Category Archives: winter

Winter Sunday Sunrise

For many people winter isn’t the most joyous of the seasons. I can be one of those, whining about the cold, the ice, the aches and pains. But, since I have no choice to to head out every day for the benefit of my canine companion Harley, I’m working on retraining myself to see the beauty in all of the seasons.

We walk early in the morning, usually just before or during sunrise. Normally I take a camera, or at least my cell phone with its camera, when we walk. Today, unfortunately, I forgot to take either with me when we set out for our daily stroll down Mulberry Lane. In hindsight, it wasn’t unfortunate at all. Mulberry Lane runs between two large hayfields and the view in any direction is quite lovely. Sometimes the openness of the area is a detriment – like when the wind is blowing a gale across those fields, whipping any available snow into a frenzy that stings cheeks, eyes and fingertips.

Other times, like today, the air was exceptionally warm for late February and the fog lay heavily over the fields, obscuring both sights and sounds. For once we couldn’t hear any traffic on the nearby highway. Our view consisted of the tops of trees poking above the low lying fog clouds. So quiet, so peaceful, it made our pre-dawn walk a joy to the senses.

Once we got home I rushed to get my camera set up on the deck to capture what was left of the most eerie but pleasant feeling from our morning’s endeavours.

 

Sunny winter sunrise in Picadilly, NB

 

Winter sunrise on the hills of Picadilly, NB

Needless to say my constant companion was close at paw to oversee my efforts.

I can barely remember a time when my shadow wasn’t present for everything I do.

Harley watching sunrise

Every day is a gift, meant to be enjoyed, each moment appreciated for what it is.

Also posted in appreciation, BLOG, seasons, sunrise Tagged , |

Keeping spirits bright

 

The holidays are over and keeping spirits bright through the dismal days of January and February is far from easy. For me it goes back to my vow to slow down and become more consciously creative.

I’ve played the violin since I was about three years old. I grew up in a house full of music. My mother, a former concert pianist, taught music lessons in our home. My father was a piano tuner and an accomplished pianist himself. Games consisted of listening to musical notes and learning to identify them, or the types of chords etc. I grew up studying various instruments, but the violin was my primary focus.

When I was 16 my parents bought me this violin. It has been in my then-boyfriend’s family for quite a while, fiddled upon by his grandfather. It didn’t seem to be anything special, but it had a lovely tone. Wooden, and particularly stringed, instruments mellow with age and use and the sound becomes deeper, more resonant and warm with time. Even though it hadn’t been played in decades, I could feel it the moment I first drew a bow across the strings.

That violin travelled with me through years as Concert Mistress with the then-fledgling #NewBrunswickYouthOrchestra, through a term at the #RoyalAcademyofMusic in London, England, and through my music studies at #AcadiaUniversity upon my return. Practice wasn’t hard for me; it was an emotional and creative outlet.

Then things changed. Life happened. Instead of pursuing that creative career I turned to teaching school, marriage, having and raising a son. More life happened. More career changes and suddenly I realized that literally decades had passed during which I had rarely even touched my violin.

When I met my birth mother and greatly extended family 24 years ago I learned that my grandfather was renowned as a fiddler. Who knew?

I make my living as a photographer and writer now. In planning for an upcoming creative writing workshop in Ireland this spring I talked to #Dr.GerardCollins who will be leading the event. During the past couple of years we’d become friends, frequenting the same cozy coffee shop in downtown Sussex. In the course of our conversation about the workshop, I happened to mention that, in my youth, I played the violin. He went on to say that he dabbled with the guitar and some of the other potential workshop participants also played an assortment of musical instruments, or sang or both, and that I should bone up in preparation for some inspiring musical evenings.

Challenged, I came home and dug my old violin out of the closet, tuned it up and began to play – albeit badly. But it was fun and after just a few minutes I began to feel that ‘vibe’, that connection between the violin and me. And from that was born my commitment to a year of creativity – both visually and verbally.

So, while I am playing away a little bit, I am also working on my photographic techniques, combining two of my passions – music and visual arts.

The music and this old instrument have become my bridge to greater creativity.

The sound pours out of these worn holes straight from my soul.

New pegs clash with the old wood on the scroll but were needed to hold the strings in tune.

Not unexpected in an instrument that was originally crafted in 1731 in Paris by a luthier named Gavinies. Yes, my violin really is that old!

Gavinies’ violins are reputed to boast a sweet sound, and mine does. It’s deep, and rich and mellow with a vibrance that belies its battered appearance.

Thank you, Gerard, for nudging me back to my first love – making melodies sing.

 

Also posted in BLOG, photography Tagged , , |

Leaping Joyfully Into a New Year

Happy Harley _DSF2097 - Version 2

On a bright and sunny winter day, no one exhibits greater enthusiasm than a young dog leaping joyfully into the new year. Yesterday was just such a day and one that Harley thoroughly enjoyed while frolicking in the snow.

There are two ways to approach the Canadian winter: run like hell heading south, or embrace the good while preparing for the bad. Some of us have a choice; many don’t. I prefer to adopt Harley’s approach to life in general, and winter in particular – bundle up and leap in. He likes nothing better than to run full tilt through the snow, leaping and burrowing into piles of the cold, white stuff and then surfacing to run some more. He is the embodiment of unfettered joy.

So as we move quickly into this new year, stay tuned for news about some terrific new projects designed to bring joy to you as you follow my blog through 2016 and beyond. I am always grateful for those who comment and share my posts and look forward to your comments. Thanks so much!

And, may you all have a joyful year ahead.

 

 

Also posted in BLOG, dog, photography, seasons, winter weather Tagged , |

It’s spring – somewhere

It's spring.  The calendar says so.
It’s spring.
The calendar says so.

The calendar and all of the media pundits cheerfully announced that spring officially arrived two days ago. Sadly, I think they forgot to tell Mother Nature to kick Old Man Winter out – way out. Snowbanks in our neck of the woods range from 8-10 feet high and many well exceed 25 feet. The world is white.

My husband spent two hours in the wee hours of the morning clearing the walkway and driveway of the latest snowfall from last night. Since he has to work a night shift tonight, he’s napping right now. Imagine his excitement when he wakes up to discover that, although the snowfall has abated a bit, the winds have increased dramatically and the temperature is plummeting. The howling wind has blissfully filled in all the places that he cleared earlier today with drifts of snow. I suspect he will be less than happy when he opens his eyes.

In my next life, should the fates determine that I have to live in an area that suffers severe winters, I want to be reincarnated as a bear. They get to gorge on food to fatten up for the season, hibernate through the worst of the winter, birth their young while semi-conscious mostly unaware of the process, and roar loudly when they’ve had enough of the #never-ending-winter! Sounds good to me.

In the meantime, I’ll crank up the propane fireplace, grab the cat, a good book, a warm blanket and a hot cup of tea and make the best of it. See y’all when spring actually arrives.

Also posted in BLOG, Canada, cold, New Brunswick, seasons, spring Tagged , , |

St. Patrick’s Day

Shamrock, Baileys and Guinness - all you need to celebrate St. Paddy's Day

Shamrocks, Baileys and Guinness – all you need to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day

I grew up in Saint John, New Brunswick. The city’s claim to fame used to be that it is Canada’s most Irish city. After the past month of incessant snowstorms, it’s latest claim is having been subject to the most snowfall (431cm  or 170 inches – that’s FOURTEEN FEET of the white stuff) since 1962! Living beyond the city limits (by 70km) I suspect we’ve had even more dumped in our yard and driveway.

Spring is literally just around the corner, according to the calendar on my wall. However, I suspect it will be quite a while before this mountain of frozen white stuff will be gone and signs of spring poke through inches of solid ice beneath the snow. It’s been a brutal winter in the past four or five weeks.

Nonetheless, get out tomorrow and hoist a tankard in honour of the day. Sláinte! If nothing else, you won’t care about the weather, at least for a little while!

Also posted in BLOG, New Brunswick, seasons Tagged , , , |

Winter won’t let go – yet.

There's a road out there - somewhere.

There’s a road out there – somewhere.

Despite the incessant, and much too regular, Sunday snowstorms and ever increasing mountains of the white stuff, winter will come to an end, really it will. As noted previously, the days are getting noticeably longer with daylight appearing before 7:a.m. now and lasting, to some degree, until after 6:p.m. That alone brings a measure of cheer with it.

Since we can’t beat it, we may as well learn to live with it. In the past few weeks I’ve spent a couple of lovely evenings with fellow photography enthusiasts helping them to add new skills to their tool boxes. Several have since let me know that they’ve actually used something they learned and nothing could please me more.

Since shooting outdoors is less than pleasant at the moment, due to the excessive cold, dampness and snow clogged highways and byways, I found something to do INSIDE that was both fun and helpful to someone else. A few months ago a new cafe, Dawn’s Cafe on Maple, opened in Sussex. It’s a cozy place to spend some time, enjoy time with friends, sip some coffee and nosh on some tasty tidbits. So, the other day I took my gear and spent a couple of hours shooting food. This type of assignment is hard on the waistline since we didn’t want the props to go to waste.

Three tasty desserts

Three tasty desserts

Warm fudgy brownie topped with ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce

Warm fudgy brownie topped with ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce

Omelet filled with your favourite delights

Omelet filled with your favourite delights

Pancakes with butter and maple syrup

Pancakes with butter and maple syrup

Spicy squash soup, sandwich and salad makes a tasty and filling lunch

Spicy squash soup, sandwich and salad makes a tasty and filling lunch.

Just a few samples.

Also posted in BLOG, photography, seasons, winter weather Tagged |

Hearts, flowers and winter storms

Rose4900 - Version 2-webToday’s the day for gifts of flowers to be given to loved ones to celebrate ‘heart’ day – Valentine’s Day! I’m one of the lucky ones. My hubby went to our local florist (Goold’s Flowers) and came home with some lovely flowers as his gift of love to me – much appreciated I might add!

HaloProfile4912 - Version 2-webThe sun was shining this morning so Halo was content to enjoy the warmth of the rays and pose beside the vase – at least for a moment.

LadySlipper4908 - Version 2-webEvery stem had a beautiful blossom on it in cheery colours to dispel thoughts of the blizzard predicted to arrive tonight and tomorrow driving all optimistic thoughts of spring far away – again.

Halo4903 - Version 2-webWho could skip checking out the wonderful scents emitting from flowers and foliage? Not Halo, that’s for sure. She, too, is looking forward to the warmth and stronger sunlight due to arrive with spring in a few, hopefully short, weeks.

Tulip4886 - Version 2-web

Another friend gave me some tulips to celebrate the day and to remind everyone that spring WILL come… someday. In the meantime, these gorgeous blooms will distract us from tomorrow’s howling winds and 50+cm deposit of snow – we hope.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Also posted in BLOG, caring, photography Tagged , |

Happy New Year! Happy shooting (photographically speaking)!

We do go from one extreme to another. Last year the entire Province of New Brunswick was buried under unbelievable amounts of snow; thousands of homes were without power for weeks; and the cleanup took forever. Today is the first day of 2015, a new year, and there’s not a flake of snow to be seen. The entire Christmas holiday period was green from start to finish – no doubt disappointing for school kids and ski hills. Until yesterday, temperatures were also unseasonably warm – although now it is bitterly cold.

It would be nice to get out and shoot some new photographs, especially for those who may have received new cameras, lenses or other gear as gifts for Christmas. If you are going to venture forth in the extreme cold, aside from dressing yourself well to prevent personal misery, remember that camera gear is temperature and humidity sensitive. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Take spare batteries with you as the cold sucks the power out quickly.
  • Keep batteries in an inside pocket of your clothing, close to your body, so they stay warm and retain their power.
  • Acclimate your camera to the temperature slowly. Let it ‘cool down’ when you first go out.
  • When returning home, before entering a warm car / house, put your camera into a large freezer bag and seal it shut. When you get home, put the package in a cool room and leave it alone for a while until it warms up naturally before you try to remove memory cards or do anything else with it. If you take a cold camera directly into a warm house or car, humidity will condense on (and in) your camera and can cause irreparable damage. The joys of living in a northern climate.
  • Dress yourself warmly for both your personal comfort and the quality of your images. If you are shivering, your photos will be blurry. Layers help; as do ‘hunters mitts’ – the kind where the tip flips back to let you operate your camera buttons and then you can flip them back on to warm up your frozen finger tips.

So, it’s a new year. Get out there and have some fun with your new/old camera gear.

_L2H1648loneskier-web

Happy New Year! And Happy Shooting!

Also posted in BLOG, New Brunswick, photography, seasons Tagged , |

What a day!

Snow covered field by Mulberry Lane

Snow covered field near Mulberry Lane

What a day I woke up to this morning! No wind, sunny skies and beautiful, snow-covered, vistas everywhere I looked.

For the first time, since our beloved dog Hoover passed away last June, I was able to stroll down our favourite route, Mulberry Lane, and enjoy the experience. The sun shone warmly on my face. It was nice to take my time and enjoy the bright white snow draped on the trees and glistening on the ground.

As I sauntered along I remembered the hundreds of times I made that same walk with Hoover, laughing at his silly antics chasing snowballs and pouncing on imaginary prey.

Today was one of those days when you have to proclaim – what a day!

Also posted in BLOG, Canada, caring, New Brunswick, seasons Tagged , |

The never-ending winter

Snowmageddon 2014

This winter just won’t let go. Spring officially arrived last week, but one would need know that based on what happened around here yesterday. The blizzard, originally scheduled to appear shortly after dawn, finally showed up around 11 in the morning. In a matter of minutes the weather went from dull and cloudy to horrendous in less than 15 minutes. With high winds and steady snow falling the word was obliterated in just a few minutes. “They” (who know about such things) say that a blizzard is simply a winter hurricane with sustained winds, nasty temperatures and snow. Apparently our ‘winter hurricane’ delivered winds comparable to a Category 3 hurricane. I believe it.

We were pummelled for almost 18 hours and between the wind, the snow drifts and the snow plow passing by, we ended up with banks nearly six feet high at the end of the driveway.

For most of us in Atlantic Canada it has been a long and cruel winter this year offering little in the realm of relief – either from the arctic like temperatures or the endless snowfalls. “They” are telling us that more will come over the week-end. Then, perhaps as March departs roaring like a lion, April will indeed usher spring in and with it warmth, sunshine and the return of hope.

But in the meantime, a touch of whimsy…

Spring Snow

Spring Snow

 

Also posted in BLOG, cold, snow, winter weather