Archive for the ‘White’ Category

“Matty told Hatty about a thing she saw

 Had two big horns and a wooly jaw…” 

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Relax. No horns.

When I drove out to Jean’s farm last week, my friend Jeanne-with-an-e came along and rode shotgun, because god only knows what dangers lurk just behind bucolic pastoral scenes, gamboling lambs and the gently rolling farmland of Wisconsin.

Since both Jean(ne)s are fabric artists and readers and people that like to hang around and eat muffins while other people are out taking pictures, they had plenty to do when I was off with my cameras. Before we made the trek back to Green Bay,  Jean was eager to introduce us to The Copper Llama, a yarn store/llama farm/little slice of wonderful right outside of metro Clintonville. While the pair of Jean(ne)s shopped for yarn, I introduced myself to the gals in the yard.

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Maybe I’ve watched too much of The Borgias, but this next portrait is pure Renaissance beauty:

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Credits for today’s blog go to 40 SPECIALLY TRAINED ECUADORIAN MOUNTAIN LLAMAS, 6 VENEZUELAN RED LLAMAS, 142 MEXICAN WHOOPING LLAMAS, 14 NORTH CHILEAN GUANACOS(CLOSELY RELATED TO THE LLAMA), REG LLAMA OF BRIXTON, 76000 BATTERY LLAMAS FROM “LLAMA-FRESH” FARMS LTD. NEAR PARAGUAY and TERRY GILLIAM & TERRY JONES

For more about The Copper Llama, you can visit their website here  http://thecopperllama.com/index.php

For more about today’s credits, please consult the opening credits of “Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail.”  It goes without saying that you own a copy.

 

Shot through my dining room window on Wednesday morning. I seriously could not summon the will to go out of doors to capture any more magical snow moments. I am officially tapping out of the Winter Wonderland League of Photographers.

After two days of heavy rains, we’d been down to soggy grass, but Mother Nature staged a full-on midnight percussion concert on Tuesday night, showcasing her newest composition: Thundersnow!  Yipes!  It was incredibly loud, shaking the house and waking everyone.  Sunrise on Wednesday revealed a return to a thick cover of snow.

(For most of us, “Drum roll, please” is just an expression. Mother Nature is apparently a literalist.)

I’ve noticed that many members of the Clean Driveway Club on my road have just refused to shovel for this last storm, driving right through the mess and trusting that it will–eventually–melt for good.

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As of late in the day Thursday, it hasn’t.

Sunday was quiet–delightfully so. New York Times plus Sunday morning news shows plus a fireplace and unlimited coffee. Who could ask for finer?

I took a walk late in the afternoon and while it was gray and crispy outside, there was nothing out of the ordinary in the air.

 I must have missed something.  Forty minutes after I got home, the last “snowstorm” of the season hit, creating a near-whiteout for a brief time. 

I’d already vowed that I’d taken all the snow shots I could tolerate for the year, but this was too good to let pass. These were all taken in the field behind my house.

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Interior shots, Milwaukee Art Museum.

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Although I have multiple versions of this next shot sans people, a shout-out to the unknown art lover who popped into the frame uninvited. 

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More serendipity:

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I always think of this final work as the “Don’t Make Me Use My Teacher Voice” piece…

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…because I can (and do!) assume this stance in a heartbeat.

St Norbert Abbey, De Pere, Wisconsin. Norbertine cemetery.

I’ve come here to take pictures before. It’s a quiet, meditative setting and I like the sense of shared brotherhood, death as the great equalizer. The markers are arranged in a soft curve, facing the back of the Abbey and I imagine that the spirits aren’t just resting, but are poised attentively, awaiting the call to service.

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I deliberately brought only the new 8-16mm lens with me, considering this outing as an assignment.  I’ve already discovered that the Sigma isn’t “Fritz the Wonder Lens,” performing magic tricks at my command. No, I have to learn to speak “Ultra Wide Angle” and work for what I get.

Damn.

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I’ve learned this:  you really need to get up close to your subject when you shoot. Even a couple of feet can create a deep foreground. Also, it is better if you are down low when you shoot.  For the picture above, I am lying on the ground, maybe 4 feet from the closest marker. (I thought it might be seriously disrespectful to stretch out on anyone’s grave…though I would have in a heartbeat if I could have been guaranteed no one would catch me!)

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I chose to finish all of these softly in keeping with the serenity of the setting.

So…about 2 weeks ago, I walked out of the doctor’s office with a verdict of Perfectly Healthy (there had been some concerns about that) and my very first thought was “I’m buying the lens.”

Actually, that was my second thought. My first was “Why did it take 9 days from my initial visit to get me in for a test?” By the time Day #7 rolled around, I had been choosing the tunes for my memorial service.

My new toy is a Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6, an ultra wide angle lens.  I fully understand that there is a learning curve involved with a lens like this (it’s pretty darned easy to take pictures of your feet,)  but I am a-quiver with joy and eager to learn. 

These two pictures were shot in the field behind my house. They are not exciting Art, but they do illustrate just how much can be packed into a shot at 8mm while still retaining excellent details and little or no distortion. Once again, you really need to click on the pictures to appreciate the larger view.

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That’s my neighbors’ estate just visible through the trees. I don’t know them and they mostly live elsewhere but I am always grateful for their red buildings that provide the perfect pop! for winter pictures. Thanks, guys!

An afternoon of snowshoeing through the most glorious winter woods you could imagine turned into an overnight in Egg Harbor when wind and snow made a return drive to Green Bay impossible.

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Good friends, big fireplace, good wine and much snappy conversation can tame a snowstorm any day.