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Thursday, December 01, 2011

Winter: getting what I want

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standing in the meadow path, facing the pine woods

I asked for snow in the morning (last post), and I got what I wanted that night. When I woke up, and the sun began to rise, these were the scenes around us. Sometimes we get what we want. And sometimes we want what we get. But often neither is true. I wonder about this. I love winter and welcome it with glee equal to what I feel in spring in intensity, but it is a very different feeling. Most people think winter is pretty with a clean covering of snow. But I have found that a rather small portion of the population likes to be in winter, with the cold. Even though my fingers ache as the cold grips them, I can't imagine myself without winter. Maybe my psyche is accustomed to the four seasons, having grown up in Michigan. When we lived in southern California five years, it never felt right to me. I don't want it warm year round! I don't want the lushness all the time of Birds of Paradise and jasmine vine. I want the smell of sunlight refrigerated in earth. I want the low light of the sun. I want frosty air on my face. I want things to stop growing a while. I want this.


the front yard; can you see a bit of our road on the right?


 Bishop loves the snow too; her coat is very thick



When she comes out of her heated garage bed in the morning,
she squirms around in the snow



looking toward the outbuildings from the house;
from left to right: barn, corncrib, shed, l'atelier



two maples Don taps for sap in March,
and the catalpa on the right line the driveway



the barn and corncrib

starting out on the path toward the meadow, looking toward the orchard
where Lesley and Brian were married;
corncrib is on the far right, where we store yard tools on one side
firewood on the other, and the Farmall tractor between;
l'atelier just behind

facing the back of the property where the meadow and woods await;
corncrib on the right, barn on the left,
with the lilac bush, blooming white "blossoms"

 barn and lilac



the beginning of the path to the meadow



the meadow, with lots of deer tracks!
sumac on the right


sumac silhouetted against the morning sky



meadow and pines



walnuts our neighbor planted next door to our pine woods;
many people here in Michigan planted walnut trees
as an investment; I wonder if they are still worth a lot
the way they were in the 1980s



the path through the pine woods


under a white pine, where I'd like to camp out one day,
maybe not in the winter; but who knows? 

I am experimenting with white balance for the first time;
I thought winter with snow is a good time to start shooting in RAW mode;
you can see different tones in these photos;
this may reflect my lack of expertise, but I have tried
to be true to the different tones of light on this morning;
maybe I should compile a Monet series
of specific scenes in varied times of day and seasons
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68 comments:

erin said...

well, now i laugh at my own enthusiasm at the dusting i have just woken into! what a wonderous landscape, ruth. the snow and cold, the work of it, becomes a part of our psyche very early, i think. it quite simply is who we are.

how lucky for you to ask and receive. i'll wait:) (i'll ask only a little with my eyes closed.)

enjoy! i can imagine your drive to work this morning.

xo
erin

Grandmother said...

The first snow is magic. I don't know what white balance is but your photos are gorgeous! I like that you included all the many vistas you see each day. As for getting what we want or not, we can be grateful for both since both are teachers, we just learn different things. Enjoy your snow/gift.

Grandmother said...

p.s. A resounding yes to the Monet series of your yard.

Maureen said...

Thank you for a magical journey through your snowy neck of the woods. Lovely!

Louise Gallagher said...

I love the romance of these photos -- and yes, there is romance in winter.

I also really enjoyed the walk through your yard into the woods. Those tiny little kitty cat prints from the barn -- that Bishop is a brave soul. Imagine! A cat rolling in the snow. How wonderful!

And me too! YES! to the Money series. I'm asking -- please do it! (if it worked for you it should work for us -- ask and we will receive the gift of your creativity.)

The Cranky Crone, she lives alone! said...

Thank you for the tour around your white wonderland, all that space and storage places, how fantastic.
Im with you on the cold and snow, I sometimes think I must be or Nordic descent. I stayed in Beverly Hills for too long once many moons ago, I cannot tell you how fed up became with blue skies and heat, not even any interesting clouds.

George said...

Lovely winter scenes, Ruth, and I'm delighted that you got what you want. I agree with your preference for four seasons, versus one or two. I could not abide southern California year-round.

ellen abbott said...

Very pretty and in pictures is the way I like to see it. I like snow for about 1 day. After that it needs to go away.

Heather said...

I would love to camp out under that white pine, too. How beautiful!

Everyday Goddess said...

Stunning! For the visual as well as the sensory hit, really beautiful.

Peter said...

"I want the smell of sunlight refrigerated in earth." - amazing! I definitely agree with you on this post mom. Something didn't feel quite right when we lived in L.A., as Russell Brand puts it "it's like being hit over the head with a rainbow." Is seems like the human psyche needs a bit of cold and quiet to be able to have a rebirth and growth. The farm is the place to be in the winter, especially with the new hot tub!

"Auntie" sezzzzzz... said...

Breathtaking... Simply breathtaking photography...

We spent winter in FL one year and I did not like it. Although I don't like to travel/walk on ice/snow, I still NEED winter.

I wondered if it has something to do with my ancestors all coming from Northern Europe. (Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Belgium) Maybe....

Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!

Gentle hugs,
"The orange-scented zephyrs stirred, the branches rustled, and the tinsel crackled like merry music, to which the sparkling lights danced."

~~E.T.A. Hoffman "The Nutcracker"

Lesley Anne said...

wow, i can't believe we were there last week and now it is a winter wonderland! so beautiful. i think i would have a hard time living in a climate without winter too, even Texas has a mild winter and snow sometimes! :)

hedgewitch said...

GAH! Typos! This is what I tried to say, in a mangled way:
These are dramatic, and yet very comfortable and beautiful photos of winter. I like your idea of a Monet series(I think Van Gogh did his wheatfields that way too, a bit) I think winter/seasonal change is a huge factor in our moods and attitudes. We are turned this way and that to look, banked and renewed as nature plays her drama of death and rebirth, fertile and fallow. It's very good you can bring this savor to it, since you are in it up there for a good long haul. As I said yesterday, I love the beauty of this season, but I also feel confined by it. It's good to rest from gardening and its labors, yet it's also a form of being deprived of a daily sustenance for me. I'm always glad that here there are many days of sun, and mild temps during January and February that let me get outside without discomfort, that the white of snow or sleet or ice on boughs is a temporary minor miracle and not a day to day grind. But I don't dislike winter; I was born in winter, and something in me knows that. Your photos and your sensibilities definitely resonate, Ruth, with that particular monochromatic beauty.

Pat said...

Thank you for sharing these winter wonderland photos! They are so beautiful. I especially like the green barn against the white snow. You are right - shooting the white snow is a difficult thing - sometimes it looks blue if you don't have the correct setting. But I thing you did an excellent job. I haven't tried shooting in RAW.

Arti said...

Yes, this is the beauty of winter... an answered prayer. :) But as you've shown us in your previous posts, there's always the less glamourous side: the snow storm, the wind-swept, white-out roads and highways, the mountain of snow that we need to dig ourselves out, the down power lines, and for me, minus 30C temp in the next month or two... But yes, we will remember the beauty of winter always, with poetic images and words here. And I always like to remind myself of Shelley's line: If winter comes, can spring be far behind? O the four seasons, what is life without them? :)

rosaria said...

I can definitely breathe deeply in this beautiful scene, but close enough to shelter. I spent most of my life in Southern Cal. and snow was there in the mountains for a day visit. I can understand the magic of it, the splendor of it, but it still scares me to drive or be surrounded for miles by it.

Jane Lancaster said...

now we're talking BEAUTY!!!!

elizabeth said...

Bliss indeed.
I did so enjoy my little wander with you.
Yes, snow is utterly magical and transforming....
so happy to see it on your blog.

Amanda said...

these images reflect the essence of winter.... a quiet holiness.

like you, i cherish that smell of sunlight refrigerated in earth.

The Broad said...

Oh thank you Ruth. I do miss the snow and the magic it inspires. Especially the quiet of the snow in early morning when it's still untouched and pure and majestic, which is what is in your pictures ...

Old 333 said...

Excellent work! Amazing cat behaviour. Mine sits in puddles, but does not roll in snow.

Brendan said...

You are such a fine shutterbug, Ruth ... capturing all the tones of white is something only a seasoned winteress can attempt. All those hues are like the many Eskimo names for snow. I miss the plush silence of days after blizzards in Chicago, but I don't miss at all the upward slog of doing everything out doors. Glad to see that Bailey likes a romp in the snow; I fret so about our outdoor cats when the merc gets down into the 30s. Congrats on the random wish-fulfillment (or is it a momentary accord with what is?), and lovely, lovely pix. - Brendan

The Bug said...

Absolutely gorgeous photos, but oh I'm not ready for that kind of snow yet! Fortunately the middle of Ohio isn't quite Michigan :)

P.S. after I "bragged" that it was too warm for snow the other day we did get a dusting that night. Ha!

The Solitary Walker said...

A fine covering! I want it too.

Really like the photos.

Barb said...

What amazing depth to your snow photos - white on white. I like the spray paint effect of the snow blown onto the corn crib. And, OH, those sumac branches!

J.G. said...

Oh, gorgeous! I love seeing Bishop's tracks out (or back?) in the snow near the barn and corncrib. She is such a lovely interesting cat.

Shari Sunday said...

What a beautiful place you have. Picture #2 is my favorite with the big pine tree piled with snow and the pink morning light. I would like to spend Christmas somewhere with the smell of pine and decorate with only natural materials. Plastic decorations depress me sometimes, but I enjoy the fact that they don't break when the kids knock them off the tree. I enjoyed your first snow.

missing moments said...

You make it feel and sound so romantic, even to this warm weather girl!

Ruth said...

Yes, erin, it's who we are. I don't think we choose what gives us pleasure. It just is. And the ride to work was beautiful; it's lovely you would imagine it.

Ruth said...

Mary, I am finding out what you say about both what we want and what we don't want being teachers. As for white balance, it is about getting the tones right, mostly between cool and warm. For snow, there really is a certain amount of blue, so it's a trick to figure that out accurately. Many photographers worry about white balance in terms of human portraits, getting skin tone right. It's something that if done in RAW mode can then be adjusted after the shot is shot, in PhotoShop. Otherwise, it has to be set right in the camera and can't be changed later.

Ruth said...

Maureen, I'm glad you took the tour and enjoyed it. We are so fortunate to live in this park!

Ruth said...

Smiles, Louise. I'll think about what scene/s to do in different seasons and times of day. I think I already have quite a lot of shots looking back between the barn and corncrib, so maybe I'll pull those together. Thank you for your engaged comments, always.

Ruth said...

Hello and welcome, Cranky Crone! I remember when we lived in Pasadena how people had to put covers on their cars if they didn't have them in a garage, to protect from too much sun exposure. We used to get so excited when it rained. But then even I tired of it after a month nonstop in the rainy season (at least it felt that long).

Ruth said...

George, when we lived in Pasadena, we would occasionally go up to Big Bear and play in the snow. It was lovely, but it wasn't the same as the long term mantle of white we have here.

Ruth said...

Ellen, good that you live in Texas then.

Ruth said...

Heather, that whole part of the woods is just quiet and cozy; it's where the deer sleep, on a bed of pine needles.

Ruth said...

Everyday Goddess, thank you so much for coming by for the tour of the farm in the first snowfall, and for your kind comments.

Ruth said...

Bo! I love that both my kids visited this post. I didn't know you felt that way about living in L.A., and I can just hear Russell Brand saying that, brilliant. I don't know if you know that when we moved to the farm in November of 2003 I was so happy to just stare out the window at the plain yard and outbuildings, no leaves on the trees, just the white ground and green buildings. So soothing!

Ruth said...

Auntie, it's true that the routines of life take on much more work and hassle in the winter. I witness my students having a lot of effort and discomfort to get to class.

By the way, I really like the quotes you leave in your comments. It's a thoughtful and unique treat.

Ruth said...

Wesrey! Yes, these scenes have changed dramatically since you were just a short while ago. As for Texas, I would prefer that we not speak of such things (but I'm a little glad that there is occasional snow there, just in case).

Ruth said...

Thanks, Hedge. I do wonder whether we are here because we choose to be, or because it is what we've known and has become a default. We have lived in dramatically different locales, though, and I prefer this. But who knows in retirement where we will end up. I'm quite certain it won't be in a warm climate, but who knows? Much can change.

I well understand what you say about being glad of the comfortable weather for getting out year round for respite and rejuvenation. I have worked on finding the proper gloves and boots so that I can go out for long periods without discomfort, and I think I'm almost there. The clothing fabrics they make now for this are remarkable. I have to layer gloves and mittens, though, to keep my fingers from aching. And that isn't great for shooting photos.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Pat! I'm glad you think the snow looks right. The shot between the barn and corncrib I actually processed to look a little aged, so that probably does not have enough blue. Snow does look blue sometimes, but as you say, not as blue as the camera produces at times. Shooting in RAW adds an extra step: I have to view the photos in PhotoShop, not the photo reader. I'm sure my nephews would say it's worth it, but I haven't decided if that's the case for myself.

Ruth said...

Arti, no doubt I am romantic and poetic about winter, seeing more of the beauty than the pain. Love is blind in my case.

:-)

Ruth said...

Thanks, rosaria. I don't know if I can imagine myself on a winter trek, like climbing Everest, or exploring the Arctic. That terrifies me. It is definitely nice to have a warm house with a fire burning in the wood stove.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Jane!

Ruth said...

Thanks, Elizabeth. I'm like a kid when it snows.

Ruth said...

Amanda, thank you for your visit. Yes, quiet holiness, that's perfect. Snow is a wonderful insulator of sound.

Ruth said...

Thanks to The Broad. I usually hate to step on the virgin snow. And then I get to the meadow and the deer have clearly had no such worries!

Ruth said...

Smiles, Peter. Unusual cats we have, I think.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Brendan. You've pinpointed one of the reasons I love winter: the light. I even love how it changes indoors, wow so much. As for your question about random wish-fulfillment, or momentary accord with what is, thank you for that, for I give that a lot of thought. Can we love what is, even if we didn't choose it, and it chose us? I think so, but it takes some attention and work.

Ruth said...

Dana, well I'm glad for you that you only got a dusting, since that is what you prefer. I am amazed how different the weather is between MI and OH. Even here in MI we were in a pocket of snowfall, when normally the west side of the state where many of my family live get the lake effect snow but didn't this week.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Robert! I love when it rains before it snows, which makes the snow adhere to every twig. I hope you get just the winter you want.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Barb. I thought of you often in this post. As I said to Robert in the last comment, it had rained a lot before it snowed, and so every surface being wet made the snow stick. All the way around the sumac, instead of just on top. Crazy!

Ruth said...

Thanks, J.G.! I tried to figure out whether Bishop's tracks were out or back myself. In fact I even wonder if they are hers, because she was in the garage until I let her out for our walk, and they were already there. I think that maybe it was Mahitible, another barn cat.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Shari. I think that photo is my favorite too, because of the pink morning light. I couldn't agree more with your love of pine and natural decorations. I am very fond of an old fashioned Christmas, and if it weren't for allergies in our family, and the danger of fire, I would always have a "real" tree with candles. But as my friend rauf says, every Christmas tree is real, if you love it.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Reena! Maybe we'll have a winter when we keep getting a fresh cover of snow, keeping it beautiful.

Stratoz said...

Beautiful photos, but feel to keep what you want in Michigan. so the other day I asked a student what he was doing with his iPhone, and it was not what I expected... He was copying down a poem of yours which I have on my door. I didn't tell him to put his gadget away

Ruth said...

Stratoz, wow! Which poem . . . ?

Margaret said...

I can not tell you how much I enjoy viewing these amazing photos. Ah, Michigan! Right now we are enjoying amazing weather and I must say... this is why we moved down here - for these "fallish" days that linger on - but for a Northern girl, the sight and beauty of snow is much appreciated too! My parents are visiting this week so I have limited time on the internet... but I will come back and soak up all your wonderful words and images! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving (and I kept thinking of your post and how the Native Americans most likely view it a bit differently... very thought-filled post (as usual).

Loring Wirbel said...

Wonderful photos, and I love your observations too. Sort of an answer to that "Waiting for Snow", huh?

amy@ Souldipper said...

Fresh, fresh, fresh. I love knowing what creatures have been around. Thank you for saying those were deer tracks.

I will look into the "white pine". That's new to me.

Oliag said...

Why I love snow! Here I am in New England having the warmest weather for this time of year on record! Half the time we don't even need to wear a coat! It just isn't right!

I love the blue moodiness of the snow photos...would love to take that path through the piney woods!

Jeanie said...

Oh, Ruth! It's so magical. I love the green of the corncrib and l'atelier against the snow! The laden trees. When I went out to shoot for my blog, I had to go down the street to the "ditch" to find such beauty. You needed only to open the doors. I am not winter's biggest fan, but i am always so captivated by the first beautiful, pure snow, thick and sticky, followed by that perfect day when the sun hits it and the world is bright. I love seeing where you are. Beautiful, in every way.

ds said...

"The smell of sunlight refrigerated in earth." Oh, yes, that's it, but I didn't know it until I read your words. Thank you for sharing your beautiful white-silver-grey-blue (and a bit of pink) world: a person could become lost in your photographs, too.

Ginnie said...

YAY for experimenting, Sister, and for shooting in RAW. Once I started, I never stopped!

I LOVE seeing your farm covered in snow and I so agree with how you feel about winter. Maybe that's why I love it here in Holland so much...except we don't get that much snow...and none yet. Lucky you to have had this first snowfall. I eat it up with you!

Margaret said...

The lilacs by the barn and the path through the pine woods (and OF COURSE) Bishop making her cat like way to the porch... love them all. One good thing where I live, I can venture just two hours away and be in the snow filled mountains. We are hoping to own a small condo there somewhere, someday... And sometimes it snows here. If I want a cold blast on the face, I venture out in the very early morning and evening with the dogs.

Sandy said...

These photos are SO gorgeous!