Thursday, December 17, 2009

At First Glance (And Winner Announced)

Thank you to everyone who entered my Casserole Giveaway a couple of posts back. A random draw produced the lucky winner. Congratulations to Joanna Jenkins of The Fifty Factor. According to her blog, she'll be away from internet access until Sunday, but she'll have this little surprise news waiting for her upon her return.

Below are a few photos taken over the last couple of weeks. Please remember to click on each image to enlarge.

An out of focus park bench as seen behind a branch of colourful spindle berries. They'll remain bright like this through much of the winter.





At first glance, what do you think this is?




I can tell you what it is. I just can't tell you why. They're areas in the surface of the mostly-frozen pond which are beginning to thaw. The black center is water. The dark gray is icy and the white, of course, is snow-covered ice. There is nothing directly above those spots which could be dripping onto them. I don't know why this happens quite like this - do you?




The green leaves are ground cover which hadn't quite yet died. The yellow and red leaves had fallen from nearby trees. I liked how the light dusting of snow frosted the foliage.




Similarly, I thought this tree looked nice with it new winter coat. I left a peanut between its trunks after I took this photo.




At first glance, you can see a photograph of Frank taking a picture. Of what?




What you see in his viewfinder was my bird feeder. This little chickadee came to dine and stuck around long enough for me to get a shot of my own.




Long-withered Queen Anne's Lace still looks pretty against its snowy background.




In a few days time, the sun will begin to set just a little bit later each day. For now, dusk seems to come so early with lovely streaks of colour.




Ducks line up along the top of the dam while the mauve and magenta sky reflects in the lake behind them.





At first glance, you see a set of blurry Christmas lights...





But back up and you'll see that you were looking at their reflection in the parked cars. This was taken at a slightly different angle than the previous cropped photo.

See you with more in a few days.

52 comments:

Bachelor said...

Well, Fiddle stix... I didn't win, but congrats to Joanna. Your pictures are fantastic. I love the black and white ones especially. You're quite the photo buff!! The Bach

Frank Baron said...

Some very nice shots, as always. Gotta love chickadees. If personality equated with size, they'd be eagles.

Clever shot of me shooting. Too bad I wasn't shooting someone shooting a camera. ;)

Alix said...

Congratulations to my darling friend Joanna! I guess I won't pitch a snit that I didn't win, since I'd never begrudge her a win. She's in Isreal right now and will be unplugged for awhile. I'll be happy to guard her winnings until she returns to LA.

By the way... excellent photo captures! Especially love the ice circles. The close up looked like some artsy nebula photo or interesting pile of metal shavings. LOVE!

Maggie May said...

Congratulations, Joanna.

Those were really lovely and clever photos, Hilary. I particularly loved the photo of Frank snapping a bird on the feeder.
Also that co-joined tree! I expect the squirrels follow you around for your little gifts of peanuts!

Nuts in May

Tabor said...

I love coming here and seeing these photos. You are inspiring me to be better at finding lovely things nearby to photograph!

Tabor said...

Oh, forgot. What are the circles on...lawn, deck? Clearly something is warmer below that.

Moannie said...

Really lovely photos, Hilary, can't wait to be out and about again with my camera. I think the tree is my favourite.
You truly have taken up the mantle laid down by David.

Protege said...

Always a treat to come here.;) Such lovely images; the red of the berries is amazing.
The irregular thawing is intriguing. I would say that the area there is warmer, but I am not sure. It could also be that the surface is irregular, that there is water dripping from above or just simple thermal chemistry, that I am not familiar with.;)
xo
Zuzana

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Beautiful and lovely shots !! This is simply a fantastic post !!

Country Girl said...

I enjoyed this, Hilary. Love your nature photos and it's fun trying to figure out what you've captured.

Shrinky said...

Oh, Joanna will be thrilled I am sure - what a great welcome back to blogland for her!

These shots are stunning, I am fascinated by the ice melting ones - I have never seen those before.

Kat said...

I knew what that icy picture was, but I thought it was on blacktop. Great catch! I have no idea why that happens. Hmmm.

LadyFi said...

Congratulations to The Fifty Factor!

I love your snowy pictures - we're having a real blizzard here today. Too much snow to even try to dig out the car...

Daryl said...

First I have a shot almost identical to your ducks shot ... you'll see

And I think those holes occur when fish hang out in one place .. you know like they go from school to recess ...

Doc said...

I thought the ice picture was a distortion of an eyeball... Is that freudian or something? Very nice shots!

ellen abbott said...

2, 5 and 8. Oh Hilary, those photos are just wonderful.

Inty swetha said...

you have captured beautifully !! that is a very cute picture :)

Mental P Mama said...

Congrats to Joanna! And I love these shots...I have no answer about the alien warm spots in the pond. And I want to know how you have a light inside that bird feeder! Just fabulous!

Meeko Fabulous said...

That picture of the Queen Anne's Lace is so inspiring! I picture it as a print on a beautiful white dress or as a pattern on dishware! You have such a good eye Hilary! :)

Reb said...

Such gorgeous photos Hilary. My first thought about the vehicles was "Black cars, look better in the dark" which right now is about all I can remember of that song...

Bogey said...

Congrats on your recent giveaway. I'm sure the lucky recipient will be pleased as Christms punch upon here return. Don't you think we are just blessed to have so much Winter Wonder around us? Others may look upon it with a cold shiver but, how can you not appreciate the splendour. Great pics Hilary. Especially like the reflective lights off of the car.

Land of shimp said...

Oh congratulations to The Fifty Factor :-) What a nice surprise she'll have waiting for her. It's a very nice dish and I'm sure it is off to a good home.

Wonderful shots, as always. I really think you must process the world visually in a way I simply do not. I would never notice many of these things but am fascinated when you isolate the images. Then I can see easily what attracted you to them. The picture of the thawing ice is like that. If I saw that entirely in context, I'm not sure I'd notice how fascinating it looks. Actually, I'm fibbing, I'm almost positive I wouldn't notice.

Thank you for helping me notice, Hilary.

Hilary said...

• Sorry, Bach.. but maybe next time. :) THanks for the kind words about my photos.. much appreciated. :)

• Thank you, Frank. I know you're particularly fond of chickadees. They're bold and clever wee things. I'm glad you like that shot of you despite the chickadee not being quite clever enough to shoot back. ;)

• Alix, thanks for such kind words about my photos and about Joanna's win. I never would have considered that the holes look metallic in any way, but I suppose they do. Thanks for that perspective. :)

• Thank you, Maggie. You're quite right about the squirrels. They're beginning to recognize me. The crew over at Frank's place come running to greet us in the morning.. often scampering just behind Benny.. until he turns around. ;)

• Tabor, thank you so much for saying that. It's a fine compliment and I appreciate that very much. The circles are on the pond. I amended the post to reflect that information. Sorry that I wasn't clear enough about it. And thanks for pointing it out. :)

• Moannie, thank you so much for the kind words. I hope you're on the mend and will be out taking photos very soon yourself. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks always for the kind words, Z. There's nothing dripping on the lake surface in those areas, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are fish rising to kiss the surface before it fully freezes. Or I could be way off. You're the scientist. I was counting on you! ;) Thanks for stopping by, my friend. :)

• Thank you very much, UR. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks kindly, Kate. I'm glad you like the images. That means a lot coming from you. :)

• Thank you, Shrinky. Your kind words are very much appreciated. I'm happy for Joanna too. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Kat. Figure it out for me, willya? Thanks for stopping by. :)

• LadyFi, your blizzard today will be great photos tomorrow! Thanks for the kind comment. :)

• LOL, Daryl. I bet they hang out smoking just like I did when I was in high school. They must be smoke rings. ;) I'm looking forward to seeing your duck photos. How cool that they're similar. :)

• Doc, it seems you're getting too many icy stares. ;) Thanks for stopping by with a kind comment. :)

• Ellen, thank you.. I'm glad you like them. :)

• Thanks, Inty. I'm not sure to which photo you are referring but I'll accept the compliment anyway. :)

• Thank you, MPM. There's no light inside the bird feeder. That light source is the late afternoon sunshine. My favourite time of day for photography. I'm glad you liked it. :)

• Thanks very much, Meeko. It would seem that you have a great eye yourself. That of a designer. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thanks, Reb. That shot was Frank's suggestion one night when he was heading back to my place while we were babysitting for my neighbour's little guy. He noticed it and mentioned it to me. I'm not familiar with that song.. I'll have to Google! :)

• Thanks very much, Bogey. I totally agree with you about the season. It's not my favourite.. in fact it's my least favourite but I don't think I'd appreciate the other three nearly as much without winter to compare them to. Plus, I'm learning to love it more ever since I've put my camera to use. I have to credit Frank with noticing that shot though. ;) Thanks so much for your very kind words. :)

• Shimp, thank you so much for such very kind words. I can't tell you how much it means to me to hear such encouragement. You are a true gem. Thanks for that. :)

Cloudia said...

Wow!
Masterful shots; just amazing from top to bottom. An embarrassment of riches for Christmas. My favorite gift so far...



Aloha, Friend!


Comfort Spiral

cloudia

staceyjwarner said...

you capture life is in such a beautiful way...your images made me miss snow, frost and cold weather...soon enough I'll be in Seattle and Montana for a bit...

much love

Blog Princess G said...

Wonderful photographs - what an eye you have. I love the graduated colours of light through the trees. That sort of image always makes me think of the artistry of Wolf Kahn. I assumed Benny had something to do with that mysterious melting snow puddle! Hee hee...

Brian Miller said...

beautiful pics hilary...the park bench was my favorite, but the queen annes lace too...nicely done...

SandyCarlson said...

Frank was photographing a cupola? I love these shots. You inspire me to try new perspectives.

Your giveaway was fun. God bless.

lailani said...

Love the photos. You take such wonderful pictures. I love that first one with the bench in the background!

smiles4u said...

I really do enjoy your photo's. Congrats to Joanna for winning that wonderful dish.

Michael Manning said...

Hilary: You have succeeded in capturing with the camera what is inside of your heart and we are all the better for it. Thanks for sharing not only beautiful images that are created with your talent, but for inspiring us to look at the Holidays with inspiration! lol! :)

Shammickite said...

Hi Hilary... congratulations to Joanna, I can stop lusting after that lovely prize now.
Your pictures are lovely as always. I've been a bad blogger recently, too busy organising and performing in our Christmas variety show, it's all over now, and if I find any pictures of it, I'll do a blog post, just to let you know what fun we get up to here in Slowville.

Suldog said...

My totally uninformed guess concerning the thawing is that the pond has slightly different depths? Perhaps the thaws occur where there is more - or less; what the hell do I know? - water beneath.

Russell said...

A nice collection of images. I really like the lonely tree in the snow. Black and white photographs are often some of my favorites and this is a color image that appears to be black and white.

By looking at the snow sticking to the bark you can always tell which way the wind was blowing.

I liked your first image a lot, too. Always lots of fun to scroll through your images.

Okay. I liked the lights in the final images, too! I love the color!

Tom Bailey said...

I liked the ice photos the best the shots turned out really unique.

Thanks for sharing.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Queen Anne's lace and the green ground cover. My favorites.

Kappa no He said...

Okay, a stab...something under the ice causing the thaw...I was hoping Frank would solve thy mystery. Hmmm...I'm going to be thinking about this all day.

Maggie said...

Delightful. Here I struggle and post one shot a day, and you knock us all out with a multitude. :)

Dave said...

Specially liked your spindle berry photos Hilary, and snowy groundcover and was mystified by frozen the pond circles. - Dave

slommler said...

Beautiful photos! I loved them all!
Hugs
SueAnn

addhumorandfaith said...

Welll, Hilary. I had Hubby come and look at the thawed spots on your pond, because he's good at figuring things like that out, and the only thing he could come up with was that maybe they were caused by decaying vegetation in the pond that might be giving off gases that bubble to the surface. I don't know if he's right, but that's a better guess than I could have come up with! :)

Jo said...

Gosh, at first I saw my name and my heart skipped a little beat. *heh*

Gorgeous photos. I love Queen Anne's lace when it has become dried and withered. It's much more interesting somehow, isn't it?

david mcmahon said...

Those pond circles are simply amazing, Hilary.

Thank you for sharing them with us. You don't need to be told that I have always been the biggest fan of your work.

SandyCarlson said...

OK. You have inspired me. I am hoping that snow comes our way so I can go out with the ol' camera and try to capture shots that approximate yours. I love the way you capture light.

Thanks for the hugs.

colbymarshall said...

beautiful pics as always! Looking forward to more soon!

Hilary said...

• Thanks so kindly, Cloudia. Your sweet comment made me smile. :)

• Stacey, thank you for such kind words. I wish you some lovely, snowy days. :)

• BPG, thanks so kindly. That's such a lovely compliment. There was no Benny on that ice.. you'll note that the surrounding colour was not yellow. ;)

• Thank you, Brian. I'm so glad you liked them. Much appreciated. :)

• Sandy, it does look like a cupola, doesn't it? It's actually my bird feeder. The same one featured in the shot below that one. Thanks so much for the kind words. Your visits always please me. :)

• Lailani, thank you kindly. I'm glad you like it. Thanks for stopping by to let me know. :)

• Thank you, Lori. Much appreciated. :)

• Michael, thank you kindly for such sweet words. You made me smile. :)

• Shammie, tis indeed the season for less blogging and more real life. Understandable. I imagine my own posts will dwindle for a while too. Hope you have a great holiday. :)

• Suldog, thanks for your guess. We're probably none the wiser for it, but always more amused. ;) Scrolling ahead, I think that Sandra's (Add Humor and Faith) husband has the right idea. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so much, Russell. I can always count on you to find a favourite image or two.. and to hear what it is that you like about it. The snowy shots really do appear to be monotone, don't they? Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Tom. I'm glad you like them. :)

• MJ, thanks so much. It pleases me that you like them. :)

• Terrie, Frank did share his theory, off-blog.. (that the mud below is giving off gasses) but I think that Sandra's hubby (Add Humor and Faith) a few comments down is more accurate. So don't lose any sleep over it! ;)

• Thanks, Maggie. I don't think I'd be able to come up with daily posts though. It always impresses the heck out of me when people do. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Dave. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. Much appreciated. :)

• SueAnn, thanks kindly. I'm glad you did. :)

• Sandra, I do believe he's right. Frank had the same basic theory (off-blog).. citing that he thought the mud below might have been giving off gasses. In either event, it would seem that my pond farts. How embarrassing! ;)

• Jo, I wondered if you might have thought you were the winner briefly. Sorry about that! Thanks for the kind words. I do like Queen Anne's lace dried and in full bloom. It's just a really interesting plant no matter how you look at it (or smell it.. its roots smell like carrots!). Thanks for the visit. :)

• David, so good to see you stop by! I'm very flattered by your always-kind comments. They mean so much to me. Thanks for that. :)

• Sandy, thank you, my friend. You always make me happy with your sweet words. You don't need snow to start snapping. Your photos are always quite lovely whatever the subject. Thanks for the revisit. :)

• Thanks, Colby. Much appreciated. More photos coming up real soon. :)

ethelmaepotter! said...

What kind of camera do you use, Hilary? Your photos are consistently gorgeous and artistic.
Love the Queens Anne's Lace against the snow; I have such appreciation for a weed that look so beautiful year round.

Hilary said...

Ethel Mae, thank you for such a lovely compliment. I use two cameras, but all of the photos in this post were taken with my Canon EOS 50D. I love Queen Anne's Lace too. It's an eye-catcher in all seasons. Thanks for stopping by.

Merisi said...

I wonder if every now and then you and your husband compete for who's going to take first shot at a picture! ;-)

The round open water spots could be there because animals live and move around those spots. I know from Lake Neusiedl that even though the whole lake is frozen over, one needs to pay attention to areas near the reeds, where the ice is too thin to carry a person, because of the animals moving about underneath.

Hilary said...

Thanks for the insight to the water holes, Merisi. That makes good sense too.

Frank (we're not married by the way.. not even living under the same roof most days) and I do often photograph the same images, but we don't compete for them. I carry my camera around far more than he does, and I post more often - so I'd win anyway. ;)(don't tell him I said that!) But he sure does get some beauties.. ;)(you can tell him that part.

Cedar said...

That ice melting on the lake thing is the frozen lake version of crop circles...it's just ice circles....I am pretty sure both have something to do with Alien space ships using the earth as their rest area on the way to someplace cool when they go on vacation. I guess they are just not creative or playful like earth men and cannot write their names in the snow...or they are not built the same...of course this is just a theory...much like say gravity and evolution

Hilary said...

Cedar, I want some of what you're having! ;)

Thanks for the visit. :)