Monday, October 30, 2006

patterns revealed

Being a photographer can mean that you develop some strange goals. In my quest to photograph the sunrise every day for a year, there are bound to be days when the sunrise just isn’t that spectacular. Today was such a day! I know my mood was a little ho-hum so that didn’t help things either. I looked around my park for something new and interesting. It was warm and very calm and very clear. The forecast is for high winds, so this is the calm before the storm.

There weren’t even any dogs to take photos of!!! The older man who runs the track regularly showed up in a hurry as if the switch to daylight savings had him rattled. I actually love the time change – at least in the morning!!

My wanderings at the park took me to the honey locust tree just beyond the chain link fence. I have noticed these trees lately. They are native to my area and they seem to be a most sensible tree. They are one of the last to leaf out in the spring and one of the first to drop their leaves in the fall. That is the best way for deciduous trees to avoid the damage from late spring and early fall snowstorms! This honey locust is heavily laden with the familiar shiny dark-brown fruits. As the breeze picks up, there is a rhythmic chorus heard as thousands of seeds rattle within the drying pods interspersed with the sudden clatter, as a single pod breaks loose and falls to the ground.

So my goal is to find some way to photograph the beauty of this tree in winter that somehow shows the unique spiral pattern of the seed pods.

I used to dread winter with the approaching cold but now I embrace and welcome back the view of my trees without their cloak of leaves.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

return to yesterday

After yesterday, I knew that I would return. There were (and are) more photographs to be taken. As I drove over there, I could see the dark intense colors of the hour before sunrise in my rear view mirror. It was a cloudless morning, which can be rather anticlimactic. By the time I reached the base of Lookout Mountain where I was yesterday, the colors had faded to that eerie ‘colorless’ turning point of the hour before sunrise. At this time, the sky just keeps lightening up, the blue returns and the sun peaks up above the horizon OR something else happens! This morning, banks and streaks and swirls of clouds silently assembled almost without my awareness. They were there but I didn’t really see them.

Quite suddenly, a small cloud in the direction of Green Mountain turned pink and then the whole sky turned. From half way up the horizon and overhead all the way to the mountains in the west – the clouds developed an intense pink color. As always, the color lasted a few minutes, ever changing and then suddenly all were flashy white against the deep blue sky.

Phewwww!.... such drama!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lookout Mountain from sunrise to sunset

I had thought about a trip to the mountains this morning but being rather busy this weekend, I didn't want to give it the time it would deserve. So I will save that trip for the future.

I headed for nearby Lookout Mountain and instead of driving up to the top, I found much to interest me right at the entrance to this scenic drive.

I was fascinated with the big stone gateway at the entrance. After returning home, I found an interesting article about this drive with photos of the stone gateway back when there were no houses practically on top of them. These majestic stone columns definitely look a little crowded compared to years ago when they were build in 1917! I am going to go back to see if I can get a better perspective on these columns but I think that there are too many road signs around them to get a clear view.

I spent the day working and then thoughts of going back and actually driving to the top of Lookout Mountain entered my mind. So I decided to take sunset photos up there this evening. It was just another little mini- adventure. I didn’t make it anywhere near the top. I found a place to pull over that had paved parking.

And that is where I spent the day’s end.

Friday, October 27, 2006

the sun returns

Living in the western suburbs up against the foothills, we often get higher amounts of snow than Denver but less than the mountains. It is hard to give an exact measure but after walking in the compacted remains this morning, I would say that we got close to a foot of heavy wet snow.

It was perfect snow photography weather: warm & sunny

Thursday, October 26, 2006

forecast right on!!


Not too many words to describe the beauty of the snow.

My new equipment:
plastic bag
soft lens-drying cloth (may need more!)

It was snowing rather hard the whole time I was out. The temperature is warm enough so that the snow is soft and melts right away on my coat. I came in when I could feel the water reach my skin….brrrrr.

Thank goodness for the weather seals on my camera. I have a feeling that I am going to put them to the test this winter.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I was up early this morning working on a report. It was mostly cloudy so I kept working with the idea that I would go out close to sunrise and see what was going on! Then I glanced out and saw some beautiful intense color. That prompted my ‘get dressed in seconds and out the door routine’ that has the cats jumping out of my way for their own safety. They know that then is not the time to beg for food. By the time I got up to Top of the World, the color had started to fade and with the dark clouds, the lighting was not so great. But then for a few short minutes the colors came up again and I got some beautiful shots. It was warm and very pleasant to be out.

Off in the distance, I heard a dog bark. I knew exactly which dog it was. This dog’s human is very friendly and he explained to me that his dog is compelled to bark at anything he sees up at Top of the World that he thinks is out of place or is an intruder. That includes all people and sometimes the athletic equipment on the soccer field! So his barking is a sort of alarm. He is a small, older dog who isn’t the least bit threatening. I got to pet him and then he started to roll on the ground on his back across the grass. It was just hilarious because he just kept sliding across the grass for many feet and then got up and then dived down and did it again. I just couldn’t stop laughing! I tried to take his picture but he moves fast and my camera was set for the bright colors of the sunrise. But now he has me wanting to take good photos of the various dogs I see at the park. It is rare for a day or two to go by when I don’t see at least one dog. Ah…. just another challenge.
(I apologize in advance for the quality of this photo but I am glad I got anything!)

And Bingo was his name-o!

As I post this, I hear the sounds of snap-crackle-pop outside as the rain & sleet begins. The forecast is for a winter storm and 6-12 inches of snow. I hope we get it - I will be out there in a few short hours!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sunrise on Day One of Year Two

The day is finally here.

It has been one year since I started my blog, Pajama Library. This feels more important to me than the change from one calendar year to the next. But like that transition, I will contemplate the changes that have occurred and look forward to the future and what it might hold and what I have planned.

To me, this year of blogging has been a most enjoyable and satisfying experience. At first, it was a chance to pour out a lot of emotions. But it morphed into documenting my philosophy of life and then…I discovered photography. Before PL, I always enjoyed photography and took quite a few photos but something changed. A passion has settled over me and I feel joy and excitement and I no longer wonder what I will be when I grow up!! Even if I never become a “paid professional” I will continue to pursue this as if it is the most important thing in my life (well there might be a few other important things and people!!!). It is just SO much fun – I love it and I see no end in sight
I have a MILLION ideas and avenues to pursue.

A big part of the satisfaction of keeping a blog is the contact and interaction with other bloggers. My list of blogs that I visit is woefully out of date plus there is a long list of photo bloggers that I visit everyday. One resolution of mine is to update that so that the circle is complete. Thank you all for your blogs and willingness to express yourselves in this way and thank you for your encouragement! I am going to move to beta blogger as soon as work gets a little less crazy.

Finally, looking over the past year would not be complete or honest if I did not mention an incredible love, both exciting and nourishing that has found its way into my life. I never in my wildest dreams expected this to happen but it has made me realize even more just how precious life is and how time is our greatest resource.

I started out this year talking about embracing and celebrating life – I see no reason to change.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

snowy sunrise

Friday, October 20, 2006

light of another world

Evening sky before the arrival of another snowstorm

return to Golden Hill

I have been thinking of new places to go for sunrise. With the sunrise right at around 7:15, any drive takes me through rush hour traffic and the need for more time. If you want to see an impatient driver, follow me when I am trying to get somewhere in time for sunrise. Every minute counts!!!

I decided to head back to Golden Hill Cemetery because I remembered that it had a good exposure for sunrise viewing. I decided I could park next door in the parking lot of the vacant building. After second thought, I parked down the road on an area of wide shoulder!

The cemetery looks very much the same except that I see several head stones have been pushed over and little rocks have been placed on top of many of the headstones. The view for these long departed people is gorgeous if they were able to see it.

The intense colors lasted only about 8 minutes and then the gray returned. We are expecting rain changing to snow by tonight. I noticed a zoning change request on the property to the east. It looks like someone is proposing a retail and residential development there on the undeveloped parcel adjacent to the cemetery. I have to feel sad that this little island of rest may have a Starbucks next to it someday soon.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

excited about winter!

After scrambling yesterday to put snow tires on my car, I felt pleased with myself for finding some of my ‘real’ winter clothes! But my plans fell apart when I foolishly walked up to Top of the World in OPEN BACK SHOES. I did have warm, thick socks on but my shoes scooped up the snow and within minutes my heels were wet and freezing!

At the top of the steps leading to Top of the World, I couldn’t help but exhale at the beauty of winter extending out before me, like stepping foot in a different world. A frozen world, a thin layer of snow just barely, yet completely covering that green grass and those beautiful fall leaves. The sky was mostly clear of clouds, just a few to add some beauty to the sunrise. The mist of cold mixed with my warm breath to remind me that it is time to stop being casual about dressing for the cold, even if I am not going up Green Mountain!

Like everyday that I am up here, I marvel at the beauty and peace that I find here. It is in such contrast to the cars speeding down the hill on their way to work. After a hot bath and dry clothes, I am ready to join them.

before the snow

Sunrise peeks out from underneath a thick sky-full blanket of swirling jacquard clouds

Ethereal streaks of pink – so subtle that I whisper to myself “are they really there?”

Saturday, October 14, 2006

catching up - Sunrise October 11, 2006

After the breathtaking colors of sunrise have disappeared
back into my memory,
the sunlight reaches across the grass with its first warming touch,
a golden glow that contrasts beautifully with
the long dark shadows cast as the sun rises above the horizon.

The moon and I both watch as my favorite tree
dazzles us with a sunrise mantle of gold.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Photo Friday: Destruction

benign neglect

Monday, October 09, 2006

sunrise and a new piece of equipment*

Like always,
it seems worse than it is until you actually get out into it!

There was just enough of a drizzle in the air to deter all but two students who HAD to go to school.

Other than them, no dogs, no runners, just me and the clouds.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

beauty of yesterday

It has been a week marked by many miles traveled, too few hours slept and memories built. My philosophy on sleep is: don’t miss anything due to a silly need to sleep!! I do have memories as a child of being forced to take naps during which I listened to the sounds of nature to stave off boredom.

I have a little side project going in which I photograph sunrise every day for one year. It is kind of a silly idea and I am not really committed. But just in case, I have not missed a morning since the beginning of Fall.

This morning was cloudy with a chilly wind. I walked up to Top of the World to seek some interesting images of the (NOT) sunrise. The first thing I noticed was the smell of gasoline in the air. Looking around for the source, I could see way down the hill to the Safeway gas pumps and a tanker truck filling the underground storage tanks. It was rather shocking to me, just how far the fumes carry.

Welcome to the cloudy smelly sunrise of October 8, 2006.
The most critical tool for today is my watch so that I know when the sun has risen! Usually when I am up at Top of the World Park, it is to chase sunrise, sunset or some other spectacular event. But this morning, everywhere I look; even the clouds don’t seem that exciting. I found myself looking and seeing the beauty of yesterday!

Monday, October 02, 2006

CLOUDY sunrise

Despite a beautiful sunrise,

the story of the morning, for me, was the cloud-splashed sky!