Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of Year Reflections ... not of the philosophical kind!

We are continually amazed at the number of days of sunshine, or at least no rain, that we have experienced in December this year.  Reading the forecasts we have had galoshes and umbrellas ready to greet the days and instead had to grab for the sunglasses.  This morning was no exception. Monotones of color certainly were prevalent - mostly grey.  But as the sun rose from behind the mountain the shaft of light created pointed right to the end of my garden! Another stunning sunrise. With very best wishes, to anyone who comes across this blog, for a joy filled, adventurous, healthy new year.

Matisse was here?

Late afternoon December 24, 2011
On the south facing end of my garden the view looked as though Matisse had come to visit.  At this time of year the sun is at its most southerly place in the sky creating new images across Puget Sound. So low was the setting sun that a shadow of the trees, on the top of the hill across the water from us, was projected onto the water looking just like an impressionist painting. It reminded us of his paintings of the gardens at Giverny.  And then .... it was gone.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Winter Solstice approaches ...

As the winter solstice approaches ( this year at 12.30am on the 22nd of December) the sun is so much further south and rises almost behind Mt. Rainier highlighting the mountain from behind.  These two images were taken on the day before and the day of the winter solstice last year.  Who knows what the morning will be like for the next couple of days, but photos like these remind us that the most spectacular sun rises of the year, from our vantage point, happen in winter. I haven't seen any druids at the end of my garden but rest assured we will be on the lookout for the next couple of days!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Should you post "pretty pictures"?

I have the privilege of living in a very beautiful area, with a very spectacular view from my home, and the surrounding area as well. Looking at stunning images in various publications, or in one of the many online photo storage and display sites, it's easy to think that unless you "fix" or embellish a photograph and make it "perfect' or extraordinary ( in whose eyes is always my question)  ... it should just be left in your computer photo book, or your personal photo album. Who cares? Should you even bother to put "pretty pictures" in a blog for goodness sakes! But I choose to do so, for now.
Looking at the westerly facing end of my garden this afternoon I watched a stunning sunset image develop before my eyes. I'll just look, I thought, no need to try and capture it.  But ultimately I couldn't resist.  And as so often is the case ... this was the light one minute and less than a minute later ... it was gone. A fleeting, stunning end to what had been a bleak, grey, rainy  day.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

At the end of my garden yesterday ...

At the end of my garden yesterday, The Mountain appeared after a very foggy morning with rain dripping down from the grey skies. By mid afternoon, however, the clouds parted - the rain stopped and the sun shone.  A meteorologist said yesterday it was the driest 2 weeks on record at SeaTac airport - since they began keeping records. Sometimes it's hard to fathom how it can be "dry" when the heavy fog we often get at this time of year feels very moist. I find myself sometimes using clothing analogies to describe the way Mt. Rainier appears and yesterday there was a fluffy white "collar" two thirds from the top of the mountain encircling the lower one third.  Of course by the time I found my camera ... it had changed ...  again!  But then that's part of the mystery. Today about 50 neighbor friends gathered at my home for brunch ... a tradition going back more than 30 years for many of us to a time when our children were very young together.  It was a brilliant sunny day and The Mountain, in all her majesty, now fully dressed in snow did not disappoint: how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful place.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

And then sometimes .....

And then sometimes ... it's as though we live in another place altogether! My mother used to love to tell the story of going to a lecture by a group of Rotarians who had visited the Pacific Northwest from Australia.  One of the speakers was showing images of the beautiful scenery of the region and projected a photo, much like the one from this morning, onto the screen announcing that this was Mt. Rainier! My mother was the only one in the audience who laughed out loud. She too had been here when the mountain at the end of my garden seems to have disappeared and does not show itself for days and days. So for today we listen to the muffled sounds that fog brings and wait knowing we will be rewarded on another day: perhaps with a view like the one below from another January day in another year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The morning's shadows at the end of my garden.

Unexpected Morning surprises .... Long Shadows
For as long as we have lived in this beautiful place people have said " I bet you get bored looking at the mountain and don't think to look at the view for days on end" ... or ... "Do you really check it out every morning?"  No we never are bored by looking to see "if the mountain is out" and yes we really do check each morning.
Today it initially appeared that we were going to have a "no mountain this morning" event.  We were wrong.  Slowly the clouds lifted and a tinge of gold followed along the crest of the Cascade Foothills. A brief flash of the rising sun was followed by the sun climbing up behind the heavy cloud cover: but not before highlighting, by long shadows,  the trees along the edge of the hillside and then making a shadow of the mountain top all the way across the bay!  Sure we have seen shadows before but we cannot recall ever seeing a shadow of the trees or of the mountain of this magnitude. What a surprise at the end of my garden!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why get out of bed early?

About 7am a huge log boom makes its way east ...
not very much differentiation of color in the sky
A little color began creeping into the morning ...
about 7.20am.
Under-lit the clouds come alive and the shadow of the mountain
is projected onto the clouds.

An hour later, it is as though someone turned off the light!

Monday, December 12, 2011

At the end of my garden stands a mountain!

Mt. Rainier and Commencement Bay of Puget Sound
At the end of my garden stands a very tall mountain. Her name (for I am certain that mountain is a she) is Tahoma.  She is also known as Mt. Rainier. Locally, here in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, she is also simply known as The Mountain. For more than 40 years I have watched and documented the many moods of this mountain.  There was a time when I thought to try and publish a book of some of my images of this monolith but like so many plans in life - it hasn't come to fruition.  In the meantime I decided my blog was as good a place as any to share some of my images.  This view (taken earlier this week) might be called - now you see me and in a flash I'll be gone! It was a moment when "quick get the camera" flashed through my mind and while not a fabulous quality image it shows a huge fog bank moving in and indeed - in a flash - she was gone.