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 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).