our eyes get naturally drawn to color and color contrasts), there are still plenty of opportunities out there. The details that draw me to photography during the winter months are textures, sunlight in the landscape, and trees. Only during the winter months can we see the structure of tree branches.

Another photography opportunity during the winter months are beaches. In the summer and early fall lots of people are on the beach and it is difficult to photograph without getting people into the pictures. I also like to visit places in the off-season to see how they look like in cold weather or with snow on top.

Recently Kim and I went to Plum Island, which is a barrier island on the coast line North of Boston (Northshore). In the summer, it is sometimes difficult to get into the reservation, because so many people arrive already early. When we went there this month, we enjoyed the beautiful light over the marshes and the beaches.

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So, if you did not plan to be out there this winter, maybe this post can inspire you to check out some beautiful places in your neighborhood. I know there are beautiful places everywhere. They may not be as famous as the National Parks in the Southwestern USA, but the are not less beautiful.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the winter months,

Lars

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Deep thoughts during the short nights of winter…

My birthday is tomorrow and I am preparing to celebrate it with my family. This birthday, like the last few, means a lot to me because several years ago my life was almost cut short by breast cancer. I don’t say that for dramatic effect it is simply a fact of my past. I don’t take my life for granted, nor do I live in constant fear that it will end but this year I am even more contemplative because during the past few weeks a number of major events have occurred that affected the way that I look at my life even though the events are not about me.

In the U.S. we just came through an election that simply made people crazed. There was a lot of public anger and such unhappiness that no matter what side you were on it was unpleasant. I believe I heard a collective sigh of relief when it was over just so we wouldn’t have to hear the negativity in ads anymore! More recently there have been terrible crimes committed including a massive one impacting many very young children and their families and friends. All of this and Christmas is just a few days away.

I recently saw the movie about President Abraham Lincoln and surprised myself by being anxious about how it would end, despite knowing how it would end.  I learned a lot from the movie and realize that the world continues to turn, seasons change, ideas change, people change. How I feel about those things matters only to me and those in my orbit. Maybe you. So, I am taking the events of the world in- knowing that I may have no control over them, processing them, feeling the sorrow when appropriate, and being grateful that I was born.

Kim                                                          

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Wake up…

 

Here I am in the wee hours of the morning in bed, but awake. I was thinking about how busy I have been lately, how much I have accomplished, and how much more I have to do. I am not upset about the situation, in fact, I am grateful to have a life that is so full. I do not take any of this for granted. I was very ill a few years ago. With the love of my family and friends and the power of my spiritual life and modern medicine- I am here today.

Of course this is the modern world with many people and situations to complain about. We just completed an election here in the states that had many of us on edge and feeling negative. It is over now and somehow most of us survived it and are moving on as we always have.  

I’m not writing today to say look at what I have overcome! Get over your issues! Believe me, as long as life goes on, as long as my life goes on, I remain supremely human with all of the complications that may entail. What I am saying is that this morning I woke up early, in the dark and felt peace and happiness for a period of time despite all that is happening in the world and I was happy and  thought of you…

Kim

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Cape Cod sea shore

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Recently we decided to drive down to Cape Cod from Boston. In the summer we usually do not attempt to do this, because traffic is very heavy especially on weekends.

I like to visit the ocean and beaches in the off-season for photography, because there are fewer people on the beach, and I like to see how nature changes through the different seasons.

As you can see in my photos, the light was really beautiful. Besides us, a couple of seagulls, and a few other people, nobody was on the beach.

Seeing the clouds in the sky, and the waves gently breaking on the beach instilled in me such a feeling of peace and happiness. I am once again grateful for one of many beautiful spots that are so close within our reach that we can see them.

Thanks for stopping by! Lars

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Like the birds, I’m getting ready for winter!

 

Now that summer has faded, I am thinking ahead and doing some preparation for our winter holiday season. It may seem early but it takes time to do anything well and I like to do holidays in a big way. I get great pleasure from giving my time and talent to making people happy. Generosity is not my only motivation- the act of giving serves me as much as anyone to whom I give.

I buy lots of items as gifts for friends and family especially for Christmas. I try to purchase things throughout the year in order to save money. If I find a gift worthy item in July then I buy it and hide it. Of course the trick is remembering where I put it when it comes time to wrap gifts in December!

Another aspect of gift giving that I truly enjoy is the making or embellishment of items so that they have a personal touch. This is a way to express my creativity and to personalize the gifts. Over the years many of my gift recipients have told me that I should sell what I make. Well, I don’t have a storefront but I do make some items available for purchase at this web address. Right now I offer gift baskets, special occasion bears, and embellished items for gift giving. I share this site with my family so my husband’s photos, cards, and calendars and my daughter’s hand made jewelry are also available.

So take some time to savor the season and show your crafty side too. If you are not so handy there are people like me from whom you can buy creative gifts.

Fall is a busy time for me and I’m sure that’s true for you also but like the birds- I’m getting ready!

Kim

 

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Mistakes were made…

late spring decorating

 

I am a big believer in plans. I believe that plans can help us to avoid some of the problems that result from not thinking ahead. I know that I am not in control of the cosmos and that anything can happen, but I don’t want to add to any unpleasantness that may result from a thoughtless mistake. Of course, I have made plenty of mistakes despite my beliefs. Fortunately,  I have learned a lot as a result.

One of the most important lessons I have learned is that some times we make mistakes that result in a benefit for us. I made a couple of big mistakes when I decided to work on my gardens this year. I committed the first one back in June. For some reason I planted many items later than I should have. Among the many plants that I tried to grow, I picked a couple of plants that I thought were perennials and they were, but not for New England! I wasn’t sure that the various plants would grow to maturity or that they would survive our incredibly hot summer. The only thing I was sure about was that I enjoyed the process.

I enjoyed purchasing the plants and seeds and I saved money because most of them were discounted.  I looked to various sources for inspiration: the New England Flower Show, magazines, the gardens of my neighbors and more. I considered the birds and other wildlife that inhabit or pass through my city yard. When considering the design of my front yard, I thought about the children who pass by on their way to school. I love seeing them smile about the birds or some surprise that they spy in the yard. 

The second mistake occurred in July when my helpful neighbor cut down a bush and a tree that bothered both of us. I had discussed both plants with him at an earlier time and he volunteered to trim them but  he actually cut them both down completely! There was a gaping hole between our homes that used to be filled and allowed for privacy- suddenly that was gone. My neighbor apologized profusely and I was left to wonder what to do about the space.

the tree is gone…

I ended up decorating a space on the fence and was able to attach some trellis wood to the fence and container plants to the trellis. Two different hydrangea plants that were shaded in the past, began to receive light and are doing better than ever. Not only that, but my neighbor and I are better friends because of the incident. We talk more because we can actually see each other!

 

 

So once again I learned another life lesson; despite planning and dedication, mistakes are likely, and can sometimes make things better. Here’s hoping there are good things in your life no matter what mistakes you have made.

Kim

 

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That’s me in front of you going slow on purpose…

Front spring garden

I keep telling myself that there are almost 4 more weeks of summer. This is factually correct because September 22, 2012 is the first day of fall this year. I have to remind myself of the date because so many forms of media want to rush the season in order to get all of us to purchase goods for that season.

 

 

I put a lot of energy into building up my front and back yard gardens. I learned a lot about myself in the process. First, I learned to be more patient. Sometimes you just have to wait for a seed to grow or a plant to emerge from the soil before you can enjoy the results.

Second, I learned that preparation is helpful in most situations in life. The more I prepared the soil or area that I was working in before I placed a plant in the area the better the plant fared. Many of my plants are in containers so preparing the soil was extremely important.

late spring deck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that we have entered late summer, my family and I are enjoying the fruits of my labor. We are picking tomatoes every day, enjoying the birds that are attracted to the yard and enjoying all of the flowers.

mid summer front yard

midsummer tomatoes

midsummer lilies

I will not be rushing into fall even though I love the season. I will take my time and enjoy each day as much as I can. Fair warning: that’s me in front of you going slow on purpose. Enjoy the rest of the summer if you can.

Kim

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Beautiful locations: Schwaebisch-Hall, Germany

A couple of weeks ago on a business trip in Germany, I got up early for a walk before breakfast. The light was so beautiful on that morning, that I still fondly remember the walk along the river around the beautiful old (exposed wood frame) buildings.

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