Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hello Ashland

Well I should tell you right of the bat that this post is me going to include much writing about how I don't have anything to write about. I'm hoping that both of the people (actually I'm pretty sure the reader count is up to three now – thanks Ann) will find this entertainingly ironic and that this will make up for the fact that I haven't posted anything in well over a month.

I've been thinking that I should be posting more often in this blog. I'm even feeling a little guilty – even though I'm not Catholic. And I've been thinking also that I need to get out with my camera and take some pictures.

The last couple of days here have been really hot (remember I'm in northern Wisconsin and that “really hot” means “in the 90's”. If I was in Georgia then “really hot” mean something else entirely. Kinda makes you wonder how tough northerners really are when they have to turn on the AC when then temp. gets over 80. Or maybe northerners need to redefine “tough” as something besides “doing stupid shit on a four-wheeler.”) and today the wind switched from the south to the north which means the air was passing over the lake before passing over land. The lake was cooling the air down and also moistening it and the end result was some fog blowing inland. I was riding my bike along the lakeshore and thought that it would be cool to take a picture and put it on the blog. Of course I didn't have my camera with me (I had taken the camera out of my bike bag because it was sitting inside of a hot car and I forgot to put it back in.

You know, it's not really true about me not having anything to write about. A lot has happened. Perhaps what I should have said was that I would be writing about how I have been slacking on getting out and taking pictures.

I have ridden my bike some...but not really all that much. I'm saving enthusiasm up for winter. I love to ride in winter...I'm weird that way. Still my bike is my primary mode of transport. I ride my bike for almost every trip in town and use it the vast majority of the trips I make out of town that are reasonable (how I define “reasonable” varies with weather, energy levels, time, etc. Most of the time I ride my bike out to my girlfriend's place, about 10 miles up the road. If that seems like a long way it may help to remember that I actually enjoy riding in the winter. I'm weird.... And the less gas I [and people in general] burn the better)

I've been camping some. On the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage; on the Namekegon River (both times were canoe-camping).

But the main reason I haven't posted much is the girlfriend I mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago. She has a place out in the country (I love being out of town) that's mostly wooded (I love the woods). She has a son who is about a year younger than my nephews. She is into alternative stuff (she voluntarily lived for years in a one room straw bale hut that was 12 x 20 and had no running water or electricity – it usually happens that I can trump most people when I tell about living in a 20 x 20 log cabin with no running water...but not her - mine was bigger, had more than one room, and had electricity). So anyway, the main reason I haven't been blogging is because of her. It's her fault.

It's been – insert some sort of superlative here – between Jenny and I

Well I suppose that not having big expensive lenses that can make things look close is an advantage in some ways. Since I only have one lens for my camera I almost never change it (only when I happen to borrow a lens from someone) and thus save money by not having to clean dust off of my image sensor and it also saves me from having to try and decide what lens to use in each particular circumstance. And in some ways it's actually let me experience more: I don't even bother trying to take a picture of the duck flying overhead (it would probably look like a dust speck on my image sensor anyway) and just watch and enjoy. But this picture is NOT an example of how a short lens is OK...this picture really isn't very good. I just like the idea that there is a rocky shore with cliffs so close to Ashland that you can see them with a regular old lens.

When I was in college I remember my friends and I making fun of the needless use of quotation marks in words that mean exactly what they are supposed to mean. I think of quotation marks are put in there to to let people know that you have just “coined” a word (or used a common word in an uncommon way but you can still be pretty sure that people will get your meaning even if they haven't heard the exact phrase before). As in: I'm excited = I'm feeling “caffeinated.” The best one my college buddies and I came up with was a sign on a bar that said Best Food “Anywhere.” But I think that this one tops them all. I found it in the basement laundry area in the apartment complex I'm living in.

The shore (of Lake Superior) in Ashland, while not being used heavily at this point, is littered with boards that I assume are from old docks that stuck out into the lake. I suppose it could be considered historical for them to be there – and I suppose it is, there are lots of pilings from old docks and stuff sticking out into the lake. But it seems to me that it would be quite a bit more “historical” (insert chuckle here after reading the last caption) to actually restore the lakeshore to how it looked 500 years ago instead of 100. Plus I think that it's kinda like littering to leave your messes around (and I consider old pilings a mess). Anyway, I'll get off my high horse long enough to say what you have probably already figured out by now: this is a chunk of an old board that washed up on the shore.

However, even though I wouldn't be sad to see the old dock/pier (is there a difference?) go, that doesn't stop me from being able to see that they still have some cool stuff in them. This is a piling made from a pine trunk and the white things you see radiating out from the center are knots from branches.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Goodbye Lancaster

Well I moved into my apartment here in Ashland this last sat (May 1st) so I suppose that it is a bit tardy of me to just now be posting a blog wishing Lancaster farewell. But, as I said in my last post, I'm a slacker. Labeling yourself a slacker is quite liberating – it can used be to justify an otherwise lame excuse for nearly everything (but now that I think about it, being a slacker is itself a lame excuse).

Anyway, I thought I'd post some pictures that I've taken in Lancaster over the years as a way of saying goodbye to the place...not that I'll never be back (most of my immediate family lives there and I'll definitely be visiting) but as the gears of my life shift I find myself wanting remind myself that I'm definitely not fleeing from Lancaster...just that I feel drawn elsewhere. There are a lot of things about Lancaster that I'll miss.

In no particular order:

I was out on a walk/hike just south of the farmstead I grew up on (and my parents still live on) and was astounded by all the evidence of beaver activity around there. This picture is of a beaver tree that had been cut down and then gnawed along the trunk. I think I've put this in the blog before and mentioned that I've heard that this picture looks like a bunch of things that it isn't, including an elephant – and the person who said that was sober at the time....

For this one I managed to get out of bed in time and the angle of the sun was such that it shined on the frost on this plant (I believe that it's sorghum...in any case it was planted by a guy who wanted to encourage deer to live in the area) but not on the snow on the ground, so it makes for a nice contrast.

I love to just sit around and look at moving water (remember I'm a slacker and as such will find a bunch of reasons for sitting around. But of course there's a fine line between being a slacker and “smelling the roses.” Actually, as I see it, the “line” is more of an amorphous grey blob). And though it is obviously not water and – less obviously – not moving (the camera may not have picked up a breeze if had been blowing) it seems to me that snowdrifts are still worth “smelling the roses” over.

It's probably been at least 20 years but my brother and I used to sit on this branch which is in a cattle pasture just south of my parents' place.

This is the rise of a full moon over the hill directly to the east of my parents' place. Shooting night shots is easy in the winter since the night last so long. This reminds me of the long nights in Alaska (I lived in a cabin near Fairbanks for a year) and how the northern lights were out about half of the nights that were cloud-free...and nights started in midafternoon). Phew, it's kinda a stretch to go from a moonrise in Wisconsin to the aurora borealis in Alaska.

This one was taken in the morning in winter after the milkweed pods had long since broken open. I got the milkweed fuzz to looks all glow-y by positioning the camera lens directly in the shadow of the pod so the rays of sunlight lit up the fuzz in kinda of a halo around the pod. And another reason they look glow-y is just dumb luck. I've said before how my strategy for taking pictures is to take lots of them...and then edit the hell out of them when I come home. I took lots of pictures and got this single shot that turned out. I'm really not that good of a photographer....

This picture was published in the Lancaster newpaper and described as “haunting.” Well maybe it is that to others but it isn't to me having been there. The whole scene was lit by a streetlamp (there was no flash used to light this picture, and if you look close you can see a couple powerlines running though the picture on the right side) and was about as un-spooky as a night can get. Now, of course, there can be many definitions of the word “haunting” but the most immediate things it brings to mind are ghosts and general spookiness (at least that's what it brings to my mind but then again I'm a slacker/rose sniffer and so not to be trusted). It was incredibly frosty out there, and instead of feeling haunted, I was in near-disbelief about how beautiful it was.

I definitely remember that I put this in this blog before. This one is another example of the ratio of bad pictures to good (if you think it's good anyway) which, for this picture is 11:1. This bubble raft was spinning – part of it was caught in the eddy behind the rock on the far side of the stream and moving upstream the the other part was in the downstream current. So the upshot was that the bubble-raft was spinning in a clockwise direction.

Freezing rain falled on rock. Rock getted icy. Ice on rock reflect sky. Photo-dork come along and say “cool” and taked picture. It now in this blog. ...What a blog is?

If I remember correctly (I have a weird thing for being able to remember where I was when a particular picture was taken. Is now when I make some wise-ass crack about having a photographic memory? HAHAHA!) I had my rubber boots on (purchased in downtown Fairbanks at Big Ray's Outfitters for $10 six years ago. I believe in getting a good return on an investment) and was walking around in a stream in the park in Lancaster and happened upon this chicory flower. The water drops are from the dew the night before.

I've always thought this picture was cool. To me the leaf looks liquid-y and/or the water looks thicker than water usually looks. I don't get it...but then again confusion is a state that I've never had a hard time achieving. Maybe the reason I like it has to do with the cliché “simple mind, simple pleasures.”

Next time I'll post a post (redundant?) about Ashland (where I'm living now).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Well, as any of you that happen to be regular readers of this blog (all both of you) are undoubtedly aware it's been awhile since I posted something. I have a couple excuses for this – if you're interested in hearing/reading them then read on.

I haven't been feeling inspired to get out and take pictures around Lancaster. For a while there I made a point of saying that beauty is all around us and taking pictures is a way to capture that. And I still think that. But it's getting hard for me to simply zoom in on a leaf or a cool ice formation (or what have you) and ignore the cars whooshing by of the litter 5' away or the streambank eroding or etc. etc. I seemed like I was ignoring much when I was out taking pictures. I like being outside and one vehicle to get me out there is a camera. It'd be nice to be able to “take it all in” not “take bits and pieces in.”

I'm a slacker.

So on May 1st (hopefully it's then...I have yet to confirm this date) I'm going to be moving myself up to Ashland, WI. There are several reasons that I chose this town and some of them are listed here:

1)Ashland is right on the shore of Lake Superior. I've always loved Lake Superior, now I'll be living near it. And the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is close. Ditto Isle Royale. Ditto the Bois Brule River. Ditto the Porcupine Mountains. Ditto the north shore of Lake Superior. Ditto...you get the picture.
2)Ashland is very near the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The C.N.N.F is over 1.5 million acres in size (I can't wait to load up my bike trailer and head into it and do some camping; or head out and just enjoy all the public land out there that'll be about 10 miles out my door.
3)I've always loved the “northwoods.” Lots of trees and comparatively few people. Don't get me wrong, I like people but I'm an introvert at heart and sometimes like to get off by myself.
4)Ashland is a college town. And the college is a pretty progressive and environmentally aware one at that. I don't want to talk smack about Lancaster but it's not terribly progressive or environmentally aware. It's taken me a while but I'm finally admitting to myself that I don't fit here. I get the distinct feeling that I'm viewed as kind of a weirdo...like I'm a mildmannered and harmless nutcase or something. Of course there's a good chance that this could all be in my head – I may just think that people think this way but they really don't (and, of course, there are worse things to be than a mildmannered and harmless nutcase). But even if they don't I'm sick of being the odd-man out. I do stuff like ride my bike for errands in town and mow my lawn with a rotary mower. This is pretty out there (for Lancaster, not for, say, Madison, WI). I can't begin to count the number of times that people have – good naturedly – told me that I'm crazy. And I am...in the sense that “crazy” means “not normal.” In fact, I'd rather have the population of Lancaster think I'm crazy considering what “normal” means in this neck of the woods. I mean, really now, I don't even like beer which if one is religious about beer (a good percentage of Wisconsinite males seem to be) then that's borderline sacrilege. I do like cheese though.

So when I was visiting Ashland last weekend I took some pictures. I was living out of my car for two days and slept out under the stars and there was a swamp with cattails nearby – and if the cattail-themed pictures get repetitive, well, no one's making you stay at this site. Enjoy.

Taken right near sunset the low-angle light caught the fluff of the cattails just so. Kinda wild how much the angle of light makes things look different. If I had taken this at noon it would be, at best, a ho-hum kind of picture. Well it depends, maybe you still think it's a ho-hum picture but it's at least less ho-hummy at this time of day.

The angle of the light couldn't be much lower in this picture. How many of you have watched as the sun goes down? It's really fast. Or at least it seems fast to a bumbling photographer out to take get some decent pictures. Reminds me of a quote from Albert Einstein, “When you are courting a nice girl and hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity.”

The first two pictures were at sunset...this one is at sunrise.

I like birch bark. It just looks cool. Maybe that makes me lame but then again I already knew that I was lame.

OK now we're back in Lancaster for a picture of the evening light reflecting off the pond here in town. Even though I'm looking forward to moving, there are some things I will miss.

This picture has nothing to do with the move...and it wasn't even taken by me (I'm in the picture and my sister gets photo credit for this one). I include it for a couple of reasons: 1) it was really fun. 2) the two boys are my nephews and playing with them is one thing I'm going to miss about Lancaster. 3) I'm still kind of steamed at the jackass golf course manager (we're on a golf course in the picture) that came out of the clubhouse and told us to clear off because we were “tearing up the sod.” As anyone with functioning eyes in their head - and isn't drunk on the power vested in him by the Lancaster Municipal Golf Course - can see we are decidedly not tearing up the sod. It was a good time while it lasted though. 4) I aim to kind of make this blog into less of a “Joel's photos” blog and into something more along the lines of “fun stuff Joel does while still including photography” kind of a blog. Is it just me or do my pictures strike anyone else as boring after a while? Anyway, to keep me interested (and maybe both of you) I'll be mixing it up some.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Maybe a little explanation is in order here: these pictures are a progression. The first two were taken on the third of December (no snow yet). The final six were taken after the advent of snowshoeing season on the 10th.

It's pretty obvious that this was taken pre-snow. Just a simple picture of a stream. The light was too low here to handhold the camera but I didn't have a tripod with me so I had to sit down and brace my arms against my knees to hold the camera steady enough for a decent picture.

It had been a fairly warm November and we hadn't had much weather below freezing (a few overnight frosts but nothing major) and we had several nights in a row that dipped below freezing. The freezing made the ice you see here, the thawing (in the sun the next day) made the hole in the ice, and the wind made the small waves in the water coming up through the hole. And the sky was blue and it did a good, photogenic job of reflecting.

OK, so we had a big blizzard (well, it was big for us anyway. Probably wouldn't have been that big of a deal on, say, the town of Quincy City in Michigan's U.P.) here on the 10th. Schools called off classes. Cars went in ditches. This is good news: I like winter. I can now hike around on my snowshoes (though the snow isn't really deep enough that I couldn't get around without them – I just like snowshoeing) or ride my bike in the snow (this actually is – believe it or not - fun...as and as added bonus most people think I'm crazy – not that they didn't already and if “crazy” means not burning gas to get somewhere to buy unnecessary stuff then I'll gladly take being labeled “crazy.” Kind of amazing what insanity will allow you to do. Use a rotary lawn mower, ride a bike to the grocery store in the rain/snow/sleet...probably nothing that would warrant any special attention in, say, Portland, OR but in Lancaster, WI [population around 4000] I'm really out there)

I was out snowshoeing around the evening before I took these pictures (I hadn't brought my camera) and the light did such awesome things to the drifts (and their shadows) that my aim was to come back with my camera the next day and to an entire blog featuring just drifts. But when I got back out there the next day there were so many cool non-drift things that I had to take pictures of. Some of them turned out decent, like this one.

I kinda like pictures that tell stories. Or maybe it'd be more accurate to say that the picture doesn't actually tell the story but it provides some raw material for the viewer to fill things in. “What happened here?” My inner Sherlock Holmes I guess. This one tells (with some help from the viewer) about the wind that blew these blades of grass around and made them carve tracks in the snow. And that the air was damp enough that it left frost on the grass. And that it wasn't warm enough yet to melt the frost. That it was sunny out. That some little critter burrowed a hole down into the snow (or rather it probably burrowed up into the light since there are a very few tracks on the snow to indicate that it actually came out...why didn't it come out? Did it see an owl? Was it cold out?)

If you could take a river and somehow pause it midflow and somehow retain shapes/curves/etc. From several hours/days in the past it might look something like a series of drifts. Ever watched, if the river has a sandy bottom as is clear enough, the river bottom being reformed as you watch? Compare that to drifts being formed.

You know the pictures of the bikini-clad surfer babe riding a big curling wave? Well this picture was taken of a steep hill that, if you use your imagination, it, and the snow on top of it, could be a wave in the ocean. OK so you have to use a lot of imagination. But continuing with the snow-as-water comparison of the last caption there could be a comparison in this caption between the surfer and the snowboarder/downhill skier...actually there is a comparison in this caption because I just made one.

I'm going to bank on the hope that the other captions were long enough and had enough substance to make up for this one. This is just a simple curving drift. It's simple but - I think – eye catching.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Have you ever heard the gripe with wildlife TV shows and photography and such that these things portray nature in a kind of un-genuine way? That looking at wildlife photos and video and such would lead one to believe that there is a moose behind every tree and a jaguar down at the every watering hole and a grizzly waiting around the next bend in the trail. Wildlife porn, I've heard it called. (I thought maybe I should explain the title of this blog article fairly early on...my mom will probably be reading this after all). The theory is that when kids go to nature that they expect all this great wildlife to be on display...and they're bored when it isn't. It really didn't do that for me. I can still remember the fam' sitting around our little black and white TV watching Marty Stouffer's Wild America (after The Cosby Show) and I don't demand constant wildlife viewing action in my outdoor experiences.

Even though the results are mixed (some kids are bored by the actual un-pornographic nature of nature and some kids' interest is piqued I wanna see that) this blog entry aims to show the readers (all both of them) that my photography is not just me happily strolling along wooded, pristine streams snapping pictures when I feel like it between sips of tea and bites of Fig Newtons.

This is really tough, knowing how much entropy to include in pictures. OK so it's not really all that tough. “Really tough” is climbing Mount Everest or having someone you love get killed in a car crash or something. But it does take some thought. Should I include the litter (or errant blade of grass or what have you) because that's how the scene really looks – or should I crop it out because it doesn't look “nice”?

This (somewhat mediocre...VERY mediocre, actually every single picture in this entry is mediocre) picture is a crop of the one directly below. The brighter colored leaves in this picture are floating on top of the water, the bland-colored leaves have sunk to the bottom.

OK, this is the non-porn crop of this picture...this is what's really there.

This is kind of like a picture I put in my last blog entry. Sort of anyway. It's actually just a zoomed-in version of the picture below it.

And this is the non-porn version.

Ahh. At first glance it's kinda questionable whether or not you'd see anything amiss here. Maybe I shouldn't tell you in hopes that you won't see it.

Insert long pause here so you think I'm actually not going to tell

See how the water is flowing in a smooth arc off of this rock? It's a little too perfect (to continue on the porn theme it's kind of like a picture in Playboy. Ahem, that is what I hear about Playboy anyway...never seen it myself. Mom, I can feel you blushing from here). It's so perfectly curved because this “rock” is actually a chunk of broken concrete culvert.

Happy happy joy joy (anyone else remember Ren and Stimpy? We didn't really watch much TV [except Wild America and Cosby] and we didn't even get the station that showed Ren and Stimpy but somehow my brother and I got ahold of a videotape of an episode that featured the amazing flying butt pliers. Trust me, you don't really want me to explain that one - besides that you can get a good idea of what it is just by the name which is pretty descriptively accurate.) this picture is pretty harmless. Just a cheesy “softwater” picture of a stream flowing. Yeah, it's all right but see the picture below for the whole scene.

So just for fun I Googled "'ren and stimpy' 'flying butt pliers' wrestling" and lo and behold I actually got quite a few sites where people actually recall (with fondness) the flying butt pliers episode. Apparently it was a classic episode.

Friday, November 6, 2009

red-hot lava

Yesterday morning I managed to get myself out of bed just a little bit after sunrise, have a pancake breakfast (no peanut butter sandwiches this time) and then head for Memorial Park to see what there was to see/photograph. Well I must've been in one of those The-Grass-Is-Greener-On-The-Other-Side-Of-The-Fence moods because not long after I got there I started to think about how there would probably be all sorts of good pictures at another park here in town (Schreiner's Park. I was down there in the morning a week and a half ago and was wishing I had my camera because the way the morning light was hitting the water in the creek was kinda cool). So I saddled up my bike (which involves throwing my army-surplus ammo-box [that's my camera case] into the milk crate I have tied to a rack on the back of my bike) and took off. Well, it was certainly pleasant down there (I say “down there” because it's in a creek bottom) but the light wasn't hitting the water the way I remembered, and – even though I took lots of pictures – only one turned out to be worth a damn.

This picture I took a few days ago at Memorial Park. It had rained the night before and the rainwater had kind of run down to the base of this slide and posed all nice for me as I took this picture.

Have you ever taken a picture of something you saw – and thought it was going to be an awesome picture – but it didn't quite turn out because pictures have trouble capturing motion? I do that all the time – or rather, I don't expect them to be any good, and am surprised if they actually turn out to be decent. So anyway, this is kind of a ho-hum picture of a little wave action going on in a creek that runs through the golf course here in town...I thought this picture was going to be better.

It's surprisingly hard (for me) to get a decent picture of branches against the sky. The sky is almost always so much brighter than the branches and since the camera's light meter determines the exposure of the image by averaging the amount of light hitting it (can you tell by this half-ass explanation that I don't really understand how light meters work?) the sky (which takes up a much larger area of the picture) kind of overwhelms the branches. If I was a good photographer I'd probably figure out a way to trick the light meter into reading things differently (actually I do know how to do this by using “manual” settings on the camera - I'm just too lazy to do it). So I just simply don't take that many pictures of branches backed up by sky. But “If at first you don't succeed try, try again,” so I actually took a bunch (something like 10 or 15) and this one – to my surprise – turned out to be decent.

So this is the one picture I got (that was decent) after having my The-Grass-Is-Greener... moment yesterday morning and pulling up stakes in Memorial Park and heading for Schreiner's Park. This little water-tumble you see here didn't exist until last spring when a couple of floods came rippin' through this creek and scoured it down to bedrock.

OK so I'm going to try something a little bit different in this blog entry. I'm going to include pictures (in this blog entry these pictures were taken by me) taken while I was out doing what I like to do (not that I don't enjoy going out and taking pictures simply for the sake of taking pictures but you know what I mean). If anyone is horribly opposed to these non-fine-art pictures you can leave a comment telling me so.

So I'm kind of bike nut. I like to ride bikes in places where most people – even fellow bike nuts – would not. This picture is of my friend, Corey (who is also a bike nut and likes to ride in places where other bike nuts think it's crazy to ride, kinda like me) riding down a “low maintenance road” (that's what a sign warns at the start of this road – which, of course, draws people like Corey and I to ride it). As you can see the road is one lane dirt/mud. Corey and I thought it was awesome. Maybe I should say it again: we're nuts...or maybe we're totally sane and everyone else is nuts?

This is Corey again riding on a cool gravel road that leads up a bluff (from the Mississippi R. to the top of the ridge). This road had multiple (I think three) stream crossings. It was awesome too. This was taken on the same ride that the last picture was taken. It was a good ride...if you ask Corey and I. I know some road bikers that avoid riding on gravel like it's the worst thing in the world. Kind of like when you were a kid and playing on the playground and the play equipment was OK but the wood-chips below were the red-hot-lava. Gravel, to some roadies, is like wood chips. It might go without saying that dirt or mud or stream crossings would be like wood chips times ten.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


So yesterday morning I leaped out of bed at the crack of 8 o'clock, slammed down a peanut butter sandwich (for anyone out there that thinks that it is not abnormal for me to eat such an unhealthy breakfast: I usually have pancakes [homemade] with yogurt on top) and went outside to get some photographs of the frost that came 'round last night.

I'm not really a big fan of Daylight Savings Time partially because it makes sunrise an hour earlier so photographing at dawn (when the light is great for photography) involves getting up an hour earlier. Since I am lazy and value my sleep (and just lying around in a nice warm bed even if I'm awake) DST isn't so good for me.

I was out taking pictures of the frost yesterday morning (this is one of the first frosts we've had...I like winter so I like frost since it tells me that snow is on the way) and came across this tree that – lo and behold – actually had some color to it (some of you may remember me lamenting the lack of fall colors in my last entry) and thought it looked nice against the blue sky.

OK so the these three pictures are of the same general area. Same trees, creek, etc. One was taken yesterday morning shortly after sunup, one was taken 4 days ago late in the morning, and one was taken in the winter of '07-'08. Sometimes familiarity breeds contempt and sometimes it breeds good photographs.

Water amazes me. I love canoing (though this wasn't taken from a canoe), I love a good rain (though if the rain is cold I like to have a good roof over my head, be it a tent or house or whatever), I just really like being around water. When I take pictures at Memorial Park (a park here in Lancaster) I walk along the creeks in the park and then do a lap around the shore of the pond. This is a picture of the surface of the pond with a leaf floating on it (obviously) that I happened upon as I was doing my customary circumnavigation of the pond.

Ever notice how meteorologists can't really accurately and consistently predict the weather more than a few hours in advance of the present? I've gotten so I don't really even pay attention to what is forecast to happen past 24 hours in advance. The only constant is change – or something like that. So anyway, sky/clouds/weather are an incredibly complex thing. I'm kinda glad that we can't predict it. So anyway (I'm aware that I just started another sentence with those same words), the sky is unpredictably cool.

Well, I'm realizing now that all the pictures in this entry have some form of water in them. Clouds, fog, frost, liquid, snow. I think that most forms of water enhance pictures. Wetness makes color saturation better. Fog can add to a photo's composition. Etc. This picture would look hugely different if there were no fog or frost.

Sometimes getting down on your knees can make for some decent photographs. That's the case with this picture. I feel as if decent pictures are surprisingly easy to take (even though I take a lot of bad pictures – the percentage of pictures I take that are worth a damn is somewhere between 5 and 10). My strategy most times is just to go out and simply look around. Cool things are there for anyone to see.

This was taken as I took a lap around the pond at the park here in town. There was a frost the night before last and when I took this picture the sun was hitting the frost on some tree branches above this water. So the frost was dripping onto the water as it melted. I got this picture (I probably took 15 or 20 to get this one picture) at just the right time. If you look (very) closely you can see that there is a little explosion of a water droplet directly above the splash. I suppose that if I was some sort of physics dude I could explain why that's happening. But I'm not really a physics dude, so I can't.