Christmas Tree

Goddess and I got rid of our Christmas tree last week.  We hadn’t put it up in years and found someone who needed one.

So it’s set up in another home this season and is decorated beautifully.

So, unbeknownst to Goddess at the time, the other day I adopted this tree when we were out at one of the mountain lakes, hoping for a break in the snow and clouds for some late afternoon mountain pictures.

A bit of a Charlie Brown tree, but that’s OK.  Considering the amount of downed trees around it, it’s doing quite well.

Once again, thanks goes to Goddess, my ever-patient VALS, providing the lighting from camera right.

My Pretty

An ancient foxtail pine (pinus balfouriana) evokes certain images.

In my case, perhaps an old witch, hunched over, looking for children to have for dinner.

My Pretty

Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Northern California

What thoughts does the tree give you?

Two Valleys

Spring is here.  Even though we didn’t have much of a winter.

It’s dry down low in the valleys, but enough moisture in the upper levels to give us some clouds, which at least helps make the photos interesting.

Two Valleys

Luckily this day, there was enough moisture in the clouds that at least a few drops made it to the distant valley floor.

Painful

It’s painful to watch the images pouring in from Japan.

A country that I’ve lived in a total of nine years so far.  Each in distinctly different phases of my life.

A country that continues to touch me in such a way that if an opportunity was presented that I could live the rest of my days there, I wouldn’t hesitate.

But really, I can’t describe the thoughts and feelings right now any better than our dear friend Beth Welliver.  Click on her name for pictures and words.

Her post inspired me to go back and look at some of the many thousands of images I have from Japan.

They all make me smile.

And this one encapsulates it all.

Help if you can.

Green

Forget the weather in the US – 49 of 50 states with snow?  Where’s Al Gore when you need him?  ;^p

Here in Germany, we broke winter’s grasp, if only for a week or so.  It’s been in the 40’s (+5-9C), but rainy.  In other words, a German winter.  The snow’s gone and the green is back out.

Green in the middle of winter?  Yep.  It’s so moist here throughout the entire winter, which is usually mild, that plants still grow.  And why does it stay so moist?  Never mind the frequent precipitation.  At the solstice, the highest the sun gets above the horizon is 17 degrees.  So we never get a chance to dry out.  And the plants love it.

So get out an enjoy it.

But don’t forget your slicker and rubbers.

Gateway

Three days prior, this area still had 4-6″ of snow on it.  Snow that had fallen on Christmas Eve.

But thanks to a couple of days of rain, then warming up into the 50’s (10-14C), the snow completely disappeared.

Out walking with Skinny, we stumbled across what looked to be a Scout campsite, complete with lean-to’s and other shelters.  Great stuff for an Ordeal.


Playing with the camera to get this image.  It’s a composite of 51 separate photos, all shot through my EF 200/2.8L, c0mbined to give the look of being shot by a larger medium-format camera.  Very shallow depth of field, silky out of focus background (and foreground if done right).

Doing the math and assuming a field of view approximating a 35mm lens, this would approximate an image shot with a 35/0.5.  But that’s just a wag.

The original composite in .jpg format is 8763×4945 pixels (18.6MP) and weighs in at 68.2MB.  A bit big to upload here.

 

Grunting and Groaning

Sorry, nothing exciting here.

Just a chance to illustrate the joy that is commuting in winter on the German trail system.

Imagine pushing a 22lb bike (and a substantially heavier carcass) through 5-6″ of soft snow, with drifts of 10-12″.  And occasionally deep ruts from cross country skiers and walkers that grab the front wheel and launch it in random directions.  Just imagine.

Honestly, this is the nice stuff.

It’s the roads where they refuse to plow, but dump salt on top of the 4-6″ of snow, turning it into a slushy, chunky mess, that I can do without.

Regardless.  It’s beautiful.

And when I reach a section that launches me off the bike, I make sure to stop and absorb the surroundings.

And enjoy the peacefulness of an empty, dark forest.