Sunday, January 31, 2010

One down, eleven to go

Wow. Once this entry is posted, I'll have successfully gotten through the first month of my self-imposed challenge. As there were days I seriously doubted whether or not I'd be able to say that on the 31st, I'm pretty psyched to have made it this far.

Today's posting is my biggest yet. I'd like to say it was a conscious decision on my part in order to commemorate the occasion, but in truth it's because I took a bunch of pictures I was really pleased with and didn't feel like having to choose between them.

This morning the temperature was -2.4 when I got ready to take Kaylee out. Deciding I couldn't wimp out two days in a row, I settled for the compromise of taking Kaylee over to the small stream that cuts through the woods rather than doing the usual loop. Given the sights that greeted me, I'm extremely glad I did so—the rising sun + running water + freezing temperature = gorgeous photo ops:

When Kaylee began to wander up the mountain as we headed for home and was pretending not to hear me whistle and call "Come Kaylee!", I chose a tactic I knew was virtually guaranteed to get her by my side: I yelled "You want to go for a ride?" As I'd hoped, she nearly broke the land speed record getting over to me. When I stopped a moment to try and photograph the stuff frozen on her chin whiskers, she informed me in no uncertain terms that there was to be a lot less photography and a lot more walking on my part:

Kaylee then proceeded to spend the rest of the trip back sprinting ahead of me for a bit, and then sprinting back to make sure I was still moving at a fast enough pace for her. When we got to the house, I realized that all of her running back and forth in the cold air—and, more importantly, through her own exhalations—had resulted in a coating of frost on her neck and chest:

After we'd picked up the newspapers and donuts downtown, I couldn't resist pulling into a parking lot so I could go take these photos of a frosted-over tree by the river, right where it drops off next to the old mill:

I'm happy to report that I did make it home before the donuts froze solid, although I did let them warm up a bit before digging in.

My deepest thanks to everyone who's been visiting and commenting on this blog. I very much appreciate all of your support and encouragement, and it makes me happy to know other folks have been enjoying this project as well. Thank you.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

As in -6.4° when I got up this morning. Upon seeing the temperature, I informed Kaylee that we would not be taking our usual 20-30 minute walk through the woods. Once we'd been out there, she wasn't inclined to argue.

On our second trip outside, it had gotten into positive numbers on the thermometer again, so I felt safe bringing my camera outside with me. As Kaylee took care of her business, I took care of mine. First up, a very distinct set of crow footprints:

As Kaylee continued to wander, I stood a few feet away from my parents' bird feeder, camera at the ready, and waited. After a minute or two of stillness on my part, the chickadees felt daring enough to start feeding again. It took me a few tries to get the camera to focus on the bird rather than the trees in the background, but I finally got the hang of it:

As I went through my pictures, I was absolutely delighted to discover I'd accidentally taken a much cooler image than I'd realized. Sometimes it really is better to be lucky than to be good, and capturing a departing bird along with the stationary one was most definitely a lucky shot:

Finally, today's Kaylee image; I took this when she was standing by the back door, hitting Greg full-force with her "please take me outside" stare:

Needless to say, it didn't take very long at all before he gave in.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cuteness Advisory Alert

Fair warning: the final picture in today's post might just overload the "Awww..." section of your brain.

But first, a couple of photos I took this morning. As Kaylee and I began our morning constitutional (with the temperature right around 3°), I turned and looked back at the house from the edge of the woods and liked the effect of the smoke spiraling up toward the clouds:

I shot this one at about the halfway point of our journey, just after the sun had cleared the top of the mountains:

Our first Kaylee pic comes from lunchtime, when in lieu of a trip up into the woods I threw a rubber stick to try and get her some exercise. Clearly she takes great pride in her retrieval skills:

And finally... well, I think it's just too adorable for words, myself:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Strike a pose

Just one picture today, starring one of my favorite subjects:

Her majesty is now asking to go out; I hear and obey.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is it Friday yet?

No, huh? I was afraid of that.

To start things off, remember hat new little brook Kaylee and I saw on our walk yesterday? First picture I posted in my previous entry? This is what it looked like today—in 24 hours it went from being filled with rushing water to bone dry:

I took this one during our walk because I liked the contrast of the green lichen against the gray bark:

My camera was busy today at work as well, as I wanted to photograph a fly to accompany an obituary we're running about the tyer, Jack Gartside. The pattern is called a Gurgler, and it was not only tied but invented by Gartside as well. He was an interesting guy with a very unique style; this is actually one of the tamer of the many flies he created that were bequeathed to the museum:

And finally, Kaylee is joined in today's picture by her good buddy Robby, an Australian sheepdog. I'd like to say that this pose is a result of their training and obedience... but really, who would I be fooling? As is no doubt obvious from the intensity of their gazes, I was actually holding two pieces of a dog biscuit over my head to ensure I had their undivided attention:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

An effect on the landscape

The sun returned to us today, and with it more seasonable temperatures that hovered around freezing all day long. However, yesterday's warmth combined with the constant rain resulted in flash flood warnings for the entire county and a whole lot of runoff water coming down the mountain. So when Kaylee and I went for our walk this morning, we encountered a fast-moving brook that didn't exist on Sunday:

Another part of our usual route was looking mighty different than the last time we walked it, thanks to that water carving a gully right down the middle of the path:

One of the most fascinating things, to me, about the annual runoff are the rows of leaves that get left behind as the water makes its way down the mountain. As this picture shows, these rows can be quite lengthy:

The leaves are even more fascinating close-up, as they end up as neat and tight as a stack of Pringles. I took the first of these two photos in the gully, the second higher up the hill (the same spot as the first picture in this post):

Finally, you'll all be relieved to know that Kaylee continues in her diligent efforts to make the world safe from rogue tree branches:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Random photos are random

It was overcast and rainy here all day today, which isn't exactly conducive to outdoor photography. So today we have two completely unrelated images. First, some of the reels in the museum's collection:

And second, a look at one of my mom's gorgeous orchids:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mmm... donuts...

One of the best things about staying at Mom and Dad's? Being able to go a few miles down the road to pick up donuts for a Sunday morning treat; I'd have to make a 25-30 minute round trip to satisfy that craving if I was in Arlington.

Before Kaylee and I headed downtown, though, we went on our morning walk. When I stepped outside I was immediately struck by the cloud formation overhead, and shot this picture right at the edge of my parents' property:

A few yards up into the woods I turned around and took this one:

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful, visually speaking. So was our second walk of the day in the middle of the afternoon. But I did get today's picture of Kaylee on our way home—her attention is completely focused on my left jacket pocket, ie the location of the last of the cookies I'd brought:

While I was definitely curious, I opted for giving her the treat rather than see if that stare could burn a hole in my pocket. No need to ruin a perfectly good coat, right?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Might have overdone it a tad...

Lots of pictures today, so I'll just get right to it. I took this first one standing just next to my parents' house when Kaylee and I went out for our first walk this morning. I didn't quite capture the colors I'd hoped to, but I still liked how it came out.

The rest of these were taken during our midday walk, when we went over to Equinox Pond and back. As you can see, clear blue skies were the order of the day:

As we walked, I noticed the snow along the edge of the pond was different from the rest of the powdery stuff—for whatever reason, it was in larger, more crystalline flakes rather than the fine, powdery stuff everywhere else, making for a striking visual:

I discovered lots of interesting ice formations when I checked out the little brook coming off the pond. The light wasn't the best due to the time of day, but I thought this one still came out okay:

This was taken on our way back to the house; I liked the spider web effect created by the light in the branches:

Looking up through the trees:

And our obligatory Kaylee shot:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Advil, take me away...

After three walks with Kaylee today, I suspect it'll take a crane and/or a forklift to get me upright and ambulatory tomorrow morning. The dog in question is currently stretched out on my parents' bed, dead to the world, a spot she's occupied for at least the last 90 minutes. Even refilling her food bowl had no effect, so you know we're talking some serious tired there.

When we returned home from our first walk this morning it was still pretty chilly out. Most of the trees in the yard were covered in hoar frost and the sun had just cleared the mountains; these two shots are of my parents' apple trees as the light caught the frost on the branches:

During our second walk, I heard and was lucky enough to spot a pileated woodpecker. Better still, thanks to the wonder that is digital zoom I also managed to get a decent picture of it:

And finally, a couple of Kaylee images. Mom and Dad told me that lately Kaylee had taken up the habit of nudging them in the back of the leg on their way home from walks in order to make sure they gave her whatever remained of the cookies they'd brought along. Today I experienced it firsthand—and she is very persistent. If you're walking, she's bumping you constantly. If you stop, she sits and awaits your next move; during one of those pauses, all I had to do was turn to my left to get this photo:

And finally, the girl herself, fresh from dispatching yet another fearsome tree branch:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sunrise, sunset

I had an appointment during my lunch hour today, which didn't leave me a whole lot of time for photography. But this morning as I prepared to load my suitcases in my car, I took a few shots of the early morning clouds; this is the one I liked the best:

When I arrived at my parents' place this evening I decided to take Kaylee out for a walk. Even though the sun was well below the horizon, I grabbed my camera just in case something popped out at me. As we headed back home, I turned and took some shots of the trees against the fading light. Naturally, because of the low light there was a bit of a delay between my pressing the button and the shutter closing, so I didn't hold out much hope for the resulting images. But, miracle of miracles, I managed to hold the camera steady enough for one of them to turn out halfway decent:

Because I worked on Saturday I'll be taking tomorrow off, giving me my three-day weekend about a week after everyone else's. No complaints here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Here there be dragons... or tow trucks

This morning before work I swung back up by Kelly Stand Road to take a photo of the sign posted just after you start up the mountain. It cracked me up when I saw it the other day, and decided I should share the fun:

At lunchtime I drove around town for a bit. I took these two photos on a private road up past my dentist's office:

And this was taken over on the other side of town:

As of tomorrow I'll be heading over to my parents' place to hang out with Kaylee while they enjoy their annual vacation in Kauai. So there'll likely be a lot of dog pictures gracing this blog over the next few weeks. Consider yourselves warned.