DSC_2815-2Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

Albert Camus

A bright spot in the month of October. The early morning light casts a glow on the ash tree, still vibrant in its full fall foliage.

I take time to enjoy it every day for soon the winds of winter will come.

The branches will be swept clean and the landscape will ready itself for winter’s palette of frost and snow…

 

 

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day…

and I’m feeling good.

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Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.

Pietro Aretino

I am rendered speechless by those who say that they hate winter and can’t wait for spring.

Every single day is different in the winter landscape. The angle of light is low and the reflection off of snow if you’re lucky to get some, turns the outdoors into a studio!

Pinks, blues, and purples abound in the most harmonious blends and the intimate landscapes are filled with snowflakes, ice, and frost.

On this morning fog lifting off of the lake lent atmosphere and added a hazy beauty to the bridge that our town is well known for, all bathed in a wash of pinks and blues.

There are moments within every day if you keep your eyes and mind open and aren’t afraid to bundle up!

It’s also a new year…where will that take you?

Rain soaked…

and searching for moments.

dsc_2282-editIt is not enough to photograph the obviously picturesque.

Dorothea Lange

This quote really resonated with me. I think we are inundated with beautiful images and while I can appreciate that beauty, it takes far more than saturation to make me want to look twice or even remember that image.

We have had one of the rainiest months on record and it has taken some doing to watch for moments that isolate themselves from utter grayscapes.

Even the clouds have not been cooperative deigning only to show solid overcoats of smooth gray until this morning…

I am reminded of a book I’m reading whose main character is a photographer. She goes out to shoot a sunrise and takes 400 images. Unless you’re doing a startrail, timelapse, or shooting a burst for an action shot I can’t imagine why a person would want to take that many images of a single subject and then have to search through those later for the image that captures it. I would feel like I wasn’t really being present in that moment and looking beyond the obviously picturesque.

My question is just because it’s digital does that mean that we should be less thoughtful about the shots that we take? Would your photography improve if you treated it more like film?

The religion of solitude…

good, bad, or just a matter of perspective?

DSC_7897-2The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.

Aldous Huxley

I often feel the need to justify my position of solitude over mob merriment so finding this quote brought a smile to my face. There is a part of me that feels utterly selfish when I choose not to participate in things that will take me away from my quest for discovery in our natural world.

Why is it that being enrolled in university seeking a degree or perhaps writing a thesis are excusable reasons for solitude but devoting a large portion of time to self guided study somehow makes you a recluse?

Surprisingly this summer has been one that I have enjoyed a great deal. Usually after the snow melts I find myself just passing time until it returns so that I can get back to photographing ice, crystal formations, and winterscapes but not this summer!

This summer as I immersed myself in the study of clouds I discovered that with the cirro-form clouds I could continue to photograph crystals and platelets from a great distance as they put on a show high up in the troposphere. As I shared gleefully with a friend,  now I can shoot ice crystals all year round!

My summer highlight was photographing 2 rare arcs in an image, https://sherylrgarrisonphotography.com/2016/08/19/an-atmospheric-optic-adventure/  that was later published by Deborah Byrd as “Today’s Image” by earthsky.org. In the process I had some fabulous conversations with people who have studied this type of phenomena for years and ones who just share my passion for water in all of its frozen forms.

On this late afternoon I made time to join an adventurous group of women whom I admire for many different reasons and it was time well spent. I appreciate that they still ask when I frequently don’t show.

True solitude is being alone without regrets and is very different from being lonely.

It’s important to know the difference

I can see your halo…

but did you know it could look different to the person standing beside me?

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Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes – every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man.

Orison Swett Marden

For me it’s not just about the image. The journey does not end with the click of the shutter.

I am always on the look out for the unusual. The shots that are transient and fleeting. While out kayaking I had expectations that my shots would be water based as we skimmed along the creek accompanied by eagles and osprey soaring overhead.

They were likely the reason that I glanced up at that moment and saw the formation of this 22 degree halo around the sun. Some of the clouds were similar to the ones that created last week’s image of the iridescent clouds.

I resisted the urge to dash home and research exactly what atmospheric conditions needed to align to result in this halo formation.

I learned that the circular halo is formed by not precisely aligned but by poorly aligned hexagonal crystals. Ironic how something poorly aligned could create something so precise. The halo appears darker in the inside because the smaller angles of the crystals don’t refract the light. The angle that it is viewed from can make it appear differently to each person and just like a snowflake each one is unique. The 22 degree halo is one of the more common halos.

A couple of notes…

The images that I share are shot in raw format with my Nikons. This image was taken with a point and shoot that I borrowed from my mother as the lens that I had on my camera could capture sections of the halo in greater detail but not the entire halo. While in a kayak I often limit my gear. All images are edited in Lightroom including this one but I always stay true to the image. If the image should be a double exposure or image overlay from my camera I will so state.

Be very careful not to look directly at the sun and especially not through the lens of a camera and don’t forget to look up!

An eclipse night trifecta…

or having a plan come together!

the eclipsed moon, the milky way, iridium flare 65
the eclipsed moon, the milky way, iridium flare 65

Everything that you can imagine is real.

Pablo Picasso

On this special eclipse night, the fourth eclipse in a tetra, I wanted to do something more than just photograph a large frame filling blood moon. I kept being drawn to the idea of photographing the stars AND having a full moon in the shot. It just doesn’t happen very often that you can see the full moon and not have the stars washed out by its glow. I also knew that at 8:11 there would be an iridium flare visible for a brief moment. Not a very bright one but having shot these before I hoped that it would be bright enough. Could I capture this trifecta?

A great deal of planning needed to take place. First there was scouting out a location and figuring out where each element would be at that one moment necessary to capture all three. For this I turned to a wonderful ap called Photopills. It gave me all of the tools necessary to plot the placement of the moon and the milky way in relation to the direction and elevation of the flare. Taking some test shots showed me that shooting at 11 mm on my wide angle lens should just barely squeeze these three elements into the shot. What settings I would be using needed to be decided close to the time of the shot as I really did not know how much light would be present.

The one thing that I was certain of was that I would have one shot, just one frame, to get this. The girl likes a challenge though and certainly I filled my time before and after with capturing the beauty of this extra large moon, the likes of which will not occur again until 2033, as it rose behind the mountains, already partially eclipsed.

blood moon rising
blood moon rising

It was a beautiful night, with perfect weather and even a shooting star that exploded during a test shot. How lucky can one girl be? Or is luck when opportunity and planning come together…you be the judge!

More images can be viewed in the gallery idaho after dark by clicking on this link to my website.

 

Lest we forget, a moment of silence…

and a moment of beauty in the dawn hours.

Sept 11 Aurora Borealis
Sept 11 Aurora Borealis

Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, blossomed the lovely stars, the forget me not of angels.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

On each anniversary of September 11th I am instantly transported back to that surreal moment, watching a television display footage of the attack on the world trade center. I can remember each moment as if it were in slow motion…trying at the same time to comprehend what I was seeing. It is one of those events that never seems to lose its rawness and I feel compelled to mark its passage each year with a moment of silence.

At the time I was a member of a search and rescue team and as I watched it unfold my pager began to go off and I knew that some members of the team would be going into that massive ‘rubble pile’ in search of anyone still surviving. I knew it would not be me as I worked a bloodhound that was trained to follow only the scent of a victim that I provided to her. The dogs going in would be trained to alert on any human scent.

It was difficult to be on the sidelines waiting for any word of a positive find and at the same time being concerned for the safety and well-being of other team members and their canine partners. This many years later I still find it a challenge to articulate what happened on the days following this terror attack on American soil.

My heart goes out to the families that lost loved ones on 9-11 as well as to the first responders, handlers, and canines that later succumbed due to illnesses caused by their selfless call to duty in a toxic environment.

So I take a moment each September 11 to remember and on this morning felt some measure of solace as dawn approached on the west coast and the aurora borealis danced across the sky.

And then there were the stars…the forget me not of angels.